previous next

[109] the book is a failure, but for one who enjoys a solid presentation of facts it has merit. Few other men have written down so many statements of fact in so small a compass with such great reliability. In the preface Hildreth said that he wished to describe the fathers of the nation as they were,
unbedaubed with patriotic rouge, wrapped up in no fine-spun cloaks of excuses and apologies, without stilts, buskins, tinsel, or bedizzenment, in their own proper persons, often rude, hard, narrow, superstitious and mistaken, but always earnest, downright, manly, and sincere. The result of their labours is eulogy enough; their best apology is to tell the story as it was.

There can be no doubt that the author tried in all honesty to carry out his purpose. ‘We encounter [in Hildreth],’ said The Edinburgh review, ‘the muse of American history descended from her stump, and recounting her narrative in a key adapted to our own ears.’

An historian who did not liberate himself entirely from patriotic bias was John Gorham Palfrey (1798-1881). Although he falls slightly without the limits of time assigned to this chapter, he was by nature and purpose a member of what has been called the ‘filio-pietistic’ group. Bred a Unitarian minister, and pastor for a time of Brattle Square Church, Boston, he served as Dexter Professor of Sacred Literature in Harvard University (1830-39). From 1836 to 1843 he was editor of The North American review. He held several political offices in his State, and was a member of Congress in 1847– 49. From 1861 to 1867 he was postmaster of Boston. He wrote many tracts, religious, political, and historical. Nevertheless, he kept true to his love for the history of New England. In 1858-64 he brought out in three volumes a History of New England during the Stuart Dynasty. It won instant recognition and the author followed up his success with two more volumes, History of New England from the Revolution of the 17th Century to the Revolution of the 28th (1875-90). The two parts were later shorn of their most irrelevant passages and issued as a Compendious history of New England in four handy volumes. So far as the mere statement of facts goes, it is safe to say that Palfrey has given us a complete and sufficient history of colonial New England. He has not been

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New England (United States) (5)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Gorham Palfrey (2)
Dexter Professor (1)
Richard Hildreth (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1890 AD (1)
1881 AD (1)
1875 AD (1)
1867 AD (1)
1864 AD (1)
1861 AD (1)
1858 AD (1)
1847 AD (1)
1843 AD (1)
1839 AD (1)
1836 AD (1)
1830 AD (1)
1798 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: