Page images
PDF
EPUB

tions to the author, for giving to the public the use of so much of his valuable time, as must necessarily have been required to condense, and to bring into so compact a form, so widely related an argument. He has shown to the satisfaction of every intelligent reader, that in banking as in all other concerns of life," honesty is the best policy.” We wanted this homely truth sturdily enforced at this time ; and we rejoice that it has been so faithfully done by Mr. Appleton. To the intrinsic merit of the pamphlet, we are gratified that the author has been willing to add the weight of his own good name. His position places his motives above suspicion, a circumstance not without importance in these days.

A commendable excellence of the pamphlet, is its freedom from minute details and foreign topics. The leading object of the author is thereby kept constantly in view, and the reader is permitted to contemplate, uninterruptedly, the magnitude of existing evils, and the true remedy to be applied. No affectedly profound doctrines on “banking principles ” (so much talked about and so little understood) encumber it. There is no parade of learning, but practical good sense is presented to us in a good English garb. That the work will encounter opposition from the interested, reckless speculator, the opinionated theorist, and the selfish politician, is to be expected. We apprehend, nevertheless, that the currency can be effectually reformed, only by a rigid adherence to the principles advocated in this pamphlet. We would gladly extend our remarks, but the space remaining to us will be more profitably filled by one or two extracts. In the following paragraphs, Mr. Appleton well expresses the worst effect of a continued bank suspension, the consequent and inevitable demoralization of the community which tolerates it.

“ But perhaps the worst part of suspension is its moral effect on the community. Banks are established as models of punctuality and honorable dealing; their notes have obtained circulation on the ground that the promise to furnish the coin on demand, was of the most sacred character. They have become the depositories of the money of the community, under the most solemn pledge that it should be forthcoming on demand. The directors of banks are selected from those of the highest standing in the mercantile community, - their obligation to carry out the provisions of the charter, and to fulfil the contracts made under it, would seem to be of the highest and most binding character. They are in fact the trustees of the stockholders and depositors, selected for this very purpose. It is difficult to perceive how honorable men, holding the office of bank directors, can reconcile a continued suspension to their sense of moral obligation.

“The effect of a suspension of the banks, is immediately apparent in its effect upon the moral sense of the community, as regards the obligation of contracts. The breach of contract by the banks is alleged as a sufficient apology for the breach of contract by individuals, and is generally received as a sufficient justification. The broken promise of a bank is offered, and received as the only alternative on all contracts falling due. The grossest injustice is thus inflicted, which has no palliation but its universality. A. subunits to receive a depreciated currency, because he can practise the same injustice upon B. The rights of creditors are sacrified to the convenience of debtors.” — pp.

19, 20.

The palpable errors, that continued suspension is a relief instead of an aggravation of the embarrassments of the country, and that there is any remedy for an inflated currency but contraction, are here justly presented.

“The question now arises, what is to be done? How is the currency to be restored? The answer is simple and easy. Abandon your false theories. Philadelphia and New York bave stood in opposition, as the representatives of antagonist opinions. New York and the North have gone for immediate resumption, with a present sacrifice, and a bank currency convertible into coin ou demand. This portion of the country finds no difficulty in its present position. It enjoys a sound currency, and no scarcity of it. There is no want of confidence where it ought to exist. Its internal trade is in a healthy and natural state. All is well.

“On the other hand, with Philadelphia, the South and West have gone for indefinite suspension; they have preferred present ease with an inconvertible paper currency. The inevitable results of a depreciated currency bave followed. The destruction of all general credit,

the disgrace of broken faith, - universal distrust. The remedy lies in retracing their steps. Let the solvent banks of Philadelphia, decide at once to receive nothing which is not equivalent to gold and silver; to have nothing to do with certificates of deposite or any other moonshine; to reduce their liabilities steadily and manfully, until they become as scarce and as valuable as cojn. Under this course resumption will come of itself within sixty days.” — pp. 25, 26.

10. — Chronicles of the Pilgrim Falhers of the Colony of Ply

mouth, from 1602 to 1625. Now first collected from Original Records and Contemporaneous Printed Documents, and illustrated with Noles. By ALEXANDER Young. Boston : Charles C. Little and James Brown. 8vo. pp. xvi., 488.

The New England race were already rich in means of information concerning their primitive history, through Mr. Savage's admirable notes upon - Winthrop's Journal,” illustrating the beginning of the Massachusetts Colony, and Judge Davis's edition of “ Morton's Memorial,” relating to the settlement at Plymouth. Mr. Young's elegant volume now before us makes another highly important contribution to the knowledge of that interesting period. It retraces events to an earlier date than the “Memorial,” and to the very origin of things ; comprising, in a series of documents, illustrated with learned notes, and some of them now first printed, an authentic history of the Pilgrim Fathers who planted the Colony of Plymouth, from their origin in John Robinson's congregation in 1602, to his death in 1625, written by themselves.

It has been all along known that William Bradford, second Governor of Plymouth, composed a history of the Plymouth settlement, covering the period between the years 1602 and 1647. It was used by Morton in compiling his " Memorial," and by later historians down to the time of Prince. The manuscript, being deposited with Prince's library in the tower of the Old South Church in Boston, disappeared, while that church was occupied by British troops in the years 1775 and 1776, and has since been considered as lost, to the great and reasonable grief of the antiquaries. A few years ago, Mr. Young observed, in the records of the First Church at Plymouth, a narrative in the handwriting of Morton, author of the “Memorial,” which, on comparing it with the extracts avowedly made from Bradford's “ History "in the works of Hutchinson and Prince, he perceived to be no other than the lost history itself ; fact," he adds, “put beyond all doubt by a marginal note of Morton at the beginning of it, in which he says, “ This was originally penned by Mr. William Bradford, Governor of New Plymouth.” With this history, or rather the recovered portion of it, which comes down no further than to November 1620, Mr. Young very properly begins bis volume, of which it occupies more than a hundred pages. When he denominates it “ Bradford's History,” he, of course, intends to have it understood to be substantially a large fragment of that work, though with occasional alterations and interpolations of Morton, the transcriber.* It contains "a detailed history of the rise of the Pilgrims in the north of England, their persecutions there, their difficult and perilous escape into Holland, their residence in that hospitable land for twelve years, the causes which led to their emigration, and the means which they adopted to transport themselves to America.” It is rightly characterized by the editor as taking “precedence of every thing else relating to the Pilgrims, in time, authority, and interest.

a

[ocr errors]

Such, for instance, as the reader observes on pages 14, 17, 62, and 78, VOL. LII. - No. 112.

34

The second tract in the present collection is that which has been hitherto known under the name of Mourt's Relation," from the circumstance that the Preface to the first edition, published in London, in 1622, was signed “G. Mourt.” Who this Mourt was, has always been a question. There was no person of that name among the early planters. Mr. Young holds, with great probability, that Mourt was either a misprint, or a nom de guerre, for Morton, and understands the first editor to have been George Morton, - father of Nathaniel, the author of the "Memorial," — who married a sister of Governor Bradford, and came over to Plymouth in July, 1623. Mourt, whoever he was, speaks, in his Preface written in 1622, of the interest which he had taken in the Colony, and of his purpose soon to join it. The “ Relation,” which he does not publish as bis own, but as what bas " come to his hand from known and faithsul friends,” Mr. Young understands to have been the work of Governors Bradford and Winslow, - principally the former, and by them transmitted to Morton. It consists of " a minute diary of events from the arrival of the Mayflower, at Cape Cod, November 9, 1620, to the return of the Fortune, December 11, 1621,” thus constituting, when appended to the “ History" of Governor Bradford, a continuous narrative down to the latter date. An abridgment of the “Relation," inserted by Purchas in the fourth volume of his “ Pilgrims,” was reprinted forty years ago, in the eighth volume of the “ Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society'' ; and twenty years after, the omitted portions were supplied, in the nineteenth volume of the saine valuable series, from a manuscript copy, obtained from Philadelphia, of Mourt's original edition. But the parts, thus disjointed, were a very imperfect substitute for the connected whole, which now, with the further advantage of several important restorations and corrections, is supplied by Mr. Young. The “ Relation” occupies in the present edition about a hundred and fifty pages.

Next follows a " Discourse on the Sin and Danger of SelfLove," delivered by Roger Cushman, at Plymouth, in November, 1621, and printed at London in the following year. curious as the work of a man, who, with Carver, the first governor, had had the principal agency abroad in the measures which led to the establishment of the Colony ; as being a specimen of the most approved manner of address on the part of a leader of that sect and time ; and as containing statements and allusions of historical interest.

Edward Winslow's " Good News from New England,” which brings down the history from the date at the close of “ Mourt's Relation,” to September 10, 1623, is the next document in this collection. It was first published at London, in

1624, and was reprinted by Purchas, and by the “ Massachusetts Historical Society,” in the same fragmentary manner as the former work. It is now given by Mr. Young entire, from a copy of the original London edition in the Library of Harvard College. It occupies another hundred pages, and is followed by a “ Brief Narration,” in thirty pages, of the “ True Grounds or Cause of the First Planting of New England.” This originally constituted an appendix to Winslow's work, published at London, in 1646, entitled “ Hypocrisy Unmasked," of which there is no copy in this country. Mr. Young prints from a manuscript copy made by a friend in the British Museum. The tract well deserves the pains which have been bestowed upon its acquisition. There is no part of the volume which will be read with greater pleasure.

Next follows a composition by Governor Bradford, in the form of a dialogue, being “the Sum of a Conference between some Young Men born in New England and sundry Ancient Men that came out of Holland and Old England.” The spirit of this little work is delightful, and it contains rich notices of individuals and incidents of the time. It is now first printed, from the records of the Old Plymouth Church, into which it was copied by Secretary Morton. A portion of the autograph is in the Cabinet of the “ Massachusetts Historical Society.

Next follows a short “Memoir of Elder Brewster,'' by Governor Bradford, which originally constituted part of Bradford's “History," and, like the other recovered portion of that work, was found in Morton's handwriting in the Plymouth Church records. The volume closes with a few “Letters of John Robinson, and of the Pilgrims at Leyden and Plymouth, procured from the records of the Plymouth Church, and from Governor Bradford's Letter-Book."

Mr. Young's method of arranging and numbering materials from such various sources, under the heads of successive chapters of one book, is liable to objection, notwithstanding it gives to the collection a factitious unity which is agreeable to the reader. Here and there his text presents a conjectural einendation, which does not strike us favorably ; his copious notes are not altogether free from redundant matter ; and undoubtedly, on matters of antiquarian inquiry, he has occasionally urged opinions which are open to dispute. But he has entitled himself to grateful commendation by his faithful and able execution of a work as useful as laborious. He has brought to it abundant preparation of the appropriate learning, and bestowed pains upon it such as nothing but a hearty love of the subject could have prompted. Among the tasteful embellishments of the volume, is a capital engraving from the original

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »