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   Chapter 5 — THE CAMBRIDGE PLATFORM.

The Emancipation of Massachusetts By Brooks Adams Characters: 37706

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With the ruin of the Antinomians, opposition to the clergy ceased within the church itself, but many causes combined to prevent the bulk of the people from participating in the communion. Of those who were excluded, perhaps even the majority might have found it impossible to have secured their pastor's approbation, but numbers who would have been gladly received were restrained by conscientious scruples; and more shrank from undergoing the ordeal to which they would have been obliged to submit. It was no light matter for a pious but a sincerely honest man to profess his conversion, and how God had been pleased to work "in the inward parts of his soul," when he was not absolutely certain that he had indeed been visited by the Spirit. And it is no exaggeration to say that to sensitive natures the initiation was appalling. The applicant had first to convince the minister of his worthiness, then his name was openly propounded, and those who knew of any objection to his character, either moral or religious, were asked to give notice to the presbytery of elders. If the candidate succeeded in passing this private examination as to his fitness the following scene took place in church:-

"The party appearing in the midst of the assembly ... the ruling elder speaketh in this manner: Brethren of this congregation, this man or woman ... hath beene heretofore propounded to you, desiring to enter into church fellowship with us, and we have not since that heard anything from any of you to the contrary of the parties admittance but that we may goe on to receive him: therefore now, if any of you know anything against him, why he may not be admitted, you may yet speak.... Whereupon, sometimes men do speak to the contrary ... and so stay the party for that time also till this new offence be heard before the elders, so that sometimes there is a space of divers moneths between a parties first propounding and receiving, and some are so bashfull as that they choose rather to goe without the communion than undergoe such publique confessions and tryals, but that is held their fault." [Footnote: Lechford, Plain Dealing, pp. 6, 7.]

Those who were thus disfranchised, Lechford, who knew what he was talking about, goes on to say, soon began to complain that they were "ruled like slaves;" and there can be no doubt that they had to submit to very substantial grievances. The administration of justice especially seems to have been defective. "Now the most of the persons at New England are not admitted of their church, and therefore are not freemen, and when they come to be tryed there, be it for life or limb, name or estate, or whatsoever, they must bee tryed and judged too by those of the church, who are in a sort their adversaries: how equall that hath been, or may be, some by experience doe know, others may judge." [Footnote: Plain Dealing, p. 23.]

The government was in fact in the hands of a small oligarchy of saints, [Footnote: "Three parts of the people of the country remaine out of the church." Plain Dealing, p. 73. A. D. 1642.] who were, in their turn, ruled by their priests, and as the repression of thought inevitable under such a system had roused the Antinomians, who were voters, to demand a larger intellectual freedom, so the denial of ordinary political rights to the majority led to discontent.

Since under the theocracy there was no department of human affairs in which the clergy did not meddle, they undertook as a matter of course to interfere with the militia, and the following curious letter written to the magistrates by the ministers of Rowley shows how far they carried their supervision even so late as 1689.

* * *

ROWLEY, July 24th, 1689.

May it please your honors,

The occasion of these lines is to inform you that whereas our military company have nominated Abel Platts, for ensign, we conceive that it is our duty to declare that we cannot approve of their choice in that he is corrupt in his judgment with reference to the Lord's Supper, declaring against Christ's words of justification, and hereupon hath withdrawn himself from communion with the church in that holy ordinance some years, besides some other things wherein he hath shown no little vanity in his conversation and hath demeaned himself unbecomingly toward the word and toward the dispensers of it....

SAMUEL PHILLIPS. EDWARD PAISON. [Footnote: History of Newbury, p. 80.]

* * *

A somewhat similar difficulty, which happened in Hingham in 1645, produced very serious consequences. A new captain had been chosen for their company; but a dispute having arisen, the magistrates, on the question being submitted to them, set the election aside and directed the old officers to keep their places until the General Court should meet. Notwithstanding this order the commotion continued to increase, and the pastor, Mr. Peter Hubbert, "was very forward to have excommunicated the lieutenant," who was the candidate the magistrates favored. [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 222, 223.] Winthrop happened to be deputy governor that year, and the aggrieved officer applied to him for protection; whereupon, as the defendants seemed inclined to be recalcitrant, several were committed in open court, among whom were three of Mr. Hubbert's brothers.

Forthwith the clergyman in great wrath headed a petition to which he obtained a large number of signatures, in which he prayed the General Court to take cognizance of the cause, since it concerned the public liberty and the liberty of the church.

At its next session, the legislature proceeded to examine the whole case, and Winthrop was brought to trial for exceeding his jurisdiction as a magistrate. A contest ensued between the deputies and assistants, which was finally decided by the influence of the elders. The result was that Winthrop was acquitted and Mr. Hubbert and the chief petitioners were fined. [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 227.]

In March the constable went to Hingham to collect the money, [Footnote: 1645-46, 18 March.] but he found the minister indisposed to submit in silence. About thirty people had collected, and before them all Mr. Hubbert demanded the warrant; when it was produced he declared it worthless because not in the king's name, and then went on to add that the government "was not more then a corporation in England, and ... had not power to put men to death ... that for himself he had neither horn nor hoofe of his own, nor anything wherewith to buy his children cloaths ... if he must pay the fine he would pay it in books, but that he knew not for what they were fined, unlesse it were for petitioning: and if they were so waspish they might not be petitioned, then he could not tell what to say." [Footnote: New Eng. Jonas, Marvin's ed. p. 5.]

Unluckily for Mr. Hubbert he had taken the popular side in this dispute and had thus been sundered from his brethren, who sustained Winthrop, and in the end carried him through in triumph; and not only this, but he was suspected of Presbyterian tendencies, and a committee of the elders who had visited Hingham to reconcile some differences in the congregation had found him in grave fault. The government was not sorry, therefore, to make him a public example, as appeared not only by these proceedings, but by the way he was treated in the General Court the next autumn. He was accordingly indicted for sedition, tried and convicted in June, fined twenty pounds, and bound over to good behavior in forty pounds more. [Footnote: New Eng. Jonas, p. 6., 2 June, 1646.] Such a disturbance as this seems to have been all that was needed to bring the latent discontent to a focus.

William Vassal had been an original patentee and was a member of the first Board of Assistants, who were appointed by the king. Being, however, a man of liberal views he had not found Massachusetts congenial; he had returned to England after a stay of only a month, and when he came again to America in 1635, he had settled at Scituate, the town adjoining Hingham, but in the Plymouth jurisdiction. Having both wealth and social position he possessed great influence, and he now determined to lead an agitation for equal rights and liberty of conscience in both colonies at once, by petitioning the legislatures, and in case of failure there, presenting similar petitions to Parliament.

Bradford was this year [Footnote: 1645.] governor of Plymouth, and Edward Winslow was an assistant. Winslow himself had been governor repeatedly, was a thorough-going churchman, and deep in all the councils of the conservative party. There was, however, no religious qualification for the suffrage in the old colony, and the complexion of its politics was therefore far more liberal than in Massachusetts; so Vassal was able to command a strong support when he brought forward his proposition. Winslow, writing to his friend Winthrop at Boston, gives an amusing account of his own and Bradford's consternation, and the expedients to which they were forced to resort in the legislature to stave off a vote upon the petition, when Vassal made his motion in October, 1645.

"After this, the first excepter [Vassal] having been observed to tender the view of a scroule from man to man, it came at length to be tendered to myself, and withall, said he, it may be you will not like this. Having read it, I told him I utterly abhorred it as such as would make us odious to all Christian commonweales: But at length he told the governor [Bradford] he had a written proposition to be propounded to the court, which he desired the court to take into consideration, and according to order, if thought meet, to be allowed: To this the deputies were most made beforehand, and the other three assistants, who applauded it as their Diana; and the sum of it was, to allow and maintaine full and free tollerance of religion to all men that would preserve the civill peace and submit unto government; and there was no limitation or exception against Turke, Jew, Papist, Arian, Socinian, Nicholaytan, Familist, or any other, &c. But our governor and divers of us having expressed the sad consequences would follow, especially myselfe and Mr. Prence, yet notwithstanding it was required, according to order, to be voted: But the governor would not suffer it to come to vote, as being that indeed would eate out the power of Godlines, &c.... You would have admired to have seen how sweet this carrion relished to the pallate of most of the deputies! What will be the issue of these things, our all ordering God onely knows.... But if he have such a judgment for this place, I trust we shall finde (I speake for many of us that groane under these things) a resting place among you for the soales of our feet." [Footnote: Hutch. Coll., Prince Soc. ed. i. 174.]

As just then nothing more could be done in Plymouth, proceedings were transferred to Massachusetts. Samuel Maverick is a bright patch of color on the sad Puritan background. He had a dwelling at Winnisime, that "in the yeare 1625 I fortified with a pillizado and fflankers and gunnes both belowe and above in them which awed the Indians who at that time had a mind to cutt off the English." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, Oct. 1884, p. 236.] When Winthrop landed, he found him keeping open house, so kindly and freehanded that even the grim Johnson relaxes when he speaks of him: "a man of very loving and curteous behaviour, very ready to entertaine strangers, yet an enemy to the reformation in hand, being strong for the lordly prelatical power." [Footnote: Wonder-Working Providence, Poole's ed. p. 37.]

This genial English churchman entertained every one at his home on Noddle's Island, which is now East Boston: Vane and Lord Ley, and La Tour when he came to Boston ruined, and even Owen when he ran off with another man's wife, and so brought a fine of £100 on his host. Josselyn says with much feeling: "I went a shore upon Noddles Island to Mr. Samuel Maverick, ... the only hospitable man in the whole countrey." He was charitable also, and Winthrop relates how, when the Indians were dying of the smallpox, he, "his wife and servants, went daily to them, ministered to their necessities, and buried their dead, and took home many of their children." He was generous, too, with his wealth; and when the town had to rebuild the fort on Castle Island much of the money came from him.

But, as Endicott told the Browns, when he shipped them to England, because their practice in adhering to their Episcopal orders tended to "mutiny," "New England was no place for such as they." One by one they had gone,-the Browns first, and afterward William Blackstone, who had found it best to leave Boston because he could not join the church; and now the pressure on Maverick began to make him restive. Though he had been admitted a freeman in the early days, he was excluded from all offices of importance; he was taxed to support a church of which he disapproved, yet was forced to attend, though it would not baptize his children; and he was so suspected that, in March, 1635, he had been ordered to remove to Boston, and was forbidden to lodge strangers for more than one night without leave from a magistrate. Under such circumstances he could not but sympathize with Vassal in his effort to win for all men equal rights before the law. Next after him in consequence was Dr. Robert Childe, who had taken a degree at Padua, and who, though not a freeman, had considerable interests in the country,-a man of property and standing. There were five more signers of the petition: Thomas Burton, John Smith, David Yale, Thomas Fowle, and John Dand, but they do not require particular notice. They prayed that "civil liberty and freedome be forthwith granted to all truly English, equall to the rest of their countrymen, as in all plantations is accustomed to be done, and as all free-borne enjoy in our native country.... Further that none of the English nation ... be banished unlesse they break the known lawes of England.... We therefore humbly intreat you, in whose hands it is to help ... for the glory of God ... to give liberty to the members of the churches of England not scandalous in their lives ... to be taken into your congregations, and to enjoy with you all those liberties and ordinances Christ hath purchased for them, and into whose name they are baptized... or otherwise to grant liberty to settle themselves here in a church way according to the best reformations of England and Scotland. If not, we and they shall be necessitated to apply our humble desires to the Honorable Houses of Parliament." [Footnote: New Eng. Jonas, Marvin's ed. pp. 13-15.]

This petition was presented to the court on May 19, 1646; but the session was near its close, and it was thought best to take no immediate steps. The elders, however, became satisfied that the moment had come for a thorough organization of the church, and they therefore caused the legislature to issue a general invitation to all the congregations to send representatives to a synod to be held at Cambridge. But notwithstanding the inaction of the authorities, the clergy were perfectly aware of the danger, and they passed the summer in creating the necessary indignation among the voters: they bitterly denounced from their pulpits "the sons of Belial, Judasses, sons of Corah," "with sundry appellations of that nature ... which seemed not to arise from a gospel spirit." Sometimes they devoted "a whole sermon, and that not very short," to describing the impending ruin and exhorting the magistrates "to lay hold upon" the offenders. [Footnote: New Eng. Jonas, Marvin's ed. p. 19.] Winthrop had been chosen governor in May, and, when the legislature met in October, he was made chairman of a committee to draft an answer to Childe. This document may be found in Hutchinson's Collection. As a state paper devoted to the discussion of questions of constitutional law it has little merit, but it may have been effective as a party manifesto. A short adjournment followed till November, when, on reassembling, the elders were asked for their advice upon this absorbing topic.

"Mr. Hubbard of Hingham came with the rest, but the court being informed that he had an hand in a petition, which Mr. Vassall carried into England against the country in general, the governour propounded, that if any elder present had any such hand, &c., he would withdraw himself." Mr. Hubbert sitting still a good space, one of the deputies stated that he was suspected, whereupon he rose and said he knew nothing of such a petition.

Then Winthrop replied that he "must needs deliver his mind about him," and though he had no proof about the petition, "yet in regard he had so much opposed authority and offered such contempt to it, ... he thought he would (in discretion) withdraw himself, &c., whereupon he went out." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 278.]

The ministers who remained then proceeded to define the relations of Massachusetts toward England, and the position they assumed was very simple.

"I. We depend upon the state of England for protection and immunities of Englishmen.... II. We conceive ... we have granted by patent such full and ample power ... of making all laws and rules of our obedience, and of a full and final determination of all cases in the administration of justice, that no appeals or other ways of interrupting our proceedings do lie against us." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 282.]

In other words, they were to enjoy the privileges and safeguards of British subjects without yielding obedience to British law.

Under popular governments the remedy for discontent is free discussion; under despotisms it is repression. In Massachusetts energetic steps were promptly taken to punish the ring-leaders in what the court now declared to be a conspiracy. The petitioners were summoned, and on being questioned refused to answer until some charge was made. A hot altercation followed, which ended in the defendants tendering an appeal, which was refused; and they were committed for trial. [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 285.] A species of indictment was then prepared in which they were charged with publishing seditious libels against the Church of Christ and the civil government. The gravamen of the offence was the attempt to persuade the people "that the liberties and privileges in our charter belong to all freeborn Englishmen inhabitants here, whereas they are granted only to such as the governour and company shall think fit to receive into that fellowship." [Footnote: Idem.] The appeal was held criminal because a denial of the jurisdiction of the government. The trial resembled Wheelwright's. Like him the defendants refused to make submission, but persisted "obstinately and proudly in their evil practice;" that is to say, they maintained the right of pet

ition and the legality of their course. They were therefore fined: Childe £50; Smith £40; Maverick, because he had not yet appealed, £10; and the others £30 each; three magistrates dissented.

Childe at once began hasty preparations to sail. To prevent him Winthrop called the assistants together, without, however, giving the dissenting magistrates notice, and arranged to have him arrested and searched.

One striking characteristic of the theocracy was its love for inflicting mental suffering upon its victims. The same malicious vindictiveness which sent Morton to sea in sight of his blazing home, and which imprisoned Anne Hutchinson in the house of her bitterest enemy, now suggested a scheme for making Childe endure the pangs of disappointment, by allowing him to embark, and then seizing him as the ship was setting sail. And though the plan miscarried, and the arrest had to be made the night before, yet even as it was the prisoner took his confinement very "grievously, but he could not help it." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 294.]

Nothing criminating was found in his possession, but in Dand's study, which was ransacked, copies of two petitions were discovered, with a number of queries relating to certain legal aspects of the charter, and intended to be submitted to the Commissioners for the Plantations at London.

These petitions were substantially those already presented, except that, by way of preamble, the story of the trial was told; and how the ministers "did revile them, &c., as far as the wit or malice of man could, and that they meddled in civil affaires beyond their calling, and were masters rather than ministers, and ofttimes judges, and that they had stirred up the magistrates against them, and that a day of humiliation was appointed, wherein they were to pray against them." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 293.]

Such words had never been heard in Massachusetts. The saints were aghast. Winthrop speaks of the offence as "being in nature capital," and Johnson thought the Lord's gracious goodness alone quelled this malice against his people.

Of course no mercy was shown. It is true that the writings were lawful petitions by English subjects to Parliament; that, moreover, they had never been published, but were found in a private room by means of a despotic search. Several of the signers were imprisoned for six months and then were punished in May:-

Doctor Childe, (imprisonment till paid,) £200

John Smith, " " " 100

John Dand, " " " 200

Tho. Burton, " " " 100

Samuel Maverick, for his offence in being party

to ye conspiracy, (imprisonment

till paid,) 100

Samuel Maverick, for his offence in breaking his

oath and in appealing against ye

intent of his oath of a freeman, 50

[Footnote: Mass. Rec. iii, 113. May 26, 1647. £200 was the equivalent

of about $5,000.]

The conspirators of the poorer class were treated with scant ceremony. A carpenter named Joy was in Dand's study when the officers entered. He asked if the warrant was in the king's name. "He was laid hold on, and kept in irons about four or five days, and then he humbled himself...for meddling in matters belonging not to him, and blessed God for these irons upon his legs, hoping they should do him good while he lived." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 294.]

But though the government could oppress the men, they could not make their principles unpopular, and the next December after Vassal and his friends had left the colony, the orthodox Samuel Symonds of Ipswich wrote mournfully to Winthrop: "I am informed that coppies of the petition are spreading here, and divers (specially young men and women) are taken with it, and are apt to wonder why such men should be troubled that speake as they doe: not being able suddenly to discerne the poyson in the sweet wine, nor the fire wrapped up in the straw." [Footnote: Felt's Eccl. Hist. i. 593.] The petitioners, however, never found redress. Edward Winslow had been sent to London as agent, and in 1648 he was able to write that their "hopes and endeavours ... had been blasted by the special providence of the Lord who still wrought for us." And Winthrop piously adds: "As for those who went over to procure us trouble, God met with them all. Mr. Vassall, finding no entertainment for his petitions, went to Barbadoes," [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 321.] ... "God had brought" Thomas Fowle "very low, both in his estate and in his reputation, since he joined in the first petition." And "God had so blasted" Childe's "estate as he was quite broken." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 322.]

Maverick remained some years in Boston, being probably unable to abandon his property; during this interval he made several efforts to have his fine remitted, and he did finally secure an abatement of one half. He then went to England and long afterward came back as a royal commissioner to try his fortune once again in a contest with the theocracy.

Dr. Palfrey has described this movement as a plot to introduce a direct government by England by inducing Parliament to establish Presbyterianism. By other than theological reasoning this inference cannot be deduced from the evidence. All that is certainly known about the leaders is that they were not of any one denomination. Maverick was an Episcopalian; Vassal was probably an Independent like Cromwell or Milton; and though the elders accused Childe of being a Jesuit, there is some ground to suppose that he inclined toward Geneva. So far as the testimony goes, everything tends to prove that the petitioners were perfectly sincere in their effort to gain some small measure of civil and religious liberty for themselves and for the disfranchised majority.

Viewed from the standpoint of history and not of prejudice, the events of these early years present themselves in a striking and unmistakable sequence.

They are the phenomena that regularly attend a certain stage of human development,-the absorption of power by an aristocracy. The clergy's rule was rigid, and met with resistance, which was crushed with an iron hand. Was it defection from their own ranks, the deserters met the fate of Wheelwright, of Williams, of Cotton, or of Hubbert; were politicians contumacious, they were defeated or exiled, like Vane, or Aspinwall, or Coddington; were citizens discontented, they were coerced like Maverick and Childe. The process had been uninterrupted alike in church and state. The congregations, which in theory should have included all the inhabitants of the towns, had shrunk until they contained only a third or a quarter of the people; while the churches themselves, which were supposed to be independent of external interference and to regulate their affairs by the will of the majority, had become little more than the chattels of the priests, and subject to the control of the magistrates who were their representatives. This system has generally prevailed; in like manner the Inquisition made use of the secular arm. The condition of ecclesiastical affairs is thus described by the highest living authority on Congregationalism:-

"Our fathers laid it down-and with perfect truth-that the will of Christ, and not the will of the major or minor part of a church, ought to govern that church. But somebody must interpret that will. And they quietly assumed that Christ would reveal his will to the elders, but would not reveal it to the church-members; so that when there arose a difference of opinion as to what the Master's will might be touching any particular matter, the judgment of the elders, rather than the judgment even of a majority of the membership, must be taken as conclusive. To all intents and purposes, then, this was precisely the aristocracy which they affirmed that it was not. For the elders were to order business in the assurance that every truly humble and sincere member would consent thereto. If any did not consent, and after patient debate remained of another judgment, he was 'partial' and 'factious,' and continuing 'obstinate,' he was 'admonished' and his vote 'nullified;' so that the elders could have their way in the end by merely adding the insult of the apparent but illusive offer of cooperation to the injury of their absolute control. As Samuel Stone of Hartford no more tersely than truly put it, this kind of Congregationalism was simply a 'speaking Aristocracy in the face of a silent Democracy.'" [Footnote: Early New England Congregationalism, as seen in its Literature, p. 429. Dr. Dexter.]

It is true that Vassal's petition was the event which made the ministers decide to call a synod [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 264.] by means of an invitation of the General Court; but it is also certain that under no circumstances would the meeting of some such council have been long delayed. For sixteen years the well-known process had been going on, of the creation of institutions by custom, having the force of law; the stage of development had now been reached when it was necessary that those usages should take the shape of formal enactments. The Cambridge platform therefore marks the completion of an organization, and as such is the central point in the history of the Puritan Commonwealth. The work was done in August, 1648: the Westminster Confession was promulgated as the creed; the powers of the clergy were minutely defined, and the duty of the laity stated to be "obeying their elders and submitting themselves unto them in the Lord." [Footnote: Cambridge Platform, ch. x. section 7.] The magistrate was enjoined to punish "idolatry, blasphemy, heresy," and to coerce any church becoming "schismatical."

In October, 1649, the court commended the platform to the consideration of the congregations; in October, 1651, it was adopted; and when church and state were thus united by statute the theocracy was complete.

The close of the era of construction is also marked by the death of those two remarkable men whose influence has left the deepest imprint upon the institutions they helped to mould: John Winthrop, who died in 1649, and John Cotton in 1652.

Winthrop's letters to his wife show him to have been tender and gentle, and that his disposition was one to inspire love is proved by the affection those bore him who had suffered most at his hands. Williams and Vane and Coddington kept their friendship for him to the end. But these very qualities, so amiable in themselves, made him subject to the influence of men of inflexible will. His dream was to create on earth a commonwealth of saints whose joy would be to walk in the ways of God. But in practice he had to deal with the strongest of human passions. In 1634, though supported by Cotton, he was defeated by Dudley, and there can be no doubt that this was caused by the defection of the body of the clergy. The evidence seems conclusive, for the next year Vane brought about an interview between the two at which Haynes was present, and there Haynes upbraided him with remissness in administering justice. [Footnote: Winthrop, i. 178.] Winthrop agreed to leave the question to the ministers, who the next morning gave an emphatic opinion in favor of strict discipline. Thenceforward he was pliant in their hands, and with that day opened the dark epoch of his life. By leading the crusade against the Antinomians he regained the confidence of the elders and they never again failed him; but in return they exacted obedience to their will; and the rancor with which he pursued Anne Hutchinson, Gorton, and Childe cannot be extenuated, and must ever be a stain upon his fame.

As Hutchinson points out, in early life his tendencies were liberal, but in America he steadily grew narrow. The reason is obvious. The leader of an intolerant party has himself to be intolerant. His claim to eminence as a statesman must rest upon the purity of his moral character, his calm temper, and his good judgment; for his mind was not original or brilliant, nor was his thought in advance of his age. Herein he differed from his celebrated contemporary, for among the long list of famous men, who are the pride of Massachusetts, there are few who in mere intellectual capacity outrank Cotton. He was not only a profound scholar, an eloquent preacher, and a famous controversialist, but a great organizer, and a natural politician. He it was who constructed the Congregational hierarchy; his publications were the accepted authority both abroad and at home; and the system which he developed in his books was that which was made law by the Cambridge Platform.

Of medium height, florid complexion, and as he grew old some tendency to be stout, but with snowy hair and much personal dignity, he seems to have had an irresistible charm of manner toward those whom he wished to attract.

Comprehending thoroughly the feelings and prejudices of the clergy, he influenced them even more by his exquisite tact than by his commanding ability; and of easy fortune and hospitable alike from inclination and from interest, he entertained every elder who went to Boston. He understood the art of flattery to perfection; or, as Norton expressed it, "he was a man of ingenuous and pious candor, rejoicing (as opportunity served) to take notice of and testifie unto the gifts of God in his brethren, thereby drawing the hearts of them to him...." [Footnote: Norton's Funeral Sermon, p. 37.] No other clergyman has ever been able to reach the position he held with apparent ease, which amounted to a sort of primacy of New England. His dangers lay in the very fecundity of his mind. Though hampered by his education and profession, he was naturally liberal; and his first miscalculation was when, almost immediately on landing, he supported Winthrop, who was in disgrace for the mildness of his administration, against the austerer Dudley.

The consciousness of his intellectual superiority seems to have given him an almost overweening confidence in his ability to induce his brethren to accept the broader theology he loved to preach; nor did he apparently realize that comprehension was incompatible with a theocratic government, and that his success would have undermined the organization he was laboring to perfect. He thus committed the error of his life in undertaking to preach a religious reformation, without having the resolution to face a martyrdom. But when he saw his mistake, the way in which he retrieved himself showed a consummate knowledge of human nature and of the men with whom he had to deal. Nor did he ever forget the lesson. From that time forward he took care that no one should be able to pick a flaw in his orthodoxy; and whatever he may have thought of much of the policy of his party, he was always ready to defend it without flinching.

Neither he nor Winthrop died too soon, for with the completion of the task of organization the work that suited them was finished, and they were unfit for that which remained to be done. An oligarchy, whose power rests on faith and not on force, can only exist by extirpating all who openly question their pretensions to preeminent sanctity; and neither of these men belonged to the class of natural persecutors,-the one was too gentle, the other too liberal. An example will show better than much argument how little in accord either really was with that spirit which, in the regular course of social development, had thenceforward to dominate over Massachusetts.

Captain Partridge had fought for the Parliament, and reached Boston at the beginning of the winter of 1645. He was arrested and examined as a heretic. The magistrates referred the case to Cotton, who reported that "he found him corrupt in judgment," but "had good hope to reclaim him." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 251.] An instant recantation was demanded; it was of course refused, and, in spite of all remonstrance, the family was banished in the snow. Winthrop's sad words were: "But sure, the rule of hospitality to strangers, and of seeking to pluck out of the fire such as there may be hope of, ... do seem to require more moderation and indulgence of human infirmity where there appears not obstinacy against the clear truth." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 251.]

But in the savage and bloody struggle that was now at hand there was no place for leaders capable of pity or remorse, and the theocracy found supremely gifted chieftains in John Norton and John Endicott.

Norton approaches the ideal of the sterner orders of the priesthood. A gentleman by birth and breeding, a ripe scholar, with a keen though polished wit, his sombre temper was deeply tinged with fanaticism. Unlike so many of his brethren, temporal concerns were to him of but little moment, for every passion of his gloomy soul was intensely concentrated on the warfare he believed himself waging with the fiend. Doubt or compassion was impossible, for he was commissioned by the Lord. He was Christ's elected minister, and misbelievers were children of the devil whom it was his sacred duty to destroy. He knew by the Word of God that all save the orthodox were lost, and that heretics not only perished, but were the hirelings of Satan, who tempted the innocent to their doom; he therefore hated and feared them more than robbers or murderers. Words seemed to fail him when he tried to express his horror: "The face of death, the King of Terrours, the living man by instinct turneth his face from. An unusual shape, a satanical phantasm, a ghost, or apparition, affrights the disciples. But the face of heresie is of a more horrid aspect than all ... put together, as arguing some signal inlargement of the power of darkness as being diabolical, prodigeous, portentous." [Footnote: Heart of New Eng. Rent, p. 46.] By nature, moreover, he had in their fullest measure the three attributes of a preacher of a persecution,-eloquence, resolution, and a heart callous to human suffering. To this formidable churchman was joined a no less formidable magistrate.

No figure in our early history looms out of the past like Endicott's. The harsh face still looks down from under the black skull-cap, the gray moustache and pointed beard shading the determined mouth, but throwing into relief the lines of the massive jaw. He is almost heroic in his ferocious bigotry and daring,-a perfect champion of the church.

The grim Puritan soldier is almost visible as, standing at the head of his men, he tears the red cross from the flag, and defies the power of England; or, in that tremendous moment, when the people were hanging breathless on the fate of Christison, when insurrection seemed bursting out beneath his feet, and his judges shrunk aghast before the peril, we yet hear the savage old man furiously strike the table, and, thanking God that he at least dares to do his duty, we see him rise alone before that threatening multitude to condemn the heretic to death.

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