Page images

the witchcraft troubles. Indeed, by no other method of argument and proof can we reconcile Mather's confessed conduct, with the exalted character which the reviewer gives him whose " great aim in life was to do good;" the ruling principles of wild life were " pity for the suffering, and charity for all; " who was " the most brilliant man of his day in New-England;" and who, "at the age of twenty-five, could write in seven languages—one of them the Iroquois "! Nay, more: according to Mr. Poole, Mather "believed in the power of prayer; " the Almighty Sovereign was his father, and had promised to hear and answer his petitions; Cotton Mather "had often tested this promise and found it faithful and Bure "!

Mr. Upham (and others who hold a moro moderate opinion of Mather) might have allowed these startling eulogiums to pass as the fervid expressions of a heart excited by sudden and intense sympathy for its client and with his cause. But when the reviewer went further, and against the whole current of modern opinion, bravely denied that Mather was in any peculiar manner responsible for the witchcraft delusion and tragedies; asserting that his opinion on the admissibility of spectral testimony against the accused was " diametrically opposed " to that of the judges of the court before which they were tried and convicted, and that this difference of opinion accounts for Mather's absence from the trials, and his imagined efforts to " dissuade the judges from pursuing the course they did;" when, in short, his "principles and bearing during the witch trials" were declared by Mr. Poole to be faithfully pictured in Longfellow's fancied scene over the grave of Giles Corey, where he w made to exclaim—

M — this poor man, whom we have made a victim,
Hereafter will be counted as a martyr "—

it became incumbent upon Mr. Upham to defend his views. One of the leading critical journals of the country had brought forward a champion for Mather, challenging Mr. Upham's published opinion of Mather's weakness and culpability. He was therefore called upon to show that the reviewer's positive surmise that the historian of the Salem witchcraft had not seen or read such common literature upon the subject as Increase Mather's Cases of Conscience, and the like, would not sufficiently account for the difference of opinion between himself and the reviewer, or else suffer the sensible Calef, and the innocent martyrs of the most terrible folly to continue under the load of intolerable reproaches heaped upon them by Cotton Mather.

How far Mr. Upham has succeeded is for the public to determine. For our part we feel that he has conclusively settled the question of Mather's part and bearing in the matter of the Salem Witchcraft; fixing his responsibility without unnecessary distraction, and with all the kindness that truth to history would admit of.

As the writer in the Edinburgh Review for July, 1868, has said of the History of Salem witchcraft —" no more accurate piece of history has been written "—so say we of this volume on Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather; adding further, that the author's manner of handling his subject and his reviewer appears to us unexceptionable. On the main question of which it treats, we think this book will generally be received as authority.

Doubtless many readers of the " Salem Witchcraft " have wished that Mr. Upham had not so explained the "phenomena" of 1699 as to appear to exclude theories which would not necessarily involve the supposition of fraud and "acting" on the part of the afflicted. In this present volume, however, Mr. Upham explained that he did not consider his suggestions as to the causes of the phenomena, essential parts of the story, but that, in his own words, his "sole object was to bring to view as truthfully, thoroughly and minutely as I could the phenomena of the case, as bare historical facts from which others were left to make their own deductions." "Feeling that the story I was telling led me along the outer edge of what is now knowledge—that I was treading the shores of the ultima Thule, of the yet discovered world of truth—I did not venture upon the ocean beyond."

This course all will admit Mr. Upham, as a writer of history, might legitimately pursue; and many, considering the elementary character of fore knowledge, will deem him wise in so doing.

The new and interesting picture which Mr. Upham has drawn of the earliest moments of the first provincial administration, will, we are sure, be appreciated by all who have wished for more light upon that obscure portion of our history. Indeed, the book will prove attractive to all, and we especially commend it to the careful examination of those who have read Mr. Poole's spirited article. A. C. G. jr.

(We have read a borrowed copy of Mr. Upham's reply, and fully agree with our correspondent in the opinion he has here expressed in regard to the ability and theroughness which characterize its chief parts. It is a production that must take a permanent place in the history of the period covered by it; leaves little to be done by future writers in the way of collocating the facts, null, in most points made by Mr. Upham, will be regarded as authority. Students of our colonial history are under great obligations to Air. Upham for his labors in this field, and to Mr. Poole for having provoked this reply.

It is not proved here, as we think, that Cotton Mather was chiefly responsible for the state of things that culminated in the "Salem tragedy." But taking into the account his writings, teachings and conversation, up to and during the trials, it is undoubtedly true that he was one of the most active and, probably, the most influential of the ministers who were concerned in the matter; but others besides ministers were of the number of those who are chargeable with the chief responsibility.

_ It is proved, however, that in common with a multitude of the most learned and pious men of his day, Mather believed in the fact of witchcraft; that his writings, in connection with the then prevalent literature on that subject, both domestic and imported, gave a fatal consistency and point to the superstitious notions generally entertained by the people; that he was actively interested in inducing Gov. Pbips to give his sanction to the creation of a special court of final jurisdiction to try alleged cases of witchcraft; that he approved and encouraged the use of spectral evidence, both in the preliminary examinations and in the subsequent trials; that bis conduct during the trials had the effect, which he intended, to stimulate the zeal of complainants and prosecutors; and that he subsequently indulged in uncandid statements, even if he was not guilty of a suppressio vert, in his frequent written references to his own conduct and views in the premises.

That under all the circumstances of his education and early associations, Cotton Mather should have been one of the most prominent actors in this fanaticism, is not surprising; and up to the time when Phips put a summary stop to tho trials, his conduct is consistent with an honest purpose. Nor are his views and acts, so far, to be judged of by rules of ethics or philosophy framed in the light of our greater and better knowledge.

Kvery age has its peculiar follies and fanaticisms. The present has them, no less than that in which Mather, Stoughton and Parris lived; but woe to us, if we are to be judged by the exacter standards of still later and more civilized times! We condemn the Puritans for persecuting and expelling the Quakers—a sect whose successors constitute one of the best, if not the very best element in our present population—but within ten years last past we have condemned and persecuted men for the mere expression of an opinion inimical to tho majority, or for acts of a merely negative character. As yet, in fact, we have very crude notions about the iust limits of legislative action and judicial inquiry, and our practice is certainly no better than our notions.

But after making all due allowances for Cotton Mather, this much cannot be so easily excused, viz.: that though he lived for many years after the " bloody assize" had done its work—till a time when passions had cooled, when old friendships hod begun to revive, and wounds had begun to heal—to a time when he heard his coadjutors confessing and lamenting their grievous error—he neither confessed nor relented, and like Stoughton persisted to the lost, before men at least, in holding the views and in justifying tho conduct which led him and so many others well nigh to ruin. It is a melancholy example of the power of prejudice, or of the vainest of all prides—the pride of opinion. Mather, Stoughton and Parris were fanatics, and it would seem as though Isaac Taylor's definition of fanaticism—" enthusiasm with an infusion of malignity "—was, in a measure, illustrated by them.

There is another point which, we think, Mr. Upham has not succeeded in establishing. He argues at length to prove that when Mather on several occasions used the term " His Excellency and "the Governour," he referred to Stoughton and not to Phips; as, for instance, in relation to the "minister's advice," and in relation to preparing his book, The Wonders of the Invisible World. Phips was in Boston when the advice of the ministers was requested by the governor and council, and also when it was forwarded to the judges. When Phips was absent, Stoughton, the deputy-governor, may have been referred to as "His Excellency:" but we find no instance of such an application of tho title to Stoughton when Phips was on the ground. Moreover, there is no evidence, that we now recall, showing that Phips was not in general accord with those who managed the trials, down to bis return from the East late in the summer. There are reasons, easily conceivable, why Phips would have asked the advice of the ministers, and why he would have desired that a history of the whole affair should be written. He forbade the publication of Mather's book for a good reason also. He must have known all the circumstances

« attending the asking and Bending of the advice, and he and hie friends must hare eeen Mather's book. They must have foreseen the effect of an ambiguous use of the title, and had Stoughton been "His Excellency" or "The Governour" referred to, they would have set the matter aright. Moreover, Hutchinson says it was the "Governor and Council" who asked advice of the ministers, and he was not likely to confound the governor and deputy-governor.]

Provincial Papers, Documents and Records, relating to the Province of NewHampshire, from 1692 to 1722. Being Part II. of Papers relating to that Period. Containing "the Journal of the Council and General Assembly." Published by the authority of the Legislature of New-Hampshire. Volume III. Compiled and Edited by Nathaniel Bocton, D.D., Corresponding Secretary of the New-Hampshire Historical Society. Manchester: John B. Clarke, State Printer. 1869. 8vo. pp. vii. and 853.

Dr. Bouton is zealously and ably performing the work entrusted to him by the

fovernor and council of his state. He says in the preface that in this volume " will e found in chronological order, many letters, papers, speeches and authentic facts, of much historical interest and value, which the editor has gathered from every available and reliable source, and for which due credit is always given." We find a great variety in this volume in addition to the journal of the council and general assembly. Dr. Bouton has published the joint transactions of these two bodies and has not deemed it necessary to print the journal of the house separate from the joint journal of the council and assembly; but whatever extracts are necessary to elucidate the latter are taken from the former, which he says is very meagre and incomplete to 1722.

We find some curiouB documents in this volume; among which are the letter from John Bridger respecting trees for tar; letter from Queen Anne respecting salaries; the pursuit of Indians in winter; an act for a free Latin school in Portsmouth in 1708, the first Latin free school established in New-Hampshire; expedition to Port Royal; capture of Port Royal; Indian treaty of pacification, <Sfcc. &c.

The notes of Dr. Bouton give great additional value to these verbatim copies of authentic documents. It will be, when the work is completed, comparatively easy for the skilful historian to mould from this mosaic a more perfect history of NewHampshire than has hitherto been written. It is all important to the writing out of history in a continuous narrative to have the material so complete and so thoroughly indexed.

In this era of railroads, telegraphs and a thousand other physical agents, forcing onward our material prosperity, it is a difficult duty for us to realize the trials ana dangers through which our ancestors passed in the early settlement of the country to establish for themselves and us civil government and laws. They " builded " em

fhatically " better than they knew," and we are reaping the benefit of their work, t is a great deal for one to say, but our author may say it, perhaps, if any one can, with the hope of literally fulfilling it, that it is "his intention to publish every official paper and document that can De found on record, or on file, that serves to throw light on our Provincial History."

These volumes are marble of the finest texture from which some skilful artist, perhaps Dr. Bouton himself, will, in the future, fashion the statue of the history of New-Hampshire, with its true lineaments, and place it on its appropriate pedestal.

w. B. b.

Siiggestions for the Establishment of an International Coinage on a Decimal and Metric Basis in Germany. By E. B. Elliott. 1869. Since Mr. Adams's Report on Weights and Measures, few have so mastered the science of measurement, and especially of coinage, as has Mr. Elliott in his several papers.

Not an aspirant to place—and so the government neglects to avail itself of one of our ablest men in his department—Mr. Elliott is a devotee to his studies, and to a long cherished purpose of an international system of weights, measures and coinage. The commercial value of such a unit, though of the greatest value, would be hardly more important than its social and moral influence, for when men come to weigh, measure, value and think by the same unit, whether in Paris, London, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Calcutta, Hon Kong, Yokohama, or Boston, one great wall of separation between the nations will have been broken, and thus will be destroyed a source of division between the peoples hardly less potent than that which followed the confusion of Babel.

1. W. T.

Jamestown of Pemaquid: a Poem. By Mrs. Maria W. Hackleton. Read on the site of Fort Frederic, on the Reception of the Committee of the Maine Historical Society by the citizens of Bristol, August 26, 1869. Published under the direction of the Society. New-York: Published by Hurd & Houghton. Cambridge, Riverside Press. 1869. 12mo. pp. 40.

As the inhabitant of the city, parched and weary with the heat of the long summer days, finds his recreation in the cool valleys of the country or in the invigorating breezes of the sea shore, so, in these times of intense social and political excitement, the mind may find healthy relief in frequent references to the history, and visits to the scenes of the early English settlements on tbese coasts. From them lessons of fruitful meaning can be drawn which shall exert an influence upon the revolutionary tendencies of the times as useful as it is needed. It is not probable, however, that every such occasion as the one at Pemaquid, in 1869, will be favored with a poet, who, like Mrs. Hackleton, will so successfully weave into pleasant verse, the facts of history and the poetry of tradition.

Besides the poem referred to, this handsomely printed volume contains a prefatory note, by Rev. Edward Ballard, Sec'y of the Maine Hist. Society, and an historic sketch of ancient Pemaquid, by the author of the poem.

Mr. Ballard gives an interesting account of tbe meeting of a committee of the Maine Society with the citizens of Bristol, on the site of the ancient Fort Frederic, one of the earliest settlements' made on this coast, in the beginning of the 17th century. Besides the poem read on the occasion, an address, hereafter to be published by the Me. Hist. Society, was delivered on behalf of the citizens of Bristol, by John Johnston, LL.D., Professor of Natural Science in the Wesleyan University, a native of Bristol, a history of which place he has in preparation; and addresses or remarks were made by several others.

A Winter in Florida; or Observations on the Soil, Climate, and Products of our Semi-Tropical State; with Sketches of the principal Towns and Cities in Eastern Florida. To which is added a brief Historical Summary; together with Hints to the Tourist, Invalid, and Sportsman. By Ledtard Bill. Illustrated. New-York: Published by Wood & Holbrook, 13 and 15 Laight Street 1869. 12mo. pp. 222. Florida and its waters are fruitful in interest both to the naturalist and the historian; and probably no portion of our country offers stronger attractions to persons in quest of a healthy climate. And yet Florida has two pests—mosquitoes and bad cooking. But in spite of these, Mr. Bill has prepared an interesting volume, especially to tourists and invalids. The illustrations by Forbes comprise views of the old city of St. Augustine, and the natural scenery and objects of Eastern Florida. A map of St. John's River is also given.

The scope of the book may be seen from the following synopsis of the table of contents :—What to expect and how to go; early history of Florida; up the St. John's to Jacksonville; the celebrated spring at Green Cove; central Florida and the upper St. John's; alligator-shooting; the old city of St. Augustine; climate and effect on invalids; character and kind of soil; the orange, lemon, and lime; the social condition of the people; sketches of Jacksonville, Green Cove, Picoloti, enterprise; abundance of fish and wild game; the mocking bird's home; incidents of travel.

The Capture of Ticonderoga, in 1775. A Paper read before the Vermont Historical Society, at Montpelier, Tuesday, October 19,1869. By Hiland Hall. Montpelier: 1869. 8vo. pp. 32.

Some two years ago Rev. B. F. De Costa, of the city of New-York, published an article in the Galaxy, having for its caption thin query: "Who took Ticonderoga?" Of course^this was everywhere understood to be aimed at the almost exclusive honor which has been ascribed to Ethan Allen for his services in that brilliant exploit; as not only designed to deprive Allen of his laurels, but also, in effect, to deny to the settlers in Vermont any but a subordinate share of the merit that has attached to all who participated in the capture. Mr. De Costa's theory, in brief, is that the credit of suggesting the seizure belongs to Major John Brown, a lawyer of Pittefield, Mass.,

i "Ancient Pemaquid, an Historical Review," by J. Winirat* Thornton, Esq., a member of the N. E. Historic, Genealogical Society, will be found in vol. ui. of the Collections of the Maine Historical Society.

Vol. XXIV. 20*

and that Benedict Arnold is entitled to, at least, equal credit with Allen in the actual capture of the post.

The announcement of *this theory—this new reading of the history of that eventbrought out several replies, the most noticeable of which are those of Mr. Benedict, of Burlington, Vt., Mr. Trumbull, of Hartford, Ct., and Hon. Hiland Hall, late governor of Vermont.

Judge Hall carefully examines and controverts all the material statements made by Mr. De Costa, and then gives, in a concise and able summary, what he and the

treat majority of our historical students believe to be the facts in the case. We now not what evidence Mr. De Costa has in reserve, but so far the force of the argument is against his theory.

These re-examinations of the obscure points in our history, when conducted in the right spirit and with due caution, are exceedingly useful: they serve not only to eliminate and fortify the truth, but they are the means of bringing the scattered evidence bearing on any given point into solid and convenient compass.

The Trans- Continental Railway. Remarks at Rutland, Vt., June 24,1867.

By John A. Poor. Portland: 1769. 8vo. pp. 76, and an Appendix.

These remarks of Mr. Poor were made at the large and important railroad convention held in Rutland, last June, in the interest of certain projects designed to connect, by direct railway communication, the Pacific coast and the western states with Portland, by way of Rutland. The pamphlet abounds in statistics and theories, and though we cannot endorse all its statements, and believe some of them to be fallacious, we welcome the "remarks" as in valuable contribution to this department of our history.

The Congregational Quarterly. Boston: January, 1870.

The contents of this number are :—1. A memoir of the late Rev. Joseph Vaill, D.D., (with a portrait). 2. The Absorption of Congregationalism. 3. A Disquisition concerning Ecclesiastical Councils, by Increase Mather, D.D. (a reprint). 4. The Word of God. 5. Annals of Andovcr Theological Seminary. 6. Congregational Necrology. 7. Literary Review. 9. Editor's Table. 10. Congregational Quarterly Record. 11. American Congregational Association. 12. American Congregational Union. 13. The Annual Statistics of the Congregational Churches of America. 14. List of Missionaries. 15. Summaries of Statistics. 16. List of Ministers. 17. General Associations and conferences.

The above gives no adequate idea of the contents and range of this number. The Annals of Andover Seminary, and the 100 pages of statistics, relating to the denomination, are especially valuable, and attest the enterprise and indomitable industry of the conductors of this work.

The Methodist Quarterly Review. New-York: January, 1870.

This number contains the following articles:—1. Ernest Renan. 2. On the Power of Mind over Matter. 3. Holy Scripture a Divine Revelation. 4. Mathematics as an Educational Instrument. 5. The Bible better than the Oecumenical Council. 6. The Twenty-Seventh Psalm. 7. inspiration of all Scripture. 8. Foreign Religious Intelligence. 9. Foreign Literary Intelligence. 10. Synopsis of the Quarterlies. 11. Quarterly Book-Table. Chapters 8, 9 and 11 are especially valuable.

The New-Englander. New-Haven: January, 1870.

Articles:—1. The Chinese Migration. 2. The Life of a Jesuit Father pf Our Own Day—Father De Ravignan. 3. Father Hyacinthe. 4. Review of the' Life of Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander. 6. Moral Results of the Romish System. 6. Jsmes Russell Lowell and Robert Browning. 7. Notices of New Books.

The notices of new books in this number are ample and critical.

our already overcrowded pages compel us to postpone till the July No., noticed of several new publications. Among others, notices of the following works are being prepared, and will also appear in the July No., viz.:

Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society, Vol. 2 (Battle of Long Island) see advertisement on the cover of this No.: History cf Chester, N. H., by Chase; McBride's Pioneer Biography, Vol. I. (published by Robert Clarke & Co.,Cincinnati, O.); The New-England Tragedy in Prose, by Allen; The History of Cape Cod, by Freeman; and Brewster's Rambles About Portsmouth (2d Series).

[A copy of each publication, designed for notice in the Register, should be sent direct to the Editor, independently of the copy sent to the Society.]

« PreviousContinue »