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[18] 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.1 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.

1 Mr. Ticknor was present at the dedication of the first Roman Catholic church, built with the aid of Protestants. In 1865 he dictated the following account of the scene:—

‘In 1803 the Catholic Church in Franklin Street was dedicated, and now, at sixty-two years distance, I remember it as if it were yesterday. I went to the dedication, and to the service there the next Sunday, and was thoroughly frightened. There were very few Catholics here then, and the church was half filled with Protestants. We little boys were put on a bench in front of the upper pews, before the chancel. Bishop Cheverus,—who spoke English pretty well,—before he began the mass, addressed the Protestants, and told us all that we must not turn our backs to the altar. I dare say we boys had turned round to look at the singers, for the music was a good deal more gay and various than we were used to. Cheverus told us we must not turn round, for the Host would be raised, and the Holy Ghost would descend into the chancel and fill it. I did n't know what was coming; but I was well frightened, and did n't turn round.’

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