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   Chapter 13 — THE REVOLUTION.

The Emancipation of Massachusetts By Brooks Adams Characters: 74887

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02

Status appears to be that stage of civilisation whence advancing communities emerge into the era of individual liberty. In its most perfect development it takes the form of caste, and the presumption is the movement toward caste begins upon the abandonment of a wandering life, and varies in intensity with the environment and temperament of each race, the feebler sinking into a state of equilibrium, when change by spontaneous growth ceases to be perceptible. So long as the brain remains too feeble for sustained original thought, and man therefore lacks the energy to rebel against routine, this condition of existence must continue, and its inevitable tendency is toward rigid distinctions of rank, and as a necessary consequence toward the limitation of the range of ambition, by the conventional lines dividing the occupations of the classes. Such at least in a general way was the progression of the Jews, and in a less marked degree of the barbarians who overran the Roman Empire. Yet even these, when they acquired permanent abodes, gravitated strongly enough toward caste to produce a social system based on monopoly and privilege which lasted through many centuries. On the other hand, the democratic formula of "equality before the law" best defines the modern conception of human relations, and this maxim indicates a tone of thought directly the converse of that which begot status; for whereas the one strove to raise impassable barriers against free competition in the struggle for existence, the ideal of the other is to offer the fullest scope for the expansion of the faculties.

As in Western Europe church and state alike rested upon the customs of the Middle Ages, a change so fundamental must have wrought the overthrow, not only of the vastest vested interests, but of the profoundest religious prejudices, consequently, it could not have been accomplished peaceably; and in point of fact the conservatives were routed in two terrific outbreaks, whereof the second was the sequence of the first, though following it after a considerable interval of time. By the wars of the Reformation freedom of thought was gained; by the revolutions of the eighteenth century, which swept away the incubus of feudalism, liberty of action was won; and as Massachusetts had been colonized by the radicals of the first insurrection, it was not unnatural that their children should have led the second. So much may be readily conceded, and yet the inherited tendency toward liberalism alone would have been insufficient to have inspired the peculiar unanimity of sentiment which animated her people in their resistance to Great Britain, and which perhaps was stronger among her clergy, whose instincts regarding domestic affairs were intensely conservative, than among any other portion of her population. The reasons for this phenomenon are worthy of investigation, for they are not only interesting in themselves, but they furnish an admirable illustration of the irresistible action of antecedent and external causes on the human mind.

Under the Puritan Commonwealth the church gave distinction and power, and therefore monopolized the ability which sought professional life; but under the provincial government new careers were opened, and intellectual activity began to flow in broader channels. John Adams illustrates the effect produced by the changed environment; when only twenty he made this suggestive entry in his Diary: "The following questions may be answered some time or other, namely,-Where do we find a precept in the Gospel requiring Ecclesiastical Synods? Convocations? Councils? Decrees? Creeds? Confessions? Oaths? Subscriptions? and whole cart-loads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?" [Footnote: Works of J. Adams, ii. 5.]

Such men became lawyers, doctors, or merchants; theology ceased to occupy their minds; and gradually the secular thought of New England grew to be coincident with that of the other colonies.

Throughout America the institutions favored individuality. No privileged class existed among the whites. Under the careless rule of Great Britain habits of personal liberty had taken root, which showed themselves in the tenacity wherewith the people clung to their customs of self-government; and so long as these usages were respected, under which they had always lived, and which they believed to be as well established as Magna Charta, there were not in all the king's broad dominions more loyal subjects than men like Washington, Jefferson, and Jay.

The generation now living can read the history of the Revolution dispassionately, and to them it is growing clear that our ancestors were technically in the wrong. For centuries Parliament has been theoretically absolute; therefore it might constitutionally tax the colonies, or do whatsoever else with them it pleased. Practically, however, it is self-evident that the most perfect despotism must be limited by the extent to which subjects will obey, and this is a matter of habit; rebellions, therefore, are usually caused by the conservative instinct, represented by the will of the sovereign, attempting to enforce obedience to customs which a people have outgrown.

In 1776, though the Middle Ages had passed, their traditions still prevailed in Europe, and probably the antagonism between this survival of a dead civilization and the modern democracy of America was too deep for any arbitrament save trial by battle. Identically the same dispute had arisen in England the century before, when the commons rebelled against the prerogatives of the crown, and Cromwell fought like Washington, in the cause of individual emancipation; but the movement in Great Britain was too radical for the age, and was followed by a reaction whose force was not spent when George III. came to the throne.

Precedent is only inflexible among stationary races, and advancing nations glory in their capacity for change; hence it is precisely those who have led revolt successfully who have won the brightest fame. If, therefore, it be admitted that they should rank among mankind's noblest benefactors, who have risked their lives to win the freedom we enjoy, and which seems destined to endure, there are few to whom posterity owes a deeper debt than to our early statesmen; nor, judging their handiwork by the test of time, have many lived who in genius have surpassed them. In the fourth article of their Declaration of Rights, the Continental Congress resolved that the colonists "are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, ... in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed. But, ... we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of Parliament as are, bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce."

In 1778 a statute was passed, of which an English jurist wrote in 1885: "One act, indeed, of the British Parliament might, looked at in the light of history, claim a peculiar sanctity. It is certainly an enactment of which the terms, we may safely predict, will never be repealed and the spirit never be violated.... It provides that Parliament' will not impose any duty, tax or assessment whatever, payable in any of his majesty's colonies ... except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce.'" [Footnote: The Law of the Constitution, Dicey, p. 62.]

Thus is the memory of their grievance held sacred by the descendants of their adversaries after the lapse of a century, and the local self-government for which they pleaded has become the immutable policy of the empire. The principles they laid down have been equally enduring, for they proclaimed the equality of men before the law, the corner-stone of modern civilization, and the Constitution they wrote still remains the fundamental charter of the liberties of the republic of the United States.

Nevertheless it remains true that secular liberalism alone could never have produced the peculiarly acrimonious hostility to Great Britain wherein Massachusetts stood preeminent, whose causes, if traced, will be found imbedded at the very foundation of her social organization, and to have been steadily in action ever since the settlement. Too little study is given to ecclesiastical history, for probably nothing throws so much light on certain phases of development; and particularly in the case of this Commonwealth the impulses which moulded her destiny cannot be understood unless the events that stimulated the passions of her clergy are steadily kept in view.

The early aggrandizement of her priests has been described; the inevitable conflict with the law into which their ambition plunged them, and the overthrow of the theocracy which resulted therefrom, have been related; but the causes that kept alive the old exasperation with England throughout the eighteenth century have not yet been told.

The influence of men like Leverett and Colman tended to broaden the church, but necessarily the process was slow; and there is no lack of evidence that the majority of the ministers had little relish for the toleration forced upon them by the second charter. It is not surprising, therefore, to find the sectaries soon again driven to invoke the protection of the king.

Though doubtless some monastic orders have been vowed to poverty, it will probably be generally conceded that a life of privation has not found favor with divines as a class; and one of the earliest acts of the provincial legislature bid each town choose an able and orthodox minister to dispense the Word of God, who should be "suitably encouraged" by an assessment on all inhabitants without distinction. This was for many years a bitter grievance to the dissenting minority; but there was worse to come; for sometimes the majority were heterodox, when pastors were elected who gave great scandal to their evangelical brethren. Therefore, for the prevention of "atheism, irreligion and prophaness," [Footnote: Province Laws, 1715, c. 17.] it was enacted in 1775 that the justices of the county should report any town without an orthodox minister, and thereupon the General Court should settle a candidate recommended to them by the ordained elders, and levy a special tax for his support. Nor could men animated by the fervent piety which raised the Mathers to eminence in their profession be expected to sit by tamely while blasphemers not only worshipped openly, but refused to contribute to their incomes.

"We expect no other but Satan will show his rage against us for our endeavors to lessen his kingdom of darkness. He hath grievously afflicted me (by God's permission) by infatuating or bewitching three or four who live in a corner of my parish with Quaker notions, [who] now hold a separate meeting by themselves." [Footnote: Rev. S. Danforth, 1720. Mass. Hist. Coll. fourth series, i.]

The heretics, on their side, were filled with the same stubborn spirit which had caused them "obstinately and proudly" to "persecute" Norton and Endicott in earlier days. In 1722 godly preachers were settled at Dartmouth and Tiverton, under the act, the majority of whose people were Quakers and Baptists; and the Friends tell their own story in a petition they presented to the crown in 1724: "That the said Joseph Anthony and John Siffon were appointed assessors of the taxes for the said town of Tiverton, and the said John Akin and said Philip Tabor for the town of Dartmouth, but some of the said assessors being of the people called Quakers, and others of them also dissenting from the Presbyterians and Independents, and greatest part of the inhabitants of the said towns being also Quakers or Anabaptists ... the said assessors duly assessed the other taxes ... relating to the support of government ... yet they could not in conscience assess any of the inhabitants of the said towns anything for or towards the maintenance of any ministers.

"That the said Joseph Anthony, John Siffon, John Akin and Philip Tabor, (on pretence of their non-compliance with the said law) were on the 25th of the month called May, 1723, committed to the jail aforesaid, where they still continue prisoners under great sufferings and hardships both to themselves and families, and where they must remain and die, if not relieved by the king's royal clemancy and favour." [Footnote: Gough's Quakers, iv. 222, 223.]

A hearing was had upon this petition before the Privy Council, and in June, 1724, an order was made directing the remission of the special taxes and the release of the prisoners, who were accordingly liberated in obedience thereto, after they had been incarcerated for thirteen months.

The blow was felt to be so severe that the convention of ministers the next May decided to convene a synod, and Dr. Cotton Mather was appointed to draw up a petition to the legislature.

"Considering the great and visible decay of piety in the country, and the growth of many miscarriages, which we fear may have provoked the glorious Lord in a series of various judgments wonderfully to distress us.... It is humbly desired that ... the ... churches ... meet by their pastors ... in a synod, and from thence offer their advice upon.... What are the miscarriages whereof we have reason to think the judgments of heaven, upon us, call us to be more generally sensible, and what may be the most evangelical and effectual expedients to put a stop unto those or the like miscarriages." [Footnote: Hutch. Hist. 3d ed. ii. 292, note.]

The "evangelical expedient" was of course to revive the Cambridge Platform; nor was such a scheme manifestly impossible, for the council voted "that the synod ... will be agreeable to this board, and the reverend ministers are desired to take their own time, for the said assembly; and it is earnestly wished the issue thereof may be a happy reformation." [Footnote: Chalmers's Opinions, i. 8.] In the house of representatives this resolution was read and referred to the next session.

Meanwhile the Episcopalian clergymen of Boston, in much alarm, presented a memorial to the General Court, remonstrating against the proposed measure; but the council resolved "it contained an indecent reflection on the proceedings of that board," [Footnote: Idem, p. 9.] and dismissed it. Nothing discouraged, the remonstrants applied for protection to the Bishop of London, who brought the matter to the attention of the law officers of the crown. In their opinion to call a synod would be "a contempt of his majesty's prerogative," and if "notwithstanding, ... they shall continue to hold their assembly, ... the principal actors therein [should] be prosecuted ... for a misdemeanour." [Footnote: Chalmers's Opinions, p. 13.]

Steadily and surely the coil was tightening which was destined to strangle the established church of Massachusetts; but the resistance of the ministers was desperate, and lent a tinge of theological hate to the outbreak of the Revolution. They believed it would be impossible for them to remain a dominant priesthood if Episcopalianism, supported by the patronage of the crown, should be allowed to take root in the land; yet the Episcopalians represented conservatism, therefore they were forced to become radicals, and the liberalism they taught was fated to destroy their power.

Meanwhile their sacred vineyard lay open to attack upon every side. At Boston the royal governors went to King's Chapel and encouraged the use of the liturgy, while an inroad was made into Connecticut from New York. Early in the century a certain Colonel Heathcote organized a regular system of invasion. He was a man eminently fitted for the task, being filled with zeal for the conversion of dissenters. "I have the charity to believe that, after having heard one of our ministers preach, they will not look upon our church to be such a monster as she is represented; and being convinced of some of the cheats, many of them may duly consider of the sin of schism." [Footnote: Conn. Church Documents, i. 12.]

"They have abundance of odd kind of laws, to prevent any dissenting ... and endeavour to keep the people in as much blindness and unacquaintedness with any other religion as possible, but in a more particular manner the church, looking upon her as the most dangerous enemy they have to grapple withal, and abundance of pains is taken to make the ignorant think as bad as possible of her; and I really believe that more than half the people in that government think our church to be little better than the Papist, and they fail not to improve every little thing against us." [Footnote: Conn. Church Documents, i. 9.]

He had little liking for the elders, whom he described as being "as absolute in their respective parishes as the Pope of Rome;" but he felt kindly toward "the passive, obedient people, who dare not do otherwise than obey." [Footnote: Idem, i. 10.] He explained the details of his plan in his letters, and though he was aware of the difficulties, he did not despair, his chief anxiety being to get a suitable missionary. He finally chose the Rev. Mr. Muirson, and in 1706 began a series of proselytizing tours. Nevertheless, the clergyman was wroth at the treatment he received.

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HONOR'D SIR, I entreat your acceptance of my most humble and hearty thanks for the kind and Christian advice you were pleased to tender me in relation to Connecticut.... I know that meekness and moderation is most agreeable to the mind of our blessed Saviour, Christ, who himself was meek and lowly, and would have all his followers to learn that lesson of him.... I have duly considered all these things, and have carried myself civilly and kindly to the Independent party, but they have ungratefully resented my love; yet I will further consider the obligations that my holy religion lays upon me, to forgive injuries and wrongs, and to return good for their evil.... I desired only a liberty of conscience might be allowed to the members of the National Church of England; which, notwithstanding, they seemed unwilling to grant, and left no means untried, both foul and fair, to prevent the settling the church among them; for one of their justices came to my lodging and forewarned me, at my peril, from preaching, telling me that I did an illegal thing in bringing in new ways among them; the people were likewise threatened with prison, and a forfeiture of £5 for coming to hear me. It will require more time than you will willingly bestow on these lines to express how rigidly and severely they treat our people, by taking their estates by distress, when they do not willingly pay to support their ministers.... They tell our people that they will not suffer the house of God to be defiled with idolatrous worship and superstitious ceremonies.... They say the sign of the cross is the mark of the beast and the sign of the devil, and that those who receive it are given to the devil....

Honored sir, your most assured friend, ...

GEO. MUIRSON. RYE, 9th January, 1707-8. [Footnote: Conn. Church Documents, i. 29.]

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However, in spite of his difficulties, he was able to boast that "I have ... in one town, ... baptized about 32, young and old, and administered the Holy Sacrament to 18, who never received it before. Each time I had a numerous congregation." [Footnote: Conn. Church Documents, i. 23.]

The foregoing correspondence was with the secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which had been incorporated in 1701, and had presently afterward appointed Colonel Heathcote as their agent. They could have chosen no more energetic representative, nor was it long before his exertions began to bear fruit. In 1707 nineteen inhabitants of Stratford sent a memorial to the Bishop of London, the forerunner of many to come. "Because by reason of the said laws we are not able to support a minister, we further pray your lordship may be pleased to send one over with a missionary allowance from the honourable corporation, invested with full power, so as that he may preach and we hear the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ, without molestation and terror." [Footnote: Idem, i. 34.]

The Anglican prelates conceived it to be their duty to meddle with the religious concerns of New England; therefore, by means of the organization of the venerable society, they proceeded to plant a number of missions throughout the country, whose missionaries were paid from the corporate funds. Whatever opinion may be formed of the wisdom of a policy certain to exasperate deeply so powerful and so revengeful a class as the Congregational elders, there can be no doubt the Episcopalians achieved a measure of success, in the last degree alarming, not only among the laity, but among the clergy themselves. Mr. Reed, pastor of Stratford, was the first to go over, and was of course deprived of his parish; his defection was followed in 1722 by that of the rector of Yale and six other ministers; and the Rev. Joseph Webb, who thought the end was near, wrote in deep affliction to break the news to his friends in Boston.

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FAIRFIELD, Oct. 2, 1722.

REVEREND AND HONOURED SIR, The occasion of my now giving you the trouble of these few lines is to me, and I presume to many others, melancholy enough. You have perhaps heard before now, or will hear before these come to hand, (I suppose) of the revolt of several persons of figure among us unto the Church of England. There's the Rev. Mr. Cutler, rector of our college, and Mr. Daniel Brown, the tutor thereof. There are also of ordained ministers, pastors of several churches among us, the Rev. Messieurs following, viz. John Hart of East Guilford, Samuel Whittlesey of Wallingford, Jared Eliot of Kennelworth, ... Samuel Johnson of West-Haven, and James Wetmore of North-Haven. They are the most of them reputed men of considerable learning, and all of them of a virtuous and blameless conversation. I apprehend the axe is hereby laid to the root of our civil and sacred enjoyments; and a doleful gap opened for trouble and confusion in our churches.... It is a very dark day with us; and we need pity, prayers and counsel. [Footnote: Rev. Joseph Webb to Dr. C. Mather. Mass. Hist. Coll. second series, ii. 131.]

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From the tone in which these tidings were received it is plain that the charity and humility of the golden age of Massachusetts were not yet altogether extinct among her ecclesiastics. The ministers published their "sentiments" in a document beginning as follows:-

"These new Episcopalians have declared their desire to introduce an usurpation and a superstition into the church of God, clearly condemned in the sacred Scriptures, which our loyalty and chastity to our Saviour, obliges us to keep close unto; and a tyranny, from which the whole church, which desires to be reformed, has groaned that it may be delivered.... The scandalous conjunction of these unhappy men with the Papists is, perhaps, more than what they have themselves duly considered." [Footnote: The Sentiments of the Several Ministers in Boston. Mass. Hist. Coll. second series, ii. 133.] In "A Faithful Relation" of what had happened it was observed: "It has caused some indignation in them," (the people) "to see the vile indignity cast by these cudweeds upon those excellent servants of God, who were the leaders of the flock that followed our Saviour into this wilderness: and upon the ministry of them, and their successours, in which there has been seen for more than forescore years together, the power and blessing of God for the salvation of many thousands in the successive generations; with a success beyond what any of them which set such an high value on the Episcopal ordination could ever boast of!... It is a sensible addition, unto their horrour, to see the horrid character of more than one or two, who have got themselves qualified with Episcopal ordination, ... and come over as missionaries, perhaps to serve scarce twenty families of such people, in a town of several hundred families of Christians, better instructed than the very missionaries: to think, that they must have no other ministers, but such as are ordained, and ordered by them, who have sent over such tippling sots unto them: instead of those pious and painful and faithful instructors which they are now blessed withal!" [Footnote: "A Faithful Relation of a Late Occurrence." Mass. Hist. Coll. second series, ii. 138, 139.]

Only three of the converts had the fortitude to withstand the pressure to which they were exposed: Cutler, Johnson, and Brown went to England for ordination; there Brown died of small-pox, but Cutler returned to Boston as a missionary, and as he, too, possessed a certain clerical aptitude for forcible expression, it is fitting he should relate his own experiences:-

"I find that, in spite of malice and the basest arts our godly enemies can easily stoop to, that the interest of the church grows and penetrates into the very heart of this country.... This great town swarms with them "(churchmen)," and we are so confident of our power and interest that, out of four Parliament-men which this town sends to our General Assembly, the church intends to put up for two, though I am not very sanguine about our success in it.... My church grows faster than I expected, and, while it doth so, I will not be mortified by all the lies and affronts they pelt me with. My greatest difficulty ariseth from another quarter, and is owing to the covetous and malicious spirit of a clergyman in this town, who, in lying and villany, is a perfect overmatch for any dissenter that I know; and, after all the odium that he contracted heretofore among them, is fully reconciled and endeared to them by his falsehood to the church." [Footnote: Dr. Timothy Cutler to Dr. Zachary Grey, April 2, 1725, Perry's Collection, iii. 663.]

Time did not tend to pacify the feud. There was no bishop in America, and candidates had to be sent to England for ordination; nor without such an official was it found possible to enforce due discipline; hence the anxiety of Dr. Johnson, and, indeed, of all the Episcopalian clergy, to have one appointed for the colonies was not unreasonable. Nevertheless, the opposition they met with was acrimonious in the extreme, so much so as to make them hostile to the charters themselves, which they thought sheltered their adversaries.

"The king, by his instructions to our governor, demands a salary; and if he punishes our obstinacy by vacating our charter, I shall think it an eminent blessing of his illustrious reign." [Footnote: Dr. Cutler to Dr. Grey, April 20, 1731. Perry's Coll. iii.]

Whitefield came in 1740, and the tumult of the great revival roused fresh animosities.

"When Mr. Whitefield first arrived here the whole town was alarmed.... The conventicles were crowded; but he chose rather our Common, where multitudes might see him in all his awful postures; besides that, in one crowded conventicle, before he came in, six were killed in a fright. The fellow treated the most venerable with an air of superiority. But he forever lashed and anathematized the Church of England; and that was enough.

"After him came one Tennent, a monster! impudent and noisy, and told them all they were damn'd, damn'd, damn'd! This charmed them, and in the most dreadful winter that i ever saw, people wallowed in the snow night and day for the benefit of his beastly brayings; and many ended their days under these fatigues. Both of them carried more money out of these parts than the poor could be thankful for." [Footnote: Dr. Cutler to Dr. Grey, Sept. 24, 1743. Perry's Coll. iii. 676.]

The excitement was followed by its natural reaction conversions became numerous, and the unevangelical temper this bred between the rival clergymen is painfully apparent in a correspondence wherein Dr. Johnson became involved. Mr. Gold, the Congregationalist minister of Stratford, whom he called a dissenter, had said of him "that he was a thief, and robber of churches, and had no business in the place; that his church doors stood open to all mischief and wickedness, and other words of like import." He therefore wrote to defend himself: "As to my having no business here, I will only say that to me it appears most evident that I have as much business here at least as you have,-being appointed by a society in England incorporated by royal charter to provide ministers for the church people in America; nor does his majesty allow of any establishment here, exclusive of the church, much less of anything that should preclude the society he has incorporated from providing and sending ministers to the church people in these countries." [Footnote: Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, p. 108.] To which Mr. Gold replied:-

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As for the pleas which you make for Col. Lewis, and others that have broke away disorderly from our church, I think there's neither weight nor truth in them; nor do I believe such poor shifts will stand them nor you in any stead in the awful day of account; and as for your saying that as bad as you are yet you lie open to conviction,-for my part I find no reason to think you do, seeing you are so free and full in denying plain matters of fact.... I don't think it worth my while to say anything further in the affair, and as you began the controversy against rule or justice, so I hope modesty will induce you to desist; and do assure you that if you see cause to make any more replies, my purpose is, without reading of them, to put them under the pot among my other thorns and there let one flame quench the matter.... HEZ. GOLD.

STRATFORD, July 21, 1741. [Footnote: Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, p. 111.]

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And so by an obvious sequence of cause and effect it came to pass that the clergy were early ripe for rebellion, and only awaited their opportunity. Nor could it have been otherwise. An autocratic priesthood had seen their order stripped of its privileges one by one, until nothing remained but their moral empire over their parishioners, and then at last not only did an association of rival ecclesiastics send over emissaries to steal away their people, but they proposed to establish a bishop in the land. The thought was wormwood. He would be rich, he would live in a palace, he would be supported by the patronage and pomp of the royal governors; the imposing ceremonial would become fashionable; and in imagination they already saw themselves reduced to the humble position of dissenters in their own kingdom. Jonathan Mayhew was called a heretic by his more conservative brethren, but he was one of the ablest and the most acrid of the Boston ministers. He took little pains to disguise his feelings, and so early as 1750 he preached a sermon, which was once famous, wherein he told his hearers that it was their duty to oppose the encroachment of the British prelates, if necessary, by force.

"Suppose, then, it was allowed, in general, that the clergy were a useful order of men; that they ought to be esteemed very highly in love for their work's sake, and to be decently supported by those they serve, 'the laborer being worthy of his reward.' Suppose, further, that a number of reverend and right reverend drones, who worked not; who preached, perhaps, but once a year, and then not the gospel of Jesus Christ, but the divine right of tithes, the dignity of their office as ambassadors of Christ, ... suppose such men as these, spending their lives in effeminacy, luxury, and idleness; ... suppose this should be the case, ... would not everybody be astonished at such insolence, injustice, and impiety?" [Footnote: "Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission," Jonathan Mayhew. Thornton's American Pulpit, pp. 71, 72.] "Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like 'the drop of a bucket,' till at length, like a mighty torrent... it bears down all before it.... Thus it is as to ecclesiastical tyranny also-the most cruel, intolerable, and impious of any. From small beginnings, 'it exalts itself above all that is called God and that is worshipped.' People have no security against being unmercifully priest-ridden but by keeping all imperious bishops, and other clergymen who love to 'lord it over God's heritage,' from getting their foot into the stirrup at all.... For which reason it becomes every friend to truth and human kind, every lover of God and the Christian religion, to bear a part in opposing this hateful monster." [Footnote: Preface to "A Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission," Jonathan Mayhew. Thornton's Amer. Pulpit, pp. 50, 51.]

Between these envenomed priests peace was impossible; each year brought with it some new aggression which added fuel to the flame. In 1763, Mr. Apthorp, missionary at Cambridge, published a pamphlet, in answer, as he explained, to "some anonymous libels which appeared in our newspapers ... grossly reflecting on the society & their missionaries, & in particular on the mission at Cambridge." [Footnote: East Apthorp to the Secretary, June 25, 1763. Perry's Coll. iii. 500.]

By this time the passions of the Congregationalist divines had reached a point when words seemed hardly adequate to give them expression. The Rev. Ezra Stiles wrote to Dr. Mayhew in these terms:-

"Shall we be hushed into silence, by those whose tender mercies are cruelty; and who, notwithstanding their pretence of moderation, wish the subversion of our churches, and are combined, in united, steady and vigorous effort, by all the arts of subtlety and intreague, for our ruin?" [Footnote: Dr. Ezra Stiles to Dr. Mayhew, 1763. Life of Mayhew, p. 246.]

Mr. Stiles need have felt no anxiety, for, according to Mr. Apthorp, "this occasion was greedily seized, ... by a dissenting minister of Boston, a man of a singular character, of good abilities, but of a turbulent & contentious disposition, at variance, not only with the Church of England, but in the essential doctrines of religion, with most of his own party." [Footnote: East Apthorp to the Secretary. Perry's Coll. iii. 500.] He alluded to a tract written by Dr. Mayhew in answer to his pamphlet, in which he reproduced the charge made by Mr. Stiles: "The society have long had a formal design to dissolve and root out all our New-England churches; or, in other words, to reduce them all to the Episcopal form." [Footnote: Observations on the Charter, etc. of the Society, p. 107.] And withal he clothed his thoughts in language which angered Mr. Caner:-

"A few days after, Mr. Apthorpe published the enclosed pamphlet, in vindication of the institution and conduct of the society, which occasioned the ungenteel reflections which your grace will find in Dr. Mayhew's pamphlet, in which, not content with the personal abuse of Mr. Apthorpe, he has insulted the missions in general, the society, the Church of England, in short, the whole rational establishment, in so dirty a manner, that it seems to be below the character of a gentleman to enter into controversy with him. In most of his sermons, of which he published a great number, he introduces some malicious invectives against the society or the Church of England, and if at any time the most candid and gentle remarks are made upon such abuse, he breaks forth into such bitter and scurrilous personal reflections, that in truth no one cares to have anything to do with him. His doctrinal principles, which seem chiefly copied from Lord Shaftsbury, Bolingbroke, &c., are so offensive to the generalty of the dissenting ministers, that they refuse to admit him a member of their association, yet they appear to be pleased with his abusing the Church of England." [Footnote: Rev. Mr. Caner to the Archbishop of Canterbury, June 8, 1763. Perry's Coll. iii. 497, 498.]

The Archbishop of Canterbury himself now interfered, and tried to calm the tumult by a candid and dignified reply to Dr. Mayhew, in which he labored to show the harmlessness of the proposed bishopric.

"Therefore it is desired, that two or more bishops may be appointed for them, to reside where his majesty shall think most convenient [not in New England, but in one of the Episcopalian colonies]; that they may have no concern in the least with any person who do not profess themselves to be of the Church of England, but may ordain ministers for such as do; ... and take such oversight of the Episcopal clergy, as the Bishop of London's commissaries in those parts have been empowered to take, and have taken, without offence. But it is not desired in the least that they should hold courts ... or be vested with any authority, now exercised either by provincial governors or subordinate magistrates, or infringe or diminish any privileges and liberties enjoyed by any of the laity, even of our own communion." [Footnote: An Answer to Dr. Mayhew's Observations, etc. Dr. Secker, p. 51.]

But the archbishop should have known that the passions of rival ecclesiastics are not to be allayed. The Episcopalians had become so exasperated as to want nothing less than the overthrow of popular government. Dr. Johnson wrote in 1763: "Is there then nothing more that can be done either for obtaining bishops or demolishing these pernicious charter governments, and reducing them all to one form in immediate dependence on the ki

ng? I cannot help calling them pernicious, for they are indeed so as well for the best good of the people themselves as for the interests of true religion." [Footnote: Life of Samuel Johnson, p. 279.]

The Congregationalists, on the other hand, inflamed with jealousy, were ripe for rebellion. On March 22, 1765, the Stamp Act became law, and the clergy threw themselves into the combat with characteristic violence. Oliver had been appointed distributor, but his house was attacked and he was forced to resign. The next evening but one the rabble visited Hutchinson, who was lieutenant-governor, and broke his windows; and there was general fear of further rioting. In the midst of this crisis., on the 25th of August, Dr. Mayhew preached a sermon in the West Meeting-house from the text, "I would they were even cut off which trouble you." [Footnote: Galatians v. 12.] I That this discourse was in fact an incendiary harangue is demonstrated by what followed. At nightfall on the 26th a fierce mob forced the cellars of the comptroller of the customs, and got drunk on the spirits stored within; then they went on to Hutchinson's dwelling: "The doors were immediately split to pieces with broad axes, and a way made there, and at the windows, for the entry of the mob; which poured in, and filled, in an instant, every room.... They continued their possession until daylight; destroyed ... everything ... except the walls, ... and had begun to break away the brick-work." [Footnote: Hutch. Hist. iii. 124.] His irreplaceable collection of original papers was thrown into the street; and when a bystander interfered in the hope of saving some of them, "answer was made, that it had been resolved to destroy everything in the house; and such resolve should be carried to effect." [Footnote: Idem, p. 125, note.] Malice so bitter bears the peculiar ecclesiastical tinge, and is explained by the confession of one of the ring-leaders, who, when subsequently arrested, said he had been excited by the sermon, "and that he thought he was doing God service." [Footnote: Idem, p. 123.]

The outbreak met with general condemnation, and Dr. Mayhew, who saw he had gone too far, tried to excuse himself:-

"SIR,-I take the freedom to write you a few lines, by way of condolence, on account of the almost unparalleled outrages committed at your house last evening; and the great damage which I understand you have suffered thereby. God is my witness, that, from the bottom of my heart, I detest these proceedings; that I am most sincerely grieved at them, and have a deep sympathy with you and your distressed family on this occasion." [Footnote: Mayhew to Hutchinson. Life of Mayhew, p. 420.]

Nevertheless, the repeal of the Stamp Act, which pacified the laity, left the clergy as hot as ever; and so early as 1768, when no one outside of the inmost ecclesiastical circle yet dreamed of independence, but when the Rev. Andrew Eliot thought the erection of the bishopric was near, he frankly told Hollis he anticipated war.

"You will see by this pamphlet, how we are cajoled. A colony bishop is to be a more innocent creature than ever a bishop was, since diocesan bishops were introduced to lord it over God's heritage. ... Can the A-b-p, and his tools, think to impose on the colonists by these artful representations.... The people of New England are greatly alarmed; the arrival of a bishop would raise them as much as any one thing.... Our General Court is now sitting. I have hinted to some of the members, that it will be proper for them to express their fears of the setting up an hierarchy here. I am well assured a motion will be made to this purpose.... I may be mistaken, but I am persuaded the dispute between Great Britain and her colonies will never be amicably settled.... I sent you a few hasty remarks on the A-b-p's sermon. ... I am more and more convinced of the meanness, art-if he was not in so high a station, I should say, falsehood-of that Arch-Pr-l-te." [Footnote: Thomas Seeker. Andrew Eliot to Thomas Hollis, Jan. 5, 1768. Mass. Hist. Coll. fourth series, iv. 422.] An established priesthood is naturally the firmest support of despotism; but the course of events made that of Massachusetts revolutionary. This was a social factor whose importance it is hard to overestimate; for though the influence of the elders had much declined during the eighteenth century, their political power was still immense; and it is impossible to measure the degree in which the drift of feeling toward independence would have been arrested had they been thoroughly loyal. At all events, the evidence tends to show that it is most improbable the first blood would have been shed in the streets of Boston had it been the policy of Great Britain to conciliate the Congregational Church; if, for example, the liberals had been forced to meet the issue of taxation upon a statute designed to raise a revenue for the maintenance of the evangelical clergy. How potent an ally King George lost by incurring their hatred may be judged by the devotion of the Episcopalian pastors, many of whom were of the same blood as their Calvinistic brethren, often, like Cutler and Johnson, converts. They all showed the same intensity of feeling; all were Tories, not one wavered; and they boasted that they were long able to hold their parishioners in check.

In September, 1765, those of Connecticut wrote to the secretary, "although the commotions and disaffection in this country are very great at present, relative to what they call the imposition of stamp duties, yet ... the people of the Church of England, in general, in this colony, as we hear, ... and those, in particular, under our respective charges, are of a contrary temper and conduct; esteeming it nothing short of rebellion to speak evil of dignities, and to avow opposition to this last act of Parliament....

"We think it our incumbent duty to warn our hearers, in particular, of the unreasonableness and wickedness of their taking the least part in any tumult or opposition to his majesty's acts, and we have obvious reasons for the fullest persuasion, that they will steadily behave themselves as true and faithful subjects to his majesty's person and government." [Footnote: Conn. Church Doc. ii. 81.]

Even so late as April, 1775, Mr. Caner, at Boston, felt justified in making a very similar report to the society: "Our clergy have in the midst of these confusions behaved I think with remarkable prudence. None of them have been hindered from exercising the duties of their office since Mr. Peters, tho' many of them have been much threat'ned; and as their people have for the most part remained firm and steadfast in their loyalty and attachment to goverment, the clergy feel themselves supported by a conscious satisfaction that their labors have not been in vain." [Footnote: Perry's Coll. iii. 579.]

Nor did they shrink because of danger from setting an example of passive obedience to their congregations. The Rev. Dr. Beach graduated at Yale in 1721 and became the Congregational pastor of Newtown. He was afterward converted, and during the war was forbidden to read the prayers for the royal family; but he replied, "that he would do his duty, preach and pray for the king, till the rebels cut out his tongue." [Footnote: O'Callaghan Documents, iii. 1053, 8vo ed.]

In estimating the energy of a social force, such as ecclesiasticism, the indirect are often more striking than the direct manifestations of power, and this is eminently true of Massachusetts; for, notwithstanding her ministers had always been astute and indefatigable politicians, their greatest triumphs were invariably won by some layman whose mind they had moulded and whom they put forward as their champion. From John Winthrop, who was the first, an almost unbroken line of these redoubtable partisans stretched down to the Revolution, where it ended with him who is perhaps the most celebrated of all.

Samuel Adams has been called the last of the Puritans. He was indeed the incarnation of those qualities which led to eminence under the theocracy. A rigid Calvinist, reticent, cool, and brave, matchless in intrigue, and tireless in purpose, his cause was always holy, and therefore sanctified the means.

Professor Hosmer thus describes him: "It was, however, as a manager of men that Samuel Adams was greatest. Such a master of the methods by which a town-meeting may be swayed, the world has never seen. On the best of terms with the people, the shipyard men, the distillers, the sailors, as well as the merchants and ministers, he knew precisely what springs to touch. He was the prince of canvassers, the very king of the caucus, of which his father was the inventor.... As to his tact, was it ever surpassed?" [Footnote: Hosmer's Samuel Adams, p. 363.] A bigot in religion, he had the flexibility of a Jesuit; and though he abhorred Episcopalians, he proposed that Mr. Duché should make the opening prayer for Congress, in the hope of soothing the southern members. Strict in all ceremonial observances, he was loose in money matters; yet even here he stood within the pale, for Dr. Cotton Mather was looser, [Footnote: See Letter on behalf of Dr. Cotton Mather to Sewall, Mass. Hist. Coll. fourth series, ii. 122.] who was the most orthodox of divines.

The clergy instinctively clave to him, and gave him their fullest confidence. When there was any important work to do they went to him, and he never failed them. On January 5, 1768, the Rev. Dr. Eliot told Hollis he had suggested to some of the members of the legislature to remonstrate against the bishops. [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. fourth series, iv. 422.] A week later the celebrated letter of instructions of the house to the agent, De Berdt, was reported, which, was written by Adams; and it is interesting to observe how, in the midst of a most vigorous protest on the subject, he broke out: "We hope in God such an establishment will never take place in America, and we desire you would strenuously oppose it." [Footnote: Mass. State Papers, 1765-1775, p. 132.]

The subtle but unmistakable flavor of ecclesiasticism pervades his whole long agitation. He handled the newspapers with infinite skill, and the way in which he used the toleration granted the Canadian Catholics after the conquest, as a goad wherewith to inflame the dying Puritan fanaticism, was worthy of St. Ignatius. He moved for the committee who reported the resolutions of the town of Boston in 1772; his spirit inspired them, and in these also the grievance of Episcopacy plays a large part. How strong his prejudices were may be gathered from a few words: "We think therefore that every design for establishing ... a bishop in this province, is a design both against our civil and religious rights." [Footnote: Votes and Proceedings of Boston, Nov. 20, 1772, p. 28.]

The liberals, as loyal subjects of Great Britain, grieved over her policy as the direst of misfortunes, which indeed they might be driven to resist, but which they strove to modify.

Washington wrote in 1774: "I am well satisfied, ... that it is the ardent wish of the warmest advocates for liberty, that peace and tranquillity, upon constitutional grounds, may be restored, and the horrors of civil discord prevented." [Footnote: Washington to Mackenzie. Washington's Writings, ii. 402.] Jefferson affirmed: "Before the commencement of hostilities ... I never had heard a whisper of a disposition to separate from Great Britain; and after that, its possibility was contemplated with affliction by all." While John Adams solemnly declared: "For my own part, there was not a moment during the Revolution, when I would not have given everything I possessed for a restoration to the state of things before the contest began, provided we could have had a sufficient security for its continuance." [Footnote: Note of Sparks, Washington's Writings, ii. 501.]

In such feelings Samuel Adams had no share. In each renewed aggression he saw the error of his natural enemy, which brought ever nearer the realization of the dream of independence he had inherited from the past; for the same fierce passion burned within him that had made Endicott mutilate his flag, and Leverett read his king's letter with his hat on; and the guns of Lexington were music in his ears.

He was not a lawyer, nor a statesman, in the true meaning of the word, but he was a consummate agitator; and if this be remembered, his career becomes clear. When he conceived the idea of the possibility of independence is uncertain; probably soon after the passage of the Stamp Act, but the evidence is strong that so early as 1768 he had deliberately resolved to precipitate some catastrophe which would make reconciliation impossible, and obviously an armed collision would have suited his purpose best.

Troops were then first ordered to Boston, and at one moment he was tempted to cause their landing to be resisted. An old affidavit is still extant, presumably truthful enough, which brings him vividly before the mind as he went about the town lashing up the people.

"Mr. Samuel Adams ... happened to join the same party ... trembling and in great agitation.... The informant heard the said Samuel Adams then say ... 'If you are men, behave like men. Let us take up arms immediately, and be free, and seize all the king's officers. We shall have thirty thousand men to join us from the country.' ... And before the arrival of the troops ... at the house of the informant ... the said Samuel Adams said: 'We will not submit to any tax, nor become slaves.... The country was first settled by our ancestors, therefore we are free and want no king.' ... The informant further sayeth, that about a fortnight before the troops arrived, the aforesaid Samuel Adams, being at the house of the informant, the informant asked him what he thought of the times. The said Adams answered, with great alertness, that, on lighting the beacon, we should be joined with thirty thousand men from the country with their knapsacks and bayonets fixed, and added, 'We will destroy every soldier that dare put his foot on shore. His majesty has no right to send troops here to invade the country, and I look upon them as foreign enemies!'" [Footnote: Wells's Samuel Adams, i. 210, 211.]

Maturer reflection must have convinced him his design was impracticable, for he certainly abandoned it, and the two regiments disembarked in peace; but their position was unfortunate. Together they were barely a thousand strong, and were completely at the mercy of the populous and hostile province they had been sent to awe.

The temptation to a bold and unscrupulous revolutionary leader must have been intense. Apparently it needed but a spark to cause an explosion; the rabble of Boston could be fierce and dangerous when roused, as had been proved by the sack of Hutchinson's house; and if the soldiers could be goaded into firing on the citizens, the chances were they would be annihilated in the rising which would follow, when a rupture would be inevitable. But even supposing the militia abstained from participating in the outbreak, and the tumult were suppressed, the indignation at the slaughter would be deep enough to sustain him in making demands which the government could not grant.

Hutchinson and the English officers understood the danger, and for many months the discipline was exemplary, but precautions were futile. Though he knew full well how to be all things to all men, the natural affiliations of Samuel Adams were with the clergy and the mob, and in the ship-yards and rope-walks he reigned supreme. Nor was he of a temper to shrink from using to the utmost the opportunity his adversaries had put in his hands, and he forthwith began a series of inflammatory appeals in the newspapers, whereof this is a specimen: "And are the inhabitants of this town still to be affronted in the night as well as the day by soldiers arm'd with muskets and fix'd bayonets?... Will the spirits of people, as yet unsubdued by tyranny, unaw'd by the menaces of arbitary power, submit to be govern'd by military force?" [Footnote: Vindex, Boston Gazette, Dec. 5, 1768.]

In 1770 it was notorious that "endeavors had been systematically pursued for many months, by certain busy characters, to excite quarrels, rencounters, and combats, single or compound, in the night, between the inhabitants of the lower class and the soldiers, and at all risks to enkindle an immortal hatred between them." [Footnote: Autobiography of John Adams. Works of J. Adams, ii. 229.] And it is curious to observe how the British always quarrelled with the laborers about the wharves; and how these, the closest friends of Adams, were all imbued with the theory he maintained, that the military could not use their weapons without the order of a civil magistrate. Little by little the animosity increased, until on the 2d of March there was a very serious fray at Gray's rope-walk, which was begun by one of the hands, who knocked down two soldiers who spoke to him in the street. Although Adams afterward labored to convince the public that the tragedy which happened three days later was the result of a deliberately matured conspiracy to murder the citizens for revenge, there is nothing whereon to base such a charge; on the contrary, the evidence tends to exonerate the troops, and the verdicts show the opinion of the juries. There was exasperation on both sides, but the rabble were not restrained by discipline, and on the night of the 5th of March James Crawford swore he he saw at Calf's corner "about a dozen with sticks, in Quaker Lane and Green's Lane, met many going toward King Street. Very great sticks, pretty large cudgells, not common walking canes.... At Swing bridge the people were walking from all quarters with sticks. I was afraid to go home, ... the streets in such commotion as I hardly ever saw in my life. Uncommon sticks such as a man would pull out of an hedge.... Thomas Knight at his own door, 8 or 10 passed with sticks or clubs and one of them said 'D-n their bloods, let us go and attack the main guard first.'" [Footnote: Kidder's Massacre, p. 10.] The crown witnesses testified that the sentry was surrounded by a crowd of thirty or forty, who pelted him with pieces of ice "hard and large enough to hurt any man; as big as one's fist." And ha said "he was afraid, if the boys did not disperse, there would be trouble." [Footnote: Idem, p. 138.] When the guard came to his help the mob grew still more violent, yelling "bloody backs," "lobster scoundrels," "damn you, fire! why don't you fire?" striking them with sticks.

"Did you observe anybody strike Montgomery, or was a club thrown? The stroke came from a stick or club that was in somebody's hand, and the blow struck his gun and his arm." "Was he knocked down?... He fell, I am sure.... His gun flew out of hand, and as he stooped to take it up, he fell himself.... Was any number of people standing near the man that struck his gun? Yes, a whole crowd, fifty or sixty." [Footnote: Kidder's Massacre, pp. 138, 139.] When the volley came at last the rabble fell back, and the 29th was rapidly formed before the main guard, the front rank kneeling, that the fire might sweep the street. And now when every bell was tolling, and the town was called to arms, and infuriated men came pouring in by thousands, Hutchinson showed he had inherited the blood of his great ancestress, who feared little upon earth; but then, indeed, their adversaries have seldom charged the Puritans with cowardice in fight. Coming quickly to the council chamber he passed into the balcony, which overhung the kneeling regiment and the armed and maddened crowd, and he spoke with such calmness and courage that even then he was obeyed. He promised that justice should be done and he commanded the people to disperse. Preston and his men were at once surrendered to the authorities to await their trial.

The next day Adams was in his glory. The meeting in the morning was as wax between his fingers, and his friend, the Rev. Dr. Cooper, opened it with fervent prayer. A committee was at once appointed to demand the withdrawal of the troops, but Hutchinson thought he had no power and that Gage alone could give the order. Nevertheless, after a conference with Colonel Dalrymple he was induced to propose that the 29th should be sent to the Castle, and the 14th put under strict restraint. [Footnote: Kidder's Massacre, p. 43.] To the daring agitator it seemed at last his hour was come, for the whole people were behind him, and Hutchinson himself says "their spirit" was "as high as was the spirit of their ancestors when they imprisoned Andros." As the committee descended the steps of the State House to go to the Old South where they were to report, the dense crowd made way for them, and Samuel Adams as he walked bare-headed through their lines continually bowed to right and left, repeating the catchword, "Both regiments or none." His touch on human passions was unerring, for when the lieutenant-governor's reply was read, the great assembly answered with a mighty shout, "Both regiments or none," and so instructed he returned. Then the nature of the man shone out; the handful of troops were helpless, and he was as inflexible as steel. The thin, strong, determined, gray-eyed Puritan stood before Hutchinson, inwardly exulting as he marked his features change under the torture. "A multitude highly incensed now wait the result of this application. The voice of ten thousand freemen demands that both regiments be forthwith removed.... Fail not then at your peril to comply with this requisition!" [Footnote: Hosmer's Samuel Adams, p. 173.] It was the spirit of Norton and of Endicott alive again, and he was flushed with the same stern triumph at the sight of his victim's pain: "It was then, if fancy deceived me not, I observed his knees to tremble. I thought I saw his face grow pale (and I enjoyed the sight)." [Footnote: Adams to Warren. Wells's Samuel Adams, i. 324.]

Probably nothing prevented a complete rupture but the hopeless weakness of the garrison, for Hutchinson, feeling the decisive moment had come, was full of fight. He saw that to yield would destroy his authority, and he opposed concession, but he stood alone, the officers knew their position was untenable, and the council was unanimous against him. "The Lt G. endeavoured to convince them of the ill consequence of this advice, and kept them until late in the evening, the people remaining assembled; but the council were resolute. Their advice, therefore, he communicated to Col Dalrymple accompanied with a declaration, that he had no authority to order the removal of the troops. This part Col. D. was dissatisfied with, and urged the Lt G. to withdraw it, but he refused, and the regiments were removed. He was much distressed, but he brought it all upon himself by his offer to remove one of the regiments. No censure, however, was passed upon him." [Footnote: Diary and Letters of T. Hutchinson, p. 80.]

Had the pacification of his country been the object near his heart, Samuel Adams, after his victory, would have abstained from any act however remotely tending to influence the course of justice; for he must have known that it was only by such conduct the colonists could inspire respect for the motives which actuated them in their resistance. A capital sentence would have been doubly unfortunate, for had it been executed it would have roused all England; while had the king pardoned the soldiers, as assuredly he would have done, a deep feeling of wrong would have rankled in America.

A fanatical and revolutionary demagogue, on the other hand, would have longed for a conviction, not only to compass his ends as a politician, but to glut his hate as a zealot.

Samuel Adams was a taciturn, secretive man, whose tortuous course would have been hard to follow a century ago; now the attempt is hopeless. Yet there is one inference it seems permissible to draw: his admirers have always boasted that he was the inspiration of the town meetings, presumably, therefore, the votes passed at them may be attributed to his manipulation. And starting from this point, with the help of Hutchinson and his own writings, it is still possible to discern the outlines of a policy well worthy of a theocratic statesman.

The March meeting began on the 12th. On the 13th it was resolved:-

"That -- He and they hereby are appointed a committee for and in behalf of the town to find out who those persons are that were the perpetrators of the horred murders and massacres done and committed in King Street on several of the inhabitants in the evening of the 5th instant and take such examinations and depositions as they can procure, and lay the whole thereof before the grand inquest in order that such perpetrators may be indicted and brought to tryal for the same, and upon indictments being found, said committee are desired to prepare matters for the king's attorney, to attend at their tryals in the superior court, subpoena all the witnesses, and do everything necessary for bringing those murtherers to that punishment for such crimes, as the laws of God and man require." [Footnote: Records of Boston, v. 232.]

A day or two afterward a number of Adams's friends, among whom were some of the members of this committee, dined together, and Hutchinson tells what he persuaded them to do.

"The time for holding the superior court for the county of Suffolk was the next week after the tragical action in King Street. Although bills were found by the grand jury, yet the court, considering the disordered state of the town, had thought fit to continue the trials over to the next term, when the minds of people would be more free from prejudice." "A considerable number of the most active persons in all publick measures of the town, having dined together, went in a body from table to the superior court then sitting, and Mr. Adams, at their head and in behalf of the town, pressed the bringing on the trial the same term with so much spirit, that the judges did not think it advisable to abide by their own order, but appointed a day for the trials, and adjourned the court for that purpose." [Footnote: Hutch. Hist. iii. 285, 286 and note.]

The justices must afterward have grown ashamed of their cowardice, for Rex v. Preston did not come on until the autumn, and altogether very little was accomplished by these attempts to interfere with the due administration of the law. "A committee had been appointed by the town to assist in the prosecution of the soldiers ... but this was irregular. The courts, according to the practice in the province, required no prosecutors but the officers of the crown; much less would they have thought it proper for the principal town in the province to have brought all its weight, which was very great, into court against the prisoners." [Footnote: Idem, iii. 286, note.]

Nevertheless, Adams had by no means exhausted his resources, for it was possible so to inflame the public mind that dispassionate juries could hardly be obtained.

At the same March meeting another committee was named, who were to obtain a "particular account of all proceedings relative to the massacre in King Street on Monday night last, that a full and just representation may be made thereof?" [Footnote: Kidder's Massacre, p. 23.] The reason assigned for so unwonted a proceeding as the taking of ex parte testimony by a popular assembly concerning alleged murders, for which men were to be presently tried for their lives, was the necessity for controverting the aspersions of the British officials; but the probable truth of this explanation must be judged by the course actually pursued. On the 19th the report was made, consisting of "A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston," together with a number of depositions; and though perhaps it was natural, under the circumstances, for such a pamphlet to have been highly partisan, it was unnatural for its authors to have assumed the burden of proving that a deliberately planned conspiracy had existed between the civilians and the military to murder the citizens; especially as this tremendous charge rested upon no better foundation than the fantastic falsehoods of "a French boy, whose evidence appeared to the justice so improbable, and whose character was so infamous, that the justice, who was one of the most zealous in the cause of liberty, refused to issue a warrant to apprehend his master, against whom he swore." [Footnote: Hutch. Hist. iii. 279, 280.] "Then I went up to the custom-house door and knocked, ... I saw my master and Mr. Munroe come down-stairs, and go into a room; when four or five men went up stairs, pulling and hauling me after them.... When I was carried into the chamber, there was but one light in the room, and that in the corner of the chamber, when I saw a tall man loading a gun (then I saw two guns in the room) ... there was a number of gentlemen in the room. After the gun was loaded, the tall man gave it to me, and told me to fire, and said he would kill me if I did not; I told him I would not. He drawing a sword out of his cane, told me, if I did not fire it, he would run it through my guts. The man putting the gun out of the window, it being a little open, I fired it side way up the street; the tall man then loaded the gun again.... I told him I would not fire again; he told me again, he would run me through the guts if I did not. Upon which I fired the same way up the street. After I fired the second gun, I saw my master in the room; he took a gun and pointed it out of the window; I heard the gun go off. Then a tall man came and clapped me on the shoulders above and below stairs, and said, that's my good boy, I'll give you some money to-morrow.... And I ran home as fast as I could, and sat up all night in my master's kitchen. And further say, that my master licked me the next night for telling Mrs. Waldron about his firing out of the custom-house. And for fear that I should be licked again, I did deny all that I said before Justice Quincy, which I am very sorry for. [Footnote: Kidder's Massacre, p. 82. Deposition 58.]

"CHARLOTTE BOURGATE + (his mark)."

* * *

While it is inconceivable that a cool and sagacious politician, whose object was to convince Parliament of the good faith of Massachusetts, should have relied upon such incredible statements to sway the minds of English statesmen and lawyers, it is equally inconceivable he should not have known they were admirably adapted to still further exasperate an already excited people; and that such was his purpose must be inferred from the immediate publication of the substance of this affidavit in the newspapers. [Footnote: Boston Gazette, March 19, 1770.]

Without doubt a vote was passed on the 26th of March, a week after the committee had presented their report, desiring them to reserve all the printed copies not sent to Europe, as their distribution might tend to bias the juries; but even had this precaution been observed, it came too late, for the damage was done when the Narrative was read in Faneuil Hall; in fact, however, the order was eluded, for "many copies, notwithstanding, got abroad, and some of a second edition were sent from England, long before the trials of the officer and soldiers came on." [Footnote: Hutch. Hist. iii. 279.] And at this cheap rate a reputation for magnanimity was earned.

How thoroughly the clergy sympathized with their champion appears from their clamors for blood. As the time drew near it was rumored Hutchinson would reprieve the prisoners, should they be convicted, till the king's pleasure could be known. Then Dr. Chauncy, the senior minister of Boston, cried out in his pulpit: "Surely he would not counteract the operation of the law, both of God and of man! Surely he would not suffer the town and land to lie under the defilement of blood! Surely he would not make himself a partaker in the guilt of murder, by putting a stop to the shedding of their blood, who have murderously spilt the blood of others!" [Footnote: Hutch. Hist. iii. 329, note.] Adams attended when the causes were heard and took notes of the evidence; and one of the few occasions in his long life on which his temper seems to have got beyond control was when the accused were acquitted. His writings betray unmistakable chagrin; and nothing is more typical of the man, or of the clerical atmosphere wherein he had been bred, than his comments upon the testimony on which the lives of his enemies hung. His piety caused him to doubt those whose evidence was adverse to his wishes, though they appeared to be trying to speak the truth. "The credibility of a witness perhaps cannot be impeach'd in court, unless he has been convicted of perjury: but an immoral man, for instance one who will commonly prophane the name of his maker, certainly cannot be esteemed of equal credit by a jury, with one who fears to take that sacred name in vain: It is impossible he should in the mind of any man." [Footnote: Boston Gazette, Jan. 21, 1771.]

And yet this rigid Calvinist, this incarnation of ecclesiasticism, had no scruple in propagating the palpable and infamous lies of Charlotte Bourgate, when by so doing he thought it possible to further his own ends. He was bitterly mortified, for he had been foiled. Yet, though he had failed in precipitating war, he had struck a telling blow, and he had no reason to repine. Probably no single event, before fighting actually began, left so deep a scar as the Boston massacre; and many years later John Adams gave it as his deliberate opinion that, on the night of the 5th of March, 1770, "the foundation of American independence was laid." Nor was the full realization of his hopes long delayed. Gage occupied Boston in 1774. During the winter the tireless agitator, from his place in the Provincial Congress, warned the people to fight any force sent more than ten miles from the town; and so when Paul Revere galloped through Middlesex on the night of the 18th of April he found the farmers ready. Samuel Adams had slept at the house of the Rev. Jonas Clark. Before sunrise the detachment sent to seize him was close at hand. While they advanced, he escaped; and as he walked across the fields toward Woburn, to the sound of the guns of Lexington, he exclaimed, in a burst of passionate triumph, "What a glorious morning is this!"

Massachusetts became the hot-bed of rebellion because of this unwonted alliance between liberality and sacerdotalism. Liberality was her birthright; for liberalism is the offspring of intellectual variation, which makes mutual toleration of opinion a necessity; but that her church should have been radical at this crisis was due to the action of a long chain of memorable causes.

The exiles of the Reformation were enthusiasts, for none would then have dared defy the pains of heresy, in whom the instinct onward was feebler than the fear of death; yet when the wanderers reached America the mental growth of the majority had culminated, and they had passed into the age of routine; and exactly in proportion as their youthful inspiration had been fervid was their later formalism intense. But similar causes acting on the human mechanism produce like results; hence bigotry and ambition fed by power led to persecution. Then, as the despotism of the preachers deepened, their victims groaning in their dungeons, or furrowed by their lash, implored the aid of England, who, in defence of freedom and of law, crushed the theocracy at a blow. And the clergy knew and hated their enemy from the earliest days; it was this bitter theological jealousy which flamed within Endicott when he mutilated his flag, and within Leverett when he insulted Randolph; it was a rapacious lust for power and a furious detestation of rival priests which maddened the Mathers in their onslaught upon Dudley, which burned undimmed in Mayhew and Cooper, and in their champion, Samuel Adams, and which at last made the hierarchy cast in its lot with an ally more dangerous far than those prelates whom it deemed its foe. For no church can preach liberality and not be liberalized. Of a truth the momentary spasm may pass which made these conservatives progressive, and they may once more manifest their reactionary nature, but, nevertheless, the impulsion shall have been given to that automatic, yet resistless, machinery which produces innovation; wherefore, in the next generation, the great liberal secession from the Congregational communion broke the ecclesiastical power forever. And so, through toil and suffering, through martyrdoms and war, the Puritans wrought out the ancient destiny which fated them to wander as outcasts to the desolate New England shore; there, amidst hardship and apparent failure, they slowly achieved their civil and religious liberty, and conceived that constitutional system which is the root of our national life; and there in another century the liberal commonwealth they had builded led the battle against the spread of human oppression; and when the war of slavery burst forth her soldiers rightly were the first to fall; for it is her children's heritage that, wheresoever on this continent blood shall flow in defence of personal freedom, there must the sons of Massachusetts surely be.

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