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the westward of the Alleghany Mountains, comprising more than two-thirds of America, may be said to be either in a state of neglect and darkness, or professing the Catholic religion.
Although Virginia is a slave State, I think there is more religion there than in some of the more northern free States ; but it must be recollected, that Virginia has been long settled, and the non-predial state of the slaves is not attended with demoralizing effects; and I may here observe that the black population of America is decidedly the most religious, and sets an example to the white, particularly in the free States.*
* Mr. Reid, in his Tour, describes a visit which he paid to a black church in Kentucky:
By the law of the State, no coloured persons are, permitted to assemble for worship, unless a white person be present and preside.
“ One of the black preachers, addressing me as their, 'strange master,' begged that I would take charge of the service. I declined doing so. He gave out Dr. Watts' beautiful psalm, “Shew pity, Lord, oh! Lord forgive. They all rose immediately. They had no books, for they could not read; but it was printed on their memory, and they sung it off with freedom and feeling.
It may be fairly inquired, can this be true? Not fifty years back, at the time of the Declaration of Independence, was not the American community one of the most virtuous in existence ? Such was indeed the case, as it is now equally certain that they are one of the most demoralized. The question is, then, what can have created such a change in the short period of fifty
The only reply that can be given, is, that as the Americans, in their eagerness to possess new
“ The senior black, who was a preacher among them, then offered prayer and preached ; his prayer was humble and devotional. In one portion, he made an affecting allasion to their wrongs. “Thou knowest,' said the good man, with a broken voice, our state-that it is the meanest that we are as mean and low as man can be. But we have sinned-we have forfeited all our rights to THEE, and we would submit before Thee, to these marks of thy displeasure."
Mr. Reid subsequently asserts, that the sermon delivered by the black was an earnest and efficient appeal;" and, afterwards, hearing a sermon on the same day from a white preacher, he observes that it was a “very sorry affair," in contrast with what he had before witnessed.
lands, pushed away into the west, so did they leave civilization behind, and return to igno rance and barbarism ; they scattered their population, and the word of God was not to be heard in the wilderness.
That as she increased her slave States, so did she give employment, land, and power to those who were indifferent to all law, human or divine. And as, since the formation of the Union, the people have yearly gained advantages over the Government until they now control it, so have they controlled and fettered Religion until it produces no good fruits.
Add to this the demoralizing effects of a democracy which turns the thoughts of all to Mammon, and it will be acknowledged that this rapid fall is not so very surprising.
But, if the Protestant cause is growing weaker every day from disunion and indifference, there is one creed which is as rapidly gaining strength ; I refer to the Catholic church, which is silently,
but surely advancing. * Its great field is in the west, where, in some States, almost all are Catholics, or from neglect and ignorance altogether indifferent as to religion. The Catholic priests are diligent, and make a large number of converts every year, and the Catholie population is added to by the number of Irish and German emigrantsto the West, who are almost all of them of the Catholic persuasion.
Mr. Tocqueville says
“ I think that the Catholic religion has erroneously been looked upon as the natural enemy of democracy. Among the various sects of
* Although it is not forty years since the first Roman Catholic see was created, there is now in the United States a Catholic population of 800,000 souls under the government of the Pope, an Archbishop, 12 Bishops, and 433 priests. The number of churches is 401 ; mass houses, about 300; colleges, 10; seminaries for young men, 9; theological seminaries, 5; noviciates for Jesuits, monasteries, and converts with academics attached, 31; seminaries for young ladies, 30; schools of the Şisters of Charity, 29; an academy for coloured girls at Baltimore; a female infant school, and 7 Catholic newspapers.
Christians, Catholicism seems to me, on the contrary, to be one of those which are most favourable to equality of conditions. In the Catholic church, the religious community is composed of only two elements—the priest and the people. The priest alone rises above the rank of his flock, and all below him are equal. On doctrinal points, the Catholic faith places all human capacities upon the same level. It subjects the wise and the ignorant, the man of genius and the vulgar crowd, to the details of the same creed; it imposes the same observances upon the rich and the needy ; it inflicts the same austerities upon the strong and the weak ; it listens to no compromise with mortal man ; but, reducing all the human race to the same standard, it confounds all the distinctions of society at the foot of the same altar, even as they are confounded in the sight of God. If Catholicism predisposes the faithful to obedience, it certainly does not prepare them for inequality ; but the contrary may be said of Protestantism, which generally