Page images

by Uncas, chief of the Mohegans, ply was, that his father, who was was Sachem's plain, in the east part born before 1700, and who had heard of the town of Norwich. Mr. Sav- the subject of Miantonimoh's death age, in his notes on Winthrop's often talked about by those who Journal, says, that to him “it seems were old when he was a boy, almuch more probable," that the place ways spoke of the place and cir. where Miantonimoh was killed, was cumstances of this event much as between Hartford and Windsor. Dr. Trumbull has recorded them. His opinion seems to rest solely on Other testimonies to the same effect the statement of Winthrop, who, af- might be mentioned. That when ter mentioning that the decision of the commissioners of the united cothe commissioners of the united cola lonies had decided that Uncas might onies was, that Uncas might put Mi- kill Miantonimoh within his own ju. antonimoh to death “ so soon as he risdiction, a plain within this juriscame within his own jurisdiction,” diction should have been called, cerin giving an account of the fact, re- tainly from very early times, Sapresents it as occurring between chem's plain, in commemoration of those two towns. The jurisdiction Miantonimoh's death,—that a heap of Uncas was on the borders of the of stones should have long marked Thames and its branches. What what was considered the grave of probability there is, that Uncas kill. the chief,—that Indians should have ed his prisoner so far from his own long visited the spot, as the place dominions, and almost under the where one of their great men fell, eyes of the commissioners, is not and that there should have been no very apparent. But the proof that tradition of a contrary character, Miantonimoh was put to death on can be accounted for, we suppose, Sachem's plain, in the neighborhood only by admitting the truth of the of the city of Norwich, is in our commonly received story. That view conclusive, so far as such a Gov. Winthrop should have been fact can be ascertained from tradi- misinformed, seems neither impostion and the attending circumstan- sible nor very improbable. At least, ces. The tradition has been uniform, in balancing probabilities, the preand, we believe, uncontradicted, ex. ponderance is certainly against him. cept by Winthrop. We well re- In the " Commentaries on Ame. member hearing, more than half a rican Law," by Chancellor Kent, century ago, a very intelligent fe. where the author is treating on the male, then in advanced life, a native progress of religious liberty and tol. of Preston, and who when young eration in the United States, we find lived near Sachem's plain, often tell the following statement. " In Conthe story of Miantonimoh, much in necticut the early settlers establishthe same way as we find it in the ed, and enforced by law, a uniforhistory of Dr. Trumbull; and this, mity of religious belief and worship before that history was published. and made it requisite that every She said that Narraganset Indians person holding a civil office, should were long accustomed to visit that be a church member.

The severity place, and to add to or to repair the of such a religious establishment heap of stones on what they consid. was from time to time relaxed, until ered Miantonimoh's grave. After at last, by the constitution of 1818, seeing the doubts on this subject ex- perfect freedom of religious profespressed by Mr. Savage, we inquired sion and worship, without discrimi. of a gentleman in Norwich, who nation, was ordained."* As this is was well informed in the early his. so novel an account, it is much to tory of that town and vicinity, what he knew of this tradition. His re. * Vol. II, p. 34, fourth edition, note.



be regretted that the author has colonial legislature, by which “a made no reference to the sources uniformity of religious belief and from which his information is deri- worship was established and enfor. ved. From the high character of ced,” or by which it was made“ reChancellor Kent, his great accuracy, quisite that every person holding a and his knowledge of the impor- civil office, should be a church memtance of good authority for facts ber.” In the royal charter, we find stated, very few, we suppose, would no provision relating to this subject. hesitate at once to adopt this report In the colony of New Haven, the of the progress of legislation in Con- Massachusetts qualification of voters necticut respecting religion, as un. was required, but it was abolished doubted historical truth. Hence the on the union of that colony with importance of inquiring into its ac- Connecticut in 1665. After the curacy. Without saying that the union of the two colonies, to the Chancellor is here mistaken in seve. year 1818, at which time we are ral important particulars, till we are told that “perfect freedom of relibetter informed of the grounds of gious profession and worship, withhis representation, there can be no out discrimination, was ordained," impropriety in referring to a few we know of no act of the governfacts, which are thought to have a ment, on which the representation direct bearing on this subject. In above quoted from the CommentaJanuary, 1639, there having been ries could be grounded. There was three towns settled on Connecticut

a small property qualification made river, Hartford, Windsor and Wethe requisite for voting; but no religious ersfield, all the free planters conve- test, either for those who gave their ned at Hartford, and adopted a con- votes, or for those who were candi. stitution of government. In this in- dates for office, so far as we have strument, which may be seen in the been able to discover, was ever imappendix of the first volume of posed. How this subject was viewTrumbull's History of Connecticut, ed in 1665, may be seen in the rewe find no restriction on the choice port of the King's commissioners, of magistrates, except that it was who had visited the colony of Con. ordained, that the governor “be al

66 be al. necticut to ascertain its condition. ways a member of some approved On the subject of religion, it is said congregation ;” but it is not said, that that the people of Connecticut had he must be a “church member." a scholar to their minister in every This is the more deserving of at- town or village," and that the colo. tention, as these first colonists of ny “will not hinder any from en. Connecticut emigrated from Massa- joying the sacraments and using the chusetts, where they had resided common prayer book, provided that several years, and where no persons they hinder not the maintenance of but church members were allowed the public minister.” At this time to vote. This failure to adopt the the people of Connecticut were all Massachusetts qualification of voters, Congregationalists, and continued so is strong, if not conclusive evidence, for nearly half a century later. It that in forming the first constitution would seem, that when the royal of Connecticut, the planters had this commissioners visited the colony, restriction of the right of suffrage to there was no such uniformity of rechurch members directly in view, ligious belief and worship enforced, and deliberately rejected it. From as to exclude the church of Eng. the first formation of the govern- land; much less does it appear, ment to the time of the charter of that there was any religious test Charles II, which was granted in whatever for any part of the ma1662, we know of no statute of the gistracy. In this respect the colony


[ocr errors]

differed very widely from the parent comparison through the Connecticut country.

code ; but further detail is unneces-
In 1708, there was introduced in- sary. How it happens, that Con-
to Connecticut, what was called an necticut is so often represented (we
established religion ; that is, certain do not now refer to what is said by
churches were owned and acknow. Chancellor Kent) as affording an ex-
ledged established by law;" but it ample of the extreme of religious
was provided that nothing in the act intolerance in the early British Ame-
on which this establishment was rican colonies, we will not now in-
founded, should be construed “to quire. The investigation, however,
hinder or prevent any society or of this topic might not be without its
church, that is or shall be allowed The disposition to give Con-
by the laws of this government, who necticut this preëminence, early dis-
soberly differ or dissent from the covered itself. Douglass, an author
united churches hereby established, by no means partial to puritanism,
from exercising worship and disci- remarks in his Summary, published
pline in their own way, according in 1760, “ I never heard of any per.
to their consciences." We see secuting spirit in Connecticut; in
here no allusion to political rights. this they are egregiously aspersed."
It is not said, that none but church We would here repeat our regret
members of the established churches that Chancellor Kent has not refer.
shall vote, or that none but church red to authorities. If he is right,
members of the established churches we should like to be right also; and
shall be chosen to office. On these if he is wrong, we conclude only
points the act is silent. There were, that even he has a portion of human
without doubt, severe laws in Con. infirmity, and makes occasional mis-
necticut respecting religion, some of takes.
which were passed under peculiar There is a passage in an ora.
circumstances; but we can point to tion* lately delivered in New Haven,
no statute, by which political privi. which seems to call for a few re-
leges were confined to one sect. marks, by way of correction. Its

In several of the colonies, laws reference, indeed, is not to an event
existed respecting religion, much in the early history of Connecticut,
more rigid and exclusive than any but in that of Massachusetts ; but
in Connecticut. As an illustration which by a species of metonymy is
of this fact it may be mentioned, usually ascribed to all New Eng.
that if Connecticut, in compliance land. The passage to which we
with the recommendation of the refer is the following.
commissioners of the united colo- generations have passed away since
nies, had a law by which Quakers the witch mania of Europe added
who came within the colony might an unimaginable gloom to the de-
be imprisoned till they could “con. crepitude of old age, and made gray
veniently be sent out of the juris. hairs no longer venerable tokens
diction," New York had a law, at a of sage experience, but signals of
later period, by which all Jesuits, fiendish malignity and unholy asso-
seminary priests, &c. were ordered ciations. And still more recently
from the province ; if they were in our own bright land, the same
found within its boundaries after a dark insanity of excited ignorance
specified time, they were liable to spread for a time its blighting influ-
perpetual imprisonment; and if they ences, consigning to torture and to
should escape from confinement,
they were considered as selons, and

* An Oration delivered at New Haven,

before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Auif retaken, were to be punished with

gust 171h, 1842, by . Henry Dickson, death. We might proceed with this M. D.

" Not many

death the old and the young, the vealed word of God in various pasparent and the child, the pastor and sages both of the Old and New his flock.” The allusion here is Testament; and the thing itself is clearly to the Salem witchcraft. But a truth to which every nation in the is it true, that in 1692 the “witch world hath in its turn borne testimania” of Europe had ceased ? For mony, either by examples seemthis seems to be implied. History ingly well tested, or by prohibitory certainly informs_us, that witches laws; which at least suppose the were executed in England and Scot. possibility of a commerce with evil land, as well as on the continent of spirits.' Why, then, should the Europe, long after the tragedy at executions at Salem in 1692, de. Salem. We have no wish to thrust serve to be singled out, as somethe “ witch mania” which prevailed thing most extraordinary in the hisin Massachusetts into the shade ; tory of human imperfection and nor would we give it any more imbecility ? In a general view of prominence than belongs to it. The similar delusions, they dwindle into magistrates, clergymen, and others insignificance. We do not add these concerned in the executions at Sa. remarks on account of Dr. Dickson, lem, were supported in their opin- whose mistake is probably a mere ions and proceedings by the highest slip of the pen; but because we authorities, both civil and ecclesias. sometimes discover a disposition to tical, in the parent country. Who associate a belief in witchcraft, and would they look up to with more the punishment of it as a reality, confidence as a patron and guide, with some one class of Christians. than Sir Matthew Hale? But he Nothing is more certain, than that condemned witches. And why men, women and children, have should Cotton Mather be set down been put to death for this supposed as a mere driveler, because he be crime in most, if not all, the coun. lieved in witchcraft, when others of tries of Europe, both Catholic and the same faith are looked upon as Protestant. To attempt to fix a sane men, or, as the case may be, stigma on one form of faith for made the subjects of panegyric ? every fault in the treatment of Says Bishop Jewell—and who has witches, betrays a great lack of a higher and more deserved repu. knowledge or something worse. tation in the English church ? -to Thus we have heard, since August Queen Elizabeth, “ It may please last, a public speaker in New Ha. your Grace to understand, that ven, sneer at Cotton Mather and the witches and sorcerers, within these colonists of Massachusetts, and laud four last years, are marvelously in. Sir Matthew Hale, in almost the creased within your Grace's realm. same breath ; but judging from the Your Grace's subjects pine away other parts of his performance, we even unto death, their color fadeth, conclude that he knew no better; their flesh rotteth, their speech is and a sin of ignorance may be winkbenurbed, their senses are bereft; ed at. We have no inclination or I pray God, they never practice wish to say any more, than the truth further, than upon the subject.” will plainly warrant, in defense of The language of Judge Blackstone those who have been concerned in has often been quoted, and will bear hanging or burning witches; but we to be again. “ To deny,” says he, are of the opinion, that bad men and “the possibility, nay actual exist. mistaken men may be abused, and ence of witchcraft and sorcery, is that all, even the worst, should have at once fatly to contradict the re. their due.

[blocks in formation]

The defenders of divine revela. but by those of Köster, an earlier tion often show an unnecessary fear writer ! of their opponents. They shrink No book of the Old Testament from grappling with those whom has been subjected to more frequent they suppose to be giants, and feel and merciless assaults than that of that discretion is the better part of Daniel. Old Porphyry blew the valor.' The neologist announces trumpet of war. The latest blast, his decisions in such a dogmatic so far as we have heard, is from tone, and, with an air so contemptu- Zengerke, a rationalist professor at ous, pours forth his prodigious stores Königsberg. Every possible objecof learning, that the modest friend tion has been urged, internal and of the Bible stands abashed. But external, doctrinal and moral, his. this boasted erudition is often allied torical and chronological. Daniel to a credulity which is nearly in- was a dreamer of dreams. His credible. Professing himself to be prophecy has this signal advantage wise, the neologist becomes a fool. over others, as it is an oraculum He builds up imposing theories on post eventum. He had the first book the slightest basis, which no sane of the Maccabees to guide him in man would think to be worth the his pretended insight into the future. trouble of refuting. The great im- All that is true in his predictions, age, that looks formidable in the says Porphyry, was written after distance, is seen, on closer inspec. their fulfillment. All that really tion, to rest on a foundation of miry had respect to the future, never clay.' The learning, which appear. came to pass, so that Daniel was an ed so immense, is often nothing historian and nothing else. These, more than a heterogeneous conglom- and similar allegations of the new erate, whose looseness betokens its Platonist, are the foundation of the speedy downfall

. We have only to greater part of what has been subwait a little time, and the author sequently adduced against the book, will furnish his own refutation. Sta. though stores of learning and powers bility is one of the least character of acute criticism, of which Porphyry istic marks of a neological hypothe. knew nothing, have been marshalled sis. A palpable instance of this has by his German descendants, the just come to our knowledge. It is great doctors of neology. well known, that the German wri. No book, in our opinion, has been ters, such as Rosenmüller and De more unreasonably dealt with. If Wette, have attacked the integrity we can not make this appear to the of the prophecy of Zechariah, con- satisfaction of our readers, it will tending that the last six chapters are not be for want of good reasons, so unlike the first eight, that they but from lack of skill in the advo. must have had a different and much cate. Two positions must be conearlier authorship. Hengstenberg, ceded in the outset. First, there is among others, replied to these at- nothing in the miracles which are tacks. Now De Wette, in the last recorded in the book of Daniel, edition of his Introduction to the which should lead us, a priori, to Old Testament, informs us, that he reject them, or to put them over has given up his skepticism, and is among the myths and sagas

of willing to admit the integrity of the Greek or Norse mythology. God book, though he was not convinced could as easily, if occasion demandby the arguments of Hengstenberg, ed, keep three men from being


« PreviousContinue »