Getting ready for GA: Providence Denominational Meeting! 1858!

Getting ready for General Assembly in Providence, the first hosted in the city since the 1961 Unitarian-Universalist consolidation? But the pre-consolidation Universalists met there several times. Let’s see what the Universalists in 1858.

There’s this little tidbit from the report on the State of the Church, referencing the Panic of 1857.

Then came the great financial revulsion, in which the sharp-sighted wisdom of the keenest and shrewdest devotees of mammon was turned to nought, and many an air-built castle tottered to its fall. Derangement entered into the business of the world, and men who had imagined they were rich found themselves poor. The people opened their eyes to see what phantoms and shadows they had been chasing, and naturally enough, turned their attention to the long neglected subject of religion.

Seem too remote? So unlike unlike today?

How about a resolution condemning a Big Social Ill, but stumbling on a matter of internal polity. Slavery and a system for organization and discipline, that rumbled for years, respectively in this case. Here’s that slavery resolution. (The policy matter takes some unknotting and may be fodder for later blogging.)

Rev. J. P. Atkinson offered the following Resolutions which, after a brief discussion by Rev. Dr. Sawyer, and Rev. J. O. Skinner, were unanimously adopted: —

Resolved: That this Convention views with alarm the continued claims of the American slave power to the right of holding in perpetual bondage the children of Africa; that all such claims are contrary to the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and that we deplore the public demoralization which could originate such demands.

Resolved: That in the present attitude of the conflict between American freedom and American despotism, we feel called upon to reiterate our unqualified condemnation of slavery, and to re-assert our determination to labor for the maintenance of free institutions.

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