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"In the century since its settlement, New England had undergone a great change. The austere manners of the Puritan fathers were still, indeed, preserved; their language was repeated; their observances were kept up; their institutions were revered; forms and habits remained—but the spirit was gone. The more ordinary objects of human desire and pursuit, the universal passion for wealth, political squabbles with the royal governors, land speculations, paper money jobs, and projects of territorial and personal aggrandizement, had superseded those metaphysical disputes, that spiritual vision, and that absorbing passion for a pure theocratic commonwealth which had carried the fathers into the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." -Vol. II. p. 306.
"Education and habit, especially in what relates to outward forms, are not easily overcome. Episcopacy made but slow progress in New England. A greater change, however, was silently going on; among the more intelligent and thoughtful, both of laymen and ministers, Latitudinarianism continued to spread. Some approached even toward Socinianism, carefully concealing, 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 Latitudinarians 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, unsettled 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 had 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 salaries 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, underwent 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. Yet remarkable local modifications of opinion were silently produced by individual ministers, the influence of the abler Latitudinarian divines being traceable to this day in the respective places of their settlement."
"As the exalted religious imagination of New England subsided
Stanford University Libraries
Hildreth's History of the United States.
to the common level, as reason and the moral sense began to struggle against the overwhelming pressure of religious awe, a party inevitably appeared which sought by learned glosses to accommodate the hard text of the Scriptures and the hard doctrines of the popular creed to the altered state of the public mind.” — Vol. II. pp. 309-311.
"The modern doctrines of religious freedom and free inquiry have constantly gained ground, throwing more and more into the shade that old idea, acted upon with special energy by the Puritan colonists of New England-deep traces of which are also to be found in every North American code the theocratic idea of a Christian commonwealth, in which every other interest must be made subservient to unity of faith and worship."-Ib. p. 391.
At length, Unitarianism and Universalism came, after the Revolution, to bring things to their present condition. As Mr. Hildreth says, of times soon after that, even "in New England, the old leaven of Latitudinarianism was still deeply at work among the learned, while, among the less educated classes, the new doctrine of Universalism began to spread."
Along with this bigotry of the Puritans, there was a hardy vigor, a capacity for doing and enduring, a manly reliance on God and their own arm, one acknowledged, the other not confessed, which are worthy of admiration.
The treatment of the natives has been remarkable. We have before spoken of the national exclusiveness of the AngloSaxon race; it was never made more apparent than by the Puritans in New England. It is difficult, even for one of their descendants, at the present time, to understand the feeling of our fathers respecting the Indians. Dr. Joseph Mede was a learned and enlightened man, but in 1634 he wrote to his friend, Dr. Twisse, as follows:
"I think that the Devil, being impatient of the sound of the Gospel and Cross of Christ in every part of this old world, so that he could in no place be quiet for it, and foreseeing that he was like at length to lose all here, bethought himself to provide him of a seed over which he might reign securely; and in a place, ubi nec Pelopidarum facta neque nomen audiret.
"That accordingly he drew a Colony out of some of those barbarous Nations dwelling upon the Northern Ocean, (whither the sound of Christ had not yet come) and promising them by some Oracle to shew them a Countrey far better than their own, (which
*No. VIII., Art. IV., p. 440.
he might soon do) pleasant, large, where never man yet inhabited, he conducted them over those desart Lands and Islands (which are many in that sea) by the way of the North into America; which none would ever have gone, had they not first been assured there was a passage that way into a more desirable Countrey. Namely, as when the world apostatized from the Worship of the true God, God called Abram out of Chaldee into the Land of Canaan, of him to raise him a Seed to preserve a light unto his Name: So the Devil, when he saw the world apostatizing from him, laid the foundations of a new Kingdom, by deducting this Colony from the North into America, where since they have increased into an innumerable multitude. And where did the Devil ever reign more absolutely and without controll, since mankind fell first under his clutches? And here it is to be noted, that the story of the Mexican Kingdom (which was not founded above 400 years before ours came thither) relates out of their own memorials and traditions that they came to that place from the North; whence their God Vitzliliputzli led them, going in an Ark before them: and after divers years travel and many stations (like enough after some generations) they came to the place which the Sign he had given them at their first setting forth pointed out, where they were to finish their travels, build themselves a City, and their God a Temple; which is the place where Mexico was built. Now if the Devil were God's ape in this; why might he not be so likewise in bringing the first Colony of men into that world out of ours? namely, by Oracle, as God did Abraham out of Chaldee, whereto I before resembled it.
"But see the hand of Divine Providence. When the off-spring of these Runnagates from the sound of Christ's Gospel had now replenisht that other world, and began to flourish in those two Kingdoms of Peru and Mexico, Christ our Lord sends his Mastives the Spaniards to hunt them out and worry them: Which they did in so hideous a manner, as the like thereunto scarce ever was done since the Sons of Noah came out of the Ark. What an affront to the Devil was this, where he had thought to have reigned securely, and been forever concealed from the knowledge of the followers of Christ?
"Yet the Devil perhaps is less grieved for the loss of his servants by the destroying of them, than he would be to lose them by the saving of them; by which latter way I doubt the Spaniards have despoiled him but of a few. What then if Christ our Lord will give him his second affront with better Christians, which may be more grievous to him than the former? And if Christ shall set him up a light in this manner, to dazle and torment the Devil at his own home, I will hope they shall not so far degenerate (not all of them) as to come in that Army of Gog and Magog against the Kingdom of Christ, but be translated thither before the Devil
be loosed, if not presently after his tying up. And whence should those Nations get notice of the glorious happiness of our world, if not by some Christians that had lived among them?"- The Works of the Pious & Profoundly-Learned JOSEPH MEDE, B. D., sometime Fellow of Christ's College in Cambridge, &c., &c. London: 1677. pp. 800-801.
At Plymouth, the Indians were treated with more justice than it is usual for the civilized to show to barbarians. In 1633, legal provision was made in Massachusetts for such red men as should become civilized; but, with Anglo-Saxon exclusiveness, they were to be formed into townships by themselves. Major Gibbons, at a later date, was admonished" of the distance which is to be observed betwixt Christians and barbarians as well in war as in other negotiations." It was with difficulty that Eliot obtained liberty to organize a church at Natick. Yet the threat was made by the praying Indians to the Wampanoags that, unless they accepted the gospel, Massachusetts "would destroy them by war." A sharp distinction was always made between converted Indians and other Christians; they were treated, in every respect, as an inferior race; restricted to villages of their own, and cut off by opinion, as well as law, from intermarriage and intercourse with the whites. No one was allowed to sell them horses or boats. It was proposed to exterminate them, as being of the "cursed seed of Ham." Thus causes were put in action which at length have brought the Indians to their present condition in Massachusetts.
At an early date, many of them were reduced to slavery, some in New England; others were sent off as slaves to the West Indies, eight score at one time, though regular prisoners of There were Old Testament examples for this, and even worse treatment. Roger Williams once received "a boy" as his share of the plunder obtained at an Indian defeat. 1712, Massachusetts forbade the further importation of Indian slaves; not from any moral scruples, but on account of "divers conspiracies, outrages, barbarities, murders, burglaries, thefts, and other notorious crimes and enormities, perpetrated and committed by Indians; being of a surly and revengeful spirit, rude and insolent in their behavior, and very ungovernable." There seems to have been no moral objection to slavery in the great and general court at that time.
Outrageous cruelties were often practised on the Indians. It was once proposed by the Commissioners for the Colonies, that, in case of war," mastiff dogs might be of good use." But
we think the proposition was not carried out till nearly two hundred years later, then in a different latitude, to the amazement of the civilized world. Even the men of Plymouth loved bloody spectacles at the cost of the Indians. In 1622, Wituwamat's head was carried thither and set up on a pole, as a warning. It was in vain that pious Mr. Robinson wished they had converted some before they killed any. An order was once given to Endicott to put to death all the Indian men on Block Island, and make slaves of the women and children. He could not kill the men, so he stove their canoes, burnt their wigwams, and destroyed their standing corn. While the Rev. Mr. Stone was once praying" for one pledge of love,' to confirm the fidelity of the Indian allies, they came in with five such pledges, namely, five Pequod scalps. No doubt, he thought his prayer was "answered." In the war with the Pequods, in 1637, under Mason and Underhill, the colonists "bereaved of pity and without compassion," gave no quarter, and showed no mercy; not even to old men, women, and children. In the capture of an Indian fort, they took only seven prisoners; seven more escaped, but hundreds were slain. Says Underhill," Great and doleful was the sight, to the view of young soldiers, to see so many souls lie gasping on the ground, so thick that you could hardly pass along." But, then “'twas a famous victory." On another occasion, in the same war, twenty-two Indian prisoners of war were put to death after they had surrendered; about fifty were distributed as slaves, not " to every man a damsel or two," but among the principal colonists. The scalp of Sassacus was sent to Boston. Heads and hands of Pequod warriors were brought in by other Indians! Even the savages thought the "war too furious, and to slay too many." But what can satisfy bigotry in the name of the Lord? Underhill refers to "the wars of David," for his precedent; and, for authority, says "we had sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings." Mason adds, "that the Lord was pleased to smite our enemies in the hinder parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance." The New Englanders commanded him to kill Miantonimoh, their captive and former friend; he did so, and ate a portion of the body, for which there was no scriptural warrant. If an Indian injured a white man, and the tribe did not give satisfaction, the offender might be seized and delivered to the injured party, "either to serve or to be shipped off and exchanged for negroes." The women of Marblehead once murdered two Indian prisoners;