« Brownlee, William Craig Brownson, Orestes Augustus Bruce, Alexander Balmain »

Brownson, Orestes Augustus

BROWNSON, ORESTES AUGUSTUS: Roman Catholic convert; b. at Stockbridge, Vt., Sept. 16, 1803; d. at Detroit, Mich., Apr. 17, 1876. His religious career is marked by its many changes. The influences of his boyhood were of the strictest New England orthodoxy; at nineteen he joined a Presbyterian church at Ballston, N. Y.; in 1826 he was ordained (at Jaffrey, N. H.) a Universalist minister; after two or three years he left the Universalists, and, influenced by Robert Dale Owen and his projects, became a socialist, entered politics, and helped form a "Workingmen's Party" in New York. He soon despaired of reform by means of political organization, and in 1831 again began preaching at Ithaca, N. Y., this time as an independent, attracted by the writings of William Ellery Channing. Later he had Unitarian parishes at Walpole, N. H., and Canton, Mass. In 1836 he organized in Boston "The Society for Christian Union and Progress" and continued its minister till 1843, when he gave up preaching. In Oct., 1844, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church in Boston, and did not again change his faith, although he continued independent and combative within the Church and received a recommendation from Rome to be more guarded in his language. He wrote with great zeal and no small ability in advocacy of all of his successive beliefs. He started The Boston Quarterly Review in 1838 and wrote nearly all its numbers till it was merged in The Democratic Review of New York in 1843; from 1844 to 1864 and again 1873–75 he published Brownson's Quarterly Review, at first in Boston, later in New York, where he lived 1855–75. His books were: New Views of Christianity, Society, and the Church (Boston, 1836); Charles Elwood, or the Infidel Converted (1840); Essays and Reviews (New York, 1852); The Spirit Rapper; an Autobiography (Boston, 1854); The Convert, or Leaves from my Experience (New York, 1857); The American Republic, its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny (1865).

Bibliography: His son, Henry F. Brownson, has published a collected edition of his Works, 20 vols., Detroit, 1882–87, and his Life, 3 vols., 1898–1900.

« Brownlee, William Craig Brownson, Orestes Augustus Bruce, Alexander Balmain »
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