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cially so, when used (as by Mr. W.) for place or assign ; and the verb approbate, which we hold to be utterly worthless and indefensible, and, in fact, little better than a squatter upon the possessions of that respectable ancient English verb to approve. Occasionally, too, Mr. Waterman is bold enough to introduce words or modes of speech of still less authority, and, to the best of our knowledge, altogether of his own coinage. The most conspicuous among these are two words of latin pedigree, vafrous* and propulsive, both of which, although they are a very scholar-like pair of adjectives, and, as Bardolph says, words of exceeding good command, we do most earnestly pray him to eject, without ceremony, from his next edition.
We mean nothing disrespectful to the reverend author, by these remarks. If his work had not evidently been the production of a man of learning and good sense we should not have selected it for the purpose of thus pointing out certain barbarisms which infest his style in common with that of many of our writers. He is but the representative of many offenders of the same class; and we consider ourselves as merely discharging our duty as censors in the literary republic, by thus branding these vagrant and alien words which have intruded themselves among us into the privileges of citizenship without right or merit.
Many of the faults of style upon which we have above remarked, are altogether provincial; into others, we are strongly inclined to believe, our author has been betrayed solely by a certain feverish polemical spirit which sometimes shows itself in his pages, and which, though it happily does not partake of the malignity and the disregard of truth which so often disgrace religious controversy, is yet sufficiently powerful to vitiate his taste, and to destroy that dignified sobriety of thought and style which is the highest praise of historical composition.
* This is the first time we recollect to have met with the word vafrous in any writer, good or bad. It is not in Johnson, Mason's Supplement, Ainsworth, Kenrick, Sheridan, Walker, or any other dictionary of authority, for we have examined all we could find on the shelves of a large public library. But since writing the above, a learned friend has referred us to that copious receptacle of antiquated pedantry and obsolete impurities, Bailey's folio dictionary, where, we understand, vafrous and its relations, vafriety and vafrousness, may be found. There let them remain “quietly inurned,” they are surely not worth reviving. We are glad that neither of them is of American growth. Propulsive is not even in Bailey.
To conclude-Mr. Waterman's book, though not a very great work, nor, indeed, quite worthy of the subject he has chosen, is yet highly respectable, and, we think, useful. We do not know that the information which he has here collected is to be found elsewhere in our own language-certainly it is not in any single English volume. We, therefore, recommend this work to all those of our readers who are not over scrupulous as to style, and who are desirous of knowing something more of the venerable Calvin than is to be learnt from the vague invective, or undistinguishing eulogy, with which his name is continually bandied about in theological magazines and controversial pamphlets.
A General History of Connecticut, from its first settlement un
der George Fenwick, Esq. to its latest period of amity with Great Britain, including a description of that country, and many curious and interesting particulars. By a Gentleman of the Province. London, printed and sold by J. Ben, 1781.
The course of time may be divided into three distinct periods. The first comprehending those ages altogether beyond the reach of historical research, and of which even the tradition is lost; the second, the season of fable, partly founded on fact indeed, but so distorted as to be altogether incredible;---and the third comprising that period of which the events are preserved in authentic chronicles. As the historian undertakes to record the actions of one or other of these there will be found a regular gradation towards the impossible, in proportion as he approaches the first. Ascending the stream of time, wonders multiply towards its source—at every step the soil waxes more and more fruitful in prodigies, until at last, like the imaginary torrid zone of the an. cients, the whole region becomes peopled with monsters, fiery dragons, and superhuman heroes, whose most insignificant exploits are altogether beyond the reach, or even comprehension, of this
Vol. IV. Nen Series. 7
degenerate age. Mankind, who delight in being astonished, and soon become satiated with mere probability, have always dwelt on these achievements with peculiar complacency when they happened to be related of their ancestors, and have preferred them to all the true matter of fact heroism of later times.
Thus in the early records of almost every country of christendom, we find a mighty champion, for some inconceivable reason called a saint, whose legend is more prized in the hearts of the people than the exploits of a whole dynasty of valiant monarchs. Old England would rather give up Marlborough himself than Arthur and his Round Table, and consign all her other Georges to oblivion, sooner than part with the invincible St. George who slew the dragon, and delivered his brother champions from captivity. There is no true Irishman, or bonny Scot, let him be ever so sober, that will not get fuddled in honour of honest little St. Patrick and St. Andrew; and even the pacific Americans will, doubtless, some day or other, when they get a reputable tutelary saint, maintain bis honour, and drink to his glory with most exemplary patriotism.
The love of the marvellous is inherent in our nature. The pride of human reason indeed affects to despise every thing but truth; yet stern and inflexible as reason may pretend to be, there are times when it delights to unbend-to yield the reins to imagination, and ramble with her through all the devious windings of fiction, and over the fertile regions of impossibility. Aware of this, and anxious that the people of the United States should become acquainted with the only native historian of their country who has thought it worth his while to administer to this harmless propensity, we have undertaken to introduce the present work to their notice. It was first published about forty years ago, and, considering the youth of our nation, the author may claim not a few of the privileges attached to ancient historians, whose business it is to make the early chronicles of their country as marvellous as possible.
The general history of Connecticut, to a review of which the foregoing remarks are intended as introductory, attained to very considerable reputation in the province whose first settlement it professes to record, where it was called the Lying History, to distin. guish it from all others, as well as in a sort of ironical commendation
of its scrupulous veracity. Lucian, who wrote an account of a voyage to the moon, containing more extravagance of invention than even the relations of those late travellers who have visited this country, called it The True History. Nobody ever believed one word of it, and since that time every historian who expected to gain the reputation of veracity, has cautiously abstained from any professions to that effect, and had much rather his history should attain to any other distinction than that of truth. The friends of our author, for this reason, very soon after its first publication, gave the work under consideration the title which has distinguished it ever since, and which, if we are not egregiously mistaken, will wonderfully recommend it to those who are disgusted with the grave falsehoods of authentic histories, as well as those whọ, not being in the secret we have hinted at, expect to find it a record of impossible events, or a chronicle of exploits beyond the reach of hunan power, like the early histories of all other nations.
Our author commences his work with a detail of the first attempts of the English to effect settlements within the limits of Connecticut. These, it appears, were made nearly about the same time by three different parties; the first headed by George Fenwick, Esq.'at Saybrook; the second by John Haynes and the Rev. Thomas Hooker, at Hartford, where they found a Dutch colony which they forthwith sent about its business--and a third under the direction of Theophilus Eaton and the Rev. John Davenport, at New-Haven. It appears that these parties were seceders from the mother church of Massachusetts, and, as the author dryly observes, “came there to escape persecution, and to be at liberty to persecute others.” It is indeed a subject of serious concern to read in the history of these early times, of the dissensions of the different congregations, each of which considered its pastor as infallible, and held his doctrines to be the only true guide. Smarting as they were under the recollection of those severities which drove them into the wilderness; surrounded by savage enemies jealous of their encroachments, and ready to take advantage of their disunion, still being destitute of the wholesome cement of a little persecution, they seem to have lost sight of those principles of toleration which they demanded of others, and to have dealt not only with quakers, anabaptists, adamites and papists, but those who differed with them in the most trifling ceremony, as if they were worse than heathens. Thus the congregation under Eaton and Davenport came from England to join their brethren in Boston, but bringing with them some new notions, which did not exactly correspond with those of the first emigrants, they could not agree. Eaton and Davenport went to New-Haven, and the people of Boston held a general thanksgiving, “because Providence had stationed Eaton and Davenport so far from them.' This unaccommodating spirit, however, answered one good purpose by contributing to the more rapid settlement of the eastern states. Every new town was the progenitor of three or four little ones in its neighbourhood, which were peopled generally by some flock of stray sheep, that, under the guidance of a popular preacher, departed from the mother church and went out into the wilderness to seek its fortune. The history under our consideration is full of instances of this sort. Each held its own pastor as the uncontrolled head of the church. But although they would not allow his infallibility to be questioned by others, yet it distinctly appears they sometimes took the liberty of doing it themselves, and numerous are the contests related between these sturdy republicans, and their preachers, who seem, like man and wife, to have been always quarrelling about who should wear the breeches. But it is a most pleasing result to discover, as we certainly do, that from these habits of almost indiscriminate resistance to established authorities, and from the infinite divisions of the church in the new world, sprung at last the most perfect system of rational freedom, as well as the first example of universal toleration, the modern christian world ever enjoyed. Singular and unaccommodating as were the manners and habits of the early emigrants, they furnished excellent raw materials for freemen. In process of time their unbending spirits softened down into a steady and rational abhorrence of tyranny, and what at first seems to have been a fidgeting impatience of all kinds of restraint, settled at length into a rational detestation of all restraints that were not sanctioned by the laws. When, too, the representatives of the different states met to devise the constitution of our general government, such a diversity of religions prevailed all over the land, and the numbers of each were so well balanced, that no particular