A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the invitation of the President, at No. 44 Brimmer Street, Boston, on Thursday, December 18, 1930, at three o’clock, the President, Samuel Eliot Morison, in the chair.

    The Records of the last Stated Meeting were approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary announced the death of George Wigglesworth, a Resident Member, on November 26, 1930.

    Mr. Matt Bushnell Jones, of Boston, and Mr. James Duncan Phillips, of Boston, were elected Resident Members.

    Mr. George Lyman Kittredge read the following paper:


    Some time ago our President handed me a little manuscript volume and asked me to identify some of the poetical quotations therein and, in general, to make a report upon the contents. It is the commonplace book of Elnathan Chauncy (A. B. Harvard 1661, A. M. 1664), one of President Chauncy’s sons. Elnathan Chauncy, of whom there is a sketch in Sibley’s Harvard Graduates (ii. 80–81), died in Barbados in 1684, leaving a widow but no children. The volume bears marks of subsequent ownership by Israel Chauncy (A. B. Harvard 1724), who was the son of Isaac Chauncy (A. B. Harvard 1693; minister of Hadley) and a grandnephew of Elnathan. From him it probably went to another descendant of President Chauncy, Nathaniel Chauncy (A. B. Yale 1702) of Durham, Connecticut; for it descended to Nathaniel’s great-grandson, Professor William Chauncey Fowler (A. B. Yale 1816), and is now owned by his grandchildren and heirs. The Society is indebted to Mrs. William W. Fowler, of Durham, Connecticut, for the loan of the manuscript, and permission to print extracts from it.

    Everything in the book, except for a few scribbles of no account, appears to be in Elnathan’s small and neat writing, which is available in autograph in two inscriptions1 on the first page:2

    Omn[ia] dum reputat tra[ctata]3

    tempora vitæ,

    Vel malé vel temere vel nihil

    agit homo. Elnath: Chauncy


    • Elnathan
    • Chauncy
    • Elnathan
    • Chauncy:
    • Ejus liber:
    • anno: dom:
    • 1661: oct: 5.4

    Some extracts “Out of Arthur Warwickes meditations”5 are dated “61. July.”6 Certain homiletic notes, to which I shall return presently, are dated “March 20. 69/707 and “May. 15. 70.”8 Besides the elegant extracts — the flores — to register which the volume was first employed, the contents include also one item of real historical importance — a contemporary copy of the Latin salutatory oration delivered at the Harvard Commencement of 1662.

    The first leaf is badly mutilated, but the verso9 preserves almost the whole of an elegy on Silvanus Walderne, whom I cannot identify. This runs as follows:

    [ ] tear bedewed eyes10

    [ ] herse attende these obsequyes.

    Silvanus Walderne.

    [Ana]gram: All wailes under sun.

    [Yo]u Muses d[ar]linges aid me wth your crys,

    Come help me sing thes mourneful elegys,

    Which wailing dictates sorrow doth endite,

    [W]hich sad Minervaes beadsman weepes to write.

    [ h]ere mans woful mAp Lamenting see

    [   ]d here ye worLds epitomy,

    [Learni]ngs abridgment Whose disactrous fate

    [Our] expectation checks, deAles, hope ye mate,

    [All g]reeve; all waile, all thIs our earthly glory,

    [It] flowers yn fades thus Life is transitory,

    Vnconquerd death terrorS affrighting king,

    Strikes up aloud alar Vm horrors sting

    Will serve ye 2d course the N Looke about

    And once at Last Lets finD this meaning out

    Let showers of teares cōE from Minervaes eyes

    Deep mouthed quiristers Roare out your crys

    Endeered muses Nephew S ayd your mother

    Raise up your notes Lament yoVr silent brother.

    Neere shall those brests be dra[w]ne by such another.11

    We observe that Walderne’s name is anagrammatized to “All wailes under sun” and that this anagram is worked into a medial acrostic. The letters that make the acrostic are set off by vertical lines in the manuscript.

    Page 312 is taken up by a similar elegy on President Dunster:

    and bleeding eyes13


    [Henry Dun]st[er]

    [Anagram:]he runnes tried.

    [Come] ye parnassus nymphs and help to sound,

    [The] dittys sad wth wch our harts abound,

    [And a]lso turne your pleasant eulogys,

    [Into] ye most hart breaking elegys.

    [A t]ragedy How sad is this,

    [A] troph-E yt portends no blisse:

    ye fairest flow’[r] our garlond ’mong,

    is fader q-Vite, to dust is gon.

    My muse now mour-N wth tears bespren

    Dunster is re-Nt from sight of men

    Ye fame of H-Emy Neer shall rust

    although he i-S now turnd to dust

    [N]o presiden-T in learning’s bin

    excelling Dunste-R Learned men

    from earth to sk-I es he takes his rode

    a way wher-E in few ’fore him trode

    but he was try’D or ere he went

    at last wth tryall he was spent

    Now vertue’s dead and quite14 destroyd

    of all but noysome wormes anoyd

    wch shewes us like a buble-glasse

    fraile earthy men must soone h:15 passe.

    The first page of the manuscript (the same that contains Chauncy’s signatures) seems to show him laboring with his muse in the composition of these verses on Dunster. There we find:

    Although he is Now turnd to dur[ ]

    ye fame of Henry neer sh[all   ]

    It shew’s us like a buble glasse

    Fraile earthy man must soone h: passe.

    Although appears to be a correction for an original What though. Henry Dunster is written above a cancelled word or words (illegible), and Dunster is cancelled; earthy is substituted for a cancelled sinful. The reading dur (which must be for durt) is queer; we expect dust. It is reasonably safe to regard the two elegies as Elnathan Chauncy’s own work. Such an ascription is confirmed by the fact that the tribute to Dunster embodies two lines adapted from a couplet which occurs among Chauncy’s extracts from Spenser.16


    [And al]so turne your pleasant eulogys,

    [Into] ye most heart breaking elegys

    with Spenser, The Teares of the Muses, vv. 371–372:

    Now change your praises into piteous cries,

    And Eulogies turne into Elegies.17

    Chauncy’s Spenserian quotations, which run to more than a score of pages, cover almost all of Spenser’s poems except The Faerie Queene;18 they include all but one19 of the elegies and epitaphs on Sidney by divers authors that were appended to Colin Clouts Come Home Againe; and they follow the order of the folio editions of 1611 and 1617. Apparently he had at hand a mutilated copy of one of these editions. This accounts for his apparent neglect of The Faerie Queene, which stands first in the folios, and of Muiopotmos and the three series of Visions, which stand at the end. The only other important omission, The Foure Hymnes, is in the body of the folios.20 Chauncy’s copy was probably mutilated here also, for he could hardly have ignored these Hymnes if they were in his text. His excerpts are enlightening. They show no trace of the sullenness and severity so often alleged against our Puritan ancestors. Love, beauty, nature in its poetical aspects attract him powerfully, and he manifests a decided fondness (natural enough in those days) for classical figures and allusions. Thus:

    Yee dainty Nymphes that in the blessed brook

    doth bathe you21 brest

    forsake your watry bowres and hither looke

    at my request;

    And eke you virgins that on Parnasse dwell

    whence floweth Helicon the learned well

    Helpe me to blaze

    Her worthy praise,

    wch in her sex doth all excell.22

    But freindly fa[r]ys met wth many graces

    And Lightfoot Nymphs can chase the lingring night

    wth heydegiues23 and trimly, trodden, traces,

    while sisters nine wch dwell on parnasse hight

    doe make ym musicke for yr more delight

    And pan himselfe to kisse yr christal faces;

    will pipe and dance while Phœbe shineth bright

    such pierlesse pleasures haue wee in these places.24

    Calme was the day and through the trembling aire

    Sweet breathing Zephyrus did softly play

    A gentle spirit that Lightly did delay

    Hot Titans beames wch then did glister faire.

    A flocke of Nimphes I chaūced to espy

    all louely daughters of the floud yrby

    That Like the twinnes of Joue they seemed in sight

    wch decke the bauldricke of ye heavens bright.25

    Spenser’s elegiac strains, however, appealed with equal force to Elnathan Chauncy, as was to be expected at a time when poetical obituary tributes were so much in fashion both here and in the mother country.26 He copies the beautiful Lament for Dido almost entire from the November eclogue in The Shepheards Calender, and many other doleful — but not Puritanical! — extracts from Spenser give evidence of his indulgence in pleasing melancholy. For example:

    My muse is hoarse and weary of his27 stound.

    Winter is come that blowes the bitter blast

    and after winter dreery death doth hast.28

    The woodes wr heard to waile full many a sithe

    and all yr birds with silence to complaine

    the feildes with faded flowers did seeme to mourne

    and all yr flockes from feeding to refraine.

    the running waters wept for thy returne

    and all yr fish wth languor did lament.29

    Chauncy’s quotations from other authors likewise testify, in the main, to his keen and intelligent interest in belles lettres. Of Herrick’s “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” he copies three-quarters, and the whole of “A willow garland thou didst send.” Similarly un-Puritanical is “A song of Mark Anthony,” by Cleveland, which he also copies entire, appending the same poet’s parody or indecorously satirical counterpart, which begins “Wn as ye night-raven sung Plutoe’s mattins.”30 So far as I can discover, Chauncy quotes Shakespeare but once: “The tonge is the hearts aturnye.”31 This is from Venus and Adonis, vv. 335–336:

    But when the heart’s attorney once is mute,

    The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.

    He owes the quotation to Robert Allot’s England’s Parnassus. The groups of flores are usually headed by a more or less exact note of the source: as, — “some recollections out of Argalus and Parthenia”; “Some Collection out of Natures Paradox sive Iphigenes”; “Some recollections out of Winter nights vision”; “Collections out of Godfrey de Bulloigne”; “some collections out of ye character of a London diurnal”; “Some recollections out of Barclay his Argenis”; “some collections out of Psyche or Loves Mystery”; “collections out of Mr Purchas his theatre of flying insects”; “Some Collections out of Englands Pernassus”; “collect: out of ye worldly pollicy.” A few of the flores have eluded my attempts at identification, but in most cases the heading is definite enough to indicate the source. Thus, of the works just noted, “Argalus and Parthenia” is Francis Quarles’s romance in verse (1628 or 1629), the plot of which is taken from Sidney’s Arcadia; “Nature’s Paradox” is a translation of the celebrated prose romance “Iphigène” by Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley, — “Nature’s Paradox: or, The Innocent Impostor. A pleasant Polonian History, originally intituled Iphigenes. Englished by Major Wright”32 (1652); “A Winter Nights Vision” is a poem by Richard Niccols printed in the 1610 edition of “A Mirrour for Magistrates.” About a score of the excerpts under this heading, however, are taken from earlier poems in the “Mirrour” and several others are from Niccols’s “Englands Eliza,” which follows the “Mirrour” in the edition of 1610. “Godfrey de Bulloigne” is Edward Fairfax’s version of Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata (1600).33 “The character of a London diurnal” is John Cleveland’s little volume, “The Character of A London-Diurnall: With severall select Poems. By the same Author. Nova & castigatissima Editio” (1647). The extracts from the Argenis are from “Barclay his Argenis: or, The Loves of Poliarchus and Argenis: Faithfully translated out of Latine into English, By Kingesmill Long, Gent.” (1625). “Psyche” is Joseph Beaumont’s “Psyche: or Loves Mysterie in XX. Canto’s: Displaying the Intercourse Betwixt Christ, and the Soule” (1648). “Mr Purchas” is Samuel Purchas, whose book about bees, “A Theatre of Politicall Flying-Insects,” appeared in 1657. “Englands Pernassus” (for “Parnassus”) is the celebrated anthology edited by Robert Allot (1600). “Ye worldly pollicy” is Charles Herle’s “Wisdomes Tripos, or rather its Inscription, Detur Sapienti, In Three treatises. i. Worldly Policy, ii. Of Moral Prudence, iii. Of Christian Wisedome” (1655).

    Other works which our young Puritan had read and admired were: Bacon’s “Advancement of Learning”; “A Preface, or rather A Briefe Apologie of Poetrie, and of the Author and Translator of this Poeme” prefixed to Sir John Harington’s “Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse” (1591; 2d ed., 1607); “The Arraignement of the Whole Creature, at the Barre of Religion, Reason, and Experience” (1631), anonymous, but known to be by Stephen Jerome; John Bulwer’s “Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d: or, The Artificiall Changling Historically presented. By J. B.” (1653), a learned and very curious treatise on costume;34 Æmilia Lanyer’s book of poems entitled “Salve Rex Judeorum” (1611); “The Flower of Fidelitie” (1650), by John Reynolds, author of the famous “God’s Revenge against Murther”; “A Sixe-folde Politician. Together with a Sixe-folde Precept of Policy,” by Sir John Melton (1609); “A Collection of Emblemes” by George Wither (1634, 1635). A particularly vague heading — “some collections out of characters” — refers to John Stephens’s “Satyrical Essayes Characters and Others. Or Accurate and quick Descriptions, fitted to the life of their Subjects” (1615).

    Epigrammatic quips and pretty or fanciful conceits always attracted Elnathan, especially when they involved a paradox.

    shee teacheth smiles to weep and teares to smile35

    By this ye feather’d Belman of ye night

    sent forth his midnight sum̄ons, to invite

    All eyes to slumber.36

    when grizly night her iron carre had driven

    from her dark mansion house that hidden Lyes

    In plutoes Kingdome to ye top of heav’n

    and wth black cloake of cloudes muffling ye skys

    wth sable wings shut up all wakeful eyes.37

    The sand Like minutes, fly away so fast

    that yeeres are out ere wee thinke months are past.38

    Her Lips cast forth a chaine of sugred wordes.39

    The rude Chaos of prysbutery.40

    A periwigged phrase.41

    Oppositions highest tides roare in my way.42

    They like Hellish graduates have com̄enct in yc highest degree of sin.43

    a man may as soone fill a quart pot wth vertue, as a rational mind wth wealth.44

    an impudent censurer is the torture monger of wit.

    A gamester is fortunes vassaile, temptations Anvile, or an outlandish text wch may be soone translated into cheaters English.

    A begging scoller is an artificial vagabond.

    A Huntsman is a lievetenant of dogs and foe to harvest.

    A witch is the divels hostess, he takes housroome and diet of her and yet she payes the reckoning.45

    A gorgeous specimen of the florid style is extracted from R. Mason’s preface to John Bulwer’s curiously learned treatise on costume: Anthropometamorphosis or The Artificial Changeling (1653):

    Your curious diligence lookes not only into civil societys, but prying also unto ye ruder crouds and silvestrous heards of mankind peeping into every latibulum and solitary bush, to devellope ye effect and incongruous results of ye phantastical projects of (ye now little better yn ye ꝑfecter sort of ape called man) it became my just wonder, to find the magistery of ye creation in ye crucible of his owne folly so calcined into a trifle.46

    Elnathan Chauncy is described in the bond which his widow gave as administratrix on May 22, 1684, as “late of Boston Physician.”47 It is interesting, therefore, to observe the diligence with which he perused and excerpted various scientific and philosophical treatises of high standing in his day. One of these is “A Ternary of Paradoxes,” by the eminent medical reformer and occult speculator van Helmont, “Translated, Illustrated, and Ampliated” by William Charleton (1650), Physician to Charles I. He also copies largely from several tracts by the mystical alchemist Eugenius Philalethes — that is, Thomas Vaughan, who accidentally killed himself while experimenting with mercury in 1666.48

    Of Helmontian lore a single specimen must suffice:

    The material nature does uncessantly by Its secret Magnetisme, sucke downe formes from ye brest of ye supior orbs and greedily thirst after ye favour and benigne influence49 of cœlestial luminarys, and ye star[s] in exchange attract some tribute from inferior bodyes so yt yr is a free com̄erce and reciprocal returne from each to other and one harmonious concord and conspiracy of all ꝑts in ye whole universe:50

    Vaughan’s philosophy may be illustrated by three or four of Chauncy’s extracts:

    ye soule consistes of two portions inferior and superior the superior is masculine and æternal. ye inferior fœminine and mortal. . . . Marriage is a com̄ent on life, a meer Hieroglyphick, or outward representation of our inward vital composition. For life is noth: but ye union of male and female principles.51

    I speake not here of ye symbolical exterior descent from ye prototypical-planets to ye created sphaeres, and ynce in noctem corporis: but I speake of that most secret and silent laps of ye spirit ꝑ formarum naturalium seriem.52Pearles and diamondes are noth: else but water and salt of ye earth concocted.53

    the philosophers stone is a sperme yt nature hers: drawes out of ye elements wthout ye help of art.54

    Vaughan engaged in a furious literary and scientific (or philosophical) quarrel with Dr. Henry More, the celebrated Cambridge Platonist. He answered some of More’s strictures by publishing a vituperative tract picturesquely entitled “The Man-Mouse Taken in a Trap, and tortur’d to death for gnawing the Margins of Eugenius Philalethes” (1650). Chauncy selects therefrom a longish list of smart sayings, which manifestly amused him, and which perhaps he thought he might find convenient some day in the composition of a diatribe of his own. I give a few samples of his extracted gems, observing, by the way, that others are not quite quotable.

    I have put his hog-noddle in pickle, and here I present to ye world a peice of sound non sense.55

    Could thy alma mater teach ye noth: but anticks56

    he is a heated nodle, a mome a mimicke, an ape a meere animal a snaile a philosophical hog, a nip-crust, a pick-pocket, a niggard, tom foole wth a devils head and homes:57

    I will pick your bones and afterwards bestow you on Cambridge for a fooles anatomy.58

    from a very dry mouse thou art become a drowned ra[t]59

    There is also a long series of excerpts from the philosophico-theological works of the once famous Scot, John Weemse (or Weemes) of Lathlocker, credited by Chauncy to his “Observations natural and mora[l],”60 but including a good deal from his treatise entitled “The Portraiture of the Image of God in Man.” They are all worth reading, but space fails for further quotation.

    Several of the books excerpted by Chauncy were in John Harvard’s library: viz., Jerome’s “Arraignement of the Whole Creature,” Bacon’s “Advancement of Learning,” the 1610 edition of “A Mirrour for Magistrates,” Warwick’s “Spare Minutes” (fourth edition, 1635), and Weemse’s “Portraiture.”61 “Godfrey of Bollogn” and Herle’s “Wisdomes Tripos” appear in the 1723 Catalogus of the Harvard College Library, as well as Barclay’s “Argenis” in Latin and all four volumes of Weemse.62

    There are also many pages of sermon notes. These were written in where the commonplace material — the flores plucked from various authors — had left blank pages or parts of pages. At the head of the first sermon occurs a date with an ascription: “By Mr Benjamin Blackmā March. 20 69/70.” This is the Blakeman (or Blackman) who graduated at Harvard in 1663. The text is “prov. 18. 14. a spirit of a man &c.”63 i.e. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?” After several pages of notes from this discourse, there is a considerable interruption64 caused by the occurrence of extracts (previously made) “out of Reynold his flower of fidelity.” Then we have the same homiletic subject continued,65 but with a new text and a new date (with ascription):

    May. 15. 70.

    By Mr Blackmā:

    Rom. 7. 9.66

    It is interesting to observe that the earlier of the two sermon dates (March 20, 1669–70) is only four days later than that on which the townsmen of Stratford, Connecticut, were directed by vote of the town to “endeavour the obtaining” of Blakeman to teach their school, and that on the twentieth of December following he was made freeman.67

    Besides the notes from Blakeman’s sermons there is a long discourse on Faith, which I suppose is Chauncy’s own. As nearly as I can make out, the order of this sermon is pp. 180–215, 218–220, 222–224, 232–234, 133–138, 141–151, 154–156. But it seems to begin in the middle, with “17” (i.e. “seventeenthly”), and “18” is on p. 184. At all events, the sermon on Faith does not connect with Mr. Blakeman’s second sermon, which breaks off abruptly on p. 132. The first words on p. 133 follow directly in sense the last words on p. 234.

    The manuscript contains also the bare outline of a fourth sermon. The text is “2. Sam. 24. 10. now I beseech take away ye Iniquity of thy servant for I have done very foolishly.”68

    The Latin Salutatory Oration is so great a curiosity that it must needs be printed in full.69 The manuscript gives no direct evidence as to the date or authorship. The date, however, is settled by a passage in the document itself. The orator, in speaking “of the Candidates in Arts at this commencement,”70 informs his hearers that

    Mother Academy has had a miscarriage in the birth of Masters and has brought forth no Masters for this year. . . . As to candidates for the First Degree, we have presented to you six, according to the number of the jars filled with water at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, from whom some hope has shown itself that by the miraculous power of Christ good and cheering wine will sometime be drawn.

    Elnathan Chauncy died in 1684. Accordingly we must find, before 1684, a year in which there were but six A.B.’s and no A.M.’s. Thus our choice is restricted to 166271 and 1677. In 1677, Chauncy had been sixteen years out of college, and in August of that year he had been in England, apparently practising medicine, long enough to have “gained a good estimation.”72 Thus we arrive at 1662 as the date of our oration.

    The authorship of the oration must remain a mystery. Elnathan Chauncy himself is ruled out, since the oration is in his handwriting and since there are errors in the copy that prove that it is not autograph.73 Benjamin Blakeman (or Blackman), of the Class of 1663, has been suggested, but he is out of the question, for there is no likelihood that a junior would have been appointed Salutatorian, and, indeed, the language of the oration hardly accords with the status of an undergraduate.74 If the orator was a member of the graduating class of 1662 and not a Tutor or a Fellow, I should be tempted to identify him conjecturally with Benjamin Tompson, the “renowned poet of New England” as his tombstone calls him. The oration is clever enough to be Tompson’s, and Tompson was clever enough to compose it. His New England’s Crisis (1676) contains at least one passage which seems akin in its wit and humor to some of the quips and cranks of our Salutatorian. I refer to King Philip’s speech in Indian English, beginning:

    My friends, our Fathers were not half so wise

    As we our selves, who see with younger eyes;

    They sel our land to english man, who teach

    Our nation all so fast to pray and preach.

    Of all our countrey they enjoy the best,

    And quickly they intend to have the rest.

    However, I doubt if any undergraduate is to be credited with our salutatory address.75

    I reproduce the oration as exactly as may be, retaining the scribe’s capitals and his sometimes eccentric punctuation. Brackets, as heretofore, indicate words or letters lost by wear and tear or by the fading of the ink. In the foot-notes I supply what I can in the way of identifying the author’s biblical and classical references and allusions.

    * * * * *

    Honorandi et ter illustres viri, penes quos jus et imperium est, quibus salus populi, summa lex est:76 in Rep: administrandâ, vobis jure primatum77 tribuimus, et salutem in salutari illo78 summam apprecamur.

    Reverendi Ecclesiastæ et Oeconomi Mysteriorū Dei,79 præcones salutiferæ doctrinae, vobis, ut par est, e suggesto salutem plurimam annunciamus.

    Viri Mæ[ce]nates Benignissimi qui mercaturam aut mi[lit]iam exercetis, qui in cumulandis beneficiis [l]argi et effusi, utinam cū fœnore gratiarum et salutum vicem vobis rependere valeamus.

    Denique vos Hospites pientiss:i viri desideriorum80 qui estis εὐγενέστεροι81quiq; terras et maria tantis cum sumptibus et vitæ discrimin[e] transivistis, ut nobiscum crucem atq; unà jugū suave Jesu Christi82 subeatis et instituta divina observetis, jungimus putate vobis hospitio, dextras,83 et in amplexus vestros effundimur.84 Quid obsecro, nobis gratiùs aut exoptatiùs potuit accidere, quàm adventus et aspectus vester85 qu[i] praesto estis, vel in præsidiis agentes ἀλεξικακ[οι] ϗ ἀποτρόπαιοι86 vel in subsidiis operam ves[tram] commodantes

    Audivimus quid factum sit Regnante Rehoboa[m] quando sacerdotes et Levitæ Israëlitici sua liquerunt suburbana prædia et possessiones et alii [ex] tribubus Israëlis, qui stabili sententiâ in animum induxerunt se Deum Israelis ex[qui]situros; qui migrarunt Hierosolymas, ill m[u]niverunt et corroborarunt regnum Judæ:87 et consimilis planè vestra88 transmigratio hodierna quod est pietatis vestræ argumentū non vulgare certè non exiguum nobis robur et firmamentum89 subministrabit.

    Vt dicamus igitur vobis, appositè ad rem, oh præclari advenæ, quod Boaz olim illi quæ exiit ex aviis servatoris, Dominus remuneretur,90 opus vestrum, ut plena merces vobis retribuatur a Domino Deo Israelis sub cujus alis accessistis credituri.91

    Dicamus cum psalte Regio aud[ite] mansueti, et collætamini, magnificate J[eh]ovam nobiscum et extollamus nomen ejus pa[r]iter,92 cum non tantum mulierem eremicolam93 hactenus incolumem á faucibus immanis rubri Draconis eripuit,94 et sartum tectum95 mirificè á diluvio conservavit nè esset ποταμοφόρητος:96 sed etiam adhuc alas97 animumq; addit, et plures obstetricantes et auxiliares manus præbentes98 ultrò suppeditavit[.] ille, ille, nobis haec otia fecit99 et salutem posuit pro munimentis et propugnaculis100

    Oh si omnes sancti conjunctim valeant assequi et compr[ehen]dere101 et justis ponderibus librari το ὑπερίσσυον μέτρον102 dementiæ divinæ.

    Oh si de Monte Sionis diceretur quod in vallem subsiderit, et depressa sit, vallem autem non Lachrymarum; sed vallem Berakah, quæ nomen sortita est tam á benedictione Dei in Israelem quàm ab Israelis ad Deum Benedicentem reciprocâ benedictione,103 usque et usque104 ascendente.

    Sed fortè dicat aliquis de statu Reipub. quod libris saepe voluminosis appingi et subscribi assolet, multa desiderantur vel non-nulla desiderantur.

    Hoc liberè profitemur neque tamen despondemus amnios;105 sumus adhuc in viâ. et exules à patria; sed quæ suppetant nobis volumina pervolvamus, quæ praesentia sunt animo læto amplectamur.

    sed quia multa desiderantur, multa importune et ardenter106 [a] vobis, efflagitamus, et á Deo desideramus. Magnum est et memorabile nomen107 et au[re]is literis108 insculpendum semper Nomen omnipotentis fœdere et pactione se obstringentis,109 nomen inquam שַׁדַּי110 quod 70 Interpretes reddiderunt ἱκανός et παντοκράτωρ,111 quid tandem desit illis bonis quibus Deu[s] ἴκανος, aut quid tandem mali iis accidat quibu[s] Deus est παντοκράτωρ aut παντοδυνάστης, hu[c] si cursum corripiamus tanquam ad unicū asylum habemus validam consolationem et fieri no[n] potest ut Deus mentiatur. Hie si anchoram spei figamus intra velum,112 sævientibus et fe[r]ventibus procellis in portu navigabimus.113 Neq[ue] nos terrebit ut μορμολυκεῖα pueros114 mise[rri]ma præsentis seculi facies; cum singulæ perio[di] rerum, sicut annorum habeant115 itidem solstitia bina; vidimus non ita pridem solem culmina[n]tem et quasi in quadrijugo curru gloriosè triumphantem,116 mox á solstitio æstivo declinantem subito et vergentem ad inferiorem circulu[m] videbimus prope diem, ut verisimile est in Tropico Capricorni in maximâ declinatione, quod Bruma Nivalē interiore diem gyro trahit117 horrida cano gelu:118 turn sensim sine sensu119 redit infimus ab hyberno solstitio sol in apertiorem lucendi campum: sic videre est in periodis regnorum et ecclesiarum, vidimus religionem quæ per tot annorum centurias sepulta magna ex parte et obruta jacuerat, ex alto lethaeoque somno120 superstitionis evigilantem et redivivā:121 vidimus inquam ingens et stupendum incrementum lucis in novâ παλι[γγ]ενεσία122 reformationis, datis quasi in dotem Religionis literis universis. sed solstitium æ[sti]vum prætervecti sumus, hinc fluere et multum retrò sublapsa referri123 res christi visa, et præceps ad hybernum solstitium festinat, mundo qui præbet lumina Titan:124 hinc dies est contractior. Sed pater luminum οὐκ ἔχει παραλλαγὴν125οὔτε τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα.126 Altissima lux nullam patitur parallaxin et qui solus immutabilis suum illud, semper idem, in æternū tenet:127 ne umbraculum quidem τροpicorū aut variationum patitur: licet omnia loco mota huc et illuc transferantur et in cor maris p[r]æ[ci]pitentur.128 Præterea jam quasi in crepi[d]ine129 novi seculi positi sumus, nova lucis αὐγασματα130 et incrementa exspectamus, et certè ἀποκαραδοκοῦντες, estq; non vespertinum sed matutinum crepusculum, cujus in ipso pene sumus caliginoso articulo, quod fieri amat breve nigricat horrore tenebrarum plusquam cimmeriarum;131 sed erit honore lucis lætissimum, mox orituri solis æterni prodromum.

    Adhuc sacra capita cœlum volvitur;

    Non omnium dierum sol occidit.132

    Durate igitur et rebus vosmet servate secundis.133

    Et Dicet Ecclesia Christi (date verbo veniam) vasallis Antichristi; ut vitis in Anthologia capro,

    κἀν με φ[αγ]ης ἐπι ῥιζαν ὀμως ἐτι καρποφορήσω

    ὁσσον ἐπισ[πεῖσ]αι σοι τραγε θυομένω.134

    i. e. Rode cape[r] [v]item tamen hin[c] cū stabis ad aras

    In tua quo[d] spargi cornua possit erit.

    Bono animo esto, dixit Gubernatori meticuloso imperator Magnanimus, intempesto cœlo mare procellosum trajecturus, bono animo esto Cæsarem vehis et fortunam Cæsaris135 imò Christum vehitis Magnanimi Naucleres, Christum, inquam, cui ventus et m[are] auscultant,136 Christum qui pro Israele perennes excubias agit137 suavissimum est illu[d] quod in proverbii consuetudine venit: fluctus insurgunt, potest navicula jactari,138 sed quia Christus ad clavum sedit, et oratorē agit, non potest submergi; infracto igitu[r] animo estote139 Christophori Remiges, circ[um]spicite pericula curiosi, sed suspicite praesidia fideles et magnanimi. Eadem manu[s] quæ cœlum fecit, et terram sustentat Beli Mah, super non aliquid,140 ecclesiam fecit omnipotens suam.

    Ridete circumlatrantes impetu fracto141 gubernaculum vestrum vortices, et serpente[s] abdito capite calcaneū vestrum mordentes142

    Sed quo feror? oratio forte longius provecta est quam res et ratio proposita postulat.143 Compendio verborum brevissimo reliqua amplectar in quibus de re nostra pauca dicturus sum: *144 quia Dixit nobis Dominus, ne quæratis vobis grandia; ecce inducam malū &c.145 Nolite quæso, res magnas aut novas in novo orbe exspectare, sive de rebus publicis, sive de Academiâ verba faciam*; dicam de utrâque liberè. CALAMITAS NOSTRA MAGNUS EST, nolite ungues [ro]dere146 aut caput rodere superciliosi [g]ramatiscastri, repeto, non est lapsus Iingu[æ]: Calamitas nostra Magnus est, dictum olim de pompeio plaudente populo Romano tarn eleganti solœcismo147: dico consimiliter Fælicitas nostra minutulus148 est perpusillus, nam pauperes evangelizantur,149 et cantat vacuus coram latrone viator.150

    Sed neq; omnia exspectate nova, habemus multa nomina urbium et oppidorum veteris Angliæ, sed nomina tantum; et vitioru nomina non pauca, utinam tantum nomina; sed vereor ne quod quorundam sermone jactatū est pro comperto á vobis habeatur, ut dicatis de novo orbe quod sit mundus alter et idem;151 alter et ex diametro appositus si intervallum spectetur, idem si mores habitumq; peregrinum152 consideretis: Academiam quod spectat, si magna aut nova pollicemur, sanè exspectationi non respondebimus. Celebre est illud Ciceronianū Honos alit artes,153 at è contrà ὁπον οὐτε κτιθος οὐτε τήχνη.154 Haud facilè emergunt quorum virtutibus obstat — res angusta domi: —155

    Sunt Mæcenates, non deerunt Flacce Marones

    Virgiliumq; tibi vel tua rura dabunt.156

    Hactenus spes nos aluit, sed spe non saginatur venter, Magister artis ingeniiq;157 largitur rex ut [largia]tur poeta.

    Neque nova expectetis licet Athenienses simus, et ut est humana natura sumus novitatis avidi[.]158 antiquitas, libros, quibus operam impendimus, solet commendare, et lacera si spectetis ædificia, et si quandoq; vestimenta, Gabeonitas, nos esse existimabitis;159 non est novum quod unà vobiscum, ut spero, magni facimus, et omnibus aliis facile præponimus, novum nempe Testamentum et Novū Cor.160

    Sed ut summam rationū vobis exhibeamus de Candidatis bonarū artium in hisce comitiis: Abortum fecit mater Academia in pa[r]tu magistrorū, neque in lucem protulit magistros hujus anni; aut quod suspicor; p[as]tores doctores rurales per sal turn inaugurati magisterium fastidiosè prætereun[t] et nullo in numero habent, ne sint retrogradi, et in inferiorem conditionem dilabantur, poro ἀδάπανον et εὔωνον σοφ[ί]αν (ut scité vocat Plutarchus)161 frugi sapientiæ adolescentes præferunt; itaq; calidè se subduxerunt, quod ad primi gradus candidates spectat, sex vobis obtulimus, ad numerū Hydriarum aquâ, repletarū in nuptiis canæ Galilææ,162 de quibus spei non nihil affulsit,163 fore ut virtute Christi mirificâ, vinum optimum et exhilarans aliquando exhauriendum esse.164

    Depromamus si placet et desistemus, vos vero viri amplissimi qui a[d r]em literariam animū habetis propens[um]165 ac benevolū estote propitii interpretes pro candore et clementiâ, vestrâ, quale quale fuerit boni consulatis.166

    Mr. Fulmer Mood read the following paper:



    John Josselyn (ca. 1608–1675) was the second son of Sir Thomas Josselyn, Kt., of Torrell’s Hall, Willingdale-Doe, Essex, and his second wife, Theodora Cooke Bere, daughter of a Kentish house.167 Josselyn first came to New England, with his father, in the summer of 1638. Sir Thomas and John spent some time at the house of the elder brother, Henry Josselyn, of Black Point (now Scarborough), Maine. Sir Thomas for a short while held an appointment as Councillor of the Province of Maine, but soon relinquished it, probably by reason of his advanced age. John returned to England in October, 1639. A second visit was much longer, extending from July, 1663, till August, 1671. It was during this second sojourn that he accumulated most of the materials for his books.

    Although he seems to have relished life in the plantations, he never intended to make a permanent home in the new country, and he commends himself, in the closing passage in his second book, for having “in part made good the French proverb, Travail where thou canst, but dye where thou oughtest, that is, in thine own Countrey.” Josselyn168 was an educated gentleman, as his writings plainly attest, and he found much in the American wilderness to attract his attention. One infers from his published works that he had been trained as a physician and surgeon. Certainly his opportunities in the frontier settlements of Maine for using such medical knowledge as he possessed were not few, and he must have been a valued person in those parts where his brother Henry169 was so staunch a political leader in the interests of the heirs of Mason and Gorges. John Josselyn was, one feels from a reading of his books, a genial and pleasant man, fond of good cheer and a comic anecdote, the sort of person who liked to wander through the woods with gun and dogs, seeking what he might bring down, till the setting sun drove him home to a hot supper, a refreshing drink, and a comfortable seat by the fireside. He was not much of a church-goer, for while residing in Maine he was presented by the grand jury for not being a regular attendant at divine service.


    It is the word “rarity” that offers the master key to the interpretation of Josselyn’s writings. His two volumes were collections of rarities, and as such they made a strong appeal to their seventeenth-century readers. To the men of that day this word was as fashionable as the word “complex” has lately been with us. Now a “rarity,” according to the New English Dictionary, is pertinently defined thus: “an unusual or exceptional character, especially in respect of excellence . . . a rare or uncommon thing, or occurrence.” The interest of the seventeenth century in such things was but one phase of the rising tide of curiosity about scientific matters. It is conventionally correct to point out that Bacon had led the way, that in England a group of gentlemen interested in experimental and natural philosophy had begun to meet in London by 1645, and that by 1662 their efforts and interests had brought about the chartering of the Royal Society. The fact is sometimes overlooked that the discovery of the New World, with its myriads of new plants, animals, and other natural phenomena, had proved to be a powerful stimulant to scientific curiosity and a powerful solvent of antiquated scientific notions. As the English commercial empire widened, so, too, did the field of observation lying open to the student of nature. New conquests for English mercantilism afforded fresh opportunities for English collectors. Let a single example suffice. To the London merchant princes of the day, Jamaica was richly valued as the potential source of vast fortunes in sugar and other tropical produce. But to Sir Hans Sloane, who visited it in 1687, the island was worthy of close study by reason of the hundreds of new species of plants that it yielded. Sloane brought back a rich collection of specimens, and then prepared a lengthy catalogue of his findings.

    When Josselyn sailed for New England the second time,170 this trend in science was well under way, and it must have been sympathetically observed by him. The evidence on the point is, in fact, quite clear. Of his life at Black Point he writes, “I resided eight years, and made it my business to discover all along the Natural, Physical, and Chyrurgical Rarities of this New-found World.”171

    As discoveries of interest to science were made close at home or in remote quarters of the globe, it came to be thought desirable by certain far-seeing men that these new facts should be published, in order that such stocks of fresh knowledge should be made available for the benefit of other thinkers and observers. To that end the Royal Society, in 1665, established an organ of publication, the Philosophical Transactions, which should give “some Accompt of the Present Undertakings, Studies, and Labours of the Ingenious in many considerable parts of the World.” Its columns, under the editorship of Henry Oldenburg, gladly laid new learning before its readers, and the journal was in a flourishing condition when Josselyn returned to London in 1671. Its pages were filled with accounts of new discoveries in many departments of science, and it carried reviews of books and articles of a scientific character. Typical of many others are the following:

    • Mineral Observations touching the mines of Cornwall and Devon. (March 25, 1671.)
    • A further account of the Stellar Fish, formerly described by Mr. Winthrop in New England. (August 14, 1671.)
    • A review of Simon Paul’s book on Scandinavian Simples. (October 22, 1671.)
    • An account of a mineral balsam found in a wine in Italy. (January, 1672.)
    • An account of a Description of the East-Indian coasts, Malabar, Coromandel, Ceylon. . . . From the Dutch. (February 19, 1672. The reviewer pays special attention to the plants, commerce, and rarities of these Eastern countries.)
    • A review of “The American Physitian; or a Treatise of Roots, Plants, Trees, Shrubs, Fruits, Herbs, &c. growing in the English Plantations in America; whereunto is annexed a Discourse of the Cacao-nut-Tree and the use of its Fruit.” (May 20, 1672. Of this the reviewer writes that “though the Author of the Tract only promises in his title to give an account of vegetables, which is of good use, forasmuch as it may make a part of the Universal History of Nature, now more than ever laboured after by the generous Philosophers of this Age,” he really does more, for he tells of the coral rocks of Jamaica, gives descriptions of the sea star-fish and of alligators, and relates an easy way of making salt in Jamaica.)
    • An account of the currents and of the tides about the Orcades. (November 17, 1673.)

    Josselyn, who had employed much of his time in the collection of precisely this kind of information, was doubtless well aware of its utility. He had reached London on December 1, 1671,172 and by midsummer his first book was completed, for it was licensed on June 24, 1672.173 It bore a generous dedication to his kinsman Samuel Fortrey.174 The plan of the work, as Josselyn unfolds it, is simple enough. It comprises a systematic listing of New England’s rarities

    cast . . . into this form: 1. Birds. 2. Beasts. 3. Fishes. 4. Serpents and Insects. 5. Plants, of these, 1. such Plants as are common with us, 2. of such Plants as are proper to the country, 3. of such Plants as are proper to the Country and have no name known to us, 4. of such Plants as have sprung up since the English Planted and kept Cattle there, 5. of such Garden Herbs (amongst us) as do thrive and of such as do not. 6. Of Stones. Minerals, Metals, and Earths.175

    Recognition of his work was not tardy in coming to the traveller now turned author. On July 15, 1672, Number 85 of the Philosophical Transactions was published with a notice on the title-page calling the attention of the reader to four items in its pages as of especial interest: an account of a group of curiosities; a set of questions by Isaac Newton treating of his theories of color and light; a description of a satisfactory method of preparing certain substances for physical use; and a review of Josselyn’s Rarities. It was probably Henry Oldenburg who was responsible for singling out these items for comment, and it was probably his pen which drafted the favorable review of Josselyn’s book which followed.

    Thus New England, too, furnished her share of rarities to grace the London booksellers’ stalls, and Josselyn played his modest part in introducing her novelties to European readers. He, of course, was not the first to do this, and, indeed, even the use of the key word in his title was not wholly original. Two years earlier there had come to Oldenburg a communication in reply to one of his own sent out to John Winthrop of Connecticut. In the course of his letter, Winthrop wrote: “I know not, whether I may recommend some of the productions of this Wilderness as rarities or novelties, but they are such as the place affords.”176 Winthrop, too, then, was already thinking of “New-England Rarities.”

    Just as the theological controversies of New England, if they are to be understood in their final historical meaning, must be related to the contemporaneous controversies in Protestant Europe, so Josselyn’s modest study of the new regions across the Atlantic served to produce a book which yields up its ultimate historical significance only when it is placed against the background of contemporary European scientific thought. Josselyn’s first book, then, is, in effect, an answering voice from out New England to that summons to scientific observation uttered to his countrymen by Bacon a half century earlier.177


    To explain why Josselyn’s second book fell in so well with the temper of the times is no less easy than to account for the success of his first. Consider for a moment its lengthy title:

    An Account of Two Voyages to New-England. Wherein you have the setting out of a Ship, with the charges; The prices of all necessaries for furnishing a Planter and his Family at his first coming; A Description of the Countrey, Natives and Creatures, with their Merchantil and Physical use; The Government of the Countrey as it is now possessed by the English, &c. A large Chronological Table of the most remarkable passages, from the first discovering of the Continent of America, to the year 1673.

    So sprawling a title indicates that not one mark is to be shot at, but several. Here is plainly an appeal to the scientific public that appreciated his first production. Here, too, is good store of information about the Puritan settlements oversea. Here is a racy style spiced now and again with the broad humor that doubtless more than one of his Restoration readers enjoyed. Josselyn thus shot his arrows at a broad target, whether by design or no; but if by design, then our author had his reward, for in 1675 his book came from the press in a second edition.178

    It is a bounteous feast that Josselyn provides for his reader, and one may sample it here or there according to one’s humor. It is not always skilfully served up, for Josselyn’s was no practised pen, and its arts, such as they were, will be passed by in favor of other matters. First, to what extent is Josselyn’s book a work of hostile propaganda directed against the Massachusetts Bay Colony? Secondly, if not that, what influence, if any, was behind him as a moving force?

    That the Two Voyages is openly scornful of the Massachusetts settlers is apparent from even a hasty reading. This dislike crops out in more than one place. But that it is, all things considered, primarily devoted to discredit the Puritan colony with the English public is a proposition that can be shown to be false. Let us examine the passages from which emerges Josselyn’s distaste, taking pains, however, to make a distinction between those that note Puritan habits and social customs which he disapproved as a Cavalier gentleman, and those in which he rebuked the men of Massachusetts because of their illegal or unjust political actions. Josselyn’s judgments are thus based either on personal prejudice or on his own understanding of law and chartered right.

    The total effect of those passages which are founded upon his personal prejudices is clear enough.179 He disliked the men of the Bay because they did not measure up to his standard of hospitality. They were much too smug, too impressed by their own transcendency. Samuel Maverick, of Noddle’s Island, was the only open-handed man in the country. These men of the Bay were independent walkers in church and state: such people he disliked. He himself was a good king’s man, one who could refer to Charles I as “our Royal Martyr.”180 He disliked them equally for their grasping ways in trade, their debauching of the Maine fishermen, their harsh treatment of the unhappy debtors who had fallen into their power. He was a cheery man of the world, fond of a good dinner and a warm settle, content to enjoy life; they, he thought, were dour saints and grimly bent on a godly discipline indeed. There was no reconciling such diverse attitudes.

    Yet Josselyn did not single out the Puritans to receive all his rebukes. Pointedly, though with moderation, he could complain of other defects in the Maine settlers. Did they not now and again neglect work, did they not tipple overmuch, spend too many hours at table, or roam about the countryside, gun in hand, when it would have been better for themselves had they tended their crops more carefully? By such observations, indeed, Josselyn appears as something of a Puritan himself, since he, too, reproached the sluggardly and the “droanish” with the waste of precious time.181

    There are certain other passages in the Two Voyages which reflect on the Bay Colony.182 These arise from Josselyn’s understanding of the rights, established by royal charter, that were possessed by the younger Mason and the younger Gorges to their proprietary provinces of New Hampshire and Maine. When he charges that Massachusetts usurped their rights, and unjustly extended her jurisdiction over their lands, he makes such charges in view of parchments lawfully conceding these territories to the grandsires of the two claimants. The authorities in England well knew that Josselyn’s friends were being deprived of what was rightfully their own, and Massachusetts well knew that she was a usurper. So when Josselyn affirmed as much, he did no more than to publish the truth, though, as it happened, that truth was not very palatable to the taste of the Bay leaders, and its publication was not precisely calculated to help their cause and polity. Josselyn is of the opinion that recompense ought to be made to his brother Henry, whose interests had been much injured by the Massachusetts usurpation in Maine. After a lifetime of effort, the brother had little to show for his years in the wilderness. Such complaints as John Josselyn indulges in are, however, voiced with dignity and moderation, and are inserted in his book at places proper or natural for their expression. He then proceeds with his narrative, and says no more of such unhappy things.

    A second important circumstance which tends to show that Josselyn did not set out to write a work primarily tendentious is to be found in the structure of the Two Voyages.183 When that is examined, we at once see that the arrangement of the work is at bottom chronological. The author tells the story of his experiences roughly in the sequence that they happened. There is, thus, a first voyage, then a second. He next arranges his material in geographical order, and in his description of the several districts of New England proceeds from the Hudson River eastward. As he comes to a particular colony or region, he offers whatever information he has relating to it which he thinks may be of interest to his readers. This simple scheme is several times interrupted: by the two apologies to the home-keeping Englishmen, who, in their ignorance, may be tempted to doubt the truth of his assertions; by his remarks on the diseases current in New England; and, finally, by his second note on the trees and plants of the country. This last interpellation serves to separate sharply his remarks on the Massachusetts Bay colony from the passages dealing with the settlements in Maine and New Hampshire, but one is at a loss to see that in this severance there is anything of significance.

    Josselyn has here composed, in brief, a rudimentary sociological description of New England. The physiography and scenery, the Indians and their way of life, the produce of the land, the English settlers, their distribution and their frames of government: all find a place in his pages. Now and again he finds room for some information of a historical character, and to augment the store of this sort of knowledge he appends a chronological table at the close of his book, wherein are listed important names, dates, and events. Thus the Two Voyages is primarily a work of information for English readers who seek a general handbook on New England, and not a work of propaganda directed against Massachusetts Bay. If he reproaches the settlers of that locality, he does so in passing, and he has not shaped the structure of his book with that as his main purpose. If this be a work of hostile propaganda, then most certainly it is a sly and subtle one.

    How did Josselyn come to know so much about the legal rights of the heirs of Mason and Gorges? Doubtless he heard much on that question while he was with his brother Henry in Maine, where it was the great political problem of the day. Probably he learned more when he returned to London and came in contact with the younger Ferdinando Gorges, who was in the metropolis at this very time. Such strictures as he passed upon the political activities and usurpations of the Bay Colony leaders arose from his sympathy with his brother and his brother’s principals.

    In 1676, at which time Josselyn’s book had been twice published, Edward Randolph was sent out to correct wayward Massachusetts, and Josselyn (if he yet lived) must have rejoiced with Gorges’ grandson in the thought that affairs were now, perhaps, about to be settled more to their liking. Did the book contribute to bring about this mission? It is impossible to affirm as much. Charles II was very tardy in sending out his commissioner, but for years he had had the matter in mind. Josselyn’s book would certainly not operate to weaken such an intention, though whether it worked to stiffen it is quite another matter, since in those days not popular opinion but royal conviction and a sense of royal expediency were the springs of policy.

    That Josselyn’s picture of an oversea community which was worth controlling in the Crown’s interest because it was worth taxing in the king’s name did not sink unnoticed into obscurity, is vouched for by one neglected circumstance. This is a third publication with which he must be credited, though it has seldom been connected with his name. This item consists of a reprint of Josselyn’s description of the form of government in vogue in Massachusetts Bay excerpted from the Two Voyages, four folio leaves bound together with a map of New England from the hand of John Seller, Hydrographer to the King. In these pages his English readers found an account of Independency in action across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, though not fatally, the date when this item was published has not been fixed. It is variously given as 1680184 and 1682.185 In all probability it was published at London. A suggestion as to the significance of this tract (which must be slight at the most) may not be out of place here. Since the reprint is a summary description of the all-but-too autonomous Massachusetts civil government which certain groups in England desired to see laid low, is it not reasonable to conjecture that the publication of this description is to be related to the movement, even then under way, which was to result in the revocation of the Massachusetts Charter?


    Thus not only the current interest in natural philosophy, but also the contemporary concern for the right ordering of the king’s dominions oversea help to explain the timeliness of Josselyn’s books and their utility to the men of that day. Copies of both of them, it may be pointed out, found their way into the library of useful reference works then being gathered by authority at the Plantation Office in London.186

    The right relation of New England to the Crown was a matter that had been responsible for much strenuous thinking on the part of royal officials before Josselyn’s time. Indeed, the nature of this connection was being discussed frequently at the very time when he was publishing his writings. The New England problem, taken in its entirety, was a tangled skein of yarn. Men who were conscious of the defects of the mercantilist system as it actually operated gave much thought to it. The London merchants, who longed for the day when stiff-necked colonies would be forced to abide by the canons of mercantilism; proprietors like Mason and Gorges; members of the Privy Council; and the king himself, all of them had turned the problem over in their minds. Their consideration of this issue and Josselyn’s publications were occurring at the same time. Consider this schedule of items, which makes it clear how frequently New England affairs obtruded themselves upon the responsible leaders in the short space of five years:

    1669–70, January.

    Gorges petitions the King in Council.187

    1670–1, March 5.

    Gorges petitions the King in Council again.188

    1671, April 27.

    Gorges petitions the King in Council a third time.189

    1671, April 27.

    Mason petitions the King in Council.190

    1671, July 24.

    Mason petitions the King in Council a second time.191

    1671, November 13.

    Mason proposes to exchange the province for a commercial privilege.192

    1671, December 11.

    Mason’s memorial on the value of New Hampshire.193

    1673–4, March 20.

    Gorges, Mason, and the Earl of Stirling jointly petition the King and Council.194

    1674, May 20?

    William Dyer of New England petitions the King and Council to purchase the rights of Mason and Gorges.195

    1674, December 2.

    Mason drafts a memorial on the New England provinces.196

    1674, December 25.

    Gorges to the King and Council.197

    The submission of such documents to the royal officers, however, does not complete the series. The King and Council, on their part, were not indifferent to the issue. Among some of the Council meetings held to discuss one or more phases of the issue were these: January 26, May 9, and May 11, 1670; June 16, June 21, June 26, July 12, July 24, August 3, August 12, September 19, November 13, 1671; January 22, February 6, February 13, April 30, May 10, 1672; then the war with the Dutch interfered.198 On December 18, 1674, the King had a draft of a letter to the leaders at Boston prepared;199 on April 22, 1675, the royal officers again undertook a general review of the entire case, and a year later Randolph was given his instructions.200

    In sum, then, Josselyn’s writings appealed to two sets of readers: to the scientists of the age, and to certain contemporary group’s with political and economic interests at stake, who were eager to be informed of what was going on in the New England settlements, For both classes of readers his contributions had a freshness of appeal, and a timeliness which go far to explain their moderate popularity.