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[23] accepted its dogmas. “You are not set up for tolerating times!” he exclaimed in the face of certain signs that the hold of the system was weakening. To preserve the influence of the early doctrines he wrote Wonder-working Providences of Zion's Saviour in New England, published in 1654. We read it today to learn to what degrees of credulity the early New Englanders went in their acceptance of the power of the supernatural over human affairs. To the author and his contemporaries the book was plain history, a record of the actualities of life. The chief merit of the Providences for those who rightly value a human document is that it is a picture of early Puritan life as seen by an average man. Winthrop and Bradford lived at the centre of things. The problems of governors and assemblies concerned them. Johnson was interested in the planting of churches, the life of the towns, and the affairs of ordinary people, and it has been well said that while he “shows little precision in anything but his creed; yet his book is one of the most curious that an inquirer into the manners and institutions of our fathers can peruse.” 1

Nathaniel Morton was a trusted nephew of Governor Bradford and became secretary of the Plymouth colony. Possessed of fair ability, he was long a man of note and a preserver of Plymouth tradition. In 1669 he published, as we have seen, New England's memorial, a history of the colony. For the early years he drew directly on his uncle's book, transcribing large portions of it. Until the discovery of the Fulham manuscript, Morton's book was the best source for Bradford's text. The part which was concerned with the years following Bradford was written by Morton himself, and is meagre and disappointing, but Johnson and he were long the standard historians for the average New Englander. They may be considered the last of the early group, and in their manner and purposes they looked forward to the second group, men who were either born in America or who arrived after the American ideals were well enough formed to master the newcomers.

The second group, then, was American in a sense unknown to the first group. Its subjects were events rooted in American life, and save as American government and conditions were

1 Winthrop, History of New England, ed. Savage, vol. I, p. 100 n.

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