of this spirit was the drawing of the line of moral distinction in the wrong place, and branding as essentially evil that which was evil only in excess.
Many amusements, now justly deemed innocent, were frowned upon as snares of Satan, spread for the capture of the soul.
Indeed, in the austere Puritan
code, happiness itself was almost regarded as a sin. Repression was the general rule of life.
The joyous sense of existence common to healthy childhood was not allowed full play.
The discipline of families was strict.
Children were taught, not merely to obey, but to reverence, their parents.
In the presence of their elders, they were not expected to speak unless first spoken to. They were rarely caressed, and a sense of restraint was always present, which, while it pressed heavily upon the timid and sensitive, had the good effect of producing a valuable habit of self-command.
While the narrowness of Puritan Protestantism was thus slowly yielding, before the advances of social civilization, it was not yet strenuously attacked, either by the influx of a foreign population bringing with it its own foreign creed, or by the cold scepticism of what is called modern thought.
For many years after this there was but one Roman
Catholic church in Boston
At the same time the means of intellectual training were infinitely less than they are now. Books were scarce, and there were no large libraries rich with the spoils of learning.