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Six churches. Two Congregational, two Methodist, one Episcopal, one Roman Catholic. TOTAL SITTINGS, . . . . . . 2,470
Aggregate ordinary congregations, .
Note-The above figures are exclusive of the First Methodist Church, which is not reported. The Episcopal meeting-house is open only occasionally, and then at a different hour from the other churches, --so that their congregation of forty) is not a clear addition to the number of church-goers. POPULATION REPORTED, six districts, .
, 1,487 Congregationalists, . . . . per cent., 32 Methodists,
Roman Catholics, . . . "
100 MEANS USED.-—"About a year ago a systematic church visitation pas made ;-visiting and religious conversation through the day-neighborhood meetings in the evening. Great good was accomplished. More than fifty were added as permanent members of the congregation, and some of them united with the church."
In 1851, the church divided, and the Second Congregational Church was organized. Each of the new societies seems to be stronger than the old one; and in Union Village twenty-one heads of families, who before took little interest in the church, are now active members.
As the best parish presented in the Report, we give the statistics of the old “ Judea Society," in the town of Washington, Litchfield county:
. per cent., 73
4 Non-attendants, . . . . "
Pastor's Note.—“We are not cursed with a dram-shop, and almost every man is temperate and sober in his habits."
MEANS USED.—From “ Davis's Hollow" it is reported: “A prayer meeting has been sustained in this district for nearly five years, at which nearly all the inhabitants attend, even some of the non-attendants on public worship."
And for the worst town (statistically) in the Report, we give the following pitiable record of the town of Weston, Fairfield county, and ask the people of Connecticut to look at it:
WESTON—ESTIMATED POPULATION, 1,060.
Churches—Congregational in Weston Center, and Episcopal at Lyon's Plain.
587 Aggregate ordinary congregations, :
117 POPULATION REPORTED, . .
Congregationalists, . . . . per cent., 19
. . . " 2-37
100 “ Devil's Den” is a Sodom without a Lot-not a soul is reported as attending church regularly. This district, with the Upper Parish and Egypt, or The Forge, is in a most deplorable condition, morally and religiously.
MEANS USED.-In Upper Parish, Congregationalists and Methodists hold meetings alternately. At The Forge, the Baptists and Methodists hold meetings once in four weeks; Universalists once in six weeks.
The statistical sketches of which we have given the above random specimens, are more or less complete froin one hundred of the one hundred and seventy towns in the state. The specimens which we have given show that many points were aimed at in the inquiry, and are exhibited in the result. The Committee say that they have gathered inforination on still other related topics, which they have not yet embodied. But the main point, and the one to which our remaining remarks will be chiefly directed, is,
The proportion of the families of the population which are habitually non-attendant on public worship.
Taking the returns from a single county, that of Litchfield, a large
of vice influence
as the basis of our calculations, we find in the twenty-five towns of Litchfield county, that, on an average, about twentythree per cent. of the population is included in families that do not attend public worship. We do not mean that twentythree out of every one hundred individuals do not attend church; but that, counting with the church-going population the “halt and maimed," the aged, sick, and infants, and those detained habitually at home by domestic duties, so long as they belong to families who attend church, there still remains nearly a quarter of the population belonging to families that habitually neglect public worship.
But what is the nature of this non-church-going popnlation and where is it to be found?
The prejudice and vain conceit of our people is at no loss for an answer. “Of course we must expect to find such things in the cities and large towns,--those "sinks of iniquity,'--those festering places of vice and immorality.? The large towns are no doubt foci of evil influence by which the surrounding country is more or less affected. But the state is sound. The aspect of cur quiet country Puritan towns, with their “church-going bells' and heavenward pointing spires, and their frequent school-houses, is a sufficient witness for this. And then as for the nature of this population, it is to be supposed at once that it is made up of immigrants of various European nations, who have brought over with them their papistical or infidel old-world habits, and of such of our own children as may have been corrupted by their evil communications. It is quite out of the ques. tion to think that our New Englanders have forsaken their steady habits and forsworn their religious character. To be snre, these foreigners, and especially these Roman Catholics, have a great deal to answer for in bringing reproach on our virtuous New England communities."
Such, for substance, is the explanation we have all heard, again and again, of the indications of prevailing irreligion in New England. Now what say the facts and the figures ?
In the first place, the county which we have damed, and in which we find that twenty-three per cent. of the population
live in neglect of religious ordinances, is one which glories above the other counties of the state of steady habits, in its conservatism of everything that is lovely and of good report in the Puritan character,—the loyalty and order of its peoplethe sanctity of its sabbaths--the prosperity of its churches. It contains no city, and only a few large manufacturing villages. If we wished to give a foreigner the best impression of primitive New England life and character we should introduce him to Litchfield connty, Connecticut.
In the second place, the most aggravated instances of religious neglect and degeneracy are in towns and parishes almost exclusively agricultural, containing no villages of considerable size, and no considerable admixture of foreigners. We have taken the pains to select the ten towns or parishes in this county which present the largest percentages of nonattendants at church, and take the average of these percentages. For the benefit of those who may be acquainted with the minute geography of Connecticut, we present the result in a tabular form, as follows: Colebrook,
28 per cent.
" Milton parish,
« Ellsworth parish,
Average per cent.,
31.6 Those who are acquainted with the character of these towns and parishes will recognize them as belonging to the better class of our native American, Puritan, farming communities. Nearly one-third of their population belongs in the class of habitual non-attendants on public worship. On the other hand, in its manufacturing towns and villages of New Hartford, Plymouth, Wolcottville and Winsted, the average percentage of non-attendants is 16.5, or about one-sixth of the population.
In the third place, the particular school districts which seem most utterly abandoned to ungodliness, are rural districts secluded by their situation and character from the infection of great towns and of foreign immigration. Take, for example, the following from the report of the town of Harwinton:
“PARTICULAR DISTRICTS.—One is specified in extreme south of the town. Thirteen families out of eighteen are non-attendant. No foreigners.
“Another in southeast part of the town, Eleven out of thirty families nonattendant. No foreigners.
" Another borders on Plymouth. Eight out of eleren families non-attendant; some of them through infirmity. No foreigners.
“Another, in the extreme west ; equi-distant from Harwinton and Wolcottville. Fifteen out of twenty-five families non-attendant.”
Also the following, from the report of Kent: “PARTICULAR DISTRICTS.-Several districts which present a marked character, are indicated below by arbitrary designations. A.; sixteen families out of twenty-nine, non-attendant. No foreigners. B.; twenty families out of forty, non-attendant. Four foreign families. The moral and religious aspect of this school district has been improving for a few years past.' C.; sixty persons out of ninety-two, non-attendants. D.; twelve families out of sixteen, nonattendant; no foreigners. E.; twelve families, including fifty-four persons, all American, NOT ONE OF THEM ATTENDANT AT ANY CHURCH!"
In the fourth place, with regard to the condition of the foreign population, although many of the towns report it in the usual terms in which we are accustomed to hear it spoken of, there are nevertheless many hopeful indications. The pastor of the church in Newtown, widely known as a man of exact and thorough observation, gives an account of the foreign population in his parish, which is made, obviously, from his per. sonal knowledge, and which presents so interesting and encouraging a view of them that we copy it at length:
“FOREIGN POPULATION.—There are a few German families, perhaps ten, of whom I have learned comparatively little. They are chiefly engaged in the rubber factories, and are thriving. They live in, and near, Sandy Hook, and the Methodists have got a good hold upon them, and are doing them good. Several of the families attend public worship with the Methodists, and a number of