Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KOHLMANN, Anthony, clergyman, born in Kaisersberg, France, 13 July, 1771; died in Rome, Italy, in April, 1838. He studied the classics in Colmar, France, and philosophy and theology in the College of Freiburg, Switzerland, where he was ordained priest in 1796. The same year he became member of the Society of the sacred heart at Gogingen. He was driven from Belgium by the French revolutionists, and settled finally at Hagenbrunn, Austria, in 1797. During an epidemic in 1799 he devoted himself with such zeal to the sufferers that he was known among them as the "Martyr of Charity." He was next engaged in attending sick soldiers in Italy, was president of the College of Dillingen in Bavaria and of a college in Amsterdam, and finally, on the re-establishment of the Jesuit order within the jurisdiction of Archbishop Carroll, came to the United States as a member of that society, arriving in Baltimore, 3 November, 1806. He was appointed to visit the Roman Catholic congregations of Pennsylvania. In addition to his other duties, he was in the habit of delivering two sermons every day--one in German and one in English. He was appointed pastor in New York in 1808, and founded an academy for boys called the New York literary institution, and another for girls under the charge of the Ursuline nuns. He was present in 1809 at the death-bed of Thomas Paine, and has left an impressive description of that event. During his ministry in New York restitution of stolen goods was made through his instrumentality, and Father Kohlmann was cited before court to give evidence in regard to the person from whom he had received the property. This he refused to do on the ground that the information was given to him in confession. It was finally decided that a priest was excused from answering in such cases, and the principle of this decision was afterward embodied in a statute. It was chiefly through his efforts that the cathedral in Mulberry street, the second Roman Catholic church in the city of New York, was completed, 4 May, 1815. He left New York the same year to take charge of the novitiate of the Jesuits at Whitemarsh, Maryland, and in 1817 he became superior of the order in the United States. He also filled the post of rector of Georgetown college from 1818 till 1820. In 1821 he exchanged the superiorship of the mission for that of Washington seminary, over which he presided three years. In 1824 he was summoned to Rome, where he taught theology for five years in the Roman college. He held several high official positions, and enjoyed the esteem of successive popes up to his death. His works include "A True Exposition of the Doctrine of the Catholic Church touching the Sacrament of Penance" (New York, 1813); " Centurial Jubilee to be celebrated by all the Reformed Churches throughout the United States" (1817); "The Blessed Reformation; Martin Luther portrayed by Himself" (Philadelphia, 1818); and thirteen pamphlets on Unitarianism in reply to Jared Sparks, who was then a minister in Baltimore, Maryland These were published in book-form as "Unitarianism Philosophically and Theologically Examined" (2 vols., Washington, 1821).
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