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and opinions.

One thing he never could attain, though he nearly inherited it, though his learning almost irresistibly challenged it, though he spiritually anticipated it-the prize of the Presidency of Harvard College. One and another was chosen in preference to him. The ghostly authority of the old priestly influence was passing away. Cotton Mather was, in age a disheartened and disappointed man. The possession, in turn, of three wives had proved but a partial consolation. One of his sons he felt compelled to disown; his wife was subject to fits of temper bordering on insanity; the glooms of his own disposition grew darker in age as death approached, a friend whom. he was glad to meet, when he expired, at the completion of his sixty-fifth year, the 13th February, 1728. His last emphatic charge to his son Samuel was, "Remember only that one word, 'Fructuosus.' DUYCKINCK, EVERT A. AND GEORGE L., 1855-65-75, Cyclopædia of American Literature, ed. Simmons, vol. 1, p. 67.

He is the greatest of American scholars. It is doubtful if any one in the New World has ever equalled his acquaintance with theological and classic literature, his readiness in using his knowledge, his wonderful industry, his intense literary ardor. No moment of his life was wasted, and all his life was given to study.-LAWRENCE, EUGENE, 1880, A Primer of American Literature, p. 20.

He became the greatest pulpit power in his day, and unsurpassed since, unless, perhaps, by a very few in later generations. During the week he made the most faithful preparation by reading, meditation, prayer, and writing.

Study of the Bible in the original languages kept his mind fresh and unhackneyed. Praying as he wrote, he went into the house of God surcharged with God's truth and spirit. Nothing was left till Saturday night or Sunday morning to tax his strength by way of mental toil and worry over a sermon. Saturday evening and Sunday morning were sacred to devotions. He went to the sanctuary as to the "gate of heaven." Full of matter and fervent in prayer, he was like a charged battery, and he represented Christ as he stood before his auditory. They were instructed, they were aroused, their consciences were quickened, their affections were kindled,

their reason was satisfied by the words spoken, and all was sent home by the intense spiritual energy with which he spoke and prayed.-MARVIN, ABIJAH P., 1892, The Life and Times of Cotton Mather, p. 58.

It was, perhaps, fear that the belief in the supernatural, and notably in the supernatural agency of the Evil One, was dying out which led Cotton Mather, a minister of prodigious though ill-digested learning and at the same time full of spiritual selfconceit, to countenance the horrible delusion of Salem Witchcraft which has left a dark stain on New England history, as readers of Hawthorne's "House of the Seven Gables" know. Cotton Mather afterwards partly redeemed himself by countenancing, at a great sacrifice of his popularity and at some risk of his life, the introduction of inoculation, which excited the ignorant fury of the mob. Even in him learning begot something of liberality. SMITH, GOLDWIN, 1893, The United States, An Outline of Political History, 1492-1871, pp. 37, 38.

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On February 15, 1728, the Reverend Benjamin Colman, first minister of the Brattle Street church, preached the Boston lecture in memory of Cotton Mather, who had died two days before. Cotton Mather had lived all his life in Boston; there is no record, they say, of his ever having travelled farther from home than Ipswich or Andover or Plymouth. Of sensitive temperament, and both by constitution and by conviction devoted to the traditions in which he was trained, he certainly presented, to a degree nowhere common, a conveniently exaggerated type of the characteristics that marked the society of which he formed a part.-WENDELL, BARRETT, 1893, Stelligeri and other Essays Concerning America, p. 47.

In the old burying-ground on Copp's Hill is a table-like monument bearing the names of Increase Mather and Cotton Mather. The names on the moss-covered stones are almost illegible, and the memory of them has also grown dim in men's minds; but no two men ever had greater influence in Boston than the two who lie in this forgotten grave.-WARD, MAY ALDEN, 1896, Old Colony Days, p. 114.


As for my self, having been, by the mercy of God, now above sixty-eight years

in New-England, and served the Lord and his people in my weak measure sixty years in the ministry of the gospel, I may now say, in my old age, I have seen all that the Lord hath done for his people in New England, and have known the beginning and progress of these churches unto this day; and, having read over much of this history, I cannot but in the love and fear of God bear witness to the truth of it; viz.: that this present church-history of New-England, compiled by Mr. Cotton Mather, for the substance, end, and scope of it, is, as far as I have been acquainted therewithall, according to truth.-HIGGINSON, JOHN, 1702, ed. Magnalia.

One of the most singular books in this or in any other language. Its puns and its poems, its sermons and its anagrams, render it unique in its kind. The author not unfrequently reminds us of our own church-historian Fuller; but circumstances counteracted the resemblance of their natural disposition.-SOUTHEY, ROBERT, 1813, History of Dissenters, Quarterly Review, vol. 10, p. 113.

As Chateaubriand boasts in his "Itinerary" that he was the last Frenchman who would ever make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, so it may hereafter be said that the writer of this was the last (and possibly the first) individual who, bona fide, perused in regular course the whole of Mather's "Magnalia"; and, if any doubts had existed that great toil was necessary to the acquisition of fame, they would have been dispelled by this exertion.


book is worth consulting by those who wish to become acquainted with the character of our forefathers. Many of the author's faults were those of his age; and, if he has not left us the best, he has at least furnished the largest, work appertaining to our early history.

To those

who are interested in the early history of our country, it may be well to remark that, for accuracy in historical occurrences, they will do well to rely upon other authorities; but, if they wish to obtain a general view of the state of society and manners, they will probably nowhere find. so many materials for this purpose as in the work of this credulous, pedantick, and garrulous writer.-TUDOR, WILLIAM, 1818, North American Review, vol. 6.

No man since Dr. Mather's time has had so good an opportunity as he enjoyed to

consult the most authentic documents. The greater part of his facts could be attested by living witnesses and the shortest tradition, or taken from written testimonies, many of which have since perished. The situation and character of the author afforded him the most favourable opportunities to obtain the documents necessary for his undertaking; and no historian would pursue a similar design with greater industry and zeal. . The work is both a civil and an ecclesiastical history. The large portion of it devoted to Biography affords the reader a more distinct view of the leading characters of the times, than could have been given in any other form. - ROBBINS, THOMAS, 1820, Magnalia, Preface.

His works are of a kind, which were attractive and interesting in their day, but now sleep in repose, where even the antiquary seldom disturbs them. He will be remembered, however, as the author of the "Magnalia," a work, which, with all its faults, will always find interested readers; as a man, too, of unexampled industry, and unrivalled attainments in curious rather than useful learning.PEABODY, WILLIAM B. O., 1836, Cotton Mather, Library of American Biography, ed. Sparks, vol. VI, p. 349.

A most interesting and edifying work, with some peculiarities.-BICKERSTETH, EDWARD, 1844, The Christian Student.

A monstrous mass of information and speculation, of error and gossip, of biography and history, of italics and capitals, of classical quotations, Latin and Greek, and of original epitaphs, Latin and English, in prose and in verse, which, as old Polonius said of Hamlet's actors, "either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-comical, scene individable or poem unlimited," has hardly a parallel in the world! Let me not seem to disparage or undervalue Cotton Mather,—a perfect Dr. Pangloss, as he was in many particulars, --for with all his foibles and all his faults, all his credulity and all his vanity, it cannot be denied that he did a really great work for New England history. The lives of our Worthies could not have been written without him; while his "Essay to do Good" is known to have given the earliest incentive to the wonderful career of New England's most wonderful son,--Benjamin

Franklin.-WINTHROP, ROBERT C., 1869, Massachusetts and its Early History, Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions, vol. III, p. 20.

Cotton Mather's "Ecclesiastical History of New England," better known as his "Magnalia," from the head-line of the title page, "Magnalia Christi Americana," was published in London in 1702, in folio. Although relating generally to New England, it principally concerns Massachusetts. While the book is filled with the author's conceits and puns, and gives abundant evidence of his credulity, it contains a vast amount of valuable historical material, and is indispensable in any New England library. It is badly arranged for consultation, for it is largely a compilation from the author's previous publications, and it lacks an index.-WINSOR, JUSTIN, 1884, Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. III, p. 345.

The "Magnalia," despite its inclusiveness and augustness, its awe-inspiring quotations and allusions, is an untidy piece of literature, -inexcusably so when we consider its author's ability, training, and opportunities. RICHARDSON, CHARLES F., 1887, American Literature, 1607-1885, vol. I, p. 134. .

The name is much more attractive than the interior.--WATKINS, MILDRED CABELL, 1894, American Literature, p. 12.

Mather wrote in the full and pregnant style of Taylor, Milton, Brown, Fuller, and Burton, a style ponderous with learning and stiff with allusions, digressions, conceits, anecdotes, and quotations from the Greek and the Latin. A page of the "Magnalia" is almost as richly mottled with italics as one from the "Anatomy of Melancholy," and the quaintness which Mather caught from his favorite Fuller disports itself in textual pun and marginal anagram and the fantastic sub-titles of his books and chapters.-BEERS, HENRY A., 1895, Initial Studies in American Letters, p. 29.

The prose epic of New England Puritanism it has been called, setting forth in heroic mood the principles, the history, and the personal characters of the fathers. The principles, theologic and disciplinary alike, are stated with clearness, dignity, and fervour. The history, though its less welcome phases are often lightly

emphasised, and its details are hampered by deep regard for minor accuracy, is set forth with a sincere ardour which makes its temper more instructive than that of many more trustworthy records. And the life-like portraits of the Lord's chosen, though full of quaintly fantastic phrases and artless pedantries, are often drawn with touches of enthusiastic beauty.WENDELL, BARRETT, 1900, A Literary History of America, p. 50.


What numerous volumes scatter'd from his hand,

Lighten'd his own, and warm'd each foreign land?

What pious breathings of a glowing soul Live in each page, and animate the whole? The breath of heaven the savory pages show, As we Arabia from its spices know.

The beauties of his style are careless strew'd, And learning with a liberal hand bestow'd: So, on the field of Heav'n, the seeds of fire Thick-sown, but careless, all the wise admire. -ADAMS, JOHN, 1728, On the Death of Cotton Mather.

If, as Mather would say, our little scrap of literary history need a moral, it shall be addressed to men of his own profession. Here is one man whom the world ranks as an ass, and another whom the world ranks as its most useful practical genius. The first was a preacher; and the second says, that, for any use he has been to the world, it may thank that preacher. Why is the man called an ass to whom the world owes its most useful practical genius? Because he could not omit his own prefaces. Because he overlaid everything with such a farrago of introduction. He could not begin at the beginning, and end at the end. -HALE, EDWARD EVERETT, 1859, What made Franklin? The Christian Examiner, vol. 66, p. 274.

The true place of Cotton Mather in our literary history is indicated when we say, that he was in prose writing, exactly what Nicholas Noyes was in poetry, -the last, the most vigorous, and, therefore, the most disagreeable representative of the Fantastic school in literature; and that, like Nicholas Noyes, he prolonged in New England the methods of that school even after his most cultivated contemporaries there had outgrown them, and had come to dislike them. The expulsion of the beautiful from thought, from sentiment, from language; a lawless and a merciless

fury for the odd, the disorderly, the grotesque, the violent; strained analogies, unexpected images, pedantries, indelicacies, freaks of allusion, monstrosities of phrase; these are the traits of Cotton Mather's writing, even as they are the traits common to that perverse and detestable literary mood that held sway in different countries of Christendom during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its birthplace was Italy; New England was its grave; Cotton Mather was its last great apostle. His writings, in fact, are an immense reservoir of examples in Fantastic prose. Their most salient characteristic is pedantry, -a pedantry that is gigantic, stark, untempered, rejoicing in itself, unconscious of shame, filling all space in his books like an atmosphere. The mind of Cotton Mather was so possessed by the books he had read, that his most common thought had to force its way into utterance through dense hedges and jungles of quotation.-TYLER, MOSES COIT, 1878, A History of American Literature, 1676-1765, vol. II, p. 87.

Aptly styled by the historian of American literature "the literary behemoth" of New England. Cotton Mather

was a man of undoubted ability and vast erudition, and much of his work may still be read with curiosity and interest; but as a historian he was untrustworthy, and his style, overcharged and involved, was the worst, as it was the last, in the fantastic fashion of the seventeenth century. -LODGE, HENRY CABOT, 1881, A Short History of the English Colonies in America, pp, 469, 470.

A very night-mare of pedantry.-LowELL, JAMES RUSSELL, 1886, Harvard Anniversary; Prose Works, Riverside ed., vol. VI, p. 150.

His work can be reckoned up, but the worker eludes comprehension. It is easier to misjudge than to judge him. His mind was pendulous, as one of his most discriminating biographers has observed, and though attached at its highest point to eternal justice, it was ever swaying over a wide range of notions and impulses. Oftentimes a riddle to himself, it is no wonder that the measuring of him must still be so largely conjectural with us. LORD, ELIOT, 1893, Harvard's Youngest Three, New England Magazine, vol. 13, p. 645.

His "Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft," written apparently with perfect honesty and published in 1789, served as a fan for the fire smouldering in Salem. Four years later, when men like Justice Sewall were bitterly repenting of their part in the terrible tragedy, Mather published his "Wonders of the Invisible World," a cold-blooded account of the trials and executions at Salem, every word pregnant with the belief that devils and not human beings had been dealt with. That he was intensely honest in all this need not be said. His terrible convictions triumphing over his naturally kind heart would not have allowed him to hesitate even had the evidence involved his son Samuel.-PATTEE, FRED LEWIS, 1896, A History of American Literature, p. 47.

Though not a man of great original genius, his mind was massive and strong. He had the quality which some have held to be the essential thing in genius,the power of indomitable and systematic industry.-PAINTER, F. V. N., 1897, Introduction to American Literature, p. 30.

More precocious than his father, more prolific in books and pamphlets, he illustrates nevertheless the decline of the clergy both in outward power and in actual sanity and breadth of thought.— BATES, KATHARINE LEE, 1897, American Literature, p. 43.

The book ["Magnalia"] has some historical value, because the writer was so near to the events narrated; but it is careless, fantastic, and full of pedantry, the pages being crammed with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, learned digressions, and abominable puns. Yet the narrative portions sometimes have considerable interest,anecdotes frequently enliven an otherwise dull passage, and the whole book is impressive by its bulky strength. Cotton Mather's contemporary reputation in America was very great, and it even extended to the Old World. He lives still, after a fashion, as the most conspicuous American writer of the seventeenth century. Yet on the whole his life was a failure, and has the pathos of failure, for he fought on the side of a doomed cause. Puritanism was passing away, never to return, and even Cotton Mather battled for it in vain.BRONSON, WALTER C., 1900, A Short History of American Literature, p. 31.

William Congreve


Born, at Bardsey, near Leeds, Jan. [?] 1670. Soon after his birth, family removed to Lismore. Educated at Kilkenny School. To Trinity Coll., Dublin, 5 April 1685; M.A., 1696. Entered Middle Temple, but soon abandoned law. Play, "The Old Batchelor," produced, Jan. 1693; "The Double Dealer," Nov. 1693; "Love for Love," 30 April 1695; "The Mourning Bride," 1697; "The Way of the World," 1700. Commissioner for Licensing Hackney Coaches, July 1695 to Oct. 1707. Abandoned playwriting. Joined Vanburgh in theatrical management for short time in 1705. Commissioner of Wine Licenses, Dec. 1705 to Dec. 1714. Appointed Secretary for Jamaica, Dec. 1714. Member of Kit-Cat Club. Intimacy with Duchess of Marlborough in later years of life. Died, in London, 19 Jan. 1729. Buried in Westminster Abbey. Works: "The Mourning Muse of Alexis," 1659; "The Old Batchelor," [1693]; "The Double Dealer," [1694]; "A Pindarique Ode, humbly offer'd to the King," 1695; "Love for Love," [1695]; “Amendments upon Mr. Collier's false and imperfect Citations" (anon.), 1698; "The Birth of the Muse," 1698; "The Mourning Bride," 1697 (2nd edn. same year); "Incognita" (anon.), 1700; "The Way of the World," 1700; "The Judgment of Paris," 1701; "A Pindarique Ode, humbly offer'd to the Queen," 1706; "Works" (3 vol.), 1710; "A Letter to Viscount Cobham," 1729. He translated: Book III. of Ovid's "Art of Love," 1709; Ovid's "Metamorphoses" (with Dryden, Addison, etc.), 1717; La Fontaine's "Tales and Novels" (with other translators), 1762: and assisted Dryden in revision of translation of Virgil, 1697. He edited: Dryden's "Dramatick Works," 1717. Collected Works: 1731, etc.-SHARP, R. FARQUHARSON, 1897, A Dictionary of English Authors, p. 65.


I have a multitude of affairs, having just come to town after nine weeks' absence. I am growing fat, but you know I was born with somewhat of a round belly... Think of me as I am, nothing extenuate. My service to Robin, who would laugh to see me puzzled to buckle my shoe, but I'll fetch it down again.-CONGREVE, WILLIAM, 1704, Letter to Keally. Be pleased to direct your eyes toward the pair of beaux in the next chariot.

He on the right is a near favourite of the Muses; he has touched the drama with truer art than any of his contemporaries, comes nearer nature and the ancients, unless in his last performance, which indeed met with most applause, however least deserving. But he seemed to know what he did, descending from himself to write to the Many, whereas before he wrote to the Few. I find a wonderful deal of good sense in that gentleman; he has wit without the pride and affectation that generally accompanies, and always corrupts it. His Myra is as celebrated as Ovid's Corinna, and as well known. How happy is he in the favour of that lovely lady! She, too, deserves applause, besides her beauty, for her

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gratitude and sensibility to so deserving an admirer. There are few women, who, when they once give in to the sweets of an irregular passion, care to confine. themselves to him that first endeared it to them, but not so the charming Myra. -MANLEY, MRS. MARY DE LA RIVIERE, 1709, The New Atalantis.

I was to-day to see Mr. Congreve, who is almost blind with cataracts growing on his eyes; and his case is, that he must wait two or three years, until the cataracts are riper, and till he is quite blind, and then he must have them couched; and besides he is never rid of the gout, yet he looks young and fresh, and is as cheerful as ever. He is younger by three years or more than I, and I am twenty years younger than he. He gave me a pain in the great toe, by mentioning the gout I find such suspicions frequently, but they go off again.-SWIFT, JONATHAN, 1710, Journal to Stella, Oct. 26.

The uncommon praise of a man of wit, always to please, and never to offend. No one, after a joyful evening, can reflect upon an expression of Mr. Congreve's that dwells upon him with pain.-STEELE, RICHARD, 1713, Poetical Miscellanies, Dedication.

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