Графични страници
PDF файл

who with so scanty an outfit traverses the long distances between his home and the market. The bronzed visages of these strangers do not linger long in the city. The return journey is quickly undertaken. Citizens, attracted by curiosity, gather around the train; the wild dogs spring to their task as though glad to turn their noses northward again; and the bold hunter glides into the mysteries beyond the outposts

of civilization.

The Hudson's Bay Company, abandoning the dangerous route into the Hudson's Bay, through which it has been accustomed to hold communication with the outer world, and seeing nothing attractive in the old route of its ancient rival, the Northwest Company, by Lake Superior, has within the past year begun to forward its supplies by New York and St. Paul, up the valley of the Red River to its interior posts. Public meetings, on this new route to the Pacific, have been attended, in the towns of the upper Mississippi, with enthusiasm. Expeditions, well-equipped, have, during the past summer, gone through this whole region, to open up more thoroughly its capabilities and to test by experiment its feasibility. Two steamers, the "Freighter" and the "Jeannette Roberts," moved up the Minnesota river during the high stage of water in the spring, for the sake of passing across from Big Stone Lake to Lake Traverse, and so of entering upon the navigation of the northern inland waters. Another steamer, the "Anson Northrup," was taken apart in the winter and drawn on sleds from Crow Wing on the Mississippi to Breckenridge on the Red River, where it was rebuilt; and this summer it has actually begun the navigation by steam of the Red River of the North. So private enterprise, unaided by governmental patronage, is gathering the laurels, and, we trust, profits also, on this realm of promise for the future.


THE Home Missionary work in this country, as conducted by Christian people of various denominations, has been one of the noblest and most successful works of patriotic and Christian wisdom and benevolence. Especially is this true of that work as conducted by Congregationalists and Presbyterians. These denominations were earliest in the field, and being substantially agreed except in the form and methods of church government, they adopted principles of fraternal and honorable coöperation, uniting their strength in the new countries, instead of acting divisively and so multiplying feeble and rival churches. As soon as people began to emigrate from Connecticut and Massachusetts to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine on the north, and to New York and Ohio on the west, their fathers and brethren who remained behind were mindful of them, and sent to them and aided in sustaining among them missionaries of the gospel. As early as 1787 the Congregationalists of Connecticut sent missionaries to Vermont and western New York. In 1798 the spirit of Christian care and love for the scattered and struggling inhabitants of the new settlements first took organic shape. The Connecticut Missionary Society was formed in that year, by the General Association of Connecticut, and conducted its operations from that time with zeal and efficiency, laying the foundations of numerous churches which now constitute no small part of the Presbyterian forces, especially of those under the authority of the New School General Assembly. Indeed, such was the interest in this good work of planting and sustaining churches among the emigrants to the West, that pastors in Connecticut, in many instances, left their own people for months, and went on laborious missionary tours in

the new settlements, their pulpits being supplied by their brethren belonging to the same local or district Associations. In 1801 the Massachusetts Missionary Society was formed, and began to send out missionaries to Vermont, Maine, and western New York. And soon after the Hampshire Missionary Society in Massachusetts, and the Berkshire and Columbia Missionary Society in adjoining counties of Massachusetts and New York, were formed. In 1801, also, the New Hampshire Missionary Society was organized, and sent missionaries into northern New York, Vermont, Canada, and Maine, as well as into the destitute parts of its own State. A few years after, two societies for the same purpose were formed in New York city and vicinity, and conducted with zeal and efficiency by Christian people of the Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed churches. These two, in the year 1822, were joined in one association, called The United Domestic Missionary Society. In 1826, after fraternal consultation among friends of these various societies in New England and New York, the American Home Missionary Society was formed in New York city, as the most convenient center of operations, the United Domestic Missionary Society in that city was merged in it, and the various New England Societies, as soon as practicable, became auxiliary to it.*

* It has been claimed, of late, very strangely, that Presbyterians own the American Home Missionary Society by right of creation! In the last General Assembly of the New School Presbyterian Church, it was asserted that the American Home Missionary Society "is the creation" of that church, "the creature of the Assembly," "our employee" "to fulfill our behests." And a Presbyterian periodical before us declares that "the American Home Missionary Society was originally a Presbyterian concern, into which Congregationalists were admitted at their own request, gladly, freely indeed, but as a matter of grace, though with entire gracefulness"! This claim has been completely refuted by an article from the pen of Dr. J. S. Clarke, in a late number of our able and valuable cotemporary, "The Congregational Quarterly." The facts about the origin of the Society, as there given, are substantially these. At an informal meeting of several gentlemen "from various parts of the United States," in Dr. Wisner's study, in Boston, September 30, 1825, the day after they had been ordaining a number of Andover students for the Home Missionary work in the service of the United Domestic Missionary Society of New York, two of the Committee of that Society, Rev. Messrs. Bruen and Cox, being present, some

The great purpose of those who thus joined these various societies, sustained by three denominations, into one Central Society, was to promote union, simplicity and efficiency of operation among the donors to Home Missions in the older States, and harmony and unity of action among the scattered members of those denominations in the new settlements on

the missionary field. For this purpose, twenty-five years before, in 1801, the Plan of Union had been formed between the General Association of Connecticut and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church; by which those two ecclesiastical bodies recommended the united action of Presbyterians and Congregationalists in the field of Domestic Missions, on equal terins-terms substantially these, that Presbyterian churches settling Congregational ministers, or Congregational churches settling Presbyterian ministers, might still conduct their discipline according to their own ecclesiastical principles; and when the churches were of a mixed char

one spoke of "the desirableness and expediency of forming a National Domestic Missionary Society;" and a Committee was appointed, consisting of Rev. Messrs. Porter and Edwards of Andover, and Taylor of New Haven, “to make inquiries in relation to the subject, and, if they should deem it advisable, invite a meeting of gentlemen friendly to the object, in Boston, some time in the month of January ensuing." Accordingly a meeting was held at the house of Henry Homes, Esq., in Boston, at which were present thirteen men, all Congregationalists. They resolved unanimously that it was expedient to form a National Society. They then drew up a statement of general principles as a basis of such a Society, and drafted a constitution, and voted to request the United Domestic Missionary Society of New York to call a convention at New York, in the following May, to form a National Society by a reconstruction of that. The next morning, after the business was finished, a deputation of the Executive Committee of the United Domestic Missionary Society, arrived from New York, (Messrs. Peters, Bruen, and Falconer,) having been delayed by the state of the roads. They gave their unqualified approbation of all that had been done. Accordingly a Convention was called in New York, May 12, 1826. It consisted of one hundred and thirty-two members, from four denominations and thirteen States. President Day, of New Haven, a Congregationalist, presided. Of the two Secretaries, one was Presbyterian, the other Dutch Reformed. The constitution, as previously drawn by the thirteen Congregationalists, and approved by the New York delegation, was submitted and adopted. Then, on the recommendation of the Convention, the United Domestic Missionary Society adopted that constitution, and became the American Home Missionary Society.

acter, that is, partly Congregational and partly Presbyterian, each church might choose a standing committee to issue all cases of discipline, and give the right of appeal from the decision of that committee to the church by a Congregational member, and to the Presbytery by a Presbyterian member. Formed and conducted in this spirit of fraternal and honorable coöperation, the American Home Missionary Society was greatly prospered for eleven years. It received largely and increasingly the gifts of the patriotic and benevolent in the two, or rather the three denominations, represented in it. It administered those gifts with great wisdom and success, building up strong and flourishing churches in waste places in the older States, and especially in the new places of the rapidly populating and receding West. That success is testified by a multitude of congregations in which religion is as pure and prosperous as in any in the land, and which are not only self-sustaining, but give largely from their growing wealth for the spread of the gospel at home and abroad. And this great success was owing, in a large degree, (this fact should receive earnest attention,) to the coöperative principle on which the Society was founded, especially to the operation of that principle in rising towns and villages of the new settlements; the union of the people of two or three denominations in a place, into one church, soon growing to the power of self-sustenance, and even of benevolent action, instead of their division into two or three feeble churches, perpetuating their feebleness and dependence, and dishonoring Christianity by their narrow and sectarian rivalry. And during these years, it should be added, the Society greatly strengthened the Presbyterian Church. For under its operation at that period many more Presbyterian than Congregational churches were gathered and strengthened, and that, too, in far the largest part, of Congregational material, emigrants from Congregational New England.

But after eleven years, in the year 1837, came the rending of the Presbyterian Church by an utterly illegal and revolutionary act of what is called the Old School party in that Church. This party, having obtained a majority in the Gen

« ПредишнаНапред »