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an Anwrian pohtioiau and iis,rhe,f* •...II 43V&POi3610.1fflat1141-Wa.r his.1:18- on t e coining teriiitorial r tesati early discoveries ;" it is probable that precise truth is soalattnnis: lost sight of while the author is turning a period. Bancroft, how- - ever, is a man of various reading, and of a penetrating and com- prehensive mind. He was acquainted not only with the reading necessary for the history of the United States, but with much of what was preliminary or collateraL His plan of tracing the mo- tives which induced the foundation of each-colony, and the state of opinion in Europe-which produced the motives, not only gave variety to the narrative but kept the principle of the state's origin continually before the mind, and imparted to the history, however small in itself, a pervading life.
Both Graham and Bancroft, however, stopped short, of the troubles which produced the war that ended in American inde- pendence ; though Bancroft, we believe, contemplated a continuance of his work till the ultimate triumph of the American Revolution. On this subject Mr. Hildreth has the advantage of freshness ; his third volume being devoted to the Revolutionary War. He also claims for his history the merit of impartiality. But warlike •affairs are not his forte. He wants enthusiasm for or sympathy with the " pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war"; so that he does not exhibit a picture of a battle ; and he seems to be deficient in that military knowledge which imparts interest to the less. pictorial mode of narration by the information which it continually throws out. Impartiality as to the Colonial period is not El:rare quality in the cultivated class of Americans, who' alone could attempt to write
-a history with any success. National vanity dues not concern it-
self much with matters that occurred before the outbreak, when the Colonies were part of the British empire ; the more prominent weaknesses of the settlers are not of a kind to receive much sympathy from educated minds in the present generation. Mr. .Rildreth, however, is impartial, even during the war, in a hard, lavryerlike way. e distinguishing literary characteristic of this history is a careful suocinotness. The convenience of a summary notice of the gradual discovery of America, and the necessity of singly narrating the foundation of each separate colony, render any substantial novelty of plan in a history of the United States impossible, except n ..n some scheme where fitness should be .sacrificed to fanciful
I genesa. Mr. Hildreth has judiciously- refrained from attempt- ing anything of the kind; but perhaps he has .pushed the mere chronological arrangement to an excess, and given undue pro- ininence to the discoveries and settlement of North America by 'foreigners, in proportion to the scale of his work. In the execu- tion, Mr. Hildreth has carefully-read and as carefully digested his various authorities, and presented the results of his studies suc- cinctly, closely, and comprehensively,: In many oases the cent- dious style is apt to fall into a vague generality, or the pith of e matter is liable .to be missed; but such is , not the ease, with Mr. hlildroth's. He states all that, he sees, though he would see more if he possessed a loftier and imaginative mind. We know not his profession, but there is something lawyerlike in his work. One subject seems the same to hie) as another : it is not so much that he wants -variety of power, as that he does not seem to feel the variety in nature. his book is as "much a digest as a history.
The parts in which Mr. Hildreth succeeds best are those that
relate to the social and religious opinions and practices of the colonists. In fact, it is as a social history that it possesses °twee- ter and value. The author's quiet unimpassioned style presents the strange peculiarities that obtained among the New England colonists till within little more than a generation of the Revolu- tionary war, and some traces of which still remain. It may not be generally known that inoculation for the smallpox was attempt- ed at Boston at the same time that it was • introduced into Fug- land, (in 1721,) and was thus welcomed. "An adjourned session was interrupted by. the smallpox which, after an interval of twenty years, had broken out in Boston • and occasioned. the .greatest alarm. In the published transactions of the Rival Society-, of which he was a member, Cotton Mather had seen some letters from Turkey giving an account of the practice there of communicating the -smallpox by inocula- tion; thus enabling the patient toprepare for the disorder, and to go through it more safely than when taken in the natural way. With characteristic zeal and enthusiasm, Mather took hold of this idea; and having applied in vain to the three or four other medical practitioners of Boston, he at last
. prevailed on Zabdiel Boylston to try the experiment. A native of the co- lony, a man of skill and reputation in his profession, humane and cou- rageous, Dr. Boylston oommenoed upon his own son. The first trials were successful ; yet it required no little courage to go on. Inoculation was vio- lently opposed by the other practitioners, headed by Dr. Douglas, a prag- matical Scotehman. Several pamphlets published on the subject prove, by the
• The History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Conti- nent to the Organization of Government under the Federal Constitution. By Richard Hildreth. In three volumes. Published by Harper and Brothers, New York ; and Sampson Low, London.
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04i Conned. :In the end; thf Mom la tors .conaLid ninph e'Ver,E. monthin which Boylston and Mather commenced their experiments tom -inoculation was introduced jute England by the witty and aceoin'pTh Lay Mary Wintley Montague, lately returned from a residence at Costsn- tinole. The success of this practice soon silenced all opposition; and it continued in extensive use until superseded by the more brilliant discevety of Jenner. When Boylston visited England a few years after, 'ha ViOrecerked With distinguished attention, and elected a member of the BoYal'SeciqtY." The following has leis itereSt'from its exhibiting thepress tin-
der. a would.be theocracy, than.for-itACentaining the first appear-
ance of Franklin as writer and journalist. -
" The degree of freedom which the press had. lately Obtained, and the dis- cussicala carried on in pamphlets as to paper-money, the smallpox, and the controversy between Shute and the Representatives, had encouraged James Franklin to set up a newspaper at Boston, celled the New England Courant. There were already two newspapers there—one of them established as 'long age as 1704--emall sheets-confined to-advertisemente and items of news ;:but the Courant was the first American .newspaper that aspired to discuss public questions, and to guide and enlighten public opinion.: 'refit was not always oe the enlightened side; for, out of hostility to the Mathers and the-
ters,.it joined in the popular clamour 'against inoculation. One of ital. tioles, in relation to a vessel fitted out to cruise for pirates, was con y the General Court into a contempt, for which the publisher was corn to prison. Seine essays from the pen of Benjamin FrinliBM then a iftl"Fof
. sixteen, an apprentice to his brother, gently satirizing-religious h et' gave still greater offence.. Hardly was 'Shute gone when the two Fra were had up beforem joint committee of the Connell and the Hooke" charged upon the paper 5a tendency to mock religion and to b • contempt' ; that Holy scriptures are therein rofanely abu reverend and faithful ministers of the gospel injuricasly reflected ' Majesty's Government affronted, and the peace and good • 'order of jesty's subjecta_:of this province disturbed.' Upon. the 'atvitigt.k lir:these vague charges the younger Franklin was admonished. His brother teas 'for- bidden -tapublish the Courant, or any-other paper or pamphlet, unless it wore first approved and licensed by the Colonial Secretary. This order was evaded by publishing the paper in the name of the younger Franklin. But greater caution was necessary; the contributors to where'll had been in- debted gradually dropped off, the paper lost its interest,' and pialently.pe- rished for lack of support,. amino& late of the •first . free press in Atherica! The Phtladelphis_Ms-,ff.ny; the only newspaper, in the Colonies out of Bos- ton,,commented with just soverity,upon the reeetablishment of a censorship in Massachusetts. But in the way of liberty the publisher of that paper had little to boast. Not. a year before, • on aeeoeut• Of nome 'Offensive; article, he had been summoned before the Governor and Council, and conppeUgil to make a humble apology,,•receivinw at the same time :an hatittation that he must not presume to publish anything relating to the affairs of thither any other of his Majesty's Colonies without the perinissionok theGInvernAk:er Secretary?-" I 1)1111, The manner in which the uutileni g courage and fieg.gaskbut infoldrantbigoti■4 the Pilgrim Fat'era melted atiayi antontrtakt- , arianism, or retained only the dead formality of offensquinianw- ism, is told in the following extract. Perhaps a similes, prow goes on everywhere when religions bigotry and austeratynare rushed to an- extreme, and those who claim to represent God strive for the things and the phice"of Ceesar. " In the century since its settlement New England had undergone a great change. The austere ruanners of the Puritan Fathers were still indeedpre- served ; their language was repeated; their observances were kept up; their institutions were revered; forms and habits remained, but the spirit was gene. The more ordinary objects of human desire and pursuit, the univer- sal passion for wealth, political squabbles with the Royal Governors, laud spe- culations, paper-money jobs, andprojects of territorial and personal aggran- dizement, had superseded those metaphvsical disputes, that spiritual vision and that absorbing passion for a pure theocratic commonwealth, which bad carried the Fathers into the wilderness. Even Cotton Mather, such was the progress of opinion, boasted of the harmony in .which. various religious sects lived together in Boston, and spoke of religious persecution as an obsolete blunder.
" At the settlement of Elisha Callender over the Boston Baptist Church, both the Mathers had assisted at the ordination. Cotton Mather even preached the sermon, which was printed, with the title Good men united.' 'Cursed be the anger,' says this sermon, for it is fierce, and the wrath, for it ii cruel; good for nothing but only to make divisions in Jacob and dissensions in Israel.' New England also, in some former times; has done something of this aspect which would not now be so well approved of, in which, if the breth- ren in whose house we are now Convened met with anything too unbrotherly, they now with satisfaction hear us expressing our dislikeof everything which looked like persecution in the days that have passed over us.' This remark- able mollification toward the Baptists on the part of the old leaders in the Congrgationql churches, isperlly indeed to be explained by their common ]slike to the fashionable and growing Latitudinarianism; to which now be- ganto be added—a new terror—an increased tendency to Episcopalian forms. In the quiet bosom of the English Church, in which a philosophic lati- tudinarianism was fast rising ascendant over Church bigotry on the one hand and Low Church enthusiasm on the other, the Colonial doubters and freethinkers, and all those to whom Puritan austerity was repulsive, were inclined to seek refuge. There are always many- whom decent cere- monies delight. The ambitious hoped to recommend themselves as Church- men to the authorities at home. The rich and polite preferred a worship which seemed to bring them into sympathy- with the English aristocracy. The same influences were felt in America as in England, where the Dissent- ers were fast sliding back into the Chureli- " Nor were these Influences confined to laymen. Some of the more stu- dious and more aspiring among the ministers found charms in the idea of
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Art. Pf*.? 1441iseipline, • and the veke went cute- e eseage, Ler ed and stopped short several, others, inc ed, it was suspected, to join in tlie revolt. Defection, neverthe- less, continued to spread. Cutler became Rector of a new Episcopal church in Boston. The dismissed ministers were maintained as missionaries by the English Society for Propagating the Gospel; and a new element through their means was gradually introduced into the religious system of Connecti- cut; destined a century afterward to work a political revolution. • * 'Education and habit, especially in what relates to outward forms, are not easily chienenne. Episcopacy made but slow progress in New England. A greater change, however, mak silently going on : among the more intelli- gent and thoughtful, both of laymen and ministers, Latitudinarianism ion- tinned to spread. Some approached even toward Somnianism ; carefully con- cealing, however, from themselves, their advance to that abyss. The seeds of schism were broadly .sown ; but extreme caution and moderation on the side of the Latitudinasians long .prevented any open rupture. They rather insinuated than avowed their opinions. Afraid of a controversy, in which they were conscious that popular: prejudice would be all against them, un- settled many of them in their own minds, and not daring to probe matters to the bottom, they patiently waited the further effects of that progressive change by which they themselves bad been borne along. To gloss over their heresies, they called themselves Arminians ; they even took the name of Moderate Calvinists. Like all doubters, they lacked the zeal and energy of faith. Like all dissemblers, they were timid and hesitating. Conservatives as well as Latitudinarians, they wished, above all things, to enjoy their sala- ries and clerical dignities in comfort and in peace. Free comparatively in their studies, they were very cautious in their pulpits how they shocked the fixed prejudices of a bigoted people whose bread they ate. It thus happened that while the New England theology, as held by the more intelligent, un- derwent decided changes, the old Puritan phraseology was still generally preserved, and the old Puritan doctrines, in consequence, still kept their hold, to a great extent, on the mass of the people. let remarkable local modffl- cations of opinion were silently produced by individual ministers • the influ- ence of the abler Latitudinarian divines being traceable to this day in the respective places of their settlement. The growth of Latitudaa- fumism was the natural fruit of that doctrine of the Puritan Fathers, the necessity of .a learned ministry. That learning on which they re- lied against Papist and Prelatic superstition on the one hand, and An- tinomian enthusiasm on the other, could not but react on themselves. As the exalted religious imagination of New England subsided to the com- mon level, as reason and the moral sense began to struggle against the over- whelming pressure of religious awe, a party inevitably appeared which sought by learned glosses to accommodate the hard text of the Scripturee and the hard doctrines of the popular creed to the altered state of the public mind."
The New Englanders have not yet got an Episcopalian church to any extent, but they-haveculot the Pilgrim Fathers would have found mien• more difficult of digestion—the genial and elo- quent Rationalism of Theodore Parker. The celebrated trials for witchcraft at Salmi are, not new to any one at all read in American civil history, or the ludicrous had it not been bloody credulity that attended them. The following pas- sage refers to the close of the prosecution, when most persons were getting shocked at the executions that had taken place; and it exhibits Mr. Hildreth's minute reading amongst the fugitive literature of the time.
" The extraordinary proceedings on the commitments and trials ; the de- termination of the magistrates to overlook the most obvious falsehoods and contradictions on the part of the afflicted and the confessors, under pretence that the Devil took away their memories and imposed upon their brain, while yet reliance was ..placed on their testimony to convict the accused; the par- tiality exhibited in omitting to take any notice of certain accusations; the violent means employed to obtain confessions, amounting sometimes to posi- tive torture ; the total disregard of retractions made voluntarily, and even at the hazard of life; all these circumstances had impressed the attention of the more rational part of the community, and in this crisis of danger and alarm the meeting of the General Court was most anxiously awaited. " When that body asseinbled, a remonstrance came in from Andover against the condemnation of persons of good fame on the testimony of children and others under cliabelical influences.' What action was taken on this remon- strance does not appear. The Court was chiefly occupied in the passage of a number of acts, embodying some of the chief points of the old civil and cri- minal lawe of the colony. The capital punishment of witchcraft was ape- :tally provided for in the very terms of the English act of Parliament. He- resy and blasphemy were also continued as capital offences. By the organ- ization of the Superior Court under the charter,'the special commission for the trial of witches was superseded. But of this Superior Court Stoughton was' appointed Chief Justice, and three of his four colleagues had sat with him in the Special Court. " Theft is no evidence that these judges had undergone any change of opinion ; but when the new Court proceeded to hold a special term at Salem for the continuation of the witch trials, a decided alteration in public feeling became apparent. Six women of Andover renounced their confessions, and sent in a memorial to that effect. 'Of fifty-six indictments laid before the grand jury only twenty-six were returned true bills. Of the persons tried three only were found guilty. Several others were acquitted, the first in- stances of the sort since the trials began. The Court then proceeded to Charlestown, where Many were in. prison on the same charge. The case of a woman who for twenty or thy' ty years had been reputed a witch was se- lected for trial. Many witnesses testified against her ; but the spectral evi- dence had fallen into total discredit, and was not used. Though as strong a case was made out as any at Salem, the woman was acquitted, with her daughter, granddaughter, and several others. News presently came of a reprieve for those under sentence of death at Salem • at which Stoughton was so enraged, that he left the bench, exclaiming, Who it is that obstructs .1" ire n'
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" At the first session of tne-S-uperior Court at Bolton, the grand jury, th*ugh lent euhta xeceinidet fitt inattefr sitffliiietinto ifindi in all et& against gOtte0e eI;" betin o -violent .8 - ti,•'))n eaer, m- ri ?Mt, the ' i hic,rishtmseat4alo obtain* kir &Mit fil aliqg 94341#3 sielnerease ;Dither ocanai enti Ads t'Oalaria-oiretin- 4419403 , wbiltat beitreaftiwi. Ilearn-
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GiltuAlr" tr-V449'54:ftatIrtisitiPinere there they dretetTed,.. .I■t , -114 1 18.114', ou the It itzhcraft Ad prevented anylurther tries; 'rind presentli„, by 'P pps's order, all the prisoners weredutzed. To a 'defiler veto Massachusetts owes it that heresy and blasphemy to appear as capital crimes on her statute-book. "The blathers gave still further proof of faith unshaken by discovering an afflicted damsel in Boston, whom they visited and prayed with, and of whose case Cotton Mather wrote an account, circulated in manuscript. This dam- sel, however, had the discretion to accuse nobody ; the spectres that beset her being all veiled. "Reason and common sense at last found an advocate in Robert Calef, a citizen of Beaton, sneered at by Cotton Mather as a weaver who pretended to be a merchant,' and afterward, when he grew more angry, as ' a coal sent from Hell ' to blacken his character; a man, however, of sound intelligence and courageous spirit. Calef wrote an account, also' handed about in manuscript, of what had been said and done during a visitation of the Mathers to this afflicted damsel, an exposure of her imposture and their credulity ; which so nettled Cotton Ma- ther that he commenced a prosecution for slander against Calef, which, how- ever, he soon saw reason to drop. "Calef then addressed a series of letters to Mather and tho other Boston ministers, in which he denied and ridiculed the reality of any such compacts with the Devil as were commonly believed in under the name of witchcraft. The witchcraft spoken of in the Bible meant no more, he maintained, than hatred or opposition to the word and worship of God, and seeking to seduce therefrom by some sign,'—a definition which he had found in some English writer on the subject, and which he fortified by divers texts. "It was, perhaps, to furnish materials for a reply to Calcf that a circular from Harvard College, signed by Increase Mather as President, and by all the neighbouring ministers as Fellows, invited reports of apparitions, pos- sessions, enchantments, and all extraordinary things, wherein the existence and agency of the invisible world is more sensibly demonstrated,' to be used !as some fit assembly of ministers might direct.' But the 'invisible world' was fast ceasing to be visible ; and Cotton Mather laments that in ten•yeess scarce five returns were received to this circular.
" Yet the idea of some supernatural visitation at Salem was but very slowly relinquished, being still persisted in oven by those penitent actors in the scene who confessed and lamented their own delusion and blood-guiltiness. Such were Sewell, one of the judges; Noyes, one of the most active prosecu- torsi and several of the jurymen who had sat on the trials. The witnesses upon whose testimony so many innocent persons had suffered were never called to any account. 'When Calef 's letters were presently published in London, together with his account of the supposed witchcraft, the book was burned in the College-yard at Cambridge by order of Increase blather. The members of the Bolden North Church Dame out also with a pamphlet in de-
fence of their pastors. lisle, minister of Beverly, in his Modest Inquiryinto the Nature of Witchaaft; and Cotton Mather in his !Magnate,' though they admit there had beena going too far' in the affair at Salem, are yet still as strenuous as ever for the reality of witchcraft. Nor were they without support from abroad. Dr. Watts,' then one of the chief leaders of the English Dissenters, wrote to Cotton Mather, I am persuaded there was much agency of the Devil in those affairs, and perhaps there were some real witches too. Twenty years elapsed before the heirs of the victims, and those who had been obliged to fly for their lives, obtained some partial in- demnity for their pecuniary losses.'