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[51] the insularity of his thought and judgment grew into a disease. His mind was clogged with the strangest miscellany of truth and fiction; he laboured to acquire the possessions of a scholar, but he listened to old wives' tales with an amazing credulity. In all his mental processes the solidest fact fell into grotesque perspective, and confused itself with the most fantastic abortions. And yet he was prompted by a love of scientific investigation, and in the matter of inoculation for smallpox showed himself both courageous and intelligent.

Living under the shadow of his father, he was little more than a reduced copy of the Mather ambitions, inheriting a ready-made theology, a passion for the ideals of the emigrant generation, an infallible belief in the finality of the Mather conclusions. The masterfulness of old Increase degenerated in the son into an intolerable meddlesomeness; and in the years of reaction against ecclesiastical domination the position of Cotton Mather was difficult. He was exposed to attack from two sides; the tories with whom he would gladly have affiliated, and the democrats whom he held in contempt, both rejected the archaic theocracy. As his meddlesomeness increased, the attacks of his enemies multiplied, wounding his self-esteem bitterly-“having perhaps the Insults of contemptible People, the Assaults of those insignificant Lice, more than any man in New-England,” as his son testifies. “These troublesome but diminutive Creatures he scorn'd to concern himself with; only to pity them and pray for them.” He would die willingly, he believed, to save his erring people from their sins, but he obstinately refused to be dictated to by them.

Of the content of his innumerable writings the accompanying Bibliography will give sufficient indication. A man of incredible industry, unrestrained by any critical sense, and infatuated with printer's ink, he flung together a jumble of old saws and modern instances and called the result a book. Of the 470 odd titles, the Magnalia alone possesses some vitality still, the repository of much material concerning early days in Massachusetts that we should not willingly lose. “In his style, indeed,” according to a contemporary critic, “he was something singular, and not so agreeable to the Gust of the Age. But like his manner of speaking, it was very emphatical.”

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