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probable that more than once youth and bright eyes managed some amelioration of the rigors of war.
It was a futile war, growing out of old animosities at home and the great Napoleonic conflicts overseas, and all were ready for peace when it came about through the Treaty of Ghent in December, 1814. Yet the war had served Americans well by clearing obstacles in the way of a further development of trade, which again leaped forward with the building of the clipper ships that beat the lumbering East Indiamen on the oceans of the world, and were ready for the swift voyages around the Horn to the gold-fields of the Pacific. For America now had a navy: in the years between the Revolution and the Embargo War, our growing trade, unprotected as it was then, had been at the mercy not only of the European belligerents, but of the Mediterranean corsairs and pirates. For many years regular tribute was paid the Barbary States to buy exemption from attack; and even so it was no unusual thing for offerings to be asked of a Sunday in some Cape Cod meeting-house to defray the ransom of a sailor captured by the Barbary pirates. It was not until after the War of 1812 that the nuisance was stopped by sending a squadron to the Mediterranean under Decatur, when the Dey of Algiers was compelled t., a treaty forbidding his profitable exaction of tribute, and Tunis and Tripoli promised to hold our commerce exempt from the depredations of the corsairs.
DURING the political upheaval of the eighteenth century, interest in theology was by no means quiescent, and in the seventeen-forties the colonies were roused by the religious agitation known as the Great Awakening. Puritans had fought with equal rancor any dissenter from their doctrine, were he Antinomian or Anabaptist, Anglican, Papist, Gortonist, or Quaker; the Pilgrim Independents had soon lost something of their liberalism; but whatever the particular slant of opinion, men of the later generations in the vigorous young country were bound to think for themselves. Jonathan Edwards crystallized the tenets of the old faith into a flawless theology; Chauncy led the liberals from doctrines dealing with eternal damnation to something like Universalism; but George Whitefield, brushing aside contentions involving the supremacy of the intellect, made that direct appeal to the heart for which men hungered. He infused fresh warmth into Calvinism and his adherents were known as the “New Lights," his opponents the “Old Lights." Pulpit, press, and people were stirred to frenzied interest. Whitefield, preaching up and down the country with a flame of eloquence and a sympathetic understanding of the poor and distressed that drew men to him by the thousand, was denounced as an “itinerant scourge.” As early as 1745, ten of the Cape clergy arraigned the new method of salvation in terms that betray some anxiety. “It tends to destroy the usefulness of ministers among their people, in places where the gospel is settled and faithfully preached in its purity," they complain. “That it promotes strife and contention, a censorious and uncharitable spirit and those numerous schisms and separations which have already destroyed the peace and unity, and at this time threaten the subversion of many churches."
But it was not until 1794 that the first Methodist meeting-house on the Cape, and the second in the country, was built at Truro. Provincetown had made the first move toward building, perhaps roused thereto by the eloquence of one Captain William Humbert, who, “while lying windbound in Provincetown Harbor," had improved the occasion to exhort the towns-people for the good of their souls. But at Provincetown there was much opposition to the New Lights, and when the faithful, under cover of night, had landed timber for the proposed edifice, their enemies promptly reduced it to kindling wood, and tarred and feathered the minister in effigy. Jesse Lee, a visiting elder, writes temperately enough of the scene: “I felt astonished at the conduct of the people, considering that we live in a free country. However, I expect this will be for the good of the little society.” A prophecy to be justified: nothing daunted, the New Lights, in 1795, built their church. “Keeping guard at night and keeping their weapons by them
while at work, in about four months they erected a chapel with songs of praise.” And in their songs of praise it is remembered that John Mayo, the Truro man of hairbreadth escapes in the Peninsula War, once joined to his advantage. With a companion he had gone to Provincetown with a cargo of clam-bait; and night-bound there, they were unable to find lodging among the villagers. To occupy the evening hours before camping out in their boat, they went to prayer-meeting where they stimulated the singing with their full rich voices to the great pleasure of the worshippers. With the result, Rich tells us, that instead of sleeping in the open, they were “abundantly lodged and breakfasted, and in the morning sold the balance of their clams to a good market.”
In the meantime Truro, with the coöperation of Wellfleet, Provincetown, and Eastham, and a money outlay of only eight dollars for nails, had built the first church. On a Sunday people from twelve miles north or south flocked to meeting, and those more favorably situated were happy in being able to attend three services a day. The Reverend Mr. Snelling, who fostered the faith there for twenty years, avers that “the congregations were large and the Word ran and was glorified.” And Rich has preserved for us a picture or two of the local exhorters. Dodge, who “could make more noise in the pulpit with less religion, and spoil more Bibles than any man I ever saw”; another, of gentler spirit, “in a tender, trembling, but earnest voice, loved to tell what religion had done for him and persuade others to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour.” And another would “force home his rugged reasoning, and vivid personal experience, with an energy and eloquence that swept like a torrent. Sometimes when wrought upon with his theme, his heart on fire, his face aglow, his tall form bent, his long arm outstretched, his impetuous utterance fairly breaking through his pent-up prison-house, the Spirit rested like cloven tongues upon the audience.” And there was fine old Stephen Collins whose “soul basked in the sunshine of all the privileges of God's people. He loved the songs of Zion, Lenox was his favorite: he was the author of Give Lenox a pull. His exhortations were full of fire, his pungent logic carried conviction to the mind.”
In 1808 Barnstable, as had Provincetown, threatened a Methodist minister with mob violence. The old Pilgrim faith had tolerated Quakers; Baptists were established at Harwich in 1756 and at Barnstable in 1771; but Methodists were held as the great seceders, and it took them fifty years to soften the asperity of the prejudice against them. The new century was to end the old homogeneous theocracy and with it the paramount influence of the clergy. Quaker, Congregationalist, Baptist, and Methodist worshipped according to individual temperament, and participated in all civil rights; “Come-outers” practised ritual despised of aristocrats; camp-meeting grounds, where the Methodists improved a summer vacation for the soul's profit, were established in the groves of Eastham and then at Yarmouth, when