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[55]

Dr. C. Mather preaches excellently from Ps. 37. Trust in the Lord, etc., only spake of the Sun being in the centre of our system. I think it inconvenient to assert such problems.

His membership in the Royal Society, to which he forwarded his Curiosa Americana, encouraged him to keep abreast of current scientific thought; and it was from this source that he got the idea of inoculation for smallpox, which he urged upon the people of Boston so insistently that a war of pamphlets broke out. When we remember that during ninety years only two books on medicine were published in New England-one a popular pharmacopeia and the other a hand-book on smallpox prevention — it is suggestive that within a few months sixteen papers on inoculation came from the press. In this case the minister was in advance of the physicians.

If the influence of the ministers was commanding, it was due in part to their indisputable vigour, and in part, it must be acknowledged, to their control of the means of publicity. The complete domination of the press they regarded as their perquisite; and they swayed public opinion sometimes by means not wholly to their credit. Those who opposed their policies experienced difficulties in gaining a hearing. Thus Robert Calef, who attacked the Mathers because of the witchcraft business, found it desirable to send his manuscript to London for publication, and John Wise probably sent his manuscript of The churches quarrel Espoused to New York.1 Complaints were heard that the press was closed. In the preface to The gospel order revived, by T. Woodbridge and other malcontents, published in New York in 1700,

The Reader is desired to take Notice that the Press in Boston is so much under the aw of the Reverend Author, whom we answer, and his Friends, that we could not obtain of the Printer there to print the following Sheets, which is the true Reason why we have sent the Copy so far for its Impression and where it was printed with some Difficulty.

When James Franklin spoke out roundly against the tyranny of the ministers, they induced the magistrates to teach him respect by throwing him into the common gaol. It was

1 See Bibliography on this point.

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