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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, Americanism in literature. (search)
spirit which is in this respect worse than English toryism,--that it does not even retain a hearty faith in the past. It is better that a man should have eyes in the back of his head than that he should be taught to sneer at even a retrospective vision. One may believe that the golden age is behind us or before us, but alas for the forlorn wisdom of him who rejects it altogether! It is not the climax of culture that a college graduate should emulate the obituary praise bestowed by Cotton Mather on the Rev. John Mitchell of Cambridge, a truly aged young man. Better a thousand times train a boy on Scott's novels or the Border Ballads than educate him to believe, on the one side, that chivalry was a cheat and the troubadours imbeciles, and on the other hand, that universal suffrage is an absurdity and the one real need is to get rid of our voters. A great crisis like a civil war brings men temporarily to their senses, and the young resume the attitude natural to their years, in spit
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, Ought women to learn the alphabet? (search)
ew. At last came boldly Jacquette Guillaume, in 1665, and threw down the gauntlet in her title-page, Les Dames Illustres; ou par bonnes et fortes Raisons il se prouve que le Sexe Feminin surpasse en toute Sorte de Genre le Sexe Masculin; and with her came Margaret Boufflet and a host of others; and finally, in England, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose famous book, formidable in its day, would seem rather conservative now; and in America, that pious and worthy dame, Mrs. H. Mather Crocker, Cotton Mather's grandchild, who, in 1848, published the first book on the Rights of woman ever written on this side the Atlantic. Meanwhile there have never been wanting men, and strong men, to echo these appeals. From Cornelius Agrippa and his essay (1509) on the excellence of woman and her pre-eminence over man, down to the first youthful thesis of Agassiz, Mens Feminae Viri Animo superior, there has been a succession of voices crying in the wilderness. In England, Anthony Gibson wrote a book, in 1
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, The Puritan minister. (search)
on of monstrous periwigs. Or it may be Cotton Mather, his son, rolling forth his resounding discouratertown graveyard;--princely preachers Cotton Mather calls them. He relates that Mr. Cotton, in ad him. New England being a country, said Cotton Mather, whose interests are remarkably enwrapped in tut milk and ministers. Down to 1700, Increase Mather says, most salaries were less than £ 100, whic himself in that line of business,--and Cotton Mather published three hundred and eighty-two differe approve the condemnation pronounced by Cotton Mather upon a certain Rarey among the Friends in thos patterns here, were not insufficient. Cotton Mather also declared that he observed in judges and jbecause the pastor wears a wigg. Yet Increase Mather thought they played no small part in producingen a scandalous fire-ship among the churches. Mather declares that every one went a-Maying after thuel Bolton,--Sam the doctor and Sam the dunce, Mather calls them. Finally, this eminent worthy stra[6 more...]