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Historical papers

Daniel O'Connell.

In February, 1839, Henry Clay delivered a speech in the United States Senate, which was intended to smooth away the difficulties which his moderate opposition to the encroachments of slavery had erected in his path to the presidency. His calumniation of O'Connell called out the following summary of the career of the great Irish patriot. It was published originally in the Pennsylvania Freeman of Philadelphia, April 25, 1839.

perhaps the most unlucky portion of the unlucky speech of Henry Clay on the slavery question is that in which an attempt is made to hold up to scorn and contempt the great Liberator of Ireland. We say an attempt, for who will say it has succeeded? Who feels contempt for O'Connell? Surely not the slaveholder? From Henry Clay, surrounded by his slave-gang at Ashland, to the most miserable and squalid slave-driver and small breeder of human cattle in Virginia and Maryland who can spell the name of O'Connell in his newspaper, these republican brokers in blood fear and hate the eloquent Irishman. But their contempt, forsooth! Talk of the sheep-stealer's contempt for the officer of justice who nails his ears to the pillory, or sets the branding iron on his forehead! [322]

After denouncing the abolitionists for gratuitously republishing the advertisements for runaway slaves, the Kentucky orator says:—

‘And like a notorious agitator upon another theatre, they would hunt down and proscribe from the pale of civilized society the inhabitants of that entire section. Allow me, Mr. President, to say that whilst I recognize in the justly wounded feelings of the Minister of the United States at the Court of St. James much to excuse the notice which he was provoked to take of that agitator, in my humble opinion he would better have consulted the dignity of his station and of his country in treating him with contemptuous silence. He would exclude us from European society, he who himself can only obtain a contraband admission, and is received with scornful repugnance into it! If he be no more desirous of our society than we are of his, he may rest assured that a state of perpetual non-intercourse will exist between us. Yes, sir, I think the American Minister would best have pursued the dictates of true dignity by regarding the language of the member of the British House of Commons as the malignant ravings of the plunderer of his own country, and the libeller of a foreign and kindred people.’

The recoil of this attack ‘followed hard upon’ the tones of congratulation and triumph of partisan editors at the consummate skill and dexterity with which their candidate for the presidency had absolved himself from the suspicion of abolitionism, and by a master-stroke of policy secured the confidence of the slaveholding section of the [323] Union. But the late Whig defeat in New York has put an end to these premature rejoicings. ‘The speech of Mr. Clay in reference to the Irish agitator has been made use of against us with no small success,’ say the New York papers. ‘They failed,’ says the Daily Evening Star, ‘to convince the Irish voters that Daniel O'Connell was the “ plunderer of his country,” or that there was an excuse for thus denouncing him.’

The defeat of the Whigs of New York and the cause of it have excited no small degree of alarm among the adherents of the Kentucky orator. In this city, the delicate Philadelphia Gazette comes magnanimously to the aid of Henry Clay,—

‘A tom-tit twittering on an eagle's back.’

The learned editor gives it as his opinion that Daniel O'Connell is a ‘political beggar,’ a ‘disorganizing apostate;’ talks in its pretty way of the man's ‘impudence’ and ‘falsehoods’ and ‘cowardice,’ etc.; and finally, with a modesty and gravity which we cannot but admire, assures us that ‘his weakness of mind is almost beyond calculation!’

We have heard it rumored during the past week, among some of the self-constituted organs of the Clay party in this city, that at a late meeting in Chestnut Street a committee was appointed to collect, collate, and publish the correspondence between Andrew Stevenson and O'Connell, and so much of the latter's speeches and writings as relate to American slavery, for the purpose of convincing the countrymen of O'Connell of the justice, [324] propriety, and, in view of the aggravated circumstances of the case, moderation and forbearance of Henry Clay when speaking of a man who has had the impudence to intermeddle with the ‘patriarchal institutions’ of our country, and with the ‘domestic relations’ of Kentucky and Virginia slave-traders.

We wait impatiently for the fruits of the labors of this sagacious committee. We should like to see those eloquent and thrilling appeals to the sense of shame and justice and honor of America republished. We should like to see if any Irishman, not wholly recreant to the interests and welfare of the Green Island of his birth, will in consequence of this publication give his vote to the slanderer of Ireland's best and noblest champion.

But who is Daniel O'Connell? ‘A demagogue —a ruffian agitator!’ say the Tory journals of Great Britain, quaking meantime with awe and apprehension before the tremendous moral and political power which he is wielding,—a power at this instant mightier than that of any potentate of Europe. ‘A blackguard’—a fellow who ‘obtains contraband admission into European society’—a ‘malignant libeller’—a ‘plunderer of his country’—a man whose ‘wind should be stopped,’ say the American slaveholders, and their apologists, Clay, Stevenson, Hamilton, and the Philadelphia Gazette, and the Democratic Whig Association.

But who is Daniel O'Connell? Ireland now does justice to him, the world will do so hereafter. No individual of the present age has done more for [325] human liberty. His labors to effect the peaceable deliverance of his own oppressed countrymen, and to open to the nations of Europe a new and purer and holier pathway to freedom unstained with blood and unmoistened by tears, and his mighty instrumentality in the abolition of British colonial slavery, have left their impress upon the age. They will be remembered and felt beneficially long after the miserable slanders of Tory envy and malignity at home, and the clamors of slaveholders abroad, detected in their guilt, and writhing in the gaze of Christendom, shall have perished fore'ver,—when the Clays and Calhouns, the Peels and Wellingtons, the opponents of reform in Great Britain and the enemies of slave emancipation in the United States, shall be numbered with those who in all ages, to use the words of the eloquent Lamartine, have ‘sinned against the Holy Ghost in opposing the improvement of things,—in an egotistical and stupid attempt to draw back the moral and social world which God and nature are urging forward.’

The character and services of O'Connell have never been fully appreciated in this country. Engrossed in our own peculiar interests, and in the plenitude of our self-esteem; believing that ‘we are the people, and that wisdom will perish with us,’ that all patriotism and liberality of feeling are confined to our own territory, we have not followed the untitled Barrister of Derrynane Abbey, step by step, through the development of one of the noblest experiments ever made for the cause of liberty and the welfare of man. [326]

The revolution which O'Connell has already partially effected in his native land, and which, from the evident signs of cooperation in England and Scotland, seems not far from its entire accomplishment, will form a new era in the history of the civilized world. Heretofore the patriot has relied more upon physical than moral means for the regeneration of his country and its redemption from oppression. His revolutions, however pure in principle, have ended in practical crime. The great truth was yet to be learned that brute force is incompatible with a pure love of freedom, inasmuch as it is in itself an odious species of tyranny—the relic of an age of slavery and barbarism—the common argument of despotism—a game

which, were their subjects wise,
     Kings would not play at.

But the revolution in which O'Connell is engaged, although directed against the oppression of centuries, relies with just confidence upon the united moral energies of the people: a moral victory of reason over prejudice, of justice over oppression; the triumph of intellectual energy where the brute appeal to arms had miserably failed; the vindication of man's eternal rights, not by the sword fleshed in human hearts, but by weapons tempered in the armory of Heaven with truth and mercy and love.

Nor is it a visionary idea, or the untried theory of an enthusiast, this triumphant reliance upon moral and intellectual power for the reform of political abuses, for the overthrowing of tyranny and the pulling down of the strongholds of arbitrary [327] power. The emancipation of the Catholic of Great Britain from the thrall of a century, in 1829, prepared the way for the bloodless triumph of English reform in 1832. The Catholic Association was the germ of those political unions which compelled, by their mighty yet peaceful influence, the King of England to yield submissively to the supremacy of the people.1 Both of these remarkable events, these revolutions shaking nations to their centre, yet polluted with no blood and sullied by no crime, were effected by the salutary agitations of the public mind, first set in motion by the master-spirit of O'Connell, and spreading from around him to every portion of the British empire like the undulations from the disturbed centre of a lake.

The Catholic question has been but imperfectly understood in this country. Many have allowed their just disapprobation of the Catholic religion to degenerate into a most unwarrantable prejudice against its conscientious followers. The cruel persecutions of the dissenters from the Romish Church, the massacre of St. Bartholomew's day, the horrors of the Inquisition, the crusades against the Albigenses and the simple dwellers of the Vaudois valleys, have been regarded as atrocities peculiar to the believers in papal infallibility, and the necessary consequences of their doctrines; and hence they have looked upon the constitutional agitation [328] of the Irish Catholics for relief from grievous disabilities and unjust distinctions as a struggle merely for supremacy or power.

Strange, that the truth to which all history so strongly testifies should thus be overlooked,—the undeniable truth that religious bigotry and intolerance have been confined to no single sect; that the persecuted of one century have been the persecutors of another. In our own country, it would be well for us to remember that at the very time when in New England the Catholic, the Quaker, and the Baptist were banished on pain of death, and where some even suffered that dreadful penalty, in Catholic Maryland, under the Catholic Lord Baltimore, perfect liberty of conscience was established, and Papist and Protestant went quietly through the same streets to their respective altars.

At the commencement of O'Connell's labors for emancipation he found the people of Ireland divided into three great classes,—the Protestant or Church party, the Dissenters, and the Catholics: the Church party constituting about one tenth of the population, yet holding in possession the government and a great proportion of the landed property of Ireland, controlling church and state and law and revenue, the army, navy, magistracy, and corporations, the entire patronage of the country, holding their property and power by the favor of England, and consequently wholly devoted to her interest; the Dissenters, probably twice as numerous as the Church party, mostly engaged in trade and manufactures, sustained by their own talents and industry, Irish in feeling, partaking in [329] no small degree of the oppression of their Catholic brethren, and among the first to resist that oppression in 1782; the Catholics constituting at least two thirds of the whole population, and almost the entire peasantry of the country, forming a large proportion of the mercantile interest, yet nearly excluded from the possession of landed property by the tyrannous operation of the penal laws. Justly has a celebrated Irish patriot (Theobald Wolfe Tone) spoken of these laws as ‘an execrable and infamous code, framed with the art and malice of demons to plunder and degrade and brutalize the Catholics of Ireland. There was no disgrace, no injustice, no disqualification, moral, political, or religious, civil or military, which it has not heaped upon them.’

The following facts relative to the disabilities under which the Catholics of the United Kingdom. labored previous to the emancipation of 1829 will serve to show in some measure the oppressive operation of those laws which placed the foot of one tenth of the population of Ireland upon the necks of the remainder.

A Catholic peer could not sit in the House of Peers, nor a Catholic commoner in the House of Commons. A Catholic could not be Lord Chancellor, or Keeper, or Commissioner of the Great Seal; Master or Keeper of the Rolls; Justice of the King's Bench or of the Common Pleas; Baron of the Exchequer; Attorney or Solicitor General; King's Sergeant at Law; Member of the King's Council; Master in Chancery, nor Chairman of Sessions for the County of Dublin. He could not [330] be the Recorder of a city or town; an advocate in the spiritual courts; Sheriff of a county, city, or town; Sub-Sheriff; Lord Lieutenant, Lord Deputy, or other governor of Ireland; Lord High Treasurer; Governor of a county; Privy Councillor; Postmaster General; Chancellor of the Exchequer or Secretary of State; Vice Treasurer, Cashier of the Exchequer; Keeper of the Privy Seal or Auditor General; Provost or Fellow of Dublin University; nor Lord Mayor or Alderman of a corporate city or town. He could not be a member of a parish vestry, nor bequeath any sum of money or any lands for the maintenance of a clergyman, or for the support of a chapel or a school; and in corporate towns he was excluded from the grand juries.

O'Connell commenced his labors for emancipation with the strong conviction that nothing short of the united exertions of the Irish people could overthrow the power of the existing government, and that a union of action could only be obtained by the establishment of something like equality between the different religious parties. Discarding all other than peaceful means for the accomplishment of his purpose, he placed himself and his followers beyond the cognizance of unjust and oppressive laws. Wherever he poured the oil of his eloquence upon the maddened spirits of his wronged and insulted countrymen, the mercenary soldiery found no longer an excuse for violence; and calm, firm, and united, the Catholic Association remained secure in the moral strength of its pure and peaceful purpose, amid the bayonets of a Tory administration. His influence was felt in all parts [331] of the island. Wherever an unlawful association existed, his great legal knowledge enabled him at once to detect its character, and, by urging its dissolution, to snatch its deluded members from the ready fangs of their enemies. In his presence the Catholic and the Protestant shook hands together, and the wild Irish clansman forgot his feuds. He taught the party in power, and who trembled at the dangers around them, that security and peace could only be obtained by justice and kindness. He entreated his oppressed Catholic brethren to lay aside their weapons, and with pure hearts and naked hands to stand firmly together in the calm but determined energy of men, too humane for deeds of violence, yet too mighty for the patient endurance of wrong.

The spirit of the olden time was awakened, of the day when Flood thundered and Curran lightened; the light which shone for a moment in the darkness of Ireland's century of wrong burned upwards clearly and steadily from all its ancient altars. Shoulder to shoulder gathered around him the patriot spirits of his nation,—men unbribed by the golden spoils of governmental patronage: Shiel with his ardent eloquence, O'Dwyer and Walsh, and Grattan and O'Connor, and Steel, the Protestant agitator, wearing around him the emblem of national reconciliation, of the reunion of Catholic and Protestant,–the sash of blended orange and green, soiled and defaced by his patriotic errands, stained with the smoke of cabins, and the night rains and rust of weapons, and the mountain mist, and the droppings of the wild woods [332] of Clare. He united in one mighty and resistless mass the broken and discordant factions, whose desultory struggles against tyranny had hitherto only added strength to its fetters, and infused into that mass his own lofty principles of action, until the solemn tones of expostulation and entreaty, bursting at once from the full heart of Ireland, were caught up by England and echoed back from Scotland, and the language of justice and humanity was wrung from the reluctant lips of the cold and remorseless oppressor of his native land, at once its disgrace and glory,--the conqueror of Napoleon; and, in the words of his own Curran, the chains of the Catholic fell from around him, and he stood forth redeemed and disenthralled by the irresistible genius of Universal Emancipation.

On the passage of the bill for Catholic emancipation, O'Connell took his seat in the British Parliament. The eyes of millions were upon him. Ireland –betrayed so often by those in whom she had placed her confidence; brooding in sorrowful remembrance over the noble names and brilliant reputations sullied by treachery and corruption, the long and dark catalogue of her recreant sons, who, allured by British gold and British patronage, had sacrificed on the altar of their ambition Irish pride and Irish independence, and lifted their parricidal arms against their sorrowing mother, ‘crownless and voiceless in her woe’ —now hung with breathless eagerness over the ordeal to which her last great champion was subjected.

The crisis in O'Connell's destiny had come. [333] The glitter of the golden bribe was in his eye; the sound of titled magnificence was in his ear; the choice was before him to sit high among the honorable, the titled, and the powerful, or to take his humble seat in the hall of St. Stephen's as the Irish demagogue, the agitator, the Kerry representative. He did not hesitate in his choice. On the first occasion that offered he told the story of Ireland's wrongs, and demanded justice in the name of his suffering constituents. He had put his hand to the plough of reform, and he could not relinquish his hold, for his heart was with it.

Determined to give the Whig administration no excuse for neglecting the redress of Irish grievances, he entered heart and soul into the great measure of English reform, and his zeal, tact, and eloquence contributed not a little to its success. Yet even his friends speak of his first efforts in the House of Commons as failures. The Irish accent; the harsh avowal of purposes smacking of rebellion; the eccentricities and flowery luxuriance of an eloquence nursed in the fervid atmosphere of Ireland suddenly transplanted to the cold and commonplace one of St. Stephen's; the great and illiberal prejudices against him scarcely abated from what they were when, as the member from Clare, he was mobbed on his way to London, for a time opposed a barrier to the influence of his talents and patriotism. But he triumphed at last: the mob-orator of Clare and Kerry, the declaimer in the Dublin Rooms of the Political and Trades' Union, became one of the most attractive and popular speakers of the British Parliament; [334] one whose aid has been courted and whose rebuke has been feared by the ablest of England's representatives. Amid the sneers of derision and the clamor of hate and prejudice he has triumphed,— on that very arena so fatal to Irish eloquence and Irish fame, where even Grattan failed to sustain himself, and the impetuous spirit of Flood was stricken down.

No subject in which Ireland was not directly interested has received a greater share of O'Connell's attention than that of the abolition of colonial slavery. Utterly detesting tyranny of all kinds, he poured forth his eloquent soul in stern reprobation of a system full at once of pride and misery and oppression, and darkened with blood. His speech on the motion of Thomas Fowell Buxton for the immediate emancipation of the slaves gave a new tone to the discussion of the question. He entered into no petty pecuniary details; no miserable computation of the shillings and pence vested in beings fashioned in the image of God. He did not talk of the expediency of continuing the evil because it had grown monstrous. To use his own words, he considered ‘slavery a crime to be abolished; not merely an evil to be palliated.’ He left Sir Robert Peel and the Tories to eulogize the characters and defend the interests of the planters, in common with those of a tithe-reaping priesthood, building their houses by oppression and their chambers by wrong, and spoke of the negro's interest, the negro's claim to justice; demanding sympathy for the plundered as well as the plunderers, for the slave as well as his master. He [335] trampled as dust under his feet the blasphemy that obedience to the law of eternal justice is a principle to be acknowledged in theory only, because unsafe in practice. He would, he said, enter into no compromise with slavery. He cared not what cast or creed or color it might assume, whether personal or political, intellectual or spiritual; he was for its total, immediate abolition. He was for justice,–justice in the name of humanity and according to the righteous law of the living God.

Ardently admiring our free institutions, and constantly pointing to our glorious political exaltation as an incentive to the perseverance of his own countrymen in their struggle against oppression, he has yet omitted no opportunity of rebuking our inexcusable slave system. An enthusiastic admirer of Jefferson, he has often regretted that his practice should have so fully accorded with his noble sentiments on the subject of slavery, which so fully coincided with his own. In truth, wherever man has been oppressed by his fellow-man, O'Connell's sympathy has been directed: to Italy, chained above the very grave of her ancient liberties; to the republics of Southern America; to Greece, dashing the foot of the indolent Ottoman from her neck; to France and Belgium; and last, not least, to Poland, driven from her cherished nationality, and dragged, like his own Ireland, bleeding and violated, to the deadly embrace of her oppressor. American slavery but shares in his common denunciation of all tyranny; its victims but partake of his common pity for the oppressed and persecuted and the trodden down. [336]

In this hasty and imperfect sketch we cannot enter into the details of that cruel disregard of Irish rights which was manifested by a Reformed Parliament, convoked, to use the language of William IV., ‘to ascertain the sense of the people.’ It is perhaps enough to say that O'Connell's indignant refusal to receive as full justice the measure of reform meted out to Ireland was fully justified by the facts of the case. The Irish Reform Bill gave Ireland, with one third of the entire population of the United Kingdoms, only one sixth of the Parliamentary delegation. It diminished instead of increasing the number of voters; in the towns and cities it created a high and aristocratic franchise; in many boroughs it established so narrow a basis of franchise as to render them liable to corruption and abuse as the rotten boroughs of the old system. It threw no new power into the hands of the people; and with no little justice has O'Connell himself termed it an act to restore to power the Orange ascendancy in Ireland, and to enable a faction to trample with impunity on the friends of reform and constitutional freedom.2

In May, 1832, O'Connell commenced the publication of his celebrated Letters to the Reformers of Great Britain. Like Tallien, before the French convention, he ‘rent away the veil’ which Hume and Atwood had only partially lifted. He held up before the people of Great Britain the new indignities which had been added to the long catalogue of Ireland's wrongs; he appealed to their justice, their honor, their duty, for redress, and [337] cast down before the Whig administration the gauntlet of his country's defiance and scorn. There is a fine burst of indignant Irish feeling in the concluding paragraphs of his fourth letter:—

I have demonstrated the contumelious injuries inflicted upon us by this Reform Bill. My letters are long before the public. They have been unrefuted, uncontradicted in any of their details. And with this case of atrocious injustice to Ireland placed before the reformers of Great Britain, what assistance, what sympathy, do we receive? Why, I have got some half dozen drivelling letters from political unions and political characters, asking me whether I advise them to petition or bestir themselves in our behalf!

Reformers of Great Britain! I do not ask you either to petition or be silent. I do not ask you to petition or to do any other act in favor of the Irish. You will consult your own feelings of justice and generosity, unprovoked by any advice or entreaty of mine.

For my own part, I never despaired of Ireland; I do not, I will not, I cannot, despair of my beloved country. She has, in my view, obtained freedom of conscience for others, as well as for herself. She has shaken off the incubus of tithes while silly legislation was dealing out its folly and its falsehoods. She can, and she will, obtain for herself justice and constitutional freedom; and although she may sigh at British neglect and ingratitude, there is no sound of despair in that sigh, nor any want of moral energy on her part to attain her own rights by peaceable and legal means.


Through all the stages of O'Connell's political career, he has never failed to attribute to the union with Great Britain much of the suffering and degradation of his country. To a repeal of that Union he alone looked as a remedy for the evils of absenteeism, that canker of the heart, draining away the very springs of her life; the Church Establishment, with its tithe-proctors and bayonets; the decay of her manufactures and the general prostration of her commercial energies. Hence, while contending for Catholic emancipation, his enemies justly termed him ‘an agitator with ulterior views.’ ‘I toiled,’ said O'Connell, ‘for Catholic emancipation, only with the repeal as my great and ultimate object. It was because I saw that it was impossible to bring the people of Ireland to combine for national independence, until there was an end of unjust political degradation of the great majority and of the unjust political ascendancy of the few.’ Under his directions the people of Ireland had effectually nullified the tithe system, by refusing, ill common with the Quakers, to pay for the support of a church with whose ministry they had no communion; and when their property was seized, in default of payment, by the tithe-proctor, ‘the odious tithe-proctor,’ as Moore, in his Captain Rock, calls him, no Irishman, with one spark of national feeling in his bosom, could be found to purchase it. Yet the Whig ministry sustained this religious robbery, and, weary of fruitless expostulation with an English Parliament, O'Connell commenced openly his ‘agitation’ for a repeal of the Union. Here, too, the spirit of Ireland has been with him. [339]

The tithe system, unutterably odious and full of all injustice, had prepared the way for this expression of feeling on the part of the people. Ireland had never, in any period of her history, bowed her neck peaceably to the ecclesiastical yoke. From the Canon of Cashel, prepared by English deputies in the twelfth century, decreeing for the first time that tithes should be paid in Ireland, down to the present moment, the Church in her borders has relied solely upon the strong arm of the law, and literally reaped its tithes with the sword. The decree of the Dublin Synod, under Archbishop Comyn, in 1185, could only be enforced within the pale of the English settlement. The attempts of Henry VIII. also failed. Without the pale all endeavors to collect tithes were met by stern opposition. And although from the time of William III. the tithe system has been established in Ireland, yet at no period has it been regarded otherwise than as a system of legalized robbery by seven eighths of the people. An examination of this system cannot fail to excite our wonder, not that it has been thus regarded, but that it has been so long endured by any people on the face of the earth, least of all by Irishmen. Tithes to the amount of £ 1,000,000 are annually wrung from impoverished Ireland, in support of a clergy who can only number about one sixteenth of her population as their hearers; and wrung, too, in an undue proportion, from the Catholic counties.3 In the southern and middle counties, almost entirely inhabited by the Catholic peasantry, everything [340] they possess is subject to the tithe: the cow is seized in the hovel, the potato in the barrel, the coat even on the poor man's back.4 The revenues of five of the dignitaries of the Irish Church Establishment are as follows: the Primacy £ 140,000; Derry £ 120,000; Kilmore £ 100,000; Clogher £ 100,000; Waterford £ 70,000. Compare these enormous sums with that paid by Scotland for the maintenance of the Church, namely: £ 270,000. Yet that Church has 2,000,000 souls under its care, while that of Ireland has not above 500,000. Nor are these princely livings expended in Ireland by their possessors. The bishoprics of Cloyne and Meath have been long held by absentees,—by men who know no more of their flocks than the non-resident owner of a West India plantation did of the miserable negroes, the fruits of whose thankless labor were annually transmitted to him. Out of 1289 beneficed clergymen in Ireland, between five and six hundred are nonresi-dents, spending in Bath and London, or in making the fashionable tour of the Continent, the wealth forced from the Catholic peasant and the Protestant dissenter by the bayonets of the military. Scorching and terrible was the sarcasm of Grattan applied to these locusts of the Church: ‘A beastly and pompous priesthood, political potentates and Christian pastors, full of false zeal, full of worldly pride, and full of gluttony, empty of the true religion, to their flocks oppressive, to their inferior clergy brutal, to their king abject, and to their God impudent and familiar,—they stand on the [341] altar as a stepping-stone to the throne, glorying in the ear of princes, whom they poison with crooked principles and heated advice; a faction against their king when they are not his slaves, —ever the dirt under his feet or a poniard to his heart.’

For the evils of absenteeism, the non-residence of the wealthy landholders, draining from a starving country the very necessaries of life, a remedy is sought in a repeal of the union, and the provisions of a domestic parliament. In O'Connell's view, a restoration of such a parliament can alone afford that adequate protection to the national industry so loudly demanded by thousands of unemployed laborers, starving amid the ruins of deserted manufactories. During the brief period of partial Irish liberty which followed the pacific revolution of ‘82, the manufactures of the country revived and flourished; and the smile of contented industry was visible all over the land. In 1797 there were 15,000 silk-weavers in the city of Dublin alone. There are now but 400. Such is the practical effect of the Union, of that suicidal act of the Irish Parliament which yielded up in a moment of treachery and terror the dearest interests of the country to the legislation of an English Parliament and the tender mercies of Castlereagh,—of that Castlereagh who, when accused by Grattan of spending £ 15,000 in purchasing votes for the Union, replied with the rare audacity of high-handed iniquity, ‘We did spend £ 15,000, and we would have spent £ 15,000,000 if necessary to carry the Union;’ that Castlereagh who, when 707,000 Irishmen [342] petitioned against the Union and 300,000 for it, maintained that the latter constituted the majority! Well has it been said that the deep vengeance which Ireland owed him was inflicted by the great criminal upon himself. The nation which he sold and plundered saw him make with his own hand the fearful retribution. The great body of the Irish people never assented to the Union. The following extract from a speech of Earl (then Mr.) Grey, in 1800, upon the Union question, will show what means were made use of to drag Ireland, while yet mourning over her slaughtered children, to the marriage altar with England: ‘If the Parliament of Ireland had been left to itself, untempted and unawed, it would without hesitation have rejected the resolutions. Out of the 300 members, 120 strenuously opposed the measure, 162 voted for it: of these, 116 were placemen; some of them were English generals on the staff, without a foot of ground in Ireland, and completely dependent on government.’ ‘Let us reflect upon the arts made use of since the last session of the Irish Parliament to pack a majority, for Union, in the House of Commons. All persons holding offices under government, if they hesitated to vote as directed, were stripped of all their employments. A bill framed for preserving the purity of Parliament was likewise abused, and no less than 63 seats were vacated by their holders' having received nominal offices.’

The signs of the times are most favorable to the success of the Irish Liberator. The tremendous power of the English political unions is beginning to develop itself in favor of Ireland. A deep sympathy [343] is evinced for her sufferings, and a general determination to espouse her cause. Brute force cannot put down the peaceable and legal agitation of the question of her rights and interests. The spirit of the age forbids it. The agitation will go on, for it is spreading among men who, to use the words of the eloquent Shiel, while looking out upon the ocean, and gazing upon the shore, which Nature has guarded with so many of her bulwarks, can hear the language of Repeal muttered in the dashing of the very waves which separate them from Great Britain by a barrier of God's own creation. Another bloodless victory, we trust, awaits O'Connell,—a victory worthy of his heart and intellect, unstained by one drop of human blood, unmoistened by a solitary tear.

Ireland will be redeemed and disenthralled, not perhaps by a repeal of the Union, but by the accomplishment of such a thorough reform in the government and policy of Great Britain as shall render a repeal unnecessary and impolitic.

The sentiments of O'Connell in regard to the means of effecting his object of political reform are distinctly impressed upon all his appeals to the people. In his letter of December, 1832, to the Dublin Trades Union, he says: ‘The Repealers must not have our cause stained with blood. Far indeed from it. We can, and ought to, carry the repeal only in the total absence of offence against the laws of man or crime in the sight of God. The best revolution which was ever effected could not be worth one drop of human blood.’ In his speech at the public dinner given him by the citizens of [344] Cork, we find a yet more earnest avowal of pacific principles. ‘It may be stated,’ said he, ‘to countervail our efforts, that this struggle will involve the destruction of life and property; that it will overturn the framework of civil society, and give an undue and fearful influence to one rank to the ruin of all others. These are awful considerations, truly, if risked. I am one of those who have always believed that any political change is too dearly purchased by a single drop of blood, and who think that any political superstructure based upon other opinion is like the sand-supported fabric,–, beautiful in the brief hour of sunshine, but the moment one drop of rain touches the arid basis melting away in wreck and ruin! I am an accountable being; I have a soul and a God to answer to, in another and better world, for my thoughts and actions in this. I disclaim here any act of mine which would sport with the lives of my fellowcrea-tures, any amelioration of our social condition which must be purchased by their blood. And here, in the face of God and of our common country, I protest that if I did not sincerely and firmly believe that the amelioration I desire could be effected without violence, without any change in the relative scale of ranks in the present social condition of Ireland, except that change which all must desire, making each better than it was before, and cementing all in one solid irresistible mass, I would at once give up the struggle which I have always kept with tyranny. I would withdraw from the contest which I have hitherto waged with those who would perpetuate our thraldom. I would not [345] for one moment dare to venture for that which in costing one human life would cost infinitely too dear. But it will cost no such price. Have we not had within my memory two great political revolutions? And had we them not without bloodshed or violence to the social compact? Have we not arrived at a period when physical force and military power yield to moral and intellectual energy? Has not the time of “ Cedant arma togae” come for us and the other nations of the earth?’

Let us trust that the prediction of O'Connell will be verified; that reason and intellect are destined, under God, to do that for the nations of the earth which the physical force of centuries and the red sacrifice of a thousand battle-fields have failed to accomplish. Glorious beyond all others will be the day when ‘nation shall no more rise up against nation;’ when, as a necessary consequence of the universal acknowledgment of the rights of man, it shall no longer be in the power of an individual to drag millions into strife, for the unholy gratification of personal prejudice and passion. The reformed governments of Great Britain and France, resting, as they do, upon a popular basis, are already tending to this consummation, for the people have suffered too much from the warlike ambition of their former masters not to have learned that the gains of peaceful industry are better than the wages of human butchery.

Among the great names of Ireland—alike conspicuous, yet widely dissimilar—stand Wellington and O'Connell. The one smote down the modern Alexander upon Waterloo's field of death, but [346] the page of his reputation is dim with the tears of the widow and the orphan, and dark with the stain of blood. The other, armed only with the weapons of truth and reason, has triumphed over the oppression of centuries, and opened a peaceful pathway to the Temple of Freedom, through which its Goddess may be seen, no longer propitiated with human sacrifices, like some foul idol of the East, but clothed in Christian attributes, and smiling in the beauty of holiness upon the pure hearts and peaceful hands of its votaries. The bloodless victories of the latter have all the sublimity with none of the criminality which attaches itself to the triumphs of the former. To thunder high truths in the deafened ear of nations, to rouse the better spirit of the age, to soothe the malignant passions of assembled and maddened men, to throw open the temple doors of justice to the abused, enslaved, and persecuted, to unravel the mysteries of guilt, and hold up the workers of iniquity in the severe light of truth stripped of their disguise and covered with the confusion of their own vileness,— these are victories more glorious than any which have ever reddened the earth with carnage:—

They ask a spirit of more exalted pitch,
And courage tempered with a holier fire.

Of the more recent efforts of O'Connell we need not speak, for no one can-read the English periodicals and papers without perceiving that O'Connell is, at this moment, the leading politician, the master mind of the British empire. Attempts have been made to prejudice the American mind against him by a republication on this side of the water of [347] the false and foul slanders of his Tory enemies, in reference to what is called ‘the O'Connell rent,’ a sum placed annually in his hands by a grateful people, and which he has devoted scrupulously to the great object of Ireland's political redemption. He has acquired no riches by his political efforts; his heart and soul and mind and strength have been directed to his suffering country and the cause of universal freedom. For this he has deservedly a place in the heart and affections of every son of Ireland. One million of ransomed slaves in the British dependencies will teach their children to repeat the name of O'Connell with that of Wilberforce and Clarkson. And when the stain and caste of slavery shall have passed from our own country, he will be regarded as our friend and benefactor, whose faithful rebukes and warnings and eloquent appeals to our pride of character, borne to us across the Atlantic, touched the guilty sensitiveness of the national conscience, and through shame prepared the way for repentance.


England under James II.

A review of the first two volumes of Macaulay's History of England from the Accession of James II.

in accordance with the labor-saving spirit of the age, we have in these volumes an admirable example of history made easy. Had they been published in his time, they might have found favor in the eyes of the poet Gray, who declared that his ideal of happiness was ‘to lie on a sofa and read eternal new romances.’

The style is that which lends such a charm to the author's essays,—brilliant, epigrammatic, vigorous. Indeed, herein lies the fault of the work, when viewed as a mere detail of historical facts. Its sparkling rhetoric is not the safest medium of truth to the simple-minded inquirer. A discriminating and able critic has done the author no injustice in saying that, in attempting to give effect and vividness to his thoughts and diction, he is often overstrained and extravagant, and that his epigrammatic style seems better fitted for the glitter of paradox than the sober guise of truth. The intelligent and well-informed reader of the volume before us will find himself at times compelled to reverse the decisions of the author, and deliver some unfortunate personage, sect, or class from the pillory of his rhetoric and the merciless pelting of his ridicule. There is a want of the repose and quiet [349] which we look for in a narrative of events long passed away; we rise from the perusal of the book pleased and excited, but with not so clear a conception of the actual realities of which it treats as would be desirable. We cannot help feeling that the author has been somewhat over-scrupulous in avoiding the dulness of plain detail, and the dryness of dates, names, and statistics. The freedom, flowing diction, and sweeping generality of the reviewer and essayist are maintained throughout; and, with one remarkable exception, the History of England might be divided into papers of magazine length, and published, without any violence to propriety, as a continuation of the author's labors in that department of literature in which he confessedly stands without a rival, —historical review.

That exception is, however, no unimportant one. In our view, it is the crowning excellence of the first volume,—its distinctive feature and principal attraction. We refer to the third chapter of the volume, from page 260 to page 398,—the description of the condition of England at the period of the accession of James II. We know of nothing like it in the entire range of historical literature. The veil is lifted up from the England of a century and a half ago; its geographical, industrial, social, and moral condition is revealed; and, as the panorama passes before us of lonely heaths, fortified farm-houses, bands of robbers, rude country squires doling out the odds and ends of their coarse fare to clerical dependents,—rough roads, serviceable only for horseback travelling,—towns with unlighted streets, reeking with filth and offal,—and [350] prisons, damp, loathsome, infected with disease, and swarming with vermin,--we are filled with wonder at the contrast which it presents to the England of our day. We no longer sigh for ‘the good old days.’ The most confirmed grumbler is compelled to admit that, bad as things now are. they were far worse a few generations back. Macaulay, in this elaborate and carefully prepared chapter, has done a good service to humanity in disabusing well-intentioned ignorance of the melancholy notion that the world is growing worse, and in putting to silence the cant of blind, unreasoning conservatism.

In 1685 the entire population of England our author estimates at from five millions to five millions five hundred thousand. Of the eight hundred thousand families at that period, one half had animal food twice a week. The other half ate it not at all, or at most not oftener than once a week. Wheaten loaves were only seen at the tables of the comparatively wealthy. Rye, barley, and oats were the food of the vast majority. The average wages of workingmen was at least one half less than is paid in England for the same service at the present day. One fifth of the people were paupers, or recipients of parish relief. Clothing and bedding were scarce and dear. Education was almost unknown to the vast majority. The houses and shops were not numbered in the cities, for porters, coachmen, and errand-runners could not read. The shopkeeper distinguished his place of business by painted signs and graven images. Oxford and Cambridge Universities were little better than a [351] modern grammar and Latin school in a provincial village. The country magistrate used on the bench language too coarse, brutal, and vulgar for a modern tap-room. Fine gentlemen in London vied with each other in the lowest ribaldry and the grossest profanity. The poets of the time, from Dryden to Durfey, ministered to the popular licentiousness. The most shameless indecency polluted their pages. The theatre and the brothel were in strict unison. The Church winked at the vice which opposed itself to the austere morality or hypocrisy of Puritanism. The superior clergy, with a few noble exceptions, were self-seekers and courtiers; the inferior were idle, ignorant hangerson upon blaspheming squires and knights of the shire. The domestic chaplain, of all men living, held the most unenviable position. ‘If he was permitted to dine with the family, he was expected to content himself with the plainest fare. He might fill himself with the corned beef and carrots; but as soon as the tarts and cheese-cakes made their appearance he quitted his seat, and stood aloof till he was summoned to return thanks for the repast, from a great part of which he had been excluded.’

Beyond the Trent the country seems at this period to have been in a state of barbarism. The parishes kept bloodhounds for the purpose of hunting freebooters. The farm-houses were fortified and guarded. So dangerous was the country that persons about travelling thither made their wills. Judges and lawyers only ventured therein, escorted by a strong guard of armed men. [352]

The term of human life throughout the kingdom was much shorter than it is at the present time. The year 1685 was not a sickly year; yet one in twenty-three of the entire population of London died. The present annual mortality of London is only one in forty. Filth was allowed to accumulate in the streets of the capital to a degree which would be intolerable to modern sensitiveness. The dwellings of the peasantry were loathsome as stys. Personal cleanliness was little attended to. Foul infectious diseases, now almost unknown, were common. Fleas and other detestable vermin abounded. The sense of misery was stupefied by enormous draughts of beer, almost the only article of consumption which was cheaper than at present.

Sectarian bigotry and persecution, for opinions on matters about which often neither persecutor nor persecuted could be certain, added to the evils of the times. Neighbor acted as spy upon neighbor; swearing and drunken Cavaliers avenged the persecution and plunder of their fathers in Cromwell's time by packing the jail with the inheritors of the faith and names of the old Puritan zealots. When the corpse of some Independent preacher or Anabaptist interpreter of prophecies was brought out from the jail where heresy expiated its offences, the rabble followed it with scoffing and derision, encouraged thereto by magistrates and clergy. The temper of the time was hard and cruel. Macaulay has two or three pages crowded with terrible facts touching this point. The gospel of humanity seems neither to have been preached nor felt. [353]

The natural resources of the island were undeveloped. The tin mines of Cornwall, which two thousand years before attracted the ships of the merchant princes of Tyre beyond the Pillars of Hercules, were indeed worked to a considerable extent; but the copper mines, which now yield annually fifteen thousand tons, were entirely neglected. Rock salt was known to exist, but was not used to any considerable extent; and only a partial supply of salt by evaporation was obtained. The coal and iron of England are at this time the stable foundations of her industrial and commercial greatness. But in 1685 the great part of the iron used was imported. Only about ten thousand tons were annually cast. Now eight hundred thousand is the average annual production. Equally great has been the increase in coal mining. ‘Coal,’ says Macaulay, ‘though very little used in any species of manufacture, was already the ordinary fuel in some districts which were fortunate enough to possess large beds, and in the capital, which could easily be supplied by water carriage. It seems reasonable to believe that at least one half of the quantity then extracted from the pits was consumed in London. The consumption of London seemed to the writers of that age enormous, and was often mentioned by them as a proof of the greatness of the imperial city. They scarcely hoped to be believed when they affirmed that two hundred and eighty thousand chaldrons —that is to say, about three hundred and fifty thousand tons –were, in the last year of the reign of Charles II., brought to the Thames. At [354] present near three millions and a half of tons are required yearly by the metropolis; and the whole annual produce cannot, on the most moderate computation, be estimated at less than twenty millions of tons.’

After thus passing in survey the England of our ancestors five or six generations back, the author closes his chapter with some eloquent remarks upon the progress of society. Contrasting the hardness and coarseness of the age of which he treats with the softer and more humane features of our own, he says: ‘Nowhere could be found that sensitive and restless compassion which has in our time extended powerful protection to the factory child, the Hindoo widow, to the negro slave; which pries into the stores and water-casks of every emigrant ship; which winces at every lash laid on the back of a drunken soldier; which will not suffer the thief in the hulks to be ill fed or overworked; and which has repeatedly endeavored to save the life even of the murderer. The more we study the annals of the past, the more shall we rejoice that we live in a merciful age, in an age in which cruelty is abhorred, and in which pain, even when deserved, is inflicted reluctantly and from a sense of duty. Every class, doubtless, has gained largely by this great moral change; but the class which has gained most is the poorest, the most dependent, and the most defenseless.’

The history itself properly commences at the close of this chapter. Opening with the deathscene of the dissolute Charles II., it presents a series of brilliant pictures of the events succeeding. [355] The miserable fate of Oates and Dangerfield, the perjured inventors of the Popish Plot; the trial of Baxter by the infamous Jeffreys; the ill-starred attempt of the Duke of Monmouth; the battle of Sedgemoor, and the dreadful atrocities of the king's soldiers, and the horrible perversion of justice by the king's chief judge in the ‘Bloody Assizes;’ the barbarous hunting of the Scotch Dissenters by Claverhouse; the melancholy fate of the brave and noble Duke of Argyle,—are described with graphic power unknown to Smollett or Hume. Personal portraits are sketched with a bold freedom which at times startles us. The ‘old familiar faces,’ as we have seen them through the dust of a century and a half, start before us with lifelike distinctness of outline and coloring. Some of them disappoint us; like the ghost of Hamlet's father, they come in a ‘questionable shape.’ Thus, for instance, in his sketch of William Penn, the historian takes issue with the world on his character, and labors through many pages of disingenuous innuendoes and distortion of facts to transform the saint of history into a pliant courtier.

The second volume details the follies and misfortunes, the decline and fall, of the last of the Stuarts. All the art of the author's splendid rhetoric is employed in awakening, by turns, the indignation and contempt of the reader in contemplating the character of the wrong-headed king. In portraying that character, he has brought into exercise all those powers of invective and merciless ridicule which give such a savage relish to his delineation of Barrere. To preserve the consistency [356] of this character, he denies the king any credit for whatever was really beneficent and praiseworthy in his government. He holds up the royal delinquent in only two lights: the one representing him as a tyrant towards his people; the other as the abject slave of foreign priests,—a man at once hateful and ludicrous, of whom it is difficult to speak without an execration or a sneer.

The events which preceded the revolution of 1688; the undisguised adherence of the king to the Church of Rome; the partial toleration of the despised Quakers and Anabaptists; the gradual relaxation of the severity of the penal laws against Papists and Dissenters, preparing the way for the royal proclamation of entire liberty of conscience throughout the British realm, allowing the crop-eared Puritan and the Papist priest to build conventicles and mass houses under the very eaves of the palaces of Oxford and Canterbury; the mining and countermining of Jesuits and prelates, are detailed with impartial minuteness. The secret springs of the great movements of the time are laid bare; the mean and paltry instrumentalities are seen at work in the under world of corruption, prejudice, and falsehood. No one, save a blind, unreasoning partisan of Catholicism or Episcopacy, can contemplate this chapter in English history without a feeling of disgust. However it may have been overruled for good by that Providence which takes the wise in their own craftiness, the revolution of 1688, in itself considered, affords just as little cause for self-congratulation on the part of Protestants as the substitution of the supremacy of [357] the crowned Bluebeard, Henry VIII., for that of the Pope, in the English Church. It had little in common with the revolution of 1642. The field of its action was the closet of selfish intrigue,— the stalls of discontented prelates,--the chambers of the wanton and adulteress,—the confessional of a weak prince, whose mind, originally narrow, had been cramped closer still by the strait-jacket of religious bigotry and superstition. The age of nobility and heroism had wellnigh passed away. The pious fervor, the self-denial, and the strict morality of the Puritanism of the days of Cromwell, and the blunt honesty and chivalrous loyalty of the Cavaliers, had both measurably given place to the corrupting influences of the licentious and infidel court of Charles II.; and to the arrogance, intolerance, and shameless self-seeking of a prelacy which, in its day of triumph and revenge, had more than justified the terrible denunciations and scathing gibes of Milton.

Both Catholic and Protestant writers have misrepresented James II. He deserves neither the execrations of the one nor the eulogies of the other. The candid historian must admit that he was, after all, a better man than his brother Charles II. He was a sincere and bigoted Catholic, and was undoubtedly honest in the declaration, which he made in that unlucky letter which Burnet ferreted out on the Continent, that he was prepared to make large steps to build up the Catholic Church in England, and, if necessary, to become a martyr in her cause. He was proud, austere, and self-willed. In the treatment of his [358] enemies he partook of the cruel temper of his time. He was at once ascetic and sensual, alternating be. tween the hair-shirt of penance and the embraces of Catharine Sedley. His situation was one of the most difficult and embarrassing which can be conceived of. He was at once a bigoted Papist and a Protestant pope. He hated the French domination to which his brother had submitted; yet his pride as sovereign was subordinated to his allegiance to Rome and a superstitious veneration for the wily priests with which Louis XIV. surrounded him. As the head of Anglican heretics, he was compelled to submit to conditions galling alike to the sovereign and the man. He found, on his accession, the terrible penal laws against the Papists in full force; the hangman's knife was yet warm with its ghastly butcher-work of quartering and disembowelling suspected Jesuits and victims of the lie of Titus Oates; the Tower of London had scarcely ceased to echo the groans of Catholic confessors stretched on the rack by Protestant inquisitors. He was torn by conflicting interests and spiritual and political contradictions. The prelates of the Established Church must share the responsibility of many of the worst acts of the early part of his reign. Oxford sent up its lawned deputations to mingle the voice of adulation with the groans of tortured Covenanters, and fawning ecclesiastics burned the incense of irreverent flattery under the nostrils of the Lord's anointed, while the blessed air of England was tainted by the carcasses of the ill-fated followers of Monmouth, rotting on a thousand gibbets. While Jeffreys was threatening [359] Baxter and his Presbyterian friends with the pillory and whipping-post; while Quakers and Baptists were only spared from extermination as game preserves for the sport of clerical hunters; while the prisons were thronged with the heads of some fifteen thousand beggared families, and Dissenters of every name and degree were chased from one hiding-place to another, like David among the cliffs of Ziph and the rocks of the wild goats,— the thanksgivings and congratulations of prelacy arose in an unbroken strain of laudation from all the episcopal palaces of England. What mattered it to men, in whose hearts, to use the language of John Milton, ‘the sour leaven of human traditions, mixed with the poisonous dregs of hypocrisy, lay basking in the sunny warmth of wealth and promotion, hatching Antichrist,’ that the privileges of Englishmen and the rights secured by the great charter were violated and trodden under foot, so long as usurpation enured to their own benefit? But when King James issued his Declaration of Indulgence, and stretched his prerogative on the side of tolerance and charity, the zeal of the prelates for preserving the integrity of the British constitution and the limiting of the royal power flamed up into rebellion. They forswore themselves without scruple: the disciples of Laud, the asserters of kingly infallibility and divine right, talked of usurped power and English rights in the strain of the very schismatics whom they had persecuted to the death. There is no reason to believe that James supposed that, in issuing his declaration suspending the penal laws, he had [360] transcended the rightful prerogative of his throne. The power which he exercised had been used by his predecessors for far less worthy purposes, and with the approbation of many of the very men who now opposed him. His ostensible object, expressed in language which even those who condemn his policy cannot but admire, was a laudable and noble one. ‘We trust,’ said he, ‘that it will not be vain that we have resolved to use our utmost endeavors to establish liberty of conscience on such just and equal foundations as will render it unalterable, and secure to all people the free exercise of their religion, by which future ages may reap the benefit of what is so undoubtedly the general good of the whole kingdom.’ Whatever may have been the motive of this declaration,—even admitting the suspicions of his enemies to have been true, that he advocated universal toleration as the only means of restoring Roman Catholics to all the rights and privileges of which the penal laws deprived them, —it would seem that there could have been no very serious objection on the part of real friends of religious toleration to the taking of him at his word and placing Englishmen of every sect on an equality before the law. The Catholics were in a very small minority, scarcely at that time as numerous as the Quakers and Anabaptists. The army, the navy, and nine tenths of the people of England were Protestants. Real danger, therefore, from a simple act of justice towards their Catholic fellow-citizens, the people of England had no ground for apprehending. But the great truth, which is even now but imperfectly recognized throughout Christendom, [361] that religious opinions rest between man and his Maker, and not between man and the magistrate, and that the domain of conscience is sacred, was almost unknown to the statesmen and schoolmen of the seventeenth century. Milton—ultra liberal as he was—excepted the Catholics from his plan of toleration. Locke, yielding to the prejudices of the time, took the same ground. The enlightened latitudinarian ministers of the Established Church—men whose talents and Christian charity redeem in some measure the character of that Church in the day of its greatest power and basest apostasy—stopped short of universal toleration. The Presbyterians excluded Quakers, Baptists, and Papists from the pale of their charity. With the single exception of the sect of which William Penn was a conspicuous member, the idea of complete and impartial toleration was novel and unwelcome to all sects and classes of the English people. Hence it was that the very men whose liberties and estates had been secured by the declaration, and who were thereby permitted to hold their meetings in peace and quietness, used their newly acquired freedom in denouncing the king, because the same key which had opened their prison doors had also liberated the Papists and the Quakers. Baxter's severe and painful spirit could not rejoice in an act which had, indeed, restored him to personal freedom, but which had, in his view, also offended Heaven, and strengthened the powers of Antichrist by extending the same favor to Jesuits and Ranters. Bunyan disliked the Quakers next to the Papists; and it greatly [362] lessened his satisfaction at his release from Bed. ford jail that it had been brought about by the influence of the former at the court of a Catholic prince. Dissenters forgot the wrongs and persecutions which they had experienced at the hands of the prelacy, and joined the bishops in opposition to the declaration. They almost magnified into Christian confessors the prelates who remonstrated against the indulgence, and actually plotted against the king for restoring them to liberty of person and conscience. The nightmare fear of Popery overcame their love of religious liberty; and they meekly offered their necks to the yoke of prelacy as the only security against the heavier one of Papist supremacy. In a far different manner the cleareyed and plain-spoken John Milton met the claims and demands of the hierarchy in his time. ‘They entreat us,’ said he, ‘that we be not weary of the insupportable grievances that our shoulders have hitherto cracked under; they beseech us that we think them fit to be our justices of peace, our lords, our highest officers of state. They pray us that it would please us to let them still haul us and wrong us with their bandogs and pursuivants; and that it would please the Parliament that they may yet have the whipping, fleecing, and flaying of us in their diabolical courts, to tear the flesh from our bones, and into our wide wounds, instead of balm, to pour in the oil of tartar, vitriol, and mercury. Surely a right, reasonable, innocent, and soft-hearted petition! O the relenting bowels of the fathers!’

Considering the prominent part acted by William [363] Penn in the reign of James II., and his active and influential support of the obnoxious declaration which precipitated the revolution of 1688, it could hardly have been otherwise than that his character should suffer from the unworthy suspicions and prejudices of his contemporaries. His views of religious toleration were too far in advance of the age to be received with favor. They were of necessity misunderstood and misrepresented. All his life he had been urging them with the earnestness of one whose convictions were the result, not so much of human reason as of what he regarded as divine illumination. What the council of James yielded upon grounds of state policy he defended on those of religious obligation. He had suffered in person and estate for the exercise of his religion. He had travelled over Holland and Germany, pleading with those in authority for universal toleration and charity. On a sudden, on the accession of James, the friend of himself and his family, he found himself the most influential untitled citizen in the British realm. He had free access to the royal ear. Asking nothing for himself or his relatives, he demanded only that the good people of England should be no longer despoiled of liberty and estate for their religious opinions. James, as a Catholic, had in some sort a common interest with his dissenting subjects, and the declaration was for their common relief. Penn, conscious of the rectitude of his own motives and thoroughly convinced of the Christian duty of toleration, welcomed that declaration as the precursor of the golden age of liberty and love and good-will [364] to men. He was not the man to distrust the motives of an act so fully in accordance with his lifelong aspirations and prayers. He was charitable to a fault: his faith in his fellow-men was often stronger than a clearer insight of their characters would have justified. He saw the errors of the king, and deplored them; he denounced Jeffreys as a butcher who had been let loose by the priests; and pitied the king, who was, he thought, swayed by evil counsels. He remonstrated against the interference of the king with Magdalen College; and reproved and rebuked the hopes and aims of the more zealous and hot-headed Catholics, advising them to be content with simple toleration. But the constitution of his mind fitted him rather for the commendation of the good than the denunciation of the bad. He had little in common with the bold and austere spirit of the Puritan reformers. He disliked their violence and harshness; while, on the other hand, he was attracted and pleased by the gentle disposition and mild counsels of Locke and Tillotson, and the latitudinarians of the English Church. He was the intimate personal and political friend of Algernon Sydney; sympathized with his republican theories, and shared his abhorrence of tyranny, civil and ecclesiastical. He found in him a mall after his own heart,—genial, generous, and loving; faithful to duty and the instincts of humanity; a true Christian gentleman. His sense of gratitude was strong, and his personal friendships sometimes clouded his judgment. In giving his support to the measures of James in behalf of liberty of conscience, it must [365] be admitted that he acted in consistency with his principles and professions. To have taken ground against them, he must have given the lie to his declarations from his youth upward. He could not disown and deny his own favorite doctrine because it came from the lips of a Catholic king and his Jesuit advisers; and in thus rising above the prejudices of his time, and appealing to the reason and humanity of the people of England in favor of a cordial indorsement on the part of Parliament of the principles of the declaration, he believed that he was subserving the best interests of his beloved country and fulfilling the solemn obligations of religious duty. The downfall of James exposed Penn to peril and obloquy. Perjured informers endeavored to swear away his life; and, although nothing could be proved against him beyond the fact that he had steadily supported the great measure of toleration, he was compelled to live secluded in his private lodgings in London for two or three years, with a proclamation for his arrest hanging over his head. At length, the principal informer against him having been found guilty of perjury, the government warrant was withdrawn; and Lords Sidney, Rochester, and Somers, and the Duke of Buckingham, publicly bore testimony that nothing had been urged against him save by impostors, and that ‘they had known him, some of them, for thirty years, and had never known him to do an ill thing, but many good offices.’ It is a matter of regret that one professing to hold the impartial pen of history should have given the sanction of his authority to the slanderous and false imputations [366] of such a man as Burnet, who has never been regarded as an authentic chronicler. 5 The pantheon [367] of history should not be lightly disturbed. A good man's character is the world's common legacy; and humanity is not so rich in models of purity and goodness as to be able to sacrifice such a reputation as that of William Penn to the point of an antithesis or the effect of a paradox.


The Border war of 1708

The picturesque site of the now large village of Haverhill, on the Merrimac River, was occupied a century and a half ago by some thirty dwellings, scattered at unequal distances along the two principal roads, one of which, running parallel with the river, intersected the other, which ascended the hill northwardly and lost itself in the dark woods. The log huts of the first settlers had at that time given place to comparatively spacious and commodious habitations, framed and covered with sawed boards, and cloven clapboards, or shingles. They were, many of them, two stories in front, with the roof sloping off behind to a single one; the windows few and small, and frequently so fitted as to be opened with difficulty, and affording but a scanty supply of light and air. Two or three of the best constructed were occupied as garrisons, where, in addition to the family, small companies of soldiers were quartered. On the high grounds rising from the river stood the mansions of the well-defined aristocracy of the little settlement,—larger and more imposing, with projecting upper stories and carved cornices. On the front of one of these, over the elaborately wrought entablature of the doorway, might be seen the armorial bearings of the honored family of Saltonstall. Its hospitable door was now closed; no guests filled [369] its spacious hall or partook of the rich delicacies of its ample larder. Death had been there; its venerable and respected occupant had just been borne by his peers in rank and station to the neighboring graveyard. Learned, affable, intrepid, a sturdy asserter of the rights and liberties of the Province, and so far in advance of his time as to refuse to yield to the terrible witchcraft delusion, vacating his seat on the bench and openly expressing his disapprobation of the violent and sanguinary proceedings of the court, wise in council and prompt in action,—not his own townsmen alone, but the people of the entire Province, had reason to mourn the loss of Nathaniel Saltonstall.

Four years before the events of which we are about to speak, the Indian allies of the French in Canada suddenly made their appearance in the westerly part of the settlement. At the close of a midwinter day six savages rushed into the open gate of a garrison-house owned by one Bradley, who appears to have been absent at the time. A sentinel, stationed in the house, discharged his musket, killing the foremost Indian, and was himself instantly shot down. The mistress of the house, a spirited young woman, was making soap in a large kettle over the fire. She seized her ladle and dashed the boiling liquid in the faces of the assailants, scalding one of them severely, and was only captured after such a resistance as can scarcely be conceived of by the delicately framed and tenderly nurtured occupants of the places of our great-grandmothers. After plundering the house, the Indians started on their long winter [370] march for Canada. Tradition says that some thirteen persons, probably women and children, were killed outright at the garrison. Goodwife Bradley and four others were spared as prisoners. The ground was covered with deep snow, and the captives were compelled to carry heavy burdens of their plundered household-stuffs; while for many days in succession they had no other sustenance than bits of hide, ground-nuts, the bark of trees, and the roots of wild onions and lilies. In this situation, in the cold, wintry forest, and unattended, the unhappy young woman gave birth to a child. Its cries irritated the savages, who cruelly treated it and threatened its life. To the entreaties of the mother they replied, that they would spare it on the condition that it should be baptized after their fashion. She gave the little innocent into their hands, when with mock solemnity they made the sign of the cross upon its forehead by gashing it with their knives, and afterwards barbarously put it to death before the eyes of its mother, seeming to regard the whole matter as an excellent piece of sport. Nothing so strongly excited the risibilities of these grim barbarians as the tears and cries of their victims, extorted by physical or mental agony. Capricious alike in their cruelties and their kindnesses, they treated some of their captives with forbearance and consideration and tormented others apparently without cause. One man, on his way to Canada, was killed because they did not like his looks, ‘he was so sour;’ another, because he was ‘old and good for nothing.’ One of their own number, who was suffering greatly from the [371] effects of the scalding soap, was derided and mocked as a ‘fool who had let a squaw whip him;’ while on the other hand the energy and spirit manifested by Goodwife Bradley in her defence was a constant theme of admiration, and gained her so much respect among her captors as to protect her from personal injury or insult. On her arrival in Canada she was sold to a French farmer, by whom she was kindly treated.

In the mean time her husband made every exertion in his power to ascertain her fate, and early in the next year learned that she was a slave in Canada. He immediately set off through the wilderness on foot, accompanied only by his dog, who drew a small sled, upon which he carried some provisions for his sustenance, and a bag of snuff, which the Governor of the Province gave him as a present to the Governor of Canada. After encountering almost incredible hardships and dangers with a perseverance which shows how well he appreciated the good qualities of his stolen helpmate, he reached Montreal and betook himself to the Governor's residence. Travel-worn, ragged, and wasted with cold and hunger, he was ushered into the presence of M. Vaudreuil. The courtly Frenchman civilly received the gift of the bag of snuff, listened to the poor fellow's story, and put him in a way to redeem his wife without difficulty. The joy of the latter on seeing her husband in the strange land of her captivity may well be imagined. They returned by water, landing at Boston early in the summer.

There is a tradition that this was not the goodwife's [372] first experience of Indian captivity. The late Dr. Abiel Abbott, in his manuscript of Judith Whiting's Recollections of the Indian Wars, states that she had previously been a prisoner, probably before her marriage. After her return she lived quietly at the garrison-house until the summer of the next year. One bright moonlit-night a party of Indians were seen silently and cautiously approaching. The only occupants of the garrison at that time were Bradley, his wife and children, and a servant. The three adults armed themselves with muskets, and prepared to defend themselves. Goodwife Bradley, supposing the Indians had come with the intention of again capturing he, encouraged her husband to fight to the last, declaring that she had rather die on her own hearth than fall into their hands. The Indians rushed upon the garrison, and assailed the thick oaken door, which they forced partly open, when a well-aimed shot from Goodwife Bradley laid the foremost dead on the threshold. The loss of their leader so disheartened them that they made a hasty retreat.

The year 1707 passed away without any attack upon the exposed frontier settlement. A feeling of comparative security succeeded to the almost sleepless anxiety and terror of the inhabitants; and they were beginning to congratulate each other upon the termination of their long and bitter trials. But the end was not yet.

Early in the spring of 1708, the principal tribes of Indians in alliance with the French held a great council, and agreed to furnish three hundred warriors for an expedition to the English frontier. [373] They were joined by one hundred French Canadians and several volunteers, consisting of officers of the French army, and younger sons of the nobility, adventurous and unscrupulous. The Sieur de Chaillons, and Hertel de Rouville, distinguished as a partisan in former expeditions, cruel and unsparing as his Indian allies, commanded the French troops; the Indians, marshalled under their several chiefs, obeyed the general orders of La Perriere. A Catholic priest accompanied them. De Rouville, with the French troops and a portion of the Indians, took the route by the River St. Francois about the middle of summer. La Perriere, with the French Mohawks, crossed Lake Champlain. The place of rendezvous was Lake Nickisipigue. On the way a Huron accidentally killed one of his companions; whereupon the tribe insisted on halting and holding a council. It was gravely decided that this accident was an evil omen, and that the expedition would prove disastrous; and, in spite of the endeavors of the French officers, the whole band deserted. Next the Mohawks became dissatisfied, and refused to proceed. To the entreaties and promises of their French allies they replied that an infectious disease had broken out among them, and that, if they remained, it would spread through the whole army. The French partisans were not deceived by a falsehood so transparent; but they were in no condition to enforce obedience; and, with bitter execrations and reproaches, they saw the Mohawks turn back on their warpath. The diminished army pressed on to Nickisipigue, in the expectation of meeting, agreeably [374] to their promise, the Norridgewock and Penobscot Indians. They found the place deserted, and, after waiting for some days, were forced to the conclusion that the Eastern tribes had broken their pledge of cooperation. Under these circumstances a council was held; and the original design of the expedition, namely, the destruction of the whole line of frontier towns, beginning with Portsmouth, was abandoned. They had still a sufficient force for the surprise of a single settlement; and Haverhill, on the Merrimac, was selected for conquest.

In the mean time, intelligence of the expedition, greatly exaggerated in point of numbers and object, had reached Boston, and Governor Dudley had despatched troops to the more exposed out posts of the Provinces of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Forty men, under the command of Major Turner and Captains Price and Gardner, were stationed at Haverhill in the different garrison-houses. At first a good degree of vigilance was manifested; but, as days and weeks passed without any alarm, the inhabitants relapsed into their old habits; and some even began to believe that the rumored descent of the Indians was only a pretext for quartering upon them two score of lazy, rollicking soldiers, who certainly seemed more expert in making love to their daughters, and drinking their best ale and cider, than in patrolling the woods or putting the garrisons into a defensible state. The grain and hay harvest ended without disturbance; the men worked in their fields, and the women pursued their household avocations, without any very serious apprehension of danger. [375]

Among the inhabitants of the village was an eccentric, ne'er-do-well fellow, named Keezar, who led a wandering, unsettled life, oscillating, like a crazy pendulum, between Haverhill and Amesbury. He had a smattering of a variety of trades, was a famous wrestler, and for a mug of ale would leap over an ox-cart with the unspilled beverage in his hand. On one occasion, when at supper, his, wife complained that she had no tin dishes; and, as there were none to be obtained nearer than Boston, he started on foot in the evening, travelled through the woods to the city, and returned with his ware by sunrise the next morning, passing over a distance of between sixty and seventy miles. The tradition of his strange habits, feats of strength, and wicked practical jokes is still common in his native town. On the morning of the 29th of the eighth month he was engaged in taking home his horse, which, according to his custom, he had turned into his neighbor's rich clover field the evening previous. By the gray light of dawn he saw a long file of men marching silently towards the town. He hurried back to the village and gave the alarm by firing a gun. Previous to this, however, a young man belonging to a neighboring town, who had been spending the night with a young woman of the village, had met the advance of the war-party, and, turning back in extreme terror and confusion, thought only of the safety of his betrothed, and passed silently through a considerable part of the village to her dwelling. After he had effectually concealed her he ran out to give the alarm. But it was too late. Keezar's gun [376] was answered by the terrific yells, whistling, and whooping of the Indians. House after house was assailed and captured. Men, women, and children were massacred. The minister of the town was killed by a shot through his door. Two of his children were saved by the courage and sagacity of his negro slave Hagar. She carried them into the cellar and covered then with tubs, and then crouched behind a barrel of meat just in time to escape the vigilant eyes of the enemy, who entered the cellar and plundered it. She saw them pass and repass the tubs under which the children lay and take meat from the very barrel which concealed herself. Three soldiers were quartered in the house; but they made no defence, and were killed while begging for quarter.

The wife of Thomas Hartshorne, after her husband and three sons had fallen, took her younger children into the cellar, leaving an infant on a bed in the garret, fearful that its cries would betray her place of concealment if she took it with her. The Indians entered the garret and tossed the child out of the window upon a pile of clapboards, where it was afterwards found stunned and insensible. It recovered, nevertheless, and became a man of remarkable strength and stature; and it used to be a standing joke with his friends that he had been stinted by the Indians when they threw him out of the window. Goodwife Swan, armed with a long spit, successfully defended her door against two Indians. While the massacre went on, the priest who accompanied the expedition, with some of the French officers, went into the [377] meeting-house, the walls of which were afterwards found written over with chalk. At sunrise, Major Turner, with a portion of his soldiers, entered the village; and the enemy made a rapid retreat, carrying with them seventeen prisoners. They were pursued and overtaken just as they were entering the woods; and a severe skirmish took place, in which the rescue of some of the prisoners was effected. Thirty of the enemy were left dead on the field, including the infamous Hertel de Rouville. On the part of the villagers, Captains Ayer and Wainwright and Lieutenant Johnson, with thirteen others, were killed. The intense heat of the weather made it necessary to bury the dead on the same day. They were laid side by side in a long trench in the burial-ground. The body of the venerated and lamented minister, with those of his wife and child, sleep in another part of the burial-ground, where may still be seen a rude monument with its almost illegible inscription:—

Clauditur hoc turnulo corpus Reverendi pii doctique viri D. Benjamin Rolfe, ecclesioe Christi quoe est in Haverhill pastoris fidelissimi; qui domi suoe ab hostibus barbare trucidatus. A laboribus suis requievit mane diei sacroe quietis, Aug. XXIX, anno Dom. Mdccviii. $Atatis suoe XLVI.’

Of the prisoners taken, some escaped during the skirmish, and two or three were sent back by the French officers, with a message to the English soldiers, that, if they pursued the party on their retreat to Canada, the other prisoners should be put to death. One of them, a soldier stationed in [378] Captain Wainwright's garrison, on his return four years after, published an account of his captivity. He was compelled to carry a heavy pack, and was led by an Indian by a cord round his neck. The whole party suffered terribly from hunger. On reaching Canada the Indians shaved one side of his head, and greased the other, and painted his face. At a fort nine miles from Montreal a council was held in order to decide his fate; and he had the unenviable privilege of listening to a protracted discussion upon the expediency of burning him. The fire was Already kindled, and the poor fellow was preparing to meet his doom with firmness, when it was announced to him that his life was spared. This result of the council by no means satisfied the women and boys, who had anticipated rare sport in the roasting of a white man and a heretic. One squaw assailed him with a knife and cut off one of his fingers; another beat him with a pole. The Indians spent the night in dancing and singing, compelling their prisoner to go round the ring with them. In the morning one of their orators made a long speech to him, and formally delivered him over to an old squaw, who took him to her wigwam and treated him kindly. Two or three of the young women who were carried away captive married Frenchmen in Canada and never returned. Instances of this kind were by no means rare during the Indian wars. The simple manners, gayety, and social habits of the French colonists among whom the captives were dispersed seem to have been peculiarly fascinating to the daughters of the grave and severe Puritans. [379]

At the beginning of the present century, Judith Whiting was the solitary survivor of all who witnessed the inroad of the French and Indians in 1708. She was eight years of age at the time of the attack, and her memory of it to the last was distinct and vivid. Upon her old brain, from whence a great portion of the records of the intervening years had been obliterated, that terrible picture, traced with fire and blood, retained its sharp outlines and baleful colors.


The great Ipswich fright.

The Frere into the dark gazed forth;
The sounds went onward towards the north;
The murmur of tongues, the tramp and tread
Of a mighty army to battle led.

Ballad of the Cid.

Life's tragedy and comedy are never far apart. The ludicrous and the sublime, the grotesque and the pathetic, jostle each other on the stage; the jester, with his cap and bells, struts alongside of the hero; the lord mayor's pageant loses itself in the mob around Punch and Judy; the pomp and circumstance of war become mirth-provoking in a militia muster; and the majesty of the law is ridiculous in the mock dignity of a justice's court. The laughing philosopher of old looked on one side of life and his weeping contemporary on the other; but he who has an eye to both must often experience that contrariety of feeling which Sterne compares to ‘the contest in the moist eyelids of an April morning, whether to laugh or cry.’

The circumstance we are about to relate may serve as an illustration of the way in which the woof of comedy interweaves with the warp of tragedy. It occurred in the early stages of the American Revolution, and is part and parcel of its history in the northeastern section of Massachusetts. [381]

About midway between Salem and the ancient town of Newburyport, the traveller on the Eastern Railroad sees on the right, between him and the sea, a tall church-spire, rising above a semicircle of brown roofs and venerable elms; to which a long scalloping range of hills, sweeping off to the seaside, forms a green background. This is Ipswich, the ancient Agawam; one of those steady, conservative villages, of which a few are still left in New England, wherein a contemporary of Cotton Mather and Governor Endicott, were he permitted to revisit the scenes of his painful probation, would scarcely feel himself a stranger. Law and Gospel, embodied in an orthodox steeple and a court-house, occupy the steep, rocky eminence in its midst; below runs the small river under its picturesque stone bridge; and beyond is the famous female seminary, where Andover theological students are wont to take unto themselves wives of the daughters of the Puritans. An air of comfort and quiet broods over the whole town. Yellow moss clings to the seaward sides of the roofs; one's eyes are not endangered by the intense glare of painted shingles and clapboards. The smoke of hospitable kitchens curls up through the overshadowing elms from huge-throated chimneys, whose hearth-stones have been worn by the feet of many generations. The tavern was once renowned throughout New England, and it is still a creditable hostelry. During court time it is crowded with jocose lawyers, anxious clients, sleepy jurors, and miscellaneous hangers on; disinterested gentlemen, who have no particular business of their own in court, but who [382] regularly attend its sessions, weighing evidence, deciding upon the merits of a lawyer's plea or a judge's charge, getting up extempore trials upon the piazza or in the bar-room of cases still involved in the glorious uncertainty of the law in the court-house, proffering gratuitous legal advice to irascible plaintiffs and desponding defendants, and in various other ways seeing that the Commonwealth receives no detriment. In the autumn old sportsmen make the tavern their headquarters while scouring the marshes for sea-birds; and slim young gentlemen from the city return thither with empty game-bags, as guiltless in respect to the snipes and wagtails as Winkle was in the matter of the rooks, after his shooting excursion at Dingle Dell. Twice, nay, three times, a year, since third parties have been in fashion, the delegates of the political churches assemble in Ipswich to pass patriotic resolutions, and designate the candidates whom the good people of Essex County, with implicit faith in the wisdom of the selection, are expected to vote for. For the rest there are pleasant walks and drives around the picturesque village. The people are noted for their hospitality; in summer the sea-wind blows cool over its healthy hills, and, take it for all in all, there is not a better pre, served or pleasanter specimen of a Puritan town remaining in the ancient Commonwealth.

The 21st of April, 1775, witnessed an awful commotion in the little village of Ipswich. Old men, and boys, (the middle-aged had marched to Lexington some days before,) and all the women in the place who were not bedridden or sick, came [383] rushing as with one accord to the green in front of the meeting-house. A rumor, which no one attempted to trace or authenticate, spread from lip to lip that the British regulars had landed on the coast and were marching upon the town. A scene of indescribable terror and confusion followed. Defence was out of the question, as the young and able-bodied men of the entire region round about had marched to Cambridge and Lexington. The news of the battle at the latter place, exaggerated in all its details, had been just received; terrible stories of the atrocities committed by the dreaded ‘regulars’ had been related; and it was believed that nothing short of a general extermination of the patriots—men, women, and children—was contemplated by the British commander. Almost simultaneously the people of Beverly, a village a few miles distant, were smitten with the same terror. How the rumor was communicated no one could tell. It was there believed that the enemy had fallen upon Ipswich, and massacred the inhabitants without regard to age or sex.

It was about the middle of the afternoon of this day that the people of Newbury, ten miles farther north, assembled in an informal meeting at the town-house to hear accounts from the Lexington fight, and to consider what action was necessary in consequence of that event. Parson Carey was about opening the meeting with prayer when hurried hoof-beats sounded up the street, and a messenger, loose-haired and panting for breath, rushed up the staircase. ‘Turn out, turn out, for God's sake,’ he cried, ‘or you will be all killed! The [384] regulars are marching on us; they are at Ipswich now, cutting and slashing all before them!’ Universal consternation was the immediate result of this fearful announcement; Parson Carey's prayer died on his lips; the congregation dispersed over the town, carrying to every house the tidings that the regulars had come. Men on horseback went galloping up and down the streets, shouting the alarm. Women and children echoed it from every corner. The panic became irresistible, uncontrollable. Cries were heard that the dreaded invaders had reached Oldtown Bridge, a little distance from the village, and that they were killing all whom they encountered. Flight was resolved upon. All the horses and vehicles in the town were put in requisition; men, women, and children hurried as for life towards the north. Some threw their silver and pewter ware and other valuables into wells. Large numbers crossed the Merrimac, and spent the night in the deserted houses of Salisbury, whose inhabitants, stricken by the strange terror, had fled into New Hampshire, to take up their lodgings in dwellings also abandoned by their owners. A few individuals refused to fly with the multitude; some, unable to move by reason of sickness, were left behind by their relatives. One old gentleman, whose excessive corpulence rendered retreat on his part impossible, made a virtue of necessity; and, seating himself in his doorway with his loaded king's arm, upbraided his more nimble neighbors, advising them to do as he did, and ‘stop and shoot the devils.’ Many ludicrous instances of the intensity of the terror might be related. [385] One man got his family into a boat to go to Ram Island for safety. He imagined he was pursued by the enemy through the dusk of the evening, and was annoyed by the crying of an infant in the after part of the boat. ‘Do throw that squalling brat overboard,’ he called to his wife, ‘or we shall be all discovered and killed!’ A poor woman ran four or five miles up the river, and stopped to take breath and nurse her child, when she found to her great horror that she had brought off the cat instead of the baby!

All through that memorable night the terror swept onward towards the north with a speed which seems almost miraculous, producing everywhere the same results. At midnight a horseman, clad only in shirt and breeches, dashed by our grandfather's door, in Haverhill, twenty miles up the river. ‘Turn out! Get a musket! Turn out!’ he shouted; ‘the regulars are landing on Plum Island!’ ‘I'm glad of it,’ responded the old gentleman from his chamber window; ‘I wish they were all there, and obliged to stay there.’ When it is understood that Plum Island is little more than a naked sand-ridge, the benevolence of this wish can be readily appreciated.

All the boats on the river were constantly employed for several hours in conveying across the terrified fugitives. Through ‘the dead waste and middle of the night’ they fled over the border into New Hampshire. Some feared to take the frequented roads, and wandered over wooded hills and through swamps where the snows of the late winter had scarcely melted. They heard the tramp [386] and outcry of those behind them, and fancied that the sounds were made by pursuing enemies. Fast as they fled, the terror, by some unaccountable means, outstripped them. They found houses deserted and streets strewn with household stuffs, abandoned in the hurry of escape. Towards morning, however, the tide partially turned. Grown men began to feel ashamed of their fears. The old Anglo-Saxon hardihood paused and looked the terror in its face. Single or in small parties, armed with such weapons as they found at hand,—among which long poles, sharpened and charred at the end, were conspicuous,—they began to retrace their steps. In the mean time such of the good people of Ipswich as were unable or unwilling to leave their homes became convinced that the terrible rumor which had nearly depopulated their settlement was unfounded.

Among those who had there awaited the onslaught of the regulars was a young man from Exeter, New Hampshire. Becoming satisfied that the whole matter was a delusion, he mounted his horse and followed after the retreating multitude, undeceiving all whom he overtook. Late at night he reached Newburyport, greatly to the relief of its sleepless inhabitants, and hurried across the river, proclaiming as he rode the welcome tidings. The sun rose upon haggard and jaded fugitives, worn with excitement and fatigue, slowly returning homeward, their satisfaction at the absence of danger somewhat moderated by an unpleasant consciousness of the ludicrous scenes of their premature night flitting. [387]

Any inference which might be drawn from the foregoing narrative derogatory to the character of the people of New England at that day, on the score of courage, would be essentially erroneous. It is true, they were not the men to court danger or rashly throw away their lives for the mere glory of the sacrifice. They had always a prudent and wholesome regard to their own comfort and safety; they justly looked upon sound heads and limbs as better than broken ones; life was to them too serious and important, and their hard-gained property too valuable, to be lightly hazarded. They never attempted to cheat themselves by underesti-mating the difficulty to be encountered, or shutting their eyes to its probable consequences. Cautious, wary, schooled in the subtle strategy of Indian warfare, where self-preservation is by no means a secondary object, they had little in common with the reckless enthusiasm of their French allies, or the stolid indifference of the fighting machines of the British regular army. When danger could no longer be avoided, they met it with firmness and iron endurance, but with a very vivid appreciation of its magnitude. Indeed, it must be admitted by all who are familiar with the history of our fathers that the element of fear held an important place among their characteristics. It exaggerated all the dangers of their earthly pilgrimage, and peopled the future with shapes of evil. Their fear of Satan invested him with some of the attributes of Omnipotence, and almost reached the point of reverence. The slightest shock of an earthquake filled all hearts with terror. Stout men trembled by their [388] hearths with dread of some paralytic old woman supposed to be a witch. And when they believed themselves called upon to grapple with these terrors and endure the afflictions of their allotment, they brought to the trial a capability of suffering undiminished by the chloroform of modern philosophy. They were heroic in endurance. Panics like the one we have described might bow and sway them like reeds in the wind; but they stood up like the oaks of their own forests beneath the thunder and the hail of actual calamity.

It was certainly lucky for the good people of Essex County that no wicked wag of a Tory undertook to immortalize in rhyme their ridiculous hegira, as Judge Hopkinson did the famous Battle of the Kegs in Philadelphia. Like the more recent Madawaska war in Maine, the great Chepatchet demonstration in Rhode Island, and the ‘Sauk fuss’ of Wisconsin, it remains to this day ‘unsyllabled, unsung;’ and the fast-fading memory of age alone preserves the unwritten history of the great Ipswich fright. [389]

Lay up the fagots neat and trim;
     Pile 'em up higher;
Set 'em afire!
     The Pope roasts us, and we'll roast him!

Old song.

The recent attempt of the Romish Church to reestablish its hierarchy in Great Britain, with the new cardinal, Dr. Wiseman, at its head, seems to have revived an old popular custom, a grim piece of Protestant sport, which, since the days of Lord George Gordon and the ‘No Popery’ mob, had very generally fallen into disuse. On the 5th of the eleventh month of this present year all England was traversed by processions and lighted up with bonfires, in commemoration of the detection of the ‘gunpowder plot’ of Guy Fawkes and the Papists in 1605. Popes, bishops, and cardinals, in straw and pasteboard, were paraded through the streets and burned amid the shouts of the populace, a great portion of whom would have doubtless been quite as ready to do the same pleasant little office for the Bishop of Exeter or his Grace of Canterbury, if they could have carted about and burned in effigy a Protestant hierarchy as safely as a Catholic one.

In this country, where every sect takes its own way, undisturbed by legal restrictions, each ecclesiastical [390] tub balancing itself as it best may on its own bottom, and where bishops Catholic and bishops Episcopal, bishops Methodist and bishops Mormon, jostle each other in our thoroughfares, it is not to be expected that we should trouble ourselves with the matter at issue between the rival hierarchies on the other side of the water. It is a very pretty quarrel, however, and good must come out of it, as it cannot fail to attract popular attention to the shallowness of the spiritual pretensions of both parties, and lead to the conclusion that a hierarchy of any sort has very little in common with the fishermen and tent-makers of the New Testament.

Pope Night—the anniversary of the discovery of the Papal incendiary Guy Fawkes, booted and spurred, ready to touch fire to his powder-train under the Parliament House—was celebrated by the early settlers of New England, and doubtless afforded a good deal of relief to the younger plants of grace in the Puritan vineyard. In those solemn old days, the recurrence of the powder-plot anniversary, with its processions, hideous images of the Pope and Guy Fawkes, its liberal potations of strong waters, and its blazing bonfires reddening the wild November hills, must have been looked forward to with no slight degree of pleasure. For one night, at least, the cramped and smothered fun and mischief of the younger generation were permitted to revel in the wild extravagance of a Roman saturnalia or the Christmas holidays of a slave plantation. Bigotry—frowning upon the May-pole, with its flower wreaths and sportive [391] revelers, and counting the steps of dances as so many steps towards perdition—recognized in the grim farce of Guy Fawkes's anniversary something of its own lineaments, smiled complacently upon the riotous young actors, and opened its close purse to furnish tar-barrels to roast the Pope, and strong water to moisten the throats of his noisy judges and executioners.

Up to the time of the Revolution the powder plot was duly commemorated throughout New England. At that period the celebration of it was discountenanced, and in many places prohibited, on the ground that it was insulting to our Catholic allies from France. In Coffin's History of Newbury it is stated that, in 1774, the town authorities of Newburyport ordered ‘that no effigies be carried about or exhibited only in the daytime.’ The last public celebration in that town was in the following year. Long before the close of the last century the exhibitions of Pope Night had entirely ceased throughout the country, with, as far as we can learn, a solitary exception. The stranger who chances to be travelling on the road between Newburyport and Haverhill, on the night of the 5th of November, may well fancy that an invasion is threatened from the sea, or that an insurrection is going on inland; for from all the high hills overlooking the river tall fires are seen blazing redly against the cold, dark, autumnal sky, surrounded by groups of young men and boys busily engaged in urging them with fresh fuel into intenser activity. To feed these bonfires, everything combustible which could be begged or stolen from the neighboring [392] villages, farm-houses, and fences is put in requisition. Old tar-tubs, purloined from the shipbuilders of the river-side, and flour and lard barrels from the village-traders, are stored away for days, and perhaps weeks, in the woods or in the rain-gullies of the hills, in preparation for Pope Night. From the earliest settlement of the towns of Amesbury and Salisbury, the night of the powder plot has been thus celebrated, with unbroken regularity, down to the present time. The event which it once commemorated is probably now unknown to most of the juvenile actors. The symbol lives on from generation to generation after the significance is lost; and we have seen the children of our Catholic neighbors as busy as their Protestant playmates in collecting, ‘by hook or by crook,’ the materials for Pope-Night bonfires. We remember, on one occasion, walking out with a gifted and learned Catholic friend to witness the fine effect of the illumination on the hills, and his hearty appreciation of its picturesque and wild beauty,—the busy groups in the strong relief of the fires, and the play and corruscation of the changeful lights on the bare, brown hills, naked trees, and autumn clouds.

In addition to the bonfires on the hills, there was formerly a procession in the streets, bearing grotesque images of the Pope, his cardinals and friars; and behind them Satan himself, a monster with huge ox-horns on his head, and a long tail, brandishing his pitchfork and goading them onward. The Pope was generally furnished with a movable head, which could be turned round, thrown [393] back, or made to bow, like that of a china-ware mandarin. An aged inhabitant of the neighborhood has furnished us with some fragments of the songs sung on such occasions, probably the same which our British ancestors trolled forth around their bonfires two centuries ago:—

The fifth of November,
     As you well remember,
Was gunpowder treason and plot;
     And where is the reason
That gunpowder treason
     Should ever be forgot?

When James the First the sceptre swayed,
     This hellish powder plot was laid;
They placed the powder down below,
     All for Old England's overthrow.
Lucky the man, and happy the day,
     That caught Guy Fawkes in the middle of his play!

Hark! our bell goes jink, jink, jink;
     Pray, madam, pray, sir, give us something to drink;
Pray, madam, pray, sir, if you'll something give,
     We'll burn the dog, and not let him live.
We'll burn the dog without his head,
     And then you'll say the dog is dead.

Look here! from Rome
     The Pope has come,
That fiery serpent dire;
     Here's the Pope that we have got,
The old promoter of the plot;
     We'll stick a pitchfork in his back,
And throw him in the fire!

There is a slight savor of a Smithfield roasting about these lines, such as regaled the senses of the Virgin Queen or Bloody Mary, which entirely reconciles us to their disuse at the present time. [394] It should be the fervent prayer of all good men that the evil spirit of religious hatred and intolerance, which on the one hand prompted the gunpowder plot, and which on the other has ever since made it the occasion of reproach and persecution of an entire sect of professing Christians, may be no longer perpetuated. In the matter of exclusiveness and intolerance, none of the older sects can safely reproach each other; and it becomes all to hope and labor for the coming of that day when the hymns of Cowper and the Confessions of Augustine, the humane philosophy of Channing and the devout meditations of Thomas à Kempis, the simple essays of Woolman and the glowing periods of Bossuet, shall be regarded as the offspring of one spirit and one faith,–lights of a common altar, and precious stones in the temple of the one universal Church.


The boy captives

An incident of the Indian war of 1695.

The township of Haverhill, even as late as the close of the seventeenth century, was a frontier settlement, occupying an advanced position in the great wilderness, which, unbroken by the clearing of a white man, extended from the Merrimac River to the French villages on the St. Francois. A tract of twelve miles on the river and three or four northwardly was occupied by scattered settlers, while in the centre of the town a compact village had grown up. In the immediate vicinity there were but few Indians, and these generally peaceful and inoffensive. On the breaking out of the Narragansett war, the inhabitants had erected fortifications and taken other measures for defence; but, with the possible exception of one man who was found slain in the woods in 1676, none of the inhabitants were molested; and it was not until about the year 1689 that the safety of the settlement was seriously threatened. Three persons were killed in that year. In 1690 six garrisons were established in different parts of the town, with a small company of soldiers attached to each. Two of these houses are still standing. They were built of brick, two stories high, with a single outside door, so small and narrow that but one person [396] could enter at a time; the windows few, and only about two and a half feet long by eighteen inches wide, with thick diamond glass secured with lead, and crossed inside with bars of iron. The basement had but two rooms, and the chamber was entered by a ladder instead of stairs; so that the inmates, if driven thither, could cut off communication with the rooms below. Many private houses were strengthened and fortified. We remember one familiar to our boyhood,—a venerable old building of wood, with brick between the weatherboards and ceiling, with a massive balustrade over the door, constructed of oak timber and plank, with holes through the latter for firing upon assailants. The door opened upon a stone-paved hall, or entry, leading into the huge single room of the basement, which was lighted by two small windows, the ceiling black with the smoke of a century and a half; a huge fireplace, calculated for eightfeet wood, occupying one entire side; while, overhead, suspended from the timbers, or on shelves fastened to them, were household stores, farming utensils, fishing-rods, guns, bunches of herbs gathered perhaps a century ago, strings of dried apples and pumpkins, links of mottled sausages, spareribs, and flitches of bacon; the firelight of an evening dimly revealing the checked woollen coverlet of the bed in one far-off corner, while in another
the pewter plates on the dresser
     Caught and reflected the flame as shields of armies the sunshine.

Tradition has preserved many incidents of life in the garrisons. In times of unusual peril the [397] settlers generally resorted at night to the fortified houses, taking thither their flocks and herds and such household valuables as were most likely to strike the fancy or minister to the comfort or vanity of the heathen marauders. False alarms were frequent. The smoke of a distant fire, the bark of a dog in the deep woods, a stump or bush taking in the uncertain light of stars and moon the appearance of a man, were sufficient to spread alarm through the entire settlement, and to cause the armed men of the garrison to pass whole nights in sleepless watching. It is said that at Haselton's garrison-house the sentinel on duty saw, as he thought, an Indian inside of the paling which surrounded the building, and apparently seeking to gain an entrance. He promptly raised his musket and fired at the intruder, alarming thereby the entire garrison. The women and children left their beds, and the men seized their guns and commenced firing on the suspicious object; but it seemed to bear a charmed life, and remained unharmed. As the morning dawned, however, the mystery was solved by the discovery of a black quilted petticoat hanging on the clothes'-line, completely riddled with balls.

As a matter of course, under circumstances of perpetual alarm and frequent peril, the duty of cultivating their fields, and gathering their harvests, and working at their mechanical avocations was dangerous and difficult to the settlers. One instance will serve as an illustration. At the garrison-house of Thomas Dustin, the husband of the far-famed Mary Dustin, (who, while a captive of [398] the Indians, and maddened by the murder of her infant child, killed and scalped, with the assistance of a young boy, the entire band of her captors, ten in number,) the business of brick-making was carried on. The pits where the clay was found were only a few rods from the house; yet no man ventured to bring the clay to the yard within the enclosure without the attendance of a file of soldiers. An anecdote relating to this garrison has been handed down to the present time. Among its inmates were two young cousins, Joseph and Mary Whittaker; the latter a merry, handsome girl, relieving the tedium of garrison duty with her light-

hearted mirthfulness, and

Making a sunshine in that shady place.

Joseph, in the intervals of his labors in the double capacity of brick-maker and man-at-arms, was assiduous in his attentions to his fair cousin, who was not inclined to encourage him. Growing desperate, he threatened one evening to throw himself into the garrison well. His threat only called forth the laughter of his mistress; and, bidding her farewell, he proceeded to put it in execution. On reaching the well he stumbled over a log; whereupon, animated by a happy idea, he dropped the wood into the water instead of himself, and, hiding behind the curb, awaited the result. Mary, who had been listening at the door, and who had not believed her lover capable of so rash an act, heard the sudden plunge of the wooden Joseph. She ran to the well, and, leaning over the curb and peering down the dark opening, cried out, in [399] tones of anguish and remorse, ‘O Joseph, if you're in the land of the living, I'll have you!’ ‘I'll take ye at your word,’ answered Joseph, springing up from his hiding-place, and avenging himself for her coyness and coldness by a hearty embrace.
Our own paternal ancestor, owing to religious scruples in the matter of taking arms even for defence of life and property, refused to leave his undefended house and enter the garrison. The Indians frequently came to his house; and the family more than once in the night heard them whispering under the windows, and saw them put their copper faces to the glass to take a view of the apartments. Strange as it may seem, they never offered any injury or insult to the inmates.

In 1695 the township was many times molested by Indians, and several persons were killed and wounded. Early in the fall a small party made their appearance in the northerly part of the town, where, finding two boys at work in an open field, they managed to surprise and capture them, and, without committing further violence, retreated through the woods to their homes on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Isaac Bradley, aged fifteen, was a small but active and vigorous boy; his companion in captivity, Joseph Whittaker, was only eleven, yet quite as large in size, and heavier in his movements. After a hard and painful journey they arrived at the lake, and were placed in an Indian family, consisting of a man and squaw and two or three children. Here they soon acquired a sufficient knowledge of the Indian tongue to enable them to learn from the conversation carried [400] on in their presence that it was designed to take them to Canada in the spring. This discovery was a painful one. Canada, the land of Papist priests and bloody Indians, was the especial terror of the New England settlers, and the anathema maranatha of Puritan pulpits. Thither the Indians usually hurried their captives, where they compelled them to work in their villages or sold them to the French planters. Escape from thence through a deep wilderness, and across lakes and mountains and almost impassable rivers, without food or guide, was regarded as an impossibility. The poor boys, terrified by the prospect of being carried still farther from their home and friends, began to dream of escaping from their masters before they started for Canada. It was now winter; it would have been little short of madness to have chosen for flight that season of bitter cold and deep snows. Owing to exposure and want of proper food and clothing, Isaac, the eldest of the boys, was seized with a violent fever, from which he slowly recovered in the course of the winter. His Indian mistress was as kind to him as her circumstances permitted,—procuring medicinal herbs and roots for her patient, and tenderly watching over him in the long winter nights. Spring came at length; the snows melted; and the ice was broken up on the lake. The Indians began to make preparations for journeying to Canada; and Isaac, who had during his sickness devised a plan of escape, saw that the time of putting it in execution had come. On the evening before he was to make the attempt he for the first time informed his [401] younger companion of his design, and told him, if he intended to accompany him, he must be awake at the time appointed. The boys lay down as usual in the wigwam, in the midst of the family. Joseph soon fell asleep; but Isaac, fully sensible of the danger and difficulty of the enterprise before him, lay awake, watchful for his opportunity. About midnight he rose, cautiously stepping over the sleeping forms of the family, and securing, as he went, his Indian master's flint, steel, and tinder, and a small quantity of dry moose-meat and cornbread. He then carefully awakened his companion, who, starting up, forgetful of the cause of his disturbance, asked aloud, ‘What do you want?’ The savages began to stir; and Isaac, trembling with fear of detection, lay down again and pretended to be asleep. After waiting a while he again rose, satisfied, from the heavy breathing of the Indians, that they were all sleeping; and fearing to awaken Joseph a second time, lest he should again hazard all by his thoughtlessness, he crept softly out of the wigwam. He had proceeded but a few rods when he heard footsteps behind him; and, supposing himself pursued, he hurried into the woods, casting a glance backward. What was his joy to see his young companion running after him! They hastened on in a southerly direction as nearly as they could determine, hoping to reach their distant home. When daylight appeared they found a large hollow log, into which they crept for concealment, wisely judging that they would be hotly pursued by their Indian captors.

Their sagacity was by no means at fault. The [402] Indians, missing their prisoners in the morning, started off in pursuit with their dogs. As the young boys lay in the log they could hear the whistle of the Indians and the barking of dogs upon their track. It was a trying moment; and even the stout heart of the elder boy sank within him as the dogs came up to the log and set up a loud bark of discovery. But his presence of mind saved him. He spoke in a low tone to the dogs, who, recognizing his familiar voice, wagged their tails with delight and ceased barking. He then threw to them the morsel of moose-meat he had taken from the wigwam. While the dogs were thus diverted the Indians made their appearance. The boys heard the light, stealthy sound of their moccasins on the leaves. They passed close to the log; and the dogs, having devoured their moose-meat, trotted after their masters. Through a crevice in the log the boys looked after them and saw them disappear in the thick woods. They remained in their covert until night, when they started again on their long journey, taking a new route to avoid the Indians. At daybreak they again concealed themselves, but travelled the next night and day without resting. By this time they had consumed all the bread which they had taken, and were fainting from hunger and weariness. Just at the close of the third day they were providentially enabled to kill a pigeon and a small tortoise, a part of which they ate raw, not daring to make a fire, which might attract the watchful eyes of savages. On the sixth day they struck upon an old Indian path, and, following it until night, came [403] suddenly upon a camp of the enemy. Deep in the heart of the forest, under the shelter of a ridge of land heavily timbered, a great fire of logs and brushwood was burning; and around it the Indians sat, eating their moose-meat and smoking their pipes.

The poor fugitives, starving, weary, and chilled by the cold spring blasts, gazed down upon the ample fire, and the savory meats which the squaws were cooking by it, but felt no temptation to purchase warmth and food by surrendering themselves to captivity. Death in the forest seemed preferable. They turned and fled back upon their track, expecting every moment to hear the yells of pursuers. The morning found them seated on the bank of a small stream, their feet torn and bleeding, and their bodies emaciated. The elder, as a last effort, made search for roots, and fortunately discovered a few ground-nuts, (glicine apios) which served to refresh in some degree himself and his still weaker companion. As they stood together by the stream, hesitating and almost despairing, it occurred to Isaac that the rivulet might lead to a larger stream of water, and that to the sea and the white settlements near it; and he resolved to follow it. They again began their painful march; the day passed, and the night once more overtook them. When the eighth morning dawned, the younger of the boys found himself unable to rise from his bed of leaves. Isaac endeavored to encourage him, dug roots, and procured water for him; but the poor lad was utterly exhausted. He had no longer heart or hope. The elder boy laid [404] him on leaves and dry grass at the foot of a tree, and with a heavy heart bade him farewell. Alone he slowly and painfully proceeded down the stream, now greatly increased in size by tributary rivulets. On the top of a hill he climbed with difficulty into a tree, and saw in the distance what seemed to be a clearing and a newly raised frame building. Hopeful and rejoicing, he turned back to his young companion, told him what he had seen, and, after chafing his limbs awhile, got him upon his feet. Sometimes supporting him, and at others carrying him on his back, the heroic boy staggered towards the clearing. On reaching it he found it deserted, and was obliged to continue his journey. Towards night signs of civilization began to appear,—the heavy, continuous roar of water was heard; and, presently emerging from the forest, he saw a great river dashing in white foam down precipitous rocks, and on its bank the gray walls of a huge stone building, with flankers, palisades, and moat, over which the British flag was flying. This was the famous Saco Fort, built by Governor Phips two years before, just below the falls of the Saco River. The soldiers of the garrison gave the poor fellows a kindly welcome. Joseph, who was scarcely alive, lay for a long time sick in the fort; but Isaac soon regained his strength, and set out for his home in Haverhill, which he had the good fortune to arrive at in safety.

Amidst the stirring excitements of the present day, when every thrill of the electric wire conveys a new subject for thought or action to a generation as eager as the ancient Athenians for some new [405] thing, simple legends of the past like that which we have transcribed have undoubtedly lost in a great degree their interest. The lore of the fireside is becoming obsolete, and with the octogenarian few who still linger among us will perish the unwritten history of border life in New England.

1 The celebrated Mr. Attwood has been called the ‘father of political unions.’ In a speech delivered by his brother, C. Attwood, Esq., at the Sunderland Reform Meeting, September 10, 1832, I find the following admission: ‘Gentlemen, the first political union was the Roman Catholic Association of Ireland, and the true founder and father of political unions is Daniel O'Connell.’

2 Letters to the Reformers of Great Britain, No. 1.

3 See Dr. Doyle's Evidence before Hon. E. G. Stanley.

4 Speech of T. Reynolds, Esq., at an anti-tithe meeting.

5 Gilbert Burnet, in liberality as a politician and tolerance as a Churchman, was far in advance of his order and time. It is true that he shut out the Catholics from the pale of his charity and barely tolerated the Dissenters. The idea of entire religious liberty and equality shocked even his moderate degree of sensitiveness. He met Penn at the court of the Prince of Orange, and, after a long and fruitless effort to convince the Dissenter that the penal laws against the Catholics should be enforced, and allegiance to the Established Church continue the condition of qualification for offices of trust and honor, and that he and his friends should rest contented with simple toleration, he became irritated by the inflexible adherence of Penn to the principle of entire religious freedom. One of the most worthy sons of the Episcopal Church, Thomas Clarkson, alluding to this discussion, says: ‘Burnet never mentioned him (Penn) afterwards but coldly or sneeringly, or in a way to lower him in the estimation of the reader, whenever he had occasion to speak of him in his History of his Own Times.’

He was a man of strong prejudices; he lived in the midst of revolutions, plots, and intrigues; he saw much of the worst side of human nature; and he candidly admits, in the preface to his great work, that he was inclined to think generally the worst of men and parties, and that the reader should make allowance for this inclination, although he had honestly tried to give the truth. Dr. King, of Oxford, in his Anecdotes of his Own Times, p. 185, says: ‘I knew — Burnet: he was a furious party-man, and easily imposed upon by any lying spirit of his faction; but he was a better pastor than any man who is now seated on the bishops' bench.’ The Tory writers—Swift, Pope, Arbuthnot, and others—have undoubtedly exaggerated the defects of Burnet's narrative; while, on the other hand, his Whig commentators have excused them on the ground of his avowed and fierce partisanship. Dr. Johnson, in his blunt way, says: ‘I do not believe Burnet intentionally lied; but he was so much prejudiced that he took no pains to find out the truth.’ On the contrary, Sir James Mackintosh, in the Edinburgh Review, speaks of the Bishop as an honest writer, seldom substantially erroneous, though often inaccurate in points of detail; and Macaulay, who has quite too closely followed him in his history, defends him as at least quite as accurate as his contemporary writers, and says that, ‘in his moral character, as in his intellectual, great blemishes were more than compensated by great excellences.’

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