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the house of the author. Among the debris recovered from the streets was the soiled manuscript of this volume. It was completed and published in 1767. The third volume was not written until the governor had taken up his residence in London, and it was not published until 1828. Hutchinson's History is not faultless. He was bitterly denounced by Otis and Samuel Adams, and he did not show an ability to appreciate them. He left untouched some important phases of Massachusetts history, and was indifferent to social and industrial changes. In spite of these faults, for which excuses can be made, he was the best American historian of his time. He treated narrative history in a philosophical manner and wrote simple and natural sentences whose charm endures to this day. After he left our shore many a year passed before we had a historian who could equal him in the power to understand and narrate the story of American political life.
The Puritan Divines, 1620-1720
EW ENGLAND Puritanism-like the greater move
ment of which it was so characteristic an offshoot
is one of the fascinating puzzles in the history of the English people. It phrased its aspirations in so strange a dialect, and interpreted its programme in such esoteric terms, that it appears almost like an alien episode in the records of a practical race.
No other phase of Anglo-Saxon civilization seems so singularly remote from every-day reality, so little leavened by natural human impulses and promptings.
Certain generations of Englishmen, seemingly for no sufficient reason, yielded their intellects to a rigid system of dogmatic theology, and surrendered their freedom to the letter of the Hebrew Scriptures; and in endeavouring to conform their institutions as well as their daily actions to self-imposed authorities, they produced a social order that fills with amazement other generations of Englishmen who have broken with that order. Strange, perverted, scarce intelligible beings those old Puritans seem to us-mere crabbed theologians disputing endlessly over Calvinistic dogma, or chilling the marrow of honest men and women with their tales of hell-fire. And we should be inclined to dismiss them as curious eccentricities were it not for the amazing fact that those old preachers were not mere accidents or by-products, but the very heart and passion of the times. If they were listened to gladly, it was because they uttered what many were thinking; if they were followed through tribulation and sacrifice by multitudes, it was because the way which they pointed out seemed to the best intelligence of their hearers the divinely approved path, which, if faithfully followed, must lead society out of the present welter of sin and misery and misrule into a nobler state. For the moment religion and statecraft were merged in the thought of Englishmen; and it was because the Puritan ministers were statesmen as well as theologians—the political quite as much as the religious leaders—that the difficult task of social guidance rested for those generations with the divines. How they conducted themselves in that serious business, what account they rendered of their stewardship, becomes therefore a question which the historian may not neglect.
It was to set up a Kingdom of God on earth that the Puritan leaders came to America; and the phrase should enlighten us concerning their deeper purpose. But no sooner was their work well under way than the conception of a kingdom of God tended to merge in the newer conception of a commonwealth of Christ, and this in turn found itself confronted by the still newer conception of a commonwealth of free citizens; and it is the painful wrestling with these changing ideals, with all that was implied in each to the several classes and institutions of society, that gives historical significance to the crabbed writings of the New England divines. As political thinkers they inherited a wealth of political speculation, accumulated during more than a hundred years of extraordinary intellectual activity; and if we would understand the matter as well as the manner of their disputations, we must put ourselves to the trouble of translating the obsolete phraseology into modern equivalents, and conceive of Puritanism as the expression of current English radicalism. It was the English beginning of the great modern social readjustment which goes under the name of the democratic revolution; and its total history, covering a long period of a hundred and forty years, constitutes a noble chapter in the struggle for human freedom. If the evolution of modern society falls into two broad phases, the disintegration of the old caste society into free citizens, and the regrouping of the free citizens into a new social democracy, the significance of Puritanism becomes clear-it was a disruptive force that served to destroy the cohesion of the ancient caste solidarity resolving society into its individual members. It was the rebellion of the many against the overlordship of the few; a rebellion that proposed to coerce the freedom of men by the law of God alone; a challenge of existing institutions and regnant philosophies, which if successful could not fail to bring about profound social changes.
Necessarily, therefore, the Puritan reformation was allied with political reformation, and the period of ecclesiastical reorganization was equally a period of political reorganization. Modern political parties were thrown up out of the ferment of religious dispute, and the inevitable cleavages of Puritan thought were determined broadly by the cleavages of political thought. The three parties in the ecclesiastical field, Anglican, Presbyterian, and Independent, reflected the current political ideals of tory, whig, and democrat. The first was monarchical in principle, the ecclesiastical expression of tory absolutism. It gathered to its support the hereditary masters of society, who held that there should be one authoritative church, to which every subject of the crown must belong, to the support of which all must contribute, and in the governance of which only the appointed hierarchy should share. The second party was aristocratic in principle, the expression of the rising ideal of whiggery, or government by property through the instrumentality of landed gentlemen. Country squires and prosperous London citizens desired a church system which they could control, and this system they discovered in Presbyterianism, newly brought over from Geneva, which gave the control of the parish to the eldership, composed of responsible gentlemen who should serve as trustees for the good of the whole. The third party was more or less consciously democratic in principle, the expression of the newly awakened aspirations of the social underling. The poor man wanted to be ruled neither by bishops nor by gentlemen, but preferred to club with the likeminded of his own class, and set up an independent church along democratic lines. That was the true Christian church, he believed, which withdrew from all communion with sinners and established a “Congregation of the Saints"; and so he called himself a Separatist. But whatever name he might call himself by, he was at bottom a democrat who demanded the right of self-government in the church, and who, when times were ripe, would assuredly assert the greater right of self-government in the state.
Broadly speaking, the Anglicans kept the situation pretty well in hand up to the accession of Charles I. During the long disputes between Charles and the Parliament, the rising party of Presbyterians was organizing its forces to break the rule of the bishops, and the early years of Parliamentary sovereignty marked the culmination of the middle period, dominated by the Presbyterian ideal. But no sooner was the ruthless hand of tory absolutism struck down than the long gathering forces of social discontent came to a head and broke with the moderate party of Presbyterian reformers; whereupon there followed the real Puritan revolution which had been preparing since the days of Wyclif. The Separatists seized control of Parliament and set about the work of erecting a government that should be a commonwealth of free citizens; the voice of the democratic underling, for the first time in English history, was listened to in the national councils, and the army of the democrat stood ready to enforce his demands with the sword. But unfortunately the strong wine went to the head; unbalanced schismatics endeavoured to set up impossible Utopias; zeal outran wisdom; and the Puritan movement broke at last into a thousand sects and went to pieces. But not before its real work was done; not before the political principles, which hitherto had been obscurely entangled in theological disputation, were set free and held up to the view of Englishmen; not before the new democratic philosophy had clarified its fundamental principle, namely, that the individual both as Christian and citizen derives from nature certain inalienable rights which every church and every government is bound to respect.
It was during the decade of the thirties, at the moment when Presbyterianism was in the ascendancy, that the Puritan migration to New England took place; and the leaders of that notable movement were effectively Presbyterian in sympathies and policies. Possessed of ample means and of good social position, they were liberals rather than radicals, and they shared the common Presbyterian hope of capturing the ecclesiastical establishment as a whole instead of separating from it. But they had been preceded to America by the Plymouth congregation, a body of low-born Separatists, who had set up a church upon frankly democratic principles. In an unfortunate moment for Presbyterianism, the pioneer church at Salem came under the influence of the Plymouth example, and the following