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undertakes to tell us, that the New Haven colony, under Davenport, or in consequence of the influence he exerted, “ was distinguished above the other colonies " for extending a fostering hand to the cause of letters and education, one is tempted to pause and look at facts.
We do not perceive, that Mr. Bacon makes any allusion to the system of common schools; and, if he did, the early efforts of Massachusetts, we suppose, will bear a comparison with those of any of the other American communities.
Theophilus Eaton, the worthy coadjutor of Davenport, was one of the worthiest men who came to New England. A wealthy London merchant, he appears to have been deservedly commended for his zeal, integrity, wisdom, and practical knowledge of the world ; and the colony owed much to his exertions. He was annually chosen its governor from the time of its organization till his death, in January, 1657–8. He was active in promoting the confederacy in 1643, and was known and honored throughout all the colonies. “ All the original writers of our history," as Mr. Savage, in his Notes to Winthrop, well observes, " are abundant in his praise, and later and more judicious inquirers are satisfied with their evidence.” Hubbard, in particular, enumerates his excellences with an unusual degree of minuteness, ascribing to him moral and intellectual qualities of a high order, recommended and adorned by a dignified and pleasing exterior, and easy and winning manners.
He was the son of a clergyman of Coventry, England, where he formed an early intimacy with young Davenport, which was interrupted only by his death. Before his removal to this country, he was for several years the representative of his sovereign, Charles the First, at the court of Denmark. He bore the disappointments and reverses to which the colonists were subjected, and the loss of a large portion of his own fair estate, with great fortitude, and cheerfully shared with others in the labors and privations incident to the infant settlement. Like some other very good men, he seems to have been sorely tried in his domestic relations ; for his second wife, who was daughter of the Bishop of Chester, proved to be a woman of ungovernable temper, and was charged, in the language of the day, “ with divers scandalous offences,” for which she was subjected to the censure of the church; the proceedings of which against her, Mr. Bacon gives in his Appendix.
By the side of these two eminent worthies of the New Haven colony, stands another not less distinguished in his peculiar sphere, one surely of great honor and usefulness, we refer to Ezekiel Cheever, author of the “ Latin Accidence" ; a work long in high repute in the Grammar Schools of New England, and which retained its place in them down to the period of the Revolution. Ezekiel Cheever was one of the original settlers of New Haven, where he remained and taught till 1650, when he removed to Ipswich. From Ipswich, after a residence there of eleven years, he went to Charlestown, whence he afterwards removed to Boston, where he continued his labors in the Latin Grammar School for thirty-eight years.
He was, says Dr. Cotton Mather, who preached his funeral sermon, "a skilful, painful, faithful schoolmaster for seventy years.
He was his tutor, as he had been his father's. He numbered among his pupils a large portion of the eminent men of the day in New England ; he retained his vigor, health, “ vivacity of spirits, and delight in his work,” to an extreme old age ; having, at his death, entered on his ninety-fourth year. Among his peculiarities, it is mentioned, that he wore a long, white beard, terminating in a point, from his treatment of which, bis pupils had learned to draw certain inferences, which were not without their use ; for, “ when he stroked it to the point, it was a sign to the boys to stand clear ! ” His “ Accidence,” which passed through twenty or more editions, was used in their initiatory studies by many yet on the stage, who unite in speaking of it as a work of uncommon merit. It has recently been republished.
We cannot follow the author of the Discourses through his history of more recent transactions, though the latter
portion of his book contains no inconsiderable amount of interesting matter, and will be received with favor, we doubt not, by a numerous class of readers. To those, particularly, who take pleasure in tracing the developement and influence of the religious principle in circumstances somewhat peculiar, the volume, with the aid of Trumbull especially, will afford some food for thought. The work, though it bears abundant marks of haste and carelessness, and is not altogether faultless in point of taste, and is especially chargeable, as before intimated, with the sin of prolixity, yet speaks well for the author's fairness and liberality of mind, as well as ability. We lave observed nothing in it, which can reasonably offend the prejudices of any class of Christians; and this, the nature of the undertaking considered, we think no light praise.
We like the spirit of cheerful philosophy, which breathes from the concluding paragraphs. Complaints against the times are as old as the records of the human mind. In every period of the world, there has been a golden age talked of, but it has always been placed in the past ; Mr. Bacon thinks it should be placed in the future. Certainly, the present has some advantages over the past. The physical condition of man, surely, which is intimately connected with his intellectual, has been elevated ; new sources of comfort and enjoyment have been opened, by the discovery of new principles of science, or the new application of the old to the practical purposes of life ; intellectual riches have been accumulating, and truth has revealed herself in new forms. Nor are religion and morality, we trust, as yet empty names, but remain living realities still. Yet new triumphs, no doubt, await the cause of humanity. We may think that we see danger around us ; there may be some things in the aspect of the times which we dislike ; but we need not abate one jot of heart or hope. They who first sought an asylum on these shores, came with full faith in the capacity of the human mind for progress. They believed, that more light was yet to break in upon the world. The same faith should sustain us now. Time is flowing on, and whatever is unsound, extravagant theories, mere wild fancies of the heated brain, will perish, or be engulfed ; but, amid the ferment of human opinions, the intellect will work itself clear. We need not indulge one desponding feeling, nor have one fear for the result. The counsels of Providence will stand, and the destiny of man on earth will be accomplished. The past has left us many valuable legacies, but none more precious than a cheerful trust and hope.
We take leave of the writer with a feeling of no slight respect. One word of counsel, however, we must give him in parting, by duly meditating on which, we think he may profit, should he ever again consent to appear before the public in the character of an author. We give it in the words of an old Greek poet ;
« πλέον ήμισυ παντός.”
Art. VII. — The Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser.
In Five Volumes. First American Edition, with Introductory Remarks on the Faerie Queene, and Notes by the Editor. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1839.
That anomalous genius, Thomas Carlyle, somewhere remarks, that every man has “ waited a whole eternity to be born ; and now has a whole eternity waiting to see what he will do when born.” He might have added, that a man must work hard during the space which separates his eternities, or the two will close together again, like the waves of a parted sea, and blot out the memory of his existence the moment it is ended. History, literature, and art are the coral-bed which the worm, man, slowly builds up in the ocean of eternity, leaving the impress of himself in his works, a few of which will defy the everlasting roll of the waves. A second eternity is now passing sentence on the works of Spenser, and has already pronounced them immortal.
We have seen, with uncommon satisfaction, the beautiful edition of the works of this great poet, which has been just published in Boston. In execution, it is more elegant than Pickering's, from which it is printed; in form, and in many other respects, it is more convenient than Todd's elaborate edition. It is not a mere reprint from the London copy; but is an original edition, prepared, with introductory remarks and notes, by an American. The editor has modestly withheld his name ; but he informs us, that his work has been performed amidst the duties of an absorbing profession, and that it is a labor of love. We wish that more of our prosessional men would steal away from their cares and duties, to wander in the flowery and attractive paths of literature. There are minds, we well know, now wholly bent upon the technicalities of their calling, — stripped, gladiator-like, for the dusty arena of life, — which, if occasionally given to literature, would do honor to their country, and gain for themselves a fame, that would be echoed beyond the Atlantic. When we think of the industry, energy, and power displayed by men in the various professions in this country, and of the intense action of mind which is going on in our cities, we cannot but reflect upon the splendid results which might be brought about, if only a small portion of these energies were exerted to elevate our literature.
The preparation of this edition has, indeed, been, as the editor says, a labor of love. It has been done by a man, whose heart was in the work, with a feeling of piety, which has prompted him to place the laurel wreath on the bust of the old poet. This is well. The master-minds of England have deserved, and by God's grace obtain, a double fame; their children are rising up in this new world to call them blessed. For them, the fable of the isles of the blessed has come true ; here, beyond the western ocean, they enjoy a serene immortality ; their memory is cherished; their temples are in our hearts; their praise is on our lips ; their glory, everywhere.
The appearance of the first edition of Spenser ever published in America, seems to offer an appropriate occasion for commemorating the remarkable age in which that poet flourished; an age which must always be interesting to the descendants of Englishmen on this side of the Atlantic, since it was during that period, that the features of society began to be formed, which have indelibly stamped our own character.
The age of Elizabeth was preeminently distinguished by the operation of just principles, of generous sentiments, of elevated objects, and of profound piety. Elizabeth, it is true, was vindictive, arbitrary, and cruel. Two prevailing sentiments filled her mind, and chiefly influenced her conduct throughout life. The first of these was the idea of prerogative. Any assumption of rights, any freedom of debate, any theological discussion, or profession of sentiments, which seemed to infringe on the sacred limits of royalty, was sure to be visited with her severest wrath. She detested the Puritans, from whom she had suffered nothing, but whose republican spirit appeared to her at war with royalty in the abstract, far more than the Papists, by whom her life had been made a life of danger and suffering, but who respected forms and ceremonies, and whose system encouraged reverence for the powers that be, and loyal sentiment toward the person whom they regarded as the lawful sovereign. Nothing but the earnest entreaties of Cecil, and the imminent danger of a French invasion, could induce her to give assistance to the Scottish Protestants, when they were persecuted by the Queen Re