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Princeton Iniversity

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RELIGION IN AMERICA;

OR, AN ACCOUNT OP

THE ORIGIN, RELATION TO THE STATE, AND PRESENT CONDITION

OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN THE UNITED STATES.

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NEW YORK:
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

No. 327 TO 335 PEARL STREET.

MDCCCLVI.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by

HARPER & BROTHERS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York

PREFACE.

A FEW Words respecting the circumstances which have led to the preparation and publication of this volume, seem appropriate by

way of Preface.

In the year 1835, at the instance of several distinguished Christian gentlemen of his native land, the author visited the Continent of Europe for the prosecution of certain religious and philanthropic objects; and during the twenty years which have since elapsed he has resided much in Europe, and traveled in every country in it. In the course of these journeys the author's engagements introduced him to the acquaintance of a large number of influential persons, belonging to almost all professions and stations in society. Among them were many who rank high in their respective countries for enlightened piety, zeal, and usefulness. From such persons innumerable inquiries were addressed to him, sometimes by letter, but oftener in conversation, respecting his native country, and especially respecting its religious institutions. To meet the wishes of an illustrious individual* in France, whom God has called from the scene of her activity on earth to Himself, he wrote a small work on the Origin and Progress of Unitarianism in the United States.t

But that little work, while it so far satisfied curiosity on one subject, seemed but to augment it in regard to others; so that, without neglecting what was, by others as well as himself, deemed a manifest duty, the author could not but accede to the earnest request of highly valued friends in Germany, Sweden, France, and Switzer

* The late Duchess de Broglie.

+ This work was published in Paris in 1837, under the title of "L'Union de l'Eglise avec l'Etat dans la Nouvelle Angleterre.”

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land, in writing a work as full as the subject might require, upon the Origin, History, Economy, Action, and Influence of Religion in the United States. This task he endeavored to accomplish in the summer of 1842, while residing in the city of Geneva, in Switzerland. In the autumn of the year following, this work was published in Scotland, where it was introduced to the Christian public by the Rev. Drs. Welsh, Cunningham, and Buchanan, in a recommendatory notice, which the reader will find appended to this Preface. In the course of two or three years the work was translated into French, German, Swedish, and Dutch, and obtained a wide circulation on the Continent, as well as in the British Isles.*

On his return to the United States in the autumn of 1843, the author was induced to revise the work and bring out an American edition-a measure which he had not originally contemplated. In doing this, he at first thought of abridging it, inasmuch as it contained many things with which, though they were indispensable in a work prepared to make known our religious economy to the people of Europe, and especially of the Continent, our countrymen might be supposed to be sufficiently acquainted. But he yielded to the judgment of valued friends, and among them the esteemed publishers, who preferred to see the work brought out in the form in which it was written, as more likely, on the whole, to be instructive and useful. Accordingly, it was published in the spring of 1844, and gained an extensive circulation at home as well as abroad.

At the suggestion of several friends, residing in different parts of the country, the author has been led to revise the work in the most careful manner, and bring it down, in all its details, to the present time, or rather to the year 1855. To do this has been no easy matter. Every sentence has been read, and almost every figure has been changed. This has been rendered inevitable by the growth of our country, and the progress of all our religious bodies, and of our religious and benevolent societies. No one who has not looked into the subject attentively is likely to be aware of the immense changes that have taken place with us during the last twelve years—the

* The author would gratefully mention the fact that James Douglass, Esq. (of Cavers), so well known for his numerous and able writings, did much to promote the circulation of this work in France.

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