The Literary History of the American Revolution,1763-1783 - Vol. 1

By Moses Coit Tyler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
AN EARLY PULPIT-CHAMPION OF COLONIAL RIGHTS: 1766.
I. I.--Death of Jonathan Mayhew shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act-His gifts for intellectual and moral leadership--His special influence on the young radicals of the Revolutionary period.
II. II.--Outline of his career--His early break with New England ecclesiasticism --His activity as a writer--His published writings.
III. III.--A champion of individualism--His traits as a sermon-writer--His rational. ism--His defiance of authority--His demand that religious thinking be practical--His rancorous denunciation of theological rancor.
IV. IV.--His use of the pulpit for the discussion of all topics of the time--The avowed sources of his political opinions--His statesmanlike view of public questions--His political foresight.
V. V.--His particular antagonism, on behalf of civil liberty, to the Roman and Anglican Churches--A leader in the American crusade against Anglican bishops--Important connection of that excitement with the popular suspicions as to the political purposes of the English government--Mayhew's invective against the Church of England, and especially against bishops.
VI. VI.--His "Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission"--Reflects the influence of Milton's political tracts--Mayhew's ridicule of the saintship and martyrdom of Charles the First--The right of the people to disown and resist bad rulers.
VII. VII.--Immediate effects of Mayhew's preaching on the Stamp Act riots in Boston--His last political discourse, "The Snare Broken," celebrates the repeal of the Stamp Act--His last message to James Otis pleads for a permanent union of the colonies as a defense against evils to come.

I.

ON the ninth day of July, 1766,--in the first lull of a political storm which he had done almost as much as any man to raise,-there died in Boston, in his forty-sixth year, Jonathan Mayhew, minister of the West Church in that town; a great master of the art of rational and passionate speech, and for the previous twenty years, from his coigne

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