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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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Their judge was conscience, and her rule their law.


Men so entirely uncongenial as Brown and his companions
could not long tolerate each other. To the
talents and virtues of many of them he gave a voluntary
tribute of respect and admiration; but some of

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them were so far below his intellectual standard,
that nothing could have saved them from his contempt,
save the strong bond of religious unity; and
under no circumstances, and in no situation whatever,
could Brown have been a Puritan. Perhaps he and
his adversaries equally mistook the pride of human
opinion, for conscientious zeal; but their contradictory
sentiments owed their origin to native difference of
character. Spiritual light, like that of the natural
sun, shines from one source, and shines alike upon all;
but it is reflected and absorbed in almost infinite variety;
and in the moral, as well as the natural world,
the diversity of the rays is occasioned by the nature
of the recipient.

Brown had gradually grown more daring in the
declaration of his belief; but it was not until the Sabbath
after ordination that he publicly evinced his adherence
to the rites of the Episcopal church. A
meeting was held in a vacant building which had been
erected as a common house until more convenient
dwellings could be procured. Here a considerable
number were collected; and the English ritual was
read, and the sacrament administered by Mr. Blackstone
in his full, canonical robes, according to the
ceremonies prescribed by James and his Bishops at
the council of Hampton House.

This was a thing not to be passed over. Mr. Blackstone
living alone in his solitary hut at Tri-Mountain,
was out of their jurisdiction; but Brown and his brother
were the next morning ordered to appear before
an assembly of the elders, to answer the charges
brought against them. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon
the inhabitants of Salem were seen again collecting at
their meetinghouse to hear what could be said in defence
of the culprits.

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After a suitable pause, the Governor arose, as he
said, “You Mr. Charles and Samuel Brown are accused
of fomenting disturbance among the people, forasmuch
as you have taught them that under the shadow
of the mitre is the only place where men ought to
worship. Do you plead guilty thereto?”

“That I bow with reverence before the holy mitre,
is most true, Governor Endicott; but in no respect
whatever have I bred disturbance among the people.”

“Have you not,” interrupted Mr. Conant, “have
you not made them drink of the wine of Babylon?
Yea, have you not made them drunk with her fornication?
Have you not, like the red dragon, pursued
the church into the wilderness, and poured out a flood
after her, that you might cause her to be destroyed?”

“My answers are to Governor Endicott, and the
elders of what you term the church,” replied Brown,
with respectful coldness.

“Mr. Conant,” said the Governor, “these things
should be done decently, and in order. It is the business
of men in authority to inquire into this matter.
Have you, young man, upheld the ritual of the first-born
daughter of the church of Rome, and maintained
that the arm of royal authority ought to enforce obedience

“I have said,” replied Brown, “that `Religio docenda
est, non coercenda,' was a bad maxim of state
policy; and that `Hæresis dedocenda est, non permittenda,
' was a far better. If by the first-born
daughter of Rome, you mean that church descended
in a direct line from Jesus Christ and his Apostles, a
church at the feet of which the most sacred and virtuous
Elizabeth bowed down her majestic head, and
beneath the shelter of whose mighty arm the learned
king James, and our liege prince Charles, have

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reposed their triple diadem—if you mean this church,
I do say, her sublime ritual should be enforced, till
every fibre of the king's dominions yields a response
thereto. Saints have worn her white robe, and her
mitre has rested on holy men. The sacred water
hath been on my unworthy head, and therewithal
have their hands signed the mystic symbol of redemption.
And I would rather,” continued he, raising
the tones of his fine, manly voice, “I would rather
give my limbs to the wolves of your desert, than see
her sceptre broken by men like yourselves.”

“Think you,” said Governor Endicott, smiling,
“that king James cared aught for the church, save
that he considered it the basis of the throne? You
forget his open declaration in the assembly at Edinburgh.
`The church of Geneva,' saith he, `keepeth
pasche and yule; what have they for them? They
have no institution. As for our neighbour kirk of
England, their service is an evil said mass in English.
They want none of the mass but the liftings.' ”

“King James had not then come to the English
throne,” answered Brown. “He found cause to alter
his opinion after he had felt the blessed influence of
that church, and seen many of her corner stones, elect
and precious.”

“Nay, Mr. Brown,” rejoined the Governor, “there
is enow wherewithal to convince your reason, for you
are not wanting in the light which leadeth astray,
that it was `king craft,' which made James turn his
back upon a church whereunto he had given the name
of the `sincerest kirk in the whole world;' and, with
all reverence to his royal memory, I cannot but think
that his love of forms and ceremonies was but a taint
of hereditary evil from his Moabitish mother. Forasmuch
as I am a loyal subject of king Charles, it is
neither wise nor safe for me to find specks and

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blemishes in his government; but to my thinking, there is
but a fine-spun thread between the crosier and the
liturgy, the embroidered mantle and the bishop's
gown; and who does not know that the heart of the
king is fastened to the rosary of Henrietta Maria?
And that the mummeries of Rome are, at her instigation,
heard within the palace of St. James? But after
all, Mr. Brown, there is one higher than princes. It
was a cardinal truth, which Cardinal Pole spake
unto Henry the Eighth, `Penes reges inferre bellum,
penes autem Deum terminare.' ”

“And I marvel that men of sense, like yourself,
Governor Endicott, can expect the sword of the Lord
to be quiet in its scabbard, when the robe of religion
is torn, and her altars overturned,” replied Brown;
“and that too, by men unto whom you give your countenance—
a parcel of separatists and anabaptists,
covering their sins with the cloak of religion, and concealing
their own factious and turbulent spirit there-with.”

Upon this Mr. Higginson and Mr. Skelton arose
and made answer:

“Neither as factious men affecting a popular parity
in the church, nor as schismatics aiming at the dissolution
of the church ecclesiastical, but as faithful ministers
of Christ, and liege subjects of king Charles,
did we come hither. We have suffered much for nonconformity
in our native land, and after much tribulation
have we come to this place of liberty. Here
the cap and the gown may not be urged upon us, for
we consider these things as sinful abominations in the
sight of God. So may the Almighty prosper us, as
we have, in all humility, spoken the truth.”

“Credat Judæus, non ego,” replied Brown, scornfully.
“It is easy to talk about conscience and

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humility, but wherein have you shown it, in that you
judge the consciences of your brethren?”

“We have but testified against what we conceived
to be the errors and abuses of the church,” answered
Mr. Higginson. “We have been made the humble
instruments to begin the good work, which God will
go on to perfect for his own praise and his people's.
peace. Let good men sit still and behold his salvation.
He that sitteth in the heavens, laugheth at the
pride of men. The Most High hath them in derision;
and their folly shall certainly be made known unto

“Mr. Brown,” said the Governor, “you need not
reply to this; for disrespectful words like unto those
you have spoken, must not be repeated in my presence.
Inasmuch as gentle means have been in vain
used to convince you of your errors, it is our opinion
that New England is no place for such haughty spirits
to dwell within. Therefore, in the first vessel which
departeth from these shores, we do order you to return
from whence you came; and, in the meantime,
we do command you to desist from convening the people
together at any time; or in any wise calling their
attention to common prayer.”

“Let them that scorn the mitre, fear the crown,”
replied the angry young man. “Who is it that has
wrought upon the minds of the people, persuading
them that they should not march under the king's colors,
pretending that his conscience is wounded by the
popish sign of the cross, and thereby concealing his
traitorous purposes against his sovereign? Mayhap
you had spoken less freely within the court of St.
James; but the sceptre can reach you even here, and
you may yet tremble at its touch. There are those
who can tell of your evil practices, and they shall be
told in a voice of thunder.”

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So saying, the young man and his brother, with
stately step, departed from the house.

“The council will sit some time longer,” said
Brown to his brother; “for they have other heretical
matters to discuss. If you will give me notice when
they begin to disperse, I will go directly to Mr. Conant's;
for I must see Mary to-night.”

“I could hardly stoop to woo the daughter of that
dogmatical rascal,” replied Samuel; “though I will
acknowledge, she is the very queen of women.”

“Pride can endure much in such a cause,” rejoined
his brother; “but I must away.”

The young man sprung over the log enclosure, ran
across a mendow to conceal his intended route from
those within the dwelling, and in a few moments coming
out into the open footpath, he hurried along with
the rapid pace of a man in whose bosom painful
thoughts are struggling and busy.

“Well,” thought he, “I shall at least see England
again—again tread on her classic ground, and gaze
on her antique grandeur and cultivated beauty. But,
oh, to leave her in such a place, is the bitterest
thought of all. And what would be her lot, if far
away from her, I should go to `that bourne from
whence no traveller returns?' ”

But the heart of youth rebounds from the pressure
of despondency—and presently brighter scenes were
passing swiftly before him. One moment he was invested
in the civil gown, the applause of princes and
nobles resounding in his ears;—and the next presented
Mary restored to her original rank, and shining
amid the loveliest and proudest of the land. She too,
had had many bitter thoughts; for she well knew the
temper of the souls about her, and she felt that the
decree of the assembly could not be otherwise than
it had proved. When Brown entered, he received a

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cordial grasp both from the mother and daughter, as
they anxiously inquired,

“What have they done?”

“A vessel sails for England in a week,” replied
Brown; “and Samuel and I depart from America,
perhaps forever.”

Whenever Mary thought of the possibility of separation,
and of late she had frequently feared that the
time would soon come, she had felt that the youth
was still dearer and dearer to her heart. And now
when she heard him announce the speedy certainty
of this, her pale lip quivered, and in the silent unreserve
of hearts long wedded to each other, she threw
herself sobbing on his neck, her slender arms clinging
around him, in all the energy of grief.

“I know not,” said Mrs. Conant, dashing the tears
from her cheek, “I know not that I ought to allow
this. Remember, dear Mary, what I owe to your

“Madam Conant,” replied Brown, “we have loved
each other too long, and too purely, to stand upon
idle ceremonies at this painful moment. Had I been
treated with more moderation, perhaps I might never
have been so hasty as to declare my religious opinions.
Then these unhappy differences had never
arisen, and with my Mary, I could happily have shared
a log hut in the wilderness. But I have been
spurned, goaded, trampled on, as a heretic—and worse
than all, I have been doomed to hear every thing
blasphemed which I held most sacred. As it is, you
cannot deny us this sorrowful alleviation of our lot.”

“It is the duty of woman to love and obey her husband,”
answered Mrs. Conant; “but had you known
whereunto my heart has been inclined in this matter—”
she would have said more, but something
unbidden rose and prevented her utterance.

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“I do know it,” rejoined the young man; “and
wherever I go, you will be in my pleasantest and most
grateful thoughts. But, Mary, it will not be always
thus—You will come to England and be my wife.”

Mary looked at her mother and sighed.

“It may as well be said as not, my child,” observed
Mrs. Conant. “I shall not long hang a dead
weight upon your young life. Nay, do not weep,
Mary; I know that you are willing to bear the burden,
and that you have been kind and cheerful beneath
it; but the shadows of life are fleeting more
dimly before me, and I feel that I must soon be gathered
to my fathers.”

The expression brought with it a flash of painful

“No,” continued she, “like the wife of Abraham, I
must be buried far from my kindred. If my greyhaired
father could but shed one tear upon my grave,
methinks it would furnish wherewithal to cheer my
drooping heart. I loved my husband,—nor have I
ever repented that I followed him hither; but oh,
Mary, I would not have you suffer as I have suffered,
when I have thought of that solitary old man. `The
heart knoweth its own sorrows, and a stranger intermeddleth
not with its grief.”'

“Dear mother,” replied Mary, “you know that
grandfather loves you, and has long since forgiven
you. I have told you how often he used to take me
in his lap and kiss me, as he said how much I looked
like his dear child.”

The mournful smile of consumption passed over the
pale face of Mrs. Conant,—one of those smiles in
which the glowing light of the etherial inhabitant
seemed gleaming through its pale and broken tenement.

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“Well, Mr. Brown,” said she, “Mary will write a
letter to her grandfather, and when you deliver it,
give him therewith the duty and affection of his dying
daughter. I could wish that Mary might be always
with her father. He loves her, notwithstanding his
conscientious scruples cause him to seem harsh; and
perhaps she might feel happier when her days are
numbered like mine. But I don't know—It is no
doubt a painful sacrifice.”

“Wherever I am,” replied Brown, “my home shall
be most gladly shared with Mary's father. Besides,”
continued he, smiling, “the prayer book should be
hid, and not another word said about the surplice.”

“I am glad to hear you speak so,” interrupted
Mary. “I was afraid you would be angry, inasmuch
as I knew they would speak irreverently of our holy

“I was angry,” answered Brown; “and I threatened
that the king should be informed of heresy and

“Oh, Charles, don't stir up their enemies in England,”
said Mary. “There are a great many good
men among them; and I am sure they have difficulties
enough already.”

“I would not hurt a hair of their heads, if I could,”
rejoined her lover; “and sorry am I that my unruly
tongue led me far beyond my reason in this matter.
As you say, I believe some of them are conscientious;
though the arch enemy of souls hath led them far
from the true path of safety.”

“I cannot think with you and Mary,” observed
Mrs. Conant, “about forms and ceremonies. But it
appears to me that an error in judgment is nothing, if
the life be right with God. I have lately thought
that a humble heart was more than a strong mind, in
perceiving the things appertaining to divine truth.

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Matters of dispute appear more and more like a vapor
which passeth away. I have seldom joined in them;
for it appears to me there is little good in being convinced,
if we are not humbled; to know every thing
about religion, and yet to feel little of its power—
yea, even to feel burdened with a sense of sin and
misery, and yet be content to remain in it.”

“Why, I must say,” replied Brown, “that I think
the Bible is clear enough, as explained by our holy
bishops. But to my mind, the view of God's works
brings more devotion than any thing relating to controversy.”

“Ah, Mr. Brown, the Bible is an inspired book;
but I sometimes think the Almighty suffers it to be a
flaming cherubim, turning every way, and guarding
the tree of life from the touch of man. But in creation,
one may read to their fill. It is God's library—
the first Bible he ever wrote.”

“Bless me,” exclaimed Mary, “here is father at
the very doors.”

Her lover hastily relinquished her hand, and she
sprang from his side; but there was no chance for
him to retreat. Mrs. Conant's pulse throbbed high,
for she saw that her husband was already in no pleasant
humor. The old gentleman hung up his hat, and
drew his chair forward, without being aware of the
presence of any one but his own family, till Brown
rose and stood before him. The countenance of Mr.
Conant was flushed with anger, when he saw the bold

“Mr. Brown,” said he, stamping his foot violently,
“how came you hither?”

Why, I came hither, you already know,” replied
the youth calmly; “and most gladly would I have
had my last visit here, a peaceable one.”

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The tyrannical man opened the door, and pointed
to it, as he said, “A man may not touch pitch, and
remain undefiled. I marvel if you bring not a curse
on the whole house.”

“I was about to depart,” answered his guest; “but
there is one thing I would say before I go. In my
anger I spoke disrespectfully to men older and better
than myself. It is a matter of choice as well as of
necessity to leave New England, and be no more
among you; and now, Mr. Conant, for the sake of
those who are dear to me, I would fain have our parting,
not that of churchman and non-conformist, but of

“Out with you, and your damnable doctrines, you
hypocritical son of a strange woman,” exclaimed Mr.

Pride was struggling hard for utterance, as Brown
moved towards the door; but for Mary's sake it was
repressed—and before the old man was aware of his
purpose, he stept back and took the hand of the mother
and daughter, as he said,

“God bless you both. To me you have been all

He then made a formal, stately bow to Mr. Conant,
who muttered,

“Take my curse with you,” and slammed the door
after him.

Mary rushed into her apartment, and hiding her
face in the bed clothes, gave free vent to her tears.

But the poor may not long indulge their grief. Her
father's supper must be prepared, and her mother's
wants must not be neglected; and, with as much serenity
as she could assume, she again appeared in his
presence. The tears of his sickly wife had allayed
the first gust of passion, and perhaps even the heart of
that rigid man reproached him for its violence.

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However that might be, pride would suffer no symptoms of
remorse to appear before his family. Every thing
went wrong through the whole evening. The cake
was burned,—and the milk was not sweet,—and there
had been too much fire to prepare their little repast;
till wearied out with his continual fretfulness, they
both retired to their beds at an early hour, and Mary
sobbed herself into an uneasy slumber.

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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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