RALPH WALDO EMERSON
THE CRESCENT MAN
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, the first of American thinkers, was born in the third year of the last century, May 25, 1803, in the "parish house" of the First (Unitarian) Church of Boston, of which his father, William Emerson, was minister. It is the pastime of his biographers to trace back his paternal ancestry through many stalwart and striking figures, mainly clerical, to its first clear emergence into the light of history in the sombre and troubled England of the Puritans and the Stuarts. The source of the family's earliest distinction is one Peter Bulkeley, "Rector of Woodhill or Odell in Bedfordshire," a man of admirable scholarship, piety, and contumacy, who found the breadth of the Atlantic the only adequate symbol of the divergence between his views and those of the dogmatic and despotic Archbishop Laud. Bulkeley came to America in 1634 and founded in the yet virgin wilderness the town of Concord; later on, his race, in the person of a granddaughter, allied itself with the Emersons, a stock in the fame of whose heroism and genius the town and the founder were both to participate.
The race maintained its high tradition in the New World; and its unbroken record of worth and distinc-