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The Emancipation of Massachusetts   By: (1848-1927)

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THE EMANCIPATION OF MASSACHUSETTS THE DREAM AND THE REALITY

BY BROOKS ADAMS

PREFATORY NOTE TO FIRST EDITION.

I am under the deepest obligations to the Hon. Mellen Chamberlain and Mr. Charles Deane.

The generosity of my friend Mr. Frank Hamilton Cushing in putting at my disposal the unpublished results of his researches among the Zuñis is in keeping with the originality and power of his mind. Without his aid my attempt would have been impossible. I have also to thank Prof. Henry C. Chapman, J. A. Gordon, M. D., Prof. William James, and Alpheus Hyatt, Esq., for the kindness with which they assisted me. I feel that any merit this volume may possess is due to these gentlemen; its faults are all my own.

BROOKS ADAMS. QUINCY, September 17, 1886.

CONTENTS.

PREFACE

CHAPTER I. THE COMMONWEALTH

CHAPTER II. THE ANTINOMIANS

CHAPTER III. THE CAMBRIDGE PLATFORM

CHAPTER IV. THE ANABAPTISTS

CHAPTER V. THE QUAKERS

CHAPTER VI. THE SCIRE FACIAS

CHAPTER VII. THE WITCHCRAFT

CHAPTER VIII. BRATTLE CHURCH

CHAPTER IX. HARVARD COLLEGE

CHAPTER X. THE LAWYERS

CHAPTER XL. THE REVOLUTION

PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.

CHAPTER I

I wrote this little volume more than thirty years ago, since when I have hardly opened it. Therefore I now read it almost as if it were written by another man, and I find to my relief that, on the whole, I think rather better of it than I did when I published it. Indeed, as a criticism of what were then the accepted views of Massachusetts history, as expounded by her most authoritative historians, I see nothing in it to retract or even to modify. I do, however, somewhat regret the rather acrimonious tone which I occasionally adopted when speaking of the more conservative section of the clergy. Not that I think that the Mathers, for example, and their like, did not deserve all, or, indeed, more than all I ever said or thought of them, but because I conceive that equally effective strictures might have been conveyed in urbaner language; and, as I age, I shrink from anything akin to invective, even in what amounts to controversy.

Therefore I have now nothing to alter in the Emancipation of Massachusetts , viewed as history, though I might soften its asperities somewhat, here and there; but when I come to consider it as philosophy, I am startled to observe the gap which separates the present epoch from my early middle life.

The last generation was strongly Darwinian in the sense that it accepted, almost as a tenet of religious faith, the theory that human civilization is a progressive evolution, moving on the whole steadily toward perfection, from a lower to a higher intellectual plane, and, as a necessary part of its progress, developing a higher degree of mental vigor. I need hardly observe that all belief in democracy as a final solution of social ills, all confidence in education as a means to attaining to universal justice, and all hope of approximating to the rule of moral right in the administration of law, was held to hinge on this great fundamental dogma, which, it followed, it was almost impious to deny, or even to doubt. Thus, on the first page of my book, I observe, as if it were axiomatic, that, at a given moment, toward the opening of the sixteenth century, "Europe burst from her mediæval torpor into the splendor of the Renaissance," and further on I assume, as an equally self evident axiom, that freedom of thought was the one great permanent advance which western civilization made by all the agony and bloodshed of the Reformation. Apart altogether from the fact that I should doubt whether, in the year 1919, any intelligent and educated man would be inclined to maintain that the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were, as contrasted with the nineteenth, ages of intellectual torpor, what startles me in these paragraphs is the self satisfied assumption of the finality of my conclusions. I posit, as a fact not to be controverted, that our universe is an expression of an universal law, which the nineteenth century had discovered and could formulate... Continue reading book >>




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