ties of character and manners which the great increase in wealth, population, and luxury during succeeding years has not entirely effaced.
Though Dr. Freeman had been settled over King's Chapel in 1787, as a Unitarian clergyman, yet the stern faith of the Puritan settlers of New England held very general sway.
Dr. Channing, Mr. Norton, and Mr. Buckminster, the real founders of liberal Christianity in New England, were in their childhood,—Dr. Channing, the oldest of them, having been born in 1780.
And with the Puritan faith there lingered something of the Puritan spirit, which threw a shade of gravity and sternness over life and manners.
One expression 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 alm