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sectarian scandals. The Independents would not submit to presbyterian authority: yet they felt they ought not to set aside the influence of wisdom and love, exerted by conferences of Christian brethren, for the prevention or suppression of strife. They saw that independency was a centrifugal force, and they wished to bring into operation along with it some centripetal power. The Cambridge platform, adopted in 1648, was intended to meet the want. It clearly recognised the competency of each church to fill up
its offices and conduct its affairs ; but it approved of occasional councils, posed of elders and other messengers,” to give advice and admonition. In extreme cases it authorised the withholding of fellowship from offending communities ; but not the exercise of censures in the way of discipline, nor any other act of authority or jurisdiction. This distinction is rather a fine one ; but a broad difference remains between the councils commended in the Cambridge platform and the synods and assemblies of the presbyterian church. The former were to be but occasional when circumstances required them; the latter are permanent. The latter have control over the choice of ministers and other external matters ; the former were to have none. The Cambridge modification of ecclesiastical rule in Massachusetts was accompanied by the change of the title “ Independent” into that of “ Congregetional."
The temper of the Massachusett emigrants was thoroughly religious ; the foundation of their social life was ecclesiastical ; and what lay at the core and heart of their colonial existence worked itself out in all their institutions. The Massachusetts State grew out of the Massachusett churches. So far from their being separated, they were identical. Politics were inspired by religion, and took a form quite unique. As early as 1631 it was ordered and agreed that, for the time to come, no man should be admitted to the freedom of this body politic but such as were members of some of the churches within the limits of the same. In thus carrying out what they conceived to be the interests of religion, they acted in accordance with a firm conviction that the soil of the settlement was their own property ; that, as a company, the fee simple of the estate was vested in themselves ; and besides, they could appeal in support of the exclusiveness to their much-prized charter, which distinctly empowered them to remove from the colony any whose presence they deemed detrimental to its prosperity. It has been remarked by the historian, Palfrey, that their conception, if delusive and impracticable, was still most noble. “Nothing better can be imagined for the administration of a government, than that they who conduct it shall be Christian men, men of disinterestedness and uprightness of the choicest quality, men whose fear of God exalts them above every other fear, and whose controlling love of God and man consecrates them to the most generous aims." True.
But, as the writer himself acknowledges, church fellowship was no sufficient proof of goodness, nor the want of it evidence of the opposite. We think it not unlikely that some vision of an ideal republic surpassing that of Plato or of Harrington floated before the minds of these worthies ; but I feel pretty sure that practical considerations chiefly swayed them in the law they laid down. To quote again from the same writer,
They expected by the application of such a test to shut out from their
counsels the emissaries of Archbishop Laud, and in their early weakness nothing was more indispensable than this for their protection.” Men without the slightest tincture of intolerance have taken the same common sense view. These settlers had come at the cost of personal peril, of large pecuniary expense, of much self denial in the form of home sacrifices, for the purpose of doing in New England what they could not do in Old England. They had come to found a church for themselves, and they would shape the State around it accordingly. It was at the outset a question of death or life. To let into their colonial home those who would upset all they had done and prevent what they wished to do, that, as they thought, would be ruin. They wished to defend their own liberty, and therefore they would shut the door against the serpents threatening to crush the infant in the cradle. Looking at their method of proceeding as intended for a large political commonwealth, we must condemn it at once. It contradicts the principles of civil and religious liberty. But looking at the matter from their point of view, whilst struggling as a religious brotherhood for their own existence, we see sufficient reasons for what they did. And, certainly, they ought not to be condemned as inconsistent; for, whatever their religious excellences, whatever their enlightenment on some ecclesiastical points, they were not, and they never professed to be, the apostles of universal toleration. They were children of providence, and were taught wisdom as time rolled on. They passed through the discipline of circumstances, from which they learned that which would come to them by no other method of instruction. They were behind some of their contemporaries in philosophical thought, and in a passion for common liberties. Their theory for a time was as narrow as their practice; yet, after all, there was in their Congregationalism and in their Republican institutions growing out of it, that which corrected their early errors, and secured for New England and America the fullest religious freedom that it is possible for a people to enjoy.
But we cannot add one word of palliation respecting the treatment of Antinomian fanatics and the people known as Friends. Some calling themselves Quakers behaved in a most troublesome and indecent manner. No doubt the obstinacy of such persons as Ann Hutchinson and Mary Dyer was very provoking, but the obstinacy was made more dogged by the course pursued in order to its repression. The execution of Anne Dyer was cruel in the extreme, and it was not a solitary instance of the ill treatment of early Friends. Three other Quakers were hanged. Attendance at a Quakers' meeting incurred a £5 fine, and it was an offence against the law to harbour one of that proscribed sect. When the Baptists were about to enter their meeting-house, they found the doors nailed up, and when they worshipped in the open air they were arrested and thrown into prison. Episcopalian service was strictly prohibited ; all kinds of opposition to the established ecclesiastical rule were dealt with in a summary manner. A servant convicted of slanderous invectives against the church and government was sentenced to be whipped, to lose her ears, and to be banished; and the jury finding man guilty of heresy, declared that his person and errors were infectious, and that he should depart ou of the jurisdiction of the State, and not return on pain of being hanged.
Nobody who condemns sanguinary persecutions under the Tudors and Stuarts can consistently vindicate it under the Puritans of New England. It is no use trying to illuminate this dark chapter in their annals.
The men of Massachusetts were behind those of New Plymouth. They had not enjoyed the invaluable instructions of John Robinson ; had not breathed the air of Holland ; had not imbibed the pure tolerant spirit of the pilgrims. They were men of a higher rank in society, accustomed to be treated with deference, to have their own way, and they seem to have been imbued with that love of uniformity which prevailed in England, amongst people diametrically opposed to King James and his Bishops. Moreover, the rulers in Boston were much under the influence of the clergy, which Bradford and his brethren at New Plymouth were not; and, with few exceptions, the clergy of those days leaned to severe methods of discipline. Nevertheless, though at New Plymouth there was much less of an intolerant spirit than at Boston-and new Plymouth was not responsible for the internal government of Massachusetts—we do not find that the governors of the former State ever protested against the policy of the latter.
In tracing the political development of affairs in the State of Massachusetts, reference should be made to the introduction of the representative principle. Originally, all the freemen were entitled to take part in the management of affairs ; but when the inhabitants of the State amounted to 3,000 or 4,000, distributed in sixteen towns, delegates were appointed to meet and consider such matters as belonged to the freemen in their general court. The governor and assistants, supported by the clergy, had shown a disposition to rule with a high hand, and had engrossed the management of State business ; but this tendency to aristocratic rule, so natural under the circumstances, received an effective check from the Republican temper of the freemen and their representatives.
To complete the social organization of the State, a form of Government was conceded to each of the rising towns; and it may be added, that for a variety of reasons, it was deemed expedient in the year 1643 to constitute two Houses of Legislation, and that soon afterwards Massachusetts and Plymouth became confederated with the two neighbouring States of Connecticut and New Haven, under the title of the United Colonies of New England ; each colony in the conduct of its internal affairs being independent of the rest.
The legislation of Massachusetts was curious. Not only were there laws against drunkenness and other immoralities, but people were “admonished for light carriage ;” and a woman “found suspicious of incontinency, was warned to take heed of her ways.” If after 10 o'clock lights were seen, enquiry was to be made for some warrantable cause. If there were dancing and singing going on, the dancer and singer were to be told to cease, and if they did not, the constables were to inform the magistrates. If eight people were together in the street by night, they were to walk two by two, a youth being joined to an older and more sober person. Captain Kemble had to stand in the stocks two hours for unseemly conduct in saluting his wife at the door step on Sabbath day, when he first met her after three years' absence. No one was to take tobacco publicly under penalty of one shilinto
ling ; and any one who galloped through the streets, except on review days, or when an emergency required it, was to pay a fine of two shillings. Strict sumptuary laws were enforced. Nobody was to buy or wear clothes having more than one slash in the sleeves, and another in the back. Cut work, embroidered caps and bands, veils, gold and silver girdles, hat-bands, cuffs, and beaver hats, were all forbidden. Grim humour showed itself in making a man who had charged too much for making a pair of stocks, to be put them for one hour.
The result of this legislation, after all, was not much amiss if we are to believe Hugh Peters, who said in a sermon “I have lived in a country where in seven years I never saw a beggar, nor heard an oath, nor looked upon a drunkard,” “Shall I tell you where that Utopia was ?” Asked Cotton Mather. "“'Twas New England.”
Whatever of narrowness and folly there might be in some parts of the Massachusetts legislation, that was done by the Government, which could not but remove such narrowness and correct such folly. Early attention was paid to education. When walls, roads, and bridges had yet to be built, the founders of New England thought of establishing a college. In 1636 the Court voted £400 to this object-£200 to be paid the following year, £200 the year afterwards. The assistance of a graduate of Emanuel College, Cambridge, named Harvard, who came to reside at Charlestown, contributed greatly to the success of the enterprise, for he bequeathed to it his library and the half of his estate, which amounted to about £700. The name of Cambridge had been given to the town in which the college was built, and that of Harvard was conferred on the college itself. In 1647 a still nobler act was performed when the Court, to the end, as they beautifully said, "that learning might not be buried in the grave of the fathers,” made a provision for setting up a school in every township of fifty householders, and that where there were a hundred there should be a grammar school with a “master”. able to instruct youth so far as they might be fitted for the university.
The provision for public schools is attributed chiefly to the influence of John Winthrop, whose life in New England is identified with the history of its progress. Winthrop was made governor by the emigrants before they set out. He had to take the direction of affairs when all was confusion and uncertainty. He had to set the house in order. He had to bear the burden and heat of the day. He was the life and soul of the policy pursued in the opening years of the enterprise. He had to grapple with the difficulties which beset his companions so tremendously at the outset.
With so much work thrown upon his shoulders, doing all which an able man like him would do under the circumstances, it was not unnatural that he should assume, or at any rate should be thought to assume, which, in fact, at the time would amount to nearly the same thing, a measure of authority not agreeable to democratic spirits. Such spirits there were in the colony, and they soon complained of the oligarchic tendencies of the governor and his friends; and with the proverbial restlessness of their class, they superseded Winthrop by electing Thomas Dudley to the chief magistracy. It must be confessed that there really had been too much of an oligarchic element in the govern. ing powers ; but a personal feeling towards Winthrop was manifested in a manner which seemed to touch his honour. He had to submit his accounts to a committee, which he did most satisfactorily, blessing God for the honour of doing anything for his church ; "the prosperity
: whereof, and His gracious acceptance," said the good man,
" shall be an abundant recompense to me."
A Nation's Life. "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul,” is a question which presses upon nations as well as individual men. Peoples as well as persons are beset by the temptation to sell their souls for possessions ; and if they can but say to themselves, “Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years," they are quite prepared to “take their ease, to eat and drink and be merry," and to see in their abundant wealth and resources the manifest token of the blessing of heaven on their path. Mr. Gladstone had just been uttering, with something of prophetic fervour, a solemn warning as to the dangers which he saw looming in the distance for us, in our own prosperous and wealthy England, when the news of these terrible American scandals lent point and emphasis to his words. Mr. Gladstone has rarely uttered more weighty counsels and warnings than those which he delivered to an uncongenial City audience, when he received the freedom of the Turners' Company a few weeks ago. He bade us have no fear of democracy. In his judgment, the perils which beset and menace English society are not at all in the direction of democratic progress. He has no sort of dread of the subversion of our English Society from beneath. There is a very thorough and hearty loyalty to the constitution and the institutions of society, as it is settled here in England, in the heart of the various classes which combine to maintain its balance ; which even the lowest and poorest cherish in their way as warmly as the highest, and which nothing but the utter unfaithful. ness of the ruling classes to their most sacred traditions can destroy. Rich and poor are, in the first instance, English to the backbone, loving England and proud of England in a measure of which they are not always fully conscious, and content on the whole to take their share together in the development of the country. All classes among us understand perfectly well that their true welfare lies in the general prosperity and progress of the nation, and that the maintenance of the social order and its development promises to them a larger blessing than any subversion could possibly bring. And so long as this remains true, on the side of democracy we are reasonably safe.
But, on the other side, the danger seems serious indeed. During the last half-century England has advanced with a rapidity absolutely unparalleled in the world's history on the path of material progress. Wealth has literally rolled in upon her in a full and constant tide. With her wealth, her influence in the world, let carping continental journalists sneer as they will,