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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 7. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Zzz Missing head (search)
melancholy of the sects, as Dr. Moore calls them Perilous and glorious was it, under these circumstances, for such men as Mather and Stoughton to gird up their stout loins and do battle with the unmeasured, all-surrounding terror. Let no man lightlys frail man,— encountered their enemies with weapons forged by the stern spiritual armorer of Geneva. The life of Cotton Mather is as full of romance as the legends of Ariosto or the tales of Beltenebros and Florisando in Amadis de Gaul. All about hng over me to keep off the blows and stones; for the people had persuaded her that I had bewitched her husband. Cotton Mather attributes the plague of witchcraft in New England in about an equal degree to the Quakers and Indians. The first of ther and a good deal of reproach withal in their hopeless championship of error. The witches of Baxter and the black man of Mather have vanished; belief in them is no longer possible on the part of sane men. But this mysterious universe, through which,
The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 7. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Criticism (search)
ged against the colonists of New England, is unfounded in fact. The banishment of the Catholics was very sagaciously passed over in silence, inasmuch as the Catholic Bishop of New York was one of the invited guests, and (hear it, shade of Cotton Mather) one of the regular toasts was a compliment to the Pope. The expulsion of Roger Williams was excused and partially justified; while the whipping, ear-cropping, tongue-boring, and hanging of the Quakers was defended, as the only effectual method of dealing with such devildriven heretics, as Mather calls them. The orator, in the new-born zeal of his amateur Puritanism, stigmatizes the persecuted class as fanatics and ranters, foaming forth their mad opinions; compares them to the Mormons and the crazy followers of Mathias; and cites an instance of a poor enthusiast, named Eccles, who, far gone in the tailor's melancholy, took it into his head that he must enter into a steeple-house pulpit and stitch breeches in singing time, —a circumst