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Title: Unitarianism in America: A History of its Origin and Development
Author: Cooke, George Willis, 1848-1923
Language: English
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A History of its Origin and Development





The aim I have had in view in writing this book has been to give a history
of the origin of Unitarianism in the United States, how it has organized
itself, and what it has accomplished. It seemed desirable to deal more
fully than has been done hitherto with the obscure beginnings of the
Unitarian movement in New England; but limits of space have made it
impossible to treat this phase of the subject in other than a cursory
manner. It deserves an exhaustive treatment, which will amply repay the
necessary labor to this end. The theological controversies that led to the
separation of the Unitarians from the older Congregational body have been
only briefly alluded to, the design of my work not requiring an ampler
treatment. It was not thought best to cover the ground so ably traversed by
Rev. George E. Ellis, in his Half-century of the Unitarian Controversy;
Rev. Joseph Henry Allen, in his Our Liberal Movement in Theology; Rev.
William Channing Gannett, in his Memoir of Dr. Ezra Stiles Gannett; and by
Rev. John White Chadwick, in his Old and New Unitarian Beliefs. The attempt
here made has been to supplement these works, and to treat of the practical
side of Unitarianism,--its organizations, charities, philanthropies, and

With the theological problems involved in the history of Unitarianism this
volume deals only so far as they have affected its general development. I
have endeavored to treat of them fairly and without prejudice, to state the
position of each side to the various controversies in the words of those
who have accepted its point of view, and to judge of them as phases of a
larger religious growth. I have not thought it wise to attempt anything
transcendental movement and by "the Western issue." If they are to be dealt
with in the true spirit of the historical method, it must be at a period
more remote from these discussions than that of one who participated in
them, however slightly. I have endeavored to treat of all phases of
Unitarianism without reference to local interests and without sectional
preferences. If my book does not indicate such regard to what is national
rather than to what is provincial, as some of my readers may desire, it is
due to inability to secure information that would have given a broader
character to my treatment of the subject.

The present work may appear to some of its readers to have been written in
a sectarian spirit, with a purpose to magnify the excellences of
Unitarianism, and to ignore its limitations. Such has not been the purpose
I have kept before me; but, rather, my aim has been to present the facts
candidly and justly, and to treat of them from the standpoint of a student
of the religious evolution of mankind. Unitarianism in this country
presents an attempt to bring religion into harmony with philosophy and
science, and to reconcile Christianity with the modern spirit. Its effort
in this direction is one that deserves careful consideration, especially in
view of the unity and harmony it has developed in the body of believers who
accept its teachings. The Unitarian body is a small one, but it has a
history of great significance with reference to the future development of

The names of those who accept Unitarianism have not been given in this book
in any boastful spirit. A faith that is often spoken against may justify
itself by what it has accomplished, and its best fruits are the men and
women who have lived in the spirit of its teachings. In presenting the
names of those who are not in any way identified with Unitarian churches,
the purpose has been to suggest the wide and inclusive character of the
Unitarian movement, and to indicate that it is not represented merely by a
body of churches, but that it is an individual way of looking at the facts
of life and its problems.

In writing the following pages, I have had constantly in mind those who
have not been educated as Unitarians, and who have come into this
inheritance through struggle and search. Not having been to the manner born
myself, I have sought to provide such persons with the kind of information
that would have been helpful to me in my endeavors to know the Unitarian
life and temper. Something of what appears in these pages is due to this
desire to help those who wish to know concretely what Unitarianism is, and
what it has said and done to justify its existence. This will account for
the manner of treatment and for some of the topics selected.

When this work was begun, the design was that it should form a part of the
exhibit of Unitarianism in this country presented at the seventy-fifth
anniversary of the formation of the American Unitarian Association. The
time required for a careful verification of facts made it impossible to
have the book ready at that date. The delay in its publication has not
freed the work from all errors and defects, but it has given the
opportunity for a more adequate treatment of many phases of the subject.
Much of the work required in its preparation does not show itself in the
following pages; but it has involved an extended examination of manuscript
journals and records, as well as printed reports of societies, newspapers,
magazines, pamphlets, and books. Many of the subjects dealt with, not
having been touched upon in any previous historical work, have demanded a
first-hand study of records, often difficult to find access to, and even
more difficult to summarize in an interesting and adequate manner.

I wish here to warmly thank all those persons, many in number and too
numerous to give all their names, who have generously aided me with their
letters and manuscripts, and by the loan of books, magazines, pamphlets,
and newspapers. Without their aid the book would have been much less
adequate in its treatment of many subjects than it is at present. Though I
am responsible for the book as it presents itself to the reader, much of
its value is due to those who have thus labored with me in its preparation.
In manuscript and in proof-sheet it has been read by several persons, who
have kindly aided in securing accuracy to names, dates, and historic facts.


BOSTON, October 1, 1902.


  English Rationalists

  The Church of Authority and the Church of Freedom
  Seventeenth-century Liberals
  Growth of Liberty in Church Methods
  A Puritan Rationalist
  Harvard College

  The Growth of Arminianism
  Robert Breck
  Books Read by Liberal Men
  The Great Awakening
  Cardinal Beliefs of the Liberals
  Publications defining the Liberal Beliefs
  Phases of Religious Progress

  Subordinate Nature of Christ
  Some of the Liberal Leaders
  The First Unitarian
  A Pronounced Universalist
  Other Men of Mark
  The Second Period of Revivals
  King's Chapel becomes Unitarian
  Other Unitarian Movements
  Growth of Toleration

  The Monthly Anthology
  Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity
  General Repository
  The Christian Disciple
  Dr. Morse and American Unitarianism
  Evangelical Missionary Society
  The Berry Street Conference
  The Publishing Fund Society
  Harvard Divinity School
  The Unitarian Miscellany
  The Christian Register
  Results of the Division in Congregationalism
  Final Separation of State and Church

  Initial Meetings
  Work of the First Year
  Work of the First Quarter of a Century
  Publication of Tracts and Books
  Domestic Missions

  Depression in Denominational Activities
  A Firm of Publishers
  The Brooks Fund
  Missionary Efforts
  The Western Unitarian Conference
  The Autumnal Conventions
  Influence of the Civil War
  The Sanitary Commission
  Results of Fifteen years

  The New York Convention of 1865
  New Life in the Unitarian Association
  The New Theological Position
  Organization of the Free Religious Association
  Unsuccessful Attempts at Reconciliation
  The Year Book Controversy
  Missionary Activities
  College Town Missions
  Theatre Preaching
  Organization of Local Conferences
  Fellowship and Fraternity
  Results of the Denominational Awakening

  "The Western Issue"
  Fellowship with Universalists
  Officers of the American Unitarian Association
  The American Unitarian Association as a Representative Boy
  The Church Building Loan Fund
  The Unitarian Building in Boston
  Growth of the Devotional Spirit
  The Seventy-fifth Anniversary

  Association of Young Men
  Preaching to the Poor
  Tuckerman as Minister to the Poor
  Tuckerman's Methods
  Organization of Charities
  Benevolent Fraternity of Churches
  Other Ministers at Large
  Ministry at Large in Other Cities

  Boston Sunday School Society
  Unitarian Sunday School Society
  Western Unitarian Sunday School Society
  Unity Clubs
  The Ladies' Commission on Sunday-school Books

  Women's Western Unitarian Conference
  Women's Auxiliary Conference
  The National Alliance
  Cheerful Letter and Post-office Missions
  Associate Alliances
  Alliance Methods

  Society respecting the State of Religion in India
  Dall's Work in India
  Recent Work in India
  The Beginnings in Japan

  The Beginnings in Meadville
  The Growth of the School

  Unitarian Charities
  Education of the Blind
  Care of the Insane
  Child-saving Missions
  Care of the Poor
  Humane Treatment of Animals
  Young Men's Christian Unions
  Educational Work in the South
  Educational Work for the Indians

  Peace Movement
  Temperance Reform
  The Enfranchisement of Women
  Civil Service Reform

  Eminent Statesmen
  Some Representative Unitarians
  Judges and Legislators
  Boston Unitarianism

  Pioneers of the Higher Criticism
  The Catholic Influence of Harvard University
  The Work of Horace Mann
  Elizabeth Peabody and the Kindergarten
  Work of Unitarian Women for Education
  Popular Education and Public Libraries
  Mayo's Southern Ministry of Education

  Influence of Unitarian Environment
  Literary Tendencies
  Literary Tastes of Unitarian Ministers
  Unitarians as Historians
  Scientific Unitarians
  Unitarian Essayists
  Unitarian Novelists
  Unitarian Artists and Poets


  A. Formation of the Local Conferences
  B. Unitarian Newspapers and Magazines





The sources of American Unitarianism are to be found in the spirit of
individualism developed by the Renaissance, the tendency to free inquiry
that manifested itself in the Protestant Reformation, and the general
movement of the English churches of the seventeenth century toward
toleration and rationalism. The individualism of modern thought and life
first found distinct expression in the Renaissance; and it was essentially
a new creation, and not a revival. Hitherto the tribe, the city, the
nation, the guild, or the church, had been the source of authority, the
centre of power, and the giver of life. Although Greece showed a desire for
freedom of thought, and a tendency to recognize the worth of the individual
and his capacity as a discoverer and transmitter of truth, it did not set
the individual mind free from bondage to the social and political power of
the city. Socrates and Plato saw somewhat of the real worth of the
individual, but the great mass of the people were never emancipated from
the old tribal authority as inherited by the city-state; and not one of the
great dramatists had conceived of the significance of a genuine

[Sidenote: Renaissance.]

The Renaissance advanced to a new conception of the worth and the capacity
of the individual mind, and for the first time in history recognized the
full social meaning of personality in man. It sanctioned and authenticated
the right of the individual to think for himself, and it developed clearly
the idea that he may become the transmitter of valid revelations of
spiritual truth. That God may speak through individual intuition and
reason, and that this inward revelation may be of the highest authority and
worth, was a conception first brought to distinct acceptance by the

A marked tendency of the Reformation which it received from the Renaissance
was its acceptance of the free spirit of individualism. The Roman Church
had taught that all valid religious truth comes to mankind through its own
corporate existence, but the Reformers insisted that truth is the result of
individual insight and investigation. The Reformation magnified the worth
of personality, and made it the central force in all human effort.[2] To
gain a positive personal life, one of free initiative power, that may in
itself become creative, and capable of bringing truth and life to larger
issues, was the chief motive of the Protestant leaders in their work of
reformation. The result was that, wherever genuine Protestantism appeared,
it manifested itself by its attitude of free inquiry, its tendency to
emphasize individual life and thought, and its break with the traditions of
the past, whether in literature or in religion. The Reformation did not,
however, bring the principle of individuality to full maturity; and it
retained many of the old institutional methods, as well as a large degree
of their social motive. The Reformed churches were often as autocratic as
the Catholic Church had been, and as little inclined to approve of
individual departures from their creeds and disciplines; but the motive of
individualism they had adopted in theory, and could not wholly depart from
in practice. Their merit was that they had recognized and made a place for
the principle of individuality; and it proved to be a developing social
power, however much they might ignore or try to suppress it.

[Sidenote: Reformation.]

In its earliest phases Protestantism magnified the importance of reason in
religious investigations, although it used an imperfect method in so doing.
All doctrines were subjected more or less faithfully to this test, every
rite was criticised and reinterpreted, and the Bible itself was handled in
the freest manner. The individualism of the movement showed itself in
Luther's doctrine of justification by faith, and his confidence in the
validity of personal insight into spiritual realities. Most of all this
tendency manifested itself in the assertion of the right of every believer
to read the Bible for himself, and to interpret it according to his own
needs. The vigorous assertion of the right to the free interpretation of
the Word of God, and to personal insight into spiritual truth, led their
followers much farther than the first reformers had anticipated.
Individualism showed itself in an endless diversity of personal opinions,
and in the creation of many little groups of believers, who were drawn
together by an interest in individual leaders or by a common acceptance of
hair-splitting interpretations of religious truths.[3]

The Protestant Church inculcated the law of individual fidelity to God, and
declared that the highest obligation is that of personal faith and purity.
What separated the Catholic and the Protestant was not merely a question of
socialism as against individualism,[4] but it was also a problem of outward
or inward law, of environment or intuition as the source of wholesome
teaching, of ritualism or belief as the higher form of religious
expression. The Protestants held that belief is better than ritual, faith
than sacraments, inward authority than external force. They insisted that
the individual has a right to think his own thoughts and to pray his own
prayer, and that the revelation of the Supreme Good Will is to all who
inwardly bear God's image and to every one whose will is a centre of new
creative force in the world of conduct. They affirmed that the individual
is of more worth than the social organism, the soul than the church, the
motive than the conduct, the search for truth than the truth attained.

These tendencies of Protestantism found expression in the rationalism that
appeared in England at the time of the Commonwealth, and especially at the
Restoration. All the men of broader temper proclaimed the use of reason in
the discussion of theological problems. In their opinion the Bible was to
be interpreted as other books are, while with regard to doctrines there
must be compromise and latitude. We find such a theologian as Chillingworth
recognizing "the free right of the individual reason to interpret the
Bible."[5] To such men as Milton, Jeremy Taylor, and Locke the free spirit
was essential, even though they had not become rationalists in the modern
philosophical sense. They were slow to discard tradition, and they desired
to establish the validity of the Bible; but they would not accept any
authority until it had borne the test of as thorough an investigation as
they could give it. The methods of rationalism were not yet understood, but
the rational spirit had been accepted with a clear apprehension of its

[Sidenote: Toleration.]

Toleration had two classes of advocates in the seventeenth century,--on the
one hand, the minor and persecuted sects, and, on the other, such of the
great leaders of religious opinion as Milton and Locke. The first clear
assertion of the modern idea of toleration was made by the Anabaptists of
Holland, who in 1611 put into their Confession of Faith this declaration of
the freedom of religion from all state regulation: "The magistrate is not
to meddle with religion, or matters of conscience, nor compel men to this
or that form of religion, because Christ is King, and Lawgiver of the
church and conscience." When the Baptists appeared in England, they
advocated this principle as the one which ought to control in the relations
of church and state. In 1614 there was published in London a little tract,
written by one Leonard Busher, a poor laborer, and a member of the Baptist
church that had recently been organized there. The writer addressed the
King and Parliament with a statement of his conviction "that by fire and
sword to constrain princes and peoples to receive that one true religion of
the Gospel is wholly against the mind and merciful law of Christ."[6] He
went on to say that no king or bishop is able to command faith, that it is
monstrous for Christians to vex and destroy each other on account of
religious differences. The leading Protestant bodies, especially the
established churches, still held to the corporate idea of the nature of
religious institutions; and, although they had rejected the domination of
the Roman Church, they accepted the control of the state as essential to
the purity of the church. This half-way retention of the corporate spirit
made it impossible for any of the leading churches to give recognition to
the full meaning of the Protestant idea of the worth of the individual
soul, and its right to communicate directly with God. It remained for the
persecuted Baptists and Independents, too feeble and despised to aspire to
state influence, to work out the Protestant principle to its full
expression in the spirit of toleration, to declare for liberty of
conscience, the voluntary maintenance of worship, and the separation of
church and state.

After the Restoration, and again after the enthronement of William and
Mary, it became a serious practical problem to establish satisfactory
relations between the various sects. All who were not sectarian fanatics
saw that some kind of compromise was desirable, and the more liberal wished
to include all but the most extreme phases of belief within the national
church. When that national church was finally established on the lines
which it has since retained, and numerous bodies of dissenters found
themselves compelled to remain outside, toleration became more and more
essential, in order that the nation might live at peace with itself. From
generation to generation the dissenters were able to secure for themselves
a larger recognition, disabilities were removed as men of all sects saw
that restrictions were useless, and toleration became the established law
in the relations of the various religious bodies to each other.

[Sidenote: Arminianism.]

The conditions which led to toleration also developed a liberal
interpretation of the relations of the church to the people, a broader
explanation of doctrines, and a rational insight into the problems of the
religious life. One phase of this more comprehensive religious spirit was
shown in Arminianism, which was nothing more than an assertion of
individualism in the sphere of man's relations to God. Calvinism maintained
that man cannot act freely for himself, that he is strictly under the
sovereignty of the Divine Will. The democratic tendency in Holland, where
Arminianism had its origin, expressed itself in the declaration that every
man is free to accept or to reject religious truth, that the will is
individual and self-assertive, and that the conscience is not bound.
Arminius and his coworkers accepted what the early Protestant movement had
regarded as essential, that religion should be always obedient to the
rational spirit, that nature should be the test in regard to all which
affects human conduct, and that the critical spirit ought to be applied to
dogma and Bible. Arminius reasserted this freedom of the human spirit, and
vindicated the right of the individual mind to seek God and his truth
wherever they may be found.

As Protestantism became firmly established in England, and the nation
accepted its mental and moral attitude without reserve, what is known as
Arminianism came to be more and more prevalent. This was not a body of
doctrines, and it was in no sense a sectarian movement: it was rather a
mental temper of openness and freedom. In a word, Arminianism became a
method of religious inquiry that appealed to reason, nature, and the needs
of man. It put new emphasis on the intellectual side of religion, and it
developed as a moral protest against the harsher features of Calvinism. It
gave to human feelings the right to express themselves as elements in the
problem of man's relations to God, and vindicated for God the right to be
deemed as sympathetic and loving as the men who worship him.

While the Arminians accepted the Bible as an authoritative standard as
fully as did the Calvinists, they were more critical in its study: they
applied literary and historical standards in its interpretation, and they
submitted it to the vindication of reason. They sought to escape from the
tyranny of the Bible, and yet to make it a living force in the world of
conduct and character. They not only declared anew the right of private
judgment, but they wished to make the Bible the source of inward spiritual
illumination,--not a standard and a test, but an awakener of the divine
life in the soul. They sought for what is really essential in religious
truth, limited the number of dogmas that may be regarded as requisite to
the Christian life, and took the position that only what is of prime
importance is to be required of the believer. The result was that
Arminianism became a positive aid to the growth of toleration in England;
for it became what was called latitudinarian,--that is, broad in temper,
inclusive in spirit, and desirous of bringing all the nation within the
limits of one harmonizing and noble-minded church.

[Sidenote: English Rationalists.]

It was in such tendencies as these, as they were developed in Holland and
England, that American Unitarianism had its origin. To show how true this
is, it may be desirable to speak of a few of the men whose books were most
frequently read in New England during the eighteenth century. The prose
writings of Milton exerted great influence in favor of toleration and in
vindication of reason. Without doubt he became in his later years a
believer in free will and the subordinate nature of Christ, and he was true
to the Protestant ideal of an open Bible and a free spirit in man. Known as
a Puritan, his pleas for toleration must have been read with confidence by
his coreligionists of New England; while his rational temper could not have
failed to have its effect.

His vindication of the Bible as the religion of Protestants must have
commended Chillingworth to the liberal minds in New England; and there is
evidence that he was read with acceptance, although he was of the
established church. Chillingworth was of the noblest type of the
latitudinarians in the Church of England during the first half of the
seventeenth century; for he was generously tolerant, his mind was broad and
liberal, and he knew the true value of a really comprehensive and inclusive
church, which he earnestly desired should be established in England. He
wished to have the creed reduced to the most limited proportions by giving
emphasis to what is fundamental, and by the extrusion of all else. It was
his desire to maintain what is essential that caused him to say: "I am
fully assured that God does not, and therefore that man ought not, to
require any more of any man than this--to believe the Scripture to be God's
word, to endeavor to find the true sense of it, and to live according to

He would therefore leave every man free to interpret the Bible for himself,
and he would make no dogmatic test to deprive any man of this right. The
chief fact in the Bible being Christ, he insisted that Christianity is
loyalty to his spirit. "To believe only in Christ" is his definition of
Christianity, and he would add nothing to this standard. He would put no
church or creed or council between the individual soul and God; and he
would direct every believer to the Bible as the free and open way of the
soul's access to divine truth. He found that the religion of Protestants
consisted in the rational use of that book, and not in the teachings of the
Reformers or in the confessions they devised. It is the great merit of
Chillingworth that he vindicated the spirit of toleration in a broad and
noble manner, that he was without sectarian prejudice or narrowness in his
desire for an inclusive church, and that he spoke and wrote in a truly
rational temper. He applied reason to all religious problems, and he
regarded it as the final judge and arbiter. Religious freedom received from
him the fullest recognition, and no one has more clearly indicated the
scope and purpose of toleration.

Another English religious leader, much read in New England, was Archbishop
Tillotson. It has been said of him that "for the first time since the
Reformation the voice of reason was now clearly heard in the high places of
the church."[8] He was an Arminian in his sympathies, and held that the way
of salvation is open to all who choose to accept its opportunities. He
expressed himself as being as certain that the doctrine of eternal decrees
is not of God as he was sure that God is good and just. His ground for this
opinion was that it is repugnant to the convictions of justice and goodness
natural to men. He maintained that we shall be justified before God by
means of the reformation that is wrought in our own lives. We have an
intuition of what is right, and a natural capacity for living justly and
righteously. Experience and reason he made concomitant spiritual forces
with the Bible, and he held that revelation is but a republication of the
truths of natural religion. Tillotson was truly a broad churchman, who was
desirous of making the national church as comprehensive as possible; and he
was one who practised as well as preached toleration.

Not less liberal was Jeremy Taylor, who was numbered among the dissenters.
In the introduction to his Liberty of Prophesying he said, "So long as men
have such variety of principles, such several constitutions, educations,
tempers, and distempers, hopes, interests, and weaknesses, degrees of light
and degrees of understanding, it was impossible all should be of one mind."
Taylor justly said that in heaven there is room for all faiths. His Liberty
of Prophesying, Chillingworth's Religion of Protestants, and Milton's
Liberty of Unlicensed Printing are the great expressions of the spirit of
toleration in the seventeenth century. Each was broad, comprehensive, and
noble in its plea for religious freedom. It has been said of Taylor that
"he sets a higher value on a good life than on an orthodox creed. He
estimates every doctrine by its capacity to do men good."[9]

Another advocate of toleration was John Locke, whose chief influence was as
a rationalist in philosophy and religion. While accepting Christianity with
simple confidence, he subjected it to the careful scrutiny of reason. His
philosophy awakened the rationalistic spirit in all who accepted it, so
that many of his disciples went much farther than he did himself. While
accepting revelation, he maintained that natural knowledge is more certain
in its character. He taught that the conclusions of reason are more
important than anything given men in the name of revelation. He did not
himself widely depart from the orthodoxy of his day, though he did not
accept the doctrine of the Trinity in the most approved form.

One of the rationalistic followers of Locke was Samuel Clarke, who
attempted to apply the scientific methods of Newton to the interpretation
of Christianity. He tried to establish faith in God on a purely scientific
basis. He declared that goodness does not exist because God commands it,
but that he commands it because it is good. He interpreted the doctrine of
the Trinity in a rationalistic manner, holding to its form, but rejecting
its substance.

These men were widely read in New England during the eighteenth century. In
England they were accounted orthodox, and they held high positions either
in the national church or in the leading dissenting bodies. They were not
sectarian or bigoted, they wished to give religion a basis in common sense
and ethical integrity, and they approved of a Christianity that is
practical and leads to noble living.

When we consider what were the relations of the colonies to England during
the first half of the eighteenth century, and that the New England churches
were constantly influenced by the religious attitude of the
mother-country,[10] it is plain enough that toleration and rationalism were
in large measure received from England. In the same school was learned the
lesson of a return to the simplicity of Christ, of making him and his life
the standard of Christian fellowship. The great leaders in England taught
positively that loyalty to Christ is the only essential test of Christian
duty; and it is not in the least surprising the same idea should have found
noble advocacy in New England. That a good life and character are the true
indications of the possession of a saving faith was a thought too often
uttered in England not to find advocacy in the colonies.

In this way Unitarianism had its origin, in the teachings of men who were
counted orthodox in England, but who favored submitting all theological
problems to the test of reason. It was not a sectarian movement in its
origin or at any time during the eighteenth century; but it was an effort
to make religion practical, to give it a basis in reality, and to establish
it as acceptable to the sound judgment and common sense of all men. It was
an application to the interpretation of theological problems of that
individualistic spirit which was at the very source of Protestantism. If
the individual ought to interpret the Bible for himself, so ought he to
accept his own explanation of the dogmas of the church. In so doing, he
necessarily becomes a rationalist, which may lead him far from the
traditions of the past. If he thinks for himself, there is an end to
uniformity of faith--a conclusion which such men as Chillingworth and
Jeremy Taylor were willing to accept; and, therefore, they desired an
all-inclusive church, in order that freedom and unity of faith might be
both maintained.

In its beginning the liberal movement in New England was not concerned with
the Trinity. It was a demand for simplicity, rationality, and toleration.
When it had proceeded far on its way, it was led to a consideration of the
problem of the Trinity, because it did not find that doctrine distinctly
taught in the New Testament. Accepting implicitly the words of Christ, it
found him declaring positively his own subordination to the Father, and
preferred his teaching to that of the creeds. To the early liberals this
was simply a question of the nature of Christ, and did not lessen for them
their implicit faith in his revelation or their recognition of the beauty
and glory of his divine character.

[1] Paul Lafargue, The Evolution of Property from Savagery to
    Civilization, 18, 19. "If the savage is incapable of conceiving the
    idea of individual possession of objects not incorporated with his
    person, it is because he has no conception of his individuality as
    distinct from the consanguine group in which he lives.... Savages, even
    though individually completer beings, seeing that they are
    self-sufficing, than are civilized persons, are so thoroughly
    identified with their hordes and clans that their individuality does
    not make itself felt either in the family or in property. The clan was
    all in all: the clan was the family; it was the clan that was the owner
    of property." Also W.M. Sloan, The French Revolution and Religious
    Reform, 38. "In the Greek and Roman world the individual, body, mind,
    and soul, had no place in reference to the state. It was only as a
    member of family, gens, curia, phratry, or deme, and tribe, that the
    ancient city-state knew the men and women which composed it. The same
    was true of knowledge: every sensation, perception, and judgment fell
    into the category of some abstraction, and, instead of concrete things,
    men knew nothing but generalized ideals."

[2] Francesco S. Nitti, Catholic Socialism, 74, 85, 86. "If we consider
    the teachings of the Gospel, the communistic origins of the church, the
    socialistic tendencies of the early fathers, the traditions of the
    Canon Law, we cannot wonder that at the present day Socialism should
    count no small number of its adherents among Catholic writers.... The
    Reformation was the triumph of Individualism. Catholicism, instead, is
    communistic by its origin and traditions.... The Catholic Church, with
    her powerful organization, dating back over many centuries, has
    accustomed Catholic peoples to passive obedience, to a passive
    renunciation of the greater part of individualistic tendencies."

[3] See David Masson, Life of John Milton, III. 136; John Tulloch, Rational
    Theology and Christian Philosophy in England, II. 9; John Hunt,
    Religious Thought in England, I. 234.

[4] The word socialism is not used here with any understanding that the
    Catholic Church accepts the social theories implied by that name. It is
    used to indicate that the Roman Church maintains that revelation is to
    the church itself, and that it is now the visible representative of
    Christ. The Protestant maintains that revelation is made through an
    individual, and not to a church. See Otto Gierke, Political Theories of
    the Middle Age, translated by F.W. Maitland, 10, 22. "In all centuries
    of the Middle Age Christendom is set before us a single, universal
    community, founded and governed by God himself. Mankind is one mystical
    body; it is one single and internally connected people or fold; it is
    an all-embracing corporation, which constitutes that Universal Realm,
    spiritual, and temporal, which may be called the Universal Church, or,
    with equal propriety, the Commonwealth of the Human Race.... Mediaeval
    thought proceeded from the idea of a single whole. Therefore an organic
    construction of human society was as familiar to it as a mechanical and
    atomistic construction was originally alien. Under the influence of
    biblical allegories and the models set by Greek and Roman writers, the
    comparison of mankind at large and every smaller group to an animate
    body was universally adopted and pressed. Mankind in its totality was
    conceived as an Organism."

[5] Tulloch, Rational Theology in England, I. 339.

[6] David Masson, Life of Milton, III. 102.

[7] The Religion of Protestants, II. 411.

[8] John Hunt, Religious Thought in England, II. 99.

[9] John Hunt, Religious Thought in England, I. 340.

[10] John Hunt, Religious Thought in England, I. 340.



Unitarianism was brought to America with the Pilgrims and the Puritans. Its
origins are not to be found in the religious indifference and torpidity of
the eighteenth century, but in the individualism and the rational temper of
the men who settled Plymouth, Salem, and Boston. Its development is
coextensive with the origin and growth of Congregationalism, even with that
of Protestantism itself. So long as New England has been in existence, so
long, at least, Unitarianism, in its motives and in its spirit, has been at
work in the name of toleration, liberty, and free inquiry.

The many and wide divergences of opinion which were an essential result of
the spirit and methods of Protestantism were shown from the first by the
Pilgrims and Puritans. In Massachusetts, stringent laws were adopted in
order to secure uniformity of belief and practice; but it was never
achieved, except in name. Antinomianism early presented itself in Boston,
and it was quickly followed by the incursions of the Baptists and Friends.
Hooker did not find himself in sympathy with the Massachusetts leaders, and
led a considerable company to Connecticut from Cambridge, Watertown, and
Dorchester. Sir Henry Vane could not always agree with those who guided the
religion and the politics of Boston; Roger Williams had another ideal of
church and state than that which had come to the Puritans; and Sir Richard
Saltonstall would not submit himself to the aristocratic methods of the
Boston preachers.

These are but a few of the many indications of the individualistic spirit
that marked the first years of the Puritan colonies. It was a part of the
Protestant inheritance, and was inherent in the very nature of
Protestantism itself. Although the Puritans had only in part, and with
faltering steps, come to the acceptance of the individualistic and rational
spirit in religion, yet they were on the way to it, however long they might
be hindered by an autocratic temper. In fact, the Puritans throughout the
seventeenth century in New England were trying at one and the same time to
use reason and yet to cling to authority, to accept the Protestant ideal
and yet to employ the Catholic methods in state and church. In being
Protestants, they were committed to the central motive of individualism;
but they never consistently turned away from that conception of the church
which is autocratic and authoritative.

[Sidenote: The Church of Authority and the Church of Freedom.]

Looked at from the modern sociological point of view, there are two types
of church, the one socialistic or institutional and the other
individualistic, the one making the corporate power of the church the
source of spiritual life, the other making the personal insight of the
individual man the fountain of religious truth. Such a church as that of
Rome may be properly called socialistic because of its corporate nature,
because it maintains that revelation is to, and by means of, an
institution, an organic religious body.[1]

Catholicism, whether of Rome, Greece, or England, makes the church as a
great religious corporation the organ of religious expression. Such a
corporation is the source of authority, the test of truth, the creator of
spiritual ideals. On the other hand, such a church as the Protestant may be
called individualistic because it makes the individual the channel of
revelation. It emphasizes personality as of supreme worth, and it makes
religious institutions of little value in comparison.

Practically, the difference between the socialistic and the individualistic
church is as wide as it is theoretically. In all Catholic churches the
child is born into the church, with the right to full acceptance into it by
methods of tuition and ritual, whatever his individual qualities or
capacities. In all distinctly Protestant churches, membership must be
sought by individual preference or supernatural process.[2] The way to it
is through individual profession of its creed or inward miraculous
transformation of character by the profoundest of personal experiences. In
all socialistic or Catholic churches--whether heathen, ethnic, or
Christian--young people are admitted to membership after a definite period
of training and an initiation by means of an impressive ritual. In all
Protestant churches, initiation takes place as the result of personal
experiences and mature convictions, and is therefore usually deferred until
adult life has been reached.

When we bring out thus distinctly the ideals and methods of the two
churches, we are able to understand that the Puritans were theoretically
Protestants, but that they practically used the methods of the Catholics.
This will be seen more clearly when we take the individualistic tendencies
of the Puritans into distinct recognition, and place them in contrast with
their socialistic practices. The Puritan churches were thoroughly
individualistic in their admission of members, none being accepted into
full membership but those who had been converted by means of a personal
experience. In theory every male church member was a priest and king,
authorized to interpret spiritual truth and to exercise political
authority. Therefore, in 1631 the General Court of Massachusetts (being the
legislative body) established the rule that only church members should
exercise the right of suffrage. This law was continued on the statute books
until 1664, and was accepted in practice until 1691.

Because the individual Christian was accounted a priest, however humble in
learning or social position, he had the right to join with others in
ordaining and setting apart to the ministry of God the man who was to lead
the church as its teacher or pastor, though this practice was abandoned as
the state-church idea developed, as it did in New England by a process of
reaction. Every man could read the Bible for himself, and give it such
meaning as his own conscience and reason dictated. By virtue of his
Christian experience he had the personal right to find in it his own creed
and the law of his own conduct. It was not only his right to do this, but
it was also his duty. Revivalism was therefore the distinct outgrowth of
Puritanism, the expression of its individualistic spirit. It was the human
means of bringing the individual soul within reach of the supernatural
power of God, and of facilitating that choice of the Holy Spirit by which
one was selected for this change rather than another. The means were
social, it is true; but the end reached was absolutely individual, as an
experience and as a result attained. What confirmation was to the Catholic,
that was conversion to the Puritan.

The Puritans in New England, however, inherited the older socialism to so
large an extent that they proceeded to establish what was a state church in
method, if not in theory. Though they began with the idea that the churches
were to be supported by voluntary contributions (and always continued that
method in Boston), yet in a few years they resorted to taxation for their
maintenance, and enacted stringent laws compelling attendance upon them by
every resident of a town, whatever his beliefs or his personal interests.
They forbade the utterance of opinions not approved by the authorities, and
made use of fines, imprisonment, and death in support of arbitrary laws
enacted for this purpose. These methods were the same as those used by the
older socialistic and state churches to compel acceptance of their
teachings and practices. They were based on the idea of the corporate
nature of the church, and its right to control the individual in the name
of the social whole.

The harshness of the Puritan methods was the result of this attempt to
maintain a new idea in harmony with an old practice. The Baptists were
consistently individualists in rejecting infant baptism, accepting
conversion as essential to church membership, maintaining freedom of
conscience, and practising toleration as a fundamental social law. The
Puritans inconsistently combined conversion and infant baptism,--the
Protestant right of private judgment with the Catholic methods of the state
church,--a democratic theory of popular suffrage with a most aristocratic
limitation of that suffrage to church members. As late as 1674 only 2,527
men in all had been admitted to the exercise of the franchise in
Massachusetts. One-sixth or one-eighth of the men were voters, the rest
were disfranchised. The church and the state were controlled by this small
minority in a community that was theoretically democratic, both in religion
and politics.

It is not surprising that there began to be mutterings against such
restrictions. It shows the strength of character in the Puritan communities
of Massachusetts and New Haven that a large majority of the men submitted
as long as they did to conditions thoroughly undemocratic. As a political
measure, when the grumblings became so loud as to be no longer ignored,
what is called the half-way covenant was adopted, by means of which a
semi-membership in the churches could be secured, that gave the right of
suffrage, but permitted no action within the church itself.[3] Many
writers on this period fail to understand the significance of the half-way
covenant; for they attribute to that legislation the disintegrating results
that followed. They forget that these half-members were not admitted to any
part in church affairs; and they refuse to see that the methods employed by
the Puritans were, because of their exclusiveness, of necessity
demoralizing. In fact, the half-way covenant was a result of the
disintegration that had already taken place as the issue of an attempted
compromise between the institutional and the individualistic theories of
church government.

[Sidenote: Seventeenth-century Liberals.]

By arbitrary methods the Puritans succeeded in controlling church and state
until 1688, when the interference of the English authorities compelled them
to practise toleration and to widen the suffrage. The words of Sir Richard
Saltonstall to John Cotton and John Wilson show clearly that these methods
were not accepted by all, and even Saltonstall returned to England to
escape the restrictions he condemned. "It doth not a little grieve my
spirit to hear what sad things are daily reported of your tyranny and
persecutions in New England," he wrote, "as that you fine, whip, and
imprison men for their consciences. First you compel such to come into your
assemblies as you know will not join with you in your worship, and when
they show their dislike thereof or witness against it, then you stir up
your magistrates to punish them for such (as you conceive) their public
affronts. Truly, friends, this your practice of compelling any in matters
of worship to do that whereof they are not persuaded is to make them sin,
and many are made hypocrites thereby, conforming in their outward man for
fear of punishment. We pray for you and wish you prosperity in every way,
hoped that the Lord would have given you so much light and love there, that
you might have been eyes to God's people here, and not to practise those
courses in wilderness which you went so far to prevent. These rigid ways
have laid you very low in the hearts of the saints."[4]

Another man who withdrew to England from the narrow spirit of the Puritans
was William Pynchon, of Springfield, one of the best trained and ablest of
the early settlers of Massachusetts. In 1650 he published a book on the
Meritorious Price of our Redemption, in which he denied that Christ was
subject to the wrath of God or suffered torments in hell for the redemption
of men or paid the penalty for all human sins; but such teachings were too
liberal and modern for the leaders in church and state.[5] What is now
orthodox, that Christ's sacrifice was voluntary, was then heretical and

If during the first half-century of New England no liberalism found
definite utterance, it was because of its repression. It was in the air,
even then, and it would have found expression, had there been opportunity
or invitation. There were other men than Williams, Saltonstall, Pynchon,
and Henry Vane, who believed in toleration, liberty of conscience, and a
rational interpretation of religion. In a limited way such men were Henry
Dunster and Charles Chauncy, the first two presidents of Harvard College,
who both rejected infant baptism because it was not consistent with a
converted church membership. It was a small thing to protest against, and
to suffer for as Dunster suffered; but the principle was great for which he
contended, the principle of individual conviction in religion.

The better spirit of the Puritans appears in such a saying as that of Sir
Henry Vane, the second governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, that "all
magistrates are to fear or forbear intermeddling with giving rule or
imposing their own beliefs in religious matters."[6] To a similar purport
was the saying of Thomas Hooker, the founder of Connecticut, that "the
foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people."[7] In
the writings of John Robinson, the Pilgrim leader, a like greatness of
purpose and thought appears, as where he says that "the meanest man's
reason, specially in matter of faith and obedience to God, is to be
preferred before all authority of all men."[8] Robinson was a very strict
Calvinist in doctrine; but he was tolerant in large degree, and thoroughly
convinced of the worth of liberty of conscience. His liberality comes out
in such words as these: "The custom of the church is but the custom of men;
the sentence of the fathers but the opinions of men; the determinations of
councils but the judgments of men."[9] How strong a believer in individual
reason he was appears in this statement: "God, who hath made two great
lights for the bodily eye, hath also made two lights for the eye of the
mind; the one the Scriptures for her supernatural light, and the other
reason for her natural light. And, indeed, only these two are a man's own,
and so is not the authority of other men. The Scriptures are as well mine
as any other man's, and so is reason as far as I can attain to it."[10]
When he says that "the credit commending a testimony to others cannot be
greater than is the authority in itself of him that gives it nor his
authority greater than his person,"[11] he puts an end to all arbitrary
authority of priest and church.

It will be seen from these quotations that the spirit of liberality existed
even in the very beginnings of New England, and in the convictions of the
men who were its chief prophets and leaders. It was hidden away for a time,
it may be, though it never ceased to find utterance in some form. The
breadth of the underlying spirit finds expression in the compacts by which
local churches united their members. The liberality was incipient, a
promise of the future rather than a realization in the present.

The earliest churches of New England were not organized with a creed, but
with a covenant. Occasionally there was a confession of faith or a creedal
statement; but it was regarded as quite unnecessary because it was implied
in the general acceptance of the Calvinistic doctrines, and the use of the
Cambridge platform or other similar document. The covenant of a church
could not be a statement of beliefs, because it was a vow between Christ
and his church, and a pledge of the individual members of the church with
relation to each other. The creed was implied, but it was not expressed;
and, although all the churches were Calvinist at first, the nature of the
covenant was such that, when men grew liberal, there was no written creedal
test by which they could be held to the old beliefs. When Calvinism was
outgrown, it could be slowly and silently discarded, both by individual
members of a church and by the church itself, because it was not explicitly
contained in the covenant. The creed was rejected, but the covenant was

As soon as authority was withdrawn from the Puritan leaders by the English
crown, the spirit of liberty began to show itself in many directions. In a
sermon preached in 1691, Samuel Willard, the minister of the Old South
Church in Boston, and afterwards president of Harvard College, gave
utterance to what was stirring in many minds at that time. He said that God
"hath nowhere by any general indulgence given away this liberty of his to
any other authority in the world to have dominion over the consciences of
men or to give rules of worship, but hath, on the other hand, strongly
prohibited it and severely threatened any that shall presume to do it." He
earnestly asserted that no authority is to be accepted but that of the
Bible, and that is to be free for each person's individual interpretation.
"Hath there not," Willard questions, "been too much of a pinning our faith
on the credit or practice of others, attended on with a woful neglect to
know what is the mind of Christ?" Here was a spirit that not many years
later was showing itself in the liberal movement that grew into
Unitarianism. The effort to free the consciences of men, and to bring all
appeals to the Bible and to Christ, was what gave significance to the
liberal movement of the next century.

[Sidenote: Growth of Liberty in Church Methods.]

There also began a movement to bring church and state into harmonious
relations with each other, and to overcome the inconsistency of being
individualist and socialist at the same moment. The theory of conversion
being retained, it was proposed to make the ordinances of religion free to
all, in order that they might bring about the supernatural change that was
desired. This is the real significance of the position taken by Solomon
Stoddard, of Northampton, who taught that the Lord's Supper is a converting
ordinance, and who in practice did not ask for a supernatural regeneration
as preparatory to a limited church membership, though he regarded this as
essential to full admission. The half-way covenant had been adopted before
Mr. Stoddard became the pastor of the church; but soon after his settlement
this limited form of admission was more clearly defined, and he admitted
persons into what he described as a "state of education."[12] This "large
congregationalism," as it was called, was in time accepted as meaning that
those who have faith enough to justify the baptism of their children have
enough to admit them to full communion in the church. Mr. Stoddard appealed
to the English practice in his defence of the broader principle which he
adopted. He also vindicated his position by reference to the practices of
the leading Protestant countries in Europe. His methods, as outlined and
interpreted in his Appeal to the Learned,[13] were based more or less
explicitly on the corporate idea of the church.

Although Stoddard was a strict Calvinist, there can be no doubt that his
method of open communion slowly led to theological modifications. Not only
did it have a tendency to bring the state and church into closer relations
with each other, by making the membership in the two more nearly the same,
but it led the way to the acceptance of the doctrine of moral ability, and
therefore to a modification of Calvinism. If it was a practical rather than
a theological reason that caused Stoddard to adopt open communion, it
almost inevitably led to Arminianism, because it implied, as he presented
its conditions, that man is able of his own free will to accept the terms
of salvation which Calvinism had confined to the operation of the
sovereignty of God alone.

Another way in which the spirit of the time was showing itself may be seen
in the fact that the parish, towards the end of the seventeenth century, on
more than one occasion refused to the church the selection of the minister;
and church and parish met together for that purpose. This was the case in
the first church of Salem in 1672, and at Dedham in 1685. So long as church
members only were given the right of suffrage, the selection of the
minister was wholly in their hands. As soon as the suffrage was extended,
there was a movement to include all tax-payers amongst those who could
exercise this choice. In 1666 such a proposition was discussed in
Connecticut, and not long after it became the law. In 1692 the
Massachusetts laws gave the church the right to select the minister, but
permitted the parish to concur in or to reject such choice. During the next
century there was a growing tendency to enlarge the privileges of the
parish, and to make that the controlling factor in calling the minister and
in all that pertained to the outward life of the church and congregation.
The result will be seen more and more in the influence of the parish in the
selection of liberal men for the pulpit.

A notable instance of the more liberal tendencies is seen in the formation
of the Brattle Street Church of Boston in 1699. Although this church
accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith and adopted the practices
common to the New England churches at this period, it insisted upon the
reading of the Bible without comment as a part of the church service. The
relation of religious experiences as preparatory to admission to the church
was discarded, all were admitted to communion who were approved by the
pastor, and women were permitted to take part in voting on all church
questions. These and other innovations occasioned much discussion; and a
controversy ensued between the pastor Benjamin Colman and Increase
Mather.[14] The Salem pastors, Rev. John Higginson and Rev. Nicholas Noyes,
addressed a letter to the Brattle Street congregation, in which they
criticised the church because it did not consult with other churches in its
formation, because it did not make a public profession of repentance on
behalf of its members, because baptism was administered on less stringent
terms than was customary and too lax admission was given to the sacraments,
and because the admission of females to full church activity had a direct
tendency "to subvert the order and liberty of the churches." Though the
Brattle Street Church was for a time severely criticised, it soon came into
intimate relations with the other churches of Boston, and it ceased to
appear as in any way peculiar. That it was organized on a broader basis of
membership indicates very clearly that the old methods were not
satisfactory to all the people.[15]

[Sidenote: A Puritan Rationalist.]

The influence of similar ideas is seen in the books of John Wise, of
Ipswich, whose Churches' Quarrel Espoused was published in 1710, and his
Vindication of the Government of the New England Churches in 1717. His
first book was in answer to the proposition of a number of the ministers of
Boston to bring the churches under the control of associations. By this
remonstrance the plan was defeated, and the independence of the local
church fully established. In republishing his book, he added the
Vindication, in order to give his ideas a more systematic expression. The
Vindication is the most thoroughly modern book published in America during
the eighteenth century. It has a literary directness and power remarkable
for the time. Wise gives no quotations indicating that he had read the
great liberal writers of England, but he was familiar with Plato and

In his first book he speaks of "the natural freedom of human beings,"[16]
and says that "right reason is a ray of divine wisdom enstamped upon human
nature."[17] Again, he says that "right reason, that great oracle in human
affairs, is the soul of man so formed and endowed by creation with a
certain sagacity or acumen whereby man's intellect is enabled to take up
the true idea or perception of things agreeable with and according to their
natures."[18] In such utterances as these Wise was putting himself into the
company of the most liberal minds of England in his day, though he may not
have read one of them. The considerations that were influencing Milton,
Chillingworth, and Jeremy Taylor, in favor of toleration and a broad
inclusiveness of spirit, evidently were having their effect upon this New
England pastor.

It is not to be assumed that John Wise was a rationalist in the modern
sense; but he gave to the use of reason a significance that is surprising
and refreshing, coming from the time and circumstances of his writing. In
his Vindication we find him accepting reason and revelation as of equal
validity. He appeals to the "dictates of right reason"[19] and the "common
reason of mankind"[20] with quite as much confidence as to the Bible. He
says that all questions of government, religious as well as political, are
to be brought to "the assizes of man's own intellectual powers, reason, and
conscience."[21] He assumes that God has created man capable of obeying his
will and living in conformity with his law; for he says that, "if God did
not highly estimate man as a creature exalted by his reason, liberty, and
nobleness of nature, he would not caress him as he does in order to his

Wise says that the characteristic of man which is of greatest importance is
that he is "most properly the subject of the law of nature."[23] He uses
this expression frequently and in a thoroughly modern sense.

The second great characteristic of man, according to Wise, "is an original
liberty enstamped upon his rational nature."[24] He indicates that he is
not inclined to discuss the merely theological problem of man's relations
to God, but, considered physically, man is at the head of creation, "and as
such is a creature of a very noble character." [24] All the lower world is
subject to his command, "and his liberty under the conduct of right reason
is equal with his trust." [24] "He that intrudes upon this liberty violates
the law of nature." [24] The effect of such liberty is not to lead man into
license, but to make him the rational master of his own conduct. Every man
is therefore at liberty "to judge for himself what shall be most for his
behoof, happiness, and well-being."[25]

The third great characteristic of man is found in "an equality amongst
men," [25] which is to be respected and vindicated by governments that are
just and humane. "By a natural right," he says, "all men are born free;
and, nature having set all men upon a level and made them equals, no
servitude or subjection can be conceived without inequality."[26] Again he
says that it is "a fundamental principle relating to government that, under
God, all power is originally in the people."[27] This is true of the church
as well as of the state, and Wise says the Reformation was a cheat and a
schism and a notorious rebellion if the people are not the source of power
in the church.

Two other ideas presented by this leader show his modernness and his
originality. He says that "the happiness of the people is the object of all
government,"[28] and that the state should seek to promote "the peculiar
good and benefit of the whole, and every particular member, fairly and
sincerely."[29] "The end of all good government," he assures his readers,
"is to cultivate humanity, and promote the happiness of all, and the good
of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, and honor,
without injury or abuse done to any." [29] That government will seek the
good of all is likely to be the case, because man has it as a fundamental
law of his nature that he "maintain a sociableness with others."[30] "From
the principles of sociableness it follows as a fundamental law of nature
that man is not so wedded to his own interest but that he can make the
common good the mark of his aim, and hence he becomes capacitated to enter
into a civil state by the law of nature."[31] This attraction of man to his
kind enables him to yield so much of his freedom as is necessary to make
the state an efficient social power, "in which covenant is included that
submission and union of wills by which a state may be conceived to be but
one person."[32] This thoroughly modern idea of the social body, as being
analogous in its nature to the individual man, is nobly expressed by Wise,
who says that "a civil state is a compound moral person, whose will is the
will of all, to the end it may use and apply the strength and riches of
private persons toward maintaining the common peace, security, and
well-being of all, which may be conceived as though the whole state was now
become but one man."[33]

It is not surprising that the writings of John Wise had no immediate effect
upon the theological thinking of the time, but they must have had their
influence. Just before the opening of the Revolution they were republished
because of their vindication of the spirit of human liberty and democracy.
What Wise wrote to promote was congregational independence, and this may
have been the reason why his theological attitude was never called in
question. It is true enough that he questioned none of the Calvinistic
doctrines in his books; but his political views were certain to disturb the
old beliefs, and to give incentives to free discussion in religion.

[Sidenote: Harvard College.]

The centre of the liberalizing tendencies of the last years of the
seventeenth century was Harvard College. That institution was organized on
a basis as broad as that of the early church covenants, with no creed or
doctrinal requirements. The original seal bore the motto Veritas; but, as
the state-church idea grew, this motto was succeeded by In Christi gloriam,
and then by Christo et Ecclesiae, though neither of these later mottoes was
authoritatively adopted. The early charters were thoroughly liberal in
spirit and intent, so much so as to be fully in harmony with the present
attitude of the university.[34] Under the Puritanic development, however,
this liberality was discarded, only to be restored in 1691, when William
and Mary gave to Massachusetts a new and broader charter. From that time a
new life entered into the college, that put it uncompromisingly on the
liberal side a century later. Even under the rule of Increase Mather,
seconded by the influence of his son Cotton, a broader spirit declared
itself in the culture imparted and in the method of free inquiry.[35]

Samuel Willard, the successor to Increase Mather in the presidency, was of
the liberal party in his breadth of mind and in his sound judgment. He was
followed in 1708 by John Leverett, one of the founders of the Brattle
Street Church, a man in whom the liberal spirit became a controlling motive
in his management of the college.[36] It is not strange that the men who
had been shut out from the suffrage and from active participation in the
management of the churches, should now come forward to claim their rights,
and to make their influence felt in college, church, and state. It was the
distinct beginning of the liberal movement in New England, the time from
which Unitarianism really took its origin.

[1] Kuno Francke, Social Forces in German Literature, 105. "No mediaeval
    man ever thought of himself as a perfectly independent being founded
    only on himself, or without a most direct and definite relation to
    some larger organism, be it empire, church, city, or guild. No
    mediaeval man ever doubted that the institutions within which he lived
    were divinely established ordinances, far superior and quite
    inaccessible to his own individual reason and judgment. No mediaeval
    man would ever have admitted that he conceived nature to be other than
    the creation of an extramundane God, destined to glorify its creator
    and to please the eye of man. It was reserved for the eighteenth
    century to draw the last consequences of individualism; to see in man,
    in each individual man, an independent and complete entity; to derive
    the origin of state, church, and society from the spontaneous action
    of these independent individuals; and to consider nature as a system
    of forces sufficient unto themselves. When we speak of individualism
    in the declining centuries of the Middle Ages, we mean by it that
    these centuries initiated the movement which the eighteenth century
    brought to a climax."

[2] Williston Walker, the Creeds and Platforms of Congregationalism, 246.
    "From the first the fathers of New England insisted that the children
    of church members were themselves members, and as such were justly
    entitled to those church privileges which were adapted to their state
    of Christian development, of which the chief were baptism and the
    watchful discipline of the church. They did not enter the church by
    baptism; they were entitled to baptism because they were already
    members of the church. Here then was an inconsistency in the
    application of the Congregational theory of the constitution of a
    church. While affirming that a proper church consisted only of those
    possessed of personal Christian character, the fathers admitted to
    membership, in some degree at least, those who had no claim but
    Christian parentage." That is, in theory they were Protestants, but in
    practice they were Catholics.

[3] The ecclesiastical historians say that the half-way covenant had no
    effect on suffrage. Dexter, Congregationalism as Seen in its
    Literature, 468, says: "I am aware of no proof that half-way covenant
    members of the church by that relation did acquire any further
    privileges in the state." Williston Walker, New Englander, cclxiii.,
    93, February, 1892, takes ground that "added political privilege was
    no consequence of the dispute." On the other hand, the secular
    historians as strongly assert that the suffrage was widened. John
    Fiske, Beginnings of New England, 250, says the half-way covenant
    "entitled to the exercise of political rights those who were
    unqualified for participation in the Lord's Supper." Alexander
    Johnston, Connecticut, 227, says "it really gave every baptized person
    voice in church government." J.A. Doyle, The Puritan Colonies, II.,
    98, asserts that "it broke down the hard barrier which fenced in
    political privileges." The true explanation is given by George H.
    Haynes, Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts, 1620-1691, 54,
    published in Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and
    Political Science, Vol. XII., Nos. VIII. and IX. Haynes says that the
    half-way covenant, as first formulated in 1657, "virtually recognized
    a partial church-membership in persons who had made no formal
    profession and subscribed to no creed. In 1662 the same opinion was
    reaffirmed by the clergy, and the General Court ordered the result of
    the Synod to be printed and 'commended the same unto the consideration
    of all the churches and people of this jurisdiction.' Here ended
    legislative action on the matter. This was no statutory change of the
    basis of the franchise; but, as individual churches gradually adopted
    more liberal conditions of admission and were therein sanctioned by
    the General Court, it resulted that the operation of the religious
    test became less odious and the suffrage was not a little broadened."

[4] Henry Bond, Early Settlers of Watertown, II. 916; Convers Francis,
    Historical Sketch of Watertown, 135.

[5] Mason A. Green, History of Springfield, 113; E.H. Byington, The
    Puritan in England and New England, 185.

[6] A Healing Question.

[7] Alexander Johnston, Connecticut: A Study of a Commonwealth-Democracy,
    72, Hooker's sermon preparatory to forming a government.

[8] The Works of John Robinson, American edition of 1851, I., 53.

[9] Ibid., 47.

[10] Ibid., 54.

[11] Ibid., 56.

[12] J.R. Trumbull, History of Northampton, I. 213.

[13] An Appeal to the Learned, being a vindication of the right of visible
     saints to the Lord's Supper, though they be destitute of a saving work
     of God's Spirit in their hearts, Boston, 1709. See also his Doctrine
     of Instituted Churches, Boston, 1700.

[14] Dwight, Life of Edwards, 300.

[15] S.K. Lothrop, History of Brattle Street Church, 7-40; E. Turrell, Life
    of Benjamin Colman, D.D., 96, 125, 178, 180.

[16] The Churches' Quarrel Espoused, edition of 1860, 140.

[17] Ibid., 143.

[18] Ibid., 145

[19] The Churches' Quarrel Espoused, edition of 1860, 32.

[20] Ibid., 58.

[21] Ibid., 72.

[22] Ibid., 65.

[23] Ibid., 30.

[24] Ibid., 33.

[25] The Churches' Quarrel Espoused, edition of 1860, 34.

[26] Ibid., 37.

[27] Ibid., 64.

[28] Ibid., 54.

[29] Ibid., 55.

[30] Ibid., 32.

[31] The Churches' Quarrel Espoused, edition of 1860, 32.

[32] Ibid., 39.

[33] Ibid., 40.

[34] Josiah Quincy, History of Harvard University, i. 44-54.

[35] Ibid., 65, 200.

[36] Josiah Quincy, in the seventh chapter of his History, gives a detailed
     account of this movement. It is also dealt with by Brooks Adams in his
     chapter on the founding of the Brattle Street Church, in his
     Emancipation of Massachusetts, though he gives it a somewhat
     exaggerated and biassed importance. Most of the facts appear in
     Lothrop's History of the Brattle Street Church.



From the moment when the Puritan control of the church and state in New
England was so far weakened as to permit of free intellectual and religious
activity the democratic spirit began to manifest itself. The old régime had
so fixed itself upon the people that the progress was slow, but none the
less it was steady and sure. So far as the new spirit influenced doctrines,
it was called Arminianism, the technical theological name for democracy in
religion at this time.

[Sidenote: Arminianism.]

Arminianism is a dead issue at the present day, for the Calvinists have
accepted all that it taught when the name first came into vogue. Every kind
of reaction from Calvinism in the New England of the first half of the
eighteenth century took this designation, however; and to the Calvinists it
was a word of disapproval and contempt. Toleration, free inquiry, the use
of reason, democratic methods in church and state, were all named by this
condemning word. Vices, social depravities, love of freedom and the world,
assertion of personal independence, had the same designation. It is now
difficult to understand how bitter was the feeling thus produced, how keen
the hurt that was given the men who tried to defend themselves and their
beliefs from this odium.

What the word "Arminian" legitimately meant, then, is what we now mean by
liberalism. Primarily theological and doctrinal, it meant much more than
the rejection of the doctrine of decrees and the autocratic sovereignty of
God or the acceptance of the freedom of the will and the spiritual capacity
of man. First of all, it was faith in man; and then it was the assertion of
human liberty and equality. In a theological sense it did not have so wide
a purport, but in a practical and popular sense it grew into these

In order fully to comprehend what Arminianism was in the eighteenth
century, the student must remember that it was the theological expression
of the democratic spirit, as Calvinism was of the autocratic. The doctrine
of the sovereignty of God is but the intellectual reflection of kingship
and the belief that the king can do no evil. The doctrine of decrees, as
taught by the Calvinist, was the spiritual side of the assertion of the
divine right of kings. On the other hand, when the people claim the right
to rule, they modify their theology into Arminianism. From an age of the
absolute rule of the king comes the doctrine of human depravity; and with
the establishment of democracy appears the doctrine of man's moral

[Sidenote: The Growth of Arminianism.]

As early as 1730 Arminianism had come to have an influence sufficient to
secure its condemnation and to awaken the fears of the stricter Calvinists.
Jonathan Edwards said of the year 1734 that "about this time began the
great noise that was in this part of the country about Arminianism."[1] At
Northampton the leader of the opposition to Jonathan Edwards was an open
Arminian, a grandson of Solomon Stoddard, and a cousin of Edwards. He was a
young man of talent and education, and well read in theology. In a letter
written in 1750, Edwards said, "There seems to be the utmost danger that
the younger generation will be carried away with Arminianism as with a
flood." In another letter of the same year he said that "Arminianism and
Pelagianism[2] have made a strange progress within a few years."[3] In
his farewell sermon, Edwards spoke of the prevalence of Arminianism when he
settled in Northampton, and of its rapid increase in the succeeding years.
He said that Arminian views were creeping into almost all parts of the
land, and that they were making a progress unknown before.[4] In a letter
of 1752 Edwards said that the principles of John Taylor, of Norwich, one of
the early English Unitarians, were gaining many converts in the colonies.
Taylor's works were made use of by Solomon Williams in his reply to Edwards
on the qualifications necessary to communion.[5]

It was owing to the rapid growth of Arminianism that Edwards undertook his
work on free will. In the preface to that work he said that "the term
Calvinistic is, in these days, among most, a term of greater reproach than
the term Arminian." That Edwards exaggerated the extent of this defection
from Calvinism is probable, and yet it is very plain that it was this more
liberal attitude of the Northampton church which caused his dismissal. What
Stoddard had taught and practised was as yet powerful there, and Edwards's
opposition to his grandfather's teachings undoubtedly led to the failure of
his local work.

[Sidenote: Robert Breck.]

The council which dismissed Edwards from Northampton decided against him by
a majority of one; and that one vote may have been cast by Robert Breck, of
Springfield. If this were the case, there was something of poetic justice
in it; for only a few years earlier Edwards had used his influence against
the settlement of Breck because the latter was an Arminian. In 1734 a
fierce church quarrel took place in Springfield, that involved many of the
ministers of Massachusetts and Connecticut, invoked the aid of the county
court, and was finally settled by the legislature of Massachusetts, when
Mr. Breck was ordained.[6] He was charged with denying the authenticity of
parts of the Bible, with discarding the necessity of Christ's satisfaction
to divine justice for sin, with maintaining that the heathen who live up to
the light of nature would be saved, and that the contrary doctrine was
harsh. Breck refused to admit that he held these opinions, as thus stated;
but he was regarded by many as an Arminian and a heretic. It was said of him
that he would read any book, orthodox or otherwise, that would clear up a
subject. That he departed to any considerable extent from the generally
accepted faith of the time there is no evidence, but he was probably what
was often called "a moderate Calvinist." He did not favor the methods of
Whitefield, and he thoroughly distrusted the revival introduced by him.
Soon after Breck's settlement the Springfield church followed the Brattle
Street Church of Boston in discarding the relation of religious experiences
as preliminary to admission to the church. It voted that it "did not look
upon the making a relation to be a necessary term of communion."[7] At the
very time that Edwards was preaching of the awful fate of sinners in the
hands of an angry God, Breck was teaching that God is good and loving, and
that his salvation is freely open to all who may wish for it. It has been
truly said of these two men that "one had the heart and the other the
intellect of theology." With all his logic and power of thought and
marvellous spiritual insight, Edwards failed at Northampton because of
conditions beyond the control of his strenuous will. Robert Breck gained
year by year in his personal influence in Springfield, his cheerful and
progressive teaching made a deep impression on the community, and before he
died he saw a great change for the better in the people for whom he
diligently labored. Perhaps we could not have a plainer indication of the
change that was going on than is found in the experiences of these two

When Whitefield visited Harvard College in 1740, he was received in a most
friendly manner; yet he afterwards criticised the teaching there on the
ground that it was not sufficiently devout and earnest, and that the pupils
were not examined as to their religious experiences.[9] These charges were
denied by the president and tutors, and he was not again welcomed to the

That there was a substantial basis for some of Whitefield's criticisms of
Harvard there can be no doubt. In 1737, when Edward Holyoke was proposed as
a candidate for the presidency, he met with a strong opposition from the
strict Calvinists. After the opposition had spent itself, he was elected
unanimously; and this act was received with marked approval by the General
Court, from which body his maintenance was obtained. President Quincy says
of President Holyoke that his religious principles coincided with the
mildness and catholicity which characterized the government of the college.
This evidently refers to the growing liberality of the college, and its
unwillingness to lend its aid to extreme theological opinions. That
moderateness of temper and that attitude of toleration which characterized
the leading men in England had shown themselves at Cambridge, and with a
strength that could not be overcome. "In Boston and its vicinity and along
the seaboard of Massachusetts, clergymen of great talent and religious
zeal," says President Quincy, "openly avowed doctrines which were variously
denounced by the Calvinistic party as Arminianism, Arianism, Pelagianism,
Socinianism, and Deism. The most eminent of these clergymen were alumni of
Harvard, active friends and advocates of the institution, and in habits of
intimacy and professional intercourse with its government. Their religious
views, indeed, received no public countenance from the college; but
circumstances gave color for reports, which were assiduously circulated
throughout New England, that the influences of the institution were not
unfavorable to the extension of such doctrines."[10]

At the commencement of 1737 candidates for degrees proposed to prove that
the doctrine of the Trinity was not contained in the Old Testament, that
creation did not exist from eternity, and that religion is not mysterious
in its nature. Much alarm was caused to the conservative party by the
negative form given these questions, which, it was said, "had the plain
face of Arianism." This criticism the faculty tried to quiet, but their
sympathies were evidently on the side of the graduates.[11] In 1738, when a
professor of mathematics was chosen, it was proposed to examine him as to
"his principles of religion"; but, after a long debate, this proposition
was rejected. After these and other efforts to control the religious
position of the college the strict Calvinists for the time withdrew their
efforts and concentrated them upon Yale College, in which institution the
faculty were now required for the first time to accept the Assembly's
Catechism and Confession of Faith.

When the legislature of Connecticut, during the great awakening, passed a
law prohibiting ministers from preaching as itinerants, several of the
members of the Senior Class subscribed the money necessary for the
publication of an edition of Locke's essay On Toleration. When this was
known to the faculty, they forbade the publication; and all the students
apologized but one, who learned a few days before commencement that his
name was to be dropped from the roll of graduates. He went to the faculty
with the statement that he was of age, that he possessed ample means, and
that he would carry his case to a hearing before the crown in England. In a
few days he was quietly informed that he would be permitted to graduate.
This is but a straw, and yet it shows clearly enough the direction of the
current at this time. A demand for toleration was made because it was felt
that there was a need for it.

[Sidenote: Books Read by Liberal Men.]

The names of no less than thirty-three ministers have been given who,
during the period from 1730 to 1750, did not teach the Calvinistic
doctrines in their fulness, and who had adopted more or less distinctly
some form of Arminianism or Arianism. These men were among the best known,
most successful, and most scholarly men in Eastern Massachusetts, though
they were not wholly confined to that neighborhood. We find here and there
some hint of the books these men read; and in that way we not only
ascertain the cause of their departure from Calvinism, but we also obtain
some clew to the nature of their opinions. Among the charges brought by
Whitefield against Harvard in 1740 was that "Tillotson and Clarke are read
instead of Shepard and Stoddard, and such like evangelical writers."[12]
Dr. Wigglesworth, the divinity professor at Harvard, said that Tillotson
had not been taken out of the college library in nine years, and Clarke not
in two; and he gave a long list of evangelical writers who were frequently
read. In spite of this disclaimer, however, it is evident that the methods
of the rationalistic writers were coming into vogue at Harvard, and that
even Dr. Wigglesworth did not teach theology in the manner of the author of
the Day of Doom.

Writing in 1759, Dr. Joseph Bellamy, one of the chief followers and
expositors of the teachings of Jonathan Edwards, said that the teachings of
the liberal men in England had crossed the Atlantic; "and too many in our
churches, and even among our ministers, have fallen in with them. Books
containing them have been imported; and the demand for them has been so
great as to encourage new impressions of some of them. Others have been
written on the same principles in this country, and even the doctrine of
the Trinity has been publicly treated in such a manner as all who believe
that doctrine must judge not only heretical, but highly blasphemous."[13]

It is said of Charles Chauncy, of the First Church in Boston, that his
favorite authors were Tillotson and Baxter.[14] Far more suggestive is the
account we have of the books read by Jonathan Mayhew of the West Church in
Boston, the first open antagonist of Calvinism in New England. Soon after
1740 he was reading the works of the great Protestant theologians of the
seventeenth century, including Milton, Chillingworth, and Tillotson; and
the eighteenth-century works of Locke, Samuel Clarke, Taylor, Wollaston,
and Whiston. He also probably read Cudworth, Butler, Hutcheson, Leland, and
other authors of a like character, some of them deists. Not one of these
writers was a Calvinist for they found the basis of religion either in
idealism or in rationalism.

The biographer of Mayhew says it "is evident from some of his discourses
that he was a great admirer of Samuel Clarke, whose voluminous works were
in his day much read by the liberal clergy." Clarke's Boyle lectures,
delivered in 1704-5, showed that natural and revealed religion were
essentially one, that moral action in man is free, and that Christianity is
the religion of reason and nature. At a later period he defended the two
propositions, that "no article of Christian faith delivered in the holy
Scriptures is disagreeable to right reason," and that "without liberty of
human actions there can be no real religion or morality." Even if one such
man as Jonathan Mayhew read Clarke's work in the Harvard Library, it
justified the alarm felt by Whitefield lest the students should be led away
from their Calvinist faith.[15]

[Sidenote: The Great Awakening.]

It was "the great awakening" that showed how marked had been the growth of
liberal opinions throughout New England in the forty years preceding.
Silently, a great change had gone on, with little open expression of
dissent from Calvinism, and without a knowledge on the part of most of the
liberal men that they had in any way departed from the faith of the
fathers. It was only with the coming of Whitefield and the revival that
this change came to have recognition, and that even the slightest
separation into parties took place.

The revival was an attempt to reintroduce the stricter Calvinism of the
earlier time, with its doctrines of justification by faith alone,
supernatural regeneration, and predestination made known to the believer by
the Holy Ghost. The liberal party objected to the revival because it was
opposed to the good old customs of the Congregational churches of New
England. The itinerant methods of the revivalists, the shriekings,
faintings, and appeals to fear and terror, were condemned as not in harmony
with the established methods of the churches. In his book against the
revivalists, Dr. Chauncy said that "now is the time when we are
particularly called to stand for the good old way, and bear testimony
against everything that may tend to cast a blemish on true primitive

When the great awakening came to an end, the liberal party was far stronger
than before, partly because the members of it had come to know each other
and to feel their own power, partly because men had been led to declare
themselves who had never before perceived their own position, and partly
because the agitation had set men to thinking, and to making such scrutiny
of their beliefs as they had never made before. The testimonies of Harvard
College and various associations of ministers against the methods of the
revivalists were signed by sixty-three men, while those in favor of the
revival were signed by one hundred and ten. These numbers represent the
comparative strength of the two parties. It must be said, however, that the
leading men in nearly every part of New England were among those opposing
the revival methods, while in Eastern Massachusetts at least two-thirds of
the ministers were of the liberal party.[17]

The strong feeling caused by the revival soon subsided, and no division
between the Calvinist and the Arminian parties took place. The progressive
tendencies went quietly on, step by step the old beliefs were discarded;
but it was by individuals, and not in any form as a sectarian movement. The
relations of the church to the state at this time would have made such a
result impossible.

[Sidenote: Cardinal Beliefs of the Liberals.]

Looking over the whole field of the theological advance from 1725 to 1760,
we find that three conclusions had been arrived at by the men of the
liberal movement. The first of these was that what they stood for as a body
was a recovery and restoration of primitive Christianity in its simplicity
and power. It was said of Dr. Mayhew by his biographer that he "was a great
advocate of primitive Christianity, and zealously contended for the faith
once delivered to the saints."

The second opinion, to which they gave frequent utterance, was that the
Bible is a divine revelation, the true source of all religious teaching,
and the one sufficient creed for all men. In his sermon against the
enthusiasm of the revivalists, Chauncy said that a true test of all
religious excitement, and of every kind of new teachings, was to be found
in their "regard to the Bible, and its acknowledgment that the things
therein contained are the commandments of God." "Keep close to the
Scripture," was his admonition to his congregation, "and admit of nothing
for an impression of the spirit but what agrees with that unerring rule.
Fix it in your minds as a truth you will invariably abide by, that the
Bible is the grand test by which everything in religion is to be tried."

The third position of the men of the liberal movement was that Christ is
the only means of salvation, and they yielded to him unquestioning loyalty
and faith. Turning away from the creeds of men, as they did in so far as
they could see their way, they concentrated their convictions upon Christ,
and found in him the spiritual and vital centre of all faith that lives
with true power to help men. Mayhew held that God could not have forgiven
men their sins without the atonement of Christ, for his life and his gospel
are the means of the great reconciliation by which man and God are brought
into harmony with each other.

[Sidenote: Publications defining the Liberal Beliefs.]

In three publications may be seen what the Arminians had to teach that was
opposed to Calvinism. In 1744 appeared in Boston a book of two hundred and
eight pages by Rev. Experience Mayhew, one of a devoted family of
missionaries to the Indians of Martha's Vineyard. He called his book "Grace
Defended, in a Modest Plea for an important Truth: namely, that the offer
of Salvation made to sinners comprises in it an offer of the Grace given in
Regeneration." Mr. Mayhew claimed that he was a Calvinist, yet he rejected
the teaching that every act of the unregenerate person is equal in the
sight of God to the worst sin, and claimed that even the sinner can live so
well and so justly as to favor his being accepted of God. Mayhew maintained
that Christ died for all men, not for the elect only.[18] He claimed that
"God cannot be truly said to offer salvation to sinners without offering to
them whatsoever is necessary on his part, in order to their salvation."[19]
Mayhew was usually credited with being an Arminian; for he positively
rejected the doctrine of election, and he defended the principle of human
freedom in the most affirmative manner.

In 1749 Lemuel Briant (or Bryant), the minister in that part of Braintree
which became the town of Quincy, published a sermon which he entitled The
Absurdity and Blasphemy of Depreciating Moral Virtue. It condemned reliance
on Christ's merits without effort to live his life, and showed that it is
the duty of the Christian to live righteously. Briant said that to hold any
other view was hurtful and blasphemous. He claimed that "the great rule the
Scriptures lay down for men to go by in passing judgment on their spiritual
state is the sincere, upright, steady, and universal practice of virtue."
"To preach up chiefly what Christ himself laid the stress upon (and whether
this was not moral virtue let every one judge from his discourses) must
certainly, in the opinion of all sober men, be called truly and properly,
and in the best sense, preaching of Christ."

A pamphlet of thirty pages appeared in 1757, written by Samuel Webster, the
minister of Salisbury, with the title "A Winter Evening's Conversation upon
the doctrine of Original Sin, wherein the notion of our having sinned in
Adam, and being on that account only liable to eternal Damnation, is proved
to be Unscriptural." It is in the form of a dialogue between a minister and
three of his parishioners, and gives, as few other writings of the
eighteenth century do, a clear and explicit statement of the author's
opinions in a readable and interesting form. That all have sinned in Adam
the minister pronounces "a very shocking doctrine." "What! make them first
to open their eyes in torment, and all this for a sin which certainly they
had no hand in,--a sin which, if it comes upon them at all, certainly is
without any fault or blame on their parts, for they had no hand in
receiving it!" That Adam is our federal head, and that we sinned because he
sinned, he calls "a mere castle in the air." "Sin and guilt are personal
things as much as knowledge. I can as easily conceive of one man's
knowledge being imputed to another as of his sins being so. No imputation
in either case can make the thing to be mine which is not mine any more
than one person may be another person." He declares that this doctrine of
imputation causes infidelity. "It naturally leads men into every
dishonorable thought of God which gives a great and general blow to
religion." It impeaches the holiness of God, "for it supposes him to make
millions sinners by his decree of imputation, who would otherwise have been
innocent." That it was his decree alone "that made all Adam's posterity
sinners is the very essence of this doctrine." "And so Christians are
guilty of holding what even heathen would blush at." That God "should
pronounce a sentence by which myriads of infants, as blameless as helpless,
were consigned over to blackness of darkness to be tormented with fire and
brimstone forever, is not consistent with infinite goodness." "How
dreadfully is God dishonored by such monstrous representations as these!"
Such a being cannot be loved by us, for every heart rebels against it. "All
descriptions of the Divine Being which represent him in an unamiable light
do the greatest hurt to religion that can be, as they strike at love, which
is the fulfilling of the law. I am persuaded that many of those who think
they believe this doctrine do not really believe it, or else they do not
consider how it represents their heavenly Father." The pamphlet concludes
with the acceptance of this broader teaching by the parishioners, but it
was the cause of controversy in pulpits and by means of pamphlets. Bellamy
denied the teachings of Webster, and Chauncy defended them. So bold a
pamphlet as this showed how men had come to reason without compromise about
the old doctrines, and gave evidence that the growing spirit of humanity
would no longer accept what was harsh and cruel.

[Sidenote: Phases of Religious Progress.]

The New England churches were thus not standing still as regards doctrines,
moral conduct, the methods of worship, or the relations they held to the
state; but step by step they were moving away from the methods and the
ideas of the fathers. The "lining out" of hymns was slowly abandoned, and
singing by note took its place. The agitation that followed this attempt at
reform was great and wide-spread. The introduction of an organized and
trained choir was also in the nature of a genuine reform. When the liberal
Thomas Brattle offered an organ to the new church in Brattle Street, it was
voted "that they do not think it proper to use the same in the public
worship of God." The instrument was, however, accepted by King's Chapel;
and an organist was secured from London. It was not until 1770 that the
church in Providence procured an organ, the first used in a Congregational
church in New England.

When Dr. Jonathan Mayhew died, in 1766, Dr. Chauncy prayed at his funeral;
and this was said to have been the first prayer ever made at a funeral in
Boston, so strong was the Puritan dislike of the customs of the Catholic
Church.[20] In this way, as well as in others, the new liberalism broke
down the old customs, and introduced those with which we are familiar.
Perhaps the most marked tendency of this kind was the introduction of the
reading of the Bible into the services of the churches as a part of the
order of worship. This innovation was distinctly due to the liberal men and
the high esteem in which they held the Scriptures as a means of giving
sobriety and reasonableness to their religion. The First Church in Boston,
in May, 1730, voted that the reading of the Scriptures, instead of the old
Puritan way of expounding them, be thereafter discretionary with the
ministers of that church, but "that the mind of the church is that larger
portions should be publicly read than has been used."[21] As we have seen,
the Brattle Street Church had already led in this reform, having adopted
this practice in 1699. This custom of reading the Bible as a part of the
service of worship came slowly into general acceptance, for there was a
strong feeling against it. When a Bible was presented to the parish in
Mendon, in 1767, a serious commotion resulted because of the strong feeling
against the Church of England then prevalent; and the donor gave it to the
minister until such time as the church might wish to use it. It was as late
as 1785 that a copy of the Bible was given to the First Church in Dedham,
with the request that the reading of it should be made a part of the
exercises of the Lord's day; and the parish instructed the minister to read
such portions of it as he thought "most desirable" and of "such length as
the several seasons of the year and other circumstances" might render
proper. In the West Church of Medway it was not until 1806 that this
practice was established, and two of the Salem churches began it the same
year. The reading of the Bible at ordination services did not become
customary until an even later date.[22]

Such are some of the practical innovations which accompanied the doctrinal
development that was taking place. Liberality in one direction brought
toleration and progress in others. Some of these changes were due to the
fact that the prejudices against the Catholic Church and the Church of
England had, in a measure, disappeared, because there was nothing to keep
them alive. Others were due to the intellectual influences that came into
the colonies from England. Still others resulted from the shifting
relations of church and state, and were the effect of attempts to adjust
those relations more satisfactorily.

[1] Narrative of Surprising Conversions, edition of 1808, 13.

[2] Denial of original sin, from Pelagius, an ascetic preacher of the
    fifth century.

[3] Dwight, Life of Edwards, 307, 336, 410, 413.

[4] Ibid., 649.

[5] Ibid., 495.

[6] Green, History of Springfield.

[7] Ibid., 255.

[8] E.H. Byington, The Puritan in England and New England, devotes a
    chapter to the controversy over Breck's settlement; but he does not
    treat of the theological problems involved.

[9] Whitefield's Seventh Journal, 28.

[10] History of Harvard University, 52.

[11] History of Harvard University, 23, 26.

[12] Whitefield's Journal, seventh part, 28.

[13] Historical Magazine, new series, IX. 227, April, 1871.

[14] W.B. Sprague, Annals of the Unitarian Pulpit, II.

[15] Levi L. Paine, A Critical History of the Evolution of Trinitarianism,
     99. "Samuel Clarke and others took the ground that God is unipersonal,
     and hence that the Son is a distinct personal being, distinguishing
     God the Father as the absolute Deity from the Son whom they regarded
     as God in a relative or secondary sense, being derived from the
     Father, and having his beginning from Him."

[16] Seasonable Thoughts, 337.

[17] Alden Bradford, in his Memoir of the Life and Writings of Rev.
     Jonathan Mayhew, D.D., gives a list of "the clergymen who openly
     opposed or did not teach and advocate the Calvinistic doctrines" at
     the time of Mayhew's ordination, in 1747. These were: Dr. Appleton,
     Cambridge; Dr. Gay, Hingham; Dr. Chauncy, Boston; William Rand,
     Kingston; Nathaniel Eelles, Scituate; Edward Barnard, Haverhill;
     Samuel Cooke, West Cambridge (now Arlington); Jeremiah Fogg,
     Kensington, N.H.; Dr. A. Eliot, Boston; Dr. Samuel Webster, Salisbury;
     Lemuel Briant, Braintree; Dr. Stevens, Kittery, Me.; Dr. Tucker,
     Newbury; Timothy Harrington, Lancaster; Dr. Gad Hitchcock, Pembroke;
     Josiah Smith, Pembroke; William Smith, Weymouth; Dr. Daniel Shute,
     Hingham; Dr. Samuel Cooper, Boston; Dr. Mayhew, Boston; Abraham
     Williams, Sandwich; Anthony Wibird, Braintree (now Quincy); Dr.
     Cushing, Waltham; Professor Wigglesworth, Harvard College; Dr. Symmes,
     Andover; Dr. John Willard, Connecticut; Amos Adams, Roxbury; Dr.
     Barnes, Scituate; Charles Turner, Duxbury; Dr. Dana Wallingford,
     Conn.; Ebenezer Thayer, Hampton, N.H.; Dr. Fiske, Brookfield; Dr.
     Samuel West, Dartmouth (now New Bedford); Dr. Hemenway, Wells. Among
     those who took part in the ordination of Jonathan Mayhew, and
     therefore presumably of the same theological opinions, were Hancock,
     Lexington; Cotton, Newton; Cooke, Sudbury; Prescott, Danvers (now
     Salem). To these may be added, says Bradford, though of a somewhat
     later date: Dr. Coffin, Buxton; Drs. Howard, West, Lathrop, and
     Belknap, Boston; Dr. Henry Cummings, Billerica; Dr. Deane, Portland;
     Thomas Cary, Newburyport; Dr. Fobes, Raynham; Timothy Hilliard,
     Cambridge; Thomas Haven, Reading; Dr. Willard, Beverly. Dr. Ezra
     Ripley added the names of Hedge, of Warwick, and Foster, of Stafford.
     This makes fifty-two in all, but probably as many more could be added
     by careful search.

[18] Grace Defended, 43.

[19] Ibid., 60.

[20] Alice Morse Earle, Customs and Fashions in Old New England, 364, 367.
     See H.M. Dexter, Congregationalism as seen in its Literature, 458.

[21] A.B. Ellis, History of the First Church in Boston, 199.

[22] New England Magazine, February, 1899. A.H. Coolidge on Scripture
     Reading in the Worship of the New England Churches.



The progressive tendencies went silently on; and step by step the old
beliefs were discarded, but always by individuals and churches, and not by
associations or general official action. Even before the middle of the
eighteenth century there was not only a questioning of the doctrine of
divine decrees, the conception that God elects some to bliss and some to
perdition in accordance with his own arbitrary will, but there was also
developing a tendency to reject the tritheism[1] which in New England took
the place of a philosophical conception of the Trinity, such as had been
held by the great thinkers of the Christian ages. In part this doubt about
the Trinity was the result of a more thoughtful study of the Bible, where
the doctrine taught by the leading theologians of the old school in New
England does not appear; and in part it was the result of the reading of
the works of the English divines of the more liberal school. Something of
this tendency was also due to the spirit of free inquiry, and the rational
interpretation of religion, that were beginning to make themselves felt
amongst those not wholly committed to the old ways of thinking.

It was characteristic of those who questioned the doctrine of the Trinity,
as then taught, that they insisted on stating their beliefs in the language
of the New Testament, especially in that of Jesus himself. They found him
teaching his own dependence on his Father, claiming for himself only an
inferior and subordinate position. Believing in his pre-existence, his
supernatural character and mission, they held that he was the creator of
the world or that creation took place by means of the spirit that was in
him, and that every honor should be paid him except that of worshipping him
as the Supreme Being. As in the ancient family the son was always
subordinate to his father, so the Son of God presented in the New Testament
is less exalted than his Father. This conception of Christ is technically
called Arianism, from the Alexandrian presbyter of the fourth century who
first brought it into prominence.

[Sidenote: Subordinate Nature of Christ.]

The Arian heresy did not necessarily follow the Arminian, but much the same
causes led to its appearance. Many of the leading men in England had become
Arians, including Milton, Locke, Taylor, Clarke, Watts, and others; and the
reading of their books in New England led to an inquiry into the
truthfulness of the doctrine of the Trinity. As early as 1720 the preachers
of convention and election sermons were insisting upon a recognition of
Christ in the old way, showing that they were suspicious of heresy.[2]
Most of the Arians retained the other doctrines in which they had been
educated, even putting a stronger emphasis upon them than before. Rarely
was the subordinate nature of Christ made in any way prominent in
preaching. It was held so strictly subsidiary to the cardinal doctrines of
incarnation and atonement that only the most intelligent and watchful could
detect any difference between those who were Arians and those who were
strict Trinitarians. Now and then a man of more pronounced convictions and
utterance was shunned by his ministerial neighbors, but this rarely
occurred and had little practical effect. So long as a preacher gave
satisfaction to his own congregation, and had behind him the voters and the
tax-list of his town, his heresies were passed by with only comment and

We find here and there definite indications of the doctrinal changes that
were taking place, as in the republication of Emlyn's Humble Inquiry into
the Scripture Account of Jesus Christ, which appeared in Boston in 1756.
Thomas Emlyn, the first English preacher who called himself a Unitarian,
published his Humble Inquiry in 1702; and in 1705 he established a
Unitarian congregation in London. This distinctively Unitarian book made an
able defence of the doctrine of the subordinate nature of Christ. More
significant than the republication of the book itself was the preface
written for it by a Boston layman, addressed to the ministers of the town,
in which he said that he found its teaching "to be the true, plain,
unadulterated doctrine of the Gospel." He also intimated that "many of his
brethren of the laity in the town and country were in sympathy with him and
sincerely desirous of knowing the truth." "In New Hampshire Province,"
wrote Dr. Joseph Bellamy, in 1760, "this party have actually, three years
ago, got things so ripe that they have ventured to new model our Shorter
Catechism, to alter or entirely leave out the doctrine of the Trinity, of
the decrees, of our first parents being created holy, of original sin,
Christ satisfying divine justice, effectual calling, justification,

[Sidenote: Some of the Liberal Leaders.]

The farther advance in the liberal movement may be most easily traced in
the lives and teachings of three or four men. Rev Ebenezer Gay, who was
settled in Hingham in 1717, was the first man in New England to arrive at a
clear statement of opinions quite outside of and distinct from Calvinism.
Writing of the years from 1750 to 1755, John Adams said that at that time
Lemuel Briant, of Braintree, Jonathan Mayhew, of the West Church in Boston,
Daniel Shute, of Hingham, John Brown, of Cohasset, and perhaps equal to
all, if not above all, Ebenezer Gay, of Hingham, were Unitarians.[4] The
rapid sale of Emlyn's book would prove the truthfulness of this statement.
It was not by any sudden process that these men had come to what may be
called Unitarianism, though, more properly, Arianism; and not as a mere
result of a reaction from Calvinism. A new time had come, and with it new
hopes and thoughts. The burdening sense of the spiritual world that
belonged to the men of the seventeenth century did not belong to those of
the eighteenth. Men had come to see that God must manifest himself in
reason, common sense, nature, and the facts of life.

In the life and teachings of such a man as Ebenezer Gay we catch a new
insight into the spirit that was active in New England throughout the
eighteenth century for the realization of a larger faith. He was a man of a
strong, original, vigorous nature, a born leader of men, and one who
impressed his own character upon those with whom he came into contact. He
opposed the revival, and he made the men of his own association think with
him in their opposition to it. Years before the revival, however, he was a
liberal in theology, and had found his way into Arminianism. With the
spirit of free inquiry he was in fullest sympathy. He was strongly opposed
to creeds and to all written articles of faith. He condemned in the most
forcible terms the young man who, on the occasion of his ordination,
"engages to preach according to a rule of faith, creed, or confession which
is merely of human prescription or imposition." In his convention sermon of
1746 he denounced those who "insist upon the offensive peculiarities of the
party they espoused rather than upon the more mighty things in which we are
all agreed." It has been said of him that, after the middle of the century,
"his discourses will be searched in vain for any discussions of
controversial theology, any advocacy of the peculiar doctrines regarded as
orthodox, or the expression of any opinions at variance with those of his
successor, Dr. Ware."[5]

The sermon on Natural Religion as distinguished from Revealed, which Dr.
Gay delivered as the Dudleian lecture at Harvard, in 1759, showed the
reasonable and progressive spirit of his preaching. He claimed that there
is no antagonism between natural and revealed religion, and that, while
revealed religion is an addition to the natural, it is not built on the
ruins, but on the everlasting foundations of it. Revelation can teach
nothing contrary to natural religion or to the dictates of reason. "No
doctrine or scheme of religion," he said, "should be advanced or received
as Scriptural and divine which is plainly and absolutely inconsistent with
the perfections of God, and the possibility of things. Absurdities and
contradictions, are not to be obtruded upon our faith. No pretence of
revelation can be sufficient for the admission of them. The manifest
absurdity of any doctrine is a stronger argument that it is not of God than
any other evidence can be that it is."

Jonathan Mayhew, the son of Experience Mayhew, of Martha's Vineyard, was
settled over the West Church of Boston in 1747. He was even then known as a
heretic, who had read the most liberal books of the English philosophers
and theologians, and who had boldly accepted their opinions as his own. On
the occasion of his ordination not one of the Boston ministers was present,
although a number of them were well known for their liberal opinions. The
ordination was postponed, and later several men of remoter parishes joined
in inducting this young independent into his pulpit. No Boston minister
would exchange pulpits with him, and he was not invited to join the
ministerial association. He was shunned by the ministers, and he was
dreaded by the orthodox; but he was gladly heard by a large congregation,
which grew in numbers and intelligence as the years went on. He had among
his hearers many of the leading men of the town, and to him gathered those
who were most thoughtful and progressive. Boston has never had in any of
its pulpits a man of nobler, broader, more humane qualities, or one with a
mind more completely committed to seeking and knowing the truth, or with a
more unflinching purpose to speak his own mind without fear or favor. His
influence was soon powerfully felt in the town, and his name came to stand
for liberty in politics as well as in religion. His sermons were rapidly
printed and distributed widely. They were read in every part of New England
with great eagerness; they were reprinted in England, and brought him a
large correspondence from those who admired and approved of his teaching.
Though he died in 1766, at the age of forty-six, his work and his influence
did not die with him.

The cardinal thought of Jonathan Mayhew with reference to religion was that
of free inquiry. Diligent and free examination of all questions, he felt,
was necessary to any acquisition of the truth. He believed in liberty and
toleration everywhere, and this made him accept in the fullest sense the
doctrine of the freedom of the will. In man he found a self-determining
power, the source of his moral and intellectual freedom. He said that we
are more certain of the fact that we are free than we are of the truth of
Christianity. This belief led him to the rejection of the Calvinistic
doctrine of inability, and to a strong faith in the moral and spiritual
possibilities of human nature. He described Christianity as "a practical
science, the art of living piously and virtuously."[6] He had quite freed
his mind from bondage to creeds when he said that, "how much soever any man
may be mistaken in opinion concerning the terms of salvation, yet if he is
practically in the right there is no doubt but he will be accepted of
God."[7] He held that no speculative error, however great, is sufficient
to exclude a good and upright man from the kingdom of heaven, who lives
according to the genuine spirit of the gospel. To him the principle of
grace was always a principle of goodness and holiness; and he held that
grace can never be operative as a saving power without obedience to that
righteousness and love which Christ taught as essential.[8] He declared
that "the doctrine that men may obtain salvation without ceasing to do evil
and learning to do well, without yielding a sincere obedience to the laws
of Christianity, is not so properly called a doctrine of grace as it is a
doctrine of devils."[9] He said, again, that we cannot be justified by a
faith that is without obedience; for it is obedience and good works that
give to faith all its life, efficacy, and perfection.[10]

[Sidenote: The First Unitarian.]

Dr. Mayhew accepted without equivocation the right of private judgment in
religion, and he practised it judicially and with wise insight. He
unhesitatingly applied the rational method to all theological problems, and
to him reason was the final court of appeal for everything connected with
religion. His love of freedom was enthusiastic and persistent, and he was
zealously committed to the principle of individuality. He believed in the
essential goodness of human nature, and in the doctrine of the Divine
Unity. He was the first outspoken Unitarian in New England, not merely
because he rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, but because he accepted
all the cardinal principles developed by that movement since his day. He
was a rationalist, an individualist, a defender of personal freedom, and
tested religious practices by the standard of common sense. His sermons
were plain, direct, vigorous, and modern. A truly religious man, Mayhew
taught a practical and humanitarian religion, genuinely ethical, and
faithful in inculcating the motive of civic duty.

Dr. Mayhew's words may be quoted in regard to some of the religious beliefs
commonly accepted in his day. "The doctrine of a total ignorance and
incapacity to judge of moral and religious truths brought upon mankind by
the disobedience of our first parents," he wrote, "is without
foundation."[11] "I hope it appears," he says, "that the love of God and of
our neighbor, that sincere piety of heart, and a righteous, holy and
charitable life, are the weightier matters of the gospel, as well as of the
law."[12] "Although Christianity cannot," he asserts, "with any propriety
or justice be said to be the same with natural religion, or merely a
republication of the laws of nature, yet the principal, the most important
and fundamental duties required by Christianity are, nevertheless, the same
which were enjoined under the legal dispensation of Moses, and the same
which are dictated by the light of nature."[13] His great love of
intellectual and spiritual freedom finds utterance in such a statement as
this: "Nor has any order or body of men authority to enjoin any particular
article of faith, nor the use of any modes of worship not expressly pointed
out in the Scriptures; nor has the enjoining of such articles a tendency to
preserve the peace and harmony of the church, but directly the
contrary."[14] Such sentences as the following are frequent on Mayhew's
pages, and they show clearly the trend of his mind: "Free examination,
weighing arguments for and against with care and impartiality, is the way
to find truth." "True religion flourishes the more, the more people
exercise their right of private judgment."[15] "There is nothing more
foolish and superstitious than a veneration for ancient creeds and
doctrines as such, and nothing is more unworthy a reasonable creature than
to value principles by their age, as some men do their wines."[16]

Mayhew insisted upon the strict unity of God, "who is without rival or
competitor." "The dominion and sovereignty of the universe is necessarily
one and in one, the only living and true God, who delegates such measures
of power and authority to other beings as seemeth good in his sight." He
declared that the not preserving of such unity and supremacy of God on the
part of Christians "has long been just matter of reproach to them"; and he
said the authority of Christ is always "exercised in subordination to God's
will."[17] His position was that "the faith of Christians does not
terminate in Christ as the ultimate object of it, but it is extended
through him to the one God."[18] The very idea of a mediator implies
subordination as essential to it.[19] His biographer says he did not accept
the notion of vicarious suffering, and, that he was an Arian in his views
of the nature of Christ. "He was the first clergyman in New England who
expressly and openly opposed the scholastic doctrine of the Trinity.
Several others declined pressing the Athanasian Creed, and believed
strictly in the unity of God. They also probably found it difficult to
explain their views on the subject, and the great danger of losing their
good name served to prevent their speaking out. But Dr. Mayhew did not
conceal or disguise his sentiments on this point any more than on others,
such as the peculiar tenets of Calvinism. He explicitly and boldly declared
the doctrine irrational, unscriptural, and directly contradictory."[20] He
taught the strict unity of God as early as 1753, "in the most unequivocal
and plain manner, in his sermons of that year."[21] What most excited
comment and objection was that, in a foot-note to the volume of his sermons
published in 1755, Mayhew said that a Catholic Council had elevated the
Virgin Mary to the position of a fourth person in the Godhead, and added,
by way of comment: "Neither Papists nor Protestants should imagine that
they will be understood by others if they do not understand themselves. Nor
should they think that nonsense and contradictions can ever be too sacred
to be ridiculous." The ridicule here was not directed against the doctrine
of the Trinity, as has been maintained, but the foolish defences of it made
by men who accepted its "mysteries" as too wonderful for reason to deal
with in a serious manner. This boldness of comment on the part of Mayhew
was in harmony with his strong disapproval of creed-making in all its
forms. He condemned creeds because they set up "human tests of orthodoxy
instead of the infallible word of God, and make other terms of Christian
communion than those explicitly pointed out by the Gospel."[22]

Dr. Mayhew was succeeded in the West Church by Rev. Simeon Howard in 1767,
who, though he was received in a more friendly spirit by the ministers of
the town, was not less radical in his theology than his predecessor. Dr.
Howard was both an Arminian and an Arian, and he was "a believer neither in
the Trinity, nor in the divine predestination of total depravity, and
necessary ruin to any human soul."[23] He was of a gentle and conciliatory
temper, but his preaching was quite as thorough-going in its intellectual
earnestness as was Dr. Mayhew's.

[Sidenote: A Pronounced Universalist.]

Another preacher on the liberal side was Dr. Charles Chauncy of the First
Church in Boston, whose ministry lasted from 1727 to 1787. He was the most
vigorous of the opponents of the great awakening, both in his pulpit and
through the press. He wrote a book on certain French fanatics, with the
purpose of showing what would be the natural results of the excesses of the
revival; he preached a powerful sermon on enthusiasm, to indicate the
dangers of religious excitement, when not controlled by common sense and
reason; and he travelled throughout New England to gain all the information
possible about the revival, its methods and results, and published his
Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England in 1743. He had
been influenced by the reading of Taylor, Tillotson, Clarke, and the other
latitudinarian and rationalistic writers of England; and he found the
revival in its excesses repugnant to his every thought of what was true and
devout in religion.

Dr. Chauncy was not an eloquent preacher; but he was clear, earnest, and
honest. Many of his sermons were published, and his books numbered nearly a
dozen. As early as 1739 he preached a sermon in favor of religious
toleration. At a later period he said, "It is with me past all doubt that
the religion of Jesus will never be restored to its primitive purity,
simplicity, and glory, until religious establishments are so brought down
as to be no more."[24] It was this conviction which made him oppose in his
pulpit and in two or three books the effort that was made just before the
Revolution to establish the English Church as the state form of religion in
the colonies. He said, in 1767, that the American people would hazard
everything dear to them--their estates, their lives--rather than suffer
their necks to be put under the yoke of bondage to any foreign power in
state or church.[25]

In his early life Dr. Chauncy was an Arminian, but slowly he grew to the
acceptance of distinctly Unitarian and Universalist doctrines. Near the end
of his life he Published four or five books in which he advanced very
liberal opinions. One of these, published in Boston in 1784, was on The
Benevolence of the Deity fairly and impartially Considered. This book
followed the same method and purpose as Butler's Analogy, and aimed to show
that God has manifested his goodness in creation and in the life of man. He
said that our moral self-determination, or free will, is our one great gift
from God. He discussed the moral problems of life in order to prove the
benevolence of God, maintaining that the goodness we see in him is of the
same nature with goodness in ourselves. The year following he published a
book on the Scriptural account of the Fall and its Consequences, in which
he rejected the doctrine of total depravity, and interpreted the new birth
as a result of education rather than of supernatural change. Thus he
brought to full statement the logical result of the half-way covenant and
the teachings of Solomon Stoddard, as well as of the connection of church
and state in New England. He saw that the method of education is the only
one that can justly be followed in the preparation of the young for
admission to a church that is sustained in any direct way by the state.

Dr. Chauncy's great work as a preacher and author[26] was brought to its
close by his books in favor of universal salvation. In 1783-84 he published
in Boston two anonymous pamphlets advocating the salvation of all men, and
these pamphlets made no little stir. In 1784 he published in London a work
which he called The Mystery hid from Ages and Generations, made manifest by
the Gospel Revelation; or, The Salvation of All Men the Grand Thing aimed
at in the Scheme of God: By One who wishes well to the whole Human Race. In
this book Dr. Chauncy made an elaborate study of the New Testament, in
order to prove that salvation is to be universal. Christ died for all,
therefore all will be saved; because all have sinned in Adam, therefore all
will be made alive in Christ. He looked to a future probation, to a long
period after death, when the opportunity of salvation will be open to all.
He maintained that the misery threatened against the wicked in Scripture is
that of this intermediate state between the earthly life and the time when
God shall be all in all. He held that sin will be punished hereafter in
proportion to depravity, and that none will be saved until they come into
willing harmony with Christ, who will finally be able to win all men to
himself, otherwise the power of God will be set at naught and his good will
towards men frustrated of its purpose. In the future state of discipline,
punishment will be inflicted with salutary effect, and thus the moral
recovery of mankind will be accomplished.

[Sidenote: Other Men of Mark.]

Another leader was Dr. Samuel West, of Dartmouth, now New Bedford, where he
was settled in 1760, and where he preached for more than forty years.[27]
He rejected the doctrines of fore-ordination, election, total depravity,
and the Trinity. In preaching the election sermon of 1776, he took the
ground of an undisguised rationalism. "A revelation," he said, "pretending
to be from God, that contradicts any part of natural laws ought immediately
to be rejected as imposture; for the deity cannot make a law contrary to
the law of nature without acting contrary to himself,--a thing in the
strictest sense impossible, for that which implies contradiction is not an
object of Divine Power." The cardinal idea of West's; position, as of that
of most of the liberal men of his time, was stated by him in one sentence,
when he said, "To preach Christ is to preach the whole system of divinity,
as it consists of both natural and revealed religion."[28]

In 1751 Rev. Thomas Barnard, of Newbury, was dismissed from his parish
because he was regarded as unconverted by the revivalistic portion of his
congregation; and in 1755 he was settled over the First Church in Salem. He
was an Arminian, and at the same time an Arian of the school of Samuel
Clarke. His son Thomas was settled over the North Church of Salem in 1773,
which church was organized especially for him by his admirers in the First
Church. He followed in the theological opinions of his father, but probably
became somewhat more pronounced in his Arian views, so that, after his
death, Dr. Channing called him a Unitarian. It is not surprising that the
younger Barnard should have been liberal in his opinions and spirit, when
we find his theological instructor, Rev. Samuel Williams, at his
ordination, saying to him in the sermon preached on that occasion, "Be of
no sect or party but that of good men, and to all such (whatever their
differences among themselves) let your heart be opened." On another similar
occasion Mr. Williams said that it had always been his advice to examine
with caution and modesty, "but with the greatest freedom all religious
matters."[29] It was said of the younger Barnard that he believed "the
final salvation of no man depended upon the belief or disbelief of those
speculative opinions about which men, equally learned and pious, differ."
When it was said to him by one of his parishioners, "Dr. Barnard, I never
heard you preach a sermon upon the Trinity," the reply was, "And you never

In 1779 Rev. John Prince was settled over the First Church in Salem, as the
colleague of the elder Barnard. He was an Arian, but in no combative or
dogmatic manner. He was a student, a lover of science, and an advanced
thinker and investigator for his time. In 1787 he invited the Universalist,
Rev. John Murray, into his pulpit, then an act of the greatest
liberality.[31] Another lover of science, Rev. William Bentley, was settled
over the East Church of Salem, as colleague to Rev. James Diman, in 1782.
The senior pastor was a strict Calvinist, but the parish called as his
colleague this young man of pronounced liberal views in theology. As early
as 1784 Mr. Bentley was interested in the teachings of the English
Unitarian, William Hazlitt,[32] who at that time visited New England. And
in 1786 he was reading Joseph Priestley's book against the Trinity with
approval. He soon after commended Dr. Priestley's short tracts as giving a
good statement of the simple doctrines of Christianity.[33] He insisted
upon free inquiry in religion from the beginning of his ministry, and not
long after he began preaching he became substantially a Unitarian.[34] In
1789 he maintained that "the full conviction of a future moral retribution"
is "the great point of Christian faith."[35] It has been claimed that Mr.
Bentley was the first minister in New England to take distinctly the
Unitarian position, and there are good reasons for this understanding of
his doctrinal attitude.[36] Dr. Bentley corresponded with scholars in
Europe, as he also did with Arab chiefs in their own tongue. He knew of the
religions of India, and he seems to have given them appreciative
recognition. The shipmasters and foreign merchants of Salem, as they came
in contact with the Oriental races and religions, discarded their dogmatic
Christianity; and these men, almost without exception, were connected with
the churches that became Unitarian. It may be accepted as a very
interesting fact that "the two potent influences shaping the ancient
Puritanism of Salem into Unitarianism were foreign commerce and contact
with the Oriental religions."[37]

The formation of a second parish in Worcester, in 1785, was a significant
step in the progress of liberal opinion. This was the first time when a
town, outside of Boston, was divided into two parishes of the
Congregational order on doctrinal grounds. On the death of the minister of
the first parish several candidates were heard, and among them Rev. Aaron
Bancroft, who was a pronounced Arminian and Arian. The majority preferred a
Calvinist; but the more intelligent minority insisted upon the settlement
of Mr. Bancroft,--a result they finally accomplished by the organization of
a new parish. It was a severe struggle by which this result was brought
about, every effort being made to defeat it; and for many years Mr.
Bancroft was almost completely isolated in his religious opinions.[38]

[Sidenote: The Second Period of Revivals.]

It must not be understood that there was any marked separation in the
churches as yet on doctrinal grounds. Calvinism was mildly taught, and
ministers of all shades of opinion exchanged pulpits freely with each
other. They met in ministerial associations, and in various duties of
ordinations, councils, and other ecclesiastical gatherings. The preaching
was practical, not doctrinal; and controverted subjects were for the most
part not touched upon in the pulpits. About 1780, however, began a revival
of Calvinism on the part of Drs. Bellamy, Emmons, Hopkins, and others; and
especially did it take a strenuous form in the works of Samuel Hopkins. The
New Divinity, as it was sometimes called, taught that unconditional
submission to God is the duty of every human being, that we should be
willing to be damned for the glory of God, and that the attitude of God
towards men is one of unbounded benevolence. This newer Calvinism was full
of incentives to missionary enterprise, and was zealous for the making of
converts. Under the impulse of its greater enthusiasm there began, about
1790, a series of revivals which continued to the middle of the nineteenth
century. This was the second great period of revivalism in New England. It
was far better organized than the first one, while its methods were more
systematic and under better guidance; and the results were great in the
building of churches, in establishing missionary outposts, and in awakening
an active religious life amongst the people. It aroused much opposition to
the liberals, and it made the orthodox party more aggressive. Just as the
great awakening developed opposition to the liberals of that day, and
served to bring into view the two tendencies in the Congregational
churches, so this new revival period accentuated the divergencies between
those who believed in the deity of Christ and those who believed in his
subordinate nature, and led to the first assuming of positions on both
sides. There can be little doubt that it put a check upon the friendly
spirit that had existed in the churches, and that it began a division which
ultimately resulted in their separation into two denominations.[39]

Such details of individual and local opinion as have here been given are
all the more necessary because there was at this time no consensus of
belief on the part of the more liberal men. Each man thought for himself,
but he was very reluctant to depart from the old ways in ritual and
doctrine; and if the ministers consulted with each other, and gave each
other confidential assistance, there was certainly nothing in the way of
public conference or of party assimilation and encouragement. A visitor to
Boston in 1791 wrote of the ministers there that "they are so diverse in
their sentiments that they cannot agree on any point in theology. Some are
Calvinists, some Universalists, some Arminians, and one, at least, is a
Socinian."[40] Another visitor, this time in 1801, found the range of
opinions much wider. In all the ministers of Boston he found only one rigid
Trinitarian; one was a follower of Edwards, several were Arminians, two
were Socinians, one a Universalist, and one a Unitarian.[41] This writer
says it was not difficult to find out what men did not believe, but there
was as yet no public line of demarcation among the clergy. There being no
outward pressure to bring men into uniformity, no institution or body of
men with authority to require assent to a standard of orthodoxy, little
attention was given to merely doctrinal interests. The position taken was
that presented by Rev. John Tucker of Newbury, in the convention sermon of
1768, when he said that no one has any right whatever to legislate in
behalf of Christ, who alone has authority to fix the terms of the Gospel.
He said that, as all believers and teachers of Christianity are "perfectly
upon a level with one another, none of them can have any authority even to
interpret the laws of this kingdom for others, so as to require their
assent to such interpretation." He also declared that as "every Christian
has and must have a right to judge for himself of the true sense and
meaning of all gospel truths, no doctrines, therefore, no laws, no
religious rites, no terms of acceptance with God or of admission to
Christian privileges not found in the gospel, are to be looked upon by him
as any part of this divine system, nor to be received and submitted to as
the doctrines and laws of Christ."[42] Of Rev. John Prince, the minister
of the First Church in Salem during the last years of the century, it was
said that he never "preached distinctly upon any of the points of
controversy which, in his day, agitated the New England churches."[43] The
minister of Roxbury, Rev. Eliphalet Porter, said of the Calvinistic
beliefs, that there was not one of them he considered "essential to the
Christian faith or character."[44]

[Sidenote: King's Chapel becomes Unitarian.]

These quotations will indicate the liberty of spirit that existed in the
New England churches of the later years of the eighteenth century,
especially in the neighborhood of Boston, and along the seacoast; and also
the diversity of opinion on doctrinal subjects among the ministers. It is
impossible here to follow minutely the stages of doctrinal evolution, but a
few dates and incidents will serve to indicate the several steps that were
taken. The first of these was the settlement of Rev. James Freeman over
King's Chapel in 1782, and his ordination by the congregation in 1787, the
liturgy having been revised two years earlier to conform to the liberal
opinions of the minister and people. These changes were brought about
largely through the influence of Rev. William Hazlitt, the father of the
essayist and critic of the same name, who had been settled over several of
the smaller Unitarian churches in Great Britain. In the spring of 1783 he
visited the United States, and spent several months in Philadelphia. He
gave a course of lectures on the Evidences of Christianity in the college
there, which were largely attended. He preached for several weeks in a
country parish in Maryland, he had invitations to settle in Charleston and
Pittsburg, and he had an opportunity to become the president of a college
by subscribing to the doctrinal tests required, which he would not do; for
"he would sooner die in a ditch than submit to human authority in matters
of faith."[45] In June, 1784, he preached in the Brattle Street Church of
Boston, and he anticipated becoming its minister; but his pronounced
doctrinal position seems to have made that impossible. He also preached in
Hingham, and some of the people there desired his settlement; but the aged
Dr. Gay would not resign. It would appear that he preached for Dr. Chauncy,
for Mr. Barnes in Salem, and also in several pulpits on Cape Cod. He gave
in Boston his course of lectures on the Evidences of Christianity, and it
was received with much favor by large audiences. The winter of 1784-85 was
spent by Mr. Hazlitt in Hallowell, Me., in which place was a small group of
wealthy English Unitarians, led by Samuel Vaughan, by whom Mr. Hazlitt had
been entertained in Philadelphia. Mr. Hazlitt returned to Boston in the
spring of 1785, and had some hope of settling in Roxbury. In the autumn,
however, finding no definite promise of employment, he returned to England.
He afterward corresponded with Dr. Howard, of the West Church in Boston,
and with Dr. Lathrop, of West Springfield. The volumes of sermons he
published in 1786 and 1790 were sold in this country, and one or two of
them republished.

It would appear that Mr. Hazlitt's positive Unitarianism made it impossible
for him to settle over any church in Boston or its neighborhood. In 1784 he
assisted Dr. Freeman in revising the Prayer Book, the form of prayer used
by Dr. Lindsey[46] in the Essex Street Chapel in London being adapted to
the new conditions at King's Chapel. He also republished in Philadelphia
and Boston many of Dr. Priestley's Unitarian tracts, while writing much
himself for publication.[47] In his correspondence with Theophilus
Lindsey, Dr. Freeman wrote of Mr. Hazlitt as a pious, zealous, and
intelligent minister, to whose instructions and conversation he was
particularly indebted.[48] "Before Mr. Hazlitt came to Boston", Dr.
Freeman wrote, "the Trinitarian doxology was almost universally used. That
honest, good man prevailed upon several respectable ministers to omit it.
Since his departure the number of those who repeat only Scriptural
doxologies has greatly increased, so that there are now many churches in
which the worship is strictly Unitarian."[49]

Beginning with the year 1786, several of the liberal men in Boston were in
correspondence with the leading Unitarian ministers in London, and their
letters were afterward published by Thomas Belsham in his Life of
Theophilus Lindsey. From this work we learn that Dr. Lindsey presented his
own theological works and those of Dr. Priestley to Harvard College, and
that they were read with great avidity by the students.[50] One of the
Boston correspondents, writing in 1783, names James Bowdoin, governor of
Massachusetts in 1785 and 1786, General Benjamin Lincoln, and General Henry
Knox as among the liberal men. He said: "There are many others besides, in
our legislature, of similar sentiments. While so many of our great men are
thus on the side of truth and free inquiry, they will necessarily influence
many of the common people."[51] He also said that people were less
frightened at the Socinian name than formerly, and that this form of
Christianity was beginning to have some public advocates. The only minister
who preached in favor of it was Mr. Bentley, of Salem, who was described as
"a young man of a bold, independent mind, of strong, natural powers, and of
more skill in the learned languages than any person of his years in the
state." Mr. Bentley's congregation was spoken of as uncommonly liberal, not
alarmed at any improvements, and pleased with his introduction into the
pulpit of various modern translations of the Scriptures, especially of the

[Sidenote: Other Unitarian Movements.]

In March, 1792, a Unitarian congregation was formed in Portland under the
leadership of Thomas Oxnard, who had been an Episcopalian. Having been
supplied with the works of Priestley and Lindsey through the generosity of
Dr. Freeman, he became a Unitarian; and his personal intercourse with Dr.
Freeman gave strength to his changed convictions. A number of persons of
property and respectability of character joined him in accepting his new
faith. In writing to his friend in November, 1788, Mr. Oxnard said: "I
cannot express to you the avidity with which these Unitarian publications
are sought after. Our friends here are clearly convinced that the Unitarian
doctrine will soon become the prevailing opinion in this country. Three
years ago I did not know a single Unitarian in this part of the country
besides myself; and now, entirely from the various publications you have
furnished, a decent society might be collected in this and the neighboring
towns."[53] In 1792 an attempt was made to introduce a revised liturgy
into the Episcopal church of Portland; and, when this was resisted, a
majority of the congregation seceded and formed a Unitarian society, with
Mr. Oxnard as the minister. This society was continued for a few years, and
then ceased to exist. The members joined the first Congregational church,
which in 1809, became Unitarian.[54] Also in 1792 was organized a
Unitarian congregation in Saco, under the auspices of Hon. Samuel Thatcher,
a member of Congress and a Massachusetts judge.[55] Mr. Thatcher had been
an unbeliever, but through the reading of Priestley's works he became a
sincere and rational Christian. He met with much opposition from his
neighbors, and an effort was made to prevent his re-election to Congress;
but it did not succeed. The Saco congregation was at first connected with
that at Portland, and it seems to have ceased its existence at the same

In 1794 Dr. Freeman wrote that Unitarianism was making considerable
progress in the southern counties of Massachusetts. In Barnstable he
reported "a very large body of Unitarians."[57] Writing in May, 1796, he
states that Unitarianism is on the increase in Maine, that it is making a
considerable increase in the southern part of Massachusetts, and that a few
seeds have been sown in Vermont. He thinks it may be losing ground in some
places, but that it is growing in others. "I consider it," he writes, "as
one of the most happy effects which have resulted from my feeble exertions
in the Unitarian cause, that they have introduced me to the knowledge and
friendship of some of the most valuable characters of the present age, men
of enlightened heads and benevolent hearts. Though it is a standing article
of most of our social libraries, that nothing of a controversial character
should be purchased, yet any book which is presented is freely accepted. I
have found means, therefore, of introducing into them some of the Unitarian
Tracts with which you have kindly furnished me. There are few persons who
have not read them with avidity; and when read they cannot fail to make an
impression upon the minds of many. From these and other causes the
Unitarian doctrine appears to be still upon the increase. I am acquainted
with a number of ministers, particularly in the southern part of this
state, who avow and publicly preach this sentiment. There are others more
cautious, who content themselves with leading their hearers by a course of
rational but prudent sermons gradually and insensibly to embrace it. Though
this latter mode is not what I entirely approve, yet it produces good
effects. For the people are thus kept out of the reach of false opinions,
and are prepared for the impressions which will be made on them by more
bold and ardent successors, who will probably be raised up when these timid
characters are removed off the stage. The clergy are generally the first
who begin to speculate; but the people soon follow, where they are so much
accustomed to read and enquire."[58]

In 1793 was published Jeremy Belknap's biography of Samuel Watts, who was
an Arian, or, at least, held to the subordinate nature of Christ. This book
had a very considerable influence in directing attention to the doctrine of
the Trinity, and in inducing inquiring men to study the subject critically
for themselves. In 1797 Dr. Belknap became the minister of the Federal
Street Church in Boston, and his preaching was from that time distinctly
Unitarian. Dr. Joseph Priestley removed to Philadelphia in 1794, and he was
at first listened to by large congregations. His humanitarian
theology--that is, his denial of divinity as well as deity to
Christ--probably had the effect of limiting the interest in his teachings.
However, a small congregation was established in Philadelphia in 1796,
formed mostly of English Unitarians. A congregation was gathered at
Northumberland in 1794, to which place Priestley removed in that year.

In the year 1800 a division took place in the church at Plymouth, owing to
the growth there of liberal sentiments. These began to manifest themselves
as early as 1742, as a reaction from the intense revivalism of that
Period.[59] Rev. Chandler Bobbins, who was strictly Calvinistic in his
theology, was the minister from 1760 until his death in 1799. In 1794 a
considerable number of persons in the parish discussed the desirability of
organizing another church, in order to secure more liberal preaching. It
was recognized that Mr. Robbins was an old man, that he was very much
beloved, and that in a few years the opportunity desired would be presented
without needless agitation; and the effort was therefore deferred. In
November, 1799, at a meeting held for the election of a new pastor,
twenty-three members of the church were in favor of Rev. James Kendall, the
only candidate, while fifteen were in opposition. When the parish voted,
two hundred and fifty-three favored Mr. Kendall, and fifteen were opposed.
In September, 1800, the conservative minority, numbering eighteen males and
thirty-five females, withdrew; and two years later they organized the
society now called the Church of the Pilgrimage. The settlement of Mr.
Kendall, a pronounced Arminian,[60] was an instance of the almost complete
abandonment of Calvinism on the part of a congregation, in opposition to
the preaching from the pulpit. In spite of the strict confession of faith
which Dr. Robbins had persuaded the church to adopt, the parish outgrew the
old teachings. Mr. Kendall, with the approval of his church, soon grew into
a Unitarian; and it was fitting that the church of the Mayflower, the
church of Robinson and Brewster, should lead the way in this advance.

As yet there was no controversy, except in a quiet way. Occasionally sharp
criticism was uttered, especially in convention and election sermons; but
there was no thought of separation or exclusion. The liberal men showed a
tendency to magnify the work of charity; and they were, in a limited
degree, zealous in every kind of philanthropic effort. More distinctly,
however, they showed their position in their enthusiasm for the Bible and
in their summing up of Christianity in loyalty to Christ. Towards all
creeds and dogmas they were indifferent and silent, except as they
occasionally spoke plainly out to condemn them. They believed in and
preached toleration, and their whole movement stood more distinctly for
comprehensiveness and latitudinarianism than for aught else. They were not
greatly concerned about theological problems; but they thoroughly believed
in a broad, generous, sympathetic, and practical Christianity, that would
exemplify the teachings of Christ, and that would lead men to a pure and
noble moral life.

[Sidenote: Growth of Toleration.]

That toleration was not as yet fully accepted in Massachusetts is seen in
the fact that the proposed Constitution of 1778 was defeated because it
provided for freedom of worship on the part of all Protestant
denominations. The dominant religious body was not yet ready to put itself
on a level with the other sects. In the Constitutional Convention of 1779
the more liberal men worked with the Baptists to secure a separation of
state and church. Such men as Drs. Chauncy, Mayhew, West, and Shute were
desirous of the broadest toleration; and they did what they could to secure
it. As early as 1768, Dr. Chauncy spoke in plainest terms in opposition to
the state support of religion. "We are in principle," he wrote, "against
all civil establishments in religion. It does not appear to us that God has
entrusted, the state with a right to make religious establishments. But let
it be heedfully minded we claim no right to desire the interposition of the
state to establish the mode of worship, government or discipline, we
apprehend is most agreeable to the mind of Christ. We desire no other
liberty than to be left unrestrained in the exercise of our principles, in
so far as we are good members of society.... The plain truth is, by the
gospel charter, all professed Christians are vested with precisely the same
rights; nor has our denomination any more a right to the interposition of
the civil magistrate in their favor than any other; and whenever this
difference takes place, it is beside the rule of Scripture, and the genuine
dictates, of uncorrupted reason."[61] All persons throughout the state, of
whatever religious connection, who had become emancipated from the Puritan
spirit, supported him in this opinion. They were in the minority as yet,
and they were not organized. Therefore, their efforts were unsuccessful.

Another testing of public sentiment on this subject was had in the
Massachusetts convention which, in 1788, ratified the Constitution of the
United States. The sixth article, which provides that "no religious tests
shall ever be required as a qualification to any office," was the occasion
of a prolonged debate and much opposition. Hon. Theophilus Parsons took the
liberal side, and declared that "the only evidence we can have of the
sincerity and excellency of a man's religion is a good life," precisely the
position of the liberal men. By several members it was urged, however, that
this article was a departure from the principles of our forefathers, who
came here for the preservation of their religion, and that it would admit
deists and atheists into the general government.

In these efforts to secure religious toleration as a fundamental law of the
state and nation the Baptist denomination took an active and a leading
part. Not less faithful to this cause were the liberal men among the
Congregationalists, while the opposition came almost wholly from the
Calvinistic and orthodox churches. Such leaders on the liberal side as Dr.
David Shute of the South Parish in Hingham, Rev. Thomas Thatcher of the
West Parish in Dedham, and Dr. Samuel West of New Bedford, were loyally
devoted in the convention to the support of the toleration act of the
Constitution. In the membership of the convention there were seventeen
ministers, and fourteen of them voted for the Constitution. The opinions of
the fourteen were expressed by Rev. Phillips Payson, the minister of
Chelsea, who held that a religious test would be a great blemish on the
Constitution. He also said that God is the God of the conscience, and for
human tribunals to encroach upon the consciences of men is impious.[62] As
the Constitution was ratified by only a small majority of the convention,
and as at the opening of its sessions the opposition seemed almost
overwhelming, the position taken by the more liberal ministers was a sure
indication of growing liberality. The great majority of the people,
however, were still strongly in favor of the old religious tests and
restrictions, as was fully indicated by subsequent events. The Revolution
operated as a liberalizing influence, because of the breaking of old
customs and the discussion of the principles of liberty attendant upon the
adoption of the state and national constitutions. The growth of democratic
sentiment made a strong opposition to the churches and their privileges,
and it caused a diminution of reverence for the authority of the clergy.
The twenty years following the Revolution showed a notable growth in
liberal opinions.

Universalism presented itself as a new form of Calvinism, its advocates
claiming that God decreed that all should be saved, and that his will would
be triumphant. In many parts of the country the doctrine of universal
salvation began to be heard during the last two decades of the eighteenth
century, and the growth of interest in it was rapid from the beginning of
the nineteenth. This movement began in the Baptist churches, but it soon
appeared in others. At first it was undefined, a protest against the harsh
teaching of future punishment. It was a part of the humanitarian awakening
of the time, the new faith in man, the recognition that love is diviner
than wrath. Many persons found escape from creeds that were hateful to them
into this new and more hopeful interpretation of religion. Persons of every
shade of protest, and "infidelity," and free thinking, found their way into
this new body; and great was the condemnation and hatred with which it was
received on the part of the other sects. In time this movement clarified
itself, and it has had a positive influence for piety and for nobler views
of God and the future.

Of much the same nature was the movement within the fellowship of the
Friends led by Thomas Hicks. It was Unitarian and reformatory, influenced
by the growing democracy and zeal for humanity the age was everywhere

In the border states between north and south began, during the last decade
of the eighteenth century, a movement in favor of discarding all creeds and
confessions. It favored a return to the Bible itself as the great
Protestant book, and as the one revealed word of God. Without learning or
culture, these persons sought to make their faith in Christ more real by an
evangelical obedience to his teachings. Some of them called themselves
Disciples, holding that to follow Christ is quite enough. Others said that
no other name than Christian is required. They were Biblical in their
theology, and unsectarian in their attitude towards the forms and rituals
of the church. In time these scattered groups of earnest seekers for a
better Christian way, from Maine to Georgia, came to know each other and to
organize for the common good.

With the rapid growth of Methodism the Arminian view of man was widely
adopted. The Baptists received into their fellowship in all parts of New
England, at least, many who were not deeply in sympathy with their strict
rules, but who found with them a means of protesting against the harsher
methods of the "standing order" of Congregationalists. Their demand for
toleration and liberty of conscience began to receive recognition after the
Revolution, and their influence was a powerful one in bringing about the
separation of state and church. Those who were dissatisfied with a church
that taxed all the people, and that was upheld by state authority, found
with the Baptists a means of making their protest heard and felt.

In all directions the democratic spirit was being manifested, and
conditions which had been upheld by the restrictive authority of England
had to give way. The people were now speaking, and not the ministers only.
It was an age of individualism, and of the reassertion of the tendency that
had characterized New England from the first, but that had been held in
check by autocratic power. There was no outbreak, no rapid change, no
iconoclastic overturning of old institutions and customs, but the people
were coming to their own, thinking for themselves. In reality, the people
were conservative, especially in New England; and they moved slowly, there
was little infidelity, and steadily were the old ideals maintained. Yet the
individualism would assert itself. Men held the old creeds in distinctly
personal ways, and the churches grew into more and more of independency.

The theological development of the eighteenth century took two directions:
that of rationalism and a demand for free inquiry, as represented by
Jonathan Mayhew and William Bentley; and that of a philanthropic protest
against the harsh features of Calvinism, as represented by Charles Chauncy
and the Universalists. The demand that all theological problems should be
submitted to reason for vindication or readjustment was not widely urged;
but a few men recognized the worth of this claim, and applied this method
without hesitation. A larger number followed them with hesitating steps,
but with a growing confidence in reason as God's method for man's finding
and maintaining the truth. The other tendency grew out of a benevolent
desire to justify the ways of God to man, and was the expression of a
deepening faith that the Divine Being deals with his children in a fatherly
manner. That God is generous and loving was the faith of Dr. Chauncy, as it
was of the Universalists and of the more liberal party among the
Calvinists. Their philanthropic feelings toward their fellow-men seemed to
them representative of God's ways of dealing with his creatures.

[1] Levi L. Paine, A Critical History of the Evolution of Trinitarianism,
    105. "Nathaniel Emmons held tenaciously to three real persons. He said,
    'It is as easy to conceive of God existing in three persons as in one
    person.' This language shows that Emmons employed the term 'person' in
    the strict literal sense. The three are absolutely equal, this
    involving the metaphysical assumption that in the Trinity being and
    person are not coincident. Emmons is the first theologian who asserts
    that, though we cannot conceive that three persons should be one
    person, we may conceive that three persons may be one Being, 'if we
    only suppose that being may signify something different from person in
    respect to Deity.'"

[2] E.H. Gillett, History and Literature of the Unitarian Controversy.
    Historical Magazine, April 1871; second series, IX. 222.

[3] Letter to Scripturista by Paulinus, 18.

[4] William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, 222. When a
    copy of Dr. Jedediah Morse's little book on American Unitarianism was
    sent to John Adams, he acknowledged its receipt in the following

      QUINCY, May 15, 1815.

      _Dear Doctor_,--I thank you for your favor of the 10th, and the
      pamphlet enclosed, entitled American Unitarianism. I have turned
      over its leaves, and found nothing that was not familiarly known to
      me. In the preface Unitarianism is represented as only thirty years
      old in New England. I can testify as a witness to its old age.
      Sixty-five years ago my own minister, the Rev. Lemuel Briant; Dr.
      Jonathan Mayhew, of the West Church in Boston; the Rev. Mr. Shute,
      of Hingham; the Rev. John Brown, of Cohasset; and perhaps equal to
      all, if not above all, the, Rev. Mr. Gay, of Hingham, were
      Unitarians. Among the laity how many could I name, lawyers,
      physicians, tradesmen, farmers! But at present I will name only
      one, Richard Cranch, a man who had studied divinity, and Jewish and
      Christian antiquities, more than any clergyman now existing in New


    Also see C.F. Adams, Three Episodes of Massachusetts History, 643; and
    J.H. Allen, An Historical Sketch of the Unitarian Movement since the
    Reformation, 175.

[5] History of Hingham, I., Part II., 24, Memoir of Ebenezer Gay, by
    Solomon Lincoln.

[6] Sermons, 1755, 83.

[7] Ibid., 103.

[8] Ibid., 119.

[9] Ibid., 125.

[10] Ibid., 245.

[11] Sermons, 1755, 50.

[12] Ibid., 82.

[13] Sermons, 1755, 83.

[14] Ibid., 65.

[15] Ibid., 62.

[16] Ibid., 63.

[17] Ibid, 268, 269.

[18] Sermons, 1755, 275, 276.

[19] A. Bradford, Memoir of the Life and Writings of Rev. Jonathan Mayhew,
     D.D., 36.

[20] Ibid., 464.

[21] Letter from his daughter, quoted by Bartol, The West Church and its
     Ministers, 129.

[22] Sermons, 293

[23] C.A. Bartol, The West Church and its Ministers.

[24] Reply to Dr. Chandler, quoted in Sprague's Annals of the Unitarian
     Pulpit, 9.

[25] Remarks upon a Sermon of the Bishop of Landaff, quoted by Sprague.

[26] Chauncy's many published sermons and volumes are carefully enumerated
     by Paul Leicester Ford in his Bibliotheca Chaunciana, a List of the
     Writings of Charles Chauncy. He gives the titles of sixty-one books
     and pamphlets published by Chauncy, and of eighty-eight about him or
     in reply to him.

[27] Sprague's Annals, 49; W.J. Potter, History of the First Congregational
     Society, New Bedford.

[28] Sprague's Annals. 42.

[29] George Batchelor, Social Equilibrium, 263, 264.

[30] Ibid., 265.

[31] Sprague's Annals, 131.

[32] Father of the essayist of the same name.

[33] Joseph Priestley, 1733-1804, was one of the ablest of English
     Unitarians. Educated in non-conformist schools, in 1755 he became a
     Presbyterian minister. In 1761 he became a tutor in a non-conformist
     academy, and in 1767 he was settled over a congregation in Leeds. He
     was the librarian of Lord Shelburne from 1774 until he was settled in
     Birmingham as minister, in 1780. In 1791 a mob destroyed his house,
     his manuscripts, and his scientific apparatus, because of his liberal
     political views. After three years as a preacher in Hackney, he
     removed to the United States in 1794, and settled at Northumberland
     in Pennsylvania, where the remainder of his life was spent. He
     published one hundred and thirty distinct works, of which those best
     remembered are his Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, A
     History of the Corruptions of Christianity, and A General History of
     the Christian Church to the Fall of the Western Empire. He was the
     discoverer of oxygen, and holds a high place in the history of
     science. He was a materialist, but believed in immortality; and he
     believed that Christ was a man in his nature.

[34] C.S. Osgood and H.M. Batchelder, Historical Sketch of Salem, 86. "He
     took strong Arminian grounds; and under his lead the church became
     practically Unitarian in 1785, and was one of the first churches in
     America to adopt that faith."

[35] George Batchelor, Social Equilibrium, 270.

[36] Ibid., 267.

[37] Ibid., 283.

[38] E. Smalley, The Worcester Pulpit, 226, 232.

[39] See the Unitarian Advocate and Religious Miscellany, January, 1831,
     new series, III. 27, for Aaron Bancroft's recollections of this
     period. In the same volume was published Ezra Ripley's reminiscences,
     contained in the March, April, and May numbers. They are both of much
     importance for the history of this period. Also the third volume of
     first series, June, 1829, gives an important letter from Francis
     Parkman concerning Unitarianism in Boston in 1812.

[40] Life of Ashbel Green, President of Princeton College, 236.

[41] Life of Archibald Alexander, 252.

[42] Convention Sermon, 12, 13.

[43] Sprague, Annals of Unitarian Pulpit, 131.

[44] Ibid., 159.

[45] This is the statement of his daughter.

[46] Theophilus Lindsey, 1723-1808, was a curate in London, then the tutor
     of the Duke of Northumberland, and afterward a rector in Yorkshire
     and Dorsetshire. In 1763 he was settled at Catterick, in Yorkshire,
     where his study of the Bible led him to doubt the truth of the
     doctrine of the Trinity. In 1771 he joined with others in a petition
     to Parliament asking that clergymen might not be required to
     subscribe to the thirty-nine articles. When it was rejected a second
     time he resigned, went to London, and opened in a room in Essex
     Street, April 1774, the first permanent Unitarian meeting in England.
     A chapel was built for him in 1778, and he preached there until 1793.
     He published, in 1783, An Historical View of the State of the
     Unitarian Doctrine and Worship from the Reformation to our own Times,
     two volumes of sermons, and other works. In 1774 he published a
     revised Prayer Book according to the plan suggested by Dr. Samuel
     Clarke, which was used in the Essex Street Chapel.

[47] Four Generations of a Literary Family: The Hazlitts in England,
     Ireland, and America, 23, 26, 30, 40, 43, 50; Lamb and Hazlitt:
     Further Letters and Records, 11-15.

[48] Monthly Repository, III., 305. Mr. Hazlitt "arrived at Boston May 15,
     1784; and, having a letter to Mr. Eliot, who received him with great
     kindness, he was introduced on that very day to the Boston
     Association of Ministers. The venerable Chauncy, at whose house it
     happened to be held, entered into a familiar conversation with him,
     and showed him every possible respect as he learned that he had been
     acquainted with Dr. Price. Without knowing at the time anything of
     the occasion which led to it, ordination happened to be the general
     subject of discussion. After the different gentlemen had severally
     delivered their opinions, the stranger was requested to declare his
     sentiments, who unhesitatingly replied that the people or the
     congregation who chose any man to be their minister were his proper
     ordainers. Mr. Freeman, upon hearing this, jumped from his seat in a
     kind of transport, saying, 'I wish you could prove that, Sir,' The
     gentleman answered that 'few things could admit of an easier proof.'
     And from that moment a thorough intimacy commenced between him and
     Mr. Freeman. Soon after, the Boston prints being under no
     _imprimatur_, he published several letters in supporting the cause of
     Mr. Freeman. At the solicitation of Mr. Freeman he also published a
     Scriptural Confutation of the Thirty-nine Articles. Notice being
     circulated that this publication would appear on a particular day, the
     printer, apprised of this circumstance, threw off a hundred papers
     beyond his usual number, and had not one paper remaining upon his
     hands at noon. This publication in its consequences converted Mr.
     Freeman's congregation into a Unitarian church, which, as Mr. Freeman
     acknowledged, could never have been done without the labors of this

[49] American Unitarianism, from Belsham's Life of Lindsey, 12,

[50] American Unitarianism, 16.

[51] American Unitarianism, note.

[52] Ibid., 20.

[53] American Unitarianism, 17.

[54] "Oxnard was a merchant, born in Boston in 1740, but settled in
     Portland, where he married the daughter of General Preble, in 1787.
     He was a loyalist, and fled from the country at the outbreak of the
     war. He returned to Portland in 1787. A few years later, 1792, the
     Episcopal church being destitute of a minister, he was engaged as lay
     reader, with the intention of taking orders. His Unitarianism put a
     sudden end to his Episcopacy, but not to his preaching. He gathered a
     small congregation in the school-house, and preached sometimes
     sermons of his own, but more often of other men. He died in 1799."
     John C. Perkins, How the First Parish became Unitarian,--historical
     sermon preached in Portland.

[55] American Unitarianism, 18.

[56] Ibid., 17, 20.

[57] American Unitarianism, 24.

[58] American Unitarianism, 22.

[59] Church Records, in MS., II. 7.

[60] Rev. Thomas Robbins, Diary for October 13, 1799, I. 97, heard Mr.
     Kendall, and said: "He appears to be an Arminian in full. I fear he
     will lead many souls astray." See John Cuckson, A Brief History of
     the First Church in Plymouth, eighth chapter.

[61] Chauncy against Chandler, 152.

[62] These particulars are taken from the Debates and Proceedings in the
     Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts held in the year
     1788, and which finally ratified the Constitution of the United
     States, Boston, 1856.



In the spring of 1805 Rev. Henry Ware, who had been for nearly twenty years
pastor of the first church in the town of Hingham, was inaugurated as the
Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard College. The place had been made
vacant by the death of Professor David Tappan, who was a moderate
Calvinist; that is, one who recognized the sovereignty of God, but allowed
to man a limited opportunity for personal effort in the process of
salvation. It was assumed by the conservative party that a Calvinist would
be appointed, because the founder of this important professorship, it was
claimed, was of that way of thinking, and so conditioned his gift as to
require that no one but a Calvinist should hold the position. This was
strenuously denied by the liberals, who maintained that Hollis was not only
liberal and catholic in his own theology, but that he made no such
restrictions as were claimed.[1] When the nomination of Mr. Ware was
presented to the overseers, it was strongly opposed; but he was elected by
a considerable majority. A pamphlet soon appeared in opposition to him, and
this was the beginning of a controversy that lasted for a quarter of a

This war of pamphlets was made more furious by Rev. John Sherman's One God
in One Person Only, and Rev. Hosea Ballou's Treatise on the Atonement, both
of which appeared in 1805. Mr. Sherman's book was described in The Monthly
Anthology as "one of the first acts of direct hostility against the
orthodox committed on these western shores."[3] The little book by Hosea
Ballou had small influence on the current of religious thinking outside the
Universalist body, to which he belonged, and probably did not at all enter
into the controversy between the orthodox and the liberal
Congregationalists. It was, however, the first positive statement of the
doctrine of the atonement in a rational form, not as expiatory, but as
reconciling man to the loving authority of God. Within a decade it brought
the leading Universalists to the Unitarian position.[4] These works were
followed, in 1810, by Rev. Noah Worcester's Bible News of the Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost, which presented clearly and forcibly an Arian view of the
Trinity, or the subordination of Christ to God. These definitions of their
position on the part of the liberals were met by the publication of The
Panoplist, which was begun by Dr. Jedidiah Morse, of Charlestown, Mass., in
1805. This magazine interpreted the orthodox positions, and devoted itself
zealously to the defence of the old ideas, as understood by its editors. It
was not vehemently aggressive, but was largely devoted to general religious
interests, and to the promotion of a higher spirit of devotion. It was
followed by The Spirit of the Pilgrims, which was more combative, and in
some degree intolerant. In the year 1808 the Andover Theological School was
founded, the result of a reconciliation between the Hopkinsians and the
Calvinists of the old type, affording an opportunity for theological
training on the part of those who could not accept the liberal attitude of

Most of the liberal men of this time refused to bring their beliefs to the
test of exact definition. It was their opinion that no theological
statement can have high value in relation to Christian attainments. Under
these conditions were trained the men who became the leaders in the early
Unitarian movement. William Ellery Channing, who was settled over the
Federal Street Church in June, 1803, was distinctly evangelical, and of a
profound and earnest piety. Slowly he grew to accept the liberal attitude,
as the result of his love of freedom, his lofty spirituality of nature, and
his tolerant and generous cast of mind. He gave spiritual and intellectual
direction to the new movement, guided its philanthropic efforts, and
brought to noble issue its spiritual philosophy. Early in the year 1804,
Joseph Stevens Buckminster was settled over the Brattle Street Church; and,
though he preached but a little over six years before a blighting disease
took him away, yet he left behind a tradition of great pulpit gifts and a
wonderfully attractive personality. Another to die in early manhood was
Samuel Cooper Thacher, who was settled at the New South in 1811, and who
was long remembered for his scholarship and his zeal in the work which he
had undertaken. Charles Lowell went to the West Church in 1806, and he
nobly sustained the traditions for liberality and spiritual freedom that
had gathered about that place of worship. In 1814 appeared Edward Everett,
at the age of twenty (which had been that of Buckminster when he entered
the pulpit), as the minister of the Brattle Street Church, to charm with
his eloquence, learning, grace, and power. Francis Parkman began his career
at the New North in 1812,--"a man of various information, a kind spirit,
singular benevolence, polished yet simple manners, fine literary
taste."[5] A few years later John Gorham Palfrey became the minister of
the Brattle Street Church, and James Walker was settled over the Harvard
Church in Charlestown. Among the laymen in the churches to which these men
preached were many persons of distinction. The liberal fellowship,
therefore, was of the highest social and intellectual standing. The piety
of the churches was serious, if not profound; and the religion presented
was simple, sincere, intellectual, and earnestly spiritual.

[Sidenote: The Monthly Anthology.]

The practical and tolerant aims of the liberals were shown by the manner in
which they began to give expression publicly to their position. In The
Monthly Anthology they first found voice, although that publication was
started without the slightest controversial purpose. Begun by a young man
as a monthly literary journal in 1803, when he found it would not support
him, he abandoned it;[6] and the publishers asked Rev. William Emerson,
the minister of the First Church in Boston, to take charge of it. He
consented to do so, and gathered about him a company of friends to aid him
in its management. Their meetings finally grew into The Anthology Club,
which continued the publication through ten volumes. Among the members were
William Emerson, Samuel Cooper Thacher, Joseph S. Buckminster, and Joseph
Tuckerman, pastors of churches in Boston and vicinity of the liberal
school. There was also John S.J. Gardiner, the rector of Trinity Church,
who was the president of the club throughout the whole period of its
existence, and one of the most frequent contributors to the periodical. The
members were not drawn together by any sectarian spirit, but by a common
aim of doing something for literature, and for the advancement of culture.
The Monthly Anthology was the first distinctly literary journal published
in this country. It had an important influence in developing the
intellectual tastes of New England, and of giving initiative to its
literary capacities. The spirit of The Monthly Anthology was broad and
catholic. Naturally, therefore, in its pages the liberals made their first
protest against party aims and methods. In a few instances theological
problems were discussed, the extreme Trinitarian doctrines were criticised,
and the liberal attitude was defended.

[Sidenote: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity.]

In the year 1806 Rev. William Emerson began the publication of The
Christian Monitor, in his capacity as the secretary of the Society for
promoting Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity, a society then newly
founded by residents of Boston and its vicinity for the purpose of
publishing enlightened and practical tracts and books. This series of small
books, each containing one hundred and fifty or two hundred pages, and
issued quarterly, was begun for the purpose of publishing devotional works
of a practical and liberal type. The first number contained prayers and
devotional exercises for personal or family use, and there followed Bishop
Newcombe's Life and Character of Christ, a condensed reproduction of Law's
Serious Call, Bishop Hall's Contemplations, Erskine's Letters to the
Bereaved, and two or three volumes of sermons on religious duties and the
education of children.

Besides The Christian Monitor this society issued a series of Religious
Tracts which had a considerable circulation. Then it undertook the
publication of books for children, and for family reading. In aiming to
publish works of pure morality and practical piety, its methods were
thoroughly catholic and liberal; for it was unsectarian, and yet earnestly
Christian. The spirit and methods of this society were thoroughly
characteristic of the time when it was organized, and of the men who gave
it life and purpose. Not dogma, but piety, was what they desired. In the
truest sense they were unsectarian Christians, zealous for good works and a
devout life.[7]

[Sidenote: General Repository.]

The Monthly Anthology and The Christian Monitor represented the mild and
undogmatic attitude of the liberals, their shrinking from all controversy,
and their desire to devote their labors wholly to the promotion of a
tolerant and catholic Christianity. The beginning of the controversial
spirit on the liberal side found expression in The General Repository and
Review, which was begun in Cambridge by Rev. Andrews Norton, in April,
1812. In the first number of this quarterly review the editor said that the
discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity "in our own country has hitherto
been chiefly confined to private circles," and cited the books of John
Sherman and Noah Worcester as the only exceptions. The review opened,
however, with a defence of liberal Christianity which was aggressive and
outspoken. In later issues an energetic statement was made of the liberal
position, the controversial articles were able and explicit, and in a
manner hitherto quite unknown on the part of what the editor called
"catholic Christians." One of the numbers contained a long and interesting
survey of the religious interests of the country, and summed up in an
admirable manner the prospects for the liberal churches. After the
publication of the sixth number, Mr. Norton withdrew from the work to
become the librarian of Harvard College; and it was continued through two
more issues by "a society of gentlemen." To this journal Mr. Norton was by
far the largest contributor; but other writers were Edward Everett, and his
brother, Alexander H. Everett, Joseph S. Buckminster, John T. Kirkland,
Sidney Willard, George Ticknor, Washington Allston, John Lowell, Noah
Worcester, and James Freeman, most of them connected with Harvard College
or with the liberal churches in Boston. It is evident, however, that the
liberal public was not yet ready for so aggressive and out-spoken a

[Sidenote: The Christian Disciple.]

What was desired was something milder, less aggressive, of a distinctly
religious and conciliatory character. To this end Drs. Channing, Charles
Lowell, and Tuckerman, and Rev. S.C. Thatcher, with whom was afterwards
associated Rev. Francis Parkman, planned a monthly magazine that should be
liberal in its character, but not sectarian or dogmatic. They invited Rev.
Noah Worcester, whose Bible News had cost him his pulpit, to remove from
New Hampshire to Boston to become its editor. Although Mr. Worcester's
beliefs affiliated him with the Hopkinsians in everything except his
attitude in regard to the inferiority of Christ to God, yet he was
compelled to withdraw from his old connections, and to find new fields of
activity. He began The Christian Disciple as a religious and family
magazine, the first number being issued in May, 1813. It was not designed
for theological discussion or distinctly for the defence of the liberal
position. Its tone was conciliatory and moderate, while it zealously
defended religious liberty and charity. Its aim was practical and
humanitarian, to help men live the Christian life, as individuals, and in
their social relations. When it touched upon controverted questions, it was
in an expository manner, with the purpose of instructing its readers, and
of leading them to a higher appreciation of true religion. As his
biographer well said of Noah Worcester, he made this work "distinguished
for its unqualified devotedness to the individual rights of opinion, and
the sacred duty of a liberal regard to them in other men."[8]

Dr. Worcester was not so much a theologian as a philanthropist; and, if he
was drawn into controversy, it was accidentally, and much to his surprise
and disappointment. It was not for the sake of defending his own positions
that he replied to his critics, but in the name of truth, and from an
exacting sense of duty. His gentle, loving, and sympathetic nature unfitted
him for intellectual contentions; and he much preferred to devote himself
to philanthropies and reforms. In the briefest way The Christian Disciple
reported the doings of the liberal churches and men, but it gave much space
to all kinds of organizations of a humanitarian character. It advocated the
temperance reform with earnestness, and this at a time when there were few
other voices speaking in its behalf. It devoted many pages to the
condemnation of slavery, and to the approval of all efforts to secure its
mitigation or its abolition. It gave large attention to the evils of war, a
subject which more and more absorbed the interest of the editor. It
condemned duelling in the most emphatic terms, as it did all forms of
aggressiveness and inhumanity. In spirit Dr. Worcester was as much a
non-resistant as Tolstoï, and for much the same reasons. More extended
reports of Bible societies were given than of any other kind of
organization, and these societies especially enlisted the interest of Dr.
Worcester and his associates.

With the end of 1818 Dr. Worcester withdrew from the editorship of The
Christian Disciple, to devote himself to the cause of peace, the interests
of Christian amity and goodwill, and the exposition of his own theological
convictions. The management of the magazine came into the hands of its
original proprietors, who continued its publication.

Under the new management the circulation of the magazine increased. At
first the younger Henry Ware became the editor, and he carried the work
through the six volumes published before it took a new name. It became more
distinctly theological in its purpose, and it undertook the task of
presenting and defending the views of the liberals. In 1824 The Christian
Disciple passed into the hands of Rev. John Gorham Palfrey, and he changed
its name to The Christian Examiner without changing its general character.
At the end of two years Mr. Francis Jenks became the editor, but in 1831 it
came under the control of Rev. James Walker and Rev. Francis W.P.
Greenwood. Gradually it became the organ of the higher intellectual life of
the Unitarians, and gave expression to their interest in literature,
general culture, and the philanthropies, as well as theological knowledge.
The sub-title of Theological Review, which it bore during the first five
volumes, indicated its preference for subjects of speculative religious
interest; but during the half-century of its best influence it was the
General Review or the Religious Miscellany, showing that it was theological
only in the broadest spirit.

[Sidenote: Dr. Morse and American Unitarianism.]

Reluctant as the liberal men were, to take a denominational position, and
to commit themselves to the interests of a party in religion, or even to
withdraw themselves in any way from the churches with which they had been
connected, they were compelled to do so by the force of conditions they
could not control. One of the first distinct lines of separation was caused
by the refusal of the more conservative men to exchange pulpits with their
liberal neighbors. This tendency first began to show itself about the year
1810; and it received a decided impetus from the attitude taken by Rev.
John Codman, who in 1808 became the minister of the Second Church in
Dorchester. He refused to exchange with several of the liberal ministers of
the Boston Association, although he was an intimate friend of Dr. Channing,
who had directed his theological training, and also preached his ordination
sermon. The more liberal members of his parish attempted to compel him to
exchange with the Boston ministers without regard to theological beliefs;
and a long contention followed, with the result that the more liberal part
of his congregation withdrew in 1813, and formed the Third Religious
Society in Dorchester.[9] The withdrawal of ministerial courtesies of
this kind gradually increased, especially after the controversies that
began in 1815, though it was not until many years later that exchanges
between the two parties ceased.

In 1815 Dr. Jedidiah Morse, the editor of The Panoplist, and the author of
various school books in geography and history, published in a little book
of about one hundred pages, which bore the title of American Unitarianism,
a chapter from Thomas Belsham's[10] biography of Theophilus Lindsey, in
which Dr. Lindsey's American correspondents, including prominent ministers
in Boston and other parts of New England, had declared their Unitarianism.
Morse also published an article in The Panoplist, setting forth that these
ministers had not the courage of their convictions, that, while they were
Unitarians, they had withheld their opinions from open utterance. His
object was to force them to declare themselves, and either to retract their
heresies or else to state them and to withdraw from the churches with which
they had been connected. In a letter addressed to Rev. Samuel C. Thacher,
Dr. Channing gave to the public a reply to these charges of insincerity and
want of open-mindedness. He said that, while many of the ministers and
members of their congregations were Unitarians, they did not accept Dr.
Belsham's type of Unitarianism, which made Christ a man. He declared that
no open declaration of Unitarianism had been made, because they were not in
love with the sectarian spirit, and because they were quite unwilling to
indulge in any form of proselyting. "Accustomed as we are," he wrote, "to
see genuine piety in all classes of Christians, in Trinitarians and
Unitarians, in Calvinists and Arminians, in Episcopalians, Methodists,
Baptists, and Congregationalists, and delighting in this character wherever
it appears, we are little anxious to bring men over to our peculiar

The publication of Dr. Morse's book, however, gave new emphasis to the
spirit of separation which was soon to compel the formation of a new
denomination. It was followed four years later by Dr. Channing's Baltimore
sermon and by other positive declarations of theological opinion.[12] From
that time the controversy raged fiercely, and any possibility of
reconciliation was removed. Before this time those who were not orthodox
had called themselves Catholic, Christians or Liberal Christians to
designate their attitude of toleration and liberality. The orthodox had
called them Unitarians; and especially was this attempted by Dr. Morse in
the introduction to his American Unitarianism, in order to fasten upon them
the objectionable name given to the English liberals. It was assumed that
the American liberals must agree with the English in their materialism and
in their conception of Christ as a man. Dr. Channing repudiated this
assumption, and declared it unjust and untrue; but he accepted the word
Unitarian and gave it a meaning of his own. Channing defined the word to
mean only anti-Trinitarianism; and he accepted it because it seemed to him
presumptuous to use the word liberal as applied to a party, whereas it may
be applicable to men of all opinions.

[Sidenote: Evangelical Missionary Society.]

Of more interest than these contentions in behalf of theological opinions
is the way in which the liberal party brought itself to the task of
manifesting its own purposes. Its first organizations were tentative and
inclusive, without theological purpose or bias. No distinct lines were
drawn, and to them belonged orthodox and liberal alike. Their sole
distinguishing attitude was a catholicity of temper that permitted the free
activity of the liberals. One of the first organizations of this kind was
the Evangelical Missionary Society, which was formed by several of the
ministers resident in Worcester and Middlesex Counties. The first meeting
was held in Lancaster, November 4, 1807, when a constitution was adopted
and the society elected officers. "The great object of this Society," said
the constitution, "is to furnish the means of Christian knowledge and moral
improvement to those inhabitants of our own country who are destitute or
poorly provided." The growth of the country, even in New England (for the
operations of the society were confined to that region), developed many
communities in which the population was scattered, and without adequate
means of education and religion. To aid these communities in securing good
teachers and ministers was the purpose of the society. It refused to send
forth itinerants, but carefully selected such towns as gave promise of
permanent growth, and sent to them ministers instructed to organize
churches and to promote the building of meeting-houses. In this way it was
the means of establishing a number of churches in Maine, New Hampshire, and
Massachusetts. It also sent a number of teachers into new settlements in
Maine, who were successful in training many of their pupils for teaching in
the public schools. In several instances minister and teacher were combined
in one person, but the work was none the less effective.

In 1816 this society was incorporated, its membership was broadened to
include the state, and active aid and financial support were given it by
the churches in Boston and Salem. It was not sectarian, though, after its
incorporation, its membership was more largely recruited from liberals. In
time it became distinctly Unitarian in its character, and such it has
remained to the present day. Very slowly, however, did it permit itself to
lose any of its marks of catholicity and inclusiveness. In the end its
membership was confined to Unitarians because no one else wished to share
in its unsectarian purposes. At the present time this society does a quiet
and helpful work in the way of aiding churches that have ceased to be
self-supporting because of the shifting conditions of population, and in
affording friendly assistance to ministers in times of distress or when old
age has come upon them.

[Sidenote: The Berry Street Conference.]

The first meeting of the liberal ministers for organization was held in the
vestry of the Federal Street Church[13] on the evening of May 30, 1820,
which immediately preceded election day, the time when anniversary meetings
were usually held. The ministers of the state then gathered in Boston to
hear the election sermon, and for such counselling of each other as their
congregational methods made desirable. At this meeting Dr. Channing gave an
address stating the objects that had brought those present together, and
the desirability of their drawing near each other as liberal men for mutual
aid and support. "It was thought by some of us," he said, "that the
ministers of this commonwealth who are known to agree in what are called
liberal and catholic views of Christianity needed a bond of union, a means
of intercourse, and an opportunity of conference not as yet enjoyed. It was
thought that by meeting to join their prayers and counsels, to report the
state and prospects of religion in different parts of the commonwealth, to
communicate the methods of advancing it which have been found most
successful, to give warning of dangers not generally apprehended, to seek
advice in difficulties, and to take a broad survey of our ecclesiastical
affairs and of the wants of our churches, much light, strength, comfort,
animation, zeal, would be spread through our body. The individuals who
originated this plan were agreed that, whilst the meeting should be
confined to those who harmonize generally in opinion, it should be
considered as having for its object, not simply the advancement of their
peculiar views, but the general diffusion of practical religion and of the
spirit of Christianity."

As this address indicates in every word of it the liberal men were
sensitively anxious to put no fetters on each other; and their reluctance
to circumscribe their own personal freedom was extreme. This was the cause
that had thus far prevented any effectual organization, and it now withheld
the members from any but the most tentative methods. Having escaped from
the bondage of sect, they were suspicious of everything that in any manner
gave indication of denominational restrictions.

[Sidenote: The Publishing Fund Society.]

In May, 1821, a year later than the foundation of the Berry Street
Conference, several gentlemen in Boston, "desirous of promoting the
circulation of works adapted to improve the public mind in religion and
morality," met and established a Publishing Fund. The publishing committee
then appointed consisted of Dr. Joseph Tuckerman, Dr. John Gorham Palfrey,
and Mr. George Ticknor. The Publishing Fund Society refused to print
doctrinal tracts or those devoted in any way to sectarian interests. The
members of the society made declaration that their publications had nothing
to do with any of the isms in religion. Their great object was the increase
of practical goodness, the improvement of men in all that truly exalts and
ennobles them or that qualifies them for usefulness and happiness. Most of
their tracts were in the form of stories of a didactic character, in which
the writers assumed the broad principles of Christian theology and ethics
which are common to all the followers of Christ, without meddling with
sectarian prejudice or party views. In such statements as these the
promoters of this work indicated their methods, their aim being to furnish
good reading to youth, and to those in scattered communities who could not
have access to books that were instructive. Besides the tracts of this kind
the society also published a series for adults, which were of a more
strictly devotional character, and yet did not omit to provide
entertainment and instruction.[14] This society continued its work for
many years, and it issued a considerable number of tracts and books that
well served the purpose for which they were designed.

[Sidenote: Harvard Divinity School.]

One important result of the theological discussions of the time was the
organization of the Divinity School in connection with Harvard College. The
eighteenth-century method of preparation for the ministerial office was to
study with some settled pastor, who directed the reading of the student,
gave him practical acquaintance with the labors of a pastor, and initiated
him into the profession by securing for him the "approbation" of the
ministerial association with which he was connected. Another method was for
the student to continue his residence in Cambridge, and follow his
theological studies under the guidance of the president and the Hollis
professor, making use of the library of the college. When Rev. Henry Ware
was inducted into the Hollis professorship, it was seen that some more
systematic method of theological study was desirable. He gradually enlarged
the scope of his activities, and in 1811 he began a systematic courser of
instruction for the resident students in theology. Ware "was one of those
genuine lovers of reform and progress," as John Gorham Palfrey said, "who
are always ready for any innovation for the better; who, in the pursuit of
what is truly good and useful, are not only content to move on with the
age, but desirous to move on before it."[15] This effort of his to improve
the methods of theological study proved to be the germ of the existing
Divinity School.

The Hollis professorship of divinity was founded by Thomas Hollis, of
London, in 1721. Samuel Dexter, of Boston, established a lectureship of
Biblical criticism in 1811. Both the professorship and the lectureship were
designed for the undergraduates, and not primarily for students in
theology. In 1815, however, it became apparent to some of the liberals that
a school wholly devoted to the preparation of young men for the ministry
was needed.

Those who subscribed to the $30,000 secured for this purpose were in 1816
formed into the Society for the Promotion of Theological Education in
Harvard University. This society rendered efficient aid to the school for
several years. At a meeting held at the Boston Athenaeum, July 17, 1816,
Rev. John T. Kirkland became its president, Rev. Francis Parkman, recording
secretary, Rev. Charles Lowell, corresponding secretary, and Jonathan
Phillips, treasurer. The society was supported by annual subscriptions,
life subscriptions, and donations. The school began its work in 1816, with
Rev. Andrews Norton as the Dexter lecturer on Biblical criticism, Rev. J.T.
Kirkland as instructor in systematic theology, Rev. Edward Everett in the
criticism of the Septaugint, Professor Sidney Willard in Hebrew, and
Professor Levi Frisbie in ethics. In 1819 Mr. Norton was advanced to a
professorship, and thereafter devoted his whole time to the school; and
during that year the school was divided into three classes. In 1824 the
Society for the Promotion of Theological Education took the general
direction of the school, arranging the course of study and otherwise
assuming a supervision, which continued until 1831, when the school
received a place as one of the departments of the University. In 1826 a
building was erected for the school by the society, which has borne the
name of Divinity Hall. In 1828 a professorship of pulpit eloquence and
pastoral care was established by the society, and in 1830 the younger Henry
Ware entered upon its duties.[16] He was succeeded in 1842 by Rev. Convers
Francis. In 1830 Rev. John Gorham Palfrey became the professor of Biblical
literature, and soon after the instructor in Hebrew. Rev. George Rapall
Noyes, in 1840, took the Hancock professorship of Hebrew and the Dexter
lectureship in Biblical criticism.

Though organized and conducted by the Unitarians, the Divinity School was
from the first unsectarian in its purpose and methods; for the Society for
the Promotion of Theological Education, on its organization, put into its
constitution this fundamental law: "It being understood that every
encouragement be given to the serious, impartial and unbiassed
investigation of Christian truth, and that no assent to the peculiarities
of any denomination, be required either of the students or professors or

[Sidenote: The Unitarian Miscellany.]

The first outspoken periodical on the liberal side that aimed at being
distinctly denominational was published in Baltimore. Dr. Freeman preached
in that city in 1816, with the result that during the following year a
church was organized there. It was there in 1819, on the occasion of the
ordination of Rev. Jared Sparks as the first minister of this church, that
Dr. Channing gave utterance to the first great declaration of the Unitarian
position, in a sermon that has never been surpassed in this country as an
intellectual interpretation of the highest spiritual problems.

In January, 1821, Rev. Jared Sparks began the publication in Baltimore of
The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor; and for three years he was
its editor. For another three years it was conducted by his successor in
the Baltimore pulpit, Rev. Francis W.P. Greenwood, who continued it until
he became the minister of King's Chapel, when it ceased to exist. During
the six years of its publication this magazine was ably edited. It was
controversial in a liberal spirit, it was positively denominational, and it
had a large and widely extended circulation. It reported all prominent
Unitarian events, and those of a liberal tendency in all religious bodies.
Attacks on Unitarianism were repelled, and the Unitarian position was
explained and vindicated. Mr. Sparks was as aggressive as Andrews Norton
had been, and was by no means willing to keep to the quiet and reticent
manner of the Unitarians of Boston. When he was attacked, he replied with
energy and skill; and he carried the war into the enemies' camp. His
magazine was far more positive than anything the liberals had hitherto put
forth, and its methods were viewed with something of suspicion in the
conservative circles of Massachusetts. He published a series of letters on
the Episcopal Church in The Unitarian Miscellany, which he enlarged and put
into a book.[17] Another series of letters was on the comparative moral
tendencies of Trinitarian and Unitarian doctrines, and these grew into a
volume.[18] Both were in reply to attacks made upon him, and both were
regarded with suspicion and doubt by the men about Cambridge; but, in time,
they came to see that his method was sincere, learned, and honest.

In The Unitarian Miscellany, as in all their utterances of this time, the
Unitarians manifested much anxiety to maintain their position as the true
expounders of primitive Christianity. They did not covet a place outside
the larger fellowship of the Christian faith. A favorite method of
vindicating their right to Christian recognition was by the publication of
the works of liberal orthodox writers of previous generations. Such an
attempt was made by Jared Sparks in his Collection of Essays and Tracts in
Theology, with Biographical and Critical Notices, issued in Boston from
1823 to 1826. In the general preface to these six volumes, Mr. Sparks said
that "the only undeviating rule of selection will be that every article
chosen shall be marked with rational and liberal views of Christianity, and
suited to inform the mind or improve the temper and practice," and that the
series was "designed to promote the cause of sacred learning, of truth and
charity, of religious freedom and rational piety." In the first volume were
included Turretin's essay on the fundamentals of religious truth, a number
of short essays by Firmin Abauzit, Francis Blackburne's discussion of the
value of confessions of faith, and several essays by Bishop Hoadley. That
these writings have now no significance, even to intelligent readers, does
not detract from the value of their publication; for they had a living
meaning and power. Other writers, drawn upon in the succeeding volumes were
Isaac Newton, Jeremy Taylor, John Locke, Isaac Watts, William Penn, and
Mrs. Barbauld. The catholicity of the editor was shown in the wide range of
his authors, whose doctrinal connections covered the whole field of
Christian theology.

In the publication of The Unitarian Miscellany, Mr. Sparks had the business
aid of the Baltimore Unitarian Book Society, formed November 19, 1820,
which was organized to carry on this work, and to disseminate other liberal
books and tracts. This society distributed Bibles, "and such other books as
contain rational and consistent views of Christian doctrines, and are
calculated to promote a correct faith, sincere piety, and a holy practice."
In the year 1821 was formed the Unitarian Library and Tract Society of New
York; and similar societies were started in Philadelphia and Charleston
soon after, as well as in other cities. Some of these societies published
books, tracts, and periodicals, all of them distributed Unitarian
publications, and libraries were formed of liberal works. The most
successful of these societies, which soon numbered a score or two, was that
in Baltimore. This society extended its missionary operations with the
printed page widely, sending tracts into every part of the country, the
demand for them having become very large. Its periodical had an extended
circulation, its cheapness, its popular character, and its outspoken
attitude on doctrinal questions serving to make it the most successful of
the liberal publications of the time.[19]

[Sidenote: The Christian Register.]

On April 20, 1821, was issued the first number of The Christian Register,
the regular weekly publication of which began with August 24 of that year.
Its four pages contained four columns each, but the third of these pages
was given to secular news and advertisements. The first page was devoted to
general religious subjects, the second discussed those topics which were of
special interest to Unitarians, while the fourth was given to literary
miscellanies. Almost nothing of church news was reported, and only in a
limited way was the paper denominational. It was a general religious
newspaper of a kind that was acceptable to the liberals, and it defended
and interpreted their cause when occasion demanded. The paper was started
wholly as an individual enterprise by its publisher, Rev. David Reed, who
acted for about five years as its editor. He had the encouragement of the
leading Unitarians of Boston and its vicinity; and, when such men as
Channing, Ware, and Norton wished to speak for the Unitarians, its columns
were open to them. Among the other early contributors were Kirkland, Story,
Edward Everett, Walker, Dewey, Furness, Palfrey, Gannett, Noah Worcester,
Greenwood, Bancroft, Sparks, Alexander Young, Freeman, Burnap, Pierpont,
Noyes, Lowell, Frothingham, and Pierce.

In his prospectus the publisher spoke of the growth of the spirit of free
religious inquiry in the country; and he said that in all classes of the
community there was an eagerness to understand theological questions, and
to arrive at and practice the genuine principles of Christianity. His ideal
was a periodical that should present the same doctrines and temper as The
Christian Disciple, but that would be of a more popular character. "The
great object of The Christian Register," he said to his readers, "will be
to inculcate the principles of a rational faith, and to promote the
practice of genuine piety. To accomplish this purpose it will aim to excite
a spirit of free and independent religious inquiry, and to assist in
ascertaining and bringing into use the true principles of interpreting the

For a number of years The Christian Register conformed to "the mild and
amiable spirit" in which it began its career, rarely being aroused to an
aggressive attitude, and seldom undertaking to speak for Unitarianism as a
distinct form of Christianity. When the liberals were fiercely attacked, it
spoke out, as, for instance, at the time when the Unitarians were charged
with stealing churches from the orthodox.[20] Otherwise it was mild and
placid enough, given to expressing its friendly interest in every kind of
reform, from the education of women to the emancipation of slaves,
thoroughly humanitarian in its attitude, not doctrinal or controversial,
but faithfully catholic and tolerant. It was a well-conducted periodical,
represented a wide range of interests, and was admirably suited to
interpret the temper and spirit of a rational religion. It is now the
oldest weekly religious newspaper published in this country. As the leading
Unitarian periodical, it is still conducted with notable enterprise and

Another periodical also deserves mention in this connection, and that is
the North American Review, which was begun by William Tudor, one of the
members of The Anthology Club, in May, 1815. While it was not religious in
its character, it was from the first, and for more than sixty years, edited
by Unitarians; and its contributors were very largely from that religious
body. The same tendencies and conditions that led the liberals to establish
The Monthly Anthology, The Christian Disciple, and The Christian Examiner,
gave demand amongst them for a distinctly literary and critical journal.
They had gained that form of liberated and catholic culture which made such
works possible, and to a large extent they afforded the public necessary to
their support. Mr. Tudor was succeeded as the editor of the review by
Professor Edward T. Channing, and then followed in succession Edward
Everett, Jared Sparks, Alexander H. Everett, John Gorham Palfrey, Francis
Bowen, and Andrew P. Peabody, all Unitarians. Among the early Unitarian
contributors were Nathan Hale, Joseph Story, Nathaniel Bowditch, W.H.
Prescott, William Cullen Bryant, and Theophilus Parsons. For many years few
of the regular contributors were from any other religious body, not because
the editors put restrictions upon others, but because those who were
interested in general literary, historical, and scientific subjects
belonged almost exclusively to the churches of this faith.

[Sidenote: Results of the Division in Congregationalism.]

The controversy which began in 1805 continued for about twenty years. The
pamphlets and books it brought forth are almost forgotten, and they would
have little interest at the present time. They gradually widened the breach
between the orthodox and the liberal Congregationalists. It would be
difficult to name a decisive date for their actual separation. The
organization of the societies, and the establishment of the periodicals
already mentioned, were successive steps to that result. The most important
event was undoubtedly the formation of the American Unitarian Association,
in 1825; but even that important movement on the part of the Unitarians did
not bring about a final separation. Individual churches and ministers
continued to treat each other with the same courtesy and hospitality as

That the breach was inevitable seems to be the verdict of history; and yet
it is not difficult to see to-day how it might have been avoided. The
Unitarians were dealt with in such a manner that they could not continue
the old connection without great discomfort and loss of self-respect. They
were forced to organize for self-protection, and yet they did so
reluctantly and with much misgiving. They would have preferred to remain as
members of the united Congregational body, but the theological temper of
the time made this impossible. It would not be just to say that there was
actual persecution, but there could not be unity where there was not
community of thought and faith.

When the division in the Congregational churches came, one hundred and
twenty-five churches allied themselves with the Unitarians,--one hundred in
Massachusetts, a score in other parts of New England, and a half-dozen west
of the Hudson River. These churches numbered among them, however, many of
the oldest and the strongest, including about twenty of the first
twenty-five organized in Massachusetts, and among them Plymouth (organized
in Scrooby), Salem, Dorchester, Boston, Watertown, Roxbury, Hingham,
Concord, and Quincy. The ten Congregational churches in Boston, with the
exception of the Old South, allied themselves with the Unitarians. Other
first churches to take this action were those of Portsmouth, Kennebunk, and

Outside New England a beginning was made almost as soon as the Unitarian
name came into recognition. At Charleston, S.C., the Congregational church,
which had been very liberal, was divided in 1816 as the result of the
preaching of Rev. Anthony Forster. He was led to read the works of Dr.
Priestley, and became a Unitarian in consequence. Owing to ill-health, he
was soon obliged to resign; and Rev. Samuel Gilman was installed in 1819.
Rev. Robert Little, an English Unitarian, took up his residence in
Washington in 1819, and began to preach there; and a church was organized
in 1821. While chaplain of the House of Representatives, in 1821-22, Jared
Sparks preached to this society fortnightly, and in the House Chamber on
the alternate Sunday. When he went to Charleston, in 1819, to assist in the
installation of Mr. Gilman, he preached to a very large congregation in the
state-house in Raleigh; and the next year he spoke to large congregations
in Virginia.[21] More than a decade earlier there were individual
Unitarians in Kentucky.[22] On his journey to the ordination of Jared
Sparks, Dr. Channing preached in a New York parlor; and on his return he
occupied the lecture-hall of the Medical School. The result was the First
Congregational Church (All Souls'), organized in 1819, which was followed
by the Church of the Messiah in 1825. In fact, many of the more intelligent
and thoughtful persons everywhere were inclined to accept a liberal
interpretation of Christianity.

Although the Congregational body was divided into two distinct
denominations, there were three organizations, formed prior to that event,
which have remained intact to this day. In these societies Orthodox and
Unitarian continue to unite as Congregationalists, and the sectarian lines
are not recognized. The first of these organizations is the Massachusetts
Congregational Charitable Society, which was formed early in the eighteenth
century for the purpose of securing "support to the widows and children of
deceased congregational ministers." The second is the Massachusetts
Convention of Congregational Ministers, also formed early in the eighteenth
century, although its records begin only with the year 1748. It was formed
for consultation, advice, and counsel, to aid orphans and widows of
ministers, and to secure the general promotion of the interests of
religion. The convention sermon has been one of the recognized institutions
of Massachusetts, and since the beginning of the Unitarian controversy it
has been preached alternately by ministers of the two denominations. The
Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians and Others in North
America was formed in 1787. The members, officers, and missionaries of this
society have been of both denominations; and the work accomplished has been
carried on in a spirit of amity and good-will. These societies indicate
that co-operation may be secured without theological unity, and it is
possible that they may become the basis in the future of a closer sympathy
and fellowship between the severed Congregational churches.

[Sidenote: Final Separation of State and Church.]

From the beginning the liberal movement had been more or less intimately
associated with that for the promotion of religious freedom and the
separation of state and church. Many of the states withdrew religion from
state control on the adoption of the Federal Constitution. In New England
this was done in the first years of the century. Connecticut came to this
result after an exciting agitation in 1818. Massachusetts was more
tenacious of the old ways; but in 1811 its legislative body passed a
"religious freedom act," that secured individuals from taxation for the
support of churches with which they were not connected. The constitutional
convention of 1820 proposed a bill of rights that aimed to secure religious
freedom, but it was defeated by large majorities. It was only when church
property was given by the courts to the parish in preference to the church,
and when the "standing order" churches had been repeatedly foiled in their
efforts to retain the old prerogatives, that a majority could be secured
for religious freedom. In November, 1833, the legislature submitted to the
people a revision of the bill of rights, which provided for the separation
of state and church, and the voluntary support of churches. A majority was
secured for this amendment, and it became the law in 1834. Massachusetts
was the last of all the states to arrive at this result, and a far greater
effort was required to bring it about than elsewhere. The support of the
churches was now purely voluntary, the state no longer lending its aid to
tax person and property for their maintenance.

Thus it came about that Massachusetts adopted the principle and method of
Roger Williams after two centuries. For the first time she came to the full
recognition of her own democratic ideals, and to the practical acceptance
of the individualism for which she had contended from the beginning. She
had fought stubbornly and zealously for the faith she prized above all
other things, but by the logic of events and the greatness of the principle
of liberty she was conquered. The minister and the meeting-house were by
her so dearly loved that she could not endure the thought of having them
shorn of any of their power and influence; but for the sake of their true
life she at last found it wise and just to leave all the people free to
worship God in their own way, without coercion and without restraint.

Although the liberal ministers and churches led the way in securing
religious freedom, yet they were socially and intellectually conservative.
Radical changes they would not accept, and they moved away from the old
beliefs with great caution. The charge that they were timid was undoubtedly
true, though there is no evidence that they attempted to conceal their real
beliefs. Evangelical enthusiasm was not congenial to them, and they
rejected fanaticism in every form. They had a deep, serious, and spiritual
faith, that was intellectual without being rationalistic, marked by strong
common sense, and vigorous with moral integrity. They permitted a wide
latitude of opinion, and yet they were thoroughly Christian in their
convictions. Most of them saw in the miracles of the New Testament the only
positive evidence of the truth of Christianity, which was to them an
external and supernatural revelation. They were quite willing to follow
Andrews Norton, however, who was the chief defender of the miraculous, in
his free criticism of the Old Testament and the birth-stories in the

The liberal ministers fostered an intellectual and literary expression of
religion, and yet their chief characteristic was their spirituality. They
aimed at ethical insight and moral integrity in their influence upon men
and women, and at cultivating purity of life and an inward probity. In
large degree they developed the spirit of philanthropy and a fine regard
for the rights and the welfare of others. They were not sectarian or
zealous for bringing others to the acceptance of their own beliefs; but
they were generous in behalf of all public interests, faithful to all civic
duties, and known for their private generosity and faithful Christian
living. Under the leadership of Dr. Channing the Catholic Christians, as
they preferred to call themselves, cultivated a spirituality that was
devout without being ritualistic, sincere without being fanatical. The
churches around them, to a large degree, kept zealously to the externals of
religion, and accepted physical evidences of the truthfulness of
Christianity; but Channing sought for what is deeper and more permanent.
His preference of rationality to the testimony of miracles, spiritual
insight to external evidences, devoutness of life to the rites of the
church, characterized him as a great religious leader, and developed for
the Catholic Christians a new type of Christianity. Whatever Channing's
limitations as a thinker and a reformer, he was a man of prophetic insight
and lofty spiritual vision. In other ages he would have been canonized as a
saint or called the beatific doctor; but in Boston he was a heretic and a
reformer, who sought to lead men into a faith that is ethical, sincere, and
humanitarian. He prized Christianity for what it is in itself, for its
inwardness, its fidelity to human nature, and its ethical integrity. His
mind was always open to truth, he was always young for liberty, and his
soul dwelt in the serene atmosphere of a pure and lofty faith.

[1] Josiah Quincy, History of Harvard University, I. 230, Chapter XII;
    Christian Examiner, VII. 64; XXX. 70.

[2] Jedidiah Morse, True Reasons on which the Election of a Hollis
    Professor of Divinity in Harvard College were opposed at the Board of

[3] III. 251, March, 1806.

[4] Richard Eddy, Universalism in America, II. 87; Oscar F. Safford,
    Hosea Ballou: A Marvellous Life Story, 71.

[5] O.B. Frothingham, Boston Unitarianism, 161.

[6] Josiah Quincy, History of the Boston Athenaeum, 1. "In the year 1803
    Phineas Adams, a graduate of Harvard College, of the class of 1801,
    commenced in Boston, under the name of _Sylvanus Per-se_, a periodical
    work entitled The Monthly Anthology or Magazine of Polite Literature.
    He conducted it for six months, but not finding its proceeds sufficient
    for his support, he abandoned the undertaking. Mr. Adams, the son of a
    farmer in Lexington, manifested in early boyhood a passion for elegant
    learning. He adopted literature as a profession; but, after the failure
    of his attempt as editor of The Anthology, he taught school in
    different places, till, in 1811, he entered the Navy as chaplain and
    teacher of mathematics. Here he became distinguished for mathematical
    science in its relation to nautical affairs. In 1812 he accompanied
    Commodore Porter in his eventful cruise in the Pacific, of which the
    published journal bears honorable testimony to Mr. Adams's zeal for
    promoting geographical and mathematical knowledge. He again joined
    Porter in the expedition for the suppression of piracy in the West
    Indies, and he died on that station in 1823, much respected in the

[7] In October, 1888, this society gave up its organization, and the sum
    of $1,265.10 was given to the American Unitarian Association for the
    establishment of a publishing fund.

[8] Unitarian Biography, I. 40, Memoir by Henry Ware, Jr.

[9] William Allen, Memoir of John Codman, 81.

[10] Thomas Belsham, 1750-1829, was a dissenting English preacher and
     teacher. In 1789 he became a Unitarian, and was settled in
     Birmingham. From 1805 to his death he preached to the Essex Street
     congregation in London. He wrote a popular work on the Evidences of
     Christianity, and he translated the Epistles of St. Paul. He was a
     vigorous and able writer.

[11] Memoir of W.E. Channing, by W.H. Channing, I. 380.

[12] Among the controversial works printed in Boston at this time was
     Yates's Vindication of Unitarianism, an English book, which was
     republished in 1816.

[13] The entrance to the vestry of Federal Street Church was on Berry
     Street, hence the name given the conference.

[14] Christian Examiner, I. 248.

[15] American Unitarian Biography, Life of Henry Ware, I. 241.

[16] James Walker, Christian Examiner, X. 129; John G. Palfrey, Christian
     Examiner, XI. 84; The Divinity School of Harvard University: Its
     History, Courses of Study, Aims and Advantages.

[17] Letters on the Ministry, Ritual, and Doctrines of the Protestant
     Episcopal Church, addressed to Rev. William E. Wyatt, D.D., in Reply
     to a Sermon, Baltimore, 1820.

[18] Comparative Moral Tendency of Trinitarian and Unitarian Doctrines,
     addressed to Rev. Samuel Miller, Boston, 1823.

[19] H.B. Adams, Life and Writings of Jared Sparks, I. 175.

[20] Dr. George E. Ellis, in Unitarianism: Its origin and History, 147.
     The most prominent instance was that of the First Church in Dedham,
     and this was decided by legal proceedings. "The question recognized
     by the court was simply this: whether the claimants had been lawfully
     appointed deacons of the First Church; that is, whether the body
     which had appointed them was by law the First Church. The decision of
     the court was as follows: 'When the majority of the members of a
     Congregational church separate from the majority of the parish, the
     members who remain, although a minority, constitute the church in
     such parish, and retain the rights and property belonging thereto.'
     This legal decision would have been regarded as a momentous one had
     it applied only to the single case then in hearing. But it was the
     establishment of a precedent which would dispose of all cases then to
     be expected to present themselves in the troubles of the time between
     parishes and the churches gathered within them. The full purport of
     this decision was that the law did not recognize a church
     independently of its connection with the parish in which it was
     gathered, from which it might sever itself and carry property with
     it." It was in accordance with the practice in New England for at
     least a century preceding the decision in the Dedham case, and the
     decision was rendered as the result of this practice.

[21] H.B. Adams, Life and Writings of Jared Sparks, gives a most
     interesting account in his earlier chapters of the origin of
     Unitarianism, especially of its beginnings in Baltimore and other
     places outside New England.

[22] James Garrard, governor of Kentucky from 1796 to 1802, was a
     Unitarian. Harry Toulmin, president of Transylvania Seminary and
     secretary of the state of Kentucky, was also a Unitarian.



The time had come for the liberals to organize in a more distinctive form,
in order that they might secure permanently the results they had already
attained. The demand for organization, however, came almost wholly from the
younger men, those who had grown up under the influence of the freer life
of the liberal churches or who had been trained in the independent spirit
of the Divinity School at Harvard. The older men, for the most part, were
bound by the traditions of "the standing order":[1] they could not bring
themselves to desire new conditions and new methods.

The spirit of the older and leading laymen and ministers is admirably
illustrated in Rev. O.B. Frothingham's account of his father in his book
entitled Boston Unitarianism. They were interested in many, public-spirited
enterprises, and the social circle in which they moved was cultivated and
refined; but they were provincial, and little inclined to look beyond the
limits of their own immediate interests. Dr. Nathaniel L. Frothingham,
minister of the First Church in Boston, one of the earliest American
students of German literature and philosophy, and a man of rational insight
and progressive thinking, may be regarded as a representative of the best
type of Boston minister in the first half of the nineteenth century. In a
sermon preached in 1835, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of
his settlement, Dr. Frothingham said that he had never before used the word
"Unitarian", in his pulpit, though his church had been for thirty years
counted as Unitarian. "We have," he said, "made more account of the
religious sentiment than of theological opinions." In this attitude he was
in harmony with the leading men of his day.[2]

Channing, for instance, was opposed to every phase of religious
organization that put bonds upon men; and he would accept nothing in the
form of a creed. He severely condemned "the guilt of a sectarian spirit,"
and said that "to bestow our affections on those who are ranged under the
same human leader, or who belong to the same church with ourselves, and to
withhold it from others who possess equal if not superior virtue, because
they bear a different name, is to prefer a party to the church of
Christ."[3] In 1831 he described Unitarianism as being "characterized by
nothing more than by the spirit of freedom and individuality. It has no
established creed or symbol," he wrote. "Its friends think each for
himself, and differ much from each other."[4] Later he wrote to a friend:
"I distrust sectarian influence more and more. I am more detached from a
denomination, and strive to feel more my connection with the Universal
Church, with all good and holy men. I am little of a Unitarian, and stand
aloof from all but those who strive and pray for clearer light, who look
for a purer and more effectual manifestation of Christian truth."[5]

Many of the Unitarians were in fullest sympathy with Channing as to the
fundamental law of spiritual freedom and as to the evils of sectarianism. A
considerable number of them were in agreement with him as to the course
pursued by the Unitarian movement. Having escaped from one sect, they were
not ready to commit themselves to the control of another. Therefore they
withheld themselves from all definitely organized phases of Unitarianism,
and would give no active support to those who sought to bring the liberals
together for purposes of protection and forward movement. Under these
circumstances it was difficult to secure concert of action or to make
successful any definite missionary enterprise, however little of
sectarianism it might manifest. Even to the present time Unitarianism has
shown this independence on the part of local churches and this freedom on
the part of individuals. Because of this attitude, unity of action has been
difficult, and denominational loyalty never strong or assured.

However, a different spirit animated the younger men, who persisted in
their effort to secure an organization that would represent distinctively
the Unitarian thought and sentiment. The movement towards organization had
its origin and impulse in a group of young ministers who had been trained
at the Harvard Divinity School under Professor Andrews Norton. While Norton
was conservative in theology and opposed to sectarian measures, his
teaching was radical, progressive, and stimulating. His students accepted
his spirit of intellectual progress, and often advanced beyond his more
conservative teachings. In the years between 1817 and 1824 James Walker,
John G. Palfrey, Jared Sparks, Alexander Young, John Pierpont, Ezra S.
Gannett, Samuel Barrett, Thomas R. Sullivan, Samuel J. May, Calvin Lincoln,
and Edward B. Hall were students in the Divinity School; and all of these
men were leaders in the movement to organize a Unitarian Association.
Pierpont gave the name to the new organization, distinctly defining it as
Unitarian. Gannett, Palfrey, and Hall served it as presidents; Gannett,
Lincoln, and Young, as secretaries. Walker, Palfrey, and Barrett gave it
faithful service as directors, and Lincoln as its active missionary agent.
A number of young laymen in Boston and elsewhere, mostly graduates of
Harvard College, were also interested in the formation of the new
organization. Among them were Charles G. Loring, Robert Rantoul, Samuel A.
Eliot, Leverett Salstonstall, George B. Emerson, and Alden Bradford. All
these young men were afterwards prominent in the affairs of the city or
state, and they were faithful to the interests of the Unitarian churches
with which they were connected.

[Sidenote: Initial Meetings.]

The first proposition to form a Unitarian organization for missionary
purposes was made in a meeting of the Anonymous Association, a club to
which belonged thirty or forty of the leading men of Boston. They were all
connected with Unitarian churches, and were actively interested in
promoting the growth of a liberal form of Christianity. It appears from the
journal of David Reed, for many years the editor and publisher of The
Christian Register, that the members of this association were in the habit
of meeting at each other's houses during the year 1824 for the purpose of
discussing important subjects connected with religion, morals, and
politics. At a meeting held at the house of Hon. Josiah Quincy in the
autumn of that year, attention was called to certain articles that had been
published in The Christian Register, and the importance was suggested of
promoting the growth of liberal Christianity through the distribution of
the printed word. A resolution was submitted, inquiring if measures could
not be taken for uniting the efforts of liberal-minded persons to give
greater efficiency to the attempt to extend a knowledge of Unitarian
principles by means of the public press; and a committee was appointed to
consider and report on the expediency of forming an organization for this
purpose. This committee consisted of Rev. Henry Ware, the younger, Alden
Bradford, and Richard Sullivan. Henry Ware was the beloved and devoted
minister of the Second Church in Boston. His colleagues were older men,
both graduates of Harvard College and prominent in the social and business
life of Boston. The purpose which these men had in mind was well defined by
Dr. Gannett, writing twenty years after the event: "We found ourselves," he
said, "under the painful necessity of contributing our assistance to the
propagation of tenets which we accounted false or of forming an association
through which we might address the great truths of religion to our
fellow-men without the adulteration of erroneous dogmas. To take one of
these courses, or to do nothing in the way of Christian beneficence, was
the only alternative permitted to us. The name which we adopted has a
sectarian sound; but it was chosen to avoid equivocation on the one hand
and misapprehension on the other."[6] The committee, under date of
December 29, 1824, sent out a circular inviting a meeting of all
interested, "in order to confer together on the expediency of appointing an
annual meeting for the purpose of union, sympathy, and co-operation in the
cause of Christian truth and Christian charity." In this circular will be
found the origin of the clause in the present constitution of the Unitarian
Association defining its purposes.

In response to this call a meeting was held in the vestry of the Federal
Street Church on January 27, 1825. Dr. Channing opened the meeting with
prayer. Richard Sullivan was chosen moderator, and James Walker secretary.
There were present all those who have been hitherto named in connection
with this movement, together with many others of the leading laymen and
ministers of the liberal churches in New England.[7] The record of the
meeting made by Rev. James Walker is preserved in the first volume of the
correspondence of the Unitarian Association; and it enables us, in
connection with the more confidential reminiscences of David Reed, to give
a fairly complete record of, what was said and done. Henry Ware, the
younger, in behalf of the committee, presented a statement of the objects
proposed by those desirous of organizing a national Unitarian society; and
he offered a resolution declaring it "desirable and expedient that
provision should be made for future meetings of Unitarians and liberal
Christians generally." The adoption of this resolution was moved by Stephen
Higginson; and the discussion was opened by Dr. Aaron Bancroft, the learned
and honored minister of the Second Church in Worcester. He was fearful that
sufficient care might not be taken as to the manner of instituting the
proposed organization, and he doubted its expediency. He was of the opinion
that Unitarianism was to be propagated slowly and silently, for it had
succeeded in his own parish because it had not been openly advocated. He
did not wish to oppose the design generally, but he was convinced that it
would do more harm than good.

Dr. Bancroft was followed by Professor Andrews Norton, the greatly
respected teacher of most of the younger ministers, who defended the
proposed organization, and said that its purpose was not to make
proselytes. Then Dr. Charming arose, and gave to the proposition of the
committee a guarded approval. He thought the object of the convention, as
he wished to call it, should be to "spread our views of religion, not our
mere opinions, for our religion is essentially practical." The friendly
attitude of Channing gave added emphasis to the disapproval of the
prominent laymen who spoke after him. Judge Charles Jackson, an eminent
justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, thought there was danger in
the proposed plan, that it was not becoming to liberal Christians, that it,
was inconsistent with their principles, and that it would not be beneficial
to the community. He was ready to give his aid, to any specific work, but
he thought that everything could be accomplished that was necessary,
without a general-association of any kind. The same opinion was expressed
by George Bond, a leading merchant of Boston, who was afraid that
Unitarianism would become popular, and that, when it had gamed a majority
of the people of the country to its side, it would become as intolerant as
the other sects. For this reason he believed the measure inexpedient, and
moved an adjournment of the meeting.

Three of the most widely known and respected of the older ministers also
spoke in opposition to the proposition to form an association of liberal
Christians. These men were typical pastors and preachers, whose parishes
were limited only by the town in which they lived, and who preached the
gospel without sectarian prejudice or doctrinal qualifications. Dr. John
Pierce, of Brookline, thought the measure of the committee "very
dangerous," and likely to do much harm in many of the parishes by arousing
the sectarian spirit. He spoke three times in the course of the meeting,
opposing with his accustomed vehemence all attempt at organization. Dr.
Abiel Abbot, of Beverly, thought that presenting a distinct object for
opposition would arrest the progress of Unitarianism, for in his
neighborhood liberal Christianity owed everything to slow and silent
progress. Dr. John Allyn, of Duxbury, one of the most original and learned
ministers of his time in New England, was opposed to the use of any
sectarian name, especially that of Unitarian or Liberal. He was willing to
join in a general convention, and he desired to have a meeting of delegates
from all sects. He expressed the opinion of several leading men who were
present at this meeting, who favored an unsectarian organization, that
should include all men of liberal opinions, of whatever name or
denominational connection.

Those who were in favor of a Unitarian Association did not remain silent,
and they spoke with clearness and vigor in approval of the proposition of
the committee. Alden Bradford, who became the Secretary of State in
Massachusetts, and wrote several valuable biographical and historical
works, thought that Unitarians were too timid and did not wisely defend
their position. He was followed by Andrews Norton in a vigorous declaration
of the importance of the association, in the course of which he pointed out
how inadequately Unitarians had protected and fostered the institutions
under their care, and declared that closer union was necessary. Jared
Sparks also earnestly favored the project, and said that what was proposed
was not a plan of proselyting. It was his opinion that Unitarians ought to
come forward in support of their views of truth, and that an association
was necessary in order to promote sympathy among them throughout the
country. Colonel Joseph May, who had been for thirty years a warden of
King's Chapel, and a man held in high esteem in Boston, referred to the
work already accomplished by the zeal and effort of the few Unitarians who
had worked together to promote liberal interests. The most incisive word
spoken, however, came from John Pierpont, who was just coming into his fame
as an orator and a leader in reforms. "We have," he declared, "and we must
have, the name Unitarian. It is not for us to shrink from it. Organization
is necessary in order to maintain it, and organization there must be. The
general interests of Unitarians will be promoted by using the name, and
organizing in harmony with it."

In the long discussion at this meeting it appears that, of the ministers,
Channing, Norton, Bancroft, Ware, Pierpont, Sparks, Edes, Nichols, Parker,
Thayer, Willard, and Harding were in favor of organization; Pierce, Allyn,
Abbot, Freeman, and Bigelow, against it. Of the laymen, Charles Jackson and
George Bond were vigorously in opposition; and Judge Story, Judge White,
Judge Howe, of Northampton, Alden Bradford, Leverett Salstonstall, Stephen
Higginson, and Joseph May spoke in favor. The result of the meeting was the
appointment of a committee, consisting of Sullivan, Bradford, Ware,
Channing, Palfrey, Walker, Pierpont, and Higginson, which was empowered to
call together a larger meeting at some time during the session of the
General Court. But this committee seems never to have acted. At the end of
his report of this preliminary meeting James Walker wrote: "The meeting
proposed was never called. As there appeared to be so much difference of
opinion as to the expediency and nature of the measure proposed, it was
thought best to let it subside in silence."

The zeal of those favorable to organization, however, did not abate; and
the discussion went on throughout the winter. On May 25, 1825, at the
meeting of the Berry Street Conference of Ministers, Henry Ware, the
younger, who had been chairman of the first committee, renewed the effort,
and presented the following statement as a declaration of the purposes of
the proposed organization:--

  It is proposed to form a new association, to be called The American
  Unitarian Society. The chief and ultimate object will be the promotion
  of pure and undefiled religion by disseminating the knowledge of it
  where adequate means of religious instruction are not enjoyed. A
  secondary good which will follow from it is the union of all Unitarian
  Christians in this country, so that they would become mutually
  acquainted, and the concentration of their efforts would increase their
  efficiency. The society will embrace all Unitarian Christians in the
  United States. Its operations would extend themselves through the whole
  country. These operations would chiefly consist in the publication and
  distribution of tracts, and the support of missionaries.

It was announced that in the afternoon a meeting would be held for the
further consideration of the subject. This meeting was held at four
o'clock, and Dr. Henry Ware acted as moderator. The opponents of
organization probably absented themselves, for action was promptly taken,
and it was "_Voted_, that it is expedient to form a new society to be
called the American Unitarian Association." All who were present expressed
themselves as in favor of this action. Rev. James Walker, Mr. Lewis Tappan,
and Rev. Ezra S. Gannett were appointed a committee to draft a form of
organization. On the next morning, Thursday, May 26, 1825, this committee
reported to a meeting, of which Dr. Nathaniel Thayer, of Lancaster, was
moderator; and, with one or two amendments, the constitution prepared by
the committee was adopted. This constitution, with slight modifications, is
still in force. The object of the Association was declared to be "to
diffuse the knowledge and promote the interests of pure Christianity." A
committee to nominate officers selected Dr. Channing for president; Joseph
Story, of Salem, Joseph Lyman, of Northampton, Stephen Longfellow, of
Portland, Charles H. Atherton, of Amherst, N.H., Henry Wheaton, of New
York, James Taylor, of Philadelphia, Henry Payson, of Baltimore, William
Cranch, of Alexandria, Martin L. Hurlbut, of Charleston, as
vice-presidents; Ezra S. Gannett, of Boston, for secretary; Lewis Tappan,
of Boston, for treasurer; and Andrews Norton, Jared Sparks, and James
Walker, for executive committee.

When Mr. Gannett wrote to his colleague, Dr. Channing, to notify him of his
election as president, there came a letter declining the proffered office.
"I was a little disappointed," Channing wrote, "at learning that the
Unitarian Association is to commence operations immediately. I conversed
with Mr. Norton on the subject before leaving Boston, and found him so
indisposed to engage in it that I imagined that it would be let alone for
the present. The office which in your kindness you have assigned to me I
must beg to decline. As you have made a beginning, I truly rejoice in your
success." Norton and Sparks also declined to serve as directors, ill-health
and previous engagements being assigned by them for their inability to act
with the other officers elected. The executive committee proceeded to fill
these vacancies by the election of Dr. Aaron Bancroft, of Worcester, as
president, and of the younger Henry Ware and Samuel Barrett to the
executive committee; and the board of directors thus constituted
administered the Association during its first year.

In the selection of Dr. Bancroft as the head of the new association a wise
choice was made, for he had the executive and organizing ability that was
eminently desirable at this juncture. He was an able preacher, and one of
the strongest thinkers in the Unitarian body. His biography of Washington
had made him widely known; and his volume of controversial sermons,
published in 1822, had received the enthusiastic praise of John Adams and
Thomas Jefferson. When he was settled, he was almost an outcast in
Worcester County because of his liberalism; but such were the strength of
his character and the power of his thought that gradually he secured a wide
hearing, and became the most popular preacher in Central Massachusetts.
After fifty years of his ministry he could count twenty-one vigorous
Unitarian societies about him, all of which had profited by his
influence.[8] Although he was seventy years of age at the time he
accepted the presidency of the Unitarian Association, he was in the full
enjoyment of his powers; and he filled the office for ten years, giving it
and the cause which the Association represented the impetus and weight of
his sound judgment and deserved reputation.

The executive work of the Association fell to the charge of the secretary,
Ezra S. Gannett, who had been one of the most enthusiastic advocates of the
new organization. Gannett was but twenty-four years old, and had been but
one year in the active ministry, as the colleague of Dr. Channing. He had
youth, zeal, and executive force. Writing of him after his death, Dr.
Bellows said: "He had rare administrative qualities and a statesmanlike
mind. He would have been a leader anywhere. He had the ambition, the
faculties, and the impulsive temperament of an actor in affairs. He had the
fervor, the concentration of will, the passionate enthusiasm of conviction,
the love of martyrdom, which make men great in action."[9] Throughout his
life Gannett labored assiduously for the Association, serving it in every
capacity refusing no drudgery, travelling over the country in its
interests, and giving himself, heart and soul, to the cause it represented.
The Unitarian cause never had a more devoted friend or one who made greater
sacrifices in its behalf. To him more than to any other man it owes its
organized life and its missionary serviceableness.

Lewis Tappan, the treasurer, was a successful young business man. His term
of service was brief; for two years after the organization of the
Association he removed to New York, where he had an honorable career as one
of the founders of the Journal of Commerce, and as the head of the first
mercantile agency established in the country. He was later one of the
anti-slavery leaders in New York, and an active and earnest member of
Plymouth Church in Brooklyn.[10]

The executive committee was composed of the three devoted young ministers
who had been foremost in organizing the Association. Barrett was thirty,
Ware and Walker were thirty-one years of age; and all three had been in
Harvard College and the Divinity School together. Samuel Barrett had just
been chosen minister of the newly formed Twelfth Congregational Church of
Boston, which he served throughout his life. He was identified with all
good causes in Eastern Massachusetts, a founder of the Benevolent
Fraternity, and an overseer of Harvard College. Henry Ware, the younger,
was, at the time of his election, the minister of the Second Church in
Boston. Five years later he became professor in the Harvard Divinity
School, and his memory is still cherished as the teacher and exemplar of a
generation of Unitarian ministers. James Walker was, in 1825, the minister
of the Harvard Church in Charlestown, and already gave evidence of the
sanity and catholicity of mind, the practical organizing power, the wide
philosophic culture, and the dignity of character which afterward
distinguished him as professor in Harvard College, and as its president.

Thus the organization started on its way, as the result of the determined
purpose of a small company of the younger ministers and laymen. It took a
name that separated it from all other religious organizations in this
country, so far as its members then knew. The Unitarian name had been first
definitely used in this country in 1815, to describe the liberal or
Catholic Christians. They at first scornfully rejected it, but many of them
had finally come to rejoice in its declaration of the simple unity of God.
As a matter of history, it may be said that the word "Unitarian" was used
in this doctrinal sense only; and it had none of the implications since
given it by philosophy and science. Those who used it meant thereby to say
that they accepted the doctrine of the absolute unity of God, and that the
position of Christ was a subordinate though a very exalted one. No one can
read their statements with historic apprehension, and arrive at any other
conclusion. Yet these persons had no wish to cut themselves off from
historic Christianity; rather was it their intent to restore it to its
primitive purity.

[Sidenote: Work of the First Year.]

If others were disinclined to action, the executive committee of the
Unitarian Association was determined that something should be done. At
their first, meeting, held in the secretary's study four days after their
election, there were present Norton, Walker, Tappan, and Gannett. They
commissioned Rev. Warren Burton to act as their agent in visiting
neighboring towns to solicit funds, and a week later they voted to employ
him as a general agent. The committee held six meetings during June; and at
one of these an address was adopted, defining the purposes and methods of
the Association. "They wish it to be understood," was their statement,
"that its efforts will be directed to the promotion of true religion
throughout our country; intending by this, not exclusively those views
which distinguish the friends of this Association from other disciples of
Christ; but those views in connection with the great doctrines and
principles in which all Christians coincide, and which constitute the
substance of our religion. We wish to diffuse the knowledge and influence
of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour. Great good is anticipated from the
co-operation of persons entertaining similar views, who are now strangers
to each other's religious sentiments. Interest will be awakened, confidence
inspired, efficiency produced by the concentration of labors. The spirit of
inquiry will be fostered, and individuals at a distance will know where to
apply for information and encouragement. Respectability and strength will
be given to the class among us whom our fellow Christians have excluded
from the control of their religious charities, and whom, by their exclusive
treatment, they have compelled in some measure to act as a party." The
objects of the Association were stated to be the collection of information
about Unitarianism in various parts of the country; the securing of union,
sympathy, and co-operation among liberal Christians; the publishing and
distribution of books inculcating correct views of religion; the employment
of missionaries, and the adoption of other measures that might promote the
general purposes held in view.

At the end of the year the Association held its first anniversary meeting
in Pantheon Hall, on the evening of June 30, 1826, when addresses were made
by Hon. Joseph Story, Hon. Leverett Salstonstall, Rev. Ichabod Nichols, and
Rev. Henry Coleman. The executive committee presented its report, which
gave a detailed account of the operations during the year. They gave
special attention to their discovery of "a body of Christians in the
Western states who have for years been Unitarians, have encountered
persecution on account of their faith, and have lived in ignorance of
others east of the mountains who maintained many similar views of Christian
doctrine." With this group of churches, which would consent to no other
name than that of Christian, a correspondence had been opened; and, to
secure a larger acquaintance with them, Rev. Moses G. Thomas[11] had
visited several of the Western states. His tour carried him through
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and as far as St. Louis.
His account of his journey was published in connection with the second
report of the Association, and is full of interest. He did not preach, but
he carefully investigated the religious prospects of the states he
journeyed through; and he sought the acquaintance of the Christian churches
and ministers. He gave an enthusiastic account of his travels, and reported
that the west was a promising field for the planting of Unitarian churches.
He recommended Northumberland, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Steubenville,
Marietta, Paris, Lexington, Louisville, St. Louis, St. Charles,
Indianapolis, and Cincinnati as promising places for the labors of
Unitarian missionaries,--places "which will properly appreciate their
talents and render them doubly useful in their day and generation."

During the first year of its existence the Unitarian Association endeavored
to unite with itself, or to secure the co-operation of, the Society for the
Promotion of Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity, the Evangelical
Missionary Society, and the Publishing Fund Society; but these
organizations were unwilling to come into close affiliation with it. The
Evangelical Missionary Society has continued its separate existence to the
present time, but the others were absorbed by the Unitarian Association
after many years. This is one indication of how difficult it was to secure
an active co-operation among Unitarians, and to bring them all into one
vigorous working body. In concluding their first report, the officers of
the Association alluded to the difficulties with which they had met the
reluctance of the liberal churches to come into close affiliation with each
other. "They have strenuously opposed the opinion," they said of the
leaders of the Association, "that the object of the founders was to build
up a party, to organize an opposition, to perpetuate pride and bigotry. Had
they believed that such was its purpose or such would be its effect, they
would have withdrawn themselves from any connection with so hateful a
thing. They thought otherwise, and experience has proved they did not judge

[Sidenote: Work of the First Quarter of a Century.]

Having thus organized itself and begun its work, the Association went
quietly on its way. At no time during the first quarter of a century of its
existence did it secure annual contributions from one-half the churches
calling themselves Unitarian, and it did well when even one-third of them
contributed to its treasury during any one year. The churches of Boston,
for the most part, held aloof from it, and gave it only a feeble support,
if any at all. They had so long accepted the spirit of congregational
exclusiveness, had so great a dread of interference on the part of
ecclesiastical organizations, and so keenly suspected every attempt at
co-operation on the part of the churches as likely to lead to restrictions
upon congregational independence, that it was nearly impossible to secure
their aid for any kind of common work. Very slowly the contributions
increased to the sum of $5,000 a year, and only once in the first quarter
of a century did the total receipts of a year reach $15,000. With so small
a treasury no great work could be undertaken; but the money given was
husbanded to the utmost, and the salaries paid to clerks and the general
secretary were kept to the lowest possible limit.

Dr. Bancroft was succeeded in the presidency of the Association, in 1836,
by Dr. Channing, who nominally held the position for one year; but at the
next annual meeting he declined to have his name presented as a
candidate.[12] The office was then filled by Dr. Ichabod Nichols, of
Portland, who served from 1837 to 1844. He was the minister of the First
Church in Portland from 1809 to 1855, and then retired to Cambridge, where
he wrote his Natural Theology and his Hours with the Evangelists. Joseph
Story, the great jurist, who had been vice-president of the Association
from 1826 to 1836, was elected president in 1844, and served for one year.
He was followed by Dr. Orville Dewey, who was president from 1845 to 1847.
He had been settled in New Bedford, and over the Church of the Messiah in
New York; and subsequently he had short pastorates in Albany, in
Washington, and over the New South Church in Boston. His lectures and his
sermons have made him widely known. In intellectual and emotional power he
was one of the greatest preachers the country has produced. Dr. Gannett
served as the president from 1847 to 1851, being succeeded by Dr. Samuel K.
Lothop, who continued to hold the office until 1856. Dr. Lothrop was first
settled in Dover, N.H., but became the minister of the Brattle Street
Church, Boston, in 1834, retaining that position until 1876.

The office of secretary was held by Rev. Ezra S, Gannett until 1831. He was
succeeded in that year by Rev. Alexander Young, who held the position for
two years. Dr. Young was the minister of the New South Church from 1825
until his death, in 1854. His Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers, and other
works, have given him a reputation as a historian. In 1829 the office of
foreign secretary was created; and it was held by the younger Henry Ware
from 1830 to 1834, when it ceased to exist. Rev. Samuel Barnett was
secretary in 1833 and 1834, and recording secretary until 1837. In 1834 the
office of general secretary was established, in order to secure the
services of an active missionary. Rev. Jason Whitman, who held this
position for one year, had been the minister in Saco; and he was afterward
settled in Portland and Lexington. Rev. Charles Briggs became the general
secretary in 1835, and continued in office until the end of 1847. He had
been settled in Lexington, but did not hold a pastorate subsequent to his
connection with the Association. In the mean time Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop
was the assistant or recording secretary from 1837 to 1847. In 1847 Rev.
William G. Eliot was elected the general secretary; but he did not serve,
owing to the claims of his parish in St. Louis. Rev. Frederick West
Holland, who had been settled in Rochester, was made the general secretary
in January, 1848; and he held the position until the annual meeting of
1860. Subsequently he was settled in East Cambridge, Neponset, North
Cambridge, Rochester, and Newburg.

It was Charles Briggs who first gave definite purpose to the missionary
work of the Association. The annual report of 1850 said of him that he "had
led the institution forward to high ground as a missionary body, by
unfailing patience prevailed over every discouragement, by inexhaustible
hope surmounted serious obstacles, by the most persuasive gentleness
conciliated opposition, and done perhaps as much as could be asked of sound
judgment, knowledge of mankind, and devotion to the cause, with the
drawback of a slender and failing frame." In 1845 Rev. George G. Channing
entered upon a service as the travelling agent of the Association, which he
continued for two years. His duties required him to take an active interest
in missionary enterprises, revive drooping churches, secure information as
to the founding of new churches, and to add to the income of the
Association. He was a brother of Dr. Channing, held one or two pastorates,
and was the founder and editor of The Christian World, which he published
in Boston as a weekly Unitarian paper from January, 1843, to the end of

At a meeting of the Unitarian Association held on June 3, 1847, the final
steps were taken that secured its incorporation under the laws of
Massachusetts. In the revised constitution the fifteen vice-presidents were
reduced to two, and the president and vice-presidents were made members of
the executive committee, and so brought into intimate connection with the
work of the Association. The directors and other officers were made an
executive committee, by which all affairs of moment must be considered; and
it was required to hold stated monthly meetings. These changes were
conducive to an enlarged interest in the work of the Association, and also
to the more thorough consideration of its activities on the part of a
considerable body of judicious and experienced officers. They were made in
recognition of the increasing missionary labors of the Association, and
enabled it thenceforth to hold and to manage legally the moneys that came
under its control.

[Sidenote: Publication of Tracts and Books.]

One of the first subjects to which the Association gave attention was the
publication of tracts, six of which were issued during the first year. In
connection with their publication a series of depositaries was established
for their sale. David Reed of The Christian Register became the general
agent, while there were ten county depositaries in Massachusetts, four in
New Hampshire, three in Maine, and one each in Connecticut, New York City,
Philadelphia, Charleston, and Washington.[13] For a number of years the
tracts were devoted to doctrinal subjects. Several of Channing's ablest
sermons and addresses were first printed in this form. Among the other
contributors to the first series were the three Wares, Orville Dewey,
Joseph Tuckerman, James Walker, George Ripley, Samuel J. May, John G.
Palfrey, Ezra S. Gannett, Samuel Gilman, George R. Noyes, William G. Eliot,
Andrew P. Peabody, F.A. Farley, James Freeman Clarke, S.G. Bulfinch, George
Putnam, Joseph Allen, Frederic H. Hedge, Edward B. Hall, George E. Ellis,
Thomas B. Fox, Charles T. Brooks, J.H. Morison, Henry W. Bellows, William
H. Furness, John Cordner, Chandler Robbins, Augustus Woodbury, and William
R. Alger. Ten or twelve tracts were issued yearly, those of the year having
a consecutive page numbering, so that, in fact, they appeared in the form
of a monthly periodical, each tract bearing the date of its publication,
and being sent regularly to all subscribers to the Association. In all,
three hundred tracts appeared in this form in the first series, making
twenty-six volumes.

For nearly half a century none of the tracts of the Association were
published for free distribution. They were issued at prices ranging from
two to ten cents each, according to the size, some of them having not more
than ten or twelve pages, while others had more than a hundred. So long as
there was an eagerness for theological reading, and an earnest intellectual
interest in the questions which divided the several religious bodies of the
country from each other, it was not difficult to sell editions of from
3,000 to 10,000 copies of all the tracts published by the Association. From
the first, however, there were many calls for tracts for free distribution.
To meet this demand, there was formed in Boston, by a number of young men
during the year 1827, The Unitarian Book and Pamphlet Society, for "the
gratuitous distribution of Unitarian publications of an approved
character." It undertook especially to distribute "such publications as
shall be issued by the American Unitarian Association or recommended by
it." This society also circulated tracts printed by The Christian Register
and The Christian World, the call for such publications having led the
publishers of these periodicals to give their aid in meeting the demand for
pamphlets on theological problems and on practical religious duties. The
society also distributed Bibles to the poor of the city and in more distant
country places, furnishing them to missionaries and others who would
undertake work of this kind. In the same manner they gave away large
numbers of books, their list for 1836 including Scougal's Life of God in
the Soul of Man, Ware's Formation of the Christian Character, and works by
Worcester, Channing Whitman, and Greenwood. The call for aid was
considerable from the western and southern states; and books were sent to
Havana, New Brunswick, and the Sandwich Islands. In the winter of 1840-41
this society was reorganized, an urgent appeal was made to the churches for
an increase of funds, and during the next few years its work was large and

In the year 1848 was begun a special effort for the circulation of
Unitarian books, on the part of The Book and Pamphlet Society, The Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity, as well as by the
Unitarian Association. In that year the second of these organizations sent
out circulars to 263 colleges and theological schools, offering to give
Unitarian books, to those desiring to receive them; and to 59 of these
institutions assortments of books worth from two dollars to one hundred
dollars were forwarded. The first request came from the Catholic College at
Worcester, and the last from the Wisconsin University at Madison. At the
same time the Association was pressing the sale and free distribution of
the Works and the Memoir of Dr. Charming, as well as various books by
Peabody, Livermore, Bartol, and others.

The Association began to make use of colporters about the year 1847. The
next year it had two young ministers engaged in this work, and by 1850 this
kind of missionary labor had increased to considerable proportions.
Especially in the West was much use made of the colporter, and in this way
in many of the states the works of Channing were sold in large numbers. By
these agents, tracts were given away with a free hand, and books were given
to ministers and those who especially needed them. The Western ministers,
almost without exception, served as colporters, selling books and
distributing them as important helps to their missionary labors. In many
communities zealous laymen took part in this kind of service, and the
several depositaries of books and tracts were used as centres from which
colporters and others could draw their supplies. As early as 1835 a general
depositary had been established in Cincinnati, and in 1849 one was opened
in Chicago.

The Association could not have undertaken any work that would have brought
in a larger or more immediate return in the way of religious education and
spiritual growth than this of the publication of tracts and books. Previous
to 1850 a doctrinal sermon was rarely preached in a Unitarian church, and
the tracts were the most important means of giving to the members of
established churches a knowledge of Unitarian theology. By the same means
many other persons were made acquainted with the Unitarian beliefs, and the
result was to be seen in the formation of churches where tracts and books
had been largely distributed.[14]

[Sidenote: Domestic Missions.]

The work of domestic missions from the first largely claimed the attention
of the Association, and it was one the chief objects in its formation.
During the summer of 1826 the members of the Harvard Divinity School were
sent throughout New England to gather information, and to preach where
opportunity offered. The special object was to make ministers and
congregations acquainted with the purposes of the Association. It was found
that there was much opposition to it, and that in many parishes there
existed no desire to have its mission extended.

Persons of all shades of belief were connected with many of the liberal
parishes, some of the churches not having as yet ceased their relations
with the towns in which they were located; and the ministers were not
willing to have theological questions brought to the attention of their
congregations. "The great objection everywhere seems to be," reported one
of the young men, who had travelled through many of the towns of central
Massachusetts, "that the clergymen do not like to awaken party spirit.
People will go on quietly performing all external duties of religion
without asking themselves if they are listening to the doctrine of the
Trinity or not; but the moment you wish to act, they call up all their old
prejudices, and take a very firm stand. This necessarily creates division
and dissension, and renders the situation of the minister very
uncomfortable."[15] The ministers did not preach on theological subjects;
and, while they were liberal themselves, they had not instructed their
parishioners in such a manner that they followed in the same path of
thinking which their leaders had travelled.

It was evident, therefore, that there was work enough in New England for
the Association to accomplish, and such as would fully tax its
resources.[16] It had turned its eyes toward the West and South, however;
and it was not willing to leave these fields unoccupied. In 1836 the
general secretary, Charles Briggs, spent eight months in these regions; and
he found everywhere large opportunities for the spread of Unitarianism.
Promising openings were found at Erie, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit,
Marietta, Tremont, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Nashville, in which villages
or cities churches were soon after formed. It was reported at this time
that there was hardly a town in the West where there were not Unitarians,
or in which it was not possible by the right kind of effort to establish a
Unitarian church.

As a result of the interest awakened by the tour of the general secretary,
fourteen missionaries were put into the field in 1837. In 1838 twenty-three
missionaries visited eleven states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky Alabama, and Georgia.[17] They were
men of experience in parish labors, but they did not go out to the new
country to remain there permanently. They attracted large congregations,
however, formed several societies which promised to be permanent,
administered the ordinances, established Sunday-schools, and did much to
strengthen the churches. In 1839 seven preachers were sent into the west,
and at the next anniversary there was an urgent call made by the
Association for funds with which to establish a permanent missionary agent
in the field. Something more was needed than a few Massachusetts ministers
preaching from town to town with no purpose of locating with any of the
churches they helped to organize. Ministers for the new churches were
urgently demanded, but few men from New England were willing to remove to
the west; and, though recruits came from the orthodox churches, this source
of supply was not sufficient.

The repeated calls made for larger resources with which to carry on the
work of domestic missions resulted in meetings held in Boston during the
year 1841, at which pledges were made to a fund of $10,000 yearly for five
years, to be used for missionary purposes. This sum was secured in 1843 and
the next four years, so that larger aid was given to missionary activities
and to the building of churches. At the annual meeting of 1849 special
attention was given to the subject of domestic missions, and plans were
devised for largely extending all the activities in this direction. Much
interest was taken in the western work during the following years, and
slowly new churches came into existence. In 1849 Rev. Edward P. Bond was
sent to San Francisco, where a number of New England people had held lay
services and formed a church, and in a few years a strong society had grown
up in that city. Mr. Bond also went to the Sandwich Islands; but he was not
able to open a mission there, owing to ill-health. In the South the work
languished, largely owing to the growth of anti-slavery sentiment in the
North, with which Unitarians were generally in sympathy.

From 1830 to 1850 the Unitarians were confronted by the greatest
opportunity which has ever opened to them for missionary activities. The
vast region of the middle west was in a formative state, the people were
everywhere receptive to liberal influences, other churches had not been
firmly established, and there was urgent demand for leadership of a
progressive and rational kind. Here has come to be the controlling centre
of American life,--in politics, education, and social power. A few of the
leaders saw the opportunity, but the churches were not ready to respond to
their appeals.

The work accomplished by the Association during the first twenty-five or
thirty years of its existence, the period reviewed in this chapter, was
small, compared with the opportunity and with the wishes of those who most
had at heart the interests for the promotion of which it was established.
Yet there was wanting in no year encouragement for its friends or something
accomplished that cheered them to larger efforts. In 1850, at the
twenty-fifth anniversary, historical addresses were delivered by Samuel
Osgood, John G. Palfrey, Henry W. Bellows, Edward E. Hale, and Lant
Carpenter; and a hopeful review of the labors of the Association was
presented by the executive committee. First of all its efforts had been
directed to securing religious liberty. Then came its philanthropic
enterprises, and finally its missionary labors. During the quarter of a
century one hundred churches that were weak and struggling, owing to their
situation in towns of decreasing population or in cities not congenial to
their teachings, had been aided. More than fifty vigorous churches had been
planted in the west and south, nearly all of them helped in some way by the
Association. There was a renewed call for strong men to enter the
missionary field, and it was uttered more urgently at this time than ever
before. Special pride was expressed in the high quality of the religious
writings produced by Unitarians, and in the nobleness the men and women who
had been connected with denominational activities.[18]

[1] An eighteenth-century term for the Congregational churches, which
     were the legally established churches throughout New England, an
     supported by the towns.

[2] Boston Unitarianism, 67.

[3] Memoir of Dr. Channing, one-volume edition, 215.

[4] Ibid., 432.

[5] Ibid., 427.

[6] Memoir of Ezra Stiles Gannett, by W.C. Gannett, 103.

[7] The records give the following names: Drs. Freeman, Channing, Lowell,
     Tuckerman, Bancroft, Pierce, and Allyn; Rev. Messrs. Henry Ware,
     Francis Parkman, J.G. Palfrey, Jared Sparks, Samuel Ripley, A.
     Bigelow, A. Abbot, C. Francis, L. Capen, J. Pierpont, James Walker,
     Mr. Harding, and Mr. Edes; and the following laymen,--Richard
     Sullivan, Stephen Higginson, B. Gould, H.J. Oliver, S. Dorr, Colonel
     Joseph May, C.G. Loring, George Bond, Samuel A. Eliot, G.B. Emerson,
     C.P. Phelps, Lewis Tappan, David Reed, Mr. Storer, J. Rucker, N.
     Mitchell, Robert Rantoul, Alden Bradford, Mr. Dwight, Mr. Mackintosh,
     General Walker, Mr. Strong, Dr. John Ware, and Professor Andrews

[8] John Brazer, The Christian Examiner, xx. 240; Alonzo Hill, American
     Unitarian Biography, i. 171.

[9] The Liberal Christian, March 3, 1875.

[10] Although Lewis Tappan took a zealous interest in the formation of the
     Unitarian Association, as he did in all Unitarian activities of the
     time, in the autumn of 1827 he withdrew from the Unitarian
     fellowship, and joined the orthodox Congregationalist. In a letter
     addressed to a Unitarian minister he explained his reasons for so
     doing. This letter circulated for some time in manuscript, and in
     1828 was printed in a pamphlet with the title, Letter from a
     Gentleman in Boston to a Unitarian Clergyman of that City. Want of
     Piety among Unitarians, failure to sustain missionary enterprises,
     and the absence of a rigid business integrity he assigned as reasons
     for his withdrawal. This pamphlet excited much discussion, pro and
     con; and it was answered in a caustic review by J.P. Blanchard.

[11] Moses George Thomas was a graduate of Brown and of the Harvard
     Divinity School, was settled in Dover, N.H., from 1829 to 1845,
     Broadway Church in South Boston from 1845 to 1848, New Bedford 1848
     to 1854, and was subsequently minister at large in the same city.

[12] In writing to Charles Briggs from Newport, under date of July 30
     1836, Dr. Channing wrote, "In the pressure of subjects, when I saw
     you, I forgot to say to you, that I cannot accept the office with
     which the Unitarian Association honored me." That is the whole of
     what he wrote on the subject. No one else was elected to the office
     for year. It is evident, therefore, that his name should occupy the
     place of president.

[13] The depositaries in Massachusetts were at Salem, Concord, Hingham,
     Plymouth, Yarmouth, Cambridge, Worcester, Northampton, Springfield,
     and Greenfield; in New Hampshire, at Concord, Portsmouth, Keene, and
     Amherst; in Maine, at Hallowell, Brunswick, and Eastport; and, in
     Connecticut, at Brooklyn. In 1828 the number had increased to
     twenty-five in Massachusetts, six in Maine, seven in New Hampshire,
     one in Rhode Island, four in New York, two in Pennsylvania, and two
     in Maryland. At the first annual meeting of the Unitarian Association
     a system of auxiliaries was recommended, which was inaugurated the
     next year. It was proposed to organize an auxiliary to the
     Association in every parish, and also in each county. These societies
     came rapidly into existence, were of much help to the Association in
     raising money and in distributing its tracts, and energetic efforts
     were made on the part of the officers of the Association to extend
     their number and influence. They continued in existence for about
     twenty years, and gradually disappeared. They numbered about one
     hundred and fifty when most prosperous.

[14] During the first twenty-five years of the Association, 272 tracts of
     the first series were issued, and also 29 miscellaneous tracts and 37
     reports. The number of copies published was estimated as 1,764,000,
     making an average of 70,000 each year. Of these tracts, 103 were
     practical, and 93 doctrinal; and, of the doctrinal, one-half were on
     the Divine Unity, one-sixth on the Atonement, ten on Regeneration,
     five on the Ordinances, four on Human Nature, three on Retribution,
     and two on the Holy Spirit. In the Monthly Journal, May, 1860, Vol.
     I. pp. 230-240, were given the titles and authors.

[15] From a letter of Samuel K. Lothrop, afterward minister of the Brattle
     Street Church.

[16] The following letter is of interest, not only because of the name of
     the writer, but because it gives a very good idea of the work done by
     the first missionaries of the Association. It is dated at
     Northampton, Mass., October 9, 1827. "My dear Sir,--I designed when I
     left you to send some earlier notice of my doings than this; but as
     it has not been in my power to say much, I have said nothing. Mr.
     Hall is preparing an account of his own missions, but thinks it not
     worth while to send it to you till it is completed. The first Sabbath
     after my arrival I preached here. The second, for the convenience of
     the Greenfield people, an exchange was made, and I went to Deerfield,
     and Dr. Willard went to Colrain. There were some unfavorable
     circumstances which operated to diminish the audience, but they were
     glad to see and hear him. The fourth Sabbath (which followed the
     meeting of the Franklin Association) I preached at Greenfield, and
     Mr. Bailey went to Colrain. I enclose his journal. The fifth Sabbath
     at Deerfield, and Dr. Willard at Adams in Berkshire. I have not seen
     him since his return. I have told the Franklin Association I would
     remain here till November, and in consequence have been thus put to
     and fro, but expect to preach the three coming Sundays in
     Northampton. I have offered my services to preach lectures in the
     week, but circumstances have made it inexpedient in towns where it
     was proposed. The clergymen are very glad to see me, having feared
     that the mission was indefinitely postponed. They find the better
     sort of people in most of the towns inquisitive and favorably
     disposed to views of liberal Christianity. It is a singular fact, of
     which I hear frequent mention made, that in elections Unitarians are
     almost universally preferred when the suffrage is by ballot, and
     rejected when given by hand ballot. In Franklin county it is thought
     there is a majority of Unitarians. I have been much disappointed in
     being obliged to lead a vagrant life, as you know I came hither with
     different expectations, and hoped for leisure and retirement for
     study, which I needed much. But it would not do for a missionary to
     be stiff necked, and so I have been a shuttle. I have promised to go
     to New Bedford the first three Sundays of November. With great
     regard, your servant, R. Waldo Emerson." From this letter it will be
     seen that Emerson supplied the pulpits at Northampton and Greenfield
     in order that the ministers in those towns might preach elsewhere.

[17] Fourteenth Annual Report, 14. "They were the following: Rev. George
     Ripley, Boston; Rev. A.B. Muzzey, Cambridgeport; Rev. Samuel Barrett,
     Boston; Rev. Mr. Green, East Cambridge; Rev. Calvin Lincoln,
     Fitchburg; Rev. E.B. Willson, Westford; Dr. James Kendall, Plymouth;
     Rev. George W. Hosmer, Buffalo; Rev. Warren Burton, Dr. Thompson,
     Salem; Rev. J.P.B. Storer, Syracuse; Rev. Charles Babbidge,
     Pepperell; Rev. John M. Myrick, Walpole; Rev. J.D. Swett, Boston;
     Rev. A.D. Jones, Brighton; Rev. Henry Emmons, Meadville; Rev. J.F.
     Clarke, Louisville; Rev. F.D. Huntington, Rev. B.F. Barrett, Rev.
     G.F. Simmons, Rev. C. Nightingale, Mr. Wilson, of the Divinity
     School; and Mr. C.P. Cranch. Among the places where they preached
     are Houlton Me.; Syracuse, Lockport, Lewiston, Pekin, and Vernon,
     N.Y.; Philadelphia and Erie, Pa.; Marietta, Zanesville, Cleveland,
     and Toledo, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; Owensburg, Ky.; Chicago, Peoria,
     Tremont, Jacksonville, Hillsboro, and several other places in

[18] For a most interesting account of the growth of the denomination, see
     The Christian Examiner for May, 1854, lvi. 397, article by John



Before the controversy with the Orthodox had come to its end, a somewhat
similar conflict of opinions arose within the Unitarian ranks. The same
influences that had led the Unitarians away from the Orthodox were now
causing the more radical Unitarians to advance beyond their more
conservative neighbors. English philosophy had given direction to the
Unitarian movement in America; and now German philosophy was helping to
develop what has been designated as transcendentalism, which largely found
expression within the Unitarian body. Beginning with 1835, the more liberal
Unitarians were increasingly active. Hedge's[1] Club held its meetings,
The Dial was published, Brook Farm lived its brief day of a reformed
humanity, Parker began his preaching in Boston, Emerson was lecturing and
publishing, and the more radical younger Unitarian preachers were bravely
speaking for a religion natural to man and authenticated by the inner
witness of the truth.

The agitation thus started went on its way with many varying
manifestations, and with a growing incisiveness of statement and
earnestness of feeling. The new teachings gained the interest and the faith
of the young in increasing numbers. In pulpits and on the platform, in
newspapers and magazines, in essays and addresses, this new teaching was
uttered for the world's hearing. The breeze thus created seems to have
grown into a gale, but The Christian Register and The Christian Examiner
gave almost no indication that it had blown their way. In the official
actions and in the publications of the Unitarian Association there was no
word indicating that the discussion had come to its knowledge. All at once,
however, in 1853, it came into the greatest prominence, as the result of
action taken by the Unitarian Association; and, thenceforth, for a quarter
of a century it was never absent as a disturbing element in the
intellectual and religious life of the Unitarian body.

The early Unitarians were believers in the supernatural and in the miracles
of the New Testament. They accepted without question the ideas on this
subject that had been entertained by all Protestants from the days of
Luther and Calvin. When Theodore Parker and the transcendentalists began to
question the miraculous foundations of Christianity, many Unitarians were
quite unprepared to accept their theories. They believed that the miracles
of the New Testament afford the only evidence for the truthfulness of
Christianity. This issue was distinctly stated in the twenty-eighth annual
report of the Unitarian Association for 1853, wherein an attempt was made
to defend the Unitarian body against the charge of infidelity and
rationalism made by the Orthodox. The teachings of the transcendentalists
and radicals had been attributed to all Unitarians, and the leaders of the
Association felt that it was time to define explicitly the position they
occupied. Therefore they said, in the report of that year:--"We desire, in
a denominational capacity, to assert our profound belief in the Divine
origin, the Divine authority, the Divine sanctions, of the religion of
Jesus Christ. This is the basis of our associated action. We desire openly
to declare our belief as a denomination, so far as it can be officially
represented by the American Unitarian Association, that God, moved by his
own love, did raise up Jesus to aid in our redemption from sin, did by him
pour a fresh flood of purifying life through the withered veins of humanity
and along the corrupted channels of the world, and is, by his religion,
forever sweeping the nations with regenerating gales from heaven, and
visiting the hearts of men with celestial solicitations. We receive the
teachings of Christ, separated from all foreign admixtures and later
accretions, as infallible truth from God."[2] At the same meeting a
resolution was adopted, "without a dissenting voice," which declared that
"the Divine authority of the Gospel, as founded on a special and miraculous
interposition of God, is the basis of the action of the Association."[3]

As these statements indicate, the majority of Unitarians were very
conservative at this time in their theological position and methods. They
were nearly as hesitating and reticent in their beliefs as Unitarians as
they had been while connected with the older Congregational body. The
reason for this was the same in the later as in the earlier period, that a
predominant social conservatism held them aloof from all that was
intellectually aggressive and theologically rationalistic. They had
outgrown Tritheism, as it had been taught for generations in New England;
they had refused to accept the fatalism that had been taught in the name of
Calvin, and they had rejected the ecclesiastical tyrannies that had been
imposed on men by the New England theology. But they had advanced only a
little way in accepting modern thought as a basis of faith, and in seeking
a rational interpretation of the relations of God and man. Their belief in
a superhuman Christ was theoretically weaker, but practically stronger,
than that of the churches from which they had withdrawn; while the grounds
of that belief were in the one instance the same as in the other.

[Sidenote: Depression in Denominational Activities.]

The activities of the Unitarian Association were largely interfered with by
these differences of opinion. The more conservative churches were unwilling
to contribute to its treasury because it did not exclude the radicals from
all connection with it. The radicals, on, the other hand, withheld their
gifts because, while they were not excommunicated, they were regarded with
suspicion by many of the churches, and did not have the fullest recognition
from the Association.

This controversy was emphasized by that arising from the reform movements
of the day, especially the agitation against slavery. Almost without
exception the radicals belonged to the anti-slavery party, while the
conservative churches were generally opposed to this agitation. As a
result, anti-slavery efforts became a serious cause of discord in the
Unitarian churches, and helped to cripple the resources of the Association.
When, as the climax of all, the civil war came on, the Association was
brought to a condition of almost desperate poverty. Not more than twoscore
churches contributed to its treasury, and it was obliged, to curtail its
expenses in every direction.[4]

Up to the year 1865 the Unitarians had not been efficiently organized; and
they had developed very imperfectly what has been called denominational
consciousness, or the capacity for co-operative efforts. The Unitarian
Association was not a representative body, and it depended wholly upon
individuals for its membership. Not more than one-fourth or, at the
largest, one-third of the Unitarian churches were represented in its
support and in its activities. There were: Unitarian churches, and there
was a Unitarian movement; but such a thing as a Unitarian denomination, in
any clearly defined meaning of the words, did not exist. This fact was
explained by James Freeman Clarke in 1863, when he said that "the
traditions of the Unitarian body are conservative and timid."[5] How this
attitude affected the Unitarian Association was pointedly stated by Mr.
Clarke, after several years of experience as its secretary. "The Unitarian
churches in Boston," he wrote, "see no reason for diffusing their faith.
They treat it as a luxury to be kept for themselves, as they keep Boston
Common. The Boston churches, with the exception of a few noble and generous
examples, have not done a great deal for Unitarian missions. I have heard,
it said that they do not wish to make Unitarianism too common. The church
in Brattle street contains wealthy and generous persons who have given
largely to humane objects and to all public purposes; but we believe that,
even while their pastor was president of the Unitarian Association, they
never gave a dollar to that Association for its missionary objects. The
society in King's Chapel was the first in the United States which professed
Unitarianism. It is so wealthy that it might give ten or twenty thousand
dollars a year to missionary objects without feeling it. It has always been
very liberal to its ministers, to all philanthropic and benevolent objects,
and its members have probably given away millions of dollars for public and
social uses; but it never gives anything to diffuse Unitarianism."[6]

Dr. Samuel K. Lothrop continued as the president of the Unitarian
Association until the annual meeting of 1858, when Dr. Edward Brooks Hall
was elected to that position for one year. After short pastorates in
Northampton and Cincinnati, Dr. Hall had been settled over the First Church
in Providence in 1832, which position he held until his death in 1866. At
the annual meeting of 1859 Dr. Frederic H. Hedge was elected president, and
he was twice re-elected. His interest in the Association was active, and he
often spoke at the public meetings. One of the ablest thinkers and
theologians that has appeared among Unitarians in this country, he always
rightly estimated the practical activities of organized religious
movements. He was succeeded in 1862 by Dr. Rufus P. Stebbins, who held the
office for three years. After a settlement in Leominster, Dr. Stebbins was
the first president of the Meadville Theological School from 1844 to 1856.
Then followed a pastorate in Woburn, after which he went to Ithaca and
opened a mission for the students of Cornell University, which grew into
the Unitarian church in that town. From 1877 he was pastor at Newton Centre
until his death in 1885.

The secretary of the Association from 1850 to 1853 was Rev. Calvin Lincoln,
who had been settled in Fitchburg for thirty-one years, and who was the
minister of the First Church in Hingham from 1855 until his death in 1881.
He was succeeded in 1853 by Rev. Henry A. Miles, who continued in office
until 1859. Dr. Miles was settled in Hallowell and Lowell before serving
the Association, and in Longwood and Hingham (Third Parish) afterward. His
little book on The Birth of Jesus has gained him recognition as a
theologian of ability and a critic of independent judgment. For three years
Rev. James Freeman Clarke was the secretary; and in 1861 he was succeeded
by George W. Fox, who served in that capacity until the annual meeting of
1865. Mr. Fox wrote the annual reports from 1862 to 1864, and efficiently
performed all the duties of the secretary which could devolve upon a
layman, with the exception of editing The Monthly Journal, a task which was
continued by James Freeman Clarke.[7]

[Sidenote: Publications.]

In spite of its restricted income during this troubled period, the
Association was able, owing to its invested funds,[8] to increase its
publishing operations to a considerable extent. The number of tracts
published, however, was much smaller; and their monthly issue was
discontinued in order to publish The Quarterly Journal of the American
Unitarian Association, the first number of which appeared in October, 1853.
During the first year each number contained ninety-six pages, which were
increased to one hundred and ninety-two in 1854, but reduced to one hundred
and thirty the following year. In 1860 this publication became The Monthly
Journal; and it was continued until December, 1869, each number containing
forty-eight pages. The Journal was sent to all subscribers to the funds of
the Association, to life members, to all churches contributing to its
funds, as well as to regular subscribers. Its circulation in 1855 was
7,000, and it increased to 15,000 before it was discontinued. It was used
largely, however, for free distribution as a missionary document.

The Journal served an important purpose during the seventeen years of its
publication, as a means of bringing the Association into touch with its
constituency and of making the people acquainted with its work. It
published the records of the meetings of the executive committee as well as
of the annual meeting, it gave numerous extracts from the correspondence of
the secretary, it contained the news of the churches, and all the
denominational activities were kept constantly before its readers. In its
pages were frequently published biographies of prominent Unitarians,
notable addresses were printed, sermons appeared frequently, and able
theological articles. During the editorship of James Freeman Clarke it
contained the successive chapters of his Orthodoxy: Its Truths and Errors.
It also printed one or more chapters of Alger's History of the Doctrine of
the Future Life. The secretary of the Association was its editor, and he
made it at once a theological tract and a denominational newspaper.

The increase in demand for Unitarian tracts and books had been so large
that early in 1854 the executive committee of the Association decided that
a special effort should be made to meet it. They called a meeting in
Freeman Place Chapel on the afternoon of February 1, which was largely
attended. An address was given by Dr. Lothrop, the president, who said that
Channing's works had reached a sale of 100,000 copies, and Ware's Formation
of Christian Character 12,000, that there was an urgent call for liberal
works that would meet the spiritual needs of the age. A large number of
prominent ministers and laymen addressed the meeting, and expressed
themselves as thoroughly sympathy with its objects. A committee was
appointed to consider the proposition made by Dr. George E. Ellis, that a
fund of $50,000 be raised for the publication of books. This committee
reported a month later through its chairman, George B. Emerson, in favor of
the project; and it was voted that the money should be raised. It was
easier to pass this vote, however, than to secure the money from the
churches; for in 1859, after five years of effort, the sum collected was
only $28,163.33.

The money secured, however, was immediately utilized in the publication of
a number of books. Three series of works were undertaken, the first of
these being The Theological Library, in which were published Selections
from the Works of Dr. Channing; Wilson's Unitarian Principles Confirmed by
Trinitarian Testimonies; a one-volume edition of Norton's Statement of
Reasons for not Believing the Doctrines of Trinitarians concerning the
Nature of God and the Person of Christ, with a memoir of the author by Dr.
William Newell; a volume of Theological Essays selected from the writings
of Jowett, Tholuck, Guizot, Roland Williams, and others, and edited by
George R. Noyes; and Martineau's Studies of Christianity, a series of
miscellaneous papers, edited by William R. Alger. The Devotional Library,
the second of the three series, included The Altar at Home, a series of
prayers, collects, and litanies for family devotions, written by a large
number of the leading Unitarian ministers, and edited by Dr. Miles, the
secretary of the Association; Clarke's Christian Doctrine of Prayer; Thomas
T. Stone's The Rod and the Staff, a transcendentalist presentation of
Christianity as a spiritual life; The Harp and the Cross, a selection of
religious poetry, edited by Stephen G. Bulfinch; Sears's Athanasia, or
Foregleams of Immortality; and Seven Stormy Sundays, a volume of original
sermons by well-known ministers, with devotional services, edited by Miss
Lucretia P. Hale. A Biblical Library was also planned, to include a popular
commentary on the New Testament, a Bible Dictionary, and other works of a
like character; but John H. Morison's Disquisitions and Notes on the Gospel
of Matthew was the only volume published.

[Sidenote: A Firm of Publishers.]

In May, 1859, a young business man of Boston, James P. Walker, established
the firm of Walker, Wise & Co., for the publication of Unitarian books. In
1863 Horace B. Fuller joined the firm, and it became Walker, Fuller & Co.
This firm took charge of all the publishing interests of the Association,
and the head of the house was ambitious of bringing out all the liberal
books issued in this country. Among the works published were: The New
Discussion of the Trinity, a series of articles and sermons by Hedge,
Clarke, Sears, Dewey, and Starr King; Lamson's Church of the First Three
Centuries; Farley's Unitarianism Defined; Recent Inquiries in Theology,
essays by Jowett, Mark Pattison, Baden Powell, and other English Broad
Churchmen, edited by Dr. F.H. Hedge; Alien's Hebrew Men and Times; Dall's
Woman's Right to Labor; Muzzey's Christ in the Will, the Heart, and the
Life; Ichabod Nichols's Sermons; Martineau's Common Prayer for Christian
Worship; Cobbe's Religious Demands of the Age; Ware's Silent Pastor;
Frothingham's Stories from the Patriarchs; Clarke's Hour which Cometh and
Now Is; Parker's Prayers; a second series The Altar at Home; Hedge's Reason
in Religion; Life of Horace Mann by his wife, as well as certain novels,
historical works, and books for the young. The demand for liberal books was
not large enough, however, even with the aid of the Association, to make
such a business successful; and in the autumn of 1866 the publishing firm
of Walker, Fuller & Co. failed. In part the business was carried on for a
time by Horace B. Fuller.

[Sidenote: The Brooks Fund.]

An important work in the distribution of books was inaugurated in 1859 in
connection with the Meadville Theological School, by means of the Fund for
Liberal Christianity established at that time by Joshua Brooks of New York.
He appointed as trustee of the fund Professor Frederick Huidekoper, who
gave his services gratuitously to its care, and to the direction of the
distribution of books for which it provided. The sum given to this purpose
was $20,000, which was increased by favorable investments to $23,000. The
original purpose was to aid in any way that seemed desirable the cause of
liberal Christianity, and a part of the income was devoted to helping
struggling societies. In time the whole income, with the approval of the
donor, was centred upon the distribution of books to settled ministers,
irrespective of denomination. In 1877 the whole number of books that had
been distributed was 40,000. At the present time about $1,000 yearly are
devoted to this work, the recipients being graduates of the Meadville
Theological School, and the ministers of any denomination who may ask for
them, provided they are settled west of the Hudson River. The demands upon
the funds have increased so rapidly that it has become necessary to reduce
the amount of each gift.

[Sidenote: Missionary Efforts.]

The missionary activities of the Association did not actually cease even in
these dark days. In May, 1855, Rev. Ephraim Nute was sent to Kansas, which
was then the battle-ground between the pro-slavery and the anti-slavery
forces of the nation. He established himself at Lawrence, and was the first
settled pastor in the state. With the aid of the Association a church was
built at Lawrence in 1859, which was the first in the state to receive
dedication and to be used as a permanent house of worship. Mr. Nute went
through all the trying scenes preceding the opening of the civil war, and
did his part in maintaining the cause of liberty. He was succeeded by Rev.
John S. Brown in 1859, who labored in this difficult field for several

A church was organized in San Francisco in 1849, without the aid of a
minister; and there was gathered a large and prosperous congregation. In
1850 Rev. Charles A. Farley took up the work; and he was succeeded by Rev.
Joseph Harrington, Rev. Frederick T. Gray, and Rev. Rufus P. Cutler. Thomas
Starr King preached his first sermon in the church April 28, 1860; and he
spoke to crowded congregations until his death, March 4, 1864. On January
10, 1864, a new church was dedicated, in the morning to the worship of God,
and in the afternoon to the service of man.

Among those who carried forward the Unitarian cause in the middle west was
Rev. Nahor A. Staples, a brilliant preacher and a zealous worker, who was
settled in Milwaukee at the end of 1856, and who made his influence widely
felt around him. In 1859 Rev. Robert Collyer began his work in Chicago as a
city Missionary; and the next year Unity Church was organized, with him as
the pastor. In 1859 Rev. Charles G. Ames began his connection with the
Unitarians at Minneapolis, and he subsequently labored at Bloomington.
After a short pastorate in Albany he began general missionary labors on the
Pacific coast. A characteristic type of the western Unitarian was Rev.
Ichabod Codding, who preached at Bloomington, Keokuk, and Baraboo, but who
had no formal settlement. He was a breezy, radical, and ardent preacher,
bold in statement and picturesque in style, a zealous advocate of freedom
for the slave, and warmly devoted to other reforms. He was fitted admirably
for the pioneer preaching to which he largely devoted himself; and his
strong, vigorous, and aggressive ideas were acceptable to those who heard

[Sidenote: The Western Unitarian Conference.]

There was organized in the church at Cincinnati, May 7, 1852, the Annual
Conference of Western Unitarian Churches. At this meeting delegates were
present from the churches in Buffalo, Meadville, Pittsburg, Wheeling,
Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Cannelton, Quincy, Geneva, Chicago, and
Detroit. Much enthusiasm was expressed in anticipation of this meeting,
many letters were written, approving of the proposed organization, and
large expectations were manifested as to its promised work. In harmony with
these large and generous anticipations of the influence of the conference
was its statement of purposes, as presented in its constitution. It was
organized for "the promotion of the Christian spirit in the several
churches which compose it, and the increase of vital, practical religion;
the diffusion of Gospel truth and the accomplishment of such works of
Christian benevolence as may be agreed upon; the support of domestic or
home missionaries, the publication of tracts, the distribution of religious
books, the promotion of theological education, and extending aid to such
societies as may need it."

When the conference organized, Rev. William G. Eliot was elected the
president, Mr. Charles Harlow and Rev. A.A. Livermore the recording and
corresponding secretaries. During the year $994.22 were raised for
missionary purposes, and three missionaries--Boyer, Conant, and
Bradley--were kept in the field, mainly in Illinois and Michigan. The
reports of these men, given at the second meeting of the conference, held
in St. Louis, were full of enthusiasm and courage. At this meeting the
constituency numbered nineteen churches, located in eleven states. Several
struggling societies had been aided, assistance given to young men
preparing for the ministry, and many tracts and books had been distributed.
A book depositary was opened in Cincinnati, and it was proposed to
establish one in every large city in the west. The call was for a much
larger number of preachers, it being rightly maintained that only the
living man can reach the people in such a region. "The Unitarian minister
is _per se_ a bookseller and colporter also, and he can thus preach to
multitudes who never hear his voice."

The early anticipations of a rapid advance of Unitarianism in the west were
not realized, partly owing to the want of ministers of energy and the
necessary staying qualities, and partly to the fact that tradition is
always far more powerful with the masses of men and women than reason.
Before the organization of the conference new churches appeared at
infrequent intervals, though, if those that have ceased to exist were
counted, they would not be so remote from each other in time.[9] From the
first there was in the west a distinctive attitude of freedom, which was
the result in large, measure of its fluctuating conditions, and the absence
of fixed habits and traditions. In 1853 the missionaries of the conference
were instructed that "in spirit and in aim the Conference would be
Christian, not sectarian, and it does not, therefore, require of them
subscription to any human creed, the wearing of any distinctive name, or
the doing of any merely sectarian work. All that it requires is, that they
should be Christians and do Christian work, that they should believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ as one who spake with authority and whose religion is the
divinely appointed means for the regeneration of man individually and
collectively, and that they should labor earnestly, intelligently,
affectionately, and perseveringly to enthrone this religion in the hearts
and make it, effective over the lives of men." Such a statement as this,
indeed, was quite as conservative as anything put forth by Unitarians in
New England; but behind it was an attitude of free inquiry that gave to
western Unitarianism distinctive characteristics.

In 1854 a committee reported on the doctrinal basis of the conference, in
the form of a little book of sixty-five pages, bearing the title of
Unitarian Views of Christ.[10] It was widely circulated, and served an
excellent missionary purpose. When the conference accepted the report, in
which it was declared that Jesus is the Son of God and the miracles of the
New Testament facts on which the gospel is based, a resolution was
unanimously passed, asserting that "we have no right to adopt any statement
of belief as authoritative or as a declaration of the Unitarian faith,
other than the New Testament." In 1858 it was the opinion of the conference
that "all who wish to take upon themselves the Christian name should be so
recognized." The next year the conservatives and radicals came face to
face, the one party asking for the old faith according to Channing, while
one or more of the other party asserted their disbelief in the miracles and
in the resurrection of Christ. In 1860 the conference declared itself
willing to "welcome as fellow laborers all who are seeking to learn and to
do the will of the Father and work righteousness, and recommend that in all
places, with or without preaching, they organize for religious worship and
culture--the work of faith and the labor of love."

The meeting at Quincy in 1860 was one of great interest and enthusiasm. The
missionary spirit rose high; and it was proposed to put into the field an
aggressive worker, and to give him the necessary financial support. To this
end a missionary association was organized, with Rev. Robert Collyer as the
president, and Artemas Carter, a successful business man of Chicago, as the
treasurer. Before the result desired could be realized, the war gave a very
different direction to all the interests of the western churches. Of the
twenty-nine ministers in the west at this time, sixteen went into the
army,--twelve as chaplains, two as officers, and two as privates,--while
several others devoted themselves to hospital work for longer or shorter
periods. Rev. Augustus H. Conant, Rev. Leonard Whitney, Rev. Frederick R.
Newell, and Rev. L.B. Mason answered with their lives to their country's

The period immediately following the close of the civil war was one of
generous giving and of great activity on the part of the western churches.
From 1864 to 1866 the field was occupied by twenty-one new laborers,
several new societies were organized, four old ones were resuscitated,
seven new churches were built, and fifteen missionary stations were opened.
The churches during these two years contributed $5,000 to missionary
purposes and $13,000 to Antioch College. The degree of success met with in
the efforts of the Western Conference depended in large degree upon the
interest and activity of the western churches themselves. When they devoted
themselves earnestly to missionary work, they contributed to it with a fair
degree of liberality, and that work prospered. When the conference was
asked to withdraw from the direction of that work by Rev. Charles Lowe, in
order to secure greater unity of missionary effort by bringing all work of
this kind under the direction of the Association, the contributions of the
churches diminished, and the missionary activities in the west languished.
However valuable the aid of the Unitarian Association,--and there can be no
question that it was of the greatest importance,--local interest and
co-operation were also essential to permanent success. Local activity and
general oversight were alike necessary.

[Sidenote: The Autumnal Conventions.]

For more than twenty years Autumnal Conventions, as they were called, were
held in the larger cities, beginning at Worcester in 1842. These meetings
originated in the Worcester Association of Ministers at a meeting held July
11, 1842, when the association considered the "desirableness of a meeting
of Unitarians in the autumn for the purpose of awakening mutual sympathy
and considering the wants of the Unitarian body."[11]

At the invitation thereafter issued by the Worcester Association of
ministers a convention was held in the church of the Second Congregational
Parish in Worcester, October 18-20, 1842. On the first evening a sermon was
preached by Dr. Ezra S. Gannett, and a committee of business was
subsequently chosen. The next morning the convention organized, with Dr.
Francis Parkman as president and Rev. Cazneau Palfrey as secretary. A
series of resolutions were discussed,[12] and on the second evening a
sermon was preached by Dr. A.P. Peabody. No essays were read, and nothing
but the sermons were prepared beforehand. The Christian Register closed its
report by saying that it could "give but a faint impression of the feeling
which pervaded the meeting. The discussions were characterized by great
earnestness and seriousness, and were conducted, at the same time, with
entire freedom and with candor and liberality toward the differences of
opinion which, amidst a general unanimity upon great principles, were
occasionally elicited respecting details and methods. The expectations of
those who called the convention were abundantly realized."

The second of the Autumnal Conventions was held in Providence, October 2-4,
1843. On the first evening the theme of the sermon preached by Dr. Dewey
was the spiritual ministry of Dr. Channing, and it produced a great and
deep impression. The resolutions discussed related to the duty, on the part
of Unitarians, of making an explicit statement of their convictions, and an
earnest application of them to life, and the need on the part of the
denomination for a more united and vigorous action as a religious body. At
the third meeting held in Albany, a statement was made by Dr. Dewey that
exactly defined these gatherings, in their methods and purposes, when he
said: "This and other conventions like it that are held in our body, I am
inclined to think, have never been held before in the world. There is
nothing like them to be found in the records of ecclesiastical history. We
meet as distinct churches, on the pure democratic basis, which we believe
to be the true basis of the church of Christ. We meet, without any
formalities--to institute, or correct no canons--without the slightest
system whatever. We come to meditate, to assist each other in experience,
by unfolding our own experience, by declaring our convictions."

The subjects introduced at these meetings were practical, such as commanded
the interest of both ministers and laymen of the churches. The method
adopted allowed a free interchange of opinions, and the participation of
all in the discussions. So great was the interest awakened that these
meetings were largely attended, and they were to a considerable degree
helpful in bringing the churches into vital relations with each other.[13]

At the session held in Brooklyn in 1862, great interest was manifested in
the vespers, then a novelty, that were arranged by Samuel Longfellow. This
meeting was marked by its glowing patriotism, that rose to a white heat. A
sermon of great power was preached by Dr. Bellows, interpreting the duty of
the hour and the destiny of America. The resolutions and the discussions
were almost wholly along the lines of patriotic duty and devotion suggested
by the sermon. At the last of the Autumnal Conventions, held in
Springfield, Mass., October 13-15, 1863, the sermons were preached by Rev.
Edward Everett Hale and Rev. Octavius B. Frothingham, while the essays were
by Professor Charles Eliot Norton and Rev. James Freeman Clarke.

The Autumnal Conventions came to an end, probably in part because the civil
war was more and more absorbing the energies of the people both in and out
of the churches, and partly because the desire for a more efficient
organization had begun to make itself felt. In the spring of 1865 was held
the meeting in New York that resulted in the organization of the National
Conference, the legitimate successor to the Autumnal Conventions.

[Sidenote: Influence of the Civil War.]

During the period of the civil war, Unitarian activities were largely
turned in new directions. Unitarians bore their full share in the councils
of the nation, in the halls of legislation, on the fields of battle, in the
care of the sick and wounded, and in the final efforts that brought about
emancipation and peace. At least fifty Unitarian ministers entered the army
as chaplains, privates, officers, and members of the Sanitary

The Unitarian Association also directed its attention to such work as it
could accomplish in behalf of the soldiers in the field and in hospitals.
Books were distributed, tracts published, and hymn-books prepared to meet
their needs. Rev. John F.W. Ware developed a special gift for writing army
tracts, of which he wrote about a dozen, which were published by the
Association. As the war went on, the Association largely increased its
activities in the army; and, when the end came, it had as many as seventy
workers in the field, distributing its publications, aiding the Sanitary
Commission, or acting as nurses and voluntary chaplains in the hospitals.
The end of the war served rather to increase than to contract its labors,
aid being largely needed for several months in returning the soldiers to
their homes and in caring for those who were left in hospitals.

Early in the summer of 1863 Rev. William G. Scandlin was sent to the Army
of the Potomac as the agent of the Association. Taken prisoner in July, he
spent several months in Libby prison, where he was kindly treated and
exercised a beneficent influence. He was followed in this work by Rev.
William M. Mellen, who established a library of 3,000 volumes at the
convalescent camp, Alexandria, and also distributed a large amount of
reading matter in the army. Rev. Charles Lowe served for several months as
chaplain in the camp of drafted men on Long Island, his salary being paid
by the Association. In November, 1864, he made a tour of inspection, as the
agent of the Association, to the hospitals of Philadelphia, Baltimore
Annapolis, Washington, Alexandria, Fortress Monroe, City Point, and the
Army of the Potomac, in order to arrange for the proper distribution of
reading matter and for such other hospital service as could be rendered.
More than 3,000 volumes of the publications of the Association were
distributed to the soldiers and in the hospitals, largely by Rev. J.G.
Forman, of St. Louis, and Rev. John H. Heywood, of Louisville. Among those
who acted as agents of the Association in furnishing reading to the army
and hospitals were Rev. Calvin Stebbins, Rev. Frederick W. Holland, Rev.
Benjamin H. Bailey, Rev. Artemas B. Muzzey, Rev. Newton M. Mann, and Mr.
Henry G. Denny. Rev. Samuel Abbot Smith worked zealously at Norfolk at the
hospitals and in preaching to the soldiers, until disease and death brought
his labors to a close. What this kind of work was, and what it
accomplished, was described by Louisa Alcott in her Hospital Sketches, and
by William Howell Reed in his Hospital Life in the Army of the Potomac.

[Sidenote: The Sanitary Commission.]

The Sanitary Commission has been described by its historian as "one of the
most shining monuments of our civilization," and as an expression of
organized sympathy that "must always and everywhere call forth the homage
and admiration of mankind." The organizer and leader of this great
philanthropic movement for relieving human suffering was Dr. Henry W.
Bellows, the minister of All Souls' Church in New York, the first Unitarian
church organized in that city. The Commission was first suggested by Dr.
Bellows, and he was its efficient leader from the first to the last. He was
unanimously selected as its president, when the government had been
persuaded, largely through his influence, to establish it as an addition to
its medical and hospital service. The historian of the Commission has
justly said that he "possessed many remarkable qualifications for so
responsible, a position. Perhaps no man in the country exerted a wider or
more powerful influence over those who were earnestly seeking the best
means of defending our threatened nationality, and certainly never was a
moral power of this kind founded upon juster and truer grounds. This
influence was not confined to his home, the city of New York, although
there it was incontestably very great, but it extended over many other
portions of the country, and particularly throughout New England, where
circumstances had made his name and his reputation for zeal and ability
familiar to those most likely to aid in the furtherance of the new scheme.
This power was due, partly of course to the very eminent position which he
occupied as a clergyman, partly to the persistent efforts and enlightened
zeal with which he advocated all wise measures of social reform, perhaps to
his widely extended reputation as an orator, but primarily, and above all,
to the rare combination of wide comprehensive views of great questions of
public policy with extraordinary practical sagacity, which enabled him so
to organize popular intelligence and sympathy that the best practical
results were attained while the life-giving principle was preserved. He had
the credit of not being what so many of his profession are, an idéologue;
he had the clearest perception of what could and what could not be done,
and he never hesitated to regard actual experience as the best practical
test of the value of his plans and theories. These qualities, so precious
and so exceptional in their nature, appeared conspicuously in the efforts
made by him to secure the appointment of the Commission by the Government,
and it will be found that every page of its history bears the strong
impress of his peculiar and characteristic views."[15]

These words of Charles J. Stillé, a member of the Sanitary Commission and
its authorized historian, afterward the provost of the University of
Pennsylvania, indicate the remarkable qualities of leadership possessed by
Dr. Bellows. These were undoubtedly added to and made more impressive by
his oratorical genius, that was of a very high order. Dr. Hedge spoke of
the miraculous power of speech possessed by Dr. Bellows, when he was at his
best, as being "incomparably better than anything he could have possibly
compassed by careful preparation or conscious effort," and of "those
exalted moments when he was fully possessed by his demon."[16] He was
inexhaustible in his efforts for the success of the Commission, in
directing the work of committees and branches, in appealing to the
indifferent, and in giving enthusiasm to all the forces under his

Of the nine original members of the Sanitary Commission, four were
Unitarians,--Dr. Bellows, Dr. Samuel G. Howe, Dr. Jeffries Wyman, and
Professor Wolcott Gibbs. In the number of those added later was Rev. John
H. Heywood, for many years the minister of the Unitarian church in
Louisville, who rendered efficient service in the western department. In
the convalescents' camp at Alexandria "a wonderful woman," Miss Amy
Bradley, had charge of the efficient labors of the Commission, "where for
two and a half years she and her assistants rendered incalculable service,
in distributing clothing among the needy, procuring dainties for the sick,
accompanying discharged soldiers to Washington and assisting them in
procuring their papers and pay, furnishing paper and postage, and writing
letters for the sick, forwarding money home by drafts that cost nothing to
the soldier, answering letters of inquiry to hospital directors, securing
certificates of arrears of pay and getting erroneous charges of desertion
removed (the Commission saved several innocent soldiers from being shot as
condemned deserters), distributing reading matter, telegraphing the friends
of very ill soldiers, furnishing meals for feeble soldiers in barracks who
could not eat the regulation food. Miss Bradley assisted 2,000 men to
secure arrears of pay amounting to $200,000. Prisoners of war, while in
prison and when released by general exchange, were largely and promptly
relieved and comforted by this department."[17] Another effective worker
was Frederick N. Knapp, who had been for several years a Unitarian
minister, and who was the leading spirit in the special relief service of
the Commission, "and organized and controlled it with masterly zeal,
humanity, and success."[18] The work of Mr. Knapp was of great importance;
for he was the confidential secretary of Dr. Bellows, and gave his whole
time to the service of the Commission. He was a methodical worker, an
efficient organizer, and supplied those qualities of persistent industry
and grasp of details in which Dr. Bellows was deficient. Without his
untiring energy and skilful directing power the Commission would have been
less effective than it was in fact. Dr. Bellows also described William G.
Scandlin as "one of the most earnest and effective of the Sanitary
Commission agents."

In the autumn of 1862 the Commission was greatly crippled in its work
because it could not obtain the money with which to carry on its extensive
operations, and it was saved from failure by the generosity of California,
and the other Pacific states and territories. The remoteness of these
states at that time made it impossible for them to contribute their
proportion of men, "and they indulged their patriotism and gave relief to
their pent-up sympathies with the national cause by pouring out their money
like water."[19] The first contribution was received by the Sanitary
Commission on September 19, 1862, and was $100,000: a fortnight later the
same sum was again sent; and similar contributions followed at short
intervals. These sums enabled the Commission to accomplish its splendid
work, and to meet the urgent needs of those trying days. How the Pacific
coast was able to contribute so largely to this work may be explained in
the words of Dr. Bellows, who fully understood the situation, and the vast
importance of the help afforded: "The most gifted and inspiring of the
patriots who rallied California and the Pacific coast to the flag of the
Union was undoubtedly Thomas Starr King, minister of the first Unitarian
church in San Francisco. Born in New York, but reared in Massachusetts, he
had earned an almost national reputation for eloquence and wit, humanity
and nobleness of soul, in the lecture-rooms and pulpits of the north and
west, when at the age of thirty-five, he yielded to the religious claims of
the Pacific coast and transferred himself to California. There in four
years he had built up as public speaker from the pulpit and platform a
prodigious popularity. His temperament sympathetic, mercurial, and
electric; his disposition hearty, genial, and sweet; his mind versatile,
quick, and sparkling; his tact exquisite, and infallible; with a voice as
clear as a bell and loud and cheering as a trumpet, his nature and
accomplishments perfectly adapted to the people, and place, and the time.
His religious profession disarmed many of his political enemies, his
political orthodoxy quieted many of his religious opponents. Generous,
charitable, disinterested, his full heart and open hand captivated the
California people, while his sparkling wit, melodious cadences, and
rhetorical abundance perfectly satisfied their taste for intensity and
novelty and a touch of extravagance. It has been said by high authority
that Mr. King saved California to the Union. California was too loyal at
heart to make the boast reasonable; but it is not too much to say that Mr.
King did more than any man, by his prompt, outspoken, uncalculating
loyalty, to make California know what her own feelings really were. He did
all that any man could have done to lead public sentiment that was
unconsciously ready to follow where earnest loyalty and patriotism should
guide the way."[20]

Not less important in its own degree was the work done in St. Louis by Dr.
William G. Eliot, minister since 1834 of the Unitarian church in that city.
He became the leader in all efforts for aiding the soldiers, and was most
active in forming and directing the Western Sanitary Commission, that
worked harmoniously with the national organization, but independently. A
large hospital was established and maintained, a home for refugees was
secured, and a large camp for "contraband" negroes was established, chiefly
under the direction of Dr. Eliot, and largely maintained by his church. He
was a potent force in keeping St. Louis and the northern portions of
Missouri loyal to the Union. The secretary of the Western Sanitary
Commission, J.G. Forman, a Unitarian minister for many years, was most
faithful and efficient in this work; and he subsequently became its
historian. In the Freedman's Hospital at St. Louis labored with zeal and
success Rev. Frederick R. Newall; and he was also superintendent of the
Freedman's Bureau in that city, his life being sacrificed to these devoted

[Sidenote: Results of Fifteen Years.]

The work done by the Unitarian Association during the civil war and under
the conditions it produced was not a large one, but it absorbed a
considerable part of its energies for about five years. In all it printed
over 3,000 copies of three books for the soldiers,[21] distributed 750,000
tracts which it had prepared for them,[22] sent to the soldiers 5,000
copies weekly of The Christian Register and The Christian Inquirer, 1,500
copies of the Monthly Journal, 1,000 of The Monthly Religious Magazine, and
1,000 of the Sunday-school Gazette. During the last year or two of the war
its tracts went out at the rate of 50,000 monthly. The tracts and the
periodicals therefore numbered a monthly distribution of about 75,000
copies. The seventy volunteer agents who brought these publications to the
hands of the soldiers, together with the army chaplains, agents of the
Sanitary Commission, and the many nurses in the hospitals, made a
considerable force of Unitarian missionaries developed by the exigencies of
the war, and the attempts to meliorate its hard conditions.

The period of fifteen years, from 1850 to 1865, which has been under
consideration in this chapter, was one of the greatest trial and
discouragement to the Association. Its funds reached their lowest ebb, a
missionary secretary could not be maintained, a layman performed the
necessary office duties, and no considerable aggressive work along
missionary lines was undertaken. Writing in a most hopeful spirit of the
situation, in November, 1863, the editor of The Christian Register showed
that in 1848 the number of Unitarian churches was 201, while in 1863 it was
205, an increase of four only in fifteen years. During this period fifty
parishes had gained pastors, but fifty had lost them. Several strong
parishes, he said, had come into existence, and two in large places had
died. Most of those that had been closed were in small country towns.
Nevertheless, with truth it could be said of these fifteen years of
discouragement and failure that every one of them was a seed-time for the
harvest that was soon to be reaped.

[1] Usually known as the Transcendental Club, sometimes as The Symposium.
    It was started in 1836 by Emerson, Ripley, and Hedge, and met at the
    houses of the members to discuss philosophical and literary subjects.
    It was called Hedge's Club because it met when Rev. F.H. Hedge came
    to Boston from Bangor, where he was settled in 1835. It also included
    Clarke, Francis, Alcott, Dwight, W.H. Channing, Bartol, Very,
    Margaret Fuller, and Elizabeth P. Peabody.

[2] Twenty-eighth Report of the American Unitarian Association, 22.

[3] Ibid., 30. For other statements made at this time see pp. 22 and 26
    of this report; Quarterly Journal, L 44, 228, 243, 275, 333; and O.B.
    Frothingham's Transcendentalism in New England, 123. John Gorham
    Palfrey said (Twenty-eighth Report, 31) that "the evidence of
    Christianity is identical with the evidence of the miraculous
    character of Jesus," and that "his miraculous powers were the highest
    evidence that he came from God." Parker replied to this report of the
    Association in his Friendly Letter to the Executive Committee. Of
    this report John W. Chadwick has said that it is "the most curious,
    not to say amusing, document in our denominational archives." See The
    Organization of our Liberty, Christian Register, July 19, 1900.

[4] In 1854 the receipts from all sources for the year preceding, except
    from sales of books and interest on investments, was $4,267.32. For
    the next two years there was a rapid gain, the sum reported in 1856
    being $11,615.90; but there was a slight decrease the next year, and
    the financial panic of 1857 brought the donations down to $4,602.38,
    the amount reported at the annual meeting of 1858. Then there was a
    steady gain until the civil war began, after which the contributions
    were small, the general donations being only $3,056.03 in 1863, which
    sum was brought up to $5,547.73 by contributions for special
    purposes, more than one-third of the whole being for the Army Fund.

[5] The Christian Register, October 17, 1863.

[6] The Monthly Journal, I. 350.

[7] Mr. Fox entered the employ of the Association in 1855 as a clerk, and
    then he became the assistant of the secretary by the appointment of
    the directors. From 1864 to the present time he has served as the
    assistant secretary. His services have been invaluable to the
    Association in many ways, because of his diligence, fidelity,
    unfailing devotion to its interests, and loyalty to the Unitarian

[8] The beginning of a general fund seems to have been made in 1835, and
    was secured by special subscriptions for the purpose of paying the
    salary of a general secretary or missionary agent. The treasurer
    reported in 1836 that during the previous year $2,408.37 had been
    collected for this purpose.

[9] Of the churches now in existence the first in Chicago was organized
    in 1836, that at Quincy in 1840, Milwaukee and Geneva in 1842,
    Detroit in 1850. After the conference began its work, they appear
    more frequently, Keokuk coming into existence in 1853, Marietta in
    1855, Lawrence in 1856, Unity of Chicago, Kalamazoo, and Buda in
    1858, Bloomington in 1859. Then comes a blank during the war period,
    and a more rapid growth after it, especially when the National
    Conference had given impetus to missionary activities. Janesville was
    organized in 1864; Ann Arbor, Kenosha, and Baraboo, in 1865; Tremont,
    in 1866; Cleveland and Mattoon, in 1867; Unity of St. Louis, Kansas
    City, St. Joseph, Shelbyville, Davenport, Geneseo, Third of Chicago,
    and Sheffield, in 1868; Omaha, in 1869.

[10] Written by William G. Eliot, of St. Louis.

[11] Joseph Allen, The Worcester Association and its Antecedents, 268.

[12] Through the business committee the following resolutions were
     submitted for the consideration of the convention, and they were
     taken up in order:--

       _Resolved_, That we acknowledge with profound gratitude the success
       which has attended our labors in the cause of religious freedom,
       virtue, and piety, and are encouraged to persevere with renewed zeal
       and energy.

       _Resolved_, That in the character and life of Rev. William E.
       Channing, just removed from us, we acknowledge one of the richest
       gifts of God, in intellectual endowments, pure aspiration, moral
       courage, and disinterested devotion to the cause of truth, freedom,
       and humanity, and that in view of this, we feel out increased
       obligation to Christian fidelity and heavenward progress.

       _Resolved_, That viewing with anxiety prevailing fanaticism and
       growing disregard of public trusts and private relations, we should
       earnestly labor for a higher religious principle, and especially
       urge the paramount claims of moral duty.

[13] The places and dates of the Autumnal Conventions were as follows:
     Worcester, 1842; Provence, 1843; Albany, 1844; New York, 1845;
     Philadelphia, 1846; Salem, 1847; New Bedford, 1848; Portland, 1849;
     Springfield, 1850; Portsmouth, 1851; Baltimore, 1852; Worcester,
     1853; Montreal, 1854; Providence, 1855; Bangor, 1856; Syracuse, 1857;
     Salem, 1858; Lowell, 1859; New Bedford, 1860; Boston, 1861; Brooklyn,
     1862; Springfield, 1863.

[14] The first regiments from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Kansas, had
     as their chaplains Warren H. Cudworth, Augustus Woodbury, and Ephraim
     Nute. Charles Babbidge was the chaplain of the sixth Massachusetts
     regiment, that which was fired upon in Baltimore. The first artillery
     company from Massachusetts had as its chaplain Stephen Barker. Others
     who served as army chaplains were John Pierpont, Edmund B. Willson,
     Francis C. Williams, Arthur B. Fuller, Sylvan S. Hunting, Charles T.
     Canfield, Edward H. Hall, George H. Hepworth, Joseph F. Lovering,
     Edwin M. Wheelock, George W. Bartlett, John C. Kimball, Augustus M.
     Haskell, Charles A. Humphreys, Milton J. Miller, George A. Ball,
     William G. Scandlin, E.B. Fairchild, Samuel W. McDaniel, Frederick R.
     Newell, George W. Woodward, Stephen H. Camp, William D. Haley,
     Leonard Whitney, Gilbert Cummings, Nahor A. Staples, Carlton A.
     Staples, Martin M. Willis, John F. Moors, L.B. Mason, Robert Hassall,
     Liberty Billings, Daniel Foster, J.G. Forman, and Augustus H. Conant.
     Robert Collyer was chaplain-at-large in the Army of the Potomac.
     Charles J. Bowen, William J. Potter, Charles Noyes, James Richardson,
     and William H. Channing served as hospital chaplains.

     Among the ministers who served as officers were: Hasbrouck Davis, who
     became a general; William B. Greene, colonel; Gerald Fitzgerald, who
     enlisted as a private, rose to the rank of first lieutenant, and was
     elected chaplain of his regiment; Edward I. Galvin, lieutenant, also
     elected chaplain; James K. Hosmer, who served through the war, at
     first as a private and then as a corporal, writing his experiences
     into The Color Guard and The Thinking Bayonet; George W. Shaw and
     Alvin Allen, privates. Thomas D. Howard and James H. Fowler were
     chaplains in colored regiments. After service as a chaplain of a Hew
     Hampshire regiment, Edwin M. Wheelock became a lieutenant in a
     colored regiment, as did Charles B. Webster. Thomas W. Higginson was
     colonel of a colored regiment, and in another Henry Stone was
     lieutenant colonel. It is doubtful if this list is complete, though
     an effort has been made to have it as nearly so as possible. Those
     who served in the army, and became ministers after leaving it, have
     not been included. So far as known, only ordained ministers are

[15] History of the United States Sanitary Commission, being the General
     Report of its Work during the War of the Rebellion.

[16] J.H. Allen, Our Liberal Movement in Theology, 210.

[17] Henry W. Bellows, article on the Sanitary Commission, in Johnson's
     Cyclopedia, revised edition.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Henry W. Bellows, article on the Sanitary Commission, in Johnson's
     Cyclopedia, revised edition.

[20] History of the Sanitary Commission.

[21] Thoughts selected from Channing's Works, Ware's The Silent Pastor,
     and Eliot's Discipline of Sorrow. The Association also issued one
     number of the Monthly Journal as an Army Companion, which contained
     fifty hymns of a patriotic and religions character, with appropriate
     tunes, selections from the Bible, directions for preserving health in
     the army, and selections from addresses on the injustice of the
     rebellion and the spirit in which it should be put down.

[22] Twenty tracts were published. The first was written by Dr. George
     Putnam; and was on The Man and the Soldier. The second was The
     Soldier of the Good Cause, by Prof. C.E. Norton. Others were A Letter
     to a Sick Soldier, by Rev. Robert Collyer; An Enemy within the Lines,
     by Rev. S.H. Winkley. Rev. John F.W. Ware wrote fourteen of these
     tracts, the following being some of the subjects: The Home to the
     Camp, The Home to the Hospital, Wounded and in the Hands of the
     Enemy, Traitors in Camp, A Change of Base, On Picket, The Rebel, The
     Recruit, A Few Words with the Convalescent, Mustered Out, A Few Words
     with the Rank and File at Parting.



The war had an inspiring influence upon Unitarians, awakening them to a
consciousness of their strength, and drawing them together to work for
common purposes as nothing else had ever done. From the beginning they saw
in the effort to save the Union, and in the spirit of liberty that animated
the nation, an expression of their own principles. Whatever its effect upon
other religious bodies, the war gave to Unitarians new faith, courage, and
enthusiasm. For the first time they became conscious of their opportunity,
and united in a determined purpose to meet its demands with fidelity to
their convictions and loyalty to the call of humanity.[1]

No Autumnal Convention having been held in 1864, owing to the failure of
the committee appointed for that purpose to make the necessary
arrangements, a special meeting of the Unitarian Association was held in
the Hollis Street Church, Boston, December 6-7, at the call of the
executive committee, "to awaken interest in the work of the Association by
laying before the churches the condition of our funds and the demand for
our labor." The attendance was large, and the tone of the meeting was
hopeful and enthusiastic. After Dr. Stebbins, the president, had stated the
purpose of the meeting, Dr. Bellows urged the importance of a more
effective organization of the Unitarian body. His success with the Sanitary
Commission had evidently prepared his mind for a like work on the part of
Unitarians, and for a strong faith in the value of organized effort in
behalf of liberal religion. His capacity as leader during the war had
prepared men to accept it in other fields of effort, and Unitarians were
ready to use it in their behalf. The hopefulness that existed, in view of
the success of the Union cause, and the enthusiastic interest in the
methods of moral and spiritual reform that was manifested because of the
triumph of the spirit of freedom in the nation, led many to think that like
efforts in behalf of liberal Christianity would result in like successes.

On the afternoon of the second day (a meeting in the evening of the first
day only having been held) James P. Walker, the publisher, gave a résumé of
the activities of the Association during the forty years of its existence,
and said that its receipts had been on the average only $8,038.88 yearly.
He showed that much had been done with this small sum, and that the results
were much larger than the amount of money invested would indicate. He
pointed out the fact that the demands upon the Association were rapidly
increasing, and far more rapidly than the contributions. There was an
urgent need for larger giving, he said, and for a more loyal support of the
missionary arm of the denomination. He offered a series of resolutions
calling for the raising of $25,000 during the year. Rev. Edward Everett
Hale said that $100,000 ought to be given to the proposed object, and urged
that more missionaries should be sent into the field. Thereupon Mr. Henry
P. Kidder arose, and said: "It is often easier to do a great thing than a
small one. I move that this meeting undertake to raise $100,000 for the
service of the next year." Dr. Bellows then called the attention of the
conference to the importance of considering the manner of securing this
large sum and of devising methods to insure success. He proposed "that a
committee of ten persons, three ministers and seven laymen, should be
appointed to call a convention, to consist of the pastor and two delegates
from each church or parish in the Unitarian denomination, to meet in the
city of New York, to consider the interests of our cause and to institute
measures for its good." The two resolutions were unanimously adopted,
pledging the denomination to raise $100,000, and to the holding of a
delegate convention in New York. The president appointed, as members of the
committee of arrangements for the convention, Rev. Henry W. Bellows,
Messrs. A.A. Low, U.A. Murdock, Henry P. Kidder, Atherton Blight, Enoch
Pratt, and Artemas Carter, Rev. Edward E. Hale, and Rev. Charles H.

The convention in New York was not waited for in order to make an effort to
secure the $100,000 it was proposed to raise; and early in January the
president of the Association, Dr. Rufus P. Stebbins, was authorized to
devote his whole time to securing that sum. A circular was sent to the
churches saying that such a sum "was needed, and should and could be
raised." "The hour has come," said the executive committee in their appeal
to the churches, "which the fathers longed to see, but were denied the
sight,--of taking our true position among other branches of the church of
our Lord Jesus Christ in the spread and establishment of the Gospel."

The response to this call was prompt and enthusiastic beyond any precedent.
The war had made money plentiful, and it came easily to those who were
successful. Great fortunes had been rapidly gathered; and the country had
never known an equal prosperity, even though the burden of the war had not
yet been removed. In February the president of the Association was able to
announce that $28,871.47 had been subscribed by twelve churches. By the end
of March the pledges had reached $63,862.63; and when the convention met in
New York, April 5, 1865, the contributions then pledged were only a few
thousand dollars short of the sum desired. By the end of May the sum
reported was $111,676.74, which was increased by several hundred dollars

[Sidenote: The New York Convention of 1865.]

It was when this success was certain that the convention met in New York.
The victory of the Union cause was then assured, and the utmost enthusiasm
prevailed. Some of the final and most important scenes of the great
national struggle were enacted while the convention was in session. Courage
and hope ran high under these circumstances; and the convention was not
only enthusiastically loyal to the nation, but equally so to its own
denominational interests. For the first time in the history of the
Unitarian body in this country the churches were directly represented at a
general gathering. The number of churches represented was two hundred and
two, and they sent three hundred and eighty-five delegates. Many other
persons attended, however; and throughout all the sittings of the
convention the audience was a large one. Many women were present, though
not as delegates, the men only having official recognition in this
gathering. It is evident from the records, the newspaper reports, and the
memories of those present, that the interest in this meeting was very
large, and that the attendance was quite beyond what was anticipated by any
one concerned in planning it. The call to all the churches, and the giving
them an equality of representation in the convention, was doubtless one of
the causes of its success. As a result, an able body of laymen appeared in
the convention, who were accustomed to business methods and familiar with
legislative procedure, and who carried through the work of the convention
with deliberation and skill.

On the first evening of the convention a sermon was preached by Dr. James
Freeman Clarke that was a noble and generous introduction to its
deliberations. He called for the exercise of the spirit of inclusiveness, a
broad and tolerant catholicity, and union on the basis of the work to be
done. On the morning of April 5, 1865, at eleven o'clock, the convention
met for the transaction of business in All Souls' Church, of which Henry
Whitney Bellows was the minister. Hon. John A. Andrew, then the governor of
Massachusetts, was elected to preside over the convention; and among the
vice-presidents were William Cullen Bryant, Rev. John Gorham Palfrey, Hon.
Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, Rev. Orville Dewey, and Rev. Ezra Stiles Gannett,
while Rev. Edward Everett Hale was made the secretary. In Governor Andrew
the convention had as its presiding officer a man of a broad and generous
spirit, who was insistent that the main purpose of the meeting should be
kept always steadily in view, and yet that all the members and all the
varying opinions should have just recognition. In a large degree the
success of the convention was due to his catholicity and to his skill in
reconciling opposing interests.

The time of the convention was devoted almost wholly to legislating for the
denomination and to planning for its future work. On the morning of the
second day the subject of organization came up for consideration, and the
committee selected for that purpose presented a constitution providing for
a National Conference that should meet annually, and that should be
constituted of the minister and two lay delegates from each church,
together with three delegates each from the American Unitarian Association,
the Western Conference, and such other bodies as might be invited to
participate in its deliberations. This Conference was to be only
recommendatory in its character, adopting "the existing organizations of
the Unitarian body as the instruments of its power." The name of the new
organization was the subject of some discussion, James Freeman Clarke
wishing to make the Conference one of Independent and Unitarian churches,
while another delegate desired to substitute "free Christian" for
Unitarian. The desire strongly manifested by a considerable number to make
the Conference include in its membership all liberal churches of whatever
name not acceptable to the majority of the delegates, voted with a decided
emphasis to organize strictly on the Unitarian basis.

As soon as the convention was organized, expression was given to the demand
for a doctrinal basis for its deliberations. Though several attempts were
made to bring about the acceptance of a creed, these met with complete
failure. In the preamble to the constitution, however, it was asserted that
the delegates were "disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ," while the first
article declared that the conference was organized to promote "the cause of
Christian faith and work." It was quite evident that a large majority of
the delegates regarded the convention as Christian in its purposes and
distinctly Unitarian in its denominational mission. A minority desired a
platform that should have no theological implications, and that should
permit the co-operation of every kind of liberal church. The use of the
phrase Lord Jesus Christ was strongly opposed by the more radical section
of the convention, but the members of it were not organized or ready to
give utterance to their protest in an effective manner.

The convention gave its approval to the efforts of the Unitarian
Association to secure the sum of $100,000, and urged the churches, that had
not already done so, to contribute. It also advised the securing of a like
sum as an endowment for Antioch College, and commended to men of wealth the
needs of the Harvard and Meadville Theological Schools. The council of the
Conference was asked to give its attention to the necessity and duty of
creating an organ for the denomination, to be called The Liberal Christian.
A resolution looking to union with the Universalist body was presented, and
one was passed declaring "that there should be recognition, fellowship, and
co-operation between all those various elements in our population that are
prepared to meet on the basis of Christianity." James Freeman Clarke,
Samuel J. May, and Robert Collyer were constituted a committee of
correspondence, to promote acquaintance, fraternity, and unity between
Unitarians and all of like liberal faith.[2]

A resolution offered by William Cullen Bryant expressive of thanksgiving
because of the near approach of peace, and for the opening made by the
extinction of slavery for the diffusion of Christianity in its true spirit
as a religion of love, mercy, and universal liberty, was unanimously
adopted by a rising vote.

The convention was a remarkable success in the number who attended its
sessions, the character of the men who participated in its deliberations,
and the skill with which the unsectarian sect had been organized for
effective co-operation and work. Its influence was immediately felt
throughout the denomination and upon all its activities. The change in
attitude was very great, and the depressed and discouraged tone of many
Unitarian utterances for a number of years preceding and following 1860
gave way to one of enthusiasm and courage.[3]

[Sidenote: New Life in the Unitarian Association.]

The annual meeting of the Unitarian Association, that soon followed, felt
the new stir of life, and the awakening to a larger consciousness of power.
The chief attention was directed to meeting the new opportunities that had
been presented, and to preparing for the larger work required. Dr. Rufus P.
Stebbins, who had been for three years the president, and who had been
actively instrumental in securing the large accession to the contributions
of the year, was elected secretary, with the intent that he should devote
himself to pushing forward the missionary enterprises of the Association.
He refused to serve, and accepted the position only until his successor
could be secured. In a few weeks, the executive committee elected Rev.
Charles Lowe to this office, and he immediately entered upon its duties. He
proved to be eminently fitted for the place by his enthusiastic interest in
the work to be accomplished, and by his skill as an organizer. His
catholicity of mind enabled him to conciliate, as far as this was possible,
the conservative and radical elements in the denomination, and to unite
them into an effective working body. Educated at Harvard College and
Divinity School, Lowe spent two years as a tutor in the college, and then
was settled successively over parishes in New Bedford, Salem, and
Somerville. His experience and skill as an army agent of the Association
suggested his fitness for the larger sphere of labor into which he was now
inducted. For six most difficult and trying years he successfully conducted
the affairs of the Association.

For the first time in the history of the Association its income was such as
to enable it to plan its work on a large scale, and in some degree
commensurate with its opportunities. During the year and a half preceding
the first of June, 1866, there was contributed to the Association about
$175,000, to Antioch College $103,000, to the Boston Fraternity of Churches
$22,920, to the Children's Mission $42,000, to the Freedman's Aid Societies
$30,000, to the Sunday School Society $2,500, to The Christian Register
$15,000, and to the Western Conference $6,000, making a total of about
$400,000 given by the denomination to these religious, educational, and
philanthropic purposes; and this financial success was truly indicative of
the new interest in its work that had come to the Unitarian body.

[Sidenote: The New Theological Position.]

Although the New York convention voted that $100,000 ought to be raised in
1866, because the needs of the denomination demanded it, yet only $60,000
were secured. The reaction that followed the close of the war had set in,
the financial prosperity of the country had begun to lessen, and the
enthusiasm that had made the first great effort of the denomination so
eminently successful did not continue. A chief cause for the waning
interest in the denomination itself was the agitation, in regard to the
theological position of the Unitarian body that began almost immediately
after the New York convention.

The older Unitarians held to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus as the
great sources of spiritual truth as strongly as did the orthodox, and they
differed from them only as to the purport of the message conveyed. This may
be seen in a creed offered to the New York convention, by a prominent
layman,[4] almost immediately after it was opened on the first morning.
In this proposed creed it was asserted that Unitarians believe "in one
Lord, Jesus Christ; the Son of God and his specially appointed messenger,
and representative to our race; gifted with supernatural power, approved of
God by miracles and signs and wonders which God did by him, and thus by
divine authority commanding the devout and reverential faith of all who
claim the Christian name." Although this creed was not adopted by the
convention, it expressed the belief of a majority of Unitarians. To the
same purport was the word spoken by Dr. Bellows, when he said: "Unitarians
of the school to which I belong accept Jesus Christ with all their hearts
as the Sent of God, the divinely inspired Son of the Father, who by his
miraculously proven office and his sinless life and character was fitted to
be, and was made revealer of the universal and permanent religion of the
human race."[5] These quotations indicate that the more conservative
Unitarians had not changed their position since 1853, when they made
official statement of their acceptance of Christianity as authenticated by
miracles and the supernatural. In fact, they held essentially to the
attitude taken when they left the older Congregational body.

On the other hand, the transcendentalists and the radical Unitarians
proposed a new theory of the nature of religious truth, and insisted that
the spiritual message of Christianity is inward, and not outward, directly
to the soul of man, and not through the mediation of a person or a book.
Almost from the first Channing had been moving towards this newer
conception of the nature and method of religion. He did not wholly abandon
the miraculous, but it grew to have less significance for him with each
year. The Unitarian conception of religion as natural to man, which was
maintained strenuously from the time of Jonathan Mayhew, made it probable,
if not certain, that a merely external system of religion would be
ultimately outgrown. In his lecture on self-denial Channing stated this
position in the clearest terms. "If," he said, "after a deliberate and
impartial use of our best faculties, a professed revelation seems to us
plainly to disagree with itself or to clash with great principles which we
cannot question, we ought not to hesitate to withhold from it our belief. I
am surer that my rational nature is from God, than that any book is an
expression of his will. This light in my own breast is his primary
revelation, and all subsequent ones must accord with it, and are in fact
intended to blend with and brighten it."[6]

Channing was not alone in accepting Christianity as a spiritual principle
that is natural and universal. As early as 1826 Alvan Lamson had defended
the proposition that miracles are merely local in their nature, and that
attention should be chiefly given to the tendency, spirit, and object of
Christianity. He claimed that it bore on the face of it the marks of its
heavenly origin, and that, when these are fully accepted, no other form of
evidence is required.[7] In 1834 James Walker, in writing on The
Philosophy of Man's Spiritual Nature in regard to the Foundations of Faith,
had taken what was essentially the transcendentalist view of the origin and
nature of religion. He contended for the "religion in the soul" that is
authenticated "by the revelations of consciousness."[8] In 1836 Convers
Francis, in, describing the religion of Christ as a purely internal
principle, maintained the "quiet, spirit-searching character of
Christianity," as "a kingdom wholly within the soul of man."[9]

When Convers Francis became a professor in the Harvard Divinity School, in
1842, the spiritual philosophy had recognition there; and he had a
considerable influence upon the young men who came under his guidance.
Though of the older way of thinking, George R. Noyes, who became a
professor in the school in 1840, was always on the side of liberty of
interpretation and expression. For the next two decades the Divinity School
sent out a succession of such men as John Weiss, Octavius B. Frothingham,
Samuel Longfellow, William J. Potter, and Francis E. Abbot, who were joined
by William Henry Channing, Samuel Johnson, David A. Wasson, and others, who
did not study there. These men gave a new meaning to Unitarianism, took it
away from miracles to nature, discarded its evidences to rely on intuition,
rejected its supernatural deity for an immanent God who speaks through all
life his divine word.

During the interval between the New York convention and the first session
of the National Conference, which was held in Syracuse, October 10-11,
1866, the questions which separated the conservatives and radicals were
freely debated in the periodicals of the denomination, and also in sermons
and pamphlets. The radicals organized for securing a revision of the
constitution; and on the morning of the first day Francis E. Abbot, then
the minister at Dover, N.H., offered a new preamble and first article as
substitutes for those adopted in New York, in which he stated that "the
object of Christianity is the universal diffusion of love, righteousness,
and truth," that "perfect freedom of thought, which is at once the right
and duty of every human being, always leads to diversity of opinion, and is
therefore hindered by common creeds or statements of faith," and that
therefore the churches assembled in the conference, "disregarding all
sectarian or theological differences, and offering a cordial fellowship to
all who will join them in Christian work, unite themselves in a common
body, to be known as The National Conference of Unitarian and Independent

At the afternoon session Mr. Abbot's amendment was rejected; but on the
motion of James Freeman Clarke the name was changed to The National
Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches. A resolution stating
that the expression "Other Christian Churches was not meant to exclude
religious societies which have no distinctive church organization, and are
not nominally Christian, if they desire to co-operate with the Conference
in what it regards as Christian work," was laid on the table.

[Sidenote: Organization of the Free Religious Association.]

The result of the refusal at Syracuse to revise the constitution of the
National Conference was that the radical men on the railroad train
returning to Boston held a consultation, and resolved to organize an
association that would secure them the liberty they desired. After
correspondence and much planning a meeting was held in Boston, at the house
of Rev. Cyrus A. Bartol, on February 5, 1867, to consider what should be
done. After a thorough discussion of the subject the Free Religious
Association was planned; and the organization was perfected at a meeting
held in Horticultural Hall, Boston, May 30, 1867. Some of those who took
part in this movement thought that all religion had been outgrown, but the
majority believed that it is essential and eternal. What they sought was to
remove its local and national elements, and to get rid of its merely
sectarian and traditional features.

At the first meeting the speakers were O.B. Frothingham, Henry Blanchard,
Lucretia Mott, Robert Dale Owen, John Weiss, Oliver Johnson, Francis E.
Abbot, David A. Wasson, T.W. Higginson, and R.W. Emerson; and discussion
was participated in by A.B. Alcott, E.C. Towne, Frank B. Sanborn, Hannah E.
Stevenson, Ednah D. Cheney, Charles C. Burleigh, and Caroline H. Dall. Of
these persons, one-half had been Unitarian ministers, and about one-third
of them were still settled over Unitarian parishes. Mr. Frothingham was
elected president of the new organization, and Rev. William J. Potter
secretary. The purposes of the Association were "to promote the interests
of pure religion, to encourage the scientific study of theology and to
increase fellowship in the spirit." In 1872 the constitution was revised by
changing the subject of study from theology to man's religious nature and
history, and by the addition of the statement that "nothing in the name or
constitution of the Association shall ever be construed as limiting
membership by any test of speculative opinion or belief,--or as defining
the position of the Association, collectively considered, with reference to
any such opinion or belief,--or as interfering in any other way with that
absolute freedom of thought and expression which is the natural right of
every rational being."

The original purpose of the Free Religious Association, as defined in its
constitution and in the addresses delivered before it, was the recognition
of the universality of religion, and the representation of all phases of
religious opinion in its membership and on its platform. The circumstances
of its organization, however, in some measure took it away from this
broader position, and made it the organ of the radical Unitarian opinion.
Those Unitarians who did not find in the American Unitarian Association and
the National Conference such fellowship as they desired became active in
the Free Religious organization.

The cause of Free Religion was ably presented in the pages of The Radical,
a monthly journal edited by Sidney H. Morse, and published in Boston, and
The Index, edited by Francis E. Abbot, at first in Toledo and then in
Boston. It also found expression at the Sunday afternoon meetings held in
Horticultural Hall, Boston, for several winters, beginning in 1868-69; in
the conventions held in several of the leading cities of the northern
states; at the gatherings of the Chestnut Street Club; and in the annual
meetings of the Free Religious Association held in Boston during
anniversary week. Little effort was made to organize churches, and only two
or three came into existence distinctly on the basis of Free Religion. In
connection with The Index, Francis E. Abbot organized the Liberal League to
promote the interests of Free Religion, with about four hundred local
branches; but this organization proved ineffective, and soon ceased its

The withdrawal of the radicals into the Free Religious Association did not
quiet the agitation in the Unitarian ranks, partly because some of the most
active workers in that Association continued to occupy Unitarian pulpits,
and partly because a considerable radical element did not withdraw in any
manner. The conferences had an unfailing subject for exciting discussion,
and the Unitarian body was at this time in a chronic condition of
agitation. As in the days of the controversy about the Trinity, the more
conservative ministers would not exchange pulpits with the more radical.

[Sidenote: Unsuccessful Attempts at Reconciliation.]

At the second session of the National Conference, held in New York City,
October 7-9, 1868, another attempt was made to bring about a reconciliation
between the two wings of the denomination. In an attitude of generous good
will and with a noble desire for inclusiveness and peace, James Freeman
Clarke proposed an addition to the constitution of the Conference, in which
it was declared "that we heartily welcome to that fellowship all who desire
to work with us in advancing the kingdom of God." Such a broad invitation
was not acceptable to the majority; and, after an extended debate, this
amendment was withdrawn, and the following, offered by Edward Everett Hale,
and essentially the same as that presented by Mr. Clarke, with the
exception of the phrase just quoted, was adopted:--

  To secure the largest unity of the spirit and the widest practical
  co-operation, it is hereby understood that all the declarations of this
  conference, including the preamble and constitution, are expressions
  only of its majority, and dependent wholly for their effect upon the
  consent they command on their own merits from the churches here
  represented or belonging within the circle of our fellowship.

The annual meeting of the Unitarian Association in 1870 was largely
occupied with the vexing problem of the basis of fellowship; and the
secretary, Charles Lowe, read a conciliatory and explanatory address. He
said that the wide differences of theological opinion existing in the
denomination were "an inevitable consequence of the great principle on
which Unitarianism rests. That principle is that Christian faith and
Christian union can coexist with individual liberty."[10] Rev. George H.
Hepworth, then the minister of the Church of the Messiah in New York, asked
for an authoritative statement of the Unitarian position, urging this
demand with great insistence; and he presented a resolution calling for a
committee of five to prepare "a statement of faith, which shall, as nearly
as may be, represent the religious opinions of the Unitarian denomination."

While Dr. Bellows had been the leader in securing the adoption of the
Christian basis for the National Conference, and the insertion into the
preamble of its constitution of the expression of faith in the Lordship of
Jesus Christ, he was strongly opposed to any attempt to impose a creed upon
the denomination, however attenuated it might be. He has been often charged
with inconsistency, and it is difficult to reconcile his position in 1870
with that held in 1865. What he attempted to secure, however, was the
utmost of liberty possible within the limits of Christianity; and, when he
had committed the Unitarian body to the Christian position, he desired
nothing more, believing that a creed would be inconsistent with the liberty
enjoyed by all Unitarians. Without doubt his address at this meeting, in
opposition to Mr. Hepworth's proposal, made it impossible to secure a vote
in favor of a creed. "We want to represent a body," he said, "that presents
itself to the forming hand of the Almighty Spirit of God in a fluid,
plastic form. We cannot keep our denomination in that state, and yet give
it the character of being cast into a positive mould. You must either
abandon that great work you have done, as the only body in Christendom that
occupies the position of absolute and perfect liberty, with some measure of
Christian faith, or you must continue to occupy that position and thank God
for it without hankering after some immediate victories that are so strong
a temptation to many in our denomination." When the resolution in favor of
a creed was brought to a vote, it was "defeated by a very large majority."
By this act the Unitarian body again asserted its Christian position, but
refused to define or to limit its Christianity.

Notwithstanding the refusal of the Unitarian Association to adopt a creed,
the attempt to secure one was renewed in the National Conference with as
much energy as if this were not already a lost cause. At the session held
in New York, October, 1870, the subject came up for extended consideration,
several amendments to the constitution were proposed, and, after a
prolonged discussion, that offered by George H. Hepworth was adopted:--

  Reaffirming our allegiance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and desiring
  to secure the largest unity of the spirit and the widest practical
  co-operation, we invite to our fellowship all who wish to be followers
  of Christ.

[Sidenote: The Year Book Controversy.]

One result of this controversy was that in 1873 it having come to the
attention of Rev. O.B. Frothingham, the president of the Free Religious
Association, that his name was in the list of Unitarian ministers published
in the Year Book of the Unitarian Association, he expressed surprise that
it should have been continued there, and asked for its removal. The same
action was taken by Francis E. Abbot, the editor of The Index, and others
of the radicals. This action was in part the result of the attitude taken
by Rev. Thomas J. Mumford, editor of The Christian Register, who in 1872
insisted that the word "Religious" had no proper place in the name of the
Free Religious Association, and who invited those Unitarians "who have
ceased to accept Jesus as pre-eminently their spiritual leader and teacher"
to withdraw from the Unitarian body.

In November, 1873, Mr. George W. Fox, the assistant secretary of the
Unitarian Association and the editor of its Year Book, wrote to several of
the radicals, calling their attention to the action of Mr. Frothingham in
requesting the removal of his name, and asked if their names remained in
that publication "with their knowledge and consent." In a subsequent letter
to William J. Potter, the minister of the Unitarian church in New Bedford
and the secretary of the Free Religious Association, he explained that "the
Year Book lists of societies and ministers are simply a directory, prepared
by the Association for the accommodation of the denomination, and that the
Association does not undertake to decide the question as to what are or are
not Unitarian societies or ministers, but merely puts into print facts, in
the making of which it assumes no responsibility and has no agency."

Mr. Potter expressed his purpose not to ask for the removal of his name,
but wrote that he did not call himself a Unitarian Christian or by any
denominational name. The officers of the Association thereupon instructed
the editor of the Year Book to remove Mr. Potter's name from the list of
Unitarian ministers published therein. The reason for this action was
stated in a letter from the editor to Mr. Potter, announcing that his name
had been removed. The letter said, "While there might be no desire to
define Christianity in the case of those who claim that they are in any
sense of the term entitled to be called Christians, for those persons who,
like yourself, disavow the name, there seems to be no need of raising any
question as to how broad a range of opinion the name may properly be
stretched to cover."[11]

There followed a vigorous discussion of the action of the Association in
dropping Mr. Potter's name, it being recognized that no more thoroughly
religious man was to be found in the denomination, and that none more truly
exemplified the Christian spirit, whatever might be his wish as to the use
of the Christian name. At the sixth session of the National Conference,
held at Saratoga in September, 1874, the Essex Conference protested against
the erasure of the name of a church in long and regular fellowship with the
Unitarian Association from its Year Book; and a resolution offered by Dr.
Bellows, indorsing the action of the officers of the National Conference in
inviting the New Bedford church to send delegates, was passed without
dissent. At the session of the Western Conference held in Chicago during
1875, resolutions were passed protesting against the removing of the name
of any person from the accredited list of Unitarian ministers until he
requested it, had left the denomination, joined some other sect, or been
adjudged guilty of immorality. As a result of this discussion and of the
broad sympathies and inclusive spirit of the conference, the following
platform, in the shape of a resolution, was adopted:--

  That the Western Unitarian Conference conditions its fellowship on no
  dogmatic tests, but welcomes all thereto who desire to work with it in
  advancing the kingdom of God.

The attitude of the Unitarian Association and the National Conference--that
is, of a large majority of Unitarians at this time--may be accurately
defined in the words of Charles Lowe, who said: "I admit that we make a
belief in Christianity a test of fellowship. No stretch of liberality will
make me wish to deny that a belief in Jesus Christ is the absolutely
essential qualification. But I will oppose, as a test, any definition of
Christianity, any words about Christ, for Christ himself, as the principles
of our fellowship and union."[12] These words exactly define what was
sought for, which was liberty within the limits of Christianity. The
primary insistence was upon discipleship to Jesus Christ, but it was
maintained that loyalty to Christ is compatible with the largest degree of
personal liberty.

Fundamentally, this controversy was a continuation of that which had
agitated New England from the beginning, that had divided those opposed to
"the great awakening" of the middle of the eighteenth century from those
who favored it, that led the Unitarians away from the Orthodox, and that
now divided radical and conservative Unitarians. The advance was always
towards a more pronounced assertion of individualism, and a more positive
rejection of tradition, organization, and external authority. Indeed, it
was towards this end that Unitarianism had directed its energies from the
beginning; and the force of this tendency could not be overcome because
some called for a creed, and more had come to see the need of an efficient
organization for practical purposes.

What the radicals desired was freedom, and the broadest assertion of
individuality. It was maintained by Francis E. Abbot that "the spiritual
ideal of Free Religion is to develop the individuality of the soul in the
highest, fullest, and most independent manner possible."[13] The other
distinctive principle of the radicals was that religion is universal, that
all religions are essentially, the same, and that Christianity is simply
one of the phases of universal religion. David A. Wasson defined religion
as "the consciousness of universal relation,"[14] and as "the sense of
unity with the infinite whole," adding that "morals, reason, freedom, are
bound up with it."[15] This means, in simple statement, that religion is
natural to man, and that it needs no authentication by miracle or
supernatural manifestation. It means that all religions are essentially the
same in their origin, and that none can claim the special favor of God in
their manner of presentation to the world. According to this conception of
religion, as was stated by. William J. Potter, Christianity is
"provisional, preparatory, educational, containing, alongside of the most
valuable truth, much that is only human error and bigotry and superstitious
imagination."[16] "The spiritual ideal of Christianity," said Francis E.
Abbot, "is the suppression of self and perfect imitation of Jesus the
Christ. The spiritual ideal of Free Religion is the development of self,
and the harmonious education of all its powers to the highest possible

Through all this controversy what was sought for was a method of
reconciling fellowship with individuality of opinion, of establishing a
church in which freedom of faith for the individual shall have full
recognition. In a word, the Unitarian body had a conviction that tradition
is compatible with intuition, institutions with personal freedom, and
co-operation with individual initiative. The problems involved were too
large for an immediate solution; and what Unitarians accepted was an ideal,
and not a fact fully realized in their denominational life. The doctrinal
phases of the controversy have always been subsidiary to this larger
search, this desire to give to the individual all the liberty that is
compatible with his co-operation with others. The result of it has been to
teach the Unitarian body, in the words of Francis E. Abbot at Syracuse, in
1866, that "the only reconciliation of the duties of collective Christian
activity and individual freedom of thought lies in an efficient
organization for practical Christian work, based rather on unity of spirit
than on uniformity of belief."[18]

[Sidenote: Missionary Activities.]

During this period of controversy, from 1865 to 1880, the Unitarian
Association had at its head several able men, who were actively interested
in its work. The president for 1865-66 was Rev. John G. Palfrey; and he was
succeeded, in 1867, by Hon. Thomas D. Eliot, of New Bedford, who was in
both houses of the Massachusetts legislature, and then for a number of
years in the lower house of Congress. From 1870 to 1872 the president was
Mr. Henry Chapin, of Worcester, an able lawyer and judge, loyally devoted
to the Sunday-school work of his city and county. He was succeeded by Hon.
John Wells, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, who was
deeply interested in the church with which he was connected. In 1876 Mr.
Henry P. Kidder was elected to this office,--a position he held for ten
years. He was prominent in the banking interests of Boston, gave much
attention to the charities of the city, and was an efficient worker in the
South Congregational Church.

Rev. Charles Lowe, the secretary from 1865 to 1871, wisely directed the
activities of the Association through the early period of the great
awakening of the denomination, and kept it from going to pieces on the
Scylla and Charybdis of creed and radicalism. He was followed at a most
critical and difficult time by Rev. Rush R. Shippen, who continued to hold
the office until 1881. The reaction succeeding the great prosperity that
followed the close of the civil war brought great burdens of debt to many
individuals, and to cities, states, and the nation. These troubles
distracted attention from spiritual interests, and joined with various
other calamities in making this a trying time for churches and religious

The discussions as to the theological position of the denomination
naturally resulted in more or less of disorganization, and made it
impossible to secure the unity of effort which is essential to any positive
missionary growth. In spite of these drawbacks, however, denominational
interests slowly advanced. During this period the Unitarian Association
began to receive a considerable increase of its funds from legacies,--a
result of its enlarged activities, and of the new interest awakened by the
formation of the National Conference.

A few facts may be mentioned to illustrate the never-failing generosity of
Unitarian givers when specific needs are presented. In October, 1871,
occurred the great fire in Chicago and the burning of Unity Church in that
city, which was aided with $60,000 in rebuilding; while the Third Church
and All Souls' were helped liberally in passing through this crisis. The
following year the Boston fire crippled sadly the resources of the
Association, and instead of the $150,000 asked for only $42,000 were
received. Yet in 1876 the church in Washington was built, and $30,000 were
contributed to that purpose by the denomination. In 1879; the denomination
gave $56,000 to free the Church of the Messiah in New York from debt.
During this period $100,000 were contributed to the Young Men's Christian
Union in Boston, $90,000 to the Harvard Divinity School, $20,000 to the
Prospect Hill School at Greenfield, and $30,000 towards the Channing
Memorial Church in Newport.

During these trying times the administration of Unitarian affairs in the
west was in judicious hands, In 1865 Rev. Charles G. Ames began those
missionary efforts on the Pacific coast that have led on to the
establishment of a considerable number of churches in that section of the
country. In central Illinois the devoted labors of Jasper L. Douthit from
1868 to the present time have produced wide-reaching results in behalf of a
genuine religion, temperance, good government, and education. In 1868 Rev.
Carlton A. Staples was made the missionary agent of the Association in the
west, with headquarters in Chicago, where a book-room was established. He
was succeeded in 1872 by Rev. Sylvan S. Hunting, who was a tireless worker
in the western field for many years. In 1874 Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones became
the missionary of the Wisconsin Conference, and the next year of the
Western Conference. For ten years Mr. Jones labored in this position with
enthusiasm for the Unitarian cause in the west.

[Sidenote: College Town Missions.]

In the spring of 1865 the attention of the Unitarian Association was
directed to the growing University of Michigan; and Rev. Charles H.
Brigham, then the minister of the church in Taunton, was invited to proceed
to Ann Arbor, and see what might be accomplished there. Meetings were held
in the court-house, but in 1866 an old Methodist church was purchased by
the Association and adapted to the uses of the new society. The
congregation numbered at first about eighty persons, but gradually
increased, especially from the attendance of university students. Mr.
Brigham was asked by the students who listened to him to form a Bible class
for their instruction, and this increased in numbers until it included from
two hundred to three hundred persons. On Sunday evenings he delivered
lectures wherein his wide and varied learning was made subservient to high
ideals and to a noble interpretation of Christianity. He led many young men
and women into the liberal faith, and he exercised through them a wide
influence throughout the west. His gifts as a lecturer were also made
available at the Meadville Theological School, with which institution he
was connected for ten years.[19]

The success of Mr. Brigham led to the founding of other college town
churches, that at Ithaca, the seat of Cornell University, being established
in 1866. In 1878 such a mission was begun at Madison for the students of
the University of Wisconsin, and another at Iowa City for the University of
Iowa. In more recent years college missions have been started at Lawrence,
Kan.; Lincoln, Neb.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Berkeley, Cal.; Colorado Springs;
and Amherst, Mass. This has proved to be one of the most effective ways of
extending Unitarianism as a modern interpretation of Christianity.

[Sidenote: Theatre Preaching.]

Another interest developed by the awakening of 1865 was the popularization
of Unitarianism by the use of theatres. In January, 1866, was begun in the
Cooper Institute, New York, a Sunday evening course of lectures by Clarke,
Bellows, Osgood, Frothingham, Putnam, Chadwick, and Joseph May, which was
largely attended. Some of the most important doctrinal subjects were
discussed. A few weeks later a similar course was undertaken in Washington
with like success. In March, 1867, the Suffolk Conference undertook such a
series of lectures in the Boston Theatre, which was crowded to its utmost
capacity. Then followed courses of sermons or lectures in Lawrence, New
Bedford, Salem, Springfield, Providence, Chicago, and San Francisco, as
well as in other places. The council of the National Conference, in 1868,
commended this as an important work that should be encouraged. Rev. Adams
Ayer was made an agent of the Association to organize such meetings, and
their success was remarkable for several years. In 1869 Rev. Charles Lowe
spoke of "that wonderful feature of our recent experience," and urged that
these meetings should be so organized as to lead to definite results.

An earnest effort was made to organize the theatre congregations into
unsectarian societies. It was proposed to form Christian unions that should
work for Christian improvement and usefulness. The first result of this
effort was the reorganization of the Boston Young Men's Christian Union in
the spring of 1868. A similar institution was formed in Providence, to
promote worship, education, hospitality and benevolence. Unions were also
formed in, Salem, Lowell, Cambridge, New Bedford, New York, and elsewhere.

[Sidenote: Organization of Local Conferences.]

In the autumn of 1865, in order to facilitate the collection of money for
the Unitarian Association, a number of local conferences were held in
Massachusetts. The first of these met at Somerville, November 14, and was
primarily a meeting of the Cambridge Association of Ministers, including
all the lay delegates to the New York convention from the churches which
that association represented. The result of this meeting was an increase of
contributions to the Unitarian Association, and the determination to
organize permanently to facilitate that work. Dr. E.E. Hale has stated that
the initial suggestion of these meetings came from a conversation between
Dr. Bellows and Dr. E.H. Sears, in which the latter said "that a very
important element in any effort which should reveal the Unitarian church to
itself would be some plan by which neighboring churches would be brought
together more familiarly."[20]

The local conferences had distinct antecedents, however, by which their
character was doubtless in some degree determined. The early county and
other local auxiliaries to the Unitarian Association begun in 1826 and
continued for at least twenty years, which were general throughout New
England, afforded a precedent; but a more immediate initiative had been
taken in New Hampshire, where the New Hampshire Unitarian Association had
been organized at Manchester, February 25, 1863. It does not appear that
this organization was in any way a revival of the former society of the
same name in that state, which was organized at Concord in 1832, and which
was very active for a brief period. A Unitarian Church Association of Maine
was organized at Portland, September 21, 1852, largely under the influence
of Rev. Sylvester Judd, of Augusta; but it had only a brief existence. The
Maine Conference of Unitarian Churches was organized at Farmington, July 8,
1863.[21] These organizations antedated the movement for the formation of
local conferences on the part of the National Conference; and they
doubtless gave motive and impetus to that effort.

On November 30, 1865, a meeting similar to that at Somerville was held by
the Franklin Evangelical Association[22] at Springfield, and with similar
results. Other meetings were held at Lowell, Dedham, Quincy, Salem,
Taunton, Worcester, and Boston. The attendance at all these meetings was
large, they developed an enthusiastic interest, and pledges were promptly
made looking to larger contributions to the Unitarian Association.

At the Syracuse meeting of the National Conference, in 1866, Dr. Bellows
reported for the council in favor of local organizations, auxiliary to the
national body. "No great national convention of any kind succeeds," it was
declared, "which is not the concurrence of many local conventions, each of
which has duties of detail and special spheres of influence upon whose
co-operation the final and grand success of the whole depends." A series of
resolutions, calling for the formation of local conferences, "to meet at
fixed periods, at convenient points, for the organization of missionary
work," was presented by Dr. E.E. Hale. In order to carry into effect the
intent of these resolutions, Charles Lowe devised a plan of organization,
which declared that the object of the local conference "shall be to promote
the religious life and mutual sympathy of the churches which unite in it,
and to enable them to co-operate in missionary work, and in raising funds
for various Christian purposes." The work of organizing such local
missionary bodies was taken up at once, and proceeded rapidly. The first
one was organized at Sheboygan, Wis., October 24, 1866; and nearly all the
churches were brought within the limits of such conferences during the next
two years.[23]

In the local conferences, as in the National Conference, two purposes
contended for expression that were not compatible with each other as
practical incentives to action. The one looked to the uniting of all
liberal individuals and denominations in a general organization, and the
other aimed at the promotion of distinctly Unitarian interests. In the
National Conference the denominational purpose controlled in shaping its
permanent policy; but the other intent found expression in the addition of
"Other Christian Churches" to the name, though in only the most limited way
did such churches connect themselves with the Conference.[24] The local
conferences made like provision for those not wishing to call themselves
distinctly Unitarian. Such desire for co-operation, however, was in a large
degree ineffective because of the fact that the primary aim in the calling
into existence of such conferences was an increase in the funds of the
Unitarian Association.

[Sidenote: Fellowship and Fraternity.]

Under the leadership of the National Conference the Unitarian body
underwent material changes in its internal organization and in its
relations to other denominations. Not only did it bring the churches to act
together in the local conferences and in its own sessions, but it taught
then to co-operate for the protection of their pulpits against adventurers
and immoral men. Before it was organized, the excessive spirit of
independency in the churches would permit of no exercise of control as to
their selection of ministers to fill their pulpits. At the fourth session
of the National Conference, held in New York in October, 1870, the council,
through Dr. Bellows, suggested that the local conferences refuse to
acknowledge as ministers men of proven vices and immoralities. To carry out
the spirit of this suggestion, Dr. Hale presented a resolution, which was
adopted, asking the local conferences to appoint committees of fellowship
to examine and to act upon candidates for the ministry. In October, 1870,
the New York and Hudson River Conference created such a committee "to
examine the testimonials of such as desire to become members of the
conference and enter the Unitarian ministry."

The seventh session of the National Conference, held at Saratoga in 1876,
provided for the appointment of a committee of fellowship, and the list of
names of those appointed to its membership appears in the printed report;
but there is no record that the committee ever organized. In 1878 the
council reported at considerable length on the desirableness of
establishing such a committee; and, again, a committee of fellowship was
appointed "to take into immediate consideration the subject of the
introduction into the Unitarian ministry of those persons who seek an
entrance into that ministry from other churches." This committee consisted
of twelve persons, three each for the eastern, middle, western, and Pacific

At the session of 1880 the council of the Conference stated that it had
created a substitute for the old ecclesiastical council, that was called
together from the neighboring ministers and churches whenever a minister
was to be inducted into office. That method was costly and had dropped into
desuetude; but the new method of a committee of fellowship saved true
Congregational methods and freed the churches from unworthy men. At this
session the committee reported that it had adopted a uniform plan of
action; but a resolution was passed recommending that each local conference
establish its own committee of fellowship. Having once been instituted,
however, the committee of the National Conference came slowly to be
recognized as the fit means of introducing ministers into the Unitarian
fellowship. Its authority has proven beneficent, and in no sense
autocratic. It has shown that churches may co-operate in this way without
intruding upon each others' rights, and that such a safeguarding of the
pulpits of the denomination is essential to their dignity and morality. In
1896 the Minnesota Conference went one step further, and provided for a
committee of fellowship with power to exclude for "conduct unbecoming a

[Sidenote: Results of the Denominational Awakening.]

The most marked feature in the history of Unitarianism in this country
during the period from 1865 to 1880 was the organization of the National
Conference as the legislative body of the denomination, and the adjustment
to it of the American Unitarian Association as its executive instrument.
Attendant upon this organizing movement was the termination of the
theological discussion that had begun twenty years earlier between the
conservatives and radicals, the supernaturalists and the idealists, or
transcendentalists. In 1865 the large majority of Unitarians were
conservatives and supernaturalists, but in 1880 a marked change in belief
had come about, that had apparently given the victory to the more moderate
of the radicals. The majority of Unitarians would no longer assert that
miracles are necessary to faith in Christ and the acceptance of his
teachings as worthy of credence.

The change that came about during these years was largely due to the
leadership of Henry W. Bellows. What he did was to keep actively alive in
the Unitarian body its recognition of its Christian heritage, while at the
same time he boldly refused assent to its being committed to any definite
creed. He insisted upon the right of Unitarians to the Christian name, and
to all that Christianity means as a vital spiritual force; but at the same
time he refused to accept any limits for the Christian tradition and
heritage, and left them free for growth. Sometimes apparently reactionary
and conservative, he was at other times boldly radical and progressive. The
cause of this seeming inconsistency was to be found in those gifts of
imagination and emotion that made him a great preacher; but the
inconsistency was more apparent than real, for in his leadership he
manifested a wisdom and a capacity for directing the efforts of others that
has never been surpassed in the history of religion and philanthropy in
this country. He was both conservative and radical, supernaturalist and
transcendentalist, a believer in miracles with a confident trust in the
functions of reason. He saw both before and after, knew the worth of the
past, and recognized that all the roots of our religious life are found
therein, and yet courageously faced the future and its power to transform
our faith by the aid of philosophy and science. Consequently, his
sympathies were large, generous, and inclusive. Sometimes autocratic in
word and action, his motives were catholic, and his intentions broad and
appreciative. He gave direction to the newer Unitarianism in its efforts to
organize and perpetuate itself. Had it been more flexible to his organizing
skill, it would have grown more rapidly; but, with all its individualism
and dislike of proselyting, it has more than doubled in strength since
1865. He showed the Unitarian body that freedom is consistent with
organized effort, and that personal liberty is no more essential than
co-ordinated action. He may be justly described as the real organizer of
the Unitarian body in this country.

[1] Henry W. Bellows, in Monthly Journal, iv. 336: "These two years of
    war have witnessed a more rapid progress in liberal opinions than the
    whole previous century. The public mind has opened itself as it has
    never been open before." In vi. 3, he said: "There are great and
    striking changes going on. Men are breaking away from old opinions,
    and there is a great work for us to do." This was said in December,
    1864. William G. Eliot, Monthly Journal, iv. 349: "The war has proved
    that our Unitarian faith works well in time of trial. No other church
    has been so uniformly and thoroughly loyal, and no other church has
    done more for the sick and dying." Many other similar words could be

[2] James Freeman Clarke reported for this committee at the Syracuse
    session of 1866, and stated that its members had conferred with
    Christians, Universalists, Methodists, Congregationalists, and
    others. The committee made several suggestions as to what could be
    done to promote general fellowship, and recommended that the title of
    the National Conference be so changed as to permit persons of other
    religions bodies to find a place within it, if they so desired. The
    committee was reappointed; and at the third session of the Conference
    it reported that it had visited the annual gatherings of the
    Universalists, Methodists, and Free Religionists, and had been
    cordially welcomed. They were received into the pulpits of different
    denominations, they found everywhere a cordial spirit of fellowship
    and a breaking down of sectarian barriers. At this session the
    Conference expressed its desire "to cultivate the most friendly
    relations with, and to encourage fraternal intercourse between, the
    various liberal Christian bodies in this country." A committee of
    three was appointed "to represent our fraternal sentiments and to
    consider all questions which relate to mutual intercourse and

    This committee reported through Edward E. Hale that it had been well
    received at two Methodist conferences and at several state
    conventions of the Universalists. Especially had it been welcomed by
    the African Methodist Church, which was the beginning of cordial
    relations between the two bodies for several years. The committee
    reported, however, that "there are but few regularly organized bodies
    in this country which, in their formal action, express much desire
    for intercourse or co-operation with us as an organized branch of the
    church." A resolution offered by the committee, expressing the desire
    of the National Conference "to cultivate the most friendly relations
    with all Christian churches and to encourage fraternal intercourse
    between them," was adopted. The members of the committee appointed in
    1870 attended the session of the American Board of Foreign Missions
    in 1871; and they were received with courtesy, Athanase Coquerel
    addressing the board as their representative. The committee reported
    that "in every direction, from clergymen and laymen of different
    Protestant churches, we have received informal expressions of what we
    believe to be a very general desire that there might be a more formal
    and public expression of the fellowship which undoubtedly really
    exists between the different Protestant communions."

    At the session of the National Conference held in 1874 the council
    suggested the propriety of preparing a register of the free or
    liberal churches of the world, and it enumerated the various bodies
    that might be properly included; but no action was taken on this
    recommendation. At this session an amendment to the by-laws, offered
    by Dr. Hale, was adopted, providing for a fellowship committee with
    other churches. This committee was not appointed, and the amendment
    was not printed in its proper place in the report. Apparently, the
    interest in efforts of this kind had exhausted itself, partly because
    any active co-operation with the more conservative churches was
    impossible, and partly because the growth of denominational feeling
    directed the energies of the National Conference into other channels.

[3] The sessions of the National Conference have been held as follows: 1,
    New York, April 5-6, 1865; 2, Syracuse, October 10-11, 1866; 3, New
    York, October 7-9, 1868; 4, New York, October 19-21, 1870; 5. Boston,
    October 22-25, 1872; 6, Saratoga, September 15-18, 1874; 7, Saratoga,
    September 12-15, 1876; 8, Saratoga, September 17-20, 1878; 9,
    Saratoga, September 21-24, 1880; 10, Saratoga, September 18-22, 1882;
    11, Saratoga, September 22-26, 1884; 12, Saratoga, September 20-24,
    1886; 13, Philadelphia, October 28-31, 1889; 14, Saratoga, September
    21-25, 1891; 15, Saratoga, September 24-27, 1894; 16, Washington,
    October 21-24, 1895; 17, Saratoga, September 20-23, 1897; 18,
    Washington, October 16-19 1899; 19, Saratoga, September 23, 1901. A
    meeting was held in Chicago, in 1893, in connection with the
    Parliament of Religions. The presidents of the National Conference
    have been Hon. John A. Andrew, who served in 1866; Hon. Thomas D.
    Eliot, whose term of service lasted to 1869; Judge Ebenezer R. Hoar,
    from 1869 to 1878, and again from 1882 to 1884; Hon. John D. Long,
    from 1878 to 1882; Judge Samuel F. Miller, 1884 to 1891; Mr. George
    William Curtis, 1891 to 1894; and Hon. George F. Hoar, 1894 to 1901.
    Hon. Carroll D. Wright was elected to the office in 1901. The
    secretaries have been Rev. Edward Everett Hale, Rev. George
    Batchelor, Rev. Russell N. Bellows, Rev. William H. Lyon, and Rev.
    Daniel W. Morehouse. The first chairman of the council was Rev. Henry
    W. Bellows, D.D., who served to 1872, and again from 1876 to 1878;
    Professor Charles Carroll Everett, D.D., from 1874 to 1876; Rev.
    Edward Everett Hale, D.D., from 1880 to 1882, and from 1891 to 1894;
    Rev. James De Normandie, D.D., from 1884 to 1889; Rev. Brooke
    Herford, D.D., from 1889 to 1891; Rev. George Batchelor, from 1894 to
    1895; Rev. Minot J. Savage, D.D., from 1895 to 1899; and Rev. Howard
    N. Brown, from the later year to 1901, when Rev. Thomas R. Slicer was

[4] A.A. Low, a member of the first Unitarian congregation in Brooklyn,

[5] Lecture delivered in Cooper Institute, New York, on Unitarian Views
    of Christ, published in The Christian Examiner, November, 1866, xxxi,

[6] Works, iv. 110.

[7] The Christian Examiner, March-April, 1826, iii. 136.

[8] First Series of Tracts of A.U.A. No. 87.

[9] First Series of A.U.A. Tracts, No. 105, April, 1836.

[10] Forty-fifth Annual Report of the American Unitarian Association, 11,

[11] This correspondence was published in full in The Christian Register
     for December 13 and 20, 1873, Mr. Potter's letter protesting against
     the action of the Association being printed on the later date.

[12] Memoir of Charles Lowe, 454, 458.

[13] Freedom and Fellowship in Religion, 261.

[14] Freedom and Fellowship in Religion, 24.

[15] Ibid., 42.

[16] Ibid., 216.

[17] Fifty Affirmations, 47.

[18] Report of the Second Meeting of the National Conference, 20.

[19] Memoir of Charles H. Brigham, with Sermons and Lectures.

[20] Christian Register. March 15, 1900, lxxxix. 300; Twenty-fifth
     Anniversary of the Worcester Conference, 7, address by Dr. Hale. See
     Memoir of Charles Lowe, 372.

[21] Church Exchange, May, 1899, vi. 59.

[22] This association of ministers was organized August 17, 1819, and was
     orthodox, but found itself Unitarian when the denominational change
     took place.

[23] See Appendix for a complete list of the local conferences and the
     dates of their organization.

[24] In a small number of instances such churches did join the Conference,
     but the number was too small to be in any degree significant.



The period from 1880 to the present time is marked by a growing
denominational unity. Gradually Unitarians have come to the acceptance of
their fellowship as a religious body, and to a recognition of their
distinct mission. The controversy between the conservatives and the
radicals was transferred to the west in 1886, and continued to have at its
basis the problem of the relation of the individual to religious
institutions and traditions. The conservative party maintained that
Unitarians are Christians, and gave recognition to that continuity of human
development by which every generation is connected with and draws its life
from those which precede it, and is consciously dependent upon them. On the
other hand, the radical party was not willing to accept traditions and
institutions as having a binding authority over individuals. Some of them
were reluctant to call themselves Christians, not because they rejected the
more important of the Christian beliefs, but because they were not willing
to bind any individual by the action of his fellows. It was their claim
that religion best serves its own ends when it is free to act upon the
individual without compulsion of any kind from others, and that its
attractions should be without any bias of external authority.

[Sidenote: "The Western Issue."]

At the meeting of the Western Conference held in Cleveland in 1882,
arrangements were made looking to its incorporation, and its object was
defined to be "the transaction of business pertaining to the general
interests of the societies connected with the Conference, and the promotion
of rational religion." It was voted that the motto on the conference seal
should be "Freedom, Fellowship, and Character in Religion," which was the
same as that of the Free Religious Association, with the addition of the
word "character." These results were reached after much discussion, and by
the way of compromise. The issues thus raised were brought forward again at
St. Louis, in 1885, when Rev. J.T. Sunderland, the secretary and missionary
of the conference, deplored the growing spirit of agnosticism and
scepticism in the Unitarian churches of the west. His report caused a
division of opinion in the conference; and in the controversy that ensued
the conservatives were represented by The Unitarian, edited by Rev. Brooke
Herford and Rev. J.T. Sunderland, and the radicals by Unity, edited by Rev.
J.Ll. Jones and Rev. W.C. Gannett.

At the Western Conference meeting of 1886, held in Cincinnati, the
controversy found full expression. The session was preceded a few days
before by the publication of a pamphlet on The Western Issue from the pen
of Mr. Sunderland, in which he contended for the theistic and Christian
character of the conference. A resolution offered by Rev. Oscar Clute,
"that the primary object of this Conference is to diffuse the knowledge and
promote the interests of pure Christianity," was rejected by a considerable
majority. Another, offered by Mr. Sunderland--"that, while rejecting all
creeds and creed limitations, the Conference hereby expresses its purpose
as a body to be the promotion of a religion of love to God and love to
man"--was also rejected. That presented by William C. Gannett was carried
by a majority of thirty-four to ten, and declared that

  the Western Unitarian Conference conditions its fellowship on no
  dogmatic tests, but welcomes all who wish to join it to establish
  truth, righteousness, and love in the world.

The result was a pronounced division between the two parties within the
conference; and a considerable number of churches, including some of the
oldest and strongest, withdrew from co-operation in the work of the
Conference. At the session of 1887, held in All Souls' Church, Chicago, an
effort was made to bring about a reconciliation; but this was not
completely secured.[1] A resolution was carried, however, by a majority
of fifty-nine to three, reaffirming Mr. Gannett's, declaration adopted at
Cincinnati, but also accepting a statement in regard to fellowship and
doctrines, which was called The Things Most Commonly Believed To-day among
Us, and read as follows:--

  In all matters of church government we are strict Congregationalists.
  We have no creed in the usual sense; that is, articles of doctrinal
  belief which bind our churches and fix the conditions of our
  fellowship. Character has always been to us the supreme matter. We have
  doctrinal beliefs, and for the most part hold such beliefs in common;
  but above all doctrines we emphasize the principles of freedom,
  fellowship, and character in religion. These principles make our
  all-sufficient test of fellowship. All names that divide religion are
  to us of little consequence compared with religion itself. Whoever
  loves truth and loves the good is, in a broad sense, of our religious
  fellowship; whoever loves the one or lives the other better than
  ourselves is our teacher, whatever church or age he may belong to. So
  our church is wide, our teachers many, and our holy writings large.

  With a few exceptions we may be called Christian Theists: Theists as
  worshipping the One-in-All, and naming that One, God our Father;
  Christian, because revering Jesus as the highest of the historic
  prophets of religion; these names, as names, receiving more stress in
  our older than in our younger churches. The general faith is hinted
  well in words which several of our churches have adopted for their
  covenant: "In the freedom of the truth, and in the spirit of Jesus
  Christ, we unite for the worship of God and the service of man." It is
  hinted in such words as these: "Unitarianism is a religion of love to
  God and love to man." "It is that free and progressive development of
  historic Christianity which aspires to be synonymous with universal
  ethics and universal religion." But because we have no creed which we
  impose as test of fellowship, specific statements of belief abound
  among us, always somewhat differing, always largely agreeing. One such
  we offer here:--

    We believe that to love the Good and live the Good is the supreme
    thing in religion. We hold reason and conscience to be final
    authorities in matters of religious belief. We honor the Bible and
    all inspiring scriptures, old and new. We revere Jesus and all holy
    souls that have taught men truth and righteousness and love, as
    prophets of religion. We believe in the growing nobility of man. We
    trust the unfolding universe as beautiful, beneficent, unchanging
    Order; to know this order is truth; to obey it is right and liberty
    and stronger life. We believe that good and evil inevitably carry
    their own recompense, no good things being failure, and no evil
    things success; that heaven and hell are states of being; that no
    evil can befall the good man in either life or death; that all
    things work together for the victory of Good. We believe that we
    ought to join hands and work to make the good things better and the
    worst good, counting nothing good for self that is not good for
    all. We believe that this self-forgetting, loyal life awakes in man
    the sense of union, here and now, with things eternal--the sense of
    deathlessness; and this is to us an earnest of the life to come. We
    worship One-in-All,--that Life whence suns and stars derive their
    orbits and the soul of man its Ought,--that Light which lighteth
    every man that cometh into the world, giving us power to become the
    sons of God,--that Love with whom our souls commune. This One we
    name the Eternal God, our Father.

This action not satisfying the remonstrants, the controversy went on with
considerable vigor for three or four years. Both parties to it were
characteristically Unitarian in their attitude and in their demands. Both
sought the truth with an attempt at unbiassed judgment; and neither wished
to disfellowship the other, or to put any restrictions upon its expression
of its opinions. Much heat was engendered by the controversy, but light was
desire by both parties with sincere purpose. The conflict was finally
brought to an end by the action of the National Conference at its session
of 1894, held at Saratoga, though this result had been practically reached
in 1892. A committee on the revision of the constitution had been appointed
by the council of the session of 1891; and this committee reported the
following preamble, which was unanimously adopted as a substitute for the
preamble of 1865 and 1868:--

  The Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches was formed in
  the year 1865, with the purpose of strengthening the churches and
  societies which should unite in it for more and better work for the
  kingdom of God. These churches accept the religion of Jesus, holding,
  in accordance with his teaching, that practical religion is summed up
  in love to God and love to man. The Conference recognizes the fact that
  its constituency is Congregational in tradition and polity. Therefore,
  it declares that nothing in this constitution is to be construed as an
  authoritative test; and we cordially invite to our working fellowship
  any who, while differing from us in belief, are in general sympathy
  with our spirit and our practical aims.

This preamble to the new constitution proved to be so far acceptable to
both parties in the Western Conference, as well as to their sympathizers
elsewhere, that harmony was restored throughout the denomination. While the
Unitarian body thus retained its use of the Christian name and its
insistence upon loyalty to the teachings of Jesus, yet it put aside every
form of dogmatic test and of creedal statement. Its fellowship was made
very broad in its character, and all were invited to join it who so

[Sidenote: Fellowship with Universalists.]

At the annual meeting of the Unitarian Association in 1899 resolutions were
passed looking to joint action between Unitarians and Universalists with
reference to furthering their common interests. A committee was appointed
to confer with a similar committee of the Universalist General Convention
for the purpose of considering "plans of closer co-operation, devise ways
and means for more efficient usefulness." In October this proposal was
accepted by the General Convention, and a committee appointed. At the
annual meeting of the Unitarian Association in 1900 the report of the
joint committee was presented, in which it was declared that "closer
co-operation is desirable and practicable"; but the committee expressed the
wish to go on record "as not desiring nor expecting to disturb in any way
the separate organic autonomy of the two denominations. We seek
co-operation, not consolidation, unity, non union." The committee
recommended that it be given authority to consider the cases in which the
two denominations are jointly interested, such as opportunities of
instituting churches or missions in new fields, the circulation of tracts
and books, the holding of joint meetings of ministers and churches, or
other efforts to promote intellectual agreements and deep faiths of the
heart, and to recommend the appropriate action to the proper organizations.
At the next sessions of the Unitarian Association and of the Universalist
General Convention these recommendations were accepted, and permanent
members of the joint committee were appointed. This committee has entered
upon its duties, and important results may be anticipated in the promotion
of harmony and co-operation.

[Sidenote: Officers of the American Unitarian Association.]

Mr. Henry P. Kidder continued as the president of the Unitarian Association
until the annual meeting of 1886. He was then succeeded by Hon. George D.
Robinson, who held the office for only one year. He had been in both houses
of the Massachusetts legislature, in the national House from 1877 to 1883,
and was governor of Massachusetts from 1884 to 1886. His successor was Hon.
George S. Hale, from 1887 to 1895, who was a distinguished lawyer, and was
greatly interested in charities and reforms. Hon. John D. Long was the
president from 1895 to 1897. He had been in the lower house of the
Massachusetts legislature, was lieutenant governor in 1879, governor in
1880-82, in the national House from 1883 to 1889, and from 1897 to 1902 was
Secretary of the Navy. Hon. Carroll D. Wright held the office from 1897 to
1900. He was in the Massachusetts Senate in 1871 and 1872, was chief of the
Massachusetts bureau of statistics from 1873 to 1888, superintendent of the
United States census in 1880, has been commissioner of the national Bureau
of Labor since 1885, and in 1902 became president of Clark College at
Worcester. At the annual meeting of 1900 it was thought best to make a
change in the nature of the presidency, in order that the head of the
Association might become its chief executive officer. In that way it was
sought to add dignity and efficiency to the position of the executive
officer, as well as to meet the greatly increased work of the Association
by this addition to its salaried force. The secretary, Rev. Samuel A.
Eliot, was elected to the presidency.

In 1881 Rev. Grindall Reynolds became the secretary of the Association. He
had previously held pastorates in Jamaica Plain and Concord. He had rare
executive abilities, was gifted with sound common sense and a judicial
temper; and he had a most efficient business capacity. Under his leadership
the growth of the Unitarian denomination was more rapid than it had been at
any earlier period; and this was largely due to his zeal, energy, and

In December, 1894, Rev. George Batchelor became the secretary, and he
continued in office until November, 1897, when he became the editor of The
Christian Register. He had previously held pastorates in Salem, Chicago,
and Lowell. He was succeeded, January 1, 1898, by Rev. Samuel A. Eliot, who
had been settled over churches in Denver and Brooklyn, and who became the
president of the Association in 1900. Rev. Charles E. St. John, who had
been settled in Northampton and Pittsburg, became the secretary at the
annual meeting of 1900.

[Sidenote: The American Unitarian Association as a Representative Body.]

In the report of the council of the National Conference at the session of
1880, Dr. Bellows pointed out the fact that the American Unitarian
Association was "not a union of churches, but an association of individuals
belonging to Unitarian churches, who became members of it and entitled to
vote by signing its constitution and the annual payment of one dollar. This
Association never had, and has not now, any explicit relation to our
churches as churches, but only to such individuals as choose to become
voluntary subscribers to its funds, and members by signing its
constitution, and to such churches as choose to employ its services."

This statement led to the appointment of a committee "to consider how the
National Conference and the American Unitarian Association can more
effectually co-operate without sacrifice of the advantages belonging to
either." The committee reported in 1882 in favor of so changing the charter
of the Association that a church might become a member. At the annual
meeting of the Association in 1884, after a prolonged discussion, its
by-laws were so amended that, while the life membership was retained, the
sum creating it was raised from $30 to $50; and churches were given
representation on the condition of regular yearly contributions to its
treasury, two of such contributions being necessary to establish a church
in this right. Since that time the delegates from churches have
considerably outnumbered the life members voting at the annual meetings.
This has practically given the churches the controlling voice in the
activities of the Association.

The giving a representative character to the Association had the effect of
increasing the contributions made to its support by the churches. Under the
leadership of Dr. Bellows, at the National Conference in 1884, there began
a movement looking to the establishment of a conference in every state and
the employment of a missionary by every such conference. This plan has not
yet been fully carried out; but in 1885 and the following years missionary
superintendents were appointed by the Association for five general sections
of the country, and, with some variations, this, system has continued in
operation to the present time.[2]

[Sidenote: The Church Building Loan Fund.]

The work of building churches was greatly facilitated by the establishment,
in 1884, of a Church Building Loan Fund. The proposition to create such a
fund was first brought forward by the finance committee at a meeting of the
directors of the Unitarian Association on February 11, 1884. At the March
meeting a committee was appointed to mature plans; and at the meeting of
the National Conference in September, held at Saratoga, a resolution was
passed asking the Association to set apart $25,000 for this purpose, and
pledging the Conference to add $20,000 to this sum. At the November meeting
of the directors of the Association the organization of the fund was
completed, a board of trustees was created, and the sum of $43,000 was
reported as secured. The fund was steadily increased by contributions from
the churches and by gifts and legacies until in 1900 it amounted to
$142,820.92. Up to May, 1900, an aggregate sum of $294,310 had been
disbursed, in one hundred loans to ninety societies, chiefly to aid in the
erection of new church edifices.[3]

[Sidenote: The Unitarian Building in Boston.]

For several years after the organization of the American Unitarian
Association the records give no indication of the place of meeting of the
directors. During the latter part of 1825, and in 1826, David Reed was the
general agent of the Association; and his place of business was at 81
Washington Street. It is probable that the directors met at the study of
the secretary or at the place of business of the agent. In December, 1826,
the firm of Bowles & Dearborn, booksellers, became the agents, their store
being first at 72 and then at 50 Washington Street. Here all Unitarian
publications were kept on sale, the name of "general repositary" being
given to their stock of books, tracts, periodicals, and other publications
of a liberal character. In 1829 the agent was Leonard C. Bowles, evidently
a continuation of Bowles & Dearborn.

In 1830 the depositary was removed to 135 Washington Street, and was under
the management of the firm of Gray & Bowen, who were paid $144.44 for their
services. In 1831 the place of business of this firm was 141 Washington
Street; and the sum it received from the Association was $200, which was
the next year increased to $300. Leonard C. Bowles, located at 147
Washington Street, again became the agent in 1836. In 1837 James Munroe &
Co. appear as the publishers of the annual report, but they are not
mentioned as agents or as having charge of the repositary. The sum of $150
was paid in that year for the rent of a room for the general secretary,
Rev. Charles Briggs; and the location of the room is probably indicated by
the record that in 1838 Munroe & Co. were paid $133.34 for rent of room and
clerk hire, their store being at 134 Washington Street. Here the
headquarters of the Association were at last established, for they
continued in this place until 1846. In 1839 the rental paid was $300, and
for the six succeeding years it was $200. Surely, these were the days of
small things; but here the Association carried on such activities as it had
in hand, and the Unitarian ministers met for conversation and consultation.

In 1846 Crosby, Nichols & Co. became the agents of the Association, first
at 118 and then at 111 Washington Street. This firm brought out several
Unitarian books, and issued The Christian Examiner and other Unitarian
periodicals. For a number of years they were intimately associated with
Unitarian interests, and the theological and literary traditions of the
time connect them with many of the leading men and movements of Boston. In
the rear of their store the Association had its office, its meeting-place
for the directors and other officers, as well as for the Monday gatherings
of ministers.

After these many wanderings from the rear of one bookstore to another the
Association at last secured an abode of its own. On March 9, 1854, rooms
for the use of the Association were opened at 21 Bromfield Street. On this
occasion a small company came together, and listened to an address by Dr.
Samuel K. Lothrop, the president of the Association. Another change was
made in October, 1859, when Walker, Wise & Co. undertook the book-selling,
and publishing work of the Association at 21 Bromfield Street.

In the year 1865 there came to the Association an opportunity for securing
a building of its own. The sum of $16,000 was paid for a house at 26
Chauncy Street, which was occupied in the spring of 1866. The enlarged
activities of the Association at this time here found the housing they
needed. Affiliated organizations also found a home in this building,
especially the Sunday School Society, the Christian Register Association,
and The Monthly Religious Magazine.

The theatre meetings, begun in Boston in 1866, having suggested the need of
a larger denominational building, The Monthly Journal of November, 1867,
proposed the erection of a building with a spacious hall for these great
popular meetings, smaller rooms for social gatherings, offices for the
Association and other affiliated societies, and an attractive bookstore.
"In short, we would have it comprise all that might properly belong to a
denominational headquarters or home. We would have it in a convenient and
conspicuous situation, and every way worthy of our position." This dream of
Mr. Lowe's he brought forward again in his annual report of 1870, when he
said: "The building now occupied by the Association has become wholly
inadequate to its uses; and steps were taken more than a year ago by its
friends in Boston towards providing more suitable accommodations, and at
the same time providing in connection with it for such other uses as might
make the building to be erected worthy to be the headquarters of the
denomination in the city which gave it birth." Mr. Shippen called attention
to the needs of the Association in his report of 1872, saying that the
project of a large hall had been abandoned, but that there was urgent
demand for a building suited to the business and social needs of the
denomination in Boston.

The great fire of November, 1872, brought this project to a sudden
termination. The Chauncy Street building was for many hours in danger of
being burned, out it was finally saved. Its market value was much increased
by the fire, however; and in February, 1873, it was sold for $37,000.
Purchase was soon made, at a cost of $30,000, of the estate at 7 Tremont
Place, belonging to Hon. Albert Fearing, who had been active in the work of
the Association and prominent in the Unitarian circles of Boston. This
building, entered by the Association in May, 1873, was somewhat larger than
its predecessor and in some respects better suited to the needs of the
Association; yet the secretary, at the annual meeting held in the same
month, called for the more convenient building, which should serve "as a
worthy centre in this city for the various charitable and missionary
activities of our faith."[4]

In his report of 1880 Mr. Shippen again presented his demand for a suitable
home for the Association and its kindred organizations. This appeal was
renewed in the following year by Mr. Reynolds, who urged "the need of a
denominational house in Boston, which should be commodious, accessible,
easily found, and where all our charities and all our works should find a
home." "Very fitting it is," he added, "that such a house should be named
after him who, by his personal influence in life and by the power of his
written word after his death, has been the mightiest single force for the
diffusion of rational Christianity."

In January, 1882, the Unitarian Club of Boston was organized; and it soon
after took up the task of erecting the desired building. The initiative was
taken at a meeting of the club held December 13, 1882, when Mr. Henry P.
Kidder offered to head a subscription for this purpose with the sum of
$10,000. The proposal was received with much enthusiasm, and a committee
was appointed, consisting of Henry P. Kidder, Charles Faulkner, Charles W.
Eliot, William Endicott, Jr., Francis H. Brown, M.D., Dr. John Cordner,
Arthur T. Lyman, Henry Grew, Thomas Gaffield, and Rev. Grindall Reynolds,
to whom authority was given to raise funds, purchase a lot, and erect a
building. It was arranged by this committee that the Association should
contribute $50,000 from the sale of its Tremont Place building, and that
the club should raise $150,000. Subscriptions were opened February 9, 1883;
and in November over $154,000 had been secured. A suitable lot was
purchased at the corner of Beacon and Bowdoin Streets, and the erection of
the building was begun in 1884. A prolonged labor strike delayed the
completion of the building, so that the service of its dedication, which
had been arranged for the evening of May 25, 1886, was held in Tremont
Temple. The presiding officer on that occasion was George William Curtis;
and addresses were made by Drs. Frederic H. Hedge, Andrew P. Peabody, and
Horatio Stebbins. In July the building was occupied by the Association.
"The denominational house is but brick and stone," said Mr. Reynolds in his
report of 1886; "but it is brick and stone which testify to the new hope,
vigor, life, which have been coming in these later years into our body, and
without which it could not have been reared. It is brick and stone which
are the pledges of a noble future, which stimulate to good work, and
furnish the means of doing it."[5]

[Sidenote: Growth of the Devotional Spirit.]

The last twenty years of the nineteenth century saw an increased use of the
simpler Christian rites in Unitarian churches. In that time a distinct
advance was made in the acceptableness of the communion service, and
probably in the number of those willing to join in its observance. The
abandonment of its mystical features and its interpretation as a simple
memorial service, that would help to cherish loved ones gone hence, and the
saintly and heroic of all ages, as well as the one great leader of the
Christian body, has given it for Unitarians a new spiritual effectiveness.
The same causes have led to the adoption of the rite of confirmation in a
considerable number of churches. Gradually the idea has grown that what
Rev. Sylvester Judd called "the birthright church" is the true one, and
that it is desirable that all children should be religiously trained, and
admitted to the church at the age of adolescence. Mr. Judd gave noble
utterance to this conception of a church in a series of sermons published
after his death,[6] as well as in a sermon prepared for the Thursday
lecture in Boston.[7] The same idea was elaborated by Rev. Cyrus A.
Bartol in his Church and Congregation: A Plea for their Unity,[8] wherein
he contended for the union of church and parish, the opening of the
communion to all as a rite accepted by the whole congregation, and not by a
few church members, and the education of children as constituent members of
the church from birth.

It was not until much later, however, that the rite of confirmation came
into use,[9] largely because of the interpretations of the purposes and
methods of Christian nurture presented by Bushnell, Bartol, and Judd. This
rite could have meaning only as the expression of social responsibility on
the part of parents and church alike, that true religion is not merely a
question of individual opinion, but that there is high worth in those
spiritual forces that are carried forward from generation to generation,
and must descend from parent to child if they have effective power. In a
word, the use of the confirmation rite is an abandonment of extreme
individualism, and is an acceptance of the socialistic conception of
spiritual development.[10] This is distinctly a return to the conception
of a church maintained by Solomon Stoddard at the beginning of the
eighteenth century, and to that broader Congregationalism he desired to see
established throughout New England. It was also theoretically that of the
Puritan founders of New England, who maintained that all children Of church
members were also members of the church, but who inconsistently insisted
upon a supernatural conversion in order to full membership. It is even more
positively an acceptance of the theory of Christian nurture held by the
Catholic and the Episcopal churches. That theory is based on the social
conception of the church, that it is an organic body, and that every child
is born into it and is to be trained as a member by nature and by right.

There has also been a marked change in the forms of Sunday worship,
especially in the general adoption of responsive readings or more elaborate
rituals. The tendency has been away from the bare and unattractive service
of the Puritan churches, which was the acme of individualism in worship,
towards the more social conception that brings the whole congregation to
join in the act and in the spirit of devotion. This social conception of
worship had its first distinct expression in a Unitarian church when James
Freeman Clarke organized the Church of the Disciples, in 1843.[11] His
example was a potent force in introducing into many churches a richer and
more expressive form of worship. Another influence was that of Samuel
Longfellow, who became the minister of the Second Unitarian Church in
Brooklyn, in 1853. He soon after introduced vesper services in place of the
second sermon in the afternoon, making them largely devotional in their
character. "His own taste and deep feeling were largely a condition of the
full success of the vespers," says his biographer, "which were seldom
elsewhere so impressive or seemed so genuine as a devotional act. They
needed, for their perfect effect, the influence of a leader with whom
worship was an habitual mental attitude, and who, combined with the
instinct of religion the art of a poet and of a musician."[12] The form of
service thus initiated was adopted in many other churches, and slowly had
its influence in giving greater beauty and spiritual expressiveness to
worship in Unitarian churches.

About 1885 the tendency to adopt a more social and a more aesthetic form of
worship came to assert itself more distinctly. To its furtherance Rev.
Howard N. Brown gave, perhaps, greater emphasis than any other person; but
there were others who took an active part in the movement. The old
Congregational demand for simplicity, however, was very great; and there
was strong feeling against anything like ritualism. The use of some kind of
liturgy became quite general in the face of this objection, and a
considerable number of books of a semi-ritual character were published. The
most elaborate work of this nature was compiled by a committee appointed by
the Unitarian Association, and published by it in 1891. What is to be
recognized in this tendency is not the more general use of liturgies,
however simple or however elaborate, but the growth in Unitarian churches
of the worshipping spirit. With the development of a rational theology
there has been a corresponding evolution of a simple but earnest attitude
of devotion.

The devotional spirit of Unitarians, however, has found its most emphatic
and beautiful expression in religious hymns and poems. The older Unitarian
piety found voice in the hymns of the younger Henry Ware, Norton, Pierpont,
Frothingham, Peabody, Lunt, Bryant, and many others. It was rational and
yet Christian, simple in sentiment and yet it found in the New Testament
traditions its themes and its symbolisms. Then followed the older
transcendentalists, who sought in the inward life and the soul's oneness
with God the chief motives to spiritual expression. The hymns and the
religious poems of Furness, Hedge, Longfellow, Johnson, Clarke, Very,
Brooks, and Miss Scudder,[13] have an interior and spiritual quality
seldom found in devotional poetry. They are not the mere utterances of
conventional sentiments or the repetition of ecclesiastical symbolisms, but
the voicing of deep inward experiences that reveal and interpret the true
life of the soul. Of the same character are the hymns and religious poems
of Gannett, Hosmer, and Chadwick, who have but accentuated the tendencies
of their predecessors. It is the more radical theology that has voiced
itself in the religious songs of these men, but with a mystical or
spiritual insight that fits them to the needs of all devout, worshippers.
It is these genuinely poetical interpretations of the spiritual life that
most often claim utterance in song on the part of Unitarian congregations.
A body of worshippers that can produce such a hymnology must possess a
large measure of genuine piety and devotion.

[Sidenote: The Seventy-fifth Anniversary.]

Many of the tendencies of the Unitarian movement found utterance on the
occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the American Unitarian
Association. The meetings were held in Tremont Temple, May 22, 1900; and
the attendance was large and enthusiastic, many persons coming from distant
parts of the country. This meeting brought into full expression the
denominational consciousness, and showed the harmony that had been secured
as the result of the controversies of many years. As never before, it was
realized that the Unitarian body has a distinct mission, that it has
organic and vital power, and that its individual members are united by a
common faith for the promotion of the interests of a rational and
humanitarian religion.

This was also a notable occasion because it brought together
representatives from nearly all the countries in which Unitarianism exists
in an organized form, thus clearly indicating that it is a cosmopolitan
movement, and not one of merely local significance. At the morning session
addresses were made by the representatives from Hungary, Great Britain,
Germany, Belgium, India, and Japan. In the afternoon addresses were
delivered by the missionaries of the Association. Other meetings of much
interest were held during the week, that were of value as interpretations
of the past of Unitarianism in this country.

During this anniversary week, on May 26, 1900, upon the suggestion of Rev.
S.A. Eliot, there was organized The International Council of Unitarian and
Other Liberal Religious Thinkers and Workers, its object being "to open
communication with those in all lands who are striving to unite pure
religion and perfect liberty, and to increase fellowship and co-operation
among them." Professor J. Estlin Carpenter, of Oxford, England, was
selected as the president, and Rev. Charles W. Wendte, who shortly after
became the minister of the Parker Memorial in Boston, was made the
secretary. The executive committee included representatives from the United
States, Great Britain, Japan, Hungary, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and
Switzerland. The first annual meeting was held in London, May 30 and 31,
1901, with delegates present from the above-named countries, as well as
from Holland, Norway, India, Denmark, Australia, and Canada.[14]

The anniversary exercises, as well as the organization of the International
Council, gave concrete emphasis to the growing interest in Unitarian ideas
and principles in many parts of the world. They gave the sense of a large
fellowship, and kindled new enthusiasm. As interpreted by these meetings,
the Unitarian name has largely ceased to be one of merely theological
signification, and has come to mean "an endeavor to unite for common and
unselfish endeavors all believers in pure religion and perfect

[1] The Unitarian, June, 1887, II. 156. For historical accounts of this
    controversy see Mrs. S.C.Ll. Jones's Western Unitarian Conference:
    Its Work and its Mission, Unity Mission Tract, No. 38; W.C. Gannett's
    The Flowering of Christianity, Lesson XII., Part IV.; and The
    Unitarian, II. and III. A Western Unitarian Association was organized
    in Chicago, June 21, 1886. Some of the older and leading churches
    were connected with it, including those at Meadville, Ann Arbor,
    Louisville, Shelbyville, Church of the Messiah and Unity in Chicago,
    Church of the Messiah in St. Louis, Keokuk, and others. Hon. George
    W. McCrary was elected the president, and Mrs. Jonathan Slade the
    recording secretary. In October, 1887, Rev. George Batchelor became
    the Western agent of the American Unitarian Association. He was
    succeeded the next year by Rev. George W. Cutter. In September, 1890,
    Rev. T.B. Forbush was made the Western superintendent of the American
    Unitarian Association, with headquarters in Chicago; and he held this
    position until 1896. During the period covered by these dates Rev.
    J.R. Effinger was the general missionary of the Western Unitarian
    Conference, and he was succeeded by Rev. F.L. Hosmer and Rev. A.W.
    Gould. In 1896 the Western churches were reunited in the Western
    Conference, and its secretary has been the superintendent of the
    American Unitarian Association. As defining the position of the
    American Unitarian Association during this period of controversy, it
    may be recalled that in June, 1886, the directors adopted a
    resolution, in which they said they "would regard it as a subversion
    of the purpose for which its funds have been contributed, as well as
    of the principles cherished by its officers, to give assistance to
    any church or organization which does not rest emphatically on the
    Christian basis."

[2] New England, Middle States and Canada, Western States, Southern
    States, and Pacific Coast.

[3] These loans are made without interest under established conditions,
    one of which is that they must be repaid in ten annual instalments.

[4] Annual Report of 1873, 7.

[5] The building seemed to be ample, when it was first occupied, for any
    growth that was likely to be made for many years to come. At the
    present time, only sixteen years later, it is crowded; and an
    extension is urgently demanded. It does not now afford room for the
    work required, and much of that work is done at a considerable
    disadvantage because of the want of room. The promise for the
    immediate future is that much more room will be required in order to
    facilitate the growing work of the Association.

[6] The Church: in a Series of Sermons, Boston, 1857.

[7] The Birthright Church: A Discourse, printed for the Association of
    the Unitarian Church of Maine, Augusta, 1854. Mr. Judd's conception
    of the church as a social organism was shown in the name given to the
    organization formed under his leadership in 1852, called The
    Association of the Unitarian Church in Maine. In the preamble to the
    constitution he wrote: "We, the Unitarian Christians of Maine,
    ourselves, and our posterity are a Church.... We are a church, not of
    creeds, but of the Bible; not of sect, but of humanity; seeking not
    uniformity of dogma, but communion in the religious life. We embrace
    in our fellowship all who will be in fellowship with us." In defining
    a local church, he says: "These Christians, with their families,
    uniting for religious worship, instruction, growth, and culture,
    having the ordinances and a pastor, constitute a parochial church."

[8] Boston, 1858.

[9] Probably Dr. William G. Eliot, of St. Louis, was the first Unitarian
    minister to make a systematic use of this rite. He prepared a brief
    manual for use in his church, the preface to which bears date of
    December 6, 1868. Seth C. Beach, while minister in Dedham, printed a
    paper on the subject in the Unitarian Review, January, 1886. He held
    a confirmation service in the Dedham church, April 25, 1886. At a
    meeting of the Western Sunday School Society, held in Cincinnati, May
    12, 1889, Rev. John C. Learned, read a paper on The Sacrament of

[10] The views of Bartol and Judd are appropriate to a state church,
     wherein they first found expression; and their motive is always
     distinctly social.

[11] Life of J.F. Clarke, by E.E. Hale, 145

[12] Memoir of Samuel Longfellow, by Joseph May, 193.

[13] Miss Scudder's best hymns were all written while she was a Unitarian.
     Unitarian hymnology has been nobly treated by Dr. Alfred P. Putnam,
     in his Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith, Boston, 1875. It is
     understood that he is preparing a second volume. The tendency to a
     deeper recognition of the spirit of worship has found fitting
     expression in The Spiritual Life: Studies of Devotion and Worship,
     George H. Ellis, 1898.

[14] The addresses and papers of this meeting were published under the
     title of Liberal Religious Thought at the Beginning of the Twentieth
     Century, London, 1901. They give the most complete account yet
     published of the various liberal movements in many parts of the
     world, and the book is one of great interest and value.

[15] From the first circular of the International Council.



One of the most important of the philanthropies undertaken by the early
Unitarians was the ministry to the poor and unchurched in Boston, usually
known as the ministry at large. It began in 1822, came under the direction
of the American Unitarian Association and the shaping hand of Dr. Joseph
Tuckerman in 1826, and was taken in charge by the Benevolent Fraternity of
Churches in 1834. It was not begun by Tuckerman, though its origin is
usually attributed to him. Even before 1822 attempts had been made to
establish missions amongst the poor by the evangelical denominations; but
their work was not thoroughly organized, and it had reached no efficient
results when Tuckerman entered upon his labors. The work of Tuckerman was
to take up what had been tentatively begun by others, give it a definite
purpose and method, and so to inform it with his own genius for charity
that it became a great philanthropy in its intent and in its methods.

[Sidenote: Association of Young Men.]

When the Hancock Grammar School-house in the north end of Boston was being
erected, a young man, in passing it on a September evening, said to a
companion, "Why cannot we have a Sunday-school here?" The proposition was
received with favor, and the two discussed plans while they continued their
walk. They met frequently to mature their methods of procedure, and they
invited others to join them in the undertaking. On the evening of October
2, 1822, these two young men--Frederick T. Gray and Benjamin H. Greene--met
with Moses Grant, William P. Rice, and others, to give more careful
consideration to their purpose of forming a society for mutual religious

These young men met with little encouragement, and for some time there was
small prospect of their succeeding in their undertaking. They continued to
meet weekly, however; and on November 27 they formed The Association of
Young Men for their own Mutual Improvement and for the Religious
Instruction of the Poor. In 1824 the name was changed to The Association
for Religious Improvement. The members met at each other's houses weekly,
for the purpose of considering topics which related to their own personal
improvement or to the wants of the community, always keeping in view the
fact that their own religious growth must lie at the foundation of any
great good which could be done by them for society. By degrees their number
increased; and during the six years following, as appears from the records,
the subjects to which their meetings were successively devoted were the
desirableness of employing a missionary and building a mission-house, the
condition and wants of vagrant children, the diffusion of Christianity in
India, the importance of issuing tracts and other religions publications,
the means and best method of improving our state prisons, the utility of
forming a Unitarian Association, the best means to be adopted to abolish
intemperance, the character of theatrical entertainments, the want of
infant schools, and the best methods which could be taken to aid in the
promotion of peace. All of these subjects were then comparatively new, and
they were but just beginning to attract attention. Their importance was by
no means generally understood, and least of all was the place which they
were soon to occupy in public estimation anticipated.[2] The Association
was discontinued in December, 1835.

[Sidenote: Preaching to the Poor.]

One of the first enterprises entered upon by this society was the securing
of preaching for the poor and those connected with no religious
organization. In this effort they had the co-operation of the younger Henry
Ware, then the minister of the Second Church, and of John G. Palfrey, then
the minister of the Brattle Street Church. In November, 1822, Henry Ware
began these meetings; and four series of them were held throughout the
winter, in Charter Street, in Hatters' or Creek Square, in Pitts Court, and
in Spring Street. The Charter Street meetings were at first held in a room
of a primary school, and then in a small chapel that had been built by a
benevolent man for teaching and preaching purposes. In this place Mr. Ware
was assisted by Dr. Jenks of the Christian denomination, and the chapel was
afterwards occupied by the latter as a minister at large. The meetings in
Pitts Court were also held in a school-room. Those in Hatters' Square
occupied a room in a large tenement house and "here the accommodations, and
probably the audience, were of a humbler character than elsewhere."[3]

[Sidenote: Tuckerman as Minister to the Poor.]

Early in the year 1826 Dr. Joseph Tuckerman expressed his willingness to
devote himself to this ministry; and the American Unitarian Association was
appealed to, that the necessary financial support might be secured. Dr.
Tuckerman had been for twenty-five years the parish minister in Chelsea,
but his health was such that he had been obliged to relinquish that
position. On September 4 the sum of $600 was appropriated to the support of
Dr. Tuckerman for one year as a missionary among the poor in Boston; and
Ware, Barrett, and Gannett were made a committee to ascertain what amount
of money could be raised for this purpose. It was thought wise not to use
the regular funds of the Association for so special and local an object.
The women of the Boston churches were therefore appealed to in behalf of
this cause; and during the first year contributions were received from
those connected with the congregations of the Brattle Street, Federal
Street, West, New South, New North, Twelfth, and Chauncey Place Churches,
amounting to $712. These contributions by the women of the churches were
continued until the Benevolent Fraternity was organized.

Tuckerman entered upon his work November 5, 1826. On the evening of that
day he met with the Association for, Religious Improvement, and discussed
with its members the work to be undertaken. He began at once the visiting
of the poor and the study of their condition in the several parts of the
city, though confining himself largely to the north end. In making his
first quarterly report to the Unitarian Association, February 5, 1827, he
said that he had taken fifty families into his pastoral charge. He had
given special attention to the children, had arranged that those should be
sent to school who had not previously attended, and provided them with
shoes and clothes where these were necessary. He had also aided the sick,
provided necessaries for those who were helpless and deserving, secured
work for those out of employment, and given religious consolation and
correction where these were required.

After Dr. Tuckerman had entered upon his work of visiting the poor, the
Young Men's Association arranged to have him resume the discontinued
evening meetings. They accordingly secured the use of a room up two flights
of stairs, in what was known as the "Circular Building," at the corner of
Merrimac and Portland Streets. In this rude place, that had been used as a
paint-shop, services were begun on Sunday evening, December 3, 1826.
Tuckerman recorded in his diary that he had "a large and very attentive
audience";[4] and on the same evening he met at the house of Dr. Channing
"a large circle of ladies and gentlemen, who formed a society to help him
visit."[5] As soon as services were begun in the Circular Building, it
was proposed to form a Sunday-school; and on a very cold December day seven
teachers and three children met to inaugurate it. They hovered about the
little stove, by means of which the room was warmed, and began their work.
The school grew rapidly, soon filled the room, and was given the name of
the Howard School. Very soon, also, this room became too small to
accommodate the attendants at the preaching services. In recognition of
this need the Friend Street Free Chapel was erected, and opened for use on
November 1, 1828.

[Sidenote: Tuckerman's Methods.]

During the first year of his ministry Dr. Tuckerman reported quarterly to
the American Unitarian Association, and then semi-annually. In all there
were printed four of the quarterly reports and fifteen of the others. It
was not his custom in these reports to confine himself to an account of his
work, which usually received only a brief statement at the end; but he
discussed important topics relating to the condition of the poor and their
needs. His third quarterly report was devoted to a consideration of the
remedies to be used for confirmed intemperance. Others of the topics upon
which he reported were the condition of the poor in cities, the duties of a
minister at large (a title invented by him, which he preferred to that of
city or domestic missionary), the effects of poverty on the moral life of
the poor, the means of relieving pauperism, the causes of poverty and the
social remedies, the several classes amongst the poor and the best means of
reaching each of them, the means to be employed for the recovery of those
sunk in pauperism, poor laws and outdoor relief. Among the subjects he
discussed incidentally, and sometimes at considerable length, were the duty
of providing seats for the poor in the churches at a small rental, the
employment of children, education as a means of saving children from
growing up to a life of vagrancy and pauperism, the wages of the poor and
how they can be increased.[6] He was especially interested in the
rescuing of children from ignorance and vice, and he strongly advocated the
establishment of schools for the instruction of dull children and those
whose education had been neglected. Through his efforts the Broad Street
Infant School was established, in order to reach the younger children of
the poor. In 1829 he made a careful study of the religious condition of the
poor; and he found that out of a population of 55,000, which the city then
contained, there were 4,200 families, or about 18,000 persons, who were not
connected with any of the churches or who did not attend them with any
degree of regularity. This gave him an opportunity to urge upon the public
more strongly than before the importance of procuring free chapels, and a
sufficient number of ministers to care for this large unchurched
population. One or two ministers had labored amongst the poor before he
began his work, and three or four had entered upon the same line of effort
since he had done so; but these workers were too few in number to meet the
large demands made upon them.

In carrying on his work, Dr. Tuckerman sought out all who were in need of
his services, without distinction of nationality, color, creed, social
position, or moral condition. If he gave the preference to any, it was
those who were the most wretched and debased. "It is the first object of
the ministry at large, never to be lost sight of," he wrote, "and to which
no other is to be preferred, as far as shall be possible to extend its
offices to the poor and the poorest, to the low and the lowest, to the most
friendless and most uncared for, the most miserable."[7] He recognized
the individuality of the poorest and the most vicious: he sought to foster
it, and to make it the basis of moral reform and social recovery.

[Sidenote: Organization of Charities.]

The influence of Tuckerman's work was soon felt outside the city in which
it was carried on. The people of the state came to take an interest in it,
and to feel that its principles should be applied throughout the
commonwealth. Therefore, a commission was appointed by the lower house of
the state legislature, February 29, 1832, to inquire into the condition of
the poor in all parts of the state, and to make such report as might be the
basis of needed legislation. Dr. Tuckerman was made a member of this
commission. The work of investigation largely fell upon him, as well as the
writing of the report. His suggestions were accepted, and the results were
beneficent. In the mean time the work of visiting the poor was carried on
by a young man, Charles F. Barnard, then a student in the Divinity School,
who entered upon his duties in April. In October he was joined by Frederick
T. Gray, the founder of the Association for Religious Improvement and of
the first Sunday-schools for the poor. These workers were ordained in the
Federal Street Church on the evening of November 5, 1834, after having
thoroughly tested their capacities for the task they had assumed.

Dr. Tuckerman set forth all the principles which have since been described
under the name of "scientific charity," and he put them all into practice.
In the spring of 1832 he organized a company of visitors to the poor, the
members of which were to act as friends and advisers of those who were
needy. In October, 1833, he brought about a union of the ministers at large
of all denominations for purposes of consultation and mutual helpfulness.
This union resulted in a meeting held in February, 1834, at which those
interested in the proper care of the poor took counsel together as to the
best methods to be followed. At a later meeting in March, it was decided to
secure the aid of all the charitable societies in the city with a view to
their co-operation and the prevention of the duplication of relief. There
was accordingly organized the Association of Delegates from the Benevolent
Societies of Boston, the objects of which were "to adopt measures for the
most effectual prevention of fraud and deception in the applicants for
charity; to obtain accurate and thorough information with regard to the
situation, character, and wants of the poor; and generally to interchange
knowledge, experience, and advice upon all the important subjects connected
with the duties and responsibilities of Benevolent Societies." The
principle upon which this organization acted was that "the public good
requires that the character and circumstances of the poor should be
thoroughly investigated and known by those who administer our public
charities, in order that all the relief which a pure and enlarged
benevolence dictates may be freely bestowed, and that almsgiving may not
encourage extravagance or vice, nor injuriously affect the claims of
society at large upon the personal exertions and moral character of its
members." The first annual report of this Association, which appeared in
October, 1835, was written by Dr. Tuckerman, and was one of the best he
produced. He laid down certain rules he had accepted as the results of his
experience: that beggary was to be broken up; that all misapplications of
charity should be reported to the board of visitors; that those asking for
alms should be relieved only at their homes and after investigation; that
industry, forethought, economy, and self-denial were to be fostered in
order to prevent pauperism, and that no help should be given where it led
to dependence and reliance upon charity. Registration, investigation,
prevention of duplication of alms, and the fostering of self-help were the
methods brought to bear by Dr. Tuckerman in the organization of this

[Sidenote: Benevolent Fraternity of Churches.]

In the spring of 1834 the part of the ministry at large in Boston supported
by Unitarians consisted of Dr. Tuckerman's work in visiting and ministering
to the poor in their own homes, two chapels, in which Barnard and Gray
preached and conducted their Sunday-schools, and the office of the Visitors
to the Poor. In order more effectually to organize the support of this
work, the Benevolent Fraternity of Churches was then suggested. The Second,
Brattle Street, New South, New North, King's Chapel, Federal Street, Hollis
Street, Twelfth, and Purchase Street Churches entered upon the work; and
there was organized in each a society for the purpose of aiding the
ministry at large. Each of these societies was privileged to send five
delegates to a central body that should undertake the support and direction
of that ministry. At a meeting held April 27, 1834, an organization of such
delegates was effected. It was distinctly stated that "it was not the wish
to add another to the eleemosynary institutions of the city to which the
poor might resort either for the supply of the comforts or for the relief
of necessities which belong to their bodily condition"; but the object of
the Fraternity was described as being "the improvement of the moral state
of the poor and irreligious of this city by the support of the ministry at
large, and by other means."[9]

[Sidenote: Other Ministers at Large.]

Dr. Tuckerman continued his work of visiting the poor, so far as his health
permitted, until his death, which occurred April 20, 1840. His assistants
and successors continued the work of visitation outside of their own
congregations. In August, 1844, Rev. Warren Burton was assigned to this
special form of ministry, and to that of a systematic investigation of the
condition of the poor. He gave much attention to the needs of children, and
made inquiry as to intemperance, licentiousness, and other forms of social
degeneration. He was a diligent and successful worker until his ministry
came to an end in October, 1848. For about a year, in 1847, Rev. William
Ware also devoted himself to the house-to-house ministry; but failing
health compelled his withdrawal. In April, 1845, Rev. Andrew Bigelow took
charge of the Pitts Street Chapel for a few months; and then for thirty-two
years, until his death, in April, 1877, he continued to visit the poor.
With the assistance of his wife, he went about to the homes of the people,
administering to their physical needs, acting as their friend and adviser,
and giving them such moral instruction and spiritual consolation as was

For about one year, beginning in March, 1856, Rev. A. Rumpff visited German
families in behalf of the Fraternity. He was succeeded in 1857 by Rev. A.
Übelacker, who continued the work for two or three years. From 1860 to 1864
Professor J.B. Torricelli carried on a ministry amongst the Italians,
Spaniards, Greeks, and other natives of southern Europe resident in Boston.
After the death of Dr. Bigelow this personal ministry was discontinued,
owing to the increase in the number of other agencies for doing this kind
of work.

[Sidenote: Ministry at Large in Other Cities.]

The work of the ministry at large was not confined to Boston. The original
vote of the Unitarian Association establishing it was that it should be
aided in New York as well. In December, 1836, Rev. William Henry Channing
entered on such a ministry in New York; and it was continued there for some
years. It was also established in Charlestown, Roxbury, Cambridge, Salem,
Portsmouth, Portland, Lowell, New Bedford, Providence, Worcester, and
elsewhere in New England. With the aid of the Unitarian Association it was
undertaken in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis. In 1845
Rev. Lemuel Capen was carrying on the ministry in Baltimore, Rev. W.H.
Farmer in Louisville, and Rev. Mordecai de Lange in St. Louis. The ministry
at large was begun in Cincinnati in 1830, and was in charge for a short
time of Christopher P. Cranch, who was succeeded by Rev. James H. Perkins,
a most efficient worker, who soon became the popular minister of the
Unitarian church in that city. It was established in St. Louis in 1840, and
a day school for colored children was opened in 1841. A mission-house was
built, and Rev. Charles H.A. Dall was put in charge. In 1841 the Mission
Free School was founded, and now has a matron, nursery, kindergarten,
Sunday-school, with lectures and entertainments. Dall was succeeded by
Mordecai de Lange, Corlis B. Ward, Carlton A. Staples, and Thomas L. Eliot.
The City Mission, as it was called, grew so large that in 1860 no one
denomination could carry it on; and it became the St. Louis Provident
Association, which has done an extensive and important work.[10]

In July, 1850, was formed the Association of Ministers at Large in New
England, of which Rev. Charles F. Barnard was for many years the president,
and Rev. Horatio Wood, of Lowell, the secretary. It met quarterly, or
oftener, essays were read on subjects connected with the work of
ministering to the poor, and the special phases of that work were
discussed. In the spring of 1841 Rev. Charles F. Barnard began the
publication of the Journal of the Ministry at Large as a sixteen-page
octavo monthly, which was continued until 1860, part of the time as The
Record; but during the later years it was issued irregularly.

In 1838 Dr. Tuckerman published The Principles and Results of the Ministry
at Large in Boston, which embodied an account of his work for twelve years,
and the conclusions at which he had arrived. It did much to give direction
and purpose to the ministry, and to extend its influence. It can be read
with interest and profit at the present time; for it contains all the
principles since put into practice in many forms of charitable activity.
Dr. Andrew P. Peabody truly said of Tuckerman's enterprise in behalf of the
poor that it "was the earliest organized effort in that direction. Its
success and its permanent establishment as an institution were due to its
founder's strenuous perseverance, his self-sacrifice, his apostolic fervor
of spirit, and the power of his influence."[11] Joseph Story spoke of the
ministry at large as being one of "extraordinary success." "I deem it," he
wrote, "one of the most glorious triumphs of Christian charity over the
cold and reluctant doubts of popular opinion." The labors of Dr. Tuckerman
"initiated a new sphere of Protestant charity," as his nephew well
said.[12] "This has been the most characteristic, the best organized, and
by far the most successful co-operative work that the Unitarian body has
ever attempted by way of church action," was the testimony of Dr. Joseph
Henry Allen.[13]

[1] The record of the first meeting states the objects for which the
    young men met, as follows: "Feeling impressed with the importance of
    giving religious instruction to the youths of that class of our poor
    who are destitute of any regard for their future well-being, and who,
    from being under the care of vicious parents, have no attention paid
    to their moral conduct; and also wishing to become acquainted with
    those persons of the different religious societies who profess to be
    followers of the same Master, they agreed to associate themselves.
    Having great reason to believe that God will bless their humble
    efforts for the spread of pure religion and virtue, and looking to
    Him for guidance, the meeting was organized."

[2] Ephraim Peabody, Christian Examiner, January, 1853, LIV. 93.

[3] John Ware, Life of Henry Ware, Jr., 132-135.

[4] The secretary of the Association for Religious Improvement made this
    record of the meeting: "December 3, 1826. The Lectures under the
    conduct of the Association commenced this evening at 6-1/2 o'clock at
    Smith's circular building, corner of Merrimack and Portland Streets,
    which was very fully attended by those for whom it was intended. The
    services were of the first order. Rev. Dr. Tuckerman officiated."

[5] Eber R. Butler, Lend a Hand, V. 693, October, 1890.

[6] The substance of these reports has been reproduced in a book edited
    by E.E. Hale in 1874, Joseph Tuckerman on the Elevation of the Poor.

[7] The Principles and Results of the Ministry at Large in Boston, 61.

[8] Ministry at Large in Boston, 124.

[9] The following is a list of the churches now maintained by the
    Benevolent Fraternity of Churches, with the date when each was
    formed, or when it came under Unitarian management: Bulfinch Place
    Church, successor to Wend Street Chapel (1828); Pitts Street Chapel
    (1836), 1870. North End Union (begun in 1837); Hanover Street Chapel
    (1854); Parmenter Street Chapel (1884), 1892. Morgan Chapel, 1884.
    Channing Church, Dorchester, successor to Washington Village Chapel,
    1854. The Suffolk Street Chapel (1837), succeeded by the New South
    Free Church (1867), continues its life in the Parker Memorial, 1889.
    The Warren Street Chapel (1832), now known as the Barnard Memorial
    Church, continues its work, but is not under the direction of the
    Benevolent Fraternity. In 1901 the churches constituting the
    Benevolent Fraternity were the First Church, Second Church, Arlington
    Street Church, South Congregational Church, King's Chapel, Church of
    the Disciples; First Parish, Dorchester; First Parish, Brighton;
    Hawes Church South Boston; First Parish, West Roxbury; First
    Congregational Society, Jamaica Plain.

[10] In 1830 the British and Foreign Unitarian Association began to
     consider the value of this ministry, and in 1832 the first mission
     was opened in London. In 1835 was formed the London Domestic Mission
     Society for the purpose of carrying on the work in that city. In 1833
     a similar movement was made in Manchester, and in 1835 was organized
     the Liverpool Domestic Mission Society. The visit of Dr. Tuckerman to
     England in 1834 gave large interest to this movement. He then met
     Mary Carpenter, and she was led by him to begin her great work of
     charity. It was during the next year that she entered upon the work
     in Bristol that made her name widely known. In 1847 there were two
     ministers at large in London, two in Birmingham, and one each in
     Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Halifax, and Leicester. The
     writings of Dr. Tuckerman were translated into French by the Baron de
     Gerando, a leading philanthropist and statesman of that day, who
     praised them highly, and introduced their methods into Paris and
     elsewhere. Of Tuckerman's book on the ministry at large M. de Gerando
     said that it throws "invaluable light upon the condition and wants of
     the indigent and the influence which an enlightened charity can
     exert." He also said of Tuckerman that "he knew the difference
     between pauperism and poverty," thus recognizing one of those
     cardinal distinctions made by the philanthropist in his efforts to
     aid the poor to self-help and independence.

[11] Memorial History of Boston, III. 477.

[12] Sprague's Annals of the Unitarian Pulpit, 345, the words quoted being
     from the pen of Henry T. Tuckerman, the well-known essayist.

[13] Our Liberal Movement in Theology, 59.



The first Sunday-schools organized in this country distinctly for purposes
of religious training were by persons connected with Unitarian churches.
Several schools had been opened previously, but they were not continued or
were organized in the interests of secular instruction. In the summer of
1809 Miss Hannah Hill, then twenty-five years of age, and Miss Joanna B.
Prince, then twenty, both teachers of private schools for small children,
and connected with the First Parish in Beverly, Mass., of which Dr. Abiel
Abbot was the pastor, opened a school in one room of a dwelling-house for
the religious training of the children who did not receive such teaching at
home. In the spring of 1810 the same young women reopened their school in a
larger room, using the Bible as their only book of instruction. Sessions
were held in the morning before church, and in the afternoon following the
close of the services.[1]

The first season about thirty children attended, but the interest grew; and
in 1813 the school occupied the Dane Street chapel, and became a union or
town school. Jealousies resulted, and a school was soon established by each
church in the town. In 1822 the First Parish received the original school
under its sole care, and it was removed to the meeting-house.

A Sunday-school was begun in Concord in the summer of 1810, under the
leadership of Miss Sarah Ripley, daughter of Dr. Ezra Ripley, the minister
of the town. On Sunday afternoons she taught a number of children in her
father's house, since known as the "Old Manse." About five years later a
school was opened at the centre of the town, near the church, by three
young women. In 1818 a Sunday-school was begun in connection with the
church itself, which absorbed the others, or of which they formed the

A teacher of a charity school supported by the West Church in Boston was
the first person to open a Sunday-school in that city. In October, 1812,
the teacher of this school, Miss Lydia K. Adams, then a member of the West
Parish, according to the statement of Dr. Charles Lowell, minister of the
church at the time, "having learned on a visit to Beverly that some young
ladies of the town were in the practice of giving religious instruction to
poor children on the Sabbath, consulted her minister as to the expediency
of giving like instruction to the children of her school, and to those who
had been members of it, on the same day. The project was decidedly
approved, and immediately carried into effect." In December of the same
year, Miss Adams was compelled by ill-health to leave her school; and
ladies of the West Church took charge of it, and in turn instructed the
children, both on the week-days and the Sabbath, till a suitable permanent
teacher could be obtained. On this event they relinquished the immediate
care of the week-day school, but continued the instruction of the
Sunday-school, till it was transferred to the church, and was enlarged by
the addition of "children of a different description," in 1822.[3]
Sunday-schools were also begun in Cambridgeport, in 1814; Wilton, N.H., in
1816; and Portsmouth, in 1818. The latter school had the enthusiastic
support of Nathaniel A. Haven, a young lawyer and rising politician, who
devoted himself with great zeal and success to such instruction of the

The Association of Young Men for Mutual Improvement and for the Religious
Instruction of the Poor began the work of forming Sunday-schools for the
children of the poor in Boston during the year 1823. A school was begun in
the Hancock School-house, then recently built for grammar-school
purposes.[5] Soon after they opened a school in Merrimac Street, called
the Howard Sunday-school, in connection with the work of Dr. Tuckerman; and
in 1826 the Franklin Sunday-school was begun by the same persons and for
the same purposes. In connection with these schools was formed the Sunday
School Benevolent Society, composed of charitable women, who provided such
children as were needy with suitable clothing.

In 1825 a parish Sunday-school was organized in connection with the Twelfth
Congregational Church, of which Rev. Samuel Barrett was the minister. It
was reorganized in 1827, with the object of giving "a religious education
apart from all sectarian views, as systematically as it is given to the
same children in other branches of learning."[6] In July, 1828, The
Christian Register spoke of "the rapid and extensive establishment of
Sunday-schools by individuals attached to Unitarian societies," and said
that in the course of two or three years "large and respectable
Sunday-schools have been established by Unitarians in various parts of the
city. Several of these are parish schools, under the immediate guidance of
the pastors. Others are more general in their plan, receiving children from
all quarters."

[Sidenote: Boston Sunday School Society.]

At a meeting of the teachers of the Franklin Sunday-school held December
16, 1826, it was proposed that there be organized an association of all the
teachers connected with Unitarian parishes in Boston and the vicinity. On
February 27, 1827, a meeting was held in the Berry Street vestry for this
purpose; and on April 18 a constitution was adopted for the Boston Sunday
School Society. The schools joining in this organization were the Hancock,
Franklin, and Howard, and those connected with the West, Federal Street,
Hollis Street, and Twelfth Congregational Churches. Dr. Joseph Tuckerman
was elected president; Moses Grant, vice-president; Dr. J.F. Flagg,
corresponding secretary; and Rev. Frederick T. Gray, recording secretary.
The first annual meeting was held November 28, 1827; and the above-named
officers were re-elected. On December 12 a public meeting was held in the
Federal Street Church, which was well filled. Reports of the work of the
schools, including that at Cambridgeport, were read; and addresses were

The objects of the Sunday School Society were the helping of teachers, the
extending of the interests of the schools, and the publishing of books. It
was difficult to procure suitable books for use in Sunday-schools and for
their libraries, and the prices were very high. In the autumn of 1828
arrangements were made for the publishing of books, the American Unitarian
Association co-operating therein by providing a capital of $300 for this
purpose, the profits going to the Sunday School Society, and the money
borrowed being returned without interest. This connection was abandoned in
1831 because it was found that the Unitarian name on the title-page of the
books hindered their sale. In April, 1828, was issued the first number of
the Christian Teacher's Manual, a small monthly, of which Mrs. Eliza Lee
Follen was the editor, intended for the use of families and Sunday-schools.
According to the preface the subjects chiefly considered were the best
methods of addressing the minds of children, suggestions to teachers,
explanations of Scripture, religious instruction from natural objects,
histories taken from real life, stories and hymns adapted to children, and
accounts of Sunday-schools.

The Manual was continued for two years; and it was followed by The
Scriptural Interpreter, edited by Rev. Ezra S. Gannett. The editor of the
Interpreter preferred to publish it under his own name, because he did "not
wish it to be considered the organ or the representative of a denomination
of Christians." "It will have one object," he said, "to furnish the means
of acquaintance with the true sense and value of Scripture, and
particularly of the New Testament; but whatever will promote this object
will come within the scope the publication." It was issued bi-monthly, and
was continued for five years. It was wholly devoted to the exposition of
the Bible, a systematic series of translations and interpretations of the
Gospels forming a distinct feature of its pages. A considerable part of it
was prepared by the editor, who drew freely upon expository works. Among
the contributors were William H. Furness, Orville Dewey, Alexander Young,
Edward B. Hall, James Walker, Henry Ware, Jr., and J.P. Dabney. In 1836,
Dr. Gannett's health having failed, the magazine was edited by Theodore
Parker, George E. Ellis, and William Silsbee, then students in the Harvard
Divinity School.

One important feature of the work of the Sunday School Society was the
extension of the cause it represented. In December, 1829, reports were
presented at the annual meeting from nearly fifty schools; and it was
thought desirable that they should be brought into closer relations with
the society. Accordingly, Frederick T. Gray, the secretary, visited many of
these schools. The next year, as a result, a considerable number of those
outside the city connected themselves with the society; and the lists of
vice-presidents and directors were enlarged to include them in its
operations. Afterwards this work was carried on by a committee of the
society, the members of which visited the schools, giving addresses, and in
other ways helping to give strength and purpose to the work in which they
were engaged. Schools were visited in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and other states. To give
better opportunity for the attendance of delegates from schools outside the
city, the yearly meeting was changed from December to anniversary week in

The society published a considerable number of tracts, which were
distributed gratuitously by the agents and in other ways. It also issued
lesson-books, as well as books for the juvenile libraries which were
forming at this time in all the churches. To meet this demand, the younger
Henry Ware began editing, in 1833, the Sunday-school Library for Young
Persons, in which were included his own Life of the Saviour, Mrs. John
Farrar's Life of Howard, Rev. Stephen G. Bulfinch's Holy Land, and Rev.
Thomas B. Fox's Sketch of the Reformation. The next year Mr. Ware began a
series of books which he called Scenes and Characters illustrating
Christian Truth. Another method used by the society was the giving of
expository lectures.

The society at first held quarterly meetings; but the interest grew, and
the meetings became monthly. Great enthusiasm was felt at this time in
regard to the work of these schools, and many persons of prominence praised
them and took part in their management. "The institution of Sunday-schools
constitutes one of the most remarkable features of the present age," wrote
Dr. Joseph Allen, in 1830. "It has already done much to supply the
deficiencies of domestic education, and, if wisely conducted, is destined,
we trust, to become at no distant day one of the most efficient instruments
in forming the characters of the young."[7] Writing in 1838, the younger
Henry Ware said that "the Sunday-school has become one of the established
institutions of religion in connection with the church, and the character
of religion is henceforth to depend, in no small degree, on the wisdom with
which it shall be administered."[8]

In 1834 was organized the Worcester Sunday School Society. It had its
origin as far back as November 17, 1817, when a committee of the Worcester
Association of Ministers was appointed to report on the subject of
Sunday-schools. A meeting was held in Lancaster, October 9, 1834, when an
organization was perfected. The succeeding meetings were largely attended,
and much interest was awakened.[9] In 1842 a similar society was
organized in Middlesex County; and at about the same time one came into
existence in Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Soon after societies were
organized in the counties of Norfolk, Plymouth (North), Middlesex (West),
Worcester, and in Portland and its neighborhood.

In April, 1831, the directors of the Boston Sunday School Society discussed
the feasibility of starting a weekly paper for the use of the schools. In
July, 1836, Rev. Bernard Whitman began the publication of The Sunday School
Teacher and Children's Friend. In January, 1837, The Young Christian was
begun, and was published weekly at the office of The Christian Register, by
David Reed. These papers were continued only for a few years. From 1845 to
1857 Mrs. Eliza Lee Follen edited a monthly magazine for children, called
The Children's Friend. The first number of the Sunday School Gazette was
published in Worcester, August 7, 1849, under the direction of the
Worcester Sunday School Society. It was established at the suggestion of
Rev. Edward Everett Hale, then a minister in that city, in connection with
Rev. Edmund B. Willson, then settled in Grafton. The editor was Rev.
Francis Le Baron, the minister at large in Worcester, though Mr. Hale was a
frequent contributor. When the National Sunday School Society was
organized, the Sunday School Gazette was transferred to, its charge; but
the publication of this paper was continued in Worcester until 1860.[10]

[Sidenote: Unitarian Sunday School Society.]

As time went on, and the work of the Sunday-schools enlarged, it was felt
that it was necessary there should be one general organization which should
bring together all Unitarian schools into a compact working force. To meet
this growing need, a convention of the county societies and of local
schools was held in Worcester, October 4, 1854, at which time the Sunday
School Society was organized as a general denominational body. Hon. Albert
Fearing, of Boston, was made the president, and Rev. Frederick T. Gray the
secretary. The society provided itself with a desk in the rooms of the
Unitarian Association, and provision was made for the collection and sale
of all the helps demanded by the schools.

From 1855 until 1865 the society was sadly crippled by the lack of funds.
The hard times preceding the Civil War, and the absorption of public
interest in that great national event, made it difficult for the society to
continue its work with any degree of success. For some years little was
done but to hold the annual meeting in the autumn and that in anniversary
week, and to continue the publication of the Sunday School Gazette. For a
number of years, however, Teachers' Institutes were held; and these were
continued at irregular intervals until about 1875. The Sunday School
Teachers' Institute was organized in 1852, and continued in existence for
ten years.

After the death of Rev. Frederick T. Gray in 1855, he was succeeded in the
position of secretary of the Sunday School Society by Rev. Stephen G.
Bulfinch. In 1856 Rev. Warren H. Cudworth became the secretary, and the
editor of the Gazette; and he held these positions until May, 1861, when he
became the chaplain of the first Massachusetts regiment taking part in the
Civil War. In the October following, Mr. Joseph H. Allen, a Boston
merchant, afterwards the editor of The Schoolmate, became the secretary and
editor. He continued to edit the Gazette until November, 1865; but Mr. M.T.
Rice was made secretary in 1863. At the end of 1865, when the society was
in a condition of almost complete collapse, Rev. Thomas J. Mumford became
the secretary, and the editor of the Gazette for one year. He restored
confidence in the society, and made the paper a success. During the war the
paper was published monthly for the sake of economy; but with the first of
January, 1866, it was restored to its former semi-monthly issue.

The new life that came to the denomination in 1865 had its influence upon
the Sunday School Society. In the autumn of 1866, when the Unitarian
Association had secured a large increase of funds, it was proposed that the
Sunday School Society should unite with it, and that the larger
organization should have the direction of all denominational activities,
especially those of publishing. The more zealous friends of the society did
not approve of such consolidation, and succeeded in reanimating its work by
appointing as its secretary Mr. James P. Walker, who had been the head of
the publishing firm of Walker, Wise & Co., a young man of earnest purpose,
a successful Sunday-school teacher and superintendent, and an enthusiastic
believer in the mission of Unitarianism. Mr. Walker devoted his whole time
to the interests of the society, and an energetic effort was made to revive
and extend its work. He proved to be the man for the position, largely
increasing the bookselling and publishing activities, visiting schools and
conferences, and awakening much enthusiasm in regard to the interests of
Sunday-schools. He wore himself out in this work, however, and died in
March, 1868, greatly lamented throughout the denomination.[11]

After the death of Mr. Walker, consolidation with the Association was again
urged; but Rev. Leonard J. Livermore was in June elected the secretary. At
the annual meeting it was resolved to raise $5,000 for the work of the
society, and the next year it was proposed to make the annual contribution
$10,000. The name was changed to the Unitarian Sunday School Society at the
annual meeting of 1868, held in Worcester. In 1871 Mr. John Kneeland became
the secretary; and with the beginning of 1872 the Gazette was changed to
The Dayspring, which was issued monthly. In the autumn of that year the
society began the publication of monthly lessons, and there was issued with
them a Teachers' Guide for the lessons of the year. With the beginning of
1877 the Guide was discontinued, and the lesson papers enlarged. In
November, 1875, Rev. George F. Piper became the secretary,--a position he
held until May 1, 1883. During his administration about three hundred
lessons were prepared by him, and these had a circulation of about nine
thousand copies. The transition condition of the denomination made it
difficult to carry on the work of the society at this time, for it was
impossible to please both conservatives and radicals with any lessons that
might be prepared. One superintendent warned his school against the
heretical tendencies of lessons which, from the other point of view, a
minister condemned as being fit for orthodox schools, but not for
Unitarians. In the same mail came a letter from a minister saying the
lessons were too elementary, and from another saying they were much too
advanced. In the latter part of Mr. Piper's term service was begun an
important work of preparing manuals thoroughly modern in their spirit and

In May, 1883, Rev. Henry G. Spaulding became the secretary; and the work of
publishing modern manuals was largely extended.[13] At the suggestion and
with the co-operation of the secretary there was organized, November 12,
1883, the Unitarian Sunday School Union of Boston, having for its object
"to develop the best methods of Sunday-school work." At about the same time
a lending library of reference books was established in connection with the
work of the society. In the autumn of 1883 the society began to hold in
Channing Hall weekly lectures for teachers. In 1885 The Dayspring was
enlarged and became Every Other Sunday, being much improved in its literary
contents as well as in its illustrations. The same year the society was
incorporated, and the number of directors was increased to include
representatives from all sections of the country; while all Sunday-schools
contributing to the society's treasury were given a delegate representation
in its membership. Mr. Spaulding continued his connection with the society
until January 1, 1892.

Rev. Edward A. Horton, who had for several years taken an active part in
the work of the society, assumed charge February 1, 1892. Mr. Horton was
made the president, it being deemed wise to have the head of the society
its executive officer. During his administration there has been a steady
growth in Sunday-school interest, which has demanded a rapid increase in
the number and variety of publications. The book department has been taxed
to the utmost to meet the demand. A new book of Song and Service, compiled
by Mr. Horton, has reached a sale of nearly 25,000 copies. A simple
statement of "Our Faith" has had a circulation of 40,000 copies, and in a
form suitable for the walls of Sunday-school rooms it has been in
considerable demand.[14] A series of lessons, covering a period of seven
years, upon the three-grade, one-topic plan, has been largely used in the
schools. Besides the twenty manuals published in this course of lessons,
forty other text-books have been published, making a total of sixty in all,
from 1892 to 1902.[15] There have also been many additions to
Sunday-school helps by way of special services for festival days, free
tracts, and statements of belief. The Channing Hall talks to Sunday-school
teachers have been made to bear upon these courses of lessons. Every Other
Sunday has been improved, and its circulation extended. The number of
donating churches and schools has been steadily increased, the number in
1901 being 255, the largest by far yet reached. At the annual meeting of
the society and at local conferences representative speakers have presented
the newest methods of Sunday-school work. Sunday-school unions have been
formed in various parts of the country, and churches are awakened to a new
interest in the work of religious instruction. "Home and School
Conferences" have been held with a view to bringing parents and teachers
into closer sympathy and co-operation.

[Sidenote: Western Unitarian Sunday School Society.]

In the west the first movement towards Sunday-school activities began in
1871 with the publication of a four-page lesson-sheet at Janesville, Wis.,
by Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones. This was continued for two or three years.
Through the interest of Mr. Jones in Sunday-school work a meeting for
organization was called in the fourth church, Chicago, October 14, 1873,
when the Western Unitarian Sunday School Society was organized, with Rev.
Milton J. Miller as president and Mr. Jones as secretary. At the meeting
the next year in St. Louis a committee was appointed to prepare a song-book
for the schools, which resulted in the production of The Sunny Side, edited
by Rev. Charles W. Wendte. The next step was to establish headquarters in
Chicago, where all kinds of material could be furnished to the schools,
with the necessary advice and encouragement. Through successive years the
effort of the society was to systematize the work of Unitarian
Sunday-schools, to put into them the best literature, the best song and
service books, the best lesson papers, and other tools,--in short, to
secure better and more definite teaching, such as is in accord with the
best scholarship and thought of the age.[16]

In 1882 the society became incorporated, and its work from this time
enlarged in all directions. To develop these results more fully, an
Institute was held in the Third Church, Chicago, in November, 1887, at
which five sessions were given to Sunday-school work, and two to Unity Club
interests. In the course of several years of encouraging success, the
Institute developed into a Summer Assembly of two or more weeks'
continuance at Hillside, Helena Valley, Wis., which still continues its
yearly sessions. In May, 1902, The Western Sunday School Society was
consolidated with the national organization; and the plates and stock which
it possessed were handed over to the Unitarian Sunday School Society. A
western headquarters is maintained in Chicago, where all the publications
of the two societies are kept on sale.

[Sidenote: Unity Clubs.]

As adjuncts to the Sunday-school, and to continue its work for adults and
in other spheres of ethical training, the Unity Club came into existence
about the year 1873, beginning with the work of Rev. Jenkin Ll. Jones at
Janesville. In the course of the next ten years nearly every Unitarian
church in the west organized such a club, and the movement to some degree
extended to other parts of the country. In 1887 there was organized in
Boston the National Bureau of Unity Clubs. These clubs devoted themselves
to literary, sociological, and religious courses of study; and they
furnished centres for the social activities of the churches. About the year
1878 began a movement to organize societies of young people for the
cultivation of the spirit of worship and religious development. This
resulted in 1889 in the organization of the National Guild Alliance; and in
1890 this organization joined with the Bureau of Unity Clubs and the
Unitarian Temperance Society in supporting an agency in the Unitarian
Building, Boston, with the aid of the Unitarian Association. The Young
People's Religious Union was organized in Boston, May 28, 1896; and in
large degree, it took the place of the Bureau and the Alliance, uniting the
two in a more efficient effort to interest the young people of the

[Sidenote: The Ladies' Commission on Sunday-school Books.]

In the autumn of 1865, Rev. Charles Lowe, then the secretary of the
Unitarian Association, invited a number of women to meet him for the
purpose of conference on the subject of Sunday-school libraries. At his
suggestion they organized themselves on October 12 as The Ladies'
Commission on Sunday-school Books, with the object of preparing a catalogue
of books read and approved by competent persons. At the first meeting ten
persons were present, but the number was soon enlarged to thirty; and it
was still farther increased by the addition of corresponding members in
cities too remote for personal attendance. Among those taking part in the
work of the commission at first were Miss Lucretia P. Hale, Miss Anna C.
Lowell, Mrs. Edwin P. Whipple, Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney, Mrs. A.D.T. Whitney,
Mrs. S. Bennett, Mrs. Caroline H. Dall, Mrs. E.E. Hale, Mrs. E.P. Tileston,
and Miss Hannah E. Stevenson.

The commission not only aimed to select books for Sunday-school libraries,
but also those for the home reading of young persons and for the use of
teachers. It undertook also the procuring of the publication of suitable
juvenile books. The first catalogue was issued in October, 1866, and
contained a list of two hundred books, selected from twelve hundred
examined. In the spring of 1867 a catalogue of five hundred and
seventy-three books was printed, as the result of the reading of nineteen
hundred volumes.

In the beginning of its work the commission did not confine its activities
to the selecting of juvenile books; for the Sunday School Hymn and Tune
Book, published in 1869, was largely due to its efforts. Under the
administration of Mr. James P. Walker the Sunday School Society undertook
to procure the publication of a number of books of fiction suitable for
Sunday-school libraries, and offered prizes to this end. The commission
gave its encouragement to this effort, read the manuscripts, and aided in
determining to whom the prizes should be given. The result was the
publication of a half-dozen volumes by the Sunday School Society and the
Unitarian Association. The society also aided to some extent in meeting the
expenses of the commission, though these were usually met by the

For many years the books approved by the commission were grouped under
three heads: books especially recommended for Unitarian Sunday-school
libraries; those highly recommended for their religious tone, but somewhat
impaired for this purpose by the use of phrases and the adoption of a
spirit not in accord with the Unitarian faith; and those profitable and
valuable, but not adapted to the purposes of a Sunday-school library. Every
book recommended was read and approved by at least five persons, discussed
in committee of the whole, and accepted by a two-thirds vote of all the
members. Books about which there was much diversity of opinion were read by
a larger number of persons. This classification proved rather cumbersome,
and it was often found difficult to decide into which list a book should be
placed; and the result was that about 1890 the simpler plan was adopted of
putting all titles in their alphabetical order, with explanatory notes for
each book. In 1882 the list of books for teachers was discontinued as being
no longer necessary.

Annual lists of books have been published by the commission since 1866;
and, in addition, several catalogues have been issued, containing all the
books approved during a period of five years. In the early days of the
commission, supplementary lists for children and young persons were issued,
containing books of a more secular character than were thought suitable for
Sunday-school libraries. Gradually, it has extended its work to include the
needs of all juvenile libraries; and these books are now incorporated into
the one annual catalogue. In thirty-four years the commission has examined
10,957 books, and has approved 3,076, or about one-third.[18]

[1] Sunday School Times, September 15, 1860.

[2] Asa Bullard, Fifty Years with the Sabbath Schools, 37.

[3] C.A. Bartol, The West Church and its Ministers, Appendix.

[4] See the Remains of Nathaniel Appleton Haven, with a Memoir of his
    life, by George Ticknor.

[5] The Hancock Sunday-school assembled at eight in the morning and at
    one in the afternoon, Moses Grant being the first superintendent.

[6] At the school of the Twelfth Congregational Society, Carpenter's
    Catechism was used for the small children. This was followed by the
    Worcester Catechism, compiled in 1822 by the ministers of the
    Worcester Association of Ministers, Dr. Joseph Allen being the real
    author. The Geneva Catechism in its three successive parts, followed
    in order. In the Bible class, use was made of Hannah Adams's Letters
    on the Gospels, under the immediate charge of the Pastor. A hymn-book
    issued by the Publishing Fund Society was in use by the whole school.

[7] Christian Examiner, March, 1830, VIII. 49.

[8] Ibid., May, 1838, XXIV. 182.

[9] Joseph Allen, History of the Worcester Association, 261-264.

[10] In 1852 was published a graded series of eight manuals of Christian
     instruction for Sunday-schools and families,--a result of the
     activities of the Sunday School Society. The titles and authors of
     these books were Early Religious Lessons; Palestine and the Hebrew
     People, Stephen G. Bulfinch; Lessons on the Old Testament, Rev.
     Ephraim Peabody; The Life of Christ, Rev. John H. Morison; The Books
     and Characters of the New Testament, Rev. Rufus Ellis; Lessons upon
     Religious Duties and Christian Morals, Rev. George W. Briggs;
     Doctrines of Scripture, Rev. Frederic D. Huntington; Scenes from
     Christian History, Rev. Edward E. Hale. Two other books connected
     with the early history of Unitarian Sunday-schools properly demand
     notice here. In 1847 was published The History of Sunday Schools and
     of Religious Education from the Earliest Times, by Lewis G. Pray, who
     was treasurer of the Boston Sunday School Society from 1834 to 1853,
     and chairman of its board of agents from 1841 to 1848. He was one of
     the first workers in the establishing of Sunday-schools in Boston,
     and he zealously interested himself in this cause so long as he
     lived. He compiled the first book of hymns used in Unitarian schools,
     and also the first book of devotional exercises. For twenty years he
     was superintendent of the school connected with the Twelfth
     Congregational Society, holding that place from its organization in
     1827. In one of the concluding chapters of his book Mr. Pray gave an
     account of the early history of Unitarian Sunday-schools in Boston
     and its neighborhood. In 1852 was published a series of addresses
     which had been given by Rev. Frederick T. Gray at Sunday-school
     anniversaries and on other similar occasions. The volume contains
     most interesting information in regard to the origin of
     Sunday-schools in Boston, and the beginnings of the Sunday School
     Society, as well as the work of Dr. Tuckerman and his assistants in
     the ministry, at large.

[11] Memoir of James P. Walker, with Selections from his Writings, by
     Thomas B. Fox. American Unitarian Association, 1869.

[12] The first of these was Rev. Edward H. Hall's First Lessons on the
     Bible, which appeared in 1882; and it was soon followed by Professor
     C.H. Toy's History of the Religion of Israel.

[13] Among these were Religions before Christianity, by Professor Charles
     Carroll Everett, D.D., 1883; Manual of Unitarian Belief, by Rev.
     James Freeman Clarke, D.D., 1884; Lessons on the Life of St. Paul, by
     Rev. Edward H. Hall, 1885; Early Hebrew Stories, by Rev. Charles F.
     Dole, 1886; Hebrew Prophets and Kings, by Rev. Henry G. Spaulding,
     1887; The Later Heroes of Israel, by Mr. Spaulding, 1888; Lessons on
     the Gospel of Luke, by Mr. Spaulding and Rev. W.W. Fenn, 1889; A
     Story of the Sects, by Rev. William H. Lyon, in 1891. In 1890
     appeared the Unitarian Catechism of Rev. Minot J. Savage, though not
     published by the Sunday School Society. These books attracted wide
     attention, were largely used in Unitarian schools, and were adopted
     into those of other sects to some extent. In 1886 the president of
     the American Social Science Association publicly urged the use of the
     ethical manuals of the society by all Sunday-schools. Several of
     these books were republished in London, and Dr. Toy's manual was
     translated into Dutch. The society also published a new Service Book
     and Hymnal, which went into immediate use in a large number of
     schools, and did much for the enrichment of the devotional exercises
     and the promotion of an advanced standard of both words and music in
     the hymns.

[14] The Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, the leadership of
     Jesus, salvation by character, the progress of mankind onward and
     upward forever.

[15] Among the publications under Mr. Horton's administration, which may
     justly be called significant, are: Beacon Lights of Christian
     History, in three grades; Noble Lives and Noble Deeds, Dole's
     Catechism of Liberal Faith, Mott's History of Unitarianism,
     Pulsford's various manuals on the Bible, Mrs. Jaynes's Illustrated
     Primary Leaflets, Miss Mulliken's Kindergarten Lessons, Story of
     Israel and Great Thoughts of Israel, in three grades, Fenn's Acts of
     the Apostles, Chadwick's Questions on the Old Testament Books in
     their Right Order, Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells's forty Illustrated
     Primary Lessons, and Walkley's Helps for Teachers. Mr. Horton, during
     this ten years, has written fourteen manuals on various subjects.
     Co-extensive with the large increase of text-books has been the
     enrichment of lessons by pictorial aids. Excellent half-tone pictures
     have been prepared from the best subjects.

[16] Among the publications of the Western Unitarian Sunday School Society
     have been Unity Services and Songs, edited by Rev. James Vila Blake,
     and published in 1878; a service book called The Way of Life, by Rev.
     Frederick L. Hosmer, issued in 1877; and Unity Festivals, services
     for special holidays, 1884. Of the lesson-books published by the
     society, those that have been most successful have been Corner-stones
     of Character, by Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells; A Chosen Nation, or the
     Growth of the Hebrew Religion, by Rev. William C. Gannett; and The
     More Wonderful Genesis, by Rev. Henry M. Simmons. In 1890 the society
     entered upon the publication of a six-year course of studies, which
     included Beginnings according to Legend and according to the Truer
     Story, by Rev. Allen W. Gould; The Flowering of the Hebrew Religion,
     by Rev. W.W. Fenn; In the Home, by Rev. W.C. Gannett; Mother Nature's
     Children, by Rev. A.W. Gould; and The Flowering of Christianity, the
     Liberal Christian Movement toward Universal Religion, by Rev. W.C.

[17] The objects of The Young People's Religious Union are: (a) to foster
     the religious life; (b) to bring the young into closer relations with
     one another; and (c) to spread rational views of religion, and to put
     into practice such principles of life and duty as tend to uplift
     mankind. The cardinal principles of the Union are truth, worship, and
     service. Any young people's society may become a member of the Union
     by affirming in writing its sympathy with the general objects of the
     Union, adopting its cardinal principles, making a contribution to its
     treasury, and sending the secretary a list of its officers. The
     annual meeting is held in May at such day and place as the executive
     board may appoint. Special union meetings are held as often as
     several societies may arrange. The Union has its headquarters at Room
     11, in the Unitarian Building, Boston, in charge of the secretary,
     whose office hours are from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. daily. Organization
     hints, hymnals, leaflets, helps for the national topics, and other
     suggestive materials are supplied. The national officers furnish
     speakers for initial meetings, visit unions, and help in other ways.
     The Union maintains a department in The Christian Register, under the
     charge of the secretary, for notes, notices, helps on the topics, and
     all matters of interest to the unions, and also publishes a monthly
     bulletin in connection with the National Alliance of Unitarian Women.

[18] In the thirty-five years which comprise the life of the commission a
     gradual but marked change has been in operation. Sunday-school
     libraries are being used less and less, and town libraries have
     become much more numerous and better patronized by both old and
     young. In the spring of 1896 the question arose in the commission
     whether, with the decline of the Sunday-school library, the need
     which called it into being had not ceased to exist; and, in order to
     secure information as to the advisability of continuing its work,
     cards were sent to 305 ministers of the denomination and to 507
     public libraries, mostly in New England, asking if the lists of the
     commission were found useful, and whether it was desired that the
     sending of them should be continued. From Unitarian ministers 209
     replies were received, one-half using the lists frequently and the
     other half occasionally or for the selection of special books. From
     the town libraries cordial replies were received in 220 instances,
     most of them warmly approving of the lists, which had been found very
     useful. The result of this investigation was to bring the commission
     more directly into touch with the various libraries, and to give it a
     better understanding of their needs.



The Unitarian body has been remarkable for the women of intellectual power
and philanthropic achievement who have adorned its fellowship. In
proportion to their numbers, they have done much for the improvement and
uplifting of society. In the early Unitarian period, however, the special
work of women was for the most part confined to the Sunday-school and the
sewing circle. Whatever the name by which it was known, whether as the
Dorcas Society, the Benevolent Society, or the Ladies' Aid, the sewing
circle did a work that was in harmony with the needs of the time, and did
it well. It helped the church with which it was connected in many quiet
ways, and gave much aid to the poor and suffering members of the community.
Nor did it limit its activities to purely local interests; for many a
church was helped by it and the early missionary societies received its
contributions gladly.

Before the organization of the Benevolent Fraternity of Churches, the women
of Boston raised the money necessary for the support of the ministry at
large in that city. One of the earliest societies organized for general
service, was the Tuckerman Sewing Circle, formed in 1827. Its purpose was
to assist Dr. Tuckerman in his work for the poor of the city by providing
clothing and otherwise aiding the needy. The work of this circle is still
going on in connection, with the Bulfinch Place Church; and every year it
raises a large sum of money for the charitable work of the ministry at

The civil war helped women to recognize the need of organization and
co-operation, on their part. In working for the soldiers, not only in their
homes and churches, but in connection with the Sanitary Commission, and
later in seeking to aid the freedmen, they learned their own power and the
value of combination with others. In Massachusetts the work of the Sanitary
Commission was largely carried on by Unitarians. In describing this work,
Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney has indicated what was done by Unitarian women.
"During the late war," she wrote, "a woman's branch of the Sanitary
Commission was organized in New England. Mary Dwight (Parkman) was its
first president; but Abby Williams May soon took her place, which she held
till the close of the war. With unwearied zeal Miss May presided over its
councils, organized its action, and encouraged others to work. She went
down to the hospitals and camps, to judge of their needs with her own eyes,
and travelled from town to town in New England, arousing the women to new
effort. These might be seen, young and old, rich and poor, bearing bundles
of blue flannel through the streets, and unaccustomed fingers knitting the
coarse yarn, while the heart throbbed with anxiety for the dear ones gone
to the war. A noble band of nurses volunteered their services, and the
strife was as to which should go soonest and do the hardest work. Hannah E.
Stevenson, Helen Stetson, and many another name became as dear to the
soldiers as that of mother or sister. A committee was formed to supply the
colored soldiers with such help as other soldiers received from their
relations; and, when one of the noblest of Boston's sons passed through her
streets at their head, his mother 'thanked God for the privilege of seeing
that day.' The same spirit went into the work of educating the freedmen.
Young men and women, the noblest and best, went forth together to that work
of danger and toil."[1]

[Sidenote: Women's Western Unitarian Conference.]

It was such experiences as these that encouraged Unitarian women to enter
upon other philanthropic and educational labors when the civil war had come
to an end. Leaders had been trained during this period who were capable of
guiding such movements to a successful issue. The example of the women of
the evangelical churches in organizing their home and foreign missionary
associations also undoubtedly influenced, to a greater or lesser degree,
the women of the liberal churches. After the organization of the National
Conference, Unitarian women began to realize, as never before, the need of
co-operation in behalf of the cause they had at heart.[2] It was in the
central west, however, that the first effort was made to organize women in
the interest of denominational activities. In 1877, at the meeting of the
Western Unitarian Conference held in Toledo, it was voted that the women
connected with that body be requested to organize immediately for the
purpose of co-operating in the general work of the conference. At this
meeting two women, Mrs. E.P. Allis of Milwaukee and Mrs. Mary P. Wells
Smith of Cincinnati, were placed on the board of directors.

At the next annual meeting of the Western Conference, held in Chicago, the
committee on organization, consisting of thirteen women, reported the
readiness of the women to give their aid to the conference work, saying in
their report "that we signify not only our willingness, but our earnest
desire to share henceforth with our brothers in the labors and
responsibilities of this Association, and that we pledge ourselves to an
active and hearty support of those cherished convictions which constitute
our liberal faith." In response to their request, the conference selected
an assistant secretary to have charge of everything relating to the work of
women. They also recommended that the women of the several churches
connected with the conference should organize for "the study and
dissemination of the principles of free thought and liberal religious
culture, and the practical assistance of all worthy schemes and enterprises
intended for the spread and upholding of these principles." In 1881, at St.
Louis, there was organized the Women's Western Unitarian Conference, with
Mrs. Eliza Sunderland as president and Miss F.L. Roberts as secretary.
During the seventeen years of its existence this conference raised much
money for denominational work, developed many earnest workers, and
accomplished much in behalf of the principles for which it stood. It aided
in the support of several missionaries, organized the Post-office Mission
and made it effective, and encouraged a number of women to enter the

[Sidenote: Women's Auxiliary Conference.]

At the National Conference session of 1878, held at Saratoga, where much
enthusiasm had been awakened, it was suggested that the women, who had been
hitherto listeners only, should take an active part in, denominational
work. At a gathering in the parlor of the United States Hotel, called by
Mrs. Charles G. Ames, Mrs. Fielder Israel, Mrs. J.P. Lesley, and one or two
others, a plan of action was adopted that led, in 1880, to the formation of
the Women's Auxiliary Conference. The aim of this organization was to
quicken the religious life of the churches, to stimulate local charitable
and missionary undertakings, and to raise money for missionary enterprises;
but its work was to be done in connection with the National Conference, and
not as an independent organization. The purpose was stated in a circular
sent to the churches immediately after the organization was effected.
"Hitherto," it was said, "women have not been specially represented upon
the board of the National Conference, and have not fully recognized how
helpful they might be in its various undertakings or how much they
themselves might gain from a closer relation with it. But the time has now
come when our service is called for in the broad field, and also when we
feel the need of being at work there; for our faith in the great truths of
religion is no less vital than that of our brethren; and since the service
we can render, being different from theirs, is needed to supplement it, and
because it is peculiarly women's service, we must do it, or it will be left
undone. It is one of the glories of such a work as ours that there is need
and room in it for the best effort of every individual; indeed, without the
faithful service of all it must be incomplete."

In 1890, after ten years of active existence, the conference had about
eighty branches, with a membership of between 3,000 and 4,000 women. Much
of the success of the conference was due to its president, Abby W. May.
Miss May was well known as a philanthropist and educator, and had occupied
many prominent positions before she assumed the presidency of the
auxiliary; but this was her first active work in connection with the

[Sidenote: The National Alliance.]

Admirable as were the aims, and excellent as was the work of this
organization, it was auxiliary to the National Conference, and had no
independent life. After the first enthusiasm was past, it failed to gain
ground rapidly, the membership remaining nearly stationary during the last
few years of its existence. As time went on, therefore, it became evident
that a more complete organization was needed in order to arouse enthusiasm
and to secure the loyalty of the women of all parts of the country. The New
York League of Unitarian Women, including those of New York, Brooklyn, and
New Jersey, organized in 1887, showed the advantages of a closer union and
a more definite purpose; and the desire to bring into one body all the
various local organizations hastened the change. It was seen that, in the
multiplication of organizations, there was danger of wasting the energies
used, and that one efficient body was greatly to be desired.

In May, 1888, a committee was formed for the purpose of drafting a
constitution for a new association, "to which all existing organizations
might subscribe." The constitution provided by this committee was adopted
October 24, 1890, and the new organization took the name of the National
Alliance of Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian Women. The object
proposed was "to quicken the life of our Unitarian churches, and to bring
the women of the denomination into closer acquaintance, co-operation, and
fellowship." In 1891 there were ninety branches, with about 5,000 members.
While the membership, doubled under the impulse of the new organization,
the increase in the amount of money raised was fivefold.

The admirable results secured by the Women's Alliance, which has finally
drawn all the sectional organizations into co-operation with itself, are in
no small measure due to the energy and the organizing skill of the women
who have been at the head of its activities. Mrs. Judith W. Andrews, of
Boston, was the president during the first year of its existence. From 1891
to 1901 the president was Mrs. B. Ward Dix, of Brooklyn, who was succeeded
by Miss Emma C. Low, of the same city. Mrs. Emily A. Fifield, of Boston,
has been the recording secretary; Mrs. Mary B. Davis, of New York, the
corresponding secretary; and Miss Flora L. Close, of Boston, the treasurer
from the first.

[Sidenote: Cheerful Letter and Post-office Missions.]

In 1891 the executive board appointed a committee to organize a Cheerful
Letter Exchange, of which Miss Lilian Freeman Clarke was made the chairman.
One of its chief purposes is to cheer the lonely and discouraged, invalids
and others, by interchange of letters and by gifts of books and
periodicals. To young persons in remote places it affords facilities for
securing a better education, with the aid of correspondence classes. By
means of a little monthly magazine, The Cheerful Letter, religious teaching
is brought to many persons, who in this find a substitute for church
attendance where that is not possible. Through the same channel, as well as
by correspondence, these workers help young mothers in the right training
of their children. Libraries have been started in communities destitute of
books, and struggling libraries have been aided with gifts. Forty
travelling libraries are kept in circulation.

Although much had been done to circulate Unitarian tracts and the other
publications of the American Unitarian Association, by means of
colporteurs, by the aid of the post-office, as well as by direct gift of
friend to friend, it remained for Miss Sallie Ellis, of Cincinnati, in
1881, to systematize this kind of missionary effort, and to make it one of
the most valuable of all agents for the dissemination of liberal religious
ideas. Miss Ellis was aided by the Cincinnati branch of the Women's
Auxiliary, but she was from the first the heart and soul of this mission.
"If there had been no Miss Ellis," says one who knew her work intimately,
"there would have been no Post-office Mission. Many helped about it in
various ways, but she was the mission."

Miss Ellis was a frail little woman, hopelessly deaf and suffering from an
incurable disease. Notwithstanding her physical limitations, she longed to
be of service to the faith she cherished; and the missionary spirit burned
strong within her. "I want," she said often, "to do something for
Unitarianism before I die"; but the usual avenues of opportunity seemed
firmly closed to her. At last, in the winter of 1877-78, Rev. Charles W.
Wendte, then her pastor, anxious to find something for her to do, proposed
that she should send the Association's tracts and copies of the Pamphlet
Mission to persons in the west who were interested in the liberal faith.
She took up this work gladly, and during that winter distributed 1,846
tracts and 211 copies of the Pamphlet Mission in twenty-six States.

A tract table in the vestibule of the church was started by Miss Ellis; and
she not only distributed sermons freely in this way, but she also sold
Unitarian books. It was in 1881 that she was made the secretary of the
newly organized Women's Auxiliary in Cincinnati, and that her work really
began systematically. At the suggestion of Mrs. Mary P. Wells Smith,
advertisements were inserted in the daily papers, and offers made to send
Unitarian publications, when requested. Many doubted the advisability of
such an enterprise, but the letters received soon indicated that an
important method of mission work had been discovered. Rev. William C.
Gannett christened this work the Post-office Mission, and that name it has
since retained.

Only four and one-half years were permitted to Miss Ellis in which to
accomplish her work,--a work dear to her heart, and one for which her many
losses and sufferings had prepared her. During this period she wrote 2,500
letters, sent out 22,000 tracts and papers, sold 286 books, and loaned 258.
The real value of such work cannot be rightly estimated in figures. Through
her influence, several young men entered the ministry who are to-day doing
effective work. She saved several persons from doubt and despair, gave
strength to the weak, and comfort to those who mourned. At her death, in
1885, the letters received from many of her correspondents showed how
strong and deep had been her influence.[3]

The movement initiated by Miss Ellis grew rapidly, and has become one of
the most valuable of all agents for the dissemination of liberal religious
ideas. In the year 1900 the number of correspondents was about 5,000, and
the number of tracts, sermons, periodicals, and books distributed was about
200,000. The extent of this mission is also seen in the fact that in that
year about 8,000 letters were written by the workers, and about 6,000 were

By means of the Post-office Mission the literature of the denomination, the
tracts of the Unitarian Association, copies of The Christian Register, and
other periodicals have been scattered all over the world. Thousands of
sermons are distributed also from tables in church vestibules. Several
branches publish and exchange sermons, and a loan library has been
established to supplement this work.[4]

From the distribution of tracts and sermons has grown the formation of
"Sunday Circles" and "Groups" of Unitarians, carefully planned circuit
preaching, the employment of missionaries, and the building of chapels or
small churches. Two of these are already built; and the Alliance has
insured the support of their ministers for five years, and two others are
in the process of erection.

[Sidenote: Associate Alliances.]

The women on the Pacific coast have been compelled in a large measure to
organize their own work and to adopt their own methods, the distance being
too great for immediate co-operation with the other organizations. In this
work they have not only displayed energy and perseverance, but, says one
who knows intimately of their efforts, "they have shown executive ability
and power as organizers that have furnished an example to many
non-sectarian organizations of women, and have made the Unitarian women
conspicuous in all charitable and social activities."

The oldest society of Unitarian women on the Pacific coast was connected
with the First Church in San Francisco. In 1873 it was reorganized as the
Society for Christian Work. Its work has been mainly social and
philanthropic, contributing reading matter to penal institutions, money for
the care of the poor of the city, and aiding every new Unitarian church in
the State. The Channing Auxiliary combines the activities of the churches
in the vicinity of San Francisco with those in the city. Its objects are
"moral and religious culture, practical literary work, and co-operation
with the denominational and missionary agencies of the Unitarian faith."
From 1890 to 1899 this society spent over $6,000 in aid of denominational
enterprises, and it appropriates annually a large sum for Post-office
Mission work. While these two organizations represent San Francisco and its
neighborhood, the women up and down the coast have also been earnest
workers. In 1890 they felt the need of a closer bond of union, and
organized the Women's Unitarian Conference of the Pacific Coast. In 1894
this conference became a branch of the National Alliance, and has
co-operated cordially with it since that time.

The New York League of Unitarian Women has been active in forming Alliance
branches and new churches, as well as in affording aid to Meadville
students. The Chicago Associate Alliance, the Southern Associate Alliance,
and the Connecticut Valley Associate Alliance were organized in 1890. The
Worcester League of Unitarian Women began its existence in 1889, and was
reorganized in connection with the National Alliance in 1892.

[Sidenote: Alliance Methods.]

In thus coming into closer relations with each other and forming a national
organization, each local branch continues free in its own action, chooses
its own methods of carrying on its work, but keeps close knowledge of what
the Alliance as a whole is doing, that all interference with others and
overlapping of assistance may be avoided, and the greatest mutual benefit
may be secured. This method gives the utmost independence to the branches,
while preserving the element of personal interest in all financial
disbursements, and creates a strong bond of sympathy between those who give
and those who receive.

The first duty of each branch is to strengthen the church to which its
members belong; and the value of such an organized group of women, meeting
to exchange ideas and experiences on the most vital topics of human
interest, has been everywhere recognized. Each branch is expected to engage
in some form of religious study, not only for the improvement of the
members themselves, but to enable them to gain, and to give others, a
comprehensive knowledge of Unitarian beliefs. A study class committee
provides programmes for the use of the branches, arranges for the lending
and exchange of papers, and assists those who do not have access to books
of reference or are remote from the centres of Unitarian thought and

With this preparation the Alliance undertakes the higher service of joining
in the missionary activities of the denomination, supplementing as far as
possible the work of the American Unitarian Association. This includes
sending missionaries into new fields, aiding small and struggling churches,
helping to found new ones, supporting ministers at important points, and
and distributing religious literature among those who need light on
religious problems.

[1] Memorial History of Boston, IV. 353.

[2] See later chapters for account of admission of women to National
    Conference, Unitarian Association, the ministry, Boston school board,
    and various other lines of activity.

[3] Mary P.W. Smith, Miss Ellis's Mission.

[4] This library is in the Unitarian Building, 25 Beacon Street, Boston.



Foreign missions have never commanded a general interest on the part of
Unitarians. Their dislike of the proselyting spirit, their intense love of
liberty for others as well as for themselves, and the absence of sectarian
feeling have combined to make them, as a body, indifferent to the
propagation of their faith in other countries. They have done something,
however, to express their sympathy with those of kindred faith in foreign

In 1829 the younger Henry Ware visited England and Ireland as the foreign
secretary of the Unitarian Association; and at the annual meeting of 1831
he reported the results of his inquiries.[1] This was the beginning of
many interchanges of good fellowship with the Unitarians of Great Britain,
and also with those of Hungary, Transylvania, France, Germany, and other
European countries. During the first decade or two of the existence of the
Unitarian Association much interest was taken in the liberal movements in
Geneva; and the third annual report gave account of what was being done in
that city and in Calcutta, as well as in Transylvania and Great Britain.
Some years later, aid was promised to the Unitarians of Hungary in a time
of persecution; but they were dispossessed of their schools before help
reached them. In 1868 the Association founded Channing and Priestley
professorships in the theological school at Kolozsvár, and Mrs. Anna
Richmond furnished money for a permanent professorship in the same
institution. Soon after the renewed activity of 1865 an unsuccessful
attempt was made to establish an American Unitarian church in Paris; and
aid was given to the founding of an English liberal church in that city.
These are indications of the many interchanges of fellowship and
helpfulness between the Unitarians of this country and those of Europe.

[Sidenote: Society respecting the State of Religion in India.]

As early as 1824 began a movement to aid the native Unitarians of India,
partly the result of a lively interest in Rammohun Roy and the
republication in this country of his writings. On June 7, 1822, The
Christian Register gave an account of the adoption of Unitarianism by that
remarkable Hindoo leader; and it often recurred to the subject in later
years. In February of the next year it described the formation of a
Unitarian society in Calcutta, and the conversion to Unitarianism of a
Baptist missionary, Rev. William Adam, as a result of his attempt to
convert Rammohun Roy. There followed frequent reports of this movement, and
after a few months a letter from Mr. Adam was published. Even before this
there had appeared accounts of William Roberts, of Madras, a native Tamil,
who had been educated in England, and had there become a Unitarian. On his
return to his own country he had established small congregations in the
suburbs of Madras.

In 1823 a letter from Rev. William Adam was received in Boston, addressed
to Dr. Channing. It was put into the hands of the younger Henry Ware, who
wrote to Mr. Adam and Rammohun Roy, propounding to them a number of
questions in regard to the religious situation in India. In 1824 were
published in a volume the letter of Ware and the series of questions sent
by him to India, together with the replies of Rammohun Roy and William
Adam.[2] This book was one of much interest, and furnished the first
systematic account that had been given to the public of the reformatory
religious interest awakened at that time in India. In February, 1825, was
organized the Society for obtaining Information respecting the State of
Religion in India, "with a view to obtain and diffuse information and to
devise and recommend means for the promotion of Christianity in that part
of the world." The younger Henry Ware was made the president, and Dr.
Tuckerman the secretary. Already a fund had been collected to aid the
British Indian Unitarian Association of Calcutta in its missionary efforts,
especially in building a church and maintaining a minister.

During the year 1825 there was published at the office of The Christian
Register a pamphlet of sixty-three pages, written by a member of the
Information Society, being An Appeal to Liberal Christians for the Cause of
Christianity in India. In 1826 Dr. Tuckerman addressed A Letter on the
Principles of the Missionary Enterprise to the executive committee of the
Unitarian Association, in which he gave a noble exposition of the work of
foreign missions, especially with reference to the Indian field. This
letter and other writings of Tuckerman served to arouse much interest. The
Appeal urged what many Unitarians had large faith in,--the promulgation of
"just and rational views of our religion" "upon enlarged and liberal
principles, from which we may hope for the speedy establishment and the
wider extension there of the uncorrupted truth as it is in Jesus."

In 1826 the sum of $7,000 was secured for this work; and in the spring of
1827 a pledge was made to send yearly to Calcutta the sum of $600 for ten
years. These pledges were in connection with like efforts made by the
British and Foreign Unitarian Association. In 1839 Mr. Adam visited the
United States, and spoke at the annual meeting of the Unitarian
Association. Following this, he was for a few years professor of Oriental
literature in Harvard University.

[Sidenote: Dall's Work in India.]

In 1853 Rev. Charles T. Brooks, who was for many years the minister of the
church in Newport, visited India in search of health; and he was
commissioned by the Unitarian Association to make inquiries as to the
prospects for missionary labors in that country. In Madras he met William
Roberts, the younger son of the former Unitarian preacher there and visited
the several missions carried on by him. In Calcutta he found Unitarians,
but the work of Mr. Adam had left almost no results. The report of Mr.
Brooks was such that an effort was at once made to secure a missionary for
India.[3] In 1855 Rev. Charles H.A. Dall undertook this mission. He had
been a minister at large in St. Louis, Baltimore, and Portsmouth, and
settled over parishes in Needham and Toronto. Mr. Ball was given the widest
liberty of action in conducting his mission, as his instructions indicate:
"There you are to enter upon the work of a missionary; and whether by
preaching, in English or through an interpreter, or by school-teaching or
by writing for the press, or by visiting from house to house, or by
translating tracts, or by circulation of books, you are instructed, what we
know your heart will prompt you to do, to give yourself to a life of
usefulness as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ."

On his arrival at Calcutta, Mr. Ball was in a prostrate condition, and had
to be carried ashore. After a time he rallied and began his work. He
gathered a small congregation about him, then began teaching; and his work
grew until he had four large and flourishing schools under his charge. In
these he gave special attention, to moral and religious training, and to
the industrial arts. In his school work he had the efficient aid of Miss
Chamberlain, and after her death of Mrs. Helen Tompkins. One of the native
teachers, Dwarkanath Singha, was of great service in securing the interest
of the natives, being at the head, for many years, of all the schools under
Mr. Dall's control. Mr. Dall founded the Calcutta School of Industrial Art,
the Useful Arts' School, Hindoo Girls' School, as well as a school for the
waifs of the streets. In these schools were 8,000 pupils, mostly Hindoos,
who were taught a practical religion,--the simple principles of the gospel.
In education Mr. Dall accomplished large results, not only by his schools,
but by talking and lecturing on the subject. His influence was especially
felt in the education of girls and in industrial training, in both of which
directions he was a pioneer. Only one of his schools is now in existence,
simply because the government took up the work he began, and gave it a
larger support than was possible on the part of any individual or any

Mr. Dall wrote extensively for the leading journals of India, and in that
way he reached a larger number of persons throughout the country. This
brought him a large correspondence, and he frequently journeyed far to
visit individuals and congregations thus brought to his knowledge. For many
years he was one of the leading men of Calcutta. Few great public meetings
of any reformatory or educational kind were held without his having a
prominent part in them. He published great numbers of tracts and
lectures,[4] and translated the works of the leading Unitarians of
America and Great Britain into Hindostanee, Bengali, Tamil, Sanscrit, and
other native languages. His zeal in circulating liberal writings was great,
and met with a large reward. He distributed hundreds of copies of the
complete Works of Dr. Channing, and these brought many persons to the
acceptance of Unitarianism. When Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland was in India, in
1895-96, he found many traces of these volumes, even in remote parts of the
country. When he was in Madras, a very intelligent Hindoo walked one
hundred and fifty miles to procure of him a copy of Channing's biography to
replace a copy received from Mr. Dall, which, had been reread and loaned
until it was almost worn out.

A considerable part of Mr. Ball's influence was in connection with the
Brahmo-Somaj, in directing its religious, educational, and reformatory
work. He did not make many nominal Unitarians; but he had a very large
influence in shaping the life of India by his personal influence and by the
weight of his religious character. Everywhere he was greatly beloved. He
earned considerable sums as a reporter and author in aid of his mission,
and he lived in a most abstemious manner in order to devote as much money
as possible to his work.[5] In this devoted service he continued until
his death, which took place July 18, 1886.

[Sidenote: Recent Work in India.]

Since the death of Mr. Dall the aid given to India by American Unitarians
has been through the natives themselves. The work of Pundita, Ramabai has
received considerable assistance, as has also that of Mozoomdar. Early in
the year 1888, Rev. Brooke Herford, then minister of the Arlington Street
Church in Boston, received from India a letter addressed "To the chief
pastor of the Unitarian congregation at Boston." It proved to be from a
young lawyer or pleader in Banda, North-west Provinces, named Akbar Masih.
His father was an educated Mohammedan, who in early life had been converted
to Calvinistic Christianity, and had become a missionary. At the Calcutta
University the son had outgrown the faith he had been taught; and a volume
of Channing's Works, put in circulation by Mr. Dall, had given him the
mental and spiritual teaching he desired. Tracts and books were sent him,
and a correspondence followed. He read with great delight what he received,
and in a year or two he desired to become a missionary. Mr. Herford sent
him money, and he was employed to spend one-third of his time in the
missionary service of Unitarianism. When Mr. Herford removed to London, the
support of Akbar Masih was arranged for in England; and he has done a large
work in preaching, lecturing, holding conferences, and publishing tracts
and books.

Nearly in the same week in which Mr. Herford received his first letter from
Akbar Masih, Mr. Sunderland, in Ann Arbor, received one from Hajam Kissor
Singh, Jowai, Khasi Hills, Assam. He was a young man employed by the
government as a surveyor, was well educated, but belonged to one of the
primitive tribes that retain their aboriginal religion and customs to a
large extent. He had been taught orthodox Christianity, however; but it was
not satisfactory to him. A Brahmo friend loaned him a copy of Channing, and
furnished him with Mr. Dall's address. In the bundle of tracts sent him by
Mr. Dall was a copy of The Unitarian, which led him to write to its editor,
Mr. Sunderland. A correspondence followed, and the sending of many tracts
and books. Mr. Singh began to talk of his new views to others, who gathered
in his room on Sunday afternoons for religious inquiry and worship. Soon
there was a call for similar meetings in another village, and Mr. Singh
began to serve as a lay-preacher. A church was organized in Jowai, and then
a day school was opened. Tracts and books being necessary in order to carry
on the work successfully, Mr. Sunderland raised the necessary money,
printed them in Khasi at Ann Arbor, and forwarded them to Assam, thus
greatly facilitating the labors of Mr. Singh and his assistants. Also,
through the help of American Unitarians, Mr. Singh was able to secure the
aid of two paid helpers. When Mr. Sunderland visited the Khasi Hills, in
1895, as the agent of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, he
helped to ordain a regular pastor; and he found church buildings in five
villages, day-schools in four, and religious circles meeting in eight or
nine others. This mission is now being supported by the English Unitarians.

[Sidenote: The Beginnings in Japan.]

After the death of Mr. Dall it was not found desirable to continue his
educational work, and the missionary activities in India naturally came
under the jurisdiction of the British Unitarian Association. At the same
time, Japan offered an inviting field for missionary effort, and one not
hitherto occupied by Unitarians. In 1884 a movement began in that country,
looking to the introduction of a rational Christianity, the leader being
Yukichi Fukuzawa, a prominent statesman, head of the Keiogijiku University
and editor of the leading newspaper. In 1886 Fumio Yano, after a visit to
England, took up the same mission, and urged the adoption of Christianity
as a moral force in the life of the nation. The latter interpreted
Unitarianism as being the form of Christianity needed in Japan, and
strongly urged its acceptance. Other prominent men joined with these two in
commending a rational Christianity to their countrymen. Not long afterwards
the American Unitarian Association was asked to establish a mission in that
country. In 1887 Rev. Arthur M. Knapp was sent to Japan to investigate the
situation, and in the spring of 1889 he returned to report the results of
his inquiries. He had; been welcomed; by the leading men, such as the
Marquis Tokujawa and Kentaro Kaneko, who opened to him many avenues of
influence. He had written for the most important newspapers, had come into
personal contact with the leading men of all parties, had lectured; on many
occasions to highly educated audiences, and had opened a wide-reaching

On his return to Japan, in 1889, Mr. Knapp was prepared to begin systematic
work in behalf of rational Christianity. It was not his purpose, however,
to seek to establish Unitarianism there as the basis of a new Japanese
sect, but to diffuse it as a leaven for the moral and spiritual elevation
of the people of Japan. "The errand of Unitarianism in Japan," said Mr.
Knapp to the Japanese, "is based upon the familiar idea of the sympathy of
religions. With the conviction that we are the messengers of distinctive
and valuable truths which have not yet been emphasized, and that, in
return, there is much in your faith and life which to our harm we have not
emphasized, receive us not as theological propagandists, but as messengers
of the new gospel of human brotherhood in the religion of man."

With Mr. Knapp were associated Rev. Clay MacCauley as colleague, and also
Garrett Droppers, John H. Wigmore, and William Shields Liscomb, who were to
become, professors in the Keiogijiku, a leading university, situated in
Tokio, and to give such aid as they could to the Unitarian mission. With
these men was soon associated Rev. H.W. Hawkes, a young English minister,
who gave his services to this important work. There also accompanied the
American party Mr. Saichiro Kanda, who had become a Unitarian while
residing in San Francisco, and had attended the Meadville Theological
School. In the winter of 1890-91, Mr. Knapp returned to the United States,
and a little later Mr. Hawkes went back to England. In 1891 Rev. William I.
Lawrance joined the mission force; and he continued with it until 1894,
when a severe illness compelled his resignation. Professor Wigmore returned
to America in 1892 to accept a chair in the North-western University;
Professor Liscomb came home in 1893, dying soon after his return; while
Professor Droppers remained until the winter of 1898, when he became the
president of the University of South Dakota. In the beginning of 1900, Mr.
MacCauley, after having had direction of the mission for nine years,
returned to America; and it was left in control of the Japanese Unitarian
Association, the American Association continuing to give it generous
financial aid and counsel.

As already indicated, the purpose of the mission has not been Unitarian
propagandism as such. It has been that of religious enlightenment, the
bringing to the Japanese, in a catholic and humanitarian spirit, of the
body of religious truths and convictions known as Unitarianism, and then
permitting them to organize themselves after the manner of their own
national life. No churches were organized by the representatives of the
American Unitarian Association. Those that have come into existence have
been wholly at the initiative of the natives. Early in 1894 was erected, in
Tokio, Yuiitsukwan, or Unity Hall, with money furnished largely from the
United States. This building serves as the headquarters for Unitarian work,
including lectures and social and religious meetings. In 1896 was organized
the Japanese Unitarian Association for the work of diffusing Unitarian
principles throughout the country. The mission is organized into the three
departments of church extension, publication, and education. Of this
Association, Jitsunen Saji, formerly a prominent Buddhist lecturer and a
member at present of the city council of Tokyo, is the superintendent. The
secretary has been Saichiro Kanda, who has faithfully given his time to
this work since he returned to Japan with the mission party, in 1889. The
broad purposes of the Japanese Unitarian Association have been clearly
defined in its constitution: "We desire to act in accordance with God's
will, which we perceive by our inborn reason. We strive to follow the
guidance of noble religion, exact science and philosophy, and to discover
their truth. We believe it to be a natural law of the human mind to
investigate freely all phenomena of the universe. We aim to maintain the
peace of the world, and to promote the happiness of mankind. We endeavor to
assert our rights, and to fulfil our duties as Japanese citizens; and to
increase the prosperity of the country by all honorable means."

Early in 1891 was begun the publication in Japanese of a magazine called at
first The Unitarian, but afterwards Religion. The paid circulation was
about 1,000 copies, but it was largely used as a tract for free
distribution. In 1897 this magazine was merged into a popular religious
monthly called Rikugo-Zasshi or Cosmos, which has a large circulation. It
is published at the headquarters of the Japanese Unitarian Association, and
is the organ of the liberalizing work carried on by that institution. The
Association has translated thirty or forty American and English
tracts,--some have been added by native writers; and these were distributed
to the number of 100,000 in 1900. A number of important liberal books,
including Bixby's Crisis in Morals, Clarke's Steps in Belief, and Fiske's
Idea of God, have been translated into Japanese, and obtain a ready sale.
An extensive work of education, is carried on through the press, nearly all
the leading journals having been freely open to the Unitarians since the
beginning of the mission.

The direct work of education has been the most important of all the phases
of the mission's activities. A library of several thousand volumes,
representing all phases of modern thought, has been collected in Unity
Hall; and it is of great value to the teaching carried on there. Lectures
are given every Sunday in Unity Hall, and listened to by large audiences.
Much has been done in various parts of Tokyo, as well as elsewhere, to
reach the student class, and educated persons in all classes of society;
and many persons have thus been brought to an acceptance of Unitarianism.
In 1890 were begun systematic courses of lectures, with a view to giving
educated Japanese inquirers a thorough knowledge of modern religious ideas;
and these grew into the Senshin Gakuin, or School of Advanced Learning, a
theological school with seven professors, and an annual attendance of
thirty or forty students, nearly all of whom have been graduates of
colleges and universities. Unhappily, the failure of financial support
compelled the abandonment of this school in 1898. The chief educational
work, however, has been done in the colleges and universities, through the
general diffusion of liberal religious principles, and by the free spirit
of inquiry characteristic of all educated Japanese.

The success of the Japanese mission is chiefly due to Rev. Clay MacCauley,
who gave it the wise direction and the organizing skill necessary to its
permanent growth. It is a noble monument to his devotion, and to his
untiring efforts for its advancement. His little book on Christianity in
History is very popular, both in its English and Japanese versions; and
thousands of copies are annually distributed.

The results of the Japanese mission are especially evident in a general
liberalizing of religious thought throughout the country in both the
Buddhist and Christian communions, and in the wide-spread approval shown
towards its methods and principles among the upper and student classes. Its
chief gain, however, consists of the scholarly and influential men who have
accepted the Unitarian faith, and given it their zealous support. Among
these men are the late Hajime Onishi, president of the College of
Literature in the new Imperial University at Kyoto; Nobuta Kishimoto,
professor of ethics in the Imperial Normal School; Tomoyoshi Murai,
professor of English in the Foreign Languages School of Japan; Iso Abe,
professor in the Doshisha University; Kinza Hirai, professor in the
Imperial Normal School; Yoshiwo Ogasawara, who is leading an extensive work
of social and moral reform in Wakayama; Saburo Shimada, proprietor of the
Mainichi, one of the largest daily newspapers of the empire; and Zennosuki
Toyosaki, professor in the Kokumin Eigakukwai, and associate editor of the
Rikugo Zasshi.[6] These men are educating the Japanese people to know
Christianity in its rational forms; and their influence is being rapidly
extended throughout the country. In their hands the future of liberal
religion in Japan is safe; and what they do for their own people is more
certain of permanent results than anything that can be accomplished by
foreigners. The real significance of the Japanese Unitarian mission is that
it has inaugurated a new era in religious propagandism; that it has been
for the followers of the religions traditional to Japan, as well as for
those of the Christian missions, eminently a means for presenting them with
the world's most advanced thought in religion, and that it has been a
stimulus to a purer faith and a larger fellowship.

[1] First Report of the Executive Committee of the American Unitarian
    Association, 16. "The thoughts of the committee have been turned to
    their brethren in other lands. A correspondence has been opened with
    Unitarians in England, and the coincidence is worthy of notice, that
    the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, and the American
    Unitarian Association were organized on the same day, for the same
    objects, and without the least previous concert. Our good wishes have
    been reciprocated by the directors of the British Society. Letters
    received from gentlemen who have recently visited England speak of
    the interest which our brethren in that country feel for us, and of
    their desire to strengthen the bonds of union. A constant
    communication will be preserved between the two Associations and your
    committee believe it will have a beneficial effect, by making us
    better acquainted with one another, by introducing the publications
    of each country into the other, by the influence which we shall
    mutually exert, and by the strength which will be given to our
    separate, or it may be, to our united efforts for the spread of the
    glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour."

[2] Correspondence relative to the Prospects of Christianity and the
    Means of Promoting its Reception in India. Cambridge: Billiard &
    Metcalfe. 1824. 138 pp.

[3] Christian Examiner, LXIII 36, India's Appeal to Christian Unitarians,
    by Rev. C.T. Brooks.

[4] Some Gospel Principles, in Ten Lectures, by C.H.A. Dall, Calcutta,
    1856. Also see The Mission to India instituted by the American
    Unitarian Association. Boston: Office of the Quarterly Journal.

[5] See Out Indian Mission and Our First Missionary, by Rev. John H.
    Heywood, Boston, 1887.

[6] The Unitarian Movement in Japan: Sketches of the Lives and Religious
    Work of Ten Representative Japanese. Tokyo, 1900.



In a few years after the movement began for the organization of churches
west of the Hudson River, the needs of theological instruction for
residents of that region were being discussed. In 1827 the younger Henry
Ware was interested in a plan of uniting Unitarians and "the Christian
connection" in the establishment of a theological school, to be located in
the eastern part of the state of New York. In July of that year he wrote to
a friend: "We have had; no little talk here within a few days respecting a
new theological school. Many of us think favorably of the plan, and are
disposed to patronize it, if feasible, but are a little fearful that it is
not. Others start strong objections to it _in toto_. Something must be done
to gain us an increase of ministers."[1] This proposition came from the
Christians, and their plan was to locate the school on the Hudson.

Although this project came to nothing for the time being, it was revived a
decade later. When the Unitarian Association had entered upon its active
missionary efforts west of the Alleghanies, the new impulse to
denominational life manifested itself in a wide-spread desire for an
increase in the number of workers available for the western field. The
establishment of a liberal theological school in that region was felt to be
almost a necessity, if the opportunities everywhere opening there for the
dissemination of a purer faith were not to be neglected. Plans were
therefore formed about 1836 for the founding of a theological school at
Buffalo under the direction of Rev. George W. Hosmer, then the minister in
that city; but, business becoming greatly depressed the following year, the
project was abandoned. In 1840 the importance of such a school was again
causing the western workers to plan for its establishment, this time in
Cincinnati or Louisville; but this expectation also failed of realization.
Then Rev. William G. Eliot, of St. Louis, undertook to provide a
theological education for such young men as might apply to him. But the
response to his offer was so slight as to indicate that there was little
demand for such instruction.

[Sidenote: The Beginnings in Meadville.]

The demand for a school had steadily grown since the year 1827, and the fit
occasion only was awaited for its establishment. It was found at Meadville,
Penn., in the autumn of 1844. In order to understand why it should have
been founded in this country village instead of one of the growing and
prosperous cities of the west, it is necessary to give a brief account of
the origin and growth of the Meadville church. The first Unitarian church
organized west of the Alleghanies was that in Meadville, and it had its
origin in the religious experiences of one man. The founder of this church,
Harm Jan Huidekoper, was born in the district of Drenthe, Holland, at the
village of Hogeveen, in 1776. At the age of twenty he came to the United
States; and in 1804 he became the agent of the Holland Land Company in the
north-western counties of Pennsylvania, and established himself at
Meadville, then a small village. He was successful in his land operations,
and was largely influential in the development of that part of the state.
When his children were of an age to need religious instruction, he began to
study the Bible with a view to deciding what he could conscientiously teach
them. He had become a member of the Reformed Church in his native land, and
he had attended the Presbyterian church in Meadville; but he now desired to
form convictions based on his own inquiries. "When I had become a father,"
he wrote, "and saw the time approaching when I should have to give
religious instruction to my children, I felt it to be my duty to give this
subject a thorough examination. I accordingly commenced studying the
Scriptures, as being the only safe rule of the Christian's faith; and the
result was, that I soon acquired clear, and definite views as to the
leading doctrines of the Christian religion. But the good I derived from
these studies has not been confined to giving me clear ideas as to the
Christian doctrines. They created in me a strong and constantly increasing
interest in religion itself, not as mere theory, but as a practical rule of
life."[2] As the result of this study, he arrived at the conclusion that
the Bible does not teach the doctrines of the Trinity, the total depravity
of man, and the vicarious atonement of Christ. Solely from the careful
reading of the Bible with reference to each of the leading doctrines he had
been taught, he became a Unitarian.

With the zeal of a new convert Mr. Huidekoper began to talk about his new
faith, and he brought it to the attention of others with the enthusiasm of
a propagandist. In conversation, by means of the distribution of tracts,
and with the aid of the press he extended the liberal faith. He could not
send his children to the church he had attended, and he therefore secured
tutors for them from Harvard College who were preparing for the ministry;
and in October, 1825, one of these tutors began holding Unitarian services
in Meadville.[3] In May, 1829, a church was organized, and a goodly
number of thoughtful men and women connected themselves with it. But this
movement met with persistent opposition, and a vigorous controversy was
carried on in the local papers and by means of pamphlets. This was
increased when, in 1830, Ephraim Peabody, afterwards settled in Cincinnati,
New Bedford, and at King's Chapel in Boston, became the minister, and
entered upon an active effort for the extension of Unitarianism. With the
first of January, 1831, he began the publication of the Unitarian Essayist,
a small monthly pamphlet, in which the leading theological questions were
discussed. In a few months Mr. Peabody went to Cincinnati; and the Essayist
was continued by Mr. Huidekoper, who wrote with vigor and directness on the
subjects he had carefully studied.

In 1831 the church for the first time secured an ordained minister, and
three years later one who gave his whole time to its service.[4] A church
building was erected in 1836, and the prosperity of the congregation was
thereby much increased. In 1843 a minister of the Christian connection,
Rev. E.G. Holland, became the pastor for a brief period. At this time
Frederic Huidekoper, a son of the founder of the Unitarian church in
Meadville, had returned from his studies in the Harvard Divinity School and
in Europe, and was ordained in Meadville, October 12, 1843. It was his
purpose to become a Unitarian evangelist in the region about Meadville, but
his attention was soon directed by Rev. George W. Hosmer to the importance
of furnishing theological instruction to young men preparing for the
Unitarian ministry. He was encouraged in this undertaking by Mr. Holland,
who pointed out to him the large patronage that might be expected from the
Christian body. It was at first intended that Mr. Huidekoper should give
the principal instruction, and that he should be assisted by the pastor of
the Independent Congregational Church (Unitarian) and by Mr. Hosmer, who
was to come from Buffalo for a few weeks each year, exchanging pulpits with
the Meadville minister. When the opening of the school was fixed for the
autumn of 1844, the prospective number of applicants was so large as to
necessitate a modification of the proposed plan; and it was deemed wise to
secure a competent person to preside over the school and to become the
minister of the church. Through the active co-operation of the American
Unitarian Association, Rev. Rufus P. Stebbins, then settled at Leominster,
Mass., was secured for this double service.

The students present at the opening of the school on the first day of
October, 1844, were but five; but this number was increased to nine during
the year. The next year the number was twenty-three, nine of them from New
England. For several years the Christian connection furnished a
considerable proportion of the students, and took a lively interest in the
establishment and growth of the school, although contributing little or
nothing to its pecuniary support. It was also represented on the board of
instruction by a non-resident lecturer. At this time the Christian body had
no theological school of its own, and many of its members even looked with
disfavor upon all ministerial education. What brought them into some degree
of sympathy with Unitarians of that day was their rejection of binding
creeds and their acceptance of Christian character as the only test of
Christian fellowship, together with their recognition of the Bible,
interpreted by every man for himself, as the authoritative standard of
religious truth. The churches of this denomination in the northern states
were also pronounced in their rejection of the doctrines of the Trinity and
predestination. Unitarians themselves have not been more strenuous in the
defence of the principle of religious liberty than were the leaders among
the Christians of the last generation. The two bodies also joined in the
management of Antioch College, in southern Ohio; and when Horace Mann
became its president in 1852, he was made a minister of the Christian
connection, in order that he might work more effectually in the promotion
of its interests.

The Meadville school began its work in a simple way, with few instructors
and a limited course of study. Mr. Stebbins taught the Old Testament,
Hebrew, Biblical antiquities, natural and revealed religion, mental and
moral philosophy, systematic theology, and pulpit eloquence. Mr. Huidekoper
gave instruction in the New Testament, hermeneutics, ecclesiastical
history, Latin, Greek, and German. Mr. Hosmer lectured on pastoral care for
a brief period during each year. A building for the school was provided by
the generosity of the elder Huidekoper; and the expenses of board,
instruction, rent, fuel, etc., were reduced to $30 per annum. Many of the
students had received little education, and they needed a preliminary
training in the most primary studies. Nevertheless, the school at once
justified its establishment, and sent out many capable men, even from among
those who came to it with the least preparation.

Dr. Stebbins was president of the school for ten years. During his term of
service the school was incorporated by the legislature of Pennsylvania in
the spring of 1846. The charter was carefully drawn with a view to securing
freedom in its administration. No denominational name appeared in the act
of incorporation, and the original board of trustees included Christians as
well as Unitarians. Dr. Stebbins was an admirable man to whom to intrust
the organization of the school, for he was a born teacher and a masterful
administrator. He was prompt, decisive, a great worker, a powerful
preacher, an inspirer of others, and his students warmly admired and
praised him.

[Sidenote: The Growth of the School.]

The next president of the school was Oliver Stearns, who held the office
from 1856 to 1863. He was a student, a true and just thinker, of great
moral earnestness, fine discrimination, and with a gift for academic
organization. He was a man of a strong and deep personality, and his
spiritual influence was profound. He had been settled at Northampton and
over the third parish in Hingham before entering upon his work at
Meadville. In 1863 he went to the Harvard Divinity School as the professor
of pulpit eloquence and pastoral care until 1869, when he became the
professor of theology; and from 1870 to 1878 he was the dean of the school.
He was a preacher who "held and deserved a reputation among the foremost,"
for his preaching was "pre-eminently spiritual." "In his relations to the
divinity schools that enjoyed his services, it is impossible to
over-estimate the extent, accuracy, and thoroughness of his scholarship,
and his unwearying devotion to his work."[5]

During Dr. Stearns' administration the small building originally occupied
by the school was outgrown; and Divinity Hall was built on land east of the
town, donated by Professor Frederic Huidekoper, and first occupied in 1861.
In 1857 began a movement to elevate, the standard of admission to the
school, in order that its work might be of a more advanced character. To
meet the needs of those not able to accept this higher standard, a
preparatory department was established in 1858, which was continued until

Rev. Abiel A. Livermore became the president of the school in 1863, and he
remained in that position until 1890. He had been settled in Keene,
Cincinnati, and Yonkers before going to Meadville. He was a Christian of
the finest type, a true gentleman, and a noble friend. Under his direction
the school grew in all directions, the course of study being largely
enriched by the addition of new departments. In 1863 church polity and
administration, including a study of the sects of Christendom, was made a
special department. In 1868 the school opened its doors to women, and it
has received about thirty women for a longer or shorter term of study. In
1872 the academic degree of Bachelor of Divinity was offered for the first
time to those completing the full course. In 1879 the philosophy of
religion, and also the comparative study of religions, received the
recognition they deserve. The same year ecclesiastical jurisprudence became
a special department. In 1882 Rev. E.E. Hale lectured on charities, and
from that time this subject has been systematically treated in connection
with philanthropies. A movement was begun in 1889 to endow a professorship
in memory of Dr. James Freeman Clarke, which was successful. These
successive steps indicate the progress made under the faithful
administration of Dr. Livermore. He became widely known to Unitarians by
his commentaries on the books of the New Testament, as well as by his other
writings, including volumes of sermons and lectures.

In 1890 George L. Cary, who had been for many years the professor of New
Testament literature, became the president of the school, a position he
held for ten years. Under his leadership the school has largely advanced
its standard of scholarship, outgrown studies have been discarded, while
new ones have been added. New professorships and lectureships have been
established, and the endowment of the school has been greatly increased.
Huidekoper Hall, for the use of the library, was erected in 1890, and other
important improvements have been added to the equipment of the school. In
1892 the Adin Ballou lectureship of practical Christian sociology was
established, and in 1895 the Hackley professorship of sociology and ethics.

From the time of its establishment the Huidekoper family have been devoted
friends and benefactors of the Theological School.[6] Frederic Huidekoper
occupied the chair of New Testament literature from 1844 to 1855, and from
1863 to 1877 that of ecclesiastical history. His services were given wholly
without remuneration, and his benefactions to the school were numerous. He
also added largely to the Brookes Fund for the distribution of Unitarian
books. His historical writings made him widely known to scholars, and added
to the reputation of the school. His Belief of the First Three Centuries
concerning Christ's Mission to the Underworld appeared in 1853; Judaism at
Rome, 1876; and Indirect Testimony of History to the Genuineness of the
Gospels, 1879. He also republished at his own expense many valuable works
that were out of print.

Among the other professors have been Rev. Nathanial S. Folsom, who was in
charge of the department of Biblical literature from 1848 to 1861. Of the
regular lecturers have been Rev. Charles H. Brigham, Rev. Amory D. Mayo,
and Dr. Thomas Hill. There has been an intimate relation between the
Meadville church and the Theological School, and several of the pastors
have been instructors and lecturers in the Theological School, including
Rev. J.C. Zachos, Rev. James T. Bixby, and Rev. James M. Whiton. The
Christian denomination has been represented among the lecturers by Rev.
David Millard and Rev. Austin Craig.

The whole number of graduates of the Meadville Theological School up to
April, 1902, has been 267; and eighty other students have entered the
ministry. At the present time 156 of its students are on the roll of
Unitarian ministers. Thirty-two of its students served in the civil war,
twenty per cent of its graduates previous to the close of the war being
engaged in it as privates, chaplains, or in some other capacity. The
endowment of the school has steadily increased until it now is somewhat
more than $600,000.

[1] Memoir of Henry Ware, Jr. 202.

[2] J.F. Clarke, Christian Examiner, September, 1854, LVII. 310. "Mr.
    Huidekoper had the satisfaction, in the later years of his life, of
    seeing a respectable society worshipping in the tasteful building
    which he loved and of witnessing the prosperity of the theological
    school in which he was so much interested. We have never known any
    one who seemed to live so habitually in the presence of God. The form
    which his piety mostly took was that of gratitude and reliance. His
    trust in the Divine goodness was like that of a child in its mother.
    His cheerful views, of this life and of the other, his simple tastes,
    his enjoyment of nature, his happiness in society, his love for
    children, his pleasure in doing good, his tender affection for those
    nearest to him,--these threw a warm light around his last days and
    gave his home the aspect of a perpetual Sabbath. A well-balanced
    activity of faculties contributed still more to his usefulness and
    happiness. He was always a student, occupying every vacant hour with
    a book, and so had attained a surprising knowledge of biography and
    history." Mr. Huidekoper died in Meadville, May 22, 1854.

[3] John M. Merrick, afterwards settled in Hardwick and Walpole, Mass.,
    who was in Mr. Huidekoper's family from October, 1825, to October,
    1827. He was succeeded by Andrew P. Peabody, who did not preach. In
    1828-30 Washington Gilbert, who had settlements in Harvard, Lincoln,
    and West Newton, was the tutor and preacher.

[4] Rev. George Nichols, July, 1831, to July, 1832; Rev. Alanson Brigham,
    who died in Meadville, August 24, 1833; Rev. John Quincy Day,
    October, 1834, to September, 1837.

[5] A.P. Peabody, Harvard Reminiscences, 165, 166

[6] The first treasurer of the school was Edgar Huidekoper, who was
    succeeded by Professor F. Huidekoper, and he in turn by Edgar
    Huidekoper, the son of the first treasurer. Among the other generous
    friends and benefactors of the school have been Alfred Huidekoper,
    Miss Elizabeth Huidekoper, and Mrs. Henry P. Kidder.



The liberal movement in religion was characterized in its early period by
its humanitarianism. As theology grew less important for it, there was an
increase in its philanthropy. With the waning of the sectarian spirit there
was a growth in desire for practical reforms. The awakened interest in man
and enlarged faith in his spiritual capacities showed itself in efforts to
improve his social condition. No one expressed this tendency more perfectly
than Dr. Channing, though he was a spiritual teacher rather than a reformer
or philanthropist.

Any statement concerning the charities in connection with which Channing
was active will give the most inadequate idea of his actual influence in
this direction. He was greatly interested in promoting the circulation of
the Bible, in aiding the cause of temperance, and in bringing freedom to
the slave. His biographer says that his thoughts were continually becoming
concentrated more and more upon the terrible problem of pauperism, "and he
saw more clearly each year that what the times demanded was that the axe
should be laid at the very root of ignorance, temptation and strife by
substituting for the present unjust and unequal distribution of the
privileges of life some system of cordial, respectful brotherly
co-operation."[1] His interest in education was most comprehensive, and
he sought its advancement in all directions with the confident faith that
it would help to uplift all classes and make them more truly human.[2]

[Sidenote: Unitarian Charities.]

The liberals of New England, in the early years of the nineteenth century,
were not mere theorizers in regard to human helpfulness and the application
of Christianity to life; for they endeavored to realize the spirit of
charity and service. Largely under their leadership the Massachusetts Bible
Society was organized in 1809. A more distinctly charitable undertaking was
the Fragment Society, organized in 1812 to help the poor by the
distribution of garments, the lending of bedding to the sick and clothes to
children in charity schools, as well as the providing of such children with
shoes. This society also undertook to provide Bibles for the poor who had
none. Under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Tuckerman, then settled in
Chelsea, there was organized, May 11, 1812, the Boston Society for the
Religious and Moral Improvement of Seamen, "to distribute tracts of a
religious and moral kind for the use of seamen, and to establish a regular
divine service on board of our merchant vessels." In 1813 the Massachusetts
Society for the Suppression of Intemperance, in 1815 the Massachusetts
Peace Society, and at about the same time the Society for the Employment of
the Poor came into existence.

Of the early Unitarians Rev. Octavius B. Frothingham justly said: "They all
had a genuine desire to render the earthly lot of mankind tolerable. It is
not too much to say that they started every one of our best secular
charities. The town of Boston had a poor-house, and nothing more until the
Unitarians initiated humane institutions for the helpless, the blind, the
insane. The Massachusetts General Hospital (1811), the McLean Asylum for
the Insane (1818), the Perkins Blind Asylum (1832), the Female Orphan
Asylum (1800), were of their devising."[3] What this work meant was well
stated by Dr. Andrew P. Peabody, when he said there was "probably no city
in the world where there had been more ample provision for the poor than in
Boston, whether by private alms-giving, benevolent organizations, or public
institutions."[4] Nor was this altruistic spirit manifested alone in
Boston, for Mr. Frothingham quotes the saying of a lady to Dr. E.E. Hale:
"A Unitarian church to you merely means one more name on your calendar. To
the people in this town it means better books, better music, better
sewerage, better health, better life, less drunkenness, more purity, and
better government."[5] The Unitarian conception of the relations of
altruism and religion was pertinently stated by Dr. J.T. Kirkland,
president of Harvard College during the early years of the nineteenth
century, when he said that "we have as much piety as charity, and no
more."[6] One who knew intimately of the work of the ministry at large
has truly said of the labors of Dr. Tuckerman: "From the beginning he had
the moral and pecuniary support of the leaders of life in Boston; her first
merchants and her statesmen were watching these experiments with a curious
interest, and although he was often so radical as to startle the most
conservative notions of men engaged in trade, or learned in the
old-fashioned science of government, there was that in the persistence of
his life and the accuracy of his method which engaged their support."[7]

Another instance of Unitarian philanthropy is to be found in the support
given to Rev. Edward T. Taylor, usually known as "Father Taylor," in his
work for sailors. When he went to Boston in 1829 to begin his mission, the
first person he visited was Dr. Channing, and the second Ralph Waldo
Emerson, then a settled pastor in the city. Both of these men made generous
contributions to his mission, and aided him in securing the attention of
wealthy contributors.[8] In fact, his Bethel was almost wholly supported
by Unitarians. For thirty years Mr. Albert Fearing was the president of the
Boston Port Society, organized for the support of Taylor's Seamen's Bethel.
The corresponding secretary was Mr. Henry Parker. Among other Unitarian
supporters of this work was Hon. John A. Andrew.[9]

We have no right to assume that the Unitarians alone were philanthropic,
but they had the wealth and the social position to make their efforts in
this direction thoroughly effective.[10] That the results were beneficent
may be understood from the testimony of Mrs. Horace Mann. "The liberal
sects of Boston," she wrote to a friend, "quite carried the day at that
time in works of benevolence and Christian charity. They took care of the
needy without regard to sectarianism. Such women as Helen Loring and
Elizabeth Howard, (Mrs. Cyrus A. Bartol), Dorothea Dix, Mary Pritchard
(Mrs. Henry Ware), and many others less known to the world, but equally
devoted to the work, with many youthful coadjutors, took care of the poor
wonderfully."[11] After spending several weeks in Boston in 1842, and
giving careful attention to the charities and philanthropies of the city,
Charles Dickens wrote: "I sincerely believe that the public institutions
and charities of this capital of Massachusetts are as nearly perfect as the
most considerate wisdom, benevolence, humanity, can make them. I never in
my life was more affected by the contemplation of happiness, under
circumstances of privation and bereavement, than in my visits to these

[Sidenote: Education of the Blind.]

The pioneer in the work of educating the blind and the deaf was Dr. Samuel
G. Howe, who had been one of those who in 1824 went to Greece to aid in the
establishment of Greek independence. On his return, in 1832, he became
acquainted with European methods of teaching the blind; and in that year he
opened the Massachusetts School and Asylum for the Blind, "the pioneer of
such establishments in America, and the most illustrious of its class in
the world."[13] In his father's house in Pleasant Street, Dr. Howe began
his school with a few pupils, prepared books for them, and then set about
raising money to secure larger facilities. Colonel Thomas H. Perkins, of
Boston, gave his house in Pearl Street, valued at $50,000, on condition
that a like sum should be contributed for the maintenance of the school. In
six weeks the desired sum was secured, and the school was, afterwards known
as the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Dr. Howe addressed seventeen
state legislatures on the education of the blind, with the result of
establishing schools similar to his own. His arduous task, however, was
that of providing the blind with books; and he used his great inventive
skill in perfecting the necessary methods. He succeeded in making it
comparatively easy to print books for the blind, and therefore made it
possible to have a library of such works.

In the autumn of 1837 Dr. Howe discovered Laura Bridgman, who had only the
one sense of touch remaining in a normal condition; and his remarkable
success, in her education made him famous. In connection with her and other
pupils he began the process of teaching the deaf to use articulate speech,
and all who have followed him in this work have but extended and perfected
his methods. While teaching the blind and deaf, Dr. Howe found those who
were idiotic; and he began to study this class of persons about 1840, and
to devise methods for their education. As a member of the Massachusetts
legislature in 1846, he secured the appointment of a commission to
investigate the condition of the idiotic; and for this commission he wrote
the report. In 1847, the state having made an appropriation for the
teaching of idiotic, children, ten of them were taught at the Blind Asylum,
under the care of Dr. Howe. In 1851 a separate school was provided for such

Dr. Howe was called "the Massachusetts philanthropist," but his
philanthropy was universal in its humanitarian aims. He gave large and
faithful attention, in 1845 and later, to prisons and prisoners; he was a
zealous friend of the slave and the freedman; and in 1864 he devoted
arduous service to the reform of the state charities of Massachusetts. His
biographer justly says of his spirit of universal philanthropy: "He joined
in the movement in Boston which abolished imprisonment for debt; he was an
early and active member of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, which once
did much service; and for years, when interest in prison reform was at a
low ebb in Massachusetts, the one forlorn relict of that once powerful
organization, a Prisoner's Aid Society, used to hold its meetings in Dr.
Howe's spacious chamber in Bromfield Street. He took an early interest in
the care of the insane, with which his friends Horace Mann, Dr. Edward
Jarvis, and Dorothea Dix were greatly occupied; and in later years he
introduced some most useful methods of caring for the insane in
Massachusetts. He favored the temperance reform, and wrote much as a
physician on the harm done to individuals and to the human stock by the use
of alcoholic liquors. He stood with Father Taylor of the Seamen's Bethel in
Boston for the salvation of the sailors and their protection from cruel
punishments, and he was one of those who almost abolished the flogging of
children in schools. During his whole career as a reformer of public
schools in New England, Horace Mann had no friend more intimate or helpful
than Dr. Howe, nor one whose support was more indispensable to Mann

Dr. Howe was an attendant upon the preaching of Theodore Parker, and was
his intimate friend. In after years he was a member of the congregation of
James Freeman Clarke at the Church of the Disciples. "After our return to
America," says Mrs. Howe of the year 1844, "my husband went often to the
Melodeon, where Parker preached until he took possession of the Music Hall.
The interest which my husband showed in these services led me in time to
attend them, and I remember as among the great opportunities of my life the
years in which I listened to Theodore Parker."[15]

[Sidenote: Care of the Insane.]

Another among the many persons who came under the influence of Dr. Channing
was Dorothea Dix, who, as a teacher of his children, lived for many months
in his family and enjoyed his intimate friendship. Her biographer says:
"She had drunk in with passionate faith Dr. Channing's fervid insistence on
the presence in human nature, even under its most degraded types, of germs,
at least, of endless spiritual development. But it was the characteristic
of her own mind that it tended not to protracted speculation, but to
immediate, embodied action."[16] Her work for the insane was the
expression of the deep faith in humanity she had been taught by Channing.

When she entered upon her humanitarian efforts, but few hospitals for the
insane existed in the country. A notable exception was the McLean Asylum at
Somerville, which had been built as the result of that same philanthropic
spirit that had led the Unitarians to establish the many charities already
mentioned in these pages. In March, 1841, Miss Dix visited the House of
Correction in East Cambridge; and for the wretched condition of the
inmates, she at once set to work to provide remedies. Then she visited the
jails and alms-houses in many parts of the state, and presented a memorial
to the legislature recounting what she had found and asking for reforms.
She was met by bitter opposition; but such persons as Samuel G. Howe, Dr.
Channing, Horace Mann, and John G. Palfrey came to her aid. The bill
providing for relief to the insane came into the hands of a committee of
which Dr. Howe was the chairman, and he energetically pushed it forward to
enactment. Thus Miss Dix began her crusade against an enormous evil.

In 1845 Miss Dix reported that in three years she had travelled ten
thousand miles, visited eighteen state penitentiaries, three hundred jails
and houses of correction, and five hundred almshouses and other
institutions, secured the establishment or enlargement of six hospitals for
the insane, several county poorhouses, and several jails on a reformed
plan. She visited every state east of the Rocky Mountains, and also the
British Provinces, to secure legislation in behalf of the insane. She
secured the erection of hospitals or other reformatory action in Rhode
Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Nova Scotia, and
Newfoundland. Her labors also secured the establishment of a hospital for
the insane of the army and navy, near Washington. All this was the work of
nine years.

In 1853 Miss Dix gave her attention to providing an adequate life-saving
equipment for Sable Island, one of we most dangerous places to seamen on
the Atlantic coast; and this became the means of saving many lives. In 1854
she went to England for needed rest; but almost at once she took up her
humanitarian work, this time in Scotland, where she secured a commission of
inquiry, which in 1857 resulted in reformatory legislation on the part of
Parliament. In 1855 she visited the island of Jersey, and secured great
improvements in the care of the insane. Later in that year she visited
Switzerland for rest, but in a few weeks was studying the charities of
Paris and then those of Italy. In Rome she had two interviews with the
pope, and the erection of a new hospital for the insane on modern
principles resulted. Speaking only English, and without letters of
introduction, she visited the insane hospitals and the prisons of Greece,
Turkey, Austria, Sclavonia, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark,
Holland, and Belgium. "Day by day she patiently explored the asylums,
prisons, and poor-houses of every place in which she set her foot, glad to
her heart's core when she found anything to commend and learn a lesson
from, and patiently striving, where she struck the traces of ignorance,
neglect, or wrong, to right the evil by direct appeal to the highest

On her return home, in September, 1856, she was met by many urgent appeals
for help in enlarging hospitals and erecting new ones; and she devoted her
time until the outbreak of the civil war in work for the insane in the
southern and middle north-western states. As soon as the troops were
ordered to Washington, she went there and offered her services as a nurse,
and was at once appointed superintendent of women nurses for the whole
army. She carried through the tasks of this office with energy and
devotion. In 1866 she secured the erection of a monument to the fallen
soldiers in the National Cemetery, at Hampton.

Then she returned at once to her work in asylums, poorhouses, and prisons,
continuing this task until past her seventy-fifth year. "Her frequent
visits to our institutions of the insane now, and her searching
criticisms," wrote a leading alienist, "constitute of themselves a better
lunacy commission than would be likely to be appointed in many of our
states."[17] The last five years of her life were spent as a guest in the
New Jersey State Asylum at Trenton, it being fit that one of the thirty-two
hospitals she had been the means of erecting should afford her a home for
her declining years.

Miss Dix was called by many "our Lady," "our Patron Saint"; and well she
deserved these expressions of reverence. President Fillmore said in a
letter to her, "Wealth and power never reared such monuments to selfish
pride as you have reared to the love of mankind." She had the unreserved
consecration to the needs of the poor and suffering that caused her to
write: "If I am cold, they are cold; if I am weary, they are distressed; if
I am alone, they are abandoned."[18] Her biographer justly compares her
with the greatest of the saints, and says, "Precisely the same
characteristics marked her, the same absolute religious consecration, the
same heroic readiness to trample under foot the pains of illness,
loneliness, and opposition, the same intellectual grasp of what a great
reformatory work demanded."[19] Truly was it said of her that she was "the
most useful and distinguished woman America has produced."[20]

[Sidenote: Child-saving Missions.]

As was justly said by Professor Francis G. Peabody, "the Boston Children's
Mission was the direct fruit of the ministry of Dr. Tuckerman, and
antedates all other conspicuous undertakings of the same nature. The first
president of the Children's Mission, John E. Williams, a Unitarian layman,
moved later to New York, and became the first treasurer of the newly
created Children's Aid Society of that city, formed in 1853. Thus the work
of the Children's Mission and the kindred service of the Warren Street
Chapel, under the leadership of Charles Barnard, must be reckoned as the
most immediate, if not the only American antecedent, of the great modern
works of child-saving charity."[21]

The Children's Mission to the Children of the Destitute grew out of the
work of the Howard Sunday-school, then connected with the Pitts Street
Chapel. When several men connected with that school were discussing the
fact that a great number of vagrant children were dealt with by the police,
Fanny S. Merrill said to her father, Mr. George Merrill, "Father, can't we
children do something to help those poor little ones?" This question
suggested a new field of work; and a meeting was held on April 27, 1849,
under the auspices of Rev. Robert C. Waterston, to consider this
proposition. On May 9 the society was organized "to create a special
mission to the poor, ignorant, neglected children of this city; to gather
them into day and Sunday schools; to procure places and employment for
them; and generally to adopt and pursue such measures as would be most
likely to save or rescue them from vice, ignorance and degradation." In the
beginning this mission was supported by the Unitarian Sunday-schools in
Boston, but gradually the number of schools contributing to its maintenance
was enlarged until it included nearly all of those connected with Unitarian
churches in New England.

As soon as the mission was organized, Rev. Joseph E. Barry was made the
missionary; and he opened a Sunday-school in Utica Street. Beginning in
1853, one or more women were employed to aid him in his work. In May, 1857,
Rev. Edmund Squire began work as a missionary in Washington Village; but
this mission was soon given into the hands of the Benevolent Fraternity. In
June, 1858, Mr. B.H. Greene was engaged to visit the jail and lockup in aid
of the young persons found there. In 1859 work was undertaken in East
Boston, and also in South Boston. From this time onward from three to five
persons were constantly employed as missionaries, in visiting throughout
the city, persuading children to attend day-schools, sewing-schools, and
Sunday-schools, securing employment for those old enough to labor, and in
placing children in country homes. In April, 1857, Mr. Barry took a party
of forty-eight children to Illinois; and five other parties followed to
that state and to Michigan and Ohio. Since 1860 homes have been found in
New England for all children sent outside the city.

In November, 1858, a hall in Eliot Street was secured for the religious
services of the mission, which included boys' classes, Sunday-school, and
various organizations of a moral and intellectual character. In 1859 a
house was rented in Camden Street especially for the care of the boys who
came under the charge of the mission. In March, 1867, was completed the
house on Tremont Street in which the work of the mission has, since been
carried on. An additional building for very young children was provided in
October, 1890. For years Mr. Barry continued his work as the missionary of
this noble ministry to the children of the poor. Since 1877 Mr. William
Crosby has been the efficient superintendent, having served for eighteen
years previously as the treasurer. The mission has cared for more than five
thousand children.

[Sidenote: Care of the Poor.]

It has been indicated already that much attention was given to the care of
the poor and to the prevention of pauperism. It is safe to assume that
every Unitarian minister was a worker in this direction. It is well to
notice the efforts of one man, because his work led to the scientific
methods of charitable relief which are employed in Boston at the present
time. When Rev. Ephraim Peabody became the minister of King's Chapel, in
1846, he turned his attention to the education of the poor and to the
prevention of pauperism. In connection with Rev. Frederick T. Gray he
opened a school for those adults whose education had been neglected.
Especial attention was given to the elementary instruction of emigrant
women. Many children and adults accepted the opportunity thus afforded, and
a large school was maintained for several years.

With the aid of Mr. Francis E. Parker another important work was undertaken
by Mr. Peabody. Although Dr. Tuckerman had labored to prevent duplication
of charitable gifts and to organize the philanthropies of Boston in an
effective manner, with the increase of population the evils he strove to
prevent had grown into large proportions. In order to prevent overlapping,
imposition, and failure to provide for many who were really needy, but not
eager to push their own claims, Mr. Peabody organized the Boston Provident
Association in 1851. This society divided the city into small districts,
and put each under the supervision of a person who was to examine every
case that came before the society within the territory assigned him. The
first president of this society was Hon. Samuel A. Eliot, who was a mayor
of the city, a representative in the lower house of Congress, and an
organizer of many philanthropies. This society was eminently successful in
its operations, and did a great amount of good. Its friendly visits to the
poor and its judicious methods of procuring the co-operation of many
charity workers prepared the way for the introduction, in 1879, of the
Associated Charities of Boston, which extended and effectively organized
the work begun by Mr. Peabody.[22] Numerous other organizations might be
mentioned that have been initiated by Unitarians or largely supported by

[Sidenote: Humane Treatment of Animals.]

The work for the humane treatment of animals was begun, and has been
largely carried on, by Unitarians. The founder of the American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was Henry Bergh, who was a member of
All Souls' Church in New York, under the ministry of Dr. Bellows. In 1865
he began his work in behalf of kindness to animals in New York City, and
the society he organized was incorporated April 10, 1866. It was soon
engaged in an extensive work. In 1873 Mr. Bergh proceeded to organize
branch humane societies; and, as the result of his work, most of the states
have legislated for the humane care of animals.

A similar work of a Unitarian is that of Mr. George T. Angell in Boston,
who in 1868 founded, and has since been the president of, the Massachusetts
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 1889 he became the
president of the American Humane Education Society, a position he continues
to hold. He is the editor of Our Dumb Animals, and has in many ways been
active in the work of the great charity with which he has been connected.

[Sidenote: Young Men's Christian Unions.]

The initiative in the establishment of Christian unions for young men in
cities, on a wholly unsectarian basis, was taken by a Unitarian. Mr. Caleb
Davis Bradlee, a Harvard undergraduate, who was afterward a Boston pastor
for many years, gathered together in the parlor of his father's house a
company of young men, and proposed to them the formation of a society for
mutual improvement. This was on September 17, 1851; and the organization
then formed was called the Biblical Literature Society. Those who belonged
to the society during the winter of 1851-52 were so much benefited by it
that they decided to enlarge their plans and to extend their influence to a
greater number. At the suggestion of Rev. Charles Brooks, minister of the
Unitarian church in South Hingham, the name was changed to the Boston Young
Men's Christian Union, the first meeting under the new form of organization
being held March 15, 1852. On October 11 of the same year the society was
incorporated, many of the leading men of the city having already given it
their encouragement and support.[24]

[Sidenote: Educational Work in the South.]

After the close of the civil war there was a large demand for help in the
South, especially amongst the negroes. Most of the aid given by Unitarians
was through other than denominational channels; but something was done by
the Unitarian Association as well as by other Unitarian organizations. Miss
Amy Bradley, who had been a very successful worker for the Sanitary
Commission, opened a school for the whites in Wilmington, N.C. Her work
extended to all the schools of the city, and was eminently successful. She
became the city and then the county superintendent of schools. She was
supported by the Unitarian Association and the Soldiers' Memorial Society.
Among the Unitarians who at that time engaged in the work of educating the
negroes were Rev. Henry F. Edes in Georgia, Rev. James Thurston in North
Carolina, Miss M. Louisa Shaw in Florida, Miss Bottume on Ladies' Island,
and Miss Sally Holley and Miss Caroline F. Putnam in Virginia.

In 1868 the Unitarian Association entered upon a systematic effort to aid
the negroes through co-operation with the African Methodist Episcopal
Church. The sum of $4,000 was in that year devoted to this work; and it was
largely spent in educational efforts, especially in aid of college and
theological students. Wilberforce University had the benefit of lectures
from Dr. George W. Hosmer, president of Antioch College, and of Edward
Orton, James K. Hosmer, and other professors in that institution. Libraries
of about fifty volumes of carefully selected books, including elementary
works of science, history, biography, and a few theological works, were
given to ministers of that church who applied for them. This connection
continued for several years, and was of much importance in the advancement
of the South.

With the first of January, 1886, the Unitarian Association established a
bureau of information in regard to southern education, of which General
J.B.F. Marshall, who had been for many years the treasurer of the Hampton
Institute, was made the superintendent. This bureau, during its existence
of three years, investigated the claims of various schools, and recommended
those most deserving of aid.

In 1891 Miss Mabel W. Dillingham and Miss Charlotte R. Thorn, who had been
teachers for several years in the Hampton Institute, opened a school for
negroes in Calhoun, Ala. Miss Dillingham died in 1894; and she was
succeeded by her brother, Rev. Pitt Dillingham, as the principal of the
school. The Calhoun School has been supported mostly by Unitarians, and it
has been successful in doing a practical and important work.

During the first eight years of the Tuskegee Institute it received $5,000
annually from Unitarians, and in more recent years $10,000 annually. This
has been given by individuals, churches, and other organizations, but in no
sense as a denominational work. Concerning the aid given to the Hampton
Institute this statement has been made by the principal: "The Unitarian
denomination has had a very important part in the work of Hampton. Our
first treasurer was General J.F.B. Marshall, a Unitarian who made it
possible for General Armstrong first to gain access to Boston and secure
friends there, many of whom have been lifelong contributors to this work.
General Marshall came to Hampton in 1872, and for some twelve years took a
most important part in building up this institution. He trained young men
for the treasurer's office, who still hold important positions in the
school, and others who have been sent to various institutions. The home of
General and Mrs. Marshall here was of incalculable help in many ways,
brightening and cheering the lives of our teachers and students. Unitarians
have always had a prominent part in the support of Hampton. Mrs. Mary
Hemenway was the largest donor to the Institute during her lifetime. She
gave $10,000 for the purchase of our Hemenway Farm, and helped General
Armstrong in many ways."[25]

[Sidenote: Educational Work for the Indians.]

At three different periods the Unitarian Association has undertaken
educational work amongst the Indians. The first of these proved abortive,
but is of much interest. James Tanner,[26] a half-breed Chippeway or
Ojibway from Minnesota, appeared before the board of the Association,
February 12, 1855, in behalf of his people. He had been a Baptist
missionary to the Ojibways, but had found that he could accomplish little
while the Indians continued their roving life and their wars with the
Sioux. He therefore wished to have his people adopt a settled agricultural
life. The Baptist Home Missionary Society, with which he was laboring,
would not accede to his plans in this respect, and desired that he should
confine himself to the preaching of the gospel. Unable to do this on
account of his liberal views, he went to Boston with the hope that he might
secure aid from the Baptists there. He was soon told that he was a
Unitarian, and he sought a knowledge of those of that faith. He was thus
led to apply to the Unitarian Association for help, which was granted. He
secured an outfit of agricultural and other implements, and returned to his
people in the spring of 1855. In December of that year Mr. Tanner attended
a meeting of the board of the Association, accompanied by six Ojibway
chiefs. On this unique occasion the calumet was smoked by all present, and
addresses were made by the Indians. In April, 1856, the board reluctantly
abandoned this enterprise, because the money for the yearly expenditure of
$4,000, which it required, could not be secured.[27]

In 1871 President Grant inaugurated the policy of educating the Indians
under the direction of the several religious denominations of the country.
To the Unitarians were assigned the Utes of Colorado. The reservation at
White River was placed in charge of Mr. J.S. Littlefield, and that at Los
Pinos of Rev. J. Nelson Trask. Several other persons took up this work,
including Rev. Henry F. Bond and his wife. In 1885 the Utes were removed to
a reservation in Utah. In the spring of 1886 Mr. Bond returned to them for
the purpose of establishing a boarding-school amongst them; but, not
getting sufficient encouragement, he went to Montana, where in the autumn
he opened the Montana Industrial School, with eighteen pupils from the
Crows in attendance. Buildings were erected, farm work begun, carpenter and
blacksmith shops put in operation, all at a cost of $20,000. The school was
located on the Big Horn River, thirty miles from Fort Custer.

It was the object of the Montana Industrial School to remove the Indian
children from their nomadic conditions and to give them a practical
education, with so much of instruction in books as would be of real help to
them. The boys were taught farm work and the use of tools, while the girls
were trained in sewing, cooking, and other useful employments. At the same
time there was constant training in cleanliness, good manners, and right
living. The school was fairly successful; and the results would doubtless
have been important, could the experiment have gone on for a longer period.
In 1891 Mr. Bond withdrew from the school on account of his age, and it was
placed in charge of Rev. A.A. Spencer. With the 1st of July, 1895, however,
the care of the school was assumed by the national government.

Extended as this chapter has become, it has failed to give anything like an
exhaustive statement of the philanthropies of Unitarians. Their charitable
activities have been constant and in many directions. This may be seen in
the wide-reaching philanthropic interests of Dr. Edward Everett Hale, whose
Lend-a-hand Clubs, King's Daughters societies, and kindred movements
admirably illustrate the practical side of Unitarianism, its broad
humanitarian spirit, its philanthropic and reformatory purpose, and its
high ideal of Christian fidelity and service.

[1] Memoir, III. 17; one-volume edition, 465.

[2] Memoir, III. 61, 62; one-volume edition, 487, 488.

[3] Boston Unitarianism, 127.

[4] Harvard Graduates, 155.

[5] Boston Unitarianism, 253.

[6] Elizabeth P. Peabody, Reminiscences of Dr. W.E. Channing, 290.

[7] Eber R. Butler, Lend a Hand, October, 1890, V. 681.

[8] Elizabeth P. Peabody, Reminiscences of W.E. Channing, 273.

[9] Gilbert Haven, Anecdotes of Rev. Edward T. Taylor, 114.

[10] Ibid., 119.

[11] Gilbert Haven, Anecdotes of Rev. Edward T. Taylor, 330.

[12] American Notes, chap. iii.

[13] Frank B. Sanborn, Biography of Dr. S.G. Howe, Philanthropist, 110.

[14] Frank B. Sanborn, Biography of Dr. S.G. Howe, Philanthropist, 170.

[15] Reminiscences, 161.

[16] Francis Tiffany, Life of Dorothea Lynde Dix, 58.

[17] Francis Tiffany, Life of Dorothea Lynde Dix, 355.

[18] Ibid., 327.

[19] Ibid., 290.

[20] Ibid., 375.

[21] Report of the National Conference, 1895, 205.

[22] Sermons of Ephraim Peabody, introductory Memoir, xxv; Memorial
     History of Boston, IV. 662, George S. Hale on the Charities of
     Boston; A.P. Peabody, Harvard Graduates, 155.

[23] Besides the Fragment Society, the Children's Mission, and the Boston
     Provident Society, already mentioned and still vigorously at work,
     several other societies are wholly supported by Unitarians. Of these
     may be named the Howard Benevolent Society in the City of Boston,
     organized in 1812, incorporated in 1818; Young Men's Benevolent
     Society, organized in 1827, incorporated in 1852; Industrial Aid
     Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, organized in 1835,
     incorporated in 1884.

[24] Alfred Manchester, Life of Caleb Davis Bradlee, 8; First Anniversary,
     address before the Boston Young Men's Christian Union by Rev. F.D.
     Huntington, Appendix.

[25] Personal letter from Mr. H.B. Frissell.

[26] Edwin James, A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John
     Tanner during Thirty Tears' Residence among the Indians of North
     America. (John Tanner was the father of James.)

[27] Quarterly Journal, II. 326, 344; III. 64, 257, 449, 625.



The belief of Unitarians in the innate goodness of man and in his progress
towards a higher moral life, together with their desire to make religion
practical in its character and to have it deal with the actual facts of
human life, has made it obligatory that they should give the encouragement
of their support to whatever promised to further the cause of justice,
liberty, and purity. Their attitude towards reforms, however, has been
qualified by their love of individual freedom. They have had a dread of
ecclesiastical restriction and of any attempt to coerce opinions or to
establish a despotism over individual convictions. And yet, with all this
insistence upon personal liberty, no body of men and women has ever been
more devoted to the furthering of practical reforms than those connected
with Unitarian churches. No one, for instance, was ever more zealous for
individual freedom than Theodore Parker; but he was essentially a reformer.
He was a persistent advocate of peace, temperance, education, the rights of
women, the rights of the slave, the abolition of capital punishment, reform
in prison discipline, and the application of humanitarian principles to the
conduct of life.

[Sidenote: Peace Movement.]

"It may be doubted whether any man who ever lived contributed more to
spread just sentiments on the subject of war and to hasten the era of
universal peace," said Dr. Channing of Noah Worcester, who has been often
called "the Apostle of Peace." It was the second contest with Great Britain
that led Dr. Worcester to consider the nature and effects of war. In
August, 1812, on the day appointed for a national fast, he preached a
sermon in which he maintained that the war then beginning was without
sufficient justification, and that war is always an evil. In 1814 he
further studied the subject, with the result that he wrote a little book
which he called A Solemn Review of the Custom of War.[1]

The Solemn Review was widely circulated, it was translated into many
languages, it made a deep and lasting impression, and it had a world-wide
influence in preparing the minds of men for the acceptance of peace
principles. The remedy for war it proposed was an international court of
arbitration.[2] Through the efforts of Dr. Worcester the Massachusetts
Peace Society was organized December 28, 1815, one of the first societies
of the kind in the world.[3] William Phillips was made the president, and
Dr. Noah Worcester the corresponding secretary, with Dr. Henry Ware, Dr.
Channing, and Rev. Francis Parkman among his councillors. On the executive
committee with Dr. Worcester in 1819 were Rev. Ezra Ripley and Rev. John
Pierce. Other Unitarian members and workers were James Freeman, Nathaniel
L. Frothingham, Charles Lowell, Samuel C. Thacher, J.T. Kirkland, and
Joseph Tuckerman; and, of laymen, Moses Grant, Josiah Quincy, and Colonel
Joseph May. In 1819 Dr. Worcester began the publication of The Friends of
Peace, a small quarterly magazine, a large part of the contents of which he
wrote himself. After the first number, having obtained the assistance of
several wealthy Friends, he relinquished the copyright; and the numbers
were republished in several parts of the country, thus obtaining a wide
circulation. He devoted himself almost wholly to this publication and the
advocacy of the cause of peace until 1829, when he relinquished its
editorship. "This must be looked upon as a very remarkable work," wrote
Henry Ware, the younger. "To his wakeful mind everything that occurred and
everything that he read offered him materials; he appeared to see nothing
which had not a bearing on this one topic; and his book becomes a boundless
repository of curious, entertaining, striking extracts from writers of all
sorts and the history of all times, displaying the criminality and folly of
war, and the beauty and efficacy of the principles of peace."[4]

In his efforts hi behalf of peace, Dr. Worcester had the support of Dr.
Channing's "respectful sympathy and active co-operation."[5] According to
Dr. John Pierce, Channing was the life and soul of the Massachusetts Peace
Society. "For years," says his biographer, "he devoted himself to the work
of extending its influence with unwavering zeal, as many of his papers of
that period attest."[6] From his pulpit Dr. Channing frequently expressed
his faith in the principles of peace, and he strongly advocated those
Christian convictions and that spirit of good will which would make war
impossible if they were applied to the conduct of nations.

Not less devoted to the cause of peace was Dr. Ezra S. Gannett, of whom his
son says: "He thought that reason, religion, the whole spirit as well as
the letter of the gospel, united in forbidding war. Probably, he was
non-resistant up to, rather than in, the absolutely last extremity;
although he writes that an English book which Dr. Channing lent him as the
best he knew upon the subject, 'has made me a thorough peace man!'"[7]
"Let the fact of brotherhood be fairly grasped," wrote Dr. Frederic H.
Hedge, "and war becomes impossible."[8] "The tremendous extent and
pertinacity of the habit of human slaughter in battle," wrote Dr. William
R. Alger, "its shocking criminality, and its incredible foolishness, when
regarded from an advanced religious position, are three facts calculated to
appall every thoughtful man and startle him into amazement." "It is vain,"
he said, "to undertake to impart a competent conception of the crimes and
miseries belonging to war. Their appalling character and magnitude stun the
imagination and pass off like the burden of a frightful dream."[9]

Worcester's Solemn Review convinced Rev. Samuel J. May "that the precepts,
spirit, and example of Jesus gave no warrant to the violent, bloody
resistance of evil; that wrong could be effectually overcome by right,
hatred by love, violence by gentleness, evil of any kind by its opposite
good. I preached this," he said, "as one of the cardinal doctrines of the
gospel, and endeavored especially to show the wickedness and folly of the
custom of war."[10] In 1826 he organized a county peace society, the first
in the country; and his first publication was in advocacy of this

Of the men connected with political life, Charles Sumner was the most
devoted and influential friend of the peace cause. As early as March, 1839,
he wrote to a friend, "I hold all wars, as unjust and, unchristian." His
address on The True Grandeur of Nations, given before the mayor and other
officials of Boston, July 4, 1845, was one of the noblest and most
effective utterances on the subject. Though a considerable part of the
audience was in military array, Sumner showed the evils of war in
uncompromising terms, denouncing it as cruel and unnecessary, while with
true eloquence, great learning, and deep conviction he made his plea for
peace. "The effect was immediate and striking," wrote George W. Curtis.
"There were great indignation and warm protest on the one hand, and upon
the other sincere congratulation and high compliment. Sumner's view of the
absolute wrong and iniquity of war was somewhat modified subsequently; but
the great purpose of a peaceful solution of international disputes he never
relinquished."[12] He said in this oration that "in our age there can be
no peace that is not honorable; there can be no war that is not
dishonorable." This statement was severely criticised, but it indicates his
uncompromising acceptance of peace principles.[13] He added these
pertinent sentences: "The true honor of a nation is to be found only in
deeds of justice and in the happiness of its people, all of which are
inconsistent with war. In the clear eye of Christian judgment vain are its
victories, infamous are its spoils."[14] He further declared that "war is
utterly and irreconcilably inconsistent with true greatness."[15] These
views he continued to hold throughout his life, though in a more
conciliatory spirit; and on several occasions he presented them before the
Peace Society and elsewhere. When in the Senate he was a leader of the
cause of arbitration, and exerted his large influence in securing its
adoption by the United States as a means of preventing war with foreign
countries. As late as July, 1873, he wrote to one of his friends: "I long
to witness the harmony of nations, which I am sure is near. When an evil so
great is recognized and discussed, the remedy must be near at hand."[16]

The work done by Julia Ward Howe for the cause of peace is eminently worthy
of recognition. One chapter of her Reminiscences is devoted to her "Peace
Crusade" of 1870. The cruel and unnecessary character of the
Franco-Prussian war led her to write an appeal to mothers to use their
influence in behalf of peace. "The august dignity of motherhood and its
terrible responsibilities now appeared to me in a new aspect," she writes,
"and I could think of no better way of expressing my sense of these than of
sending forth an appeal to womanhood throughout the world, which I then and
there composed."[17] She printed and distributed her appeal, had it
translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Swedish, and then
spent many months in corresponding with leading women in various countries.
She invited these women to a Women's Peace Congress to be held in London.
After holding two successful meetings in New York, she began her crusade in
England, holding meetings in many places, and also attending a Peace
Congress in Paris. She hired a hall in London, and held Sunday meetings to
promote the reform she had deeply at heart. The Women's Congress was a
success, and after two years of earnest effort Mrs. Howe had the
satisfaction of knowing that she had done something to promote peace on
earth and good will among men.

[Sidenote: Temperance Reform.]

Unitarians have been active in the cause of temperance, but again as
individuals rather than as a denomination. The emphasis they have put on
the importance of individual opinion and personal liberty has made them
often reluctant to join societies that sought to promote this reform by
restrictive and coercive measures. As a body, therefore, they have shown a
greater inclination to the use of moral suasion than legislative power.

From Dr. Channing this reform had the most earnest approval. "The
temperance reform which is going on among us," he wrote, "deserves all
praise, and I see not what is to hinder its complete success. I believe the
movements now made will succeed, because they are in harmony with and are
seconded by the general spirit and progress of the age. Every advance in
knowledge, in refined manners, in domestic enjoyments, in habits of
foresight and economy, in regular industry, in the comforts of life, in
civilization, good morals and religion, is an aid to the cause of
temperance; and believing as we do that these are making progress, may we
not hope that drunkenness will be driven from society?"[18] He regarded
the subject from a broader point of view than many, and urged that a sound
physical education for all youth, as well as larger opportunities for
intellectual improvement on the part of workingmen, would do much to
prevent intemperance.[19] He maintained that to give men "strength within
to withstand the temptations of intemperance" is incalculably more
important than to remove merely outward temptations. Better education,
innocent amusements, a wider spirit of sympathy and brotherhood,
discouragement of the use and sale of ardent spirits, were among the means
he recommended for suppressing this evil.[20]

The Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance was organized
at the State House in Boston on February 5, 1813, "to discountenance and
suppress the too free use of ardent spirits, and to encourage and promote
temperance and general morality." This was one of the first temperance
societies organized in the country, and its chief promoters were
Unitarians. Dr. John C. Collins, who published the records of the society,
said of the year 1827, when he became a member, that "Channing, Gannett,
and others were the most active men at that time in the temperance
cause."[21] Dr. Abiel Abbot was the first corresponding secretary of the
society, and on the council were Drs. Kirkland, Lothrop, Worcester, and
Pierce. Among the other Unitarian ministers who were active in the society
were Charles Lowell, the younger Henry Ware, John Pierpont, and John G.
Palfrey. Among the laymen were Moses Grant, Nathan Dane, Dr. John Ware,
Stephen Fairbanks, Dr. J.F. Flagg, William Sullivan, Amos Lawrence, Samuel
Dexter, and Isaac Parker.[22] Auxiliary societies were organized in Salem,
Beverly, and other towns; and these gave to the temperance cause the
activities of such Unitarians as Theophilus Parsons, Robert Rantoul, and
Samuel Hoar.[23]

Of the more recent interest of Unitarians in questions of temperance reform
there may be mentioned the thorough study made by the United States
Commissioner of Labor, and printed in 1898 under the title of Economic
Aspects of the Liquor Problem.[24] This investigation was ordered by
Congress as the result of a petition sent to that body by the Unitarian
Temperance Society. Probably few petitions have ever been sent to Congress
that contained so many prominent names of leading statesmen, presidents of
colleges and universities, bishops, clergymen, well-known literary men, and
other persons of influence. The Unitarian Temperance Society was organized
September 23, 1886, in connection with the meeting of the National
Conference at Saratoga. Its purpose is "to work for the cause of temperance
in whatever ways may seem to it wise and right; to study the social
problems of poverty, crime, and disease, in their relation to the use of
intoxicating drinks, and to diffuse whatever knowledge may be gained; to
discuss methods of temperance reform; to devise and, so far as possible, to
execute plans for practical reform; to exert by its meetings and by its
membership such influence for good as by the grace of God it may possess."
It has held annual meetings in Boston, and other meetings in connection
with the National Conference; it has published a number of important
tracts, temperance text-books, and temperance services for Sunday-schools;
and it has exerted a considerable influence on the denomination in shaping
public opinion in regard to this reform. The presidents of the society have
been Rev. Christopher R. Eliot, Rev. George H. Hosmer, and Rev. Charles F.

The subject of temperance reform has been before the National Conference on
several occasions and in various forms. At the session of 1882 a resolution
offered by Miss Mary Grew was adopted:--

  That the unutterable evils continually wrought by intemperance, the
  easy descent from moderate to immoderate drinking, and the moral wrecks
  strewn along that downward path, call upon Christians and patriots to
  practise and advocate abstinence from the use of all intoxicating
  liquors as a beverage.

In 1891 a series of resolutions recommended by the Unitarian Temperance
Society were adopted as expressing the convictions of the Conference:--

  First, that the liquor saloon, as it exists to-day in the United
  States, is the nation's chief school of crime, chief college of
  corruption in politics, chief source of poverty and ruined homes, chief
  menace to our country's future, is the standing enemy of society, and,
  as such, deserves the condemnation of all good men.

  Second, that, whatever be the best mode of dealing with the saloon by
  law, law can avail little until those who condemn the saloon consent to
  totally abstain themselves from the use of alcoholic drink for

  Third, that we affectionately and urgently call on every minister and
  all laymen and women in our denomination--our old, our young, our rich,
  our poor, our leaders, and our humblest--to take this stand of total
  abstinence, remembering those that are in bonds as bound with them, and
  throw the solid influence of our church against the influence of the

[Sidenote: Anti-slavery.]

In proportion to its numbers no religious body in the country did so much
to promote the anti-slavery reform as the Unitarian. No Unitarian defended
slavery from the pulpit or by means of the press, and no one was its
apologist.[25] Many, however, did not approve of the methods of the
abolitionists, and some strongly opposed the extreme measures of a part of
that body of reformers. The desire of Unitarians to be just, rational, and
open-minded, exposed many of them to the criticism of being neither for nor
against slavery. But it is certain that they were not indifferent to its
evils nor recreant to their humanitarian principles.

The period of the anti-slavery agitation was truly one that tried the souls
of men; and those who were equally conscientious, desirous of serving the
cause of justice and humanity, and solicitous for the welfare of the slave,
widely differed from one another as to what was the wise method of action.
Among those severely condemned by the anti-slavery party were several
Unitarian ministers of great force of character and of a genuinely
humanitarian spirit. Three of them may be selected as representative.

Dr. Orville Dewey had seen something of slavery, and was strongly opposed
to it. He thought the system hateful in itself and productive of nearly
unmingled evil, and yet he was not in favor of immediate emancipation. His
frequent indictments of slavery in his sermons and lectures were severe in
the extreme; but his demand for wise and patient counsel, and for a
rational method of gradual emancipation, subjected him to severe
condemnation. "And nothing else brings out the nobleness of Dr. Dewey into
such bold relief as the fact," says Rev. John W. Chadwick, "that the
immeasurable torrent of abuse that greeted his expressed opinion did not in
any least degree avail to make him one of the pro-slavery faction. He
differed from the most earnest of the anti-slavery men only as to the best
method of getting rid of the curse of human bondage."[26]

As early as 1830 Dr. E.S. Gannett said that "the greatest evil under which
our nation labors is the existence of slavery. It is the only vicious part
of our body politic, but this is a deep and disgusting sore. It must be
treated with the utmost judgment and skill." The violence of the
abolitionists he did not approve, however; for his respect for law and
constituted authority was so great that he was not ready for radical
measures. He abhorred slavery, but he was not willing to condemn the
slaveholder. He was therefore regarded by the abolitionists as more hostile
to them than any other Unitarian minister. His attitude as a peace man, his
strong regard for justice and fair dealing, as well as his earnest faith in
the gentle influence of the gospel, forbade his accepting the strenuous
methods of the abolitionists. He would not, however, permit anti-slavery
ministers to be silenced in Unitarian meetings. When he saw something of
slavery, in 1833, he expressed his convictions in regard to it in these
forcible words: "It is the attempt to degrade a human being into something
less than a man,--not the confinement, unjust as this is, nor the blows,
cruel as these are,--but the denial of his equal share in the rights,
prerogatives, and responsibilities of a human being, which brands the
institution of slavery with its peculiar and ineffaceable odiousness."[27]

Another minister who came under the condemnation of the abolitionists was
Rev. John H. Morison, and yet he preached sermons against slavery that met
with the vigorous disapproval of his congregation. "We all agree," he wrote
in 1844, "in the sad conviction that slavery in its political influence,
more than all other subjects, threatens to upturn the foundation of our
government; that in its moral and religious bearings it is a grievous wrong
to master and slave; and that, as it is in violation of the fundamental
principles of Christian duty, it must, if continued beyond the absolute
necessity of the case, be attended with consequences the most disastrous."
Again, when Daniel Webster made his 7th of March speech in 1850, Dr.
Morison, then the editor of The Christian Register, took the earliest
possible opportunity to express himself as strongly as he could against it.
"We at the North," he wrote, "believe that slavery is morally wrong." He
said that the government, in its attempt to defend slavery as against the
moral convictions of a large number of the people, was doing the country a
great harm.[28]

The position of these men and of others who thought and acted with them can
best be understood by recognizing the fact that they were opposed to
sectarian methods in promoting reforms as in advancing the interests of
religion. It is probable that in these heated times neither party did full
justice to the spirit and purposes of the other. Even so gentle and
charitable a man as Rev. Samuel J. May speaks of the "discreditable
pro-slavery conduct of the Unitarian denomination." "The Unitarians as a
body," he says again, "dealt with the question of slavery in anything but
an impartial, courageous, and Christian way. Continually in their public
meetings the question was staved off and driven out because of technical,
formal, verbal difficulties which were of no real importance, and ought not
to have caused a moment's hesitation. Avowing among their distinctive
doctrines the fatherly character of God and the brotherhood of man, we had
a right to expect from the Unitarians a steadfast and unqualified protest
against so unjust, tyrannical, and cruel a system as that of American
slavery. And considering their position as a body, not entangled with any
pro-slavery alliances, not hampered with any ecclesiastical organization,
it does seem to me that they were pre-eminently guilty in reference to the
enslavement of the millions in our land with its attendant wrongs,
cruelties, horrors. They refused to speak as a body, and censured,
condemned, execrated their members who did speak faithfully for the
down-trodden, and who co-operated with him whom a merciful Providence sent
as the prophet of the reform."[29]

The testimony of Rev. O.B. Frothingham is fully as condemnatory of
Unitarian timidity and conservatism, even of the moral cowardice betrayed
by many of the leaders. He says the Unitarians, as such, "were indifferent
or lukewarm; the leading classes were opposed to the agitation. Dr.
Channing was almost alone in lending countenance to the reform, though his
hesitation between the dictates of natural feeling and Christian charity
towards the masters hampered his action, and rendered him obnoxious to both
parties,--the radicals finding fault with him for not going further, the
conservatives blaming him because he went so far."[30] Mr. Frothingham
finds, however, that the transcendentalists were quite "universally
abolitionists, their faith in the natural powers of man making them zealous
promoters of the cause of the slave." He insists that as a class "the
Unitarians were not ardent disciples of any moral cause, and took pride in
being reasoners, believers in education and in general social influence, in
the progress of knowledge and the uplifting of humanity by means of ideas,"
but that they permitted these qualities to cool their ardor for reform and
to mitigate their love of humanity.[31]

The biographers of William Lloyd Garrison are never tired of condemning Dr.
Channing for what they call his timidity, his shunning any personal contact
with the great abolitionist, his failure to grapple boldly with the evils
of slavery, and his half-hearted espousal of the cause of abolition. The
Unitarians generally are by these writers regarded in the same manner.[32]

Most of the accounts mentioned were written by those who took part in the
agitation against slavery, in condemnation of those who had not kept step
with their abolition pace or in apology for those whose words and conduct
were thought to need defence. The time has come, perhaps, when it is
possible to consider, the attitude of individuals and the denomination
without a partisan wish to condemn or to defend. In this spirit the
statement of Samuel J. May is to be accepted as true and just, when he
says: "We Unitarians have given to the anti-slavery cause more preachers,
writers, lecturers, agents, poets, than any other denomination in
proportion to our numbers, if not without any comparison."[33]

Among those who listened to William Lloyd Garrison when in October, 1830,
he first presented in Boston his views in favor of immediate emancipation,
were Samuel J. May, Samuel E. Sewall, and A.B. Alcott; and these men at
once became his disciples and friends.[34] When Garrison organized the New
England Anti-slavery Society in December, 1832, he was actively supported
by Samuel E. Sewall, David Lee Child, and Ellis Gray Loring. It was to the
financial support of Sewall and Loring, though they did not at first accept
his doctrine of immediate emancipation, that Garrison owed his ability to
begin The Liberator, and to sustain it in its earliest years.[35] For many
years, Edmund Quincy was connected with The Liberator, serving as its
editor when Garrison was ill, absent on lecturing tours, or journeying in
Europe. The Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society, which in 1835 succeeded the
New England Society, had during many years Francis Jackson as its
president, Edmund Quincy as its corresponding secretary, and Robert F.
Walcutt as its recording secretary, all Unitarians.

In 1834 was formed the Cambridge Anti-slavery Society, under the leadership
of the younger Henry Ware; and the membership was largely Unitarian,
including the names of Dr. Henry Ware, Sidney Willard, Charles Follen,
William H. Charming, Artemus B. Muzzey, Barzillai Frost, Charles T. Brooks,
and Frederic H. Hedge. The purposes of the society were stated in its

  We believe that the emancipation of all who are in bondage is the
  requisition, not less of sound policy, than of justice and humanity;
  and that it is the duty of those with whom the power lies at once to
  remove the sanction of the law from the principle that man can be the
  property of man,--a principle inconsistent with our free institutions,
  subversive of the purposes for which man was made, and utterly at
  variance with the plainest dictates of reason and Christianity.

In 1843 Samuel May visited England, and at Unitarian meetings described the
obstacles in the way of the abolition of slavery, and spoke of the apathy
of American Unitarians. He advised the sending a letter of fraternal
counsel to the Unitarian ministers of the United States "in behalf of the
unhappy slave." Such a letter was prepared, and signed by eighty-five
ministers. It was published in the Unitarian papers in this country, a
meeting was held to consider it, and a reply sent to England signed by one
hundred and thirty ministers. Mr. May was severely condemned for his part
in causing such a letter to be sent, and the reply was rather in the nature
of a protest than a friendly acceptance of the advice given.

A year later, however, this letter was again the subject of earnest
discussion. In anniversary week, 1845, a meeting of Unitarian ministers was
held to "discuss their duties in relation to American slavery." The call
for this meeting was signed by James Thompson, Joseph Allen, Caleb Stetson,
Samuel Ripley, Converse Francis, William Ware, Samuel J. May, Artemus B.
Muzzey, Oliver Stearns, James W. Thompson, Alonzo Hill, Andrew P. Peabody,
Henry A. Miles, Frederic H. Hedge, James F. Clarke, George W. Briggs,
Samuel May, Barzillai Frost, Nathaniel Hall, David Fosdick, and John Weiss.
At the third session, by a vote of forty-seven to seven, it was declared
"that we consider slavery to be utterly opposed to the principles and
spirit of Christianity, and that, as ministers of the gospel, we feel it
our duty to protest against it, in the name of Christ, and to do all we may
to create a public opinion to secure the overthrow of the institution." It
was also decided to appoint a committee to draw up, secure signatures to,
and publish "a protest against the institution of American slavery, as
unchristian and inhuman." Though some of those who spoke at these meetings
condemned the abolitionists, yet all of them expressed in the strongest
terms their opposition to slavery.

The committee selected to prepare this protest consisted of Caleb Stetson,
James F. Clarke, John Parkman, Stephen G. Bulfinch, A.P. Peabody, John
Pierpont, Samuel J. May, Oliver Stearns, George W. Briggs, William P.
Tilden, and William H. Channing. The protest was written by James Freeman
Clarke and was accepted essentially as it came from his hands. It was
signed by one hundred and seventy-three ministers,[36] the whole number of
Unitarian ministers at that time being two hundred and sixty-seven. Some of
the most prominent ministers were conspicuous by the absence of their names
from this protest. It must be understood, however, that those who did not
sign it were as much opposed to slavery as those who did. "This protest,"
said the editor of The Christian Register, in presenting it to the
public,[37] "is written with great clearness of expression and moderation
of spirit. It exhibits unequivocally and distinctly the sentiments of the
numerous and most enlightened body of clergy whose names are attached to
it, as well as many other ministers of the denomination who may be
disinclined to act conjointly, or do not feel called upon to act at all in
any prescribed way, on the subject." It was not a desire to defend slavery
that kept these ministers from signing the protest, but their excessive
individualism, and their unwillingness to commit the denomination to
opinions all might not accept. A few paragraphs from the protest will
indicate its spirit and purpose:--

"Especially do we feel that the denomination which takes for its motto
Liberty, Holiness and Love should be foremost in opposing this system. More
than others we have contended for three great principles,--individual
liberty, perfect righteousness, and human brotherhood. All of these are
grossly violated by the system of slavery. We contend for mental freedom;
shall we not denounce the system which fetters both mind and body? We have
declared righteousness to be the essence of Christianity; shall we not
oppose the system which is the sum of all wrong? We claim for all men the
right of brotherhood before a universal Father; ought we not to testify
against that which tramples so many of our brethren under foot?"

"We, therefore, ministers of the gospel of truth and love, in the name of
God the universal Father, in the name of Christ the Redeemer, in the name
of humanity and human brotherhood, do solemnly protest against the system
of slavery as unchristian, and inhuman," "because it is a violation of
right, being the sum of all unrighteousness which man can do to man,"
"violates the law of love," "degrades man, the image of God, into a thing,"
"necessarily tends to pollute the soul of the slave," "to defile the soul
of the master," "restricts education, keeps the Bible from the slave, makes
life insecure, deprives female innocence of protection, sanctions adultery,
tears children from parents and husbands from wives, violates the divine
institutions of families, and by hard and hopeless toil makes existence a
burden," "eats out the heart of nations and tends every year more and more
to sear the popular conscience and impair the virtue of the people."

"We implore all Christians and Christian preachers to unite in unceasing
prayer to God for aid against this system, to leave no opportunity of
speaking the truth and spreading the light on this subject, in faith that
the truth is strong enough to break every yoke." "And we do hereby pledge
ourselves, before God and our brethren, never to be weary of laboring in
the cause of human rights and freedom until slavery be abolished and every
slave made free."

Although many ministers and laymen took the position that the question of
slavery was not one that should receive attention in the meetings of the
Unitarian Association or other religious organizations, that these should
be kept strictly to their own special purposes, it was not possible to
exclude the one great exciting topic of the age. How persistently it
intruded itself is clearly indicated in words used by Dr. Bellows at the
annual meeting of the Association, in 1856. "Year after year this horrid
image of slavery come in here," he said, "and obtruded itself upon our
concerns. It has prevented our giving attention to any other subject; we
could not keep it out of our minds; and why is that awful crime against
humanity still known in the world, still supported and active in this age
of Christendom, but because it is in alliance with certain views of
theology with which we are at war?"[38] At the same meeting strong
resolutions of sympathy with the free settlers of Kansas, and with Charles
Sumner because "the barbarity of the slave power had attempted to silence
him by brutal outrage," were unanimously adopted.[39]

In 1857 the subject of slavery came before the Western Conference in its
session at Alton. The most uncompromising anti-slavery resolutions were
presented at the opening of the meeting, and everything else was put aside
for their consideration, a day and a half being devoted to them. The
opinion of the majority was, in the words of one of the speakers, that
slavery is a crime that "denies millions marital and parental rights,
requires ignorance as a condition, encourages licentiousness and cruelty,
scars a country all over with incidents that appall and outrage the human
world." Dr. W.G. Eliot, of St. Louis, and others, thought it not expedient
to press the subject to an issue, though he regarded slavery in much the
same way as did the other members of the conference. When the conference
finally took issue with slavery, he and his delegates withdrew from its
membership. His assistant, Rev. Carlton A. Staples, and Rev. John H.
Heywood, of Louisville, went with the majority. A committee appointed to
formulate a statement the conference could accept said that it had no right
to interfere with the freedom of action of individual churches; but it
recommended them to do all they could in opposition to slavery, and said
that the conference was of one mind in the conviction "that slavery is an
evil doomed by God to pass away." This report was accepted by the
conference with only one opposing vote.[40] When the year 1860 had
arrived, Unitarians were practically unanimous in their condemnation of

When the names of individual Unitarians who took an active part in the
anti-slavery movement are given, it is at once seen how important was the
influence of the denomination. Early in the century Rev. Noah Worcester
uttered his word of protest against slavery. Rev. Charles Follen joined the
Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society in the second year of its existence, and
no nobler champion of liberty ever lived. If Dr. Channing was slow in
applying his Christian ideal of liberty to slavery, there can be no
question that his influence was powerful on the right side, and all the
more so because of his gentle and ethical interpretation of individual and
national duty. His various publications on the subject, his identification
of himself with the abolitionists by joining their ranks in the
Massachusetts State House in 1836, his speech in Faneuil Hall in protest
against the killing of Lovejoy in Alton during the same year, exerted a
great influence in behalf of abolition throughout the North. It is only
necessary to mention John Pierpont, Theodore Parker, William H. Furness,
William H. Channing, William Goodell, Theodore D. Weld, Ichabod Codding,
Caleb Stetson, and M.D. Conway in order to recognize their uncompromising
fidelity to the cause of freedom. Only less devoted were such men as
Charles Lowell, Nahor A. Staples, Sylvester Judd, Nathaniel Hall, Thomas T.
Stone, O.B. Frothingham, Abiel A. Livermore, Samuel Johnson, Samuel
Longfellow, Thomas J. Mumford, and many others.

Samuel J. May and his cousin, Samuel May, were both employed by the
Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society. From 1847 until 1865 the latter was the
general agent of that organization; and his assistant was another Unitarian
minister, Robert F. Walcutt. James Freeman Clarke, though settled at
Louisville from 1833 to 1840, was opposed to slavery; and in the pages of
The Western Messenger, of which he was publisher and editor, he took every
occasion to press home the claims of emancipation. John G. Palfrey
emancipated the slaves that came into his possession from his father's
estate, insisting on receiving them for that purpose, though the
opportunity was given him to accept other property in their stead. In
accordance with this action was his attitude toward slavery in the pulpit
and on the platform, as well as when he was a member of the lower house of

Of Unitarian laymen who were loyal to the ideal of freedom, the list may
properly open with the name of Josiah Quincy, afterwards mayor of Boston
and president of Harvard College, who began as early as 1804 his opposition
to slavery, and carried it faithfully into his work as a member of the
national House of Representatives soon after. The fidelity of John Quincy
Adams to freedom during many years is known to every one, and his service
in the national House has given him a foremost place in the company of the
anti-slavery leaders. Not less loyal was the service of Charles Sumner,
Horace Mann, John P. Hale, George W. Julian, John A. Andrew, Samuel G.
Howe, Henry I. Bowditch, William I. Bowditch, Thomas W. Higginson, George
F. Hoar, Ebenezer R. Hoar, George S. Boutwell, and Henry B. Anthony. Of the
poets the anti-slavery reform had the support of Longfellow, Lowell,
Bryant, and Emerson. The Unitarian women were also zealous for freedom. The
loyalty of Lydia Maria Child is well known, as are the sacrifices she made
in publishing her early anti-slavery books. Lucretia Mott, of the Unitarian
branch of the Friends, was a devoted supporter of the anti-slavery cause.
Mrs. Maria W. Chapman was one of the most faithful supporters of Garrison,
doing more than any one else to give financial aid to the anti-slavery
reform movement in its earlier years. With these women deserve to be
mentioned Eliza Lee Follen, Angelina Grimké Weld, Lucy Stone, and many

A considerable group of persons who had been trained in evangelical
churches became essentially Unitarians as a result of the anti-slavery
agitation. Of these may be mentioned William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith,
Beriah Green, Joshua R. Giddings, Myron Holley, Theodore D. Weld, and
Francis W. Bird. Of the first four of these men, George W. Julian has said:
"They were theologically reconstructed through their unselfish devotion to
humanity and the recreancy of the churches to which they had been attached.
They were less orthodox, but more Christian. Their faith in the fatherhood
of God and the brotherhood of man became a living principle, and compelled
to reject all dogmas which stood in its way."[41]

[Sidenote: The Enfranchisement of Women.]

It is not surprising that the first great advocate of "the rights of women"
in this country should have been the Unitarian, Margaret Fuller. She did no
more than apply what she had been taught in religion to problems of
personal duty, professional activity, and political obligations. With her
freedom of faith and liberty of thought meant also freedom to devote her
life to such tasks as she could best perform for the good of others. It was
inevitable that other Unitarian women should follow her example, and that
many women, trained in other faiths, having come to accept the doctrine of
universal political rights, should seek in Unitarianism the religion
consonant with their individuality of purpose and their sense of human

Among the leaders of the movement for the enfranchisement of women have
been such Unitarians as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy
Stone, Julia Ward Howe, Mary A. Livermore, Maria Weston Chapman, Caroline
H. Dall, and Louisa M. Alcott. The first pronounced woman suffrage paper in
the country was The Una, begun at Providence in 1853, with Mrs. Caroline H.
Dall as the assistant editor. Among other Unitarian contributors were
William H. Charming, Elizabeth P. Peabody, Thomas W. Higginson, Ednah D.
Cheney, Amory D. Mayo, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Lucy Stone, and Mrs. E.C.
Stanton. The next important paper was The Revolution, begun at New York in
1868, with Susan B. Anthony as publisher and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and
Parker Pillsbury as editors. Then came The Woman's Journal, begun at Boston
in 1870, with Mary A. Livermore, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, T.W.
Higginson, and Henry B. Blackwell, all Unitarians, as the editors.

The first national woman's suffrage meeting was held in Worcester, October
28 and 24, 1850; and among those who took part in it by letter or personal
presence were Emerson, Alcott, Higginson, Pillsbury, Samuel J. May, William
H. Channing, William H. Burleigh, Elizabeth C. Stanton, Catherine M.
Sedgwick, Caroline Kirkland, and Lucy Stone. In April, 1853, when the
Constitution of Massachusetts was to receive revision, a petition was
presented, asking that suffrage should be granted to women. Of twenty-seven
persons signing it, more than half were Unitarians, including Abby May
Alcott, Lucy Stone, T.W. Higginson, Anna Q.T. Parsons, Theodore Parker,
William I. Bowditch, Samuel E. Sewall, Ellis Gray Loring, Charles K.
Whipple, and Thomas T. Stone. Among other Unitarians who have taken an
active part in promoting this cause have been Lucretia Mott, Mary Grew,
Caroline M. Severance, Celia C. Burleigh, Angelina Grimké Weld, and Maria
Giddings Julian. Of men there have been Dr. William F. Channing, James F.
Clarke, George F. Hoar, George W. Curtis, John S. Dwight, John T. Sargent,
Samuel Johnson, Samuel Longfellow, Octavius B. Frothingham, Adin Ballou,
George W. Julian, Frank B. Sanborn, and James T. Fields.

Unitarians have been amongst the first to recognize women in education,
literature, the professions, and in the management of church and
denominational interests. At the convention held in New York in 1865, which
organized the National Conference, no women appeared as delegates; and the
same was true at the second session, held at Syracuse in 1866. At that
session Rev. Thomas J. Mumford moved "that our churches shall be left to
their own wishes and discretion with reference to the sex of the delegates
chosen to represent them in the conference"; and this resolution was
adopted. At the third meeting, held at New York in 1868, thirty-seven women
appeared as delegates, including Julia Ward Howe and Caroline H. Dall. The
lay delegates to the session held at Washington in 1899 numbered four
hundred and two; and, of these, two hundred and twenty seven were women.

At the annual meeting of the Unitarian Association in 1870, Rev. John T.
Sargent brought forward the subject of the representation of women on its
board of directors. Dr. James F. Clarke made a motion looking to that
result, which was largely discussed, much opposition being manifested. It
was urged by many that women were unfit to serve in a position demanding so
much business capacity, that they would displace capable men, and that it
was improper for them to assume so public a duty. Charles Lowe, James F.
Clarke, John T. Sargent, and others strongly championed the proposition,
with the result that Miss Lucretia Crocker was elected a member of the

The first woman ordained to the Unitarian ministry was Mrs. Celia C.
Burleigh, who was settled over the parish in Brooklyn, Conn., October 5,
1871. The sermon was preached by Rev. John W. Chadwick, and the address to
the people was given by Mrs. Julia Ward Howe. A letter was read from Henry
Ward Beecher, in which he said to Mrs. Burleigh: "I do cordially believe
that you ought to preach. I think you had a _call_ in your very nature."
Mrs. Burleigh continued at Brooklyn for less than three years, ill-health
compelling her to resign.

The second woman to enter the Unitarian ministry was Miss Mary H. Graves,
who was ordained at Mansfield, Mass., December 14, 1871. She was subjected
to a thorough examination; and the committee reported "that her words have
commanded our thorough respect by their freedom and clearness, and won our
full sympathy and approval by their earnest, discreet, and beautiful
spirit." Mrs. Eliza Tupper Wilkes was ordained by the Universalists at
Rochester, Minn., May 2, 1871, though she had preached for two or three
years previously; and she subsequently identified herself with the
Unitarians. Mrs. Antoinette Brown Blackwell was ordained in Central New
York, in 1853, by the Orthodox Congregationalists; but somewhat later she
became a Unitarian.

The first woman to receive ordination who has continued without
interruption her ministerial duties was Miss Mary A. Safford, ordained in
1880. She has held every official position in connection with the Iowa
Unitarian Association, and she has also been an officer of the Western
Conference and a director of the American Unitarian Association.

Several women have also frequently appeared in Unitarian pulpits who have
not received ordination or devoted themselves to the ministry as a
profession. Among these are Mrs. Caroline H. Dall, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe,
and Mrs. Mary A. Livermore. In 1875 Mrs. Howe was active in organizing the
Women's Ministerial Conference, which met in the Church of the Disciples,
and brought together women ministers of several denominations. Of this
conference Mrs. Howe was for many years the president.

In most Unitarian churches there is no longer any question as to the right
of women to take any place they are individually fitted to occupy. On
denominational committees and boards, women sit with entire success, their
fitness for the duties required being called in question by no one. In
those conferences where women have for a number of years been actively
engaged in the work of the ministry they are received on a basis of perfect
equality with men, and the sex question no longer presents itself in regard
to official positions or any other ministerial duty.

[Sidenote: Civil Service Reform.]

The first advocate of the reform of the civil service was Charles Sumner,
who as early as December, 1847, anticipated its methods in a series of
articles contributed to a newspaper.[43] He was the first to bring this
reform before Congress, which he did April 30, 1864, when he introduced a
bill to provide a system of competitive examinations for admission to and
promotion in the civil service, which made merit and fitness the conditions
of employment by the government, and provided against removal without
cause. This bill was drawn by Sumner without consultation with any other
person, but the time had not yet arrived when it could be successfully

The next person to advocate the reform of the civil service in Congress was
Thomas A. Jenckes, of Rhode Island, who in 1867 brought the merit system
forward in the form of a report from the joint committee on retrenchment,
which reported on the condition of the civil service, and accompanied its
report with a bill "to regulate the civil service and to promote its
efficiency." The next year Mr. Jenckes made a second report, but it was not
until 1871 that action on the subject was secured.[44] George W. Curtis
says that at first he "pressed it upon an utterly listless Congress, and
his proposition was regarded as the harmless hobby of an amiable man, from
which a little knowledge of practical politics would soon dismount
him."[45] Most members of Congress thought the reform a mere vagary, and
that it was brought forward at a most inopportune time.[46] Mr. Jenckes
was the pioneer of the reform, according to Curtis, who says that he
"powerfully and vigorously and alone opened the debate in Congress."[47]
He drew the amendment to the appropriation bill in 1871 that became the
law, and under which the first civil service commission was appointed. "By
his experience, thorough knowledge, fertility of resource and suggestion
and great legal ability, he continued to serve with as much efficiency as
modesty the cause to which he was devoted."[48]

One of the first persons to give attention to this subject was Dorman B.
Eaton, an active member of All Souls' Church in New York, who was for
several years chairman of the committee on political reform of the Union
League Club of New York. In 1866, and again in 1870 and 1875, he travelled
in Europe to secure information in regard to methods of civil service. The
results of these investigations were presented in his work on Civil Service
in Great Britain, a report made at the request of President Hayes. In 1873
he was appointed a member of the Civil Service Commission by President
Grant; in 1883 he was the chairman of the committee appointed by President
Arthur; and in 1885 he was reappointed by President Cleveland. The bill of
January, 1883, which firmly established civil service by act of Congress,
was drawn by him. He was a devoted worker for good government in all its
phases; and the results of his studies of the subject may be found in his
books on The Independent Movement in New York and The Government of
Municipalities. He was described by George William Curtis as "one of the
most conspicuous, intelligent, and earnest friends of reform."[49]

The most conspicuous advocate of the merit system was Mr. George William
Curtis, another New York Unitarian, who was the chairman of the Civil
Service Commission of 1871. In 1880 he became the president of the New York
Civil Service Reform Association, a position he held until his death. The
National Civil Service Reform League was organized at Newport in August,
1881; and he was the president from that time as long as he lived. His
annual addresses before the league show his devoted interest in its aims,
as well as his eloquence, intellectual power, and political integrity.[50]
In an address before the Unitarian National Conference, in 1878, Mr. Curtis
gave a noble exposition and vindication of the reform which he labored
zealously for twelve years to advance.[51]

It has been justly said of Mr. Curtis that "far above the pleasures of life
he placed its duties; and no man could have set himself more sternly to the
serious work of citizenship. The national struggle over slavery, and the
re-establishment of the Union on permanent foundations enlisted his whole
nature. In the same spirit, he devoted his later years to the overthrow of
the spoils system. He did this under no delusion as to the magnitude of the
undertaking. Probably no one else comprehended it so well. He had studied
the problem profoundly, and had solved every difficulty, and could answer
every cavil to his own satisfaction." There can be no question that "his
name imparted a strength to the movement no other would have given." Nor
can there be much question that "among public men there was none who so won
the confidence of sincere and earnest men and women by his own personality.
The powers of such a character, with all his gifts and accomplishments, was
what Mr. Curtis brought to the civil service reform."[52]

[1] American Unitarian Biography, edited by William Ware; Memoir of
    Worcester, by Henry Ware, Jr., I. 45, 46.

[2] Solemn Review, edition of 1836 by American Peace Society, 7.

[3] It had been preceded by societies in Ohio and New York, results of
    the influence of the Solemn Review.

[4] Unitarian Biography, I. 49.

[5] Memoir, II. 284; one-volume edition, 111.

[6] Ibid., III. 111; one-volume edition, 284.

[7] Memoir, 139.

[8] Christian Examiner, May, 1850, XLVIII. 378.

[9] Ibid., November, 1861, LXXI. 313.

[10] Life, 83.

[11] Ibid., 115.

[12] Cyclopedia of American Biography, V. 746.

[13] Memoir, II. 348.

[14] Memoir.

[15] Ibid., 351.

[16] Ibid., IV. 572.

[17] Reminiscences, 328.

[18] Memoir, III. 36; one-volume edition, 477.

[19] Memoir, III. 31; one-volume edition, 474, 475.

[20] Works, II. 301.

[21] When will the Day come? and other tracts of the Massachusetts
     Temperance Society, 135.

[22] Of the twenty-seven annual addresses given before this society from
     1814 to 1840, at least sixteen were by Unitarians; and among these
     were John T. Kirkland, Abiel Abbot, William E. Channing, Edward
     Everett, the younger Henry Ware, Gamaliel Bradford, Charles Sprague,
     James Walker, Alexander H. Everett, William Sullivan, and Samuel K.
     Lothrop. The first four presidents of this society--Samuel Dexter,
     Nathan Dane, Isaac Parker, and Stephen Fairbanks--were Unitarians. Of
     the same faith were also a large proportion of the vice-presidents
     and other officers. Many of the tracts published by the society were
     written by Unitarians.

[23] Unitarians of every calling have been the advocates of temperance.
     Among those who have been loyal to it in word and action may be named
     John Adams, Jeremy Belknap, Jonathan Phillips, Charles Lowell, Ezra
     S. Gannett, John Pierpont, Samuel J. May, Amos Lawrence, Horace Mann,
     William H. and George S. Burleigh, Governor Pitman, William G. Eliot,
     Rufus P. Stebbins, and William B. Spooner. "Many of the leading men
     and women who were eminent as lawyers, judges, legislators, scholars,
     also prominent in the business walks of life, and in social position,
     gave this cause the force of their example, and the inspiration of
     their minds. By their contributions of money, by their personal
     efforts, by their public speeches and writings, and by their practice
     of total abstinence, they rendered very valuable service."

[24] Twelfth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1897.

[25] Theodore Clapp, of New Orleans, may be an exception, though he is
     claimed by the Universalists. See S.J. May's Recollections of the
     Anti-slavery Conflict, 335.

[26] Autobiography and Letters, 117, 127, 129. The criticism of Dr. Dewey
     may be found in S.J. May's Recollections, 367.

[27] Memoir, 139, 284, 296. See S.J. May, Recollections, 341, 367, for an
     anti-slavery indictment of Dr. Gannett.

[28] Memoir, chapter on Slavery.

[29] Recollections of the Anti-slavery Conflict, chapter on the
     Unitarians, 335.

[30] See Lydia Maria Child's account of conversations with Channing on
     this subject, in her Letters from New York.

[31] Recollections and Impressions, 47, 183.

[32] The Story of his Life as Told by his Children.

[33] Recollections, 335.

[34] S.J. May, Recollections, 19; Life of A.B. Alcott, 220; Life of
     Garrison, I. 212.

[35] Life of Garrison, I. 223.

[36] The more prominent names are herewith given as they were printed in
     The Christian Register: Joseph Allen, J.H. Allen, S.G. Bulfinch, C.F.
     Barnard, Charles Briggs, W.G. Babcock, C.T. Brooks, Warren Burton,
     C.H. Brigham, Edgar Buckingham, William H. Channing, James F. Clarke,
     S.B. Cruft, A.H. Conant, C.H.A. Dall, R. Ellis, Converse Francis,
     James Flint, William H. Furness, N.S. Folsom, Frederick A. Farley,
     Frederick T. Gray, Henry Giles, F.D. Huntington, E.B. Hall, N. Hall,
     F.H. Hedge, F. Hinckley, G.W. Hosmer, F.W. Holland, Thomas Hill,
     Sylvester Judd, James Kendall, William H. Knapp, A.A. Livermore, S.J.
     May, Samuel May, M.I. Mott, A.B. Muzzey, J.F. Moors, Henry A. Miles,
     William Newell, J. Osgood, S. Osgood, Andrew P. Peabody, John
     Parkman, John Pierpont, Theodore Parker, Cyrus Pierce, J.H. Perkins,
     Cazneau Palfey, O.W.B. Peabody, Samuel Ripley, Chandler Robbins,
     Caleb Stetson, Oliver Stearns, Rufus P. Stebbins, Edmund Q. Sewall,
     Charles Sewall, John T. Sargent, George F. Simmons, William Silsbee,
     William P. Tilden, J.W. Thompson, John Weiss, Robert T. Waterston,
     William Ware, J.F.W. Ware, E.B. Willson, Frederick A. Whitney, Jason

[37] Printed in The Christian Register, October 4, 1845.

[38] Quarterly Journal, III. 567.

[39] Ibid., 572.

[40] Unity, Sept. 4, 1886, Mrs. S.C.Ll. Jones, Historic Unitarianism in
     the West.

[41] Life of Joshua R. Giddings, 399.

[42] Memoir of Charles Lowe, 486. In 1901 four of the eighteen directors
     of the American Unitarian Association were women.

[43] Life, III. 149.

[44] Life of Charles Sumner, IV. 191; Works, VII. 452.

[45] G.W. Curtis, Orations and Addresses, II. 30.

[46] Ibid., 173.

[47] Ibid., 180.

[48] Ibid., 223.

[49] G.W. Curtis, Orations and Addresses, II. 458.

[50] See Curtis's Orations and Addresses, II.; also, his Reports as civil
     service commissioner, and various addresses before the Social Science

[51] Edward Cary, Life of Curtis, American Men of Letters, 294.

[52] George William Curtis and Civil Service Reform, by Sherman S. Rogers,
     in Atlantic Monthly, January, 1893, LXXI. 15.



Many of the most influential Americans have been in practical accord with
Unitarianism, while not actually connected with Unitarian churches. They
have accepted its principles of individual freedom, the rational
interpretation of religion, and the necessity of bringing religious beliefs
into harmony with modern science and philosophy. Among these may be
properly included such men as Benjamin Franklin, John Marshall, Gerrit
Smith, John G. Whittier, William Lloyd Garrison, Andrew D. White, and
Abraham Lincoln. Whittier was a Friend, and White an Episcopalian; but the
religion of both is acceptable to all Unitarians. Marshall was undoubtedly
a Unitarian in his intellectual convictions, and he sometimes attended the
Unitarian church in Washington; but his church affiliations were with the
Episcopalians. John C. Calhoun was all his life a member of an Episcopal
church and a communicant in it; but he frequently attended the Unitarian
church in Washington, and intellectually he discarded the doctrines taught
in the creeds of his church.

Lincoln belonged to no church, and had no interest in the forms and
disputes that constitute so large a part of outward religion; but he was
one of those men whose great deeds rest on a basis of simple but
profoundest religious conviction. The most explicit statement he ever made
of his faith was in these words: "I have never united myself to any church,
because I have found difficulty in giving my assent, without mental
reservation, to the long, complicated statements of Christian doctrine
which characterize their articles of belief and confessions of faith. When
any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification of
membership, the Saviour's condensed statement of both law and gospel, 'Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and
with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,' that church will I join
with all my heart and all my soul."[1] This declaration brings Lincoln
into fullest harmony with the position of the Unitarian churches.

[Sidenote: Eminent Statesmen.]

The intellectual tendencies of the eighteenth century led many of the
leading Americans to discard the Puritan habit of mind and the religious
beliefs it had cherished. An intellectual revolt caused the rejection of
many of the Protestant doctrines, and a political revolt in the direction
of democracy led to the acceptance of religious principles not in harmony
with those of the past. Many Americans shared in these protests who did not
openly break with the older faiths. Washington was of this class; for,
while he remained outwardly a churchman, he had little intellectual or
practical sympathy with the stricter beliefs. Franklin was thoroughly of
the Deistic faith of the thinkers of England and France in his time. These
tendencies had their effect upon such men as John Adams, Timothy Pickering,
Joseph Story, and Theophilus Parsons, as well as upon Thomas Jefferson and
William Cranch. They showed themselves with especial prominence in the case
of Jefferson, who always remained outwardly faithful to the state religion
of Virginia, in which he had been educated, attended the Episcopal church
in the neighborhood of his home, sometimes joining in its communion, but
who was, nevertheless, intellectually a pronounced Unitarian.

With Jefferson his Unitarianism was a part of his democracy, for he was
consistent enough to make his religion and his politics agree with each
other. As he would have kings no longer rule over men, but give political
power into the hands of the people, so in religion he would put aside all
theologians and priests, and permit the people to worship in their own way.
It was for this reason that he rejoiced in the emancipating work of
Channing, of which he wrote in 1822, "I rejoice that in this blessed
country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creeds and
conscience neither to kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of only one
God is reviving; and I trust there is not a young man now living who will
not die a Unitarian."[2] Jefferson's revolt against authority was tersely
expressed in his declaration: "Had there never been a commentator, there
never would have been an infidel."[3] This was in harmony with his
saying, that "the doctrines of Jesus are simple and tend all to the
happiness of man."[4] It also fully agrees with the claims of the early
Unitarians with regard to the teachings of Jesus. "No one sees with greater
pleasure than myself," he wrote, "the progress of reason in its advance
toward rational Christianity. When we shall have done away with the
incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one,
and one are three; when we shall have knocked down the artificial
scaffolding reared to mask from view the simple structure of Jesus; when,
in short, we shall have unlearned everything taught since his day, and got
back to the pure and simple doctrines he inculcated--we shall then be truly
and worthily his disciples; and my opinion is that, if nothing had ever
been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole world would at
this day have been Christian."[5]

However mistaken Jefferson may have been in the historical opinions thus
expressed, we cannot question the sincerity of his beliefs or fail to
recognize that he had the keenest interest in whatever gave indication of
the growth of a rational spirit in religion. These opinions he shared with
many of the leading men of his time; but he was more outspoken in their
utterance, as he was more consistent in holding them. That Washington,
though remaining an Episcopalian, was in fullest accord with Jefferson in
his principles of toleration and religious freedom, is apparent from one of
his letters. "I am not less ardent in my wish," he wrote, "that you may
succeed in your toleration in religious matters. Being no bigot myself to
any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of
Christianity in the church with that road to heaven which to them shall
seem the most direct, easiest, and least liable to exception."[6]
Intellectually, Franklin was a Deist of essentially the same beliefs with
Jefferson, as may be seen in his statement of faith: "I believe in one God,
the creator of the universe; that he governs it by his providence; that he
ought to be worshipped; that the most acceptable service we render to him
is doing good to his other children; that the soul of man is immortal, and
will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in
this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion. As
to Jesus of Nazareth, I think his system of morals and his religion, as he
left them to us, the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see; but I
apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have some
doubts of his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon,
having never studied it."[7] Franklin was a member of a Unitarian church
in London.

[Sidenote: Some Representative Unitarians.]

The church in Washington, not having been popular or of fine appointments,
has been a test of the Unitarian faith of those frequenting the capital
city. It has included in its congregation, from time to time, such men as
John Adams, John Quincy Adams,[8] John Marshall, Joseph Story, Samuel F.
Miller, Millard Fillmore, William Cranch, George Bancroft, Nathan K. Hall,
James Moore Wayne, and Senators Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, William S.
Archer, Henry B. Anthony, William B. Allison, Timothy O. Howe, Edward
Everett, Justin S. Morrill, Charles Sumner, William E. Chandler, George F.
Hoar, and John P. Hale. William Winston Seaton and Joseph Gales, once
prominent in Washington as editors and publishers of The National
Intelligencer, were both Unitarians.

In New York the Unitarian churches have had among their attendants and
members such persons as William Cullen Bryant, Catherine M. Sedgwick, Henry
D. Sedgwick, Henry Wheaton, Peter Cooper, George William Curtis, George
Ticknor Curtis, Moses H. Grinnell, Dorman B. Eaton, and Joseph H. Choate.
The churches in Salem have had connected with them such men as John Prince,
Nathaniel Bowditch, Benjamin Peirce, Timothy Pickering, John Pickering,
Leverett Saltonstall, Joseph Story,[9] Jones Very, William H. Prescott,
and Nathaniel Hawthorne.[10]

[Sidenote: Judges and Legislators.]

During the early Unitarian period "the judges on the bench" included such
men as Theophilus Parsons, Isaac Parker, and Lemuel Shaw, all of whom held
the office of chief justice in Massachusetts. Other lawyers, jurists, and
statesmen were Fisher Ames, political orator and statesman; Nathan Dane,
who drew the ordinance for the north-western territory; Samuel Dexter,
senator, and secretary of the treasury under John Adams; Christopher Gore,
senator, and governor of Massachusetts; and Benjamin R. Curtis, of the
United States Supreme Court. Other chief justices of the Supreme Court of
Massachusetts have been George T. Bigelow, John Wells, Pliny Myrick,
Walbridge A. Field, Charles Allen; and of associates in that court have
been Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, Benjamin F. Thomas, Seth Ames, Samuel S.
Wilde, Levi Lincoln, and John Lowell. Among the governors of Massachusetts
have been Levi Lincoln, Edward Everett, John Davis, John H. Clifford, John
A. Andrew, George S. Boutwell, John D. Long, Thomas Talbot, George D.
Robinson, J.Q.A. Brackett, Oliver Ames, Frederic T. Greenhalge, and Roger
Wolcott. The first mayors of Boston, John Phillips, Josiah Quincy,[11] and
Harrison Gray Otis, were Unitarians. Then, after an interval of one year,
followed Samuel A. Eliot and Jonathan Chapman.

It has often been assumed that Unitarianism attracts only intellectual
persons; but it also appeals to practical business men, legislators, and
the leaders of political life. In Maine have been Vice-President Hannibal
Hamlin, Governor Edward Kent, and Chief Justice John Appleton. In New
Hampshire it has appealed to such men as Chief Justices Cushing, Henry A.
Bellows, Jeremiah Smith, and, Charles Doe, as well as to Governors Onslow
Stearns, Charles H. Bell, Benjamin F. Prescott, and Ichabod Goodwin; in
Rhode Island, Governors Lippitt and Seth Paddelford, Chief Justices Samuel
Ames and Samuel Eddy, General Ambrose E. Burnside, and William B. Weeden,
historian and economist. Alphonso Taft and George Hoadly, both governors of
Ohio, were Unitarians, as were Austin Blair, John T. Bagley, Charles S.
May, and Henry H. Crapo, governors of Michigan. Among the prominent
Unitarians of Iowa have been Senator William B. Allison and General George
W. McCrary. In California may be named Leland Stanford, Horace Davis, Chief
Justice W.H. Beatty, and Oscar L. Shafter of the Supreme Court.

[Sidenote: Boston Unitarianism.]

What Unitarianism has been in the lives of its men and women may be most
conspicuously seen in Boston and the region about it, for there throughout
the first half of the nineteenth century Unitarianism was the dominant form
of Christianity. Of the period from 1826 to 1832, when Dr. Lyman Beecher
was settled in Boston, Mrs. Stowe has given this testimony: "All the
literary men of Massachusetts were Unitarians. All the trustees and
professors of Harvard College were Unitarians. All the élite of wealth and
fashion crowded Unitarian churches. The judges on the bench were Unitarian,
giving decisions by which the peculiar features of church organization, so
carefully ordained by the Pilgrim fathers, had been nullified."[12] Of the
same period Dr. Beecher wrote, "All offices were in the hands of

These statements were literally true, except in so far as they implied that
Unitarians used high positions in order to overthrow the old institutions
of Massachusetts and substitute those of their own devising. The calmer
judgment of the present day would not accept this conclusion, and it has no
historic foundation. The religious development of Boston brought its
churches into the acceptance of a tolerant, rational, and practical form of
Christianity, that was not dogmatic or sectarian. It took the Unitarian
name, but only in the sense of rejecting the harsher interpretations of the
doctrine of the Trinity and of election. The members of the Unitarian
churches during this period were devout in an unostentatious manner, pious
after a simple fashion, loyal Christians without excess of zeal, lovers of
liberty, but in a conservative spirit. This simple form of piety enabled
the men who accepted it to govern the state in a most faithful manner. They
managed its affairs justly, wisely, and in the true intent of economy.
Sometimes it was complained that they held a much larger number of offices
than was their proportion according to population; but to this John G.
Palfrey replied that the people of the state had confidence in them, and
elected them because nobody else governed so well.

With the aid of the biography of James Sullivan, judge, legislator,
attorney-general, and diplomatist,[14] we may study the constituency of a
single church in Boston, the Brattle Street Church. We find there James
Bowdoin and John Hancock, rival candidates for the position of governor of
the state in 1785. The same rivalry occurred twenty years later between
James Sullivan and Caleb Strong, both of the number of its communicants. On
the parish committee of this church at one time were Hancock, Bowdoin, and
Sullivan, who became governors of the state, and Judges Wendell and John
Lowell.[15] Some years later there were included in the congregation such
men as Daniel Webster, Harrison Gray Otis, Abbott Lawrence, and Amos
Lawrence, who was one of the deacons for many years.

Of the distinguished business men of Boston may be named John Amory Lowell,
John C. Amory, Jonathan Phillips (the confidential friend and supporter of
Dr. Channing), Thomas Wigglesworth, J. Huntington Wolcott, Augustus
Hemenway, Stephen C. Phillips, and Thomas Tileston. Francis Cabot Lowell
was largely concerned in building up the manufacturing interests of
Massachusetts, especially the cotton industry; and the city of Lowell took
his name in recognition of the importance of his leadership in this
direction. For similar reasons the city of Lawrence was named after Abbott
Lawrence, minister of the United States to Great Britain, who was one of
the leading merchants of Boston in the China trade, and was also largely
concerned in the development of cotton manufacturing. With these business
and manufacturing interests Amos Lawrence was also connected. Nathan
Appleton[16] was associated with Francis C. Lowell in the establishment of
the great manufacturing interests that have been a large source of the
wealth of Massachusetts. Thomas H. Perkins, from whom was named the Perkins
Institute for the Blind, was also concerned in the China trade and in the
first development of railroads. Robert Gould Shaw was another leading
merchant, who left a large sum of money for the benefit of the children of
mariners. John Murray Forbes was a builder of railroads, notably active in
the financial support of the national government during the civil war, and
a generous friend of noble men and interests.[17] Nathaniel Thayer was a
manager of railroads, erected Thayer Hall at Harvard College, and bore the
expenses of Agassiz's expedition to South America.

A Boston man by birth and training, who knew the defects as well as the
merits of the class of men and women who have been named, has given
generous testimony to the high qualities of mind and heart possessed by
these Unitarians. In writing of his maternal grandfather, Octavius Brooks
Frothingham has said: "Peter C. Brooks was an admirable example of the
Unitarian laymen of that period, industrious, honest, faithful in all
relations of life, charitable, public-spirited, intelligent, sagacious,
mingling the prudence of the man of affairs with the faith of the
Christian.... As one recalls the leading persons in Brattle Street, Federal
Street, Chauncy Place, King's Chapel, the New North, the New South,--men
like Adams, Eliot, Perkins, Bumstead, Lawrence, Sullivan, Jackson, Judge
Shaw, Daniel Webster, Jacob Bigelow, T.B. Wales, Dr. Bowditch,--forms of
dignity and of worth rise before the mind. Better men there are not. More
honorable men, according to the standard of the time, there are not likely
to be.... He joined the church and was a consistent church member. He was
not effusive, demonstrative, or loud-voiced. His name did not stand high on
church lists or among the patrons of the faith. His was the calm, rational,
sober belief of the thoughtful, educated, honorable men of his day,--men
like Lemuel Shaw, Joseph Story, Daniel A. White,--intellectual, noble
people, with worthy aims, a lofty sense of duty, a strong conviction of the
essential truths of revealed Christianity; sincere believers in the gospel,
of enduring principle, of pure, consistent, blameless life and conduct.
Speculative theology he cared little or nothing about. He was no disputant,
no doubter, no casuist; of the heights of mysticism, of the depths of
infidelity, he knew nothing. He was conservative, of course, from
temperament rather than from inquiry. He took the literal, prose view of
Calvinism, and rejected doctrines which did not commend themselves to his
common sense. In a word, he was a Unitarian of the old school.... The
Unitarian laity in general, both men and women, had a genuine desire to
render the earthly lot of mankind more tolerable. It is not too much to say
that they started every one of our best secular charities. They were
exceedingly liberal in their gifts to Harvard College, and to other
colleges as well--for they were not at all sectarian, as their large
subscriptions to the Roman Catholic cathedral proved. Whatever tended to
exalt humanity, in their view, was encouraged. They were as noble a set of
men and women as ever lived."[18]

This estimate of the Unitarians of Boston during the first half of the
nineteenth century is eminently just and accurate. To a large extent these
men and their associates in the Unitarian churches gave to the city its
worth and its character; and they built up the industries, the commerce,
the educational and philanthropic interests, and the progressive
legislation of Massachusetts. They were men of integrity and sincerity, who
were generous, faithful, and just. They accepted the religion of the
spirit, and they gave it expression in daily conduct and character.

[1] F.B. Carpenter, Six Months in the White House, 190.

[2] James Parton, Life of Thomas Jefferson, 711.

[3] Charles W. Upham, Life of Timothy Pickering, IV. 327.

[4] P.L. Ford's edition Jefferson's Works, X.220.

[5] Life of Pickering, IV. 326.

[6] P.L. Ford, The True George Washington, 81.

[7] P.L. Ford, The Many-sided Franklin, 174. See Diary of Ezra Stiles,
    III. 387.

[8] John Quincy Adams, in reply to a question about the church in
    Washington, said: "I go there to church, although I am not decided in
    my mind as to all the controverted doctrines of religion." Years
    later he said to a preacher in the Unitarian church at Quincy: "I
    agree entirely with the ground you took in your discourse. You did
    not speak of any particular class of doctrines that were everlasting,
    but of the great, fundamental principles in which all Christians
    agree; and these, I think, are what will be permanent." See A.B.
    Muzzey, Reminiscences and Memorials of the Men of the Revolution and
    their Families, 53.

[9] William W. Story, Life and Letters of Joseph Story, 57, 93. Joseph
    Story grew away from Calvinism in early manhood, and accepted a
    humanitarian view of the nature of Christ. "No man was ever more free
    from a spirit of bigotry and proselytism," says his biographer. "He
    gladly allowed every one freedom of belief and claimed only that it
    should be a genuine conviction and not a mere theologic opinion,
    considering the true faith of every man to be the necessary exponent
    of his nature, and honoring a religious life more than a formal
    creed. He admitted within the pale of salvation Mohammedan and
    Christian, Catholic and infidel. He believed that whatever is sincere
    and honest is recognized by God--that as the views of any sect are
    but human opinion, susceptible of error on every side, it behooves
    all men to be on their guard against arrogance of belief--and that in
    the sight of God it is not the truth or falsehood of our views, but
    the spirit in which we believe which alone is of vital consequence.
    His moral sense was not satisfied with a theory of religion founded
    upon the depravity of man and recognizing an austere and vengeful
    God, nor could he give his metaphysical assent to the doctrine of the
    Trinity. In the doctrines of liberal Christianity he found the
    resolution of his doubts, and from the moment he embraced the
    Unitarian faith he became a warm and unhesitating believer."

[10] For an interesting picture of New England Unitarianism see
     Recollections of my Mother (Mrs. Anne Jean Lyman), by Mrs. J.P.
     Lesley. Mrs. Lyman's home was in Northampton, Mass. The Reminiscences
     of Caroline C. Briggs describe life in the same town and under
     similar conditions. Also Memoir of Mary L. Ware, Memorial of Joseph
     and Lucy Clark Allen by their Children, and Life of Dr. Samuel

[11] Edmund Quincy, Life of Josiah Quincy, 532. In a speech to the
     overseers of Harvard University in 1845, Josiah Quincy said: "I never
     did and never will call myself a Unitarian; because the name has the
     aspect, and is loaded by the world with the imputation of
     sectarianism." His biographer says: "He regarded differences as of
     slight importance, especially as to matters beyond the grasp of the
     human intellect. His catholicity of spirit fraternized with all who
     profess to call themselves Christians, and who prove their title to
     the name by their lives." It was precisely this catholicity of spirit
     that was the most characteristic feature of early American
     Unitarianism, and not the rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity.
     However, Josiah Quincy was undoubtedly a Unitarian, both in what he
     rejected and in what he affirmed, as may be seen from these words
     recorded in his diary in 1854: "From the doctrines with which
     metaphysical divines have chosen to obscure the word of God,--such as
     predestination, election, reprobation, etc.,--I turn with loathing to
     the refreshing assurance which, to my mind, contains the substance of
     revealed religion,--in every nation he who feareth God, and worketh
     righteousness, is accepted of him."

[12] Autobiography, Correspondence, etc., of Lyman Beecher, II. 109.

[13] Ibid., 144.

[14] Thomas C. Amory. Life of James Sullivan.

[15] John Lowell, a son of Judge John Lowell, and a brother of Dr. Charles
     Lowell of the West Church, was the author of an effective
     controversial pamphlet entitled Are you a Christian or a Calvinist?
     Or do you prefer the Authority of Christ to that of the Genevan
     Reformer? Both the Form and Spirit of these Questions being suggested
     by the Late Review of American Unitarianism in The Panoplist, and by
     the Rev. Mr. Worcester's Letter to Mr. Channing. By a Layman. Boston,

[16] Nathan Appleton's interest in theology may be seen in his book
     entitled The Doctrine of Original Sin and the Trinity, discussed in a
     Correspondence between a Clergyman of the Episcopal Church, in
     England, and a Layman of Boston, United States, published in Boston
     in 1859. "I was brought up," he said in one of these letters, "in the
     strictest form of Calvinistic Congregationalism; but since arriving
     at an age capable of examining the subject, and after a careful study
     of it, I have renounced what appear to me unworthy views of the
     Deity, for a system which appears to me more worthy of him, and less
     abhorrent to human reason." "I can say," he wrote in another letter,
     "that the Unitarian party embraces the most intelligent and
     high-minded portion of the community. It is my opinion that the views
     of the Unitarians are the best and only security against the spirit
     of infidelity which is prevailing so extensively amongst the most
     highly educated and intelligent men in Europe." See Memoir of Nathan
     Appleton, by Robert C. Winthrop.

[17] John Murray Forbes: Letters and Recollections, edited by his
     daughter, Sarah Forbes Hughes.

[18] Boston Unitarianism, 93, 94, 101, 127.



The interest of Unitarians in education has always been very great, but it
has not been in the direction of building and fostering sectarian
institutions. As a body, Unitarians have not only been opposed to
denominational colleges, but they have been leaders in promoting
unsectarian education. Freedom of academic teaching and the scientific
study of theology may be found where Unitarianism has no existence, and yet
it is significant that in this country such mental liberty should have
first found expression under Unitarian auspices. From the first, American
Unitarianism has been unsectarian and liberty-loving, taking an attitude of
toleration, free investigation, and loyalty to truth. That it has always
been faithful to its ideal cannot be maintained, and yet its history shows
that the open-mindedness and the spirit of freedom have never been wholly

[Sidenote: Pioneers of the Higher Criticism.]

The attitude of the early Unitarians towards the Bible, their trust in it
as the revealed word of God and the source of divine authority in all
matters of faith, and their confidence that a return to its simple
principles would liberate men from superstition and bigotry, naturally made
them the first to welcome the higher criticism of the Bible in this
country. Such men as Noah Worcester and his successors brought to the Bible
new and common-sense interpretations, and began the work of pointing out
the defects in the common version. The Unitarians were not hampered by the
theory of the verbal infallibility of the Bible; and they were therefore
prepared to advance the critical work of the scholars, as it came to them
from England and Germany, as was no other religious body in this country.

Joseph, S. Buckminster was an enthusiastic student of the Bible, securing
when in Europe all the apparatus of the more advanced criticism that could
then be procured; and after his return to Boston he gave his attention to
bringing out the New Testament in the most scholarly form that was then
possible. In 1808, in connection with William Wells, and under the
patronage of Harvard College, he republished Griesbach's Greek Testament,
with a selection of the most important various readings. He also formed a
plan of publishing in this country all the best modern English versions of
the Hebrew prophets, with introductions and notes; but he did not find the
necessary support for this project. In The Monthly Anthology and in The
General Repository he "first discussed subjects of Biblical criticism in a
spirit of philosophical and painstaking learning, and took the critical
study of the Scriptures from the old basis on which it had rested during
the Arminian discussions and placed it on the solid foundation of the text
of the New Testament as settled by Wetstein and Griesbach, and elucidated
by the labors of Michaelis, Marsh, Rosenmüller, and by the safe and wise
learning of Grotius, Le Clerc, and Simon." "It has," wrote George Ticknor,
"in our opinion, hardly been permitted to any other man to render so
considerable a service as this to Christianity in the western world."[1]
In 1811 Mr. Buckminster was made the first lecturer in Biblical criticism
at Harvard, on, the foundation established by the gift of Samuel Dexter;
and he entered with great interest and enthusiasm upon the work of
preparing for the duties of this office. We are assured that "this
appointment was universally thought to be an honor most justly due to his
pre-eminent attainments in this science";[2] but his death the next year
brought these plans to an untimely end.

To some extent the critical work of Buckminster was continued by Edward
Everett, his successor in the Brattle Street Church. Mr. Everett's
successor in that pulpit, Rev. John G. Palfrey, became the professor of
sacred literature in the Harvard Divinity School in 1831, and was the dean
of that institution. In his lectures on the Jewish Scriptures and
Antiquities, published in four volumes, from 1833 to 1852, he gave the most
advanced criticism of the time. A more important work was done by Professor
Andrews Norton, who was as radical in his labors as a Biblical critic as he
was conservative in his theology. For the time when they were published,
his Statement of Reasons, the first edition of which appeared in 1819,
Historical Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels, 1837-44,
Translation of the Gospels, with Notes, 1855, Internal Evidences of the
Genuineness of the Gospels, 1855, have not been surpassed by any other work
done in this country. As a scholar, he was careful, thorough, honest, and
uncompromising in his search for the truth. In an extended note added to
the second volume of his work on the Genuineness of the Gospels he
investigated the origin of the Pentateuch and the validity of its
historical statements. He showed that the work could not have bee its man
written by Moses, that it was a compilation from prior accounts, and that
its marvels were not to be accepted as authentic history.[3] In dealing
with the New Testament, Professor Norton discarded the first two chapters
of Matthew, regarding them as later additions. Frothingham speaks of Norton
as "an accomplished and elegant scholar," and says that his interpretations
of the Bible were by Unitarians "tacitly received as final." "He was the
great authority, as bold, fearless, truthful, as he was exact and
careful."[4] Although these words of praise intimate that Unitarians were
too ready to accept the conclusions of Professor Norton as needing no
emendation, yet his work was searching in its character and thoroughly
sincere in its methods. Considering the general attitude of scholarship in
his day, it was bold and uncompromising, as well as accurate and just.

Another scholar was George Rapall Noyes, who was a country pastor in
Brookfield and Petersham from 1827 to 1840, and devoted his leisure to
Biblical studies. He became the professor of Hebrew and, lecturer on
Biblical Literature in the Harvard Divinity School in 1840. His
translations, with notes, of the poetical books of the Old Testament,
beginning with Job in 1827, were of great importance as aids, to the
interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures. His translation of the New
Testament, which appeared after his death, in 1868, gave the best results
of critical studies in homely prose, and with painstaking fidelity to the
original. That Noyes was in advance of the criticism of his time may be
indicated by the fact that, when he published his conclusions in regard to
the Messianic prophecies in 1834,[5] he was threatened with an indictment
for blasphemy by the attorney-general of Massachusetts. Better judgment
prevailed against this attempt to coerce opinion, but that such an
indictment was seriously considered shows how little genuine criticism
there was then in existence. What are now the commonplaces of scholarship
were then regarded as destructive and blasphemous. Noyes said that the
truth of the Christian religion does not in any sense depend upon the
literal fulfilment of any predictions in the Old Testament by Jesus as a
person.[6] He said that the apostles partook of the errors and prejudices
of their age,[7] that the commonly received doctrine of the inspiration
of the whole Bible is a millstone about the neck of Christianity,[8] and
that the Bible contains much that cannot be regarded as revelation.[9]
Even as early as 1835 these opinions were generally accepted by Unitarians;
and they were not thought to impair the true worth of the spiritual
revelation contained in the Bible, and especially not the divine nature of
the teachings of Christ. It was very important, as Dr. Joseph Henry Allen
has said, in speaking of Norton and Noyes, that "these decisive first steps
were taken by deliberate, conscientious, conservative scholars,--the best
and soberest scholars we had to show."[10]

The work of Ezra Abbot especially deserves notice here, because of "the
variety and extent of his learning, the retentiveness and accuracy of his
memory, the penetration and fairness of his judgment."[11] For fourteen
years previous to his death, in 1884, he was the professor of New Testament
criticism and interpretation in the Harvard Divinity School. He also
rendered important service as a member of the American committee on the
revision of the New Testament. His essay on The Authorship of the Fourth
Gospel was one of the ablest statements of the conservative view of the
origin of that writing. The volume of his Critical Essays, collected after
his death, shows the ripe fruits of his "punctilious and vigilant
scholarship." He was a zealous Unitarian, and did much to show that the New
Testament is in harmony with that faith. In 1843 Rev. Theodore Parker
published his translation of De Wette's Introduction to the New Testament,
with learned notes. The extreme views of Baur and Zeller were interpreted
by Rev. O.B. Frothingham in his The Cradle of the Christ, 1872.

Various attempts were also made by those who were not professional scholars
to bring the Bible into harmony with modern religious ideas. One of the
most notable of these was that of Dr. William Henry Furness, pastor of the
church in Philadelphia from 1825 to 1875. His Remarks on the Four Gospels
appeared in 1835, and was followed by Jesus and his Biographers, 1838,
Thoughts on the Life and Character of Jesus of Nazareth, 1859, and The Veil
Partly Lifted and Jesus Becoming Visible, 1864, as well as several other
works. His attempt was to give a rational interpretation of the life of
Jesus that should largely eliminate the miraculous and yet preserve the
spiritual. These works have little critical value, and yet they have much
of charm and suggestiveness as religious expositions of the Gospels. Of
somewhat the same nature was Dr. Edmund H. Sears's The Fourth Gospel: The
Heart of Christ, 1872, a work of deep spiritual insight.

[Sidenote: The Catholic Influence of Harvard University.]

The catholic and inclusive spirit manifested by the Unitarians in their
Biblical studies is worthy of notice, however, much more than any definite
results of scholarship produced by them. In the cultivation of the broader
academic fields which their control of Harvard University brought within
their reach this attitude is especially conspicuous. At no time since it
came under their administration has it been used for sectarian purposes, to
make proselytes or to compel acceptance of their theology. During the first
half of the nineteenth century, Harvard was in some degree distinctly
Unitarian; but since 1870 it has been wholly non-sectarian. When the
Divinity School was organized, it was provided in its constitution that no
denominational requirements should be exacted of professors or students;
yet the school was essentially Unitarian until 1878. In that year the
president, Charles W. Eliot, asked of Unitarians the sum of $130,000 as an
endowment for the school; but he insisted that it should be henceforth
wholly unsectarian, and this demand was received with approval and
enthusiasm by Unitarians themselves.

In 1879 President Eliot said at a meeting held in the First Church in
Boston for the purpose of appealing to Unitarians in behalf of the school:
"The Harvard Divinity School is not distinctly Unitarian either by its
constitution or by the intention of its founders. The doctrines of the
unsectarian sect, called in this century Unitarians, are indeed entitled to
respectful consideration in the school so long as it exists, simply because
the school was founded, and for two generations, at least, has been
supported, by Unitarians. But the government of the University cannot
undertake to appoint none but Unitarian teachers, or to grant any peculiar
favors to Unitarian students. They cannot, because the founders of the
school, themselves Unitarians, imposed upon the University the following
fundamental rule for its administration: that every encouragement shall be
given to the serious, impartial, and unbiassed investigation of Christian
truth, and that no assent to the peculiarities of any denomination of
Christians shall be required either of the instructors or students."[12]
Dr. Charles Carroll Everett, dean of the school from 1878 to 1900, has said
that "in some respects it differs from every other theological seminary in
the country." "No pains are taken to learn the denominational relations of
students even when they are applicants for aid." "No oversight is exercised
over the instruction of any teacher. No teacher is responsible for any
other or to any other."[13]

In 1886 compulsory attendance upon prayers was abolished at Harvard
University. Religious services are regularly held every week-day morning,
on Thursday afternoons, and on Sunday evenings, being conducted by the
Plummer professor of Christian morals, with the co-operation of five other
preachers, who, as well as the Plummer professor, are selected irrespective
of denominational affiliations. In this and other ways the university has
made itself thoroughly unsectarian. Its attitude is that of scientific
investigation, open-mindedness towards all phases of truth, and freedom of
teaching. Theology is thus placed on the same basis with other branches of
knowledge, and religion is made independent of merely dogmatic

This undenominational temper at Harvard University has been developed
largely under Unitarian auspices. Its presidents for nearly a century have
been Unitarians, namely: John T. Kirkland, 1810-28; Josiah Quincy, 1829-45;
Edward Everett, 1846-49; Jared Sparks, 1849-53; James Walker, 1853-60;
Cornelius C. Felton, 1860-62; Thomas Hill, 1862-68; and Charles W. Eliot
since 1869. Kirkland, Everett, Sparks, Walker, and Hill were Unitarian
ministers; but under their administration the university was as little
sectarian as at any other time.

When the new era of university growth began in 1865, with the founding of
Cornell University, the influence of Harvard was widely felt in the
development of great unsectarian educational institutions. Although Ezra
Cornell was educated as a Friend, he was expelled from that body, and
connected himself with no other religious sect. He was essentially a
Unitarian, often attending the preaching of Dr. Rufus P. Stebbins. The
university which took his name was inspired with the Harvard ideal, and,
while recognizing religion as one of the great essential phases of human
thought and life, gave and continues to give equal opportunity to all

Another instance of the same spirit is Washington University, which began
under Unitarian auspices, but soon developed into an entirely
undenominational institution. Members of the Unitarian church in St. Louis
secured a charter for a seminary, which in 1853 was organized as the
Washington Institute. In 1857 it was reorganized as Washington University,
and the charter declared, "No instruction, either sectarian in religion or
party in politics, shall be allowed in any department of said university,
and no sectarian or party test shall be allowed in the selection of
professors, teachers, or other officers of said university or in the
admission of scholars thereof, or for any purpose whatever." Sectarian
prejudice, however, regarded the university as essentially Unitarian; and
for the first twenty years of its existence three-fourths of the gifts and
endowments came from persons of that religious body.

Although Dr. William G. Eliot knew nothing of the original movement for
forming a seminary under liberal auspices, he gave the institution his
unstinted support and encouragement. He was the president of the board of
management from the first, and in 1871 he became the chancellor. At his
death, in 1887, the university included Smith Academy, Mary Institute, and
a manual training school, these being large preparatory schools; the
college proper, school of engineering, Henry Shaw school of botany, St.
Louis school of fine arts, law school, medical school, and dental college.
It then had sixteen hundred students and one hundred and sixty instructors.
The endowments have since been largely increased, the number of students
has increased to two thousand, and important new buildings have been added.
Dr. Eliot gave the university its direction and its unsectarian methods,
and it has attained its present position because of his devoted labors. The
Leland Stanford Jr. University in California, and Clark University in
Massachusetts, both founded by Unitarians, further illustrate the Harvard
spirit in education.

[Sidenote: The Work of Horace Mann.]

Horace Mann was an earnest and devoted Unitarian, the intimate friend of
Channing and Parker, to both of whom he was largely indebted for his
intellectual and spiritual ideals. He was inspired by their ideas of reform
and progress, and to their personal sympathy he owed much. It is now
universally conceded that to him we are indebted for the diffusion of the
common-school idea throughout the country, that he developed and brought to
full expression the conception of universal education. In full sympathy
with him in this work were such men as Dr. Channing, Edward Everett,
Theodore Parker, Josiah Quincy, Samuel J. May, and the younger Robert
Rantoul; but he made the common school popular, and put it forward as a
national institution. When Mann became the secretary of the Massachusetts
Board of Education on its creation, in 1837, the theory that all children
should be educated by the state, if not otherwise provided for, was by no
means generally accepted; nor was it an accepted theory that such education
should be strictly unsectarian.[14] Mann fought the battle for these two
ideas, and virtually established them for the whole nation. On the first
board one-half the members were Unitarians,--Horace Mann, the younger
Robert Rantoul, Jared Sparks, and Edmund Dwight. Some of the staunchest and
most devoted and most liberal friends of Mann were of other denominations;
but the work for common schools was thoroughly in harmony with Unitarian
principles. Edmund Dwight was largely instrumental in securing the
establishment of a Board of Education in Massachusetts, and he brought
about the election of Horace Mann to fill the position of its secretary. He
was a leading merchant in Boston, and his house was a centre for meetings
and consultations relating to educational interests. He contributed freely
for the purpose of enlarging and improving the state system of common
schools, his donations amounting to not less than $35,000.[15]

The first person to clearly advocate the establishment of schools for the
training of teachers was Rev. Charles Brooks, minister of the Second
Unitarian Church in Hingham from 1821 to 1839, afterwards professor of
natural history in the University of the City of New York, and a reformer
and author of some reputation in his day. In 1834 he began to write and
lecture in behalf of common schools, and especially in the interest of
normal schools.[16] He spoke throughout the state in behalf of training
schools, with which he had become acquainted in Prussia; he went before the
legislature on this subject; and he carried his labors into other

Horace Mann took up the idea of professional schools for teachers and made
it effective. Edmund Dwight gave $10,000 to the state for this purpose, and
schools were established in 1838. When the first of these normal schools
opened in Lexington, July 3, 1839, its principal was Rev. Cyrus Peirce, who
had been the minister of the Unitarian church in North Reading from 1819 to
1829, and then had been a teacher in North Andover and Nantucket. "Had it
not been for Cyrus Peirce," wrote Henry Barnard, "I consider the cause of
Normal Schools would have failed or have been postponed for an indefinite
period."[18] Dr. William T. Harris has said that "all Normal School work
in this country follows substantially one tradition, and this traces back
to the course laid down by Cyrus Peirce."[19] In the Lexington school
Peirce was succeeded by Samuel J. May, who had been settled over Unitarian
churches in Brooklyn and Scituate.[20]

The work done by Horace Mann for education includes his labors as president
of Antioch College from 1852 to 1859. He maintained that the chief end of
education is the development of character; and he sought to make the
college an altruistic community, in which teachers and students should
labor together for the best good of all. He put into practice the
nonsectarian principle, made the college coeducational, and developed the
spirit of individual freedom as one of cardinal importance in education.
"The ideas for which he stood," has written one who has carefully studied
his work in all its phases, "spread abroad among the people of the Ohio
valley, and showed themselves in various state institutions, normal
schools, and high schools that were planted in the central west.
Altogether, apart from Mr. Mann's visible work in Antioch College may be
found agencies which he set at work, whose influence only eternity can
measure. It was a great thing to the new west that a high standard of
scholarship should be placed before her sons and daughters, and that a few
hundred of them should be sent out into every corner of the state, and
ultimately to the farthest boundaries of the nation, with a sound
scholarship and a love for truth there and then wholly new. His reputation
for scholarship and zeal gave his opinions greater weight than those of
almost any other man in the country. As a result the most radical
educational ideas were received from him with respect; and he carried
forward the work of giving a practical embodiment to co-education,
non-sectarianism, and the requirements of practical and efficient moral
character, as perhaps no other educator could have done. His influence
among people, and the aspirations which he kindled in thousands of minds by
public addresses and personal contact, did for the people of the Ohio
valley a work, the extent and value of which can never be measured."[21]

[Sidenote: Elizabeth Peabody and the Kindergarten.]

Horace Mann was largely influenced by Dr. Channing throughout his career as
an educational reformer,[22] as was his wife and her sister, Elizabeth P.
Peabody. It was to Channing that Miss Peabody owed her interest in the work
of education; and his teachings brought her naturally into association with
Bronson Alcott, and made her the leader in introducing the kindergarten
into this country. She was influenced by the kindergarten method, at an
early date, and she gave years of devoted labor to its extension. In
connection with her sister, Mrs. Horace Mann, she wrote Culture in Infancy,
1863, Guide to the Kindergarten, 1877, and Letters to Kindergartners, 1886.
As a result of her enthusiastic efforts, kindergartens were opened in
Boston in 1864; and it was in 1871 that she organized the American Froebel
Union, which became the kindergarten department of the National Educational
Association in 1885. The Kindergarten Messenger was begun by her in 1873,
and was continued under her editorship until 1877, when it was merged in
The New Education.

Miss Peabody's Kindergarten Guide has been described as one of the most
important original contributions made to the literature of the subject in
this country. Her name is most intimately associated with the educational
progress of the country because of her enthusiasm for the right training of
children and her spiritual insight as a teacher.

[Sidenote: Work of Unitarian Women for Education.]

Much has been done by Unitarian women to advance the cause of education.
The conversations of Margaret Fuller, held in Boston from 1839 to 1844,
were an important influence in awakening women to larger intellectual
interests; and many of those who attended them were afterwards active in
promoting the educational enterprises of the city. In 1873 Miss Abby
Williams May, Mrs. Ann Adeline Badger, Miss Lucretia Crocker, and Miss
Lucia M. Peabody were elected members of the school committee of Boston,
but did not serve, as their right to act in that capacity was questioned.
Thereupon the legislature took action, making women eligible to the office.
The next year Misses May, Crocker, and Peabody, with Mrs. Kate Gannett
Wells, Mrs. Mary Safford Blake, and Miss Lucretia Hale, were elected, and
served. In 1875 Misses Crocker, Hale, May, and Peabody were re-elected; and
in 1876 Miss Crocker was elected one of the supervisors of the public
schools of Boston. It is significant that the first women to hold these
positions were Unitarians. It is also worthy of note that Miss Sarah
Freeman Clarke, sister of James Freeman Clarke, was the first landscape
painter of her sex in the country; and that Mrs. Cornelia W. Walter was the
first woman to edit a large daily newspaper, she having become the editor
and manager of the Boston Transcript at an early date.

In 1873 was organized by Miss Anna E. Ticknor, daughter of Professor George
Ticknor, the historian, the Society to encourage Studies at Home. During
the twenty-four years of its existence it conducted by correspondence the
reading and studies of over 7,000 women in all parts of the country, and
did an important work in enlarging the sphere of women, preparing them for
the work of teachers and for social and intellectual service in many
directions. The society was discontinued in 1897, because, largely through
its influence, many other agencies had come in to do the same work; but the
large lending library, which had been an important feature of the
activities of the society, was continued under the management of the Anna
Ticknor Library Association until 1902. The memorial volume, published in
1897, shows how important had been the work of the Society to encourage
Studies at Home, and how many women, who were otherwise deprived of
intellectual opportunities, were encouraged, helped, and inspired by it. It
was said of Miss Ticknor, by Samuel Eliot, the president of the society
throughout the whole period of its existence: "While appreciative of the
restrictions which she wished to remove, she was desirous to gratify, if
possible, the aspirations of the large number of women throughout the
country who would fain obtain an education, and who had little, if any,
hope of obtaining it. She was very highly educated herself, and thought
more and more of her responsibility to share her advantages with others not
possessing them. In addition to these moral and intellectual
qualifications, she possessed an executive ability brought into constant
prominence by her work as secretary of the society. She was a teacher, an
inspirer, a comforter, and, in the best sense, a friend of many and many a
lonely and baffled life."[23]

The service of Mrs. Mary Hemenway to education also deserves recognition.
Possessed of large wealth, she devoted it to advancing important
educational and intellectual interests. She established the Normal School
of Swedish Gymnastics in Boston, and provided for its maintenance until it
was adopted by the city as a part of its educational system. With her
financial support the Hemenway South-western Archaeological Expedition was
carried on by Frank H. Cushing and J.W. Fewkes. It was largely because of
her efforts that the Montana Industrial School was established, and
maintained for about ten years. Her chief work, however, was in the
promotion of the study of American history on the part of young persons.
When the Old South Meeting-house was threatened with destruction, she
contributed $100,000 towards its preservation; and by her energy and
perseverance it was devoted to the interests of historical study. The Old
South Lectures for Young People were organized in 1883, soon after was
begun the publication of the Old South Leaflets, a series of historical
prizes was provided for, the Old South Historical Society was organized,
and historical pilgrimages were established. All this work was placed in
charge of Mr. Edwin D. Mead; and the New England Magazine, of which he was
the editor, gave interpretation to these various educational efforts.

Mrs. Hemenway devoted her life to such works as these. It is impossible to
enumerate here all her noble undertakings; but they were many. "Mrs.
Hemenway was a woman whose interests and sympathies were as broad as the
world," says Edwin D. Mead, "but she was a great patriot; and she was
pre-eminently that. She had a reverent pride in our position of leadership
in the history and movement of modern democracy; and she had a consuming
zeal to keep the nation strong and worthy of its best traditions, and to
kindle this zeal among the young people of the nation. With all her great
enthusiasms, she was an amazingly practical and definite woman. She wasted
no time nor strength in vague generalities, either of speech or action.
Others might long for the time when the kingdom of God should cover the
earth as the waters cover the sea, and she longed for it; but, while others
longed, she devoted herself to doing what she could to bring that corner of
God's world in which she was set into conformity with the laws of God,--and
this by every means in her power, by teaching poor girls how to make better
clothes and cook better dinners and make better homes, by teaching people
to value health and respect and train their bodies and love better music
and better pictures and be interested in more important things. Others
might long for the parliament of man and the federation of the world, and
so did she; but while others longed, she devoted herself to doing what she
could to make this nation, for which she was particularly responsible,
fitter for the federation when it comes. The good state for which she
worked was a good Massachusetts; and her chief interest, while others
talked municipal reform, was to make a better Boston."[24]

[Sidenote: Popular Education and Public Libraries.]

The interest of Unitarians in popular education and the general diffusion
of knowledge may be further indicated by a few illustrations. One of these
is the Lowell Institute in Boston, founded by John Lowell, son of Francis
Cabot Lowell, and cousin of James Russell Lowell. He was a Boston merchant,
became an extensive traveller, and died in Bombay, in 1836, at the age of
thirty-four. In his will he left one-half his fortune for the promotion of
popular education through lectures, and in other ways. John Amory Lowell
became the trustee of this fund, nearly $250,000; and in December, 1839,
the Lowell Institute began its work with a lecture by Edward Everett, which
gave a biographical account of John Lowell, and a statement of the purposes
of the Institute. Since that time the Lowell Institute has given to the
people of Boston, free of charge, from fifty to one hundred lectures each
winter. The topics treated have taken a wide range, and the lecturers have
included many of the ablest men in this and other countries. The work of
the Lowell Institute has also included free lectures for advanced students
given in connection with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, science
lectures to the teachers of Boston, and a free drawing school.

In 1846 Louis Agassiz came to this country to lecture before the Lowell
Institute. The result was that he became permanently connected with Harvard
University, and transferred his scientific work to this country. This was
accomplished by means of the gift of Abbott Lawrence, who founded the
Lawrence Scientific School in 1847. Although the Lowell Institute was
founded by a Unitarian, and although it has always been largely managed by
Unitarians, it has been wholly unsectarian in its work. Many of its
lecturers have been of that body, but only because they were men of science
or of literary attainments.

In 1854 Peter Cooper founded the Cooper Union in New York for the
Advancement of Science and Art, to promote "instruction in branches of
knowledge by which men and women earn their daily bread; in laws of health
and improvement of the sanitary conditions of families as well as
individuals; in social and political science, whereby communities and
nations advance in virtue, wealth, and power; and finally in matters which
affect the eye, the ear, and the imagination, and furnish a basis for
recreation to the working classes." He erected a large building, and
established therein the Cooper Institute, with its reading-room, library,
lectures, schools, and other facilities for bringing the means of education
within reach of those who could not otherwise obtain them.

Peter Cooper was an earnest Unitarian in his opinions, attending the church
of Dr. Bellows; but he was wholly without sectarian bias. In a letter
addressed to the delegates to the Evangelical Alliance, at its session held
in New York in 1873, he expressed the catholicity and the humanitarian
spirit of his religion. "I look to see the day," he wrote, "when the
teachers of Christianity will rise above all the cramping power and
influence of conflicting creeds and systems of human device, when they will
beseech mankind by all the mercies of God to be reconciled to the
government of love, the only government that can ever bring the kingdom of
heaven into the hearts of mankind either here or hereafter."

About 1825 there was opened in Dublin, N.H., under the auspices of Rev.
Levi W. Leonard, minister of the Unitarian church in that village, the
first library in the country that was free to all the inhabitants of a town
or city. In the adjoining town of Peterboro, in 1833, under the leadership
of Rev. Abiel Abbot, also the Unitarian minister, a library was established
by vote of the town. This library was maintained by the town itself, being
the first in the country supported from the tax rates of a municipality. In
the work of these Unitarian ministers may be found the beginnings of the
present interest in the establishment and growth of free public libraries.

In the founding and endowment of libraries, Unitarians have taken an active
part. What they have done in this direction may be illustrated by the gift
of Enoch Pratt of one and a quarter million dollars to the public library
in Baltimore. Concerning the time when Jared Sparks was the minister of the
Unitarian church in Baltimore, Professor Herbert B. Adams has said: "Some
of the most generous and public-spirited people of Baltimore were connected
with the first independent church. Afterwards, men who were to be most
helpful in the upbuilding of Baltimore's greatest institutions--the Peabody
Institute, the Pratt Library, and the Johns Hopkins University--were
associated with the Unitarian society."[25]

Professor Barrett Wendell speaks of George Ticknor as "the chief founder of
the chief public library in the United States."[26] Ticknor undoubtedly
did more than anybody else to make the Boston Public Library the great
institution it has become, not only in giving it his own collection of
books, but also in its inception and in its organization. The best working
library in the country, that of the Boston Athenaeum, also owes a very
large debt to the early Unitarians, with whom it originated, and by whom it
was largely maintained in its early days.

[Sidenote: Mayo's Southern Ministry of Education.]

One of the most important contributions to the work of education has been
that of Rev. Amory D. Mayo, known as the "Ministry of Education in the
South." After settlements over churches in Gloucester, Cleveland, Albany,
Cincinnati, and Springfield, Mr. Mayo began his southern work in 1880. He
had an extensive preparation for his southern labors, having served on the
school boards of Cincinnati and Springfield for fifteen years, lectured
extensively on educational subjects, and been a frequent contributor to
educational periodicals. He has written a History of Common Schools, which
is published by the national Bureau of Education, prepared several of the
Circulars of Information of that bureau, and printed a great number of
educational pamphlets and addresses.

"One of the most helpful agencies in the work of free and universal
education in the South, for the last twenty years," says Dr. J.L.M. Curry
in a personal letter, "has been the ministry of A.D. Mayo. His intelligent
zeal, his instructive addresses, his tireless energy, have made him a
potent factor in this great work; and any history of what the Unitarian
denomination has done would be very imperfect which did not make proper and
grateful recognition of his valuable services."

[1] Christian Examiner, XLVII. 186; Mrs. E.B. Lee, Memoirs of the
    Buckminsters, 325.

[2] Memoir of Buckminster, introductory to his Sermons, published in
    1814, xxxii.

[3] The Pentateuch and its Relation to the Jewish and Christian
    Dispensation. By Andrews Norton. Edited by John James Tayler, London,
    1863. This was the Note, with introduction.

[4] Boston Unitarianism, 244.

[5] Hengstenberg's Christology, Christian Examiner, July, 1834, XVI. 321.

[6] Ibid., 327.

[7] Ibid., 356.

[8] Ibid., 357.

[9] Ibid., 358.

[10] Our Liberal Movement in Theology, 68.

[11] The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel and Other Critical Essays
     selected from the published papers of Ezra Abbot, edited, with
     preface, by Professor J.H. Thayer.

[12] The Divinity School of Harvard University: Its History, Courses of
     Study, Aims, and Advantages, published by the University, 9.

[13] The Divinity School as it is, Harvard Graduates' Magazine, June,

[14] B.A. Hinsdale, Horace Mann and the Common School Revival in the
     United States, 127.

[15] B.A. Hinsdale, Horace Mann and the Common School Revival in the
     United States, 148.

[16] Henry Barnard, Normal Schools, 125.

[17] B.A. Hinsdale, Horace Mann, 147.

[18] Quoted by J.P. Gordy, Rise and Growth of the Normal School Idea in
     the United States, Circular of Information of the Bureau of
     Education, 1891, 49.

[19] Ibid., 43.

[20] S.J. May, Memoir of Cyrus Peirce, Barnard's American Journal of
     Education, December, 1857.

[21] G.A. Hubbell, Horace Mann in Ohio: A Study of the Application of his
     Public School Ideals to College Administration, No. IV. of Vol. VII.,
     Columbia University Contributions to Philosophy, Psychology, and
     Education, 50.

[22] Mary Mann, Life of Horace Mann, 44; Henry Barnard, Normal Schools,

[23] Memorial Volume, 2.

[24] Edwin D. Mead, The Old South Work, 1900; also Memorial Sermon, by
     Charles G. Ames, 17.

[25] Life and Writings of Jared Sparks, I. 141.

[26] A Literary History of America, 266.



The history of American literature is intimately connected with the history
of Unitarianism in this country. The influences that caused the growth of
Unitarianism were those, to a large extent, that produced American
literature. It was not merely Harvard College that had this effect, as has
been often asserted; for the other colleges did not become the centres of
literary activity. It was more distinctly the freedom, the breadth of
intellectual interest, and the sympathy with what was human and natural
developed by the Unitarian movement that were favorable to the growth of
literature. Yet from the beginning of the eighteenth century Harvard
fostered the spirit of inquiry, and helped to set the mind free from the
theological and classical predispositions that had checked its natural
growth. A taste for literature was encouraged, theology took on a broad and
humanitarian character, and there was a growing appreciation of art and
poetry. Harvard College helped to bring men into contact with European
thought, and thus opened to them fresh and stimulating sources of
intellectual interest.

During the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first half of the
nineteenth New England was largely devoted to commercial enterprises.
Every coast town of any size from Newport to Belfast was concerned with
ship-building and with trade to foreign ports. Such towns as Boston and
Salem traded with China, India, and many other parts of the world. Not only
was wealth largely increased by this commercial activity, but the influence
upon life and thought was very great. The mind was emancipated, and
religion grew more liberal and humane, as the result of this contact with
foreign lands. Along the whole coast, within the limits named, there was an
abandonment of Puritanism and a growth into a genial and humanitarian
interpretation of Christianity. In New York City somewhat the same results
were produced, at least on social and intellectual life, though with less
immediate effect upon religion. It was in these regions, in which
commercial contact with the great outside world set the mind free and
awakened the imagination, that American literature was born.

[Sidenote: Influence of Unitarian Environment.]

The influence of Unitarian culture and literary tastes is shown by the
considerable number of literary men who were the sons of Unitarian
ministers. Ralph Waldo Emerson was the son of William Emerson, the minister
of the First Church in Boston at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
George Bancroft was the son of Aaron Bancroft, the first Unitarian minister
in Worcester, and the first president of the American Unitarian
Association. To Charles Lowell, of the West Church in Boston, were born
James Russell Lowell and Robert T.S. Lowell. The father of Francis Parkman
was of the same name, and was for many years the minister of the New North
Church in Boston. Richard Hildreth was the son of Hosea Hildreth, Unitarian
minister in Gloucester. Octavius Brooks Frothingham was the son of
Nathaniel L. Frothingham, minister of the First Church in Boston. Joseph
Allen, father of Joseph Henry Allen and William Francis Allen, was the
minister in Northboro for many years. Of literary workers now living
William Everett is the son of Edward Everett, Charles Eliot Norton of
Andrews Norton, and William Wells Newell of William Newell, minister of the
First Church in Cambridge for many years.

This influence is shown in the large number of literary men who studied at
the Harvard Divinity School and began their career as Unitarian ministers.
It may be partly accounted for by the fact that at the beginning of the
nineteenth century literature offered but a precarious opportunity to men
of talent and genius. The respect then accorded to ministers, the wide
influence they were able to exert, and the many intellectual opportunities
offered by the profession, naturally attracted many young men. During the
first part of the nineteenth century no other profession was so attractive,
and enthusiasm for it was large amongst the students of Harvard College. As
literary openings began to present themselves, many of these men found
other occupations, partly because their tastes were intellectual rather
than theological, and partly because the radical ferment made the pulpit no
longer acceptable. Such a man as Edward Everett would never have entered
the pulpit, had it not been socially and intellectually most attractive at
the time when he began his career. In the instance of Samuel A. Eliot, who
took the full course in the Divinity School, but did not preach, being
afterward mayor of Boston and member of Congress the influences at work
were probably much the same.

George Bancroft is another instance of a graduate of the Divinity School
who did not enter the pulpit, but, beginning his career as a teacher,
devoted his life to literature and diplomacy. With such men as Christopher
P. Cranch, artist and poet; George P. Bradford, teacher, thinker, and
friend of literary men; H.G.O. Blake, editor of Thoreau's Journals; J.L.
Sibley, librarian; John Albee, poet and essayist; and William Cushing,
bibliographer, the cause operating was probably the same,--the discovery
that the chosen profession was not acceptable or that some other was
preferable. Another group of men, including John G. Palfrey, Jared Sparks,
William Ware, Horatio Alger, James K. Hosmer, Edward Rowland Sill and
William Wells Newell, who occupied Unitarian pulpits for brief periods,
were drawn into literary occupations as more congenial to their tastes. The
same influence doubtless served to withdraw Emerson, George Ripley, John S.
Dwight, Thomas W. Higginson, Moncure D. Conway, and Francis E. Abbot, from
the pulpit; but with these men there was also a break with traditional

[Sidenote: Literary Tendencies.]

The early Unitarian movement in New England was literary and religious
rather than theological. The men who have been most influential in
determining the course of Unitarian development, such as Charming, Dewey,
Parker, and Hedge, not to include Emerson, who has been a greater
affirmative leader than either of the others, were first of all preachers,
and their published works were originally given to the world from the
pulpit. They made no effort to produce a Unitarian system of theology; and
it would have been quite in opposition to the genius of the movement, had
they entered upon such a task.

With the advent of the Unitarian movement, for the first time in the
history of the American pulpit did the sermon become a literary product.
Channing and his coworkers, especially Buckminster and Everett, departed
widely from the pulpit traditions of New England, ceased to quote texts,
abandoned theological exposition, refrained from the exhortatory method,
and addressed men and women in literary language about the actual interests
of daily life. Their preaching was not metaphysical, and it was not
declamatory. The illustrations used were human rather than Biblical, a
preference was given to what was intellectual rather than to what was
emotional, and the effect was instruction rather than conversion. It
resulted in faithful living, good citizenship, fidelity to duty, love of
the neighbor, and an earnest helpfulness toward the poor and unfortunate.

[Sidenote: Literary Tastes of Unitarian Ministers.]

In studying any considerable list of Unitarian ministers, and taking note
of their personal tastes and their avocations, it will be seen that a large
number of them were lovers of literature, and ardently devoted much of
their time to literary pursuits. Not only was there a decidedly literary
flavor about their preaching, but they were frequent contributors to The
Christian Examiner and The North American Review; and they wrote poems,
novels, books of travel, essays, and histories. They were conspicuous in
historical and scientific societies, in promoting scientific
investigations, in advancing archaeological researches, in every kind of
learned inquiry. Their intellectual interests were so catholic and so
vigorous that they were not contented with parish and pulpit, and in some
cases it would seem that the avocation was as important as the vocation

Dr. Channing would be named as the man who has done most to give direction
to the currents of Unitarian thought on theological problems, but he was
also conspicuously a philanthropist and reformer. He was less a theologian,
in the technical sense, than one who taught men to live in the spirit. His
spiritual insight, humanitarian sympathies, and imaginative fellowship with
all forms of human experience gave his writings a literary charm and power
of a high order. He was a great religious teacher and inspirer, a preacher
of unsurpassed gifts of spiritual interpretation, and a prophet of the
truer religious life.

The Unitarian leaders who were influenced by the transcendental movement,
of which the most prominent were Parker, Hedge, Clarke, and C.C. Everett,
interpreted theology in the broadest spirit. Parker was essentially a
preacher and reformer. It was the one conspicuous aim of his life to
liberate religion from the intellectual thraldom of the past, and to bring
it into the open air of the world, where it might be informed of daily
experience and gain for itself a rightful opportunity. He was therefore
literary, imaginative, ethical, practical. He wrote for The Dial, and
established The Massachusetts Review, he was one of the most widely heard
of popular lecturers, and he was a leader in the most radical of the
reforms prominent in his day. Parker made all wisdom subservient to his
religion, treated a wide range of subjects in his pulpit, and brought
religion into immediate contact with human life.

Frederic H. Hedge did more than any other man to give Unitarianism a
consistent philosophy and theology. His Reason in Religion and Ways of the
Spirit have had a profound influence in shaping the thought of the
denomination, and have led all American Unitarians to accept his view of
the universality of incarnation and the consubstantiality of man and God.
He was wise as an interpreter, and by no means wanting in originality, a
brilliant essayist, a philosophical historian, and a student of high
themes. His Prose Writers of Germany, Hours with the German Classics,
Primeval World of Hebrew Tradition, and Atheism in Philosophy show the
range of his interests and his ability as a thinker.

James Freeman Clarke may be selected as a typical Unitarian minister, who
wrote poetry, was more than once an editor, often appeared on the lecture
platform, was a frequent contributor to the leading periodicals, wrote
several works of biography and history, gave himself zealously to the
advocacy of the noblest reforms, and produced many volumes of sermons that
have in an unusual degree the merit of directness, literary grace,
suggestiveness, and spiritual warmth and insight. His theological writings
have been widely read by Unitarians and those not of that fellowship. His
Self-culture has been largely circulated as a manual of practical ethics.
His Ten Great Religions and its companion volume opened the way in this
country for the recognition of the comparative study of religious
developments. Not content with so wide a range of studies, he wrote Thomas
Didymus, an historical romance concerned with New Testament characters, How
to find the Stars, and Exotics, a volume of poetical translation. He was a
maker of many books, and all of them were well made. His theology was all
the more humane, and his preaching was all the more effective, because he
was interested in many subjects and had a real mastery of them.

Charles Carroll Everett was a philosophical thinker and theologian, and the
younger generation of Unitarian ministers has been largely influenced by
him. His theological work was done in the lecture-room, but it was of
first-rate importance. He was a profound thinker, a vigorous writer, and an
inspiring teacher. He was an able theologian, philosophical in thought, but
deeply spiritual in insight. His work on The Science of Thought shows the
depth and vigor of his thinking; but his volumes on The Gospel of Paul,
Religions before Christianity, Poetry, Comedy, and Duty, suggest the
breadth of his inquiries and the richness of his philosophical
investigations. In his position as the dean of the Harvard Divinity School
he accomplished his best work, and there his great ability as theologian
and philosophical thinker made itself amply manifest.

Another group of men largely influenced by the transcendental movement
included David A. Wasson, John Weiss, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Longfellow,
Cyrus A. Bartol, Octavius K Frothingham, and William J. Potter. Here we see
the literary tendency showing itself distinctly and to much advantage. The
first four of these men wrote exquisite hymns and spiritual lyrics, and all
of them were contributors to periodical literature or writers of books.
Weiss was a literary critic of no mean merit in his lectures on Greek and
Shakespearean subjects; and his volumes on American Religion and Immortal
Life were purely literary in their method. However deficient were Johnson's
books on the religions of India, China, and Persia, from the point, of view
of the science of religion, they have not yet been surpassed as
interpretations of the inner spirit of Oriental religions. Bartol was a
master of an incisive literary method in the pulpit, that gives to his
Radical Problems, The Rising Faith, and Principles and Portraits a
scintillating power all their own, with epigram and flash of wit on every
page. Frothingham published many a volume of sermons; but his biographies
of Parker, Gerrit Smith, Wasson, Johnson, Ripley, Channing, and his volume
on the History of Transcendentalism in New England, as well as his Boston
Unitarianism, and Recollections and Impressions, indicate that his literary
interests were quite as active as his theological.

The literary tastes of Unitarian ministers are indicated by the large
number of them who have written poetry that passes beyond the limits of
mediocrity. The names of John Pierpont, Andrews Norton, Samuel Gilman,
Nathaniel L. Frothingham, the younger Henry Ware, W.B.O. Peabody, William
Henry Furness, William Newell, William Parsons Lunt, Frederic H. Hedge,
James F. Clarke, Theodore Parker, Chandler Robbins, Edmund H. Sears,
Charles T. Brooks, Robert C. Waterston, Thomas Hill, and others, have been
lovingly commemorated in Alfred P. Putnam's Singers and Songs of the
Liberal Faith. Hymns of nearly all these men are in common use in many
congregations, and some of their work has found a place in every hymnal.

No one can read the sermons of Thomas Starr King without feeling their
literary grace and finish of style, as well as their intellectual vigor.
His lectures marked his literary interest, which shows itself in his
Christianity and Humanity and his Substance and Show. Especially does it
appear in his delightful book on The White Hills, their Legends, Landscape,
and Poetry. In his day, Henry Giles was widely known as a lecturer; and his
numerous volumes of literary interpretation and criticism, especially his
Human Life in Shakespeare, were read with appreciation. In his District
School as it was, and My Religious Experience at my Native Home, Warren
Burton described in simple but effective prose a kind of life that has long
since passed away. His educational lectures and books helped on the cause
of public school education, a subject in which he was greatly interested.

Unitarian ministers have also made many contributions to local and general
history. The history of King's Chapel by Francis W.P. Greenwood may be
mentioned as a specimen of the former kind of work; but Greenwood also
published several volumes of sermons, as well as biographical and literary
volumes. A History of the Second Church in Boston, with Lives of Increase
and Cotton Mather, was published by Chandler Robbins. The theological
history of Unitarianism was ably discussed by George E. Ellis in A
Half-century of the Unitarian Controversy. He devoted much attention to the
history of New England, gave many lectures and addresses on subjects
connected therewith, published biographies of Anne Hutchinson, William
Penn, Count Rumford, Jared Sparks, and Charles W. Upham. His volumes on The
Red Man and the White Man in North America, The Puritan Theocracy, and
others, show his historical ability and his large grasp of his subjects.
Joseph Henry Allen published an Historical Sketch of the Unitarian Movement
since the Reformation, in the American Church History series. In Our
Liberal Movement in Theology, and its Sequel, he critically and
appreciatively treated of the history of Unitarianism in New England, and
of the men who were most important in its development. His taste for
historical studies appeared in his Christian History in its Three Great
Periods, a work of admirable critical judgment, sobriety of statement, and
concise presentation of the essential facts.

Alvan Lamson produced a book of critical value in The Church of the First
Three Centuries, which treats of the origin of the Trinitarian beliefs
during that period. A work of a similar character was done by Frederic
Huidekoper, in whose books were included the results of many years of
minute research, and of critical investigation into the origins of

Books of a widely different nature were written by Artemas B. Muzzey in his
Personal Recollection of the Men in the Battle of Lexington, and
Reminiscences of Men of the Revolution and their Families. He published
several volumes of sermons, as well as a number of educational works.
Somewhat of a theologian and an ardent student and expounder of philosophy,
William R. Alger has made himself widely known by his books on The Genius
of Solitude, Friendships of Women, and The School of Life. His fine
literary judgments, his artistic appreciations, and his richness of
sentiment and imagination show themselves in these attractive volumes. He
has also published a Life of Edwin Forrest, with a Critical History of the
Dramatic Art. His Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life is a
work of ripe scholarship and great literary merit, and is everywhere
recognized as an authority.

[Sidenote: Unitarians as Historians.]

In the chapter on historians, in his American Literature, Professor Charles
F. Richardson enumerates seventeen writers, twelve of whom were Unitarians.
It was in Cambridge and Boston, amongst the graduates of Harvard College,
that American historical writing began, and that it attained its greatest
successes. The same causes that had given the Unitarians pre-eminence in
other directions made them especially so in this, where wide learning and
sound criticism were of importance. Wealth, leisure, intellectual
emancipation, sympathetic interest in all that is human, combined with
scholarship and plodding industry, gave the historians an unusual equipment
for their tasks.

It may be justly said that historical writing in this country began with
Jeremy Belknap, the predecessor of Dr. Channing in the Federal Street
Church. When settled in Dover, he wrote his History of New Hampshire; and
after his removal to Boston he produced a biography of Watts and two
volumes of American Biographies. He first voiced the historical interest
that was awakened by the establishment of national independence, and the
desire to know of the past of the American people. His chief service to
historical studies, however, was in the formation of the Massachusetts
Historical Society.

Hannah Adams was not only a Unitarian, but the first woman in this country
to enter upon a literary career. Her View of Religious Opinions, first
issued in 1784, afterwards changed to a Dictionary of Religions, was the
earliest work attempting to give an account of all the religions of the
world. It was followed by her History of New England, and by her History of
the Jews. She also took part in the religious controversies of the day, her
contest with Dr. Jedediah Morse being one of the minor phases of the
struggle between the Unitarians and the Orthodox Congregationalists; and
her Evidences of Christianity, as well as her letters on the Gospels, were
written from the Unitarian point of view. Her books had no literary value,
but in their time they helped to foster the growing interest in American

Alexander Young, minister of the New South Church in Boston, rendered
valuable service to historical investigations by his Chronicles of the
Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth and his Chronicles of the First
Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, works that were scholarly,
accurate, and judicious. Perhaps his most important service was the editing
of the Library of Old English Prose Writers, in nine volumes, which
appeared from 1831 to 1834, and included such works as Sidney's Defence of
Poesie and Sir Thomas Browne's Urn Burial. Of his historical works, O.B.
Frothingham has justly said that "they showed extensive and accurate
knowledge, extraordinary zeal in research, singular impartiality of
judgment, great activity of mind, a strong inclination towards ethical as
distinguished from speculative subjects, a passionate love of books and
elegant letters."[1]

Of the greater historians, Bancroft, Prescott, Motley, Hildreth, Sparks,
Palfrey, Ticknor, Parkman, Higginson, Parton, and Fiske were Unitarians.
Three of these men were sons of Unitarian ministers, and four of them
prepared for that profession or entered upon its duties. It is not
desirable that any attempt should be made here to estimate their historical
labors, for their position and their achievements are well known.

It would be interesting to give an account of the Unitarian connections and
sympathies of these writers, but the materials are not at hand in the case
of most of them. One or two illustrations will suffice for them all,
indicating their religious tastes and preferences. In 1829 Prescott made a
careful examination of the evidences for belief in Christianity, and his
biographer says that "the conclusions at which he arrived were, that the
narratives of the Gospels were authentic; and that, even if Christianity
were not a divine revelation, no system of morals was so likely to fit him
for happiness here and hereafter. But he did not find in the Gospels or in
any part of the New Testament the doctrines commonly accounted orthodox,
and he deliberately recorded his rejection of them." At a later time he
stated his creed in these words: "To do well and act justly, to fear and to
love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves--in these is the essence of
religion. To do this is the safest, our only safe course. For what we can
believe we are not responsible, supposing we examine candidly and
patiently. For what we do we shall indeed be accountable. The doctrines of
the Saviour unfold the whole code of morals by which our conduct should be
regulated."[2] Prescott was a regular attendant at the First Church in

In his biography of George Ticknor, George S. Hilliard says that "the
strong religious impressions which Mr. Ticknor received in early years
deepened as his character matured into personal convictions, the confirmed
and ruling principles of his life. He had been brought up in the doctrines
of Calvinistic orthodoxy, but later serious reflection led him to reject
those doctrines; and soon after his return from Europe he joined Dr.
Channing's church, of which he continued through life a faithful member. He
was a sincere Liberal Christian, and his convictions were firm, but they
were held without bigotry, and he never allowed them to interfere with
kindliness and courtesy." It may be added that Ticknor was an active member
of the church with which he was connected, that in 1822 he took charge of a
class of boys in the Sunday-school, which he kept for eight years. In 1839
and the next year he gave a course of instruction in the history and
contents of the Bible to a class of young girls, for which he prepared
himself carefully.[3]

The influence exerted by the historians in teaching love of country and a
true patriotism may be accounted as very large. That men thoroughly
grounded in principles of religious liberty, in high ideals of justice and
humanity, in the broadest spirit of toleration and freedom of opinion,
should have written our histories, is of no small importance in the
formation of American character. That they have made many Unitarians we
cannot suppose, but that their influence has been large in the development
of a true spirit of nationality we have a right to think. They have
indicated concretely the effects of bigotry and intolerance, and they have
not failed to point out the defects in the practices of the Puritans. In so
far as they have had to deal with religious subjects, they have taught the
true Unitarian idea of liberty of conscience and freedom of opinion. They
have wisely helped to make it possible for many religions to live kindly
side by side, and to give every creed the right of utterance. These ideals
had been developed before our historians began to write, but these men have
helped to make them the inheritance of the whole nation. All the more
effective has been their teaching that it has grown out of the events of
our history, and has not been the voice of a merely personal opinion. But
we owe much to them that they have seen the true meaning of our history,
and that they have uttered it with clearness of interpretation and with
vigorous moral emphasis.

[Sidenote: Scientific Unitarians.]

A considerable number of the leading men of science have been Unitarians.
Notable among the mathematicians were Nathaniel Bowditch, Benjamin Peirce,
and Thomas Hill, who was president of Antioch College and of Harvard
University. Among the astronomers have been Benjamin Gould, Maria Mitchell,
Asaph Hall, and Edward C. Picketing. Of Maria Mitchell it was said that she
"was entirely ignorant of the peculiar phrases and customs of rigid
sectarians." Her biographer says she "never joined any church, but for
years before she left Nantucket she attended the Unitarian church, and her
sympathies, as long as she lived, were with that denomination, especially
with the more liberally inclined portion."[4] James Jackson, the first
physician of the Massachusetts General Hospital, should be named in this
connection. Joseph Lovering, the physicist, and Jeffries Wyman, the
comparative anatomist, are also to be included. And here belongs Louis
Agassiz, who has had more influence than any other man in developing an
interest in science among the people generally. He gave to scientific
investigations the largest importance for scientific men themselves. At the
same time he was a religious man and a theist. "In religion," says his
biographer, "Agassiz very liberal and tolerant, and respected the views and
convictions of every one. In his youth and early manhood, Agassiz was
undoubtedly a materialist, or, more exactly, a sceptic; but in time, and
little by little, his studies led him to belief in a divine Creative Power.
He was more in sympathy with Unitarianism than with any other Christian

[Sidenote: Unitarian Essayists.]

A considerable number of essayists, lecturers, and general writers have
been Unitarians. Among these have been Edwin P. Whipple, George Ripley,
Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney, John S. Dwight, Professor Charles Eliot Norton, Henry
T. Tuckerman, James T. Fields, and Professor Francis J. Child. These
writers represent several phases of Unitarian opinion, but they belong to
this fellowship by birthright or intellectual sympathies. In the same
company may be placed Henry D. Thoreau and John Burroughs, not because they
had any direct connection with Unitarianism, but because the religious
convictions they expressed are such as most Unitarians accept.

To the Unitarian fellowship belong Margaret Fuller, Lydia Maria Child,
Caroline M. Kirkland, Grace Greenwood (Mrs. Lippincott), and Julia Ward
Howe. All the early associations of Margaret Fuller were with Unitarians;
and her brother, Arthur Fuller, became a Unitarian minister. In her maturer
life she was with the transcendentalists, finding in Rev. W.H. Channing and
Emerson her spiritual teachers. Writing of her debt to Emerson, she said,
"His influence has been more beneficial to me than that of any American;
and from him I first learned what is meant by an inward life."[6] She was
a pronounced individualist, an intense lover of spiritual liberty, a friend
of those who live in the spirit. This may be seen in what she called her
credo, a sentence or two from which will indicate her type of thought. "I
will not loathe sects, persuasions, systems," she writes, "though I cannot
abide in them one moment; for I see that by most men they are still
needed." "Ages may not produce one worthy to loose the shoes of the Prophet
of Nazareth; yet there will surely be another manifestation of this word
which was in the beginning. The very greatness of this manifestation
demands a greater. We have had a Messiah to teach and reconcile. Let us now
have a man to live out all the symbolical forms of human life, with the
calm beauty of a Greek god, with the deep consciousness of Moses, with the
holy love and purity of Jesus."[7]

[Sidenote: Unitarian Novelists.]

Among the novelists have been several who were Unitarian ministers,
including Sylvester Judd, William Ware, Thomas W. Higginson, and Edward
Everett Hale. Judd's Margaret was of the very essence of transcendentalism,
besides being an excellent interpretation of some of the phases of New
England character. Ware's historical novels were popular in their day, and
are now worth going back to by modern readers, and especially by those who
do not insist upon having their romances hot from the press. Catherine M.
Sedgwick is another novelist worth returning to by modern readers, and
especially by those who would know of New England life in the early part of
the nineteenth century. She became an ardent Unitarian, and her biography
gives interesting glimpses of the early struggles of that faith in York
City. Other Unitarian women novelists were Lydia Maria Child, Grace
Greenwood, Helen Hunt Jackson, Louisa M. Alcott, and Harriet Prescott

In naming John T. Trowbridge, Bayard Taylor, Bret Harte, William D.
Howells, and Nathaniel Hawthorne as Unitarians, no merely sectarian aim is
in view. In the common use of the word, Hawthorne was not a religious man;
for he rarely attended church, and he had no interest in ecclesiastical
formalities. No man who has written in this country, however, was more
deeply influenced than he by those spiritual ideas and traditions which may
be properly called Unitarian. The same may be said of Howells, who is not a
Unitarian in any denominational sense; but his religious interests and
convictions bring him into sympathy with the movement represented by

It may be said of the most popular novels of Edward Everett Hale, such as
Ten Times One Is Ten, In His Name, His Level Best, that they are the best
possible interpretations of the Unitarian spirit; for it is not merely a
certain conception of God that characterizes Unitarianism, nor yet a
particular theological attitude. It is the wish to make religion real,
practical, altruistic.

[Sidenote: Unitarian Artists and Poets.]

Unitarianism has been as friendly to poetry and the other arts as it has
been to philosophy and science. In its early days it fostered the artistic
careers of Washington Allston, the painter, and Charles Bulfinch, the
architect. It has also nurtured the sculptors, William Wetmore Story, who
was also poet and essayist; Harriet Hosmer, whose career shows what a woman
can accomplish in opening new opportunities for her sex; Larkin G. Mead and
Daniel C. French. To these must be added the actors Fanny Kemble and
Charlotte Cushman.

It is as one of the earliest of our poets that Charles Sprague is to be
mentioned, and one or two of his poems are deservedly remembered. Jones
Very was one of the best of the transcendental poets, and a few of his
religious poems have not been surpassed. The younger William Ellery
Channing and Edward R. Sill belong to the same school, and deservedly keep
their places with those who admire what is choice in thought and individual
in artistic workmanship. As a biographer of O.B. Frothingham and as a
member of his congregation, it may be proper to add here the name of Edmund
C. Stedman.

Among our greater poets, Bryant, Longfellow, Emerson, Holmes, Lowell,
Stoddard, and Bayard Taylor were Unitarians. As being essentially of the
same way of thinking and believing, Whittier and Whitman might also be so
classed. Though Whittier was a Friend by education and by conviction, he
was of the liberal school that places religion above sect and interprets
dogmas in the light of human needs and affections. If he had been born and
bred a Unitarian, he could not have more sympathetically interpreted the
Unitarian faith than he has in his poems. Whitman had in him the heart of
transcendentalism, and he was informed of its inmost spirit. To the more
radical Unitarians his pleas for liberty, his intense individualism, and
his idealistic conceptions of nature and man would be acceptable, and, it
may be, enthusiastically approved.

William Cullen Bryant early became a Unitarian; and he listened to the
preaching of Follen, Dewey, Osgood, and Bellows. "A devoted lover of
religious liberty," Bellows said of him, "he was an equal lover of religion
itself--not in any precise, dogmatic form, but in its righteousness,
reverence, and charity. He was not a dogmatist, but preferred practical
piety and working virtue to all modes of faith."[8] It would be difficult
to give a better definition of Unitarianism itself; and it was the large
humanity of it, and its generous outlook upon the lives of individuals and
nations, that made of Bryant a faithful Unitarian.

Henry W. Longfellow was educated as a Unitarian, his father having been one
of the first vice-presidents of the Unitarian Association,--a position he
held for many years. Stephen Longfellow was an intimate friend of Dr.
Channing in his college years, and he followed the advance of his classmate
in the growth of his liberal faith. "It was in the doctrine and the spirit
of the early Unitarianism that Henry Longfellow was nurtured at church and
at home," says his brother. "And there is no reason to suppose that he ever
found these insufficient, or that he ever essentially departed from them.
Of his genuine religious feeling his writings, give ample testimony. His
nature was at heart devout; his ideas of life, of death, and of what lies
beyond, were essentially cheerful, hopeful, optimistic. He did not care to
talk much on theological points; but he believed in the supremacy of good
in the world and in the universe."[9]

Although Oliver Wendell Holmes was educated in the older forms of religious
beliefs, he became one of the most devoted of Unitarians. His rejection of
Calvinism is marked by his intense aversion to it, shown upon many a page
of his prose and poetry. No other prominent Unitarian was so aggressive
against the doctrines of the older time. He was a regular attendant at
King's Chapel upon the preaching of Dr. F.W.P. Greenwood, Dr. Ephraim
Peabody, and Rev. H.W. Foote; but, when he was in Pittsfield, for a number
of years he went to the Episcopal church, and at Beverly Farms in his later
years, during the summer, he attended a Baptist church. He was, therefore,
a conservative Unitarian, but with a generous recognition of the good in
other religious bodies. At the Unitarian Festival of 1859 Dr. Holmes was
the presiding officer, and in his address he gave a statement of the
Unitarian faith that clearly defines his own religious position:--

  We believe in vital religion, or the religion of life, as contrasted
  with that of trust in hierarchies, establishments, and traditional
  formulae, settled by the votes of wavering majorities in old councils
  and convocations. We believe in evangelical religion, or the religion
  of glad tidings, in distinction from the schemes that make our planet
  the ante-chamber of the mansions of eternal woe to the vast majority of
  all the men, women, and children that have lived and suffered upon its
  surface. We believe that every age must judge the Scriptures by its own
  light; and we mean, by God's grace, to exercise that privilege, without
  asking permission of pope or bishop, or any other human tribunal. We
  believe that sin is the much-abused step-daughter of ignorance, and
  this not only from our own observation, but on the authority of him
  whose last prayer on earth was that the perpetrators of the greatest
  crime on record might be forgiven, for they knew not what they were
  doing. We believe, beyond all other beliefs, in the fatherly relation
  of the Deity to all his creatures; and, wherever there is a conflict of
  Scriptural or theological doctrines, we hold this to be the article of
  faith that stands supreme above all others. And, lastly, we know that,
  whether we agree precisely in these or any other articles of belief, we
  can meet in Christian charity and fellowship, in that we all agree in
  the love of our race, and the worship of a common Father, as taught us
  by the Master whom we profess to follow.[10]

Educated as a Unitarian, James Russell Lowell felt none of the animosity
toward Calvinism that was characteristic of Holmes; but his poetry
everywhere indicates the liberality and nobleness of his religious
convictions. That he was not sectarian, that he felt no active interest in
dogmatic theology as such, is only saying that he was a genuine Unitarian.
Writing in 1838, Lowell said, "I am an infidel to the Christianity of
to-day."[11] In a letter to Longfellow written in 1845, he made a more
explicit statement of his attitude: "Christ has declared war against the
Christianity of the world, and it must down. There is no help for it. The
church, that great bulwark of our practical paganism, must be reformed from
foundation to weathercock."[12] These passages indicate his
dissatisfaction with an external religion and with dogmatic theology. On
the other hand, his letters and his poems prove that he was strongly
grounded in the faith of the spirit. In that faith he lived and died; and,
if in later years he gave recognition to some of the higher claims of the
older types of Christianity, it was a generous concession to their rational
qualities and their practical results, and in no degree an acceptance of
their teachings. The definite form of Lowell's faith he expressed when he
wrote, "I will never enter a church from which a prayer goes up for the
prosperous only, or for the unfortunate among the oppressors, and not for
the oppressed and fallen; as if God had ordained our pride of caste and our
distinctions of color, and as if Christ had forgotten those that are in

Emerson left the pulpit, and he withdrew from outward conformity to the
church; but that there came a time when he no longer felt an interest in
religion or that he even ceased to be a Christian, after his own manner of
interpretation, there is no reason to assume. His radicalism was in the
direction of a deeper and truer religion, a religion of the spirit. He
rejected the faith that is founded on the letter, on historical evidences,
that is a body without a soul. He was not the less a Unitarian because he
ceased to be one outwardly, for he carried forward the Unitarian principles
to their legitimate conclusion. The newer Unitarianism owes to him more
than to any other man, and of him more than of any other man the older
Unitarianism can boast that he was its product.

Such a survey as this indicates how great has been the influence of
Unitarianism upon American literature. There can be no question that it has
been one of the greatest formative forces in its development. "Almost
everybody," says Professor Barrett Wendell, "who attained literary
distinction in New England during the nineteenth century was either a
Unitarian or closely associated with Unitarian influences,"[14] More even
than that may be said, for it is the Unitarian writers who have most truly
interpreted American institutions and American ideals.

[1] Boston Unitarianism, 168.

[2] George Ticknor, Life of William Hickling Prescott, 91, 164.

[3] George S. Hillard, Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor,

[4] Phoebe Mitchell Kendall, Life, Letters, and Journals of Maria
    Mitchell, 239.

[5] Jules Marcou, Life of Agassiz, II. 220.

[6] Memoirs, I. 194.

[7] Memoirs, II. 91.

[8] John Bigelow, Life of Bryant, 274, 285.

[9] Samuel Longfellow, Life of H.W. Longfellow, I. 14

[10] Quarterly Journal, VI. 359, July, 1859.

[11] Biography of James Russell Lowell, by H.E. Scudder, I. 63.

[12] Ibid., 169.

[13] Biography of James Russell Lowell, by H.E. Scudder, I. 144, quoted
     from Conversations on Some of the Old Poets.

[14] A Literary History of America, 289.



The early Unitarians in this country did not desire to form a new sect.
They wished to remain Congregationalists, and to continue unbroken the
fellowship that had existed from the beginning of New England. When they
were compelled to separate from the older churches, they refrained from
organizing a strictly defined religious body, and have called theirs a
"movement." The words "denomination" and "sect" have been repellent to
them; and they have attempted, not only to avoid their use, but to escape
from that which they represent. They have wished to establish a broad, free
fellowship, that would draw together all liberal thinkers and movements
into one wide and inclusive religious body.

The Unitarian body accepted in theory from the first the principles of
liberty, reason, and free inquiry. These were fully established, however,
only as the result of discussion, agitation, and much friction. Theodore
Parker was subjected to severe criticism, Emerson was regarded with
distrust, and the Free Religious Association was organized as a protest and
for the sake of a freer fellowship. In fact, however, Parker was never
disfellowshipped; and from the first many Unitarians regarded Emerson as
the teacher of a higher type of spiritual religion. Through this period of
controversy, when there was much of bitter feeling engendered, no one was
expelled from the Unitarian body for opinion's sake. All stayed in who did
not choose to go out, there being no trials for, heresy. The result of this
method has been that the Unitarian body is now one of the most united and
harmonious in Christendom. The free spirit has abundantly justified itself.
When it was found that every one could think for himself, express freely
his own beliefs, and live in accordance with his own convictions,
controversy came to an end. When heresy was no longer sought for, heresy
ceased to have an existence. The result has not been discord and distrust,
but peace, harmony, and a more perfect fellowship.

In the Unitarian body from the first there has been a free spirit of
inquiry. Criticism has had a free course. The Bible has been subjected to
the most searching investigation, as have all the foundations of religion.
As a result, no religious body shows, a more rational interest in the Bible
or a more confident trust in its great spiritual teachings.

The early Unitarians anticipated that Unitarianism would soon become the
popular form of religion accepted in this country. Thomas Jefferson thought
that all young men of his time would die Unitarians. Others were afraid
that Unitarianism would become sectarian in its methods as soon as it
became popular, which they anticipated would occur in a brief period.[1]
The cause of the slow growth of Unitarianism is to be found in the fact
that it has been too modern in its spirit, too removed from the currents of
popular belief, to find ready acceptance on the part of those who are
largely influenced by traditional beliefs. The religion of the great
majority of persons is determined by tradition or social heredity, by what
they are taught in childhood or hear commonly repeated around them. Only
persons who are naturally independent and self-reliant can overcome the
difficulties in the way of embracing a form of religion which carries them
outside of the established tradition. For these reasons it is not
surprising that as yet there has not been a rapid growth of organized
Unitarianism. In fact, Unitarianism has made little progress outside of New
England, and those regions to which New England traditions have been
carried by those who migrated westward.

The early promise for the growth of Unitarianism in the south, from 1825 to
1840, failed because there was no background of tradition for its
encouragement and support. Individuals could think their way into the
Unitarian faith, but their influence proved ineffective when all around
them the old tradition prevailed as stubborn conviction. Even the influence
of a literature pervaded with Unitarianism proved ineffective in securing
any rapid spread of the new faith, except as it has found its way into the
common Christian tradition by a process of spiritual infiltration. The
result has been that Unitarianism has grown slowly, because it has been
obliged to create new traditions, to form a new habit of thought, and to
make free inquiry a common motive and purpose.

In a word, Unitarianism has been a heresy; and therefore there has been no
open door for it. Most heretical sects have been narrow in spirit, bigoted
in temper, and intensely sectarian in method. Their isolation from the
great currents of the world's life acts on them intellectually and
spiritually as the process of in-and-in breeding does upon animals: it
intensifies their peculiarities and defects. A process of atrophy or
degeneration takes place; and they grow from generation to generation more
isolated, sectarian, and peculiar. Unitarianism has escaped this tendency
because it has accepted the modern spirit and because to a large degree its
adherents have been educated and progressive persons. Its principles of
liberty, reason, and free inquiry, have brought its followers into touch
with those forces that are making most rapidly for the development of
mankind. Unitarians have been conspicuously capable of individual
initiative; and yet their culture has been large enough to give them a
conservative loyalty to the past and to the profounder and more spiritual
phases of the Christian tradition. While strongly individualistic and
heretical they have been sturdily faithful to Christianity, seeking to
revive its earlier and more simple life.

A chief value of Unitarianism in the past has been that it has pioneered
the way for the development of the modern spirit within the limits of
Christianity. The churches from which it came out have followed it far on
the way it has travelled. Its most liberal advocates of the first
generation were more conservative than many of the leaders are to-day in
the older churches. Its period of criticism, controversy, and agitation is
being reproduced in many another religious body of the present time. The
debates about miracles, the theory of the supernatural, the authenticity of
Scripture, the nature of Christ, and other problems that are now agitating
most of the progressive Protestant denominations, are almost precisely
those that exercised Unitarians years ago. The only final solution of these
problems, that will give peace and harmony, is that of free inquiry and
rational interpretation, which Unitarians have finally accepted. If other
religious bodies would profit by this experience and by the Unitarian
method for the solution of these problems, it would be greatly to their

The Unitarian churches have been few in number, and they have suffered from
isolation and provincialism. These defects of the earlier period have now
in part passed away, new traditions have been created, a cosmopolitan
spirit has been developed, and Unitarianism has become a world movement.
This was conspicuously indicated at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the
organization of the American Unitarian Association, and in the formation of
The International Council of Unitarian and Other Liberal Religious Thinkers
and Workers. It was then shown that Unitarianism has found expression in
many parts of the world, that it answers to an intellectual and spiritual
need of the time, and that it is capable of interpreting the religious
convictions of persons belonging to many phases of human development and
culture. A broader, more philosophical, and humaner tradition is being
formed, that will in time become a wide-reaching influence for the
development of a religious life that will be at once more scientific and
more spiritual in its nature than anything the past has produced.

The promise of Unitarianism for the future does not consist in its becoming
a sect and in its striving for the development of merely denominational
interests, but in its cultivation of the deeper spiritual life and in its
cosmopolitan sympathy with all phases of religious growth. Its mission is
one with philanthropy, charity, and altruism. Its attitude should be that
of free inquiry, loyalty to the spirit of philosophy and science, and
fidelity to the largest results of human progress. It should always
represent justice, righteousness, and personal integrity. That promise is
not to be found in the rapid multiplication of its churches or in its
devotion to propagandist aims, but in its loyalty to the free spirit and in
its exemplification of the worth and beauty of the religion of humanity. As
a sect, it will fail; but as a movement towards a larger faith, a purer
life, and a more inclusive fellowship, the future is on its side.

While recognizing the Unitarian as a great pioneer movement in religion, it
should be seen that its strong individualism has been a cause of its slow
growth. Until recently the Unitarian body has been less an organic phase of
the religious life of the time than a group of isolated churches held
together only by the spontaneous bonds of fellowship and good will. Such a
body can have little effective force in any effort at missionary
propagandism or in making its spirit dominant in the religious life of the
country. As heredity and variation are but two phases of organic growth, so
are tradition and individual initiative but two phases of social progress.
In both processes--organic growth and social progress--the primary force is
the conservative one, that maintains what the past has secured. If
individualism is necessary to healthy growth, associative action is
essential to any growth whatever of the social body. In so far as
individual perfection can be attained, it cannot be by seeking it as an end
in itself: it can be reached only by means of that which conduces to
general social progress.

It may be questioned whether there is any large future for Unitarianism
unless all excessive individualism is modified and controlled. Such
individualism is in opposition to the altruistic and associative spirit of
the present time. Liberty is not an end in itself, but its value is to be
found in the opportunity it gives for a natural and fitting association of
individuals with each other. Freedom of religious inquiry is but an
instrument for securing spiritual growth, not merely for the individual,
but for all mankind. So long as liberty of thought and spiritual freedom
remain the means of individual gratification, they are ineffective as
spiritual forces. They must be given a wider heritage in the life of
mankind before they can accomplish their legitimate results in securing for
men freedom from the external bonds of traditionalism. Even reason is but
an instrument for securing truth, and not truth itself.

Rightly understood, authority in the church is but the principle of social
action, respect for what mankind has gained of spiritual power through its
centuries of development. Authority is therefore as necessary as freedom,
and the two must be reconciled in order that progress may take place. When
so understood and so limited, authority becomes essential to all growth in
freedom and individuality. What above all else is needed in religion is
social action on the part of freedom-loving men and women, who, in the
strength of their individuality, co-operate for the attainment, not of
their own personal good, but the advancement of mankind. This is what
Unitarianism has striven for, and what it has gained in some measure. It
has sought to make philanthropy the test of piety, and to make liberty a
means of social fidelity.

Free inquiry cannot mean liberty to think as one pleases, but only to think
the truth, and to recognize with submissive spirit the absolute conditions
and the limitations of the truth. Though religion is life and not a creed,
it none the less compels the individual to loyalty of social action; and
that means nothing more and nothing less than faithfulness to what will
make for the common good, and not primarily what will minister to one's own
personal development, intellectually and spiritually.

The future of Unitarianism will depend on its ability further to reconcile,
individualism with associative action, the spirit of free inquiry with the
larger human tradition. Its advantage cannot be found in the abandonment of
Christianity, which has been the source and sustaining power of its life,
but in the development of the Christian tradition by the processes of
modern thought. The real promise of Unitarianism is in identifying itself
with the altruistic spirit of the age, and in becoming the spiritual
interpreter of the social aspirations of mankind. In order to this result
it must not only withdraw from its extreme individualism, but bring its
liberty into organic relations with its spirit of social fidelity. It will
then welcome the fact that freedom and authority are identical in their
deeper meanings. It will discover that service is more important than
culture, and that culture is of value to the end that service may become
more effective. Then it will cheerfully recognize the truth that the social
obligation is as important as the individual right, and that the two make
the rounded whole of human action.

[1] See pp. 131, 328.



The local conferences came into existence in the following order: Wisconsin
and Minnesota Quarterly Conference, organized at Sheboygan, Wis., October
24, 1866; New York Central Conference of Liberal Christians, Rochester,
November 21, 1866; Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches of
the Middle and Southern States, Wilmington, Del., November 22, 1866;
Norfolk Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches, Dedham,
Mass., November 28, 1866; New York and Hudson River Local Conference, New
York, December 6, 1866; Essex Conference of Liberal Christian Churches,
Salem, Mass., December 11, 1866; Lake Erie Conference of Unitarian and
Other Christian Societies, Meadville, Penn., December 11, 1866; Worcester
County Conference of Congregational (Unitarian) and Other Christian
Societies, Worcester, Mass., December 12, 1866; South Middlesex Conference
of Congregational Unitarian and Other Christian Societies, Cambridgeport,
Mass., December 12, 1866; Suffolk Conference of Unitarian and Other
Christian Churches, Boston, December 17, 1866; North Middlesex Conference
of Unitarian Congregational and Other Christian Churches, Littleton, Mass.,
December 18, 1866.

The Champlain Liberal Christian Conference, Montpelier, Vt., January 9,
1867; the Connecticut Valley Conference of Congregational Unitarian and
Other Christian Churches, Greenfield, Mass., January 16, 1867; the Plymouth
and Bay Conference, Hingham, Mass., February 5, 1867; the Ohio Valley
Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches, Louisville, Ky.,
February 22, 1867; the Channing Conference, Providence, R.I., April 17,
1867; Liberal Christian Conference of Western Maine, Brunswick, Me.,
October 22, 1867.

The Local Conference of Liberal Christians of the Missouri Valley, Weston,
Mo., March 18, 1868; the Chicago Conference of Unitarian Churches, Chicago,
December 2, 1868; Western Illinois and Iowa Conference of Unitarian and
Other Christian Churches, Sheffield, Ill., January 28, 1869; Cape Cod
Conference of Unitarian Congregational and Other Liberal Christian
Churches, Barnstable, Mass., November 30, 1870; Conference of Liberal
Christians of the Missouri Valley, Kansas City, Mo., May 3, 1871; Michigan
Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches, Jackson, October 21,
1875; the Fraternity of Illinois Liberal Christian Societies, Bloomington,
November 11, 1875; Iowa Association of Unitarian and Other Independent
Churches, Burlington, June 1, 1877; Indiana Conference of Unitarian and
Independent Religious Societies, Hobart, October 1, 1878; Ohio State
Conference of Unitarian and Other Liberal Societies, Cincinnati, May, 1879.

Kansas Unitarian Conference, December 2, 1880; Nebraska Unitarian
Association, Omaha, November 9, 1882; the Southern Conference of Unitarian
and Other Christian Churches, Atlanta, Ga., April 24, 1884; the New York
Conference of Unitarian Churches superseded the New York and Hudson River
Conference at a session held in New York, April 29, 1885; Pacific Unitarian
Conference, San Francisco, November 2, 1885; the Illinois Conference of
Unitarian and Other Independent Societies superseded the Illinois
Fraternity in 1885; Minnesota Unitarian Conference, St. Paul, November 17,
1887; Hancock Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches, Bar
Harbor, Me., August 8, 1889; Missouri Valley Unitarian Conference
superseded the Kansas Unitarian Conference, December 2, 1889.

Rocky Mountain Conference of Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian
Churches, Denver, Col., May 17, 1890; the Unitarian Conference of the
Middle States and Canada, Brooklyn, N.Y., November 19, 1890, superseded New
York State Conference; Central States Conference of Unitarian Churches,
Cincinnati, December 9, 1891, superseded the Ohio State Conference; Pacific
Northwest Conference of Unitarian, Liberal Christian, and Independent
Churches, Puyallup, Wash., August 1, 1892; Southern California Conference
of Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian Churches, Santa Ana, October 1892.

Four of the early conferences, the New York Central, Champlain, Western
Maine, and Missouri Valley, were not distinctly Unitarian. These were union
organizations, in which Universalists, and perhaps other denominations,
were associated with Unitarians. The New York Central Conference refused to
send delegates to the National Conference on account of its union
character. In other conferences, such as the Connecticut Valley and the
Norfolk, Universalists took part in their organization, and were for a
number of years connected with them.

Most of the conferences organized from 1875 to 1885 were within state
limits; but those organized subsequently to 1885 were more distinctly
district conferences, and included several states. Several of the
conferences have been reorganized in order to bring them into harmony with
the prevailing theory of state or district limits at the time when such
action took place. A few of the conferences had only a name to live, and
they soon passed out of existence.

In the local, as in the National Conference, two purposes contended for
expression, the one looking to the uniting of all liberal denominations in
one general organization, and the other to the promotion of distinctly
Unitarian interests. In the National Conference the denominational purpose
controlled the aims kept most clearly in view; but the other purpose found
expression in the addition of "Other Christian Churches" to the name,
though only in the most limited way did such churches connect themselves
with the conference. The local conferences made like provision for those
not wishing to call themselves distinctly Unitarian. Such desire for
co-operation, however, was in a large degree rendered ineffective by the
fact that the primary aim had in view in the creation of the local
conferences was the increase of the funds of the American Unitarian


There was a very considerable activity from 1825 to 1850 in the publication
of Unitarian periodicals, and probably the energies of the denomination
found a larger expression in that direction than in any other.

In January, 1827, was begun in Boston The Liberal Preacher, a monthly
publication of sermons by living ministers, conducted by the Cheshire
Association of Ministers, with Rev. Thomas R. Sullivan, of Keene, N.H., as
the editor. It was continued for eight or ten years, and with considerable

With November, 1827, Rev. William Ware began the publication in New York
City of The Unitarian, a quarterly magazine, of which the last number
appeared February 15, 1828.

The Unitarian Monitor was begun at Dover, N.H., October 1, 1831, and was
continued until October 10, 1833. It was a fortnightly of four three-column
pages, and was well conducted. It was under the editorial management of
Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop, then the minister in Dover.

The Unitarian Christian, edited by Rev. Stephen G. Bulfinch, was published
quarterly in Augusta, Ga., for a year or two.

In 1823 Rev. Samuel J. May published The Liberal Christian at Brooklyn,
Conn., as a fortnightly county paper of eight small quarto pages. He
followed it by The Christian Monitor and Common People's Adviser, which was
begun in April, 1832, its object being "to promote the free discussion of
all subjects connected with happiness and holiness."

The Unitarian, conducted by Rev. Bernard Whitman, then settled in Waltham,
Mass., was published in Cambridge and Boston during the year 1834, and came
to its end because of the death of Whitman in the last month of the year.
It was a monthly magazine of a distinctly missionary character.

Of a more permanent character was The Unitarian Advocate, the first number
of which was issued in Boston, January, 1828. It was a small 12mo of sixty
pages, monthly, the editor being Rev. Edmund Q. Sewall. He continued in
that capacity to the end of 1829, when it was "conducted by an association
of gentlemen." The purpose was to make a popular magazine at a moderate
price. It came to an end in December, 1832.

With January 1, 1835, was issued in Boston the first number of The Boston
Observer and Religious Intelligencer, a weekly of eight three-column pages,
edited by Rev. George Ripley. It was continued for only six months, when it
was joined to The Christian Register, which took its name as a sub-title
for a time. Its motto, "Liberty, Holiness, Love," was also borrowed by that

The Western Messenger was begun in Cincinnati, June, 1835, with Rev.
Ephraim Peabody as the editor. It was a monthly of ninety-six pages, and
was ably edited. Owing to the illness of Mr. Peabody, it was removed to
Louisville after the ninth number; and Rev. James Freeman Clarke became the
editor, with Rev. W.H. Channing and Rev. J.H. Perkins as assistants for a
time. It was published by the Western Unitarian Association, and was
discontinued with the number for May, 1841. Among the contributors were
Emerson, Margaret Fuller, William Henry Channing, Christopher P. Cranch,
William G. Eliot, who aided in giving it a high literary character. For a
number of years the American Unitarian Association made an annual
appropriation to aid in its publication.

The Monthly Miscellany of Religion and Letters was begun in Boston with
April, 1839. It was a 12mo of forty-eight pages, monthly. The editor was
Rev. Ezra S. Gannett, by whom it was "designed to furnish religious reading
for the people, treat Unitarian opinions in their practical bearings, and
show their power to produce holiness of life; and by weight of contents to
come between The Christian Register and The Christian Examiner." It was
continued until the end of 1843, when it was absorbed by the latter

With the first of January, 1844, was begun The Monthly Religious Magazine,
to meet the needs of those who found The Christian Examiner too scholarly.
The first editor, was Rev. Frederic D. Huntington, who was succeeded by
Rev. Edmund H. Sears, Rev. James W. Thompson, Rev. Rufus Ellis, and Rev.
John H. Morison. The last issue was that of February, 1874.

A large weekly was begun in Boston, January 7, 1843, called The Christian
World, of which Rev. George G. Channing was the publisher and managing
editor. He was assisted by Rev. James Freeman Clarke and Hon. John A.
Andrew, afterward Governor of Massachusetts, as editors or editorial
contributors. The special aims of the paper were "to awaken a deeper
religious interest in all the great philanthropic and benevolent
enterprises of the day." It was continued until December 30, 1848. George
G. Channing was a brother of Dr. Channing, and was settled over two or
three parishes. The paper was ably conducted, and while Unitarian was not
distinctly denominational.

The Christian Inquirer was started in New York, October 17, 1846, and was a
weekly of four six-column pages. It was managed by the New York Unitarian
Association; and it was largely under the control of Rev. Henry W. Bellows,
who in 1850 was assisted by Rev. Samuel Osgood, Rev. James F. Clarke, and
Rev. Frederic H. Hedge.

In 1846 was begun the publication of the Unitarian Annual Register in
Boston by Crosby & Nichols, with Rev. Abiel A. Livermore, then settled in
Keene, N.H., as the editor. In 1851 the work came under the control of the
American Unitarian Association, and as the Year Book of the denomination it
was edited by the secretary or his assistant. From 1860 to 1869 the Year
Book was issued as a part of the December number of The Monthly Journal of
the American Unitarian Association.

The Bible Christian was begun in 1847 at Toronto by Rev. John Cordner, the
minister there, and was continued as a semi-monthly for a brief period.

The Unitarian and Foreign Religious Miscellany was published in Boston
during 1847, with Rev. George E. Ellis as the editor. It was a monthly
magazine devoted to the explanation and defence of Unitarian Christianity;
and its contents were mostly selected from the English Unitarian
periodicals, especially The Prospective Review, The Monthly Reformer, Bible
Christian, The Unitarian, and The Inquirer.

During this period The Christian Examiner had its largest influence upon
the denomination, and came to an end. Its scholarship and its liberality
made it of interest to only a limited constituency, and the publisher was
compelled to discontinue it at the end of 1869 from lack of adequate
support. It was edited from the beginning by the ablest men. Rev. James
Walker and Rev. Francis W.P. Greenwood became the editors in 1831, Rev.
William Ware taking the place of Dr. Walker in 1837. From 1844 to 1849 Rev.
Ezra S. Gannett and Rev. Alvan Lamson were the editors, and they were
succeeded by Rev. George Putnam and Rev. George E. Ellis. In July, 1857,
Rev. Frederic H. Hedge and Rev. Edward E. Hale became the editors, and
continued until 1861. Then the editorship was assumed by Rev. Thomas B.
Fox, who was for several years its owner and publisher; and he was assisted
as editor by Rev. Joseph H. Allen. The magazine was purchased by Mr. James
Miller in 1865, who removed it to New York. Dr. Henry W. Bellows became the
editor, and Mr. Allen continued as assistant, until it was discontinued
with the December number, 1869.

One of the purposes which found expression after the awakening of 1865 was
the establishment of a large popular weekly religious journal that should
reach all classes of liberals throughout the country. The Christian
Inquirer was changed into The Liberal Christian with the number for
December 22, 1866; and under this name it appeared in a larger and more
vigorous form. Dr. Bellows was the editor, and contributors were sought
from all classes of Liberal Christians. The effort made to establish an able
undenominational journal, of a broad and progressive but distinctly liberal
type, was energetic; but the time was not ready for it. With December 2,
1876, the paper became The Inquirer, which was continued to the close of

There was also planned in 1865 a monthly journal that should be everywhere
acceptable in the homes of liberals of every kind. In January, 1870,
appeared the Old and New, a large monthly magazine, combining popular and
scholarly features. The editors were Dr. Edward E. Hale and Mr. Frederic B.
Perkins. In its pages were first published Dr. Hale's Ten Times Ten, and
also many of the chapters of Dr. James Martineau's Seat of Authority in
Religion. It was discontinued with the number for December, 1875.

The Monthly Religious Magazine was discontinued with the February issue of
1874; and the next month appeared The Unitarian Review and Religious
Magazine, edited by Rev. Charles Lowe. When Lowe died, in June, 1874, he
was succeeded by Rev. Henry H. Barber and Rev. James De Normandie. In 1880
Dr. J.H. Allen became the editor,--a position he held until the magazine
was discontinued, in December, 1891.

In March, 1878, was begun in Chicago the publication of The Pamphlet
Mission, a semi-monthly issue of sermons for missionary circulation, with a
dozen pages of news added in a supplement. In September the name was
changed to Unity; and this publication grew into a small fortnightly
journal, representing the interests of the Western Unitarian Conference. A
few years later it became a weekly; and it has continued as the
representative of the more radical Unitarian opinions, though in 1894 it
became the special organ of The Liberal Congress. The chief editorial
management has been in the hands of Rev. Jenkin Ll. Jones.

The Unitarian was begun in Chicago by Rev. Brooke Herford and Rev. Jabez T.
Sunderland with January, 1886, as the organ of the more conservative
members of the Western Conference. In June, 1887, this monthly magazine was
removed to Ann Arbor, Mr. Sunderland becoming the managing editor; and in
1890 the office of publication was removed to Boston, and Rev. Frederic B.
Mott became the assistant editor. In 1897 the magazine was merged into The
Christian Register.

In 1880 The Rising Faith was published at Manchester, N.H., as a monthly,
and continued for two or three years.

In August, 1891, The Guidon appeared in San Francisco; and in November,
1893, it became The Pacific Unitarian, a monthly representing the interests
of the Unitarian churches on the Pacific coast. Mr. Charles A. Murdock has
been the editor.

The Southern Unitarian was begun at Atlanta, Ga., January, 1893; and it was
published for five years as a monthly by the Southern Conference.

In December, 1891, was begun at Davenport, Ia., with Rev. Arthur M. Judy as
editor, a monthly parish paper, called Old and New. Other parishes joined
in its publication, and in 1895 it became the organ of the Iowa Unitarian
Association. In 1896 it was published in Chicago, with Rev. A.W. Gould as
the editor, in behalf of the interests of the Western Conference. In
September, 1898, its publication was resumed in Davenport by Mr. Judy; and
a year later it became again the organ of the Iowa Association.

The New World, a Quarterly Review of Religion, Ethics, and Theology, was
begun in Boston, March, 1892, and was discontinued with the December number
for 1900. Its editors were Dr. C.C. Everett, Dr. C.H. Toy, Dr. Orello Cone,
with Rev. N.P. Gilman as managing editor.

The Church Exchange began in June, 1893, and was published as a monthly at
Portland, in the interest of the Maine Conference of Unitarian Churches,
with Rev. John C. Perkins as editor. In 1896-97 it was published at
Farmington, and in 1897-99 Mr. H.P. White was the editor. Since 1899 it has
been published in Portland, with Mr. Perkins as editor.

The above list of periodicals is not complete. More detailed information is
desirable, and that the list may be made, full and accurate to date.


_The foot-notes and appendix have been included in the index with
the text._

Abbot, Abiel (Beverly), 131, 133, 262, 350, 351.
Abbot, Abiel (Peterboro), 409.
Abbot, Ezra, 393, 394.
Abbot, Francis Ellingwood, 200-204, 207, 210, 211, 213, 415.
Abolitionists, 353.
Adam, 51, 63.
Adam, William, 296-298.
Adams, Hannah, 265, 423.
Adams, Herbert W., 114, 409.
Adams, John, 58, 136, 351. 377, 380, 382.
Adams, John Quincy, 366, 380.
Adams, Phineas, 95.
African Methodist Episcopal Church, 338, 339.
Agassiz, Louis, 408, 427, 428.
Albee, John, 415.
Alcott, Amos Bronson, 155, 202, 358, 369.
Alcott, Louisa M., 178, 368, 430.
Alger, William Rounseville, 146, 163, 164, 346, 422.
Allen, Joseph, 146, 264, 268, 360, 361, 414.
Allen, Joseph Henry, 165, 261, 361, 393, 414, 421, 450, 451.
Allison, William B., 380, 383.
Allston, Washington, 98, 430.
Allyn, John, 131, 133.
American literature, 412, 413, 415, 416, 435.
"American Unitarianism," 79, 82, 101-104.
Ames, Charles Gordon, 168, 214.
Ames, Fisher, 382.
Ames, Oliver, 382.
Amory, John C., 385.
Andover Theological School, 93.
Andrew, John Albion, 191, 192, 196, 324, 367, 382, 449.
Angell, George T., 336.
Animals, humane treatment of, 335, 336.
Anonymous Association, 127.
Anthology Club, 96.
Anthology, Monthly, 93, 95, 390.
Anthony, Henry B., 367, 380.
Anthony, Susan B., 368.
Antinomianism, 16.
Antioch College, 172, 193, 197, 401, 402.
Anti-slavery, 100, 159, 343, 353-367.
Appleton, Nathan, 386.
Arianism, 42, 43, 44, 56, 59, 65, 66, 70, 83.
Arminianism, 8, 9, 11, 28, 37-39, 42, 44, 48, 50, 59, 66, 67, 70, 75,
      84, 89.
Arminius, 8.
Artists, 430.
Association of Benevolent Societies, 255.
Association of Young Men, 248-251, 264.
Autumnal Conventions, 173-176, 187.
Auxiliaries of American Unitarian Association, 146.
Ayer, Adams, 216.

Ballou, Hosea, 93.
Baltimore, 111-113.
Bancroft, Aaron, 73, 74, 114, 130, 132, 135, 136, 142, 413.
Bancroft, George, 380, 413, 414, 424.
Baptists, 6, 7, 21, 87, 88.
Barnard, Charles F., 254, 256, 260, 332, 337, 361.
Barnard, Thomas, 70.
Barrett, Samuel, 127, 135, 137, 144, 264.
Barry, Joseph, 333.
Bartol, Cyrus Augustus, 148, 155, 202, 240, 241, 419.
Batchelor, George, 196, 226, 232.
Beecher, Henry Ward, 370.
Beecher, Lyman, 384.
Belknap, Jeremy, 83, 351, 423.
Bellamy, Joseph, 44, 52, 57, 73.
Bellows, Henry Whitney, 136, 146, 154, 175, 178-182, 187-189, 191, 196,
      198, 205, 206, 215, 217, 218, 220, 222, 223, 232, 233, 335, 363, 409,
      431, 449, 450.
Belsham, Thomas, 79, 102, 103.
Benevolent Fraternity of Churches, 197, 256, 257, 282.
Bentley, William, 71, 80, 90.
Bergh, Henry, 335.
Berry Street Conference, 106, 107, 133.
Bible, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 14, 20, 25, 27, 32, 40, 45, 48, 50, 53, 55, 60, 64,
      85, 86, 122, 156, 157, 171, 198, 199, 321, 389, 395, 437.
Bible Societies, 100, 147, 322.
Bigelow, Andrew, 258.
Birthright church, 240, 241.
Bixby, James T., 307, 320.
Blackwell, Antoinette Brown, 371.
Blackwell, Henry B., 368.
Blake, H.G.O., 415.
Bond, Edward P., 153.
Bond, George, 131, 133.
Bond, Henry F., 341, 342.
Book distribution, 148, 163, 166, 169, 338.
Boston, 16, 20, 61, 75, 77, 118, 141, 160, 213, 383-388, 413.
Boston Observer, The, 448.
Boston Provident Association, 334, 335.
Boutwell, George S., 367, 382.
Bowditch, Henry I., 367.
Bowditch, Nathaniel, 117, 381, 427.
Bowditch, William I., 367.
Bowdoin, James, 80, 385.
Bowles & Dearborn, 235.
Bowles, Leonard C., 235.
Brackett, J.Q.A., 382.
Bradford, Alden, 47, 65, 127, 128, 132, 133.
Bradford, George P., 415.
Bradlee, Caleb D., 336.
Bradley, Amy, 181, 338.
Brattle Street Church, 29, 35, 40, 52, 53, 77, 94, 143, 160, 385, 387.
Breck, Robert, 40.
Briant, Lemuel, 50, 58.
Bridgman, Laura, 326.
Briggs, Charles, 144, 151, 235, 361.
Briggs, George W., 270, 360, 361.
Brigham, Charles H., 189, 214, 215, 319, 361.
British and Foreign Unitarian Association, 295, 298, 303.
Brooks, Charles, 336, 400.
Brooks, Charles T., 146, 244, 298, 359, 420.
Brooks Fund, 166.
Brown, Howard N., 196, 243.
Bryant, William Cullen, 117, 191, 195, 243, 381, 431, 432.
Buckminster, J.S., 94, 98, 390, 391, 416.
Bulfinch, Charles, 430.
Bulfinch, Stephen G., 146, 165, 268, 270, 271, 361, 447.
Burleigh, Celia C., 369, 370.
Burleigh, William H., 369.
Burnap, George W., 114.
Burnside, Ambrose E., 383.
Burroughs, John, 428.
Burton, Warren, 139, 257, 361, 421.
Bushnell, Horace, 241.

Calcutta, 296, 297, 299, 300.
Calhoun, John C., 376, 380.
Calvinism, 9, 26, 28, 34, 37, 39, 44, 45, 46, 48, 62, 73, 75, 76, 84,
      87, 92.
Carpenter, Lant, 154.
Carpenter, Mary, 259.
Cary, George L., 318.
"Catholic Christians," 104, 106, 123.
Catholicism, 3, 5, 18, 53.
Chadwick, John White, 157, 216, 244, 275, 354, 370.
Chaney, George L., 337.
Channing, George G., 144, 449.
Channing, William Ellery, 70, 94, 99, 102, 103, 106, 114, 119, 123, 125,
      129, 130, 135, 142, 146, 148, 163, 164, 173, 174, 184, 199, 321, 324,
      328, 343-345, 349, 350, 365, 399, 402, 415, 432.
Channing, William Ellery, poet, 431.
Channing, William Henry, 155, 176, 200, 258, 359, 361, 365, 368, 369, 420,
      428, 448.
Chapin, Henry, 212.
Chapman, Maria W., 367, 368.
Charity work, 35, 252, 254-256, 322-325, 328.
Charleston, S.C., 118.
Chauncy, Charles, second president Harvard College, 24.
Chauncy, Charles, minister First Church in Boston, 45, 46, 48, 52, 53,
      66-69, 77, 85, 90.
Cheerful Letter Exchange, 288.
Cheney, Ednah D., 202, 279, 283, 368, 428.
Chicago, 167, 213.
Child, David Lee, 359.
Child, Lydia Maria, 367, 428, 430.
Children's Mission, 197, 331-334.
Chillingworth, William, 5, 10, 12, 14, 31, 45.
Choate, Joseph H., 381.
Christ, 6, 11, 14, 15, 24, 27, 40, 49, 50, 56, 62, 64, 67, 69, 70, 74, 75,
      83, 85, 86, 99, 138, 139, 157, 170, 171, 193, 198, 200, 206, 207,
      209, 210, 227, 378, 393, 429, 434.
Christian connection, 89, 140, 194, 314, 315, 316.
Christian Examiner, The, 101, 156, 236, 416, 449, 450.
Christian Inquirer, The, 449, 450.
Christian Monitor, The, 96.
Christian Register, The, 114-116, 127, 145, 147, 156, 173, 185, 207, 232,
      264, 296, 356, 448.
Christian Union, Boston, Young Men's, 214, 216, 336, 337.
Christian Unions, 216, 337.
Christian World, The, 145, 147, 449.
Christianity, 11-13, 45, 62, 63, 75, 85, 86, 123, 138, 156, 200, 201, 206,
      209-211, 222, 227, 241, 362.
Christians, 6, 9, 14, 51, 64, 170, 206, 209, 222, 224, 227.
Church, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 52, 106, 115.
Church and state, 7, 17, 20, 21, 23, 27-29, 52, 68, 85-87, 120-123.
Church Building Loan Fund, 234.
Church membership, 18-20, 27, 241, 242.
Church of the Disciples, 242, 327.
Civil service reform, 372-375.
Civil war, 171, 175-184, 187, 283.
Clark University, 399.
Clarke, James Freeman, 146, 155, 160, 161, 163, 164, 165, 175, 191, 192,
      194, 201, 204, 215, 242, 244, 273, 307, 312, 318, 327, 360, 361, 366,
      369, 370, 417, 418, 420, 448, 449.
Clarke, Samuel, 13, 44-46, 56, 67, 70.
Clarke, Sarah Freeman, 404.
Clifford, John H., 382.
Codding, Ichabod, 168, 365.
Codman, John, 102.
College town missions, 214, 215.
Collyer, Robert, 167, 171, 185, 194.
Colporters, 148, 169.
Commerce, 72.
Committee on fellowship, 220, 221.
Conant, Augustus H., 169, 172, 176, 361.
Conference, Berry Street, 106, 107, 133.
Confirmation, 241, 242.
Congregational independence, 34, 126.
Congregationalism, 74, 87, 89, 93, 117, 119, 194, 199, 241, 436.
Contributions to American Unitarian Association, 142, 153, 159, 162, 164,
      188, 190, 193, 197, 213, 234.
Convention, Autumnal, 173-176, 187.
Conversion, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27.
Conway, Moncure D., 365, 415.
Cooper Institute, 215, 408.
Cooper, Peter, 381, 408, 409.
Cordner, John, 146, 238.
Cornell University, 215.
Corporate idea of church, 5, 7, 17-19, 20.
Country Week, 337.
Covenants, Church, 26.
Cranch, Christopher, P., 415, 448.
Cranch, William, 377, 380.
Creeds, 26, 49, 62, 64, 66, 85, 206.
Crocker, Lucretia, 370, 403, 404.
Crosby, Nichols & Co., 236.
Crosby, William, 334.
Cudworth, Warren H., 271.
Curtis, Benjamin R., 382.
Curtis, George Ticknor, 381.
Curtis, George William, 196, 239, 347, 369, 373-375, 381.
Cutter, George W., 226.

Dall, Caroline Healey, 165, 202, 279, 368, 370, 371.
Dall, Charles, H.A., 259, 299-302, 361.
Dane, Nathan, 350, 351, 382.
Davis, John, 382.
Dedham, 29, 54, 87, 115, 218.
Deism, 42.
Democratic tendencies, 8, 33, 34, 37, 90, 121, 174.
Depositaries, 146, 149, 169.
Depravity of man, 51, 63, 66, 68, 69.
Devotional library, 164.
Dewey, Orville, 114, 143, 146, 165, 174, 191, 267, 354, 415, 431.
Dexter, Henry M., 22.
Dexter, Samuel, 351, 382.
Dickens, Charles, 324.
Dillingham, Pitt, 339.
Disciple, The Christian, 99-101.
Dix, Dorothea, 324, 327, 328-331.
Dole, Charles F., 274, 352.
Douthit, Jasper L., 214.
Doyle, J.A., 22.
Dunster, Henry, 24.
Dwight, Edmund, 399, 400.
Dwight, John S., 155, 369, 415, 428.

Eaton, Dorman B., 373, 381.
Education, 253, 323, 325, 337-342, 343, 384, 389, 395-408, 410, 411.
Education in south, 338-340, 410, 411.
Education of Indians, 340-342.
Edwards, Jonathan, 38-41, 44.
Effinger, J.R., 226.
Eliot, Charles W., 238, 305, 395, 397.
Eliot, Rev. Samuel A., 232, 245.
Eliot, Samuel A., 127, 335, 383, 414.
Eliot, Thomas D., 196, 212.
Eliot, William G., 144, 146, 169, 184, 311, 351, 364, 398, 448.
Ellis, George E., 146, 164, 267, 421, 450.
Ellis, Rufus, 270, 361, 448.
Ellis, Sallie, 289, 290.
Emerson, George B., 127, 164.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 151, 155, 202, 324, 369, 413, 415, 416, 428, 431,
      435, 436, 448.
Emerson, William, 95, 96, 413.
Emlyn, Thomas, 57, 58.
Emmons, Nathaniel, 55.
Equality, 33, 38.
Evangelical Missionary Society, 104, 105, 141.
Everett, Charles Carroll, 196, 275, 396, 417-419, 452.
Everett, Edward, 94, 98, 109, 114, 351, 380, 382, 391, 397, 399, 407,
      414, 416.
Everett, William, 414.
Exchange of pulpits, 101.

Farley, Frederic A., 146, 165, 361.
Fearing, Albert, 238, 324.
Federal (now Arlington) Street Church, 83, 94, 106, 129, 250, 256,
      257, 301.
Fellowship, Unitarian, 205, 209, 211, 219-221, 436, 437.
Fellowship with other religious bodies, 192-195, 296.
Felton, Cornelius C., 397.
Fields, James T., 369, 428.
Fillmore, Millard, 331, 380.
First Church of Boston, 53, 66.
Fiske, John, 22, 307, 424.
Flagg, J.F., 265, 350.
Flower Mission, 337.
Follen, Charles, 359, 431.
Follen, Eliza Lee, 266, 367.
Folsom, Nathaniel, 319, 361.
Forbes, John Murray, 386.
Forbush, T.B., 226.
Forman, J.G., 176, 178, 184.
Forster, Anthony, 118.
Fox, George W., 161, 162, 207-209.
Fox, Thomas B., 146, 268, 450.
Francis, Convers, 110, 155, 200, 360, 361.
Francke, Kuno, 17.
Franklin, Benjamin, 376, 377, 379.
Fraternity of Churches, Benevolent, 197, 256, 257, 282.
Freedman's Bureau, 184, 197.
Freedom of Thought, 1, 3, 5, 8, 32, 37, 59, 61-64, 70, 71, 80, 115, 125,
      205, 210, 212, 389.
Freeman, James, 76, 78, 80, 82, 98, 111, 114, 344.
Free Religion, 203, 210, 211.
Free Religious Association, 194, 202-204, 207, 225, 436.
French, Daniel C., 430.
Friend of Peace, 345.
Friends, 88.
Frothingham, Nathaniel L., 114, 124, 344, 413, 420.
Frothingham, Octavius B., 124, 165, 175, 200, 202, 207, 216, 322, 323, 366,
      369, 387, 392, 394, 413, 420, 424, 431.
Fuller, Margaret, 155, 368, 428, 429, 448.
Furness, William Henry, 114, 146, 244, 267, 361, 365, 394, 420.

Galvin, Edward I., 176, 337.
Gannett, Ezra Stiles, 114, 127, 128, 134-137, 139, 143, 146, 172, 191, 266,
      346, 350-351, 354, 355, 450.
Gannett, William C., 225-227, 241, 277, 290.
Garrison, William Lloyd, 353, 359, 367, 377.
Gay, Ebenezer, 58-60, 77.
General Repositary, The, 97, 390.
Giddings, Joshua R., 367.
Gierke, Otto, 4.
Giles, Henry, 361, 420.
Gilman, Samuel, 119, 146, 420.
God, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 38, 41, 51, 53, 59, 60, 64, 68, 70, 73, 90, 157,
      198, 227, 228.
Goodell, William, 365.
Gore, Christopher, 382.
Gould, Allen W., 226, 277, 452.
Gould, Benjamin, 427.
Grant, Moses, 248, 264, 265, 344, 350.
Graves, Mary H., 371.
Gray, Frederic T., 167, 248, 254, 256, 265, 267, 270, 271, 334, 361.
Great Awakening, 46, 66, 210.
Greene, Benjamin H., 248, 333.
Greenhalge, Frederic T., 382.
Greenwood, Francis W.P., 101, 111, 114, 148, 421, 433, 450.
Greenwood, Grace (Mrs. Lippincott), 428, 430.

Hale, Edward Everett, 154, 175, 189, 191, 194, 195, 196, 205, 217, 218,
      269, 270, 318, 323, 342, 429, 430, 450.
Hale, George S., 231.
Hale, John P., 367, 380.
Hale, Lucretia P., 165, 279, 404.
Half-way Covenant, 22, 27, 28, 68.
Hall, Asaph, 427.
Hall, Edward Brooks, 127, 146, 160, 267, 361.
Hall, Nathaniel, 361, 366.
Hall, Nathaniel, the younger, 387.
Hamlin, Hannibal, 383.
Hampton Institute, 339, 340.
Hancock, John, 385.
Hancock Sunday-school, 247, 264, 265.
Harte, Bret, 430.
Harvard College, 35, 41, 44, 47, 92, 98, 384, 388, 390, 395-397, 412.
Harvard Divinity School, 108-110, 124, 193, 214, 391, 392, 394, 395, 396,
      414, 415.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 381, 430.
Haynes, George H., 29.
Hazlitt, Rev. William, 71, 77-79.
Hedge, Frederic H., 146, 155, 161, 165, 180, 239, 244, 346, 359, 360, 361,
      415, 417, 420, 449, 450.
Hemenway, Augustus, 385.
Hemenway, Mary, 405-407.
Hepworth, George H., 176, 205.
Herford, Brooke, 196, 225, 452.
Heywood, John H., 178, 180, 364.
Higginson, Stephen, 130, 133.
Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 177, 202, 367, 368, 369, 415, 424, 429.
Higher criticism, 389-395.
Hildreth, Richard, 413, 424.
Hill, Thomas, 320, 361, 397, 420, 427.
Historians, 422-427.
Hoar, Ebenezer Rockwood, 191, 196, 367, 382.
Hoar, George Frisbie, 196, 367, 369, 380.
Holland, Frederick West, 144, 178, 361.
Hollis Professorship, 92, 108, 109.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 431-433.
Hooker, Thomas, 16, 25.
Hopkins, Samuel, 73.
Horton, Edward A., 275.
Hosmer, Frederick L., 226, 244, 277.
Hosmer, George W., 311, 314, 316, 338, 361.
Hosmer, Harriet, 430.
Hosmer, James Kendall, 176, 338, 415.
Howard, Simeon, 66, 78.
Howard Sunday-school, 252, 265, 332.
Howe, Julia Ward, 328, 348, 349, 368, 370, 371, 428.
Howe, Samuel G., 180, 325-329, 367.
Howells, William D., 430.
Huidekoper, Frederic, 317, 319, 422.
Huidekoper, Harm Jan, 311-314.
Hunt, John, 11, 13.
Hunting, Sylvan S., 176, 214.
Huntington, Frederic D., 270, 361, 448.
Hymns of Unitarians, 244, 420.

Idealism, 45.
Independents, 7.
Index, The, 203, 207.
India, 72, 248, 296, 303.
Individualism, 1-4, 8, 17, 18, 27, 63, 90, 125, 205, 210, 211, 224, 343,
      349, 428, 441-443.
Insane, care of, 328-331.
International Council, 245, 440.
Intuition, 2, 4, 12.

Jackson, Charles, 130, 387.
Jackson, Helen Hunt, 430.
Jackson, James, 427.
Japan, 303-309.
Japanese Unitarian Association, 306-309.
Jefferson, Thomas, 136, 378-380, 437.
Jenckes, Thomas A., 372.
Johnson, Samuel, 201, 244, 366, 369, 419, 420.
Jones, Jenkin Lloyd, 214, 225, 276, 278, 451.
Judd, Sylvester, 217, 240, 241, 361, 366, 429.
Julian, George W., 367, 369.

Kanda, Saichiro, 305, 306.
Kendall, James, 84.
Kentucky, 119.
Khasi Hills, 302, 303.
Kidder, Henry P., 189, 212, 231, 238.
Kindergarten, 492, 493.
King's Chapel, 52, 76, 160, 313, 387, 421.
King, Starr, 165, 167, 182, 183, 420.
Kirkland, Caroline, 369, 428.
Kirkland, John T., 98, 109, 114, 323, 344, 350, 351, 397.
Knapp, Arthur M., 304.
Knapp, Frederick N., 181.
Kneeland, John, 273.

Ladies' Commission on Sunday-school Books, 279-281.
Lafargue, Paul, 2.
Lamson, Alvan, 165, 200, 422, 450.
Latitudinarianism, 9, 10.
Lawrence, Abbott, 385, 386.
Lawrence, Amos, 351, 385, 386.
Leland Stanford, Jr., University, 399.
Leonard, Levi W., 409.
Liberal Christian, The, 193.
Liberal Preacher, The, 447.
Liberalism, 24, 26, 29, 32, 34, 37, 46, 49-52, 54, 57, 59, 61, 70, 72, 75,
      85, 87, 88, 94, 104, 106, 111, 122.
Liberator, The, 359.
Liberty, 206, 342, 343, 349.
Libraries, 289, 409, 410.
Lincoln, Abraham, 376, 377.
Lincoln, Calvin, 127, 161.
Lincoln, Levi, 382.
Lindsey, Theophilus, 78, 102.
Little, Robert, 119.
Liturgy, 242, 343.
Livermore, Abiel Abbot, 148, 169, 317, 318, 361, 366.
Livermore, Leonard J., 272.
Livermore, Mary A., 368, 371.
Local Conferences, 216-219, 445, 446.
Locke, John, 5, 6, 12, 43, 56.
Long, John D., 231, 382.
Longfellow, Henry W., 431, 432.
Longfellow, Samuel, 175, 200, 242, 244, 366, 369, 419.
Longfellow, Stephen, 134, 432.
Lord's Supper, 27, 240.
Loring, Charles G., 127.
Loring, Ellis Gray, 359, 369.
Lothrop, Samuel K., 143, 144, 160, 163, 236, 350, 447.
Lovering, Joseph, 427.
Low, A.A., 189.
Lowe, Charles, 172, 177, 196, 197, 205, 209, 212, 216, 218, 237, 279,
      370, 451.
Lowell, Charles, 94, 99, 109, 114, 263, 344, 350, 351, 366, 413.
Lowell, Francis Cabot, 385, 386.
Lowell Institute, 407, 408.
Lowell, James Russell, 413, 431, 434, 435.
Lowell, John, 382, 385.
Lowell, John Amory, 385, 407.
Lunt, William Parsons, 420.

MacCauley, Clay, 304, 305.
McCrary, George W., 326, 383.
Maine Conference of Unitarian Churches, 218.
Mann, Horace. 166, 327, 329, 351, 399-402.
Mann, Mrs. Horace, 324, 403.
Marshall, John, 376, 380.
Marshall, J.B.F., 339, 340.
Martineau, James, 165, 450..
Mason, L.B., 112, 176.
Massachusetts Congregational Charitable Society, 119.
Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers, 120.
May, Abby Williams, 283, 403, 404.
May, Col. Joseph, 132, 133, 344.
May, Rev. Joseph, 216.
May, Samuel, 359-361, 366.
May, Samuel J., 127, 146, 194, 346, 351, 356, 358, 360, 361, 366, 369, 399,
      401, 447.
Mayhew, Experience, 49, 60.
Mayhew, Jonathan, 45, 47, 48, 53, 58, 60-66, 85, 90, 199.
Mayo, Amory D., 320, 368, 410, 411.
Mead, Edwin D., 406.
Mead, Larkin G., 430.
Meadville Theological School, 161, 193, 215, 310-320.
Methodism, 89, 194.
Miles, Henry A., 161, 164, 360, 361.
Miller, Samuel F., 196, 380.
Milton, John, 5, 6, 10, 12, 31, 45, 56.
Ministry at Large, 247-261.
Miracles, 156, 157, 198, 200, 211.
Missions, domestic, 104, 140, 144, 149-153, 167, 171, 172, 212-214, 218.
Mitchell, Maria, 427.
Montana Industrial School, 341, 342, 405.
Monthly Journal of American Unitarian Association, 162, 184, 237.
Monthly Miscellany, The, 448.
Monthly Religious Magazine, 448.
Morehouse, Daniel W., 196.
Morison, John H., 165, 270, 355, 356, 448.
Morrill, Justin S., 380.
Morse, Jedediah, 93, 102, 423.
Motley, John Lothrop, 424.
Mott, Lucretia, 202, 369.
Mumford, Thomas J., 207, 271, 366, 369.
Munroe, James, & Co., 235.
Muzzey, Artemas M., 165, 178, 359, 360, 361, 422.

National Conference: origin, 190-195;
  Syracuse session, 201;
  change in constitution, 204;
  Hepworth's amendment, 207;
  protests against dropping names from Year Book, 209;
  formation of local conferences, 218-221;
  revision of constitution, in 1892, 229;
  adjustment of Conference and Association, 233;
  temperance resolutions, 352;
  women represented, 369;
  organ proposed, 446.
New Divinity, 73.
New Hampshire Unitarian Association, 217.
New York, 119, 213, 381, 429.
New York Convention, 190-195.
Newell, Frederick R., 172, 176, 184.
Newell, William, 361, 414, 420.
Newell, William Wells, 414, 415.
Nichols, Ichabod, 140, 142, 165.
Nitti, F.S., 3.
North American Review, 116, 416.
Northampton, 27, 38, 41, 381.
Norton, Andrews, 98, 109-111, 114, 122, 126, 130, 132, 135, 139, 164, 243,
      391, 392, 414, 420.
Norton, Charles, Eliot, 175, 185, 414, 428.
Novelists, 429, 430.
Noyes, George Rapall, 110, 114, 146, 164, 200, 392, 393.
Nute, Ephraim, 167, 176.

Old and New, 450.
Old South historical work, 405-407.
Oriental religions, 72.
Orton, Edward, 338.
Osgood, Samuel, 154, 215, 361, 431, 449.
"Other Christian Churches," 201, 219, 446.
Otis, Harrison Gray, 382, 385.
Oxnard, Thomas, 80.

Palfrey, Cazneau, 173, 361.
Palfrey, John G., 95, 101, 109, 110, 114, 117, 126, 127, 146, 154, 157,
      191, 212, 249, 329, 350, 366, 385, 391, 415, 424.
Panoplist, The, 93, 102.
Parish, 29, 115.
Parker, Isaac, 351, 382.
Parker, Theodore, 155-157, 165, 267, 327, 328, 343, 361, 365, 369, 394,
      399, 415, 417, 420, 436.
Parkman, Francis, historian, 413.
Parkman, John, 154, 361.
Parkman, Rev. Francis, 74, 95, 99, 109, 173, 344, 413, 424.
Parsons, Theophilus, 86, 117, 351, 377, 382.
Parton, James, 424.
Peabody, Andrew P., 117, 146, 148, 173, 239, 260, 313, 323, 360, 361.
Peabody, Elizabeth P., 155, 368, 402, 403.
Peabody, Ephraim, 270, 313, 334, 335, 433, 448.
Peabody, Francis G., 331.
Peabody, W.B.O., 361, 420.
Peace movement, 343-349.
Peace societies, 322, 344.
Peirce, Benjamin, 427.
Perkins Institute for the Blind, 323, 325, 326.
Perkins, Thomas H., 325, 386, 387.
Phillips, Jonathan, 109, 351, 385.
Phillips, Stephen C., 385.
Pickering, Edward C., 427.
Pickering, John, 381.
Pickering, Timothy, 377, 381.
Pierce, Cyrus, 361, 400, 401.
Pierce, John, 114, 131, 133, 344, 350.
Pierpont, John, 114, 127, 132, 176, 243, 350, 351, 361, 365, 420.
Pillsbury, Parker, 368, 369.
Piper, George F., 273.
Pitts Street Chapel, 257, 258, 332.
Plymouth, 16, 83, 118.
Poets, 431-435.
Poor, care of, 250, 255, 321, 322, 334, 335.
Porter, Eliphalet, 76.
Portland, 80, 118.
Post-office Mission, 289, 290.
Potter, William J., 170, 200, 203, 208, 209, 211.
Pratt, Enoch, 189, 409, 410.
Pray, Lewis G., 270.
Prescott, William Hickling, 117, 381, 424, 425.
Priestley, Joseph, 71, 78, 80, 81, 83, 118.
Primitive Christianity, 48, 67, 112, 122.
Prince, John, 71, 76, 381.
Prison reform, 327, 328, 329, 343.
Protestantism, 1, 3, 4, 7, 14, 17, 18, 156.
Publishing Fund Society, 107, 108, 141.
Publishing interests, 113, 128, 145, 162, 164, 165, 184.
Puritanism, 10, 19, 20, 21, 37, 53.
Puritans, 19, 22.
Putnam, Alfred P., 216, 420.
Putnam, George, 146, 185, 450.
Pynchon, William, 23, 24.

Quarterly Journal of American Unitarian Association, 162.
Quincy, Edmund, 359.
Quincy, Josiah, 35, 42, 128, 344, 366, 382, 397, 399.

Radical, The, 203.
Radicalism, 155, 156, 158, 199, 203, 204, 210, 222.
Rammohun Roy, 296.
Rantoul, Robert, 127, 351, 399.
Rationalism, 5, 6, 12, 31, 44, 45, 55, 62, 69, 90, 156.
Reason, 2, 3, 9-11, 13, 31, 37, 90.
Reed, David, 114, 127, 129, 145, 234, 269.
Reforms, 343, 356.
Revelation, 12, 13, 20, 46, 66, 69, 73, 88.
Reynolds, Grindall, 232, 238, 239.
Ripley, Ezra, 74, 263, 344.
Ripley, George, 146, 415, 420, 428, 448.
Ripley, Samuel. 360, 361.
Robbins, Chandler, 83, 361, 420.
Roberts, William, 297, 298.
Robinson, George D., 382.
Robinson, John, 25, 84.
Roman Catholic Church, 2, 3, 17.

Saco, 81.
Safford, Mary A., 371.
St. Louis, 141, 184, 225, 259, 398.
Salem, 16, 29, 54, 70, 76, 80, 118, 218, 381, 413.
Saltonstall, Leverett, 127, 133, 140, 381.
Saltonstall, Sir Richard, 16, 23.
San Francisco, 153, 167, 182.
Sanborn, Frank B., 202, 369.
Sanitary Commission, 176, 178-184, 188, 338.
Sargent, John T., 361, 369, 370.
Savage, Minot J., 196, 274.
Scandlin, William G., 176, 177, 182.
Scientists, 427, 428.
Scudder, Eliza, 244.
Sears, Edmund H., 165, 217, 395, 420, 448.
Sectarianism, 125, 131, 149, 150, 201, 266, 356, 436.
Sedgwick, Catherine M., 369, 381, 429.
Sewall, Edmund Q., 361.
Sewall, Samuel E., 358, 359, 369.
Shaw, Lemuel, 382, 387.
Shaw, Robert Gould, 386.
Sherman, John, 92, 98.
Shippen, Rush R., 213, 237, 238.
Shute, Daniel, 58, 85, 87.
Sill, Edward Rowland, 415, 431.
Sin, original, 50.
Singh, Hajom Kissor, 302, 303.
Sloan, W.M., 2.
Smith, Gerrit, 367, 376, 420.
Smith, Mary P. Wells, 285, 290.
Socialism in the church, 3, 4, 17, 20, 27, 33.
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity, 96,
      141, 148.
Society for Promoting Theological Education, 109, 110.
Society for Propagating the Gospel, 120.
Society to Encourage Home Studies, 404, 405.
Socinianism, 42, 75, 80.
Solemn Review of Custom of War, 344, 346.
Sparks, Jared, 111, 114, 117, 119, 126, 132, 135, 397, 399, 415, 421, 424.
Spaulding, Henry G., 274.
Spirit of the Pilgrims, The, 93.
Spofford Harriet Prescott, 430.
Sprague, Charles, 351, 431.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 368.
Staples, Carlton A., 176, 214, 259, 364.
Staples, Nahor A., 167, 176, 366.
Stearns, Oliver, 317, 360, 361.
Stebbins, Horatio, 239.
Stebbins, Rufus, P., 161, 188, 189, 196, 315, 316, 351, 361, 397.
Stedman, Edmund C., 431.
Stetson, Caleb, 360, 361, 365.
Stevenson, Hannah E., 202, 279.
Stoddard, Richard Henry, 431.
Stoddard, Solomon, 27, 39, 44, 68, 241.
Stone, Lucy, 367-369.
Stone, Thomas T., 164, 366, 369.
Story, Joseph, 114, 117, 133, 134, 140, 143, 260, 377, 380, 381, 387.
Story, William Wetmore, 430.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 384.
Strong, Caleb, 385.
Sullivan, James, 385.
Sullivan, Richard, 128, 129.
Sullivan, Thomas E., 127, 447.
Sumner, Charles, 347, 348, 364, 367, 372, 380.
Sunday-school papers, 266, 269-271, 273, 274.
Sunday-schools, 247, 254, 262-281;
  origin of, 262;
  Boston society, 265;
  growth of, 267;
  first publications, 268;
  local societies, 269;
  paper, 269;
  national society, 270;
  awakening interest, 272;
  George F. Piper as secretary, 273;
  Henry G. Spaulding, 274;
  Edward A. Horton, 275;
  western society, 276;
  unity clubs, 278;
  Religious Union, 278;
  Ladies' Commission, 279, 332.
Sunderland, Jabez T., 225, 301-303, 451.

Talbot, Thomas, 382.
Tappan, Lewis, 134, 137, 139.
Taylor, Bayard, 430, 431.
Taylor, Edward T., "Father Taylor," 324, 327.
Taylor, Jeremy, 5, 12, 14, 31, 66.
Taylor, John, of Norwich, 39.
Temperance reform, 100, 322, 327, 349-353.
Thacher, Samuel C., 94, 96, 99, 103, 344.
Thayer, Nathaniel, 134.
Theatre preaching, 215, 216.
Theological library, 164.
Thomas, Moses G., 140.
Thompson, James W., 360, 361, 448.
Thoreau, Henry D., 415, 428.
Ticknor, Anna E., 404, 405.
Ticknor, George, 98, 390, 410, 424, 525, 526.
Tilden, William P., 361.
Tileston, Thomas, 385.
Tillotson, John, 11, 44, 45, 67.
Toleration, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 21, 37, 43, 61, 67, 85, 89, 103, 107, 121.
Toy, Crawford H., 274, 452.
Tracts, 145-147, 163, 248, 300, 307.
Tracts, distribution of, 147, 163, 184, 290.
Transcendentalism, 155, 199, 200, 222, 417, 431.
Trinity, 13, 14, 42, 45, 55, 58, 63, 65, 66, 69, 71, 79, 83.
Trowbridge, John T., 430.
Tucker, John, 75.
Tuckerman, Henry T., 261, 428.
Tuckerman, Joseph, 96, 99, 146, 247, 250-257, 260, 264, 265, 270, 282, 297,
      298, 322, 323, 331, 334, 344.
Tudor, William, 116.
Tullock, John, 5.
Tuskegee Institute, 339.

Unitarian Advocate, 447.
Unitarian Association, American, 117;
  discussion in anonymous association, 129;
  meeting at house of Josiah Quincy, 128;
  Gannett's statement of purpose, 128;
  printed report of committee, 128;
  meeting in Federal Street Church, 129;
  discussion as to advisability of organizing, 129;
  announcement at Berry Street Conference, 133;
  organization, 134;
  officers, 135;
  name selected, 138;
  work of first year, 139;
  first annual meeting, 140;
  missionary tour of Moses G. Thomas, 140;
  effort to absorb other societies, 141;
  report of directors, 141;
  attitude of churches, 142;
  receipts, 142;
  presidents, 142;
  secretaries, 143;
  missionary agents, 144;
  incorporation, 145;
  tracts, 145;
  depositaries, 146;
  Book and Pamphlet Society, 147;
  distribution of books, 148;
  colporters, 148;
  missionary work in New England, 149;
  work in South and West, 151;
  tour of secretary, 152;
  contributions for domestic missions, 153;
  work of first quarter-century, 154;
  influence of radicalism, 155;
  indifference of churches, 160;
  officers, 160;
  Quarterly and Monthly Journal, 162;
  tracts and books, 163;
  theological library, 164;
  devotional library, 164;
  publishing firm, 165;
  missionary activities, 167;
  Association and Western Conference, 172;
  work during civil war, 177;
  results of fifteen years, 184;
  meeting to consider interests of Association, 187;
  vote to raise $100,000, 189;
  success, 190;
  convention in New; York, 190;
  organization of National Conference, 192;
  work planned, 193;
  new life in Association, 196;
  contributions, 197;
  new theological position, 197;
  organization of Free Religious Association, 202;
  attempts at reconciliation, 204;
  demand for creed, 205;
  Year Book controversy, 207;
  attitude of Unitarians, 209;
  missionary work, 212;
  Charles Lowe as secretary, 212;
  fires in Chicago and Boston, 213;
  work in west, 214;
  college town missions, 214;
  theatre preaching, 215;
  organization of local conferences, 217;
  fellowship and fraternity, 219;
  results of denominational awakening, 221;
  western issue, 225;
  constitution of 1892, 229;
  fellowship with Universalists, 230;
  officers, 231;
  adoption of representation, 232;
  co-operation of Association and National Conference, 233;
  building loan fund, 234;
  Unitarian building, 237;
  seventy-fifth anniversary, 244;
  ministry at large, 247;
  aid to Sunday School Society, 266;
  fellowship with foreign Unitarians, 295;
  relations with British Association, 295;
  Dall in India, 299;
  work in Japan, 303;
  educational work in South, 338, 410;
  educational work for Indians, 340;
  attitude towards slavery, 363;
  formation of International Council, 440.
Unitarian Association, British and Foreign, 295, 298, 303.
Unitarian beliefs, 157, 158, 168, 170, 171, 193, 201, 203, 205-207, 209,
      211, 212, 225-227, 229, 362, 376, 378, 381, 382, 409, 425, 429, 431,
      433, 434.
Unitarian Book and Pamphlet Society, 147, 148.
Unitarian Church Association of Maine, 217, 240.
Unitarian hymnology, 244, 420.
Unitarian Miscellany, The, 111-114.
Unitarian Monitor, The, 447.
Unitarian name, 103, 104, 123, 125, 138, 192, 266.
Unitarian Review, 451.
Unitarian Temperance Society, 278, 351, 352.
Unitarian, The (1834), 447.
Unitarian, The (1886), 225, 451.
Unitarianism, American, 9, 14, 16, 36, 57-59, 63, 67, 72, 78, 79, 82, 102,
      104, 111, 115, 118, 122, 124-126, 128, 132, 138, 149, 169, 185,
      222-224, 378, 379, 384, 387, 389, 436-443.
Unity, 225, 451.
Unity clubs, 277-278.
Unity of God, 63, 65.
Universalism, 67-69, 71, 75, 88, 90, 93, 193, 194, 230.
Universality of religion, 203, 210.

Vane, Sir Henry, 16, 24.
Very, Jones, 155, 244, 381, 431.

Walcutt, Robert F., 359, 366.
Walker, James, 95 101, 114, 126, 127, 129, 133-135, 138, 139, 146, 200,
      267, 351, 397, 450.
Walker, James P., 165, 188, 236, 272, 280.
Walker, Williston, 18, 22.
Walter, Cornelia W., 404.
War, 343, 346-348.
Ware, Dr. Henry, 60, 92, 108, 135, 146.
Ware, Henry, the younger, 100, 110, 114, 128, 129, 132, 133, 135, 138, 143,
      145, 148, 163, 184, 243, 249, 267, 268, 295, 297, 310, 344, 345, 350,
      351, 359, 420.
Ware, Dr. John, 350.
Ware, John F. W, 177, 185, 361.
Ware, William, 287, 360, 361, 415, 429, 447, 450.
Warren Street Chapel, 257, 332, 337.
Washington, 119, 213, 376, 380.
Washington, George, 377, 379.
Washington University, 397, 398.
Wasson, David A., 201, 202, 211, 419, 420.
Waterston, Robert C., 332, 361.
Webster, Daniel, 356, 380, 385, 387.
Webster, Samuel, 50.
Weeden, William B., 383.
Weiss, John, 200, 202, 360, 361, 419.
Weld, Angelina Grimké, 367, 369.
Weld, Theodore D., 365, 367.
Wells, John, 212, 382.
Wendell, Barrett, 410, 435.
Wendte, Charles W., 246, 276, 289, 337.
West, Samuel, 69, 85, 87.
West, Unitarianism in the, 151-153, 224.
Western Conference, 168-172, 197, 209, 214, 224-229, 284, 285, 364.
"Western issue," 225-228.
Western Messenger, The, 366, 448.
Western ministers, 149, 152.
Western Unitarian Association, 226.
Wheaton, Henry, 134, 381.
Whipple, Edwin P., 428.
White, Andrew D., 376.
Whitefield, George, 41, 44, 46.
Whitman, Bernard, 269, 447.
Whitman, Jason, 144, 148, 361.
Whitman, Walter, 431.
Whitney, Leonard, 172, 176.
Whittier, John G., 376, 431.
Wigglesworth, Dr., 44.
Wigglesworth, Thomas, 385.
Wilkes, Eliza Tupper, 371.
Willard, Samuel, 26, 35.
Williams, John E., 332.
Williams, Roger, 16, 24, 121.
Willson, Edmund B., 176, 269, 361.
Winkley, Samuel H., 185.
Wise, John, 30-34.
Wolcott, J.H., 385.
Wolcott, Roger, 382.
Women, 30, 191, 250, 282-294, 343, 348, 349, 368-372, 402-407, 428, 429.
Women's Alliance, 287-294.
Women's Auxiliary, 286.
Women's Western Unitarian Conference, 284, 285.
Woodbury, Augustus, 146.
Worcester, 73, 173, 218.
Worcester Association of Ministers, 173, 269.
Worcester, Noah, 93, 98-100, 114, 148, 344, 345, 350, 365, 389.
Wright, Carroll D., 196, 231.
Wyman, Jeffries, 180, 427.

Yale College, 43.
Year Book of American Unitarian Association, 207, 449.
Young, Alexander, 114, 127, 143, 267, 424.
Young People's Religious Union, 278.

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