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fociety-and as Chriftians. As mere men," they hold, that “they mus follow nature, or they will fink beneath the level of the beasts of the field,”-aud. yet they assert that “ all the righteousness found in the best of mere human nature is but a filıhy rag”—That as members of civil society they must submit to the laws, or if thought too severe, they may avoid them by a removal from the state.”—That as Chriftians they must be under the direction of Chrift, and do whatsoever be commands them; and these are his commandments, “ that we believe in him, and love one another."
This denomination of Universalists, are not very numerous in the United States, some are in Pennsylvania—some in different parts of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire ; but the body of them are in Bofton, and Gloucester, in Massachusetts. They have several constituted churches, which are governed by an ecclefiaftical constitution, formed in 1789, by a convention of their minifters at Philadelphia.
SHAKERS. This is a small and singular feet of Christians, which have sprung up in America as lately as 1774; when a few of this sect went from Eng Lind to New York, and there being joined by a few others, they settle! at Nisqueunia, above Albany, which is their principal settlement : a few others are scattered in different parts of the country.
The head of this party, while she lived, * was Anna Leese, ftyled the Eleet Lady. Her followers asserted, that she was the woman spoken of in the twelfth chapter of the Revelations, and that she spoke seventy-two tongues: and although these tongues were unintelligible to the living, fhe conversed with the dead who understood her language. They alledged also that she was the mother of all the Elect; that she travailed for the whole world—that no blessing could descend to any person but only by and through her, and that in the way of her being poffelled of their fins, by their confessing and repenting of them, one by one, according to her direction.
Their leading doctrinal tenets, as given by one of their own denomination, are, “ 'That the first resurrection is already come, and now is the time to judge themselves. That they have power to heal the fick, to saise the dead, and cast out devils. That they have a correspondence
This woman asserted, that she should never die ; but notwithstanding her predictions and assertions to the contrary, the died in 1784; and was luce ceeded by one Jimes Whitaker, who also died in 1787. Joseph Meacham, who has attained the reputation of a prophet among them, is at present their leades.
with angels, the spirits of the saints and their departed friends. That they speak with divers kind of tongues in their public assemblies. That it is lawful to practise vocal music with dancing in the Christian churches, if it be practised in praising the Lord. That their church is come out of the order of natural generation, to be as Christ was; and that those who have wives are as though they had none. That by these means heaven begins upon earth, and they thereby lose their earthly and sensual relation to Adam the first, and come to be transparent in their ideas, in the bright and heavenly visions of God. That some of their people are of the number of the hundred and forty-four thousand, who were redeemed from the earth, and were not defiled with women. That the word everlasting, when applied to the punishment of the wicked, means only a limited period, except in the case of those who fall from their church; and that for such there is no forgiveness, neither in this world nor that which is to come. That it is unlawful to swear, game, or use compliments--and that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are abolished. That Adam's fin is not imputed to his posterity—and that the doctrines of election and reprobation are to be rejected.”
The discipline of this denomination is founded on the supposed perfeation of their leaders. The Mother, or the Elect Lady, it is said, obeys God through Chrift. European elders obey her. American labourers, and common people obey them: while confession is made of every secret thing, from the oldest to the youngest. The people are made to believe that they are seen through and through in the gospel glass of perfection, by their teachers, who behold the state of the dead, and innumerable worlds of spirits good and bad.
These people are generally instructed to be very industrious, and to bring in according to their ability, to keep up the meeting. They vary in their exercises. Their heavy dancing, as it is called, is performed by a perpetual springing from the house floor, about four inches up and down, both in the mens and womens apartment, moving about with extraordinary transport, singing sometimes one at a time, sometimes
This elevation affects the nerves, so that they have intervals of pudo dering, as if they were in a strong fit of the ague, they sometimes clap hands and leap so as to strike the joists above their heads. They throw off their outside garments in these exercises, and spend their strength very cheerfully this way. Their chief speaker often calls for attention ; when they aṁ stop and hear some harangue, and then fall to dancing again. They affert that their dancing is the token of the great joy and happiness of the new Jerufalı m state, and denotes the victory over
fin. One of the postures which increnles among them, is turning round very swift for an hour or two. This, they say, is to show the great
power of God.
They sometimes fall on their knees and make a sound like the roaring of many waters, in groans and cries to God, as they say, for the wicked world who perfecute them. *
JEWS. The Jews are not numerous in the United States. They have, how. ever, synagogues at Savannah, Charleston, (South Carolina) Philadelphia, New York, and Newport. Brlides those who reside at these places, there are others scattered in different towns in the United States.
The Jews in Charleston, among other peculiarities in burying their dead, have these : After the funeral dirge is fung, and just before the corpse is deposited in the grave, the cofin is opened, and a small bag of carth, taken from the grave, is carefully put under the head of the de. ceased; then some powder, said to be earth brought from Jerusalem, and carefully kept for this purpose, is taken and put upon the eyes of the corpse, in token of their remembrance of the holy land, and of their expectations of returning thither in God's appointed time.
The articles of their faith are well known, and therefore need no description. They generally expect a glorious return to the Hely Land, when they shall be exalted above all the nations of the earth. And they flatter themselves that the period of their return will speedily arrive, though they do not venture to fix the precise time.
The whole number of persons who profess the Jewish religion, in all parts of the world, is fuppofed to be about three millions, who, as their phrase is, are witnesses of the unity of Cod in all the nations in the world.
Besides the religious sects here enumerated, there are a few of the German inhabitants in Pennsylvania, who are fyled SWINSEILDIANS, and, in Maryland, a small number called Nicolites or New QUAKERS; but the diftinguishing fentiments of these fects are not material, conifing chiefly of a few peculiarities.
H. Adams's “ View of Religions." Article Shakers.
H I S T o R Y
RISE, PROGRESS, AND ESTABLISHMENT
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
settlement of North America, we shall give a brief history of the late war with Great Britain, with a ketch of the events which preceded and prepared the way for the revolution. This general view of the history of the United States will serve as a suitable introduction to the particular histories of the several states, which will be given in their proper places.
America was originally peopled by uncivilized nations, which lived mostly by hunting and fishing. The Europeans, who first visited these 1hores, creating the natives as wild bearts of the forest, which have no property in the woods where they roam, planted the standard of their respective masters where they first landed, and in their names claimed the country by right of discovery.
Henry the Seventh of England granted to John Cabot and his three fons a commillion, " to navigate all parts of the ocean for the purpose of discovering islands, countries, regions, or provinces, either of Gentiles or Infidels, which have been hitherto unknown to all Christian people, with power to set up his standard, and to take possession of the same as vađals of the crown of England." By virtue of this commission, in 1498,
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Sebastian Cabot explored and took poffeffion of a great part of the North American continent, in the name and on behalf of the king of England.
The country thus discovered by Cabot, was possessed by numerous tribes or nations of people. As these had been till then unknown to all other princes or states, they could not poslibly have owed their allegiance or subjection to any foreign power on earth; they must have therefore been independent communities, and as such, capable of acquiring territorial property, in the same manner as other nations. Of the various principles on which a right to foil has been founded, there is none superior to immemorial occupancy. From what time the Aborigines of America had resided therein, or from what place they migrated thither, were questions of doubtful solution, but it was certain that they had long been sole occupants of the country. In this state no Eu. ropean prince could derive a title to the soil from discovery, because that can give a right only to lands and things which eithet have never been owned or possessed, or which, after Leing owned or possessed have been voluntarily deserted. The right of the Indian nations to the foil in their possession was founded in nature. It was the free and liberal gift of heaven to them, and such as no foreigner could rightfully annul. The blinded superstition of the times regarded the Deity as the partial God of Chriftians, and not as the common father of faints and savages. The pervading influence of philofophy, reason, and truth, has since that period, given us better notions of the rights of mankind, and of the obligations of morality. These unquestionably are not confined to particular modes of faith, but extend universally to Jews and Gen. tiles, to Christians and Infidels.
Unfounded, however, as the claims of European Sovereigns to American territories were, they severally proceeded to act upon them. By tacit consent they adopted as a new law of nations, that the countries which each explored should be the absolute property of the discoverer. While they thus sported with the rights of unoffending nations, they could not agree in their respective shares of the common spoil. The Portuguese and Spaniards, inflamed by the same spirit of national aggrandizement, contended for the exclusive sovereignty of what Columbus had explored. Animated by the rancour of commercial jealousy, the Dutch and Portuguese fought for the Brazils. Contrary to her genuine interefts, England commenced a war in order that her contraband traders on the Mexican coast, claimed by the king of Spain, might no longer be searched. No farther back than the middle of the