Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/328

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


of New England with respect to morals, Mather inveighs with violence against the custom of drinking healths at table, which he denounces as a pagan and abominable practice. He proscribes with the same rigour all ornaments for the hair used by the female sex, as well as their custom of having the arms and neck uncovered.

In another part of his work he relates several instances of witchcraft which had alarmed New England. It is plain that the visible action of the devil in the affairs of this world appeared to him an incontestable and evident fact.

This work of Cotton Mather displays, in many places, the spirit of civil liberty and political independence which characterized the times in which he lived. Their principles respecting government are discoverable at every page. Thus, for instance, the inhabitants of Massachusetts, in the year 1630, ten years after the foundation of Plymouth, are found to have devoted 400l. sterling to the establishment of the University of Cambridge. In passing from the general documents relative to the history of New England, to those which describe the several States comprised within its limits, I ought first to notice The History of the Colony of Massachusetts, by Hutchinson, Lieutenant-Governor of the Massachusetts Province, 2 vols. 8vo.

The History of Hutchinson, which I have several times quoted in the chapter to which this note relates, commences in the year 1628 and ends in 1750. Throughout the work there is a striking air of truth and the greatest simplicity of style: it is full of minute details.

The best History to consult concerning Connecticut is that of Benjamin Trumbull, entitled, A Complete History of Connecticut, Civil and Ecclesiastical, 1630—1764; 2 vols. 8vo, printed in 1818, at New-Haven. This history