New England's "peculiar church polity" was codified at the Massachusetts synod
of 1648 in the Cambridge Platform, formalizing Puritan theocratic rule. In 1708 its
tenets were subscribed to by the Connecticut Congregationalists in the adoption of
the Saybrook Platform. See The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry, ed.
( Garden City: Doubleday [ 1956]), pp. 37, 121.
At the Last Supper, Jesus raised his eyes toward Heaven and said, "Father,
. . . This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God." John 17:1-3.
Henry Ware, Sr., Letters Addressed to Trinitarians and Calvinists, Occasioned
by Dr. Woods' Letters to Unitarians . . . ( Cambridge, 1820).
Jacob Norton, Things as They Are; or, Trinitarianism Developed . . . ( Boston, 1815).
James Yates, A Vindication of Unitarianism, In Reply to Mr. Wardlaw's Discourses on the Socinian Controversy ( Glasgow, 1815; Boston, 1816). Bryant's remark
that he had gained Unitarian beliefs eight years earlier suggests that he may have first
Yates Reply while studying law with Samuel Howe at Worthington.
Mrs. Howe wrote later that, though her husband strongly opposed her liberal views
when they were married in 1813, soon afterward Henry D. Sedgwick, a zealous Unitarian, lent him "' Yates's Answer to Wardlaw.' This book and the New Testament
he read with care, . . . comparing it with Scripture; and was entirely convinced of
the truth and reasonableness of the Unitarian faith, which he afterwards held through
life." Quoted in
Lesley, Recollections of My Mother, p. 237.
The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor, published at Baltimore by
the Unitarian Book Society, was edited at that time by
82. To Richard H. Dana
Great Barrington March 28th, 1822.
My Dear Sir
I have just received yours of the 15th inst. together with the 5th No.
of the Idle Man. I ought certainly to apologize for not having written to
you earlier and you would have heard from me immediately after I re-
ceived your 4th No.--but you are to know that a trifling enlargement of
my family took place about that time and though I can hardly tell why
it should be so yet the fact is that this circumstance has kept my affairs
particularly of a literary kind in a sort of hassle ever since.--
I will own to you that of late I have been deterred from writing by
the cause to which you allude.
2 The sorrow that I felt must attend such a
loss had to me a kind of sacredness about it which I feared to violate, and
I knew that I could bring no consolation.
I must not suffer you to speak so slightingly of your 4th No. The second letter from town has more than made amends for any faults of its
3 But the story of Thomas Thornton4 which I have just read
has in my opinion merit of a higher, and more decided kind than any
thing you have written for the Idle Man except The Son.
5 It has one
species of merit which does more to render an author immediately popular than any other-- I mean that of exciting a deep interest in the event
of the story. I have great hopes from it.
You are right in believing that my principal feeling when I was made
acquainted with the rejection of my review was that of regret at being