IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of the transcriptions of The Courant given here have not had the proofreading corrections completed. Use these to enjoy the flavor of the content. Please check original sources when citing these documents.
From Monday January 15, to Monday January 22. 1722.
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Bloody Fishing at Oyster-River,
And sad Work at Groton.
Math. Mag. Chr. Amer. Book VII. Pag. 86.
That the Courants are Carry'd on by a Hell-Fire Club with a Nonjuror at the Head of them, has been asserted by a certain Clergyman in his common Conversation, with as much Zeal as ever he discover'd in the Application of a Sermon on the most awakening Subject. This is one of the malicious arts used by him, and his hot-headed Trumpeters, to spoil the Credit of the Courant, that he may resign Detractor General over the whole Province, and do all the Mischief his ill Nature prompts him to with out hearing of it. But, as this Report betrays the highest Pitch of Malice in themselves, so it discovers the greatest Ignorance in those that believe it; for if the few Gentlemen here, reputed Tory's are concern'd in writing the Paper, they are very much out in their Politicks in asserting the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, to prove the Doctrines of Absolute Monarchy, Passive Obedience, and Non-resistance. As to Mr. C---y's being concern'd in it, I affirm, I know not of one Piece in the Courants of his writing; but am certain, that he has been Charg'd with being the Author of many (wherein the Ministers were touch'd upon) which I know he was not; nor is so much of a Courant Christian as to promote the Paper by being a Subscriber for it.
Another Artifice made use of to crush the Courant, is to raise Reports, that at such a Time, and for such a Piece in it, the Government would suppress it; and in the they have fail'd as much as in the other; for an Itch after the Novelty of The Subject that should cause such a Report, brought many transient Customers, who finding nothing in the Subject of the Pieces out what might justly be still pursu'd, were easily perswaded to become Subscribers. Here I shall take the Liberty to observe that as there has been nothing in the Courants against Law, so none of them have ever yet suffer'd the Disgrace of being call'd in by the Sheriffs, as did the Pamphlet intitled, News from Robinson Crusoe's Island, so justly, censur'd by the Honourable House of Representatives.
There with many other Endeavors, proceeding from an arbitrary & Selfish Temper, have been attended with their hearty Curses on the Courant and its Publisher, but all to no purpose; for (as a Connecticut Trader once said of his Onions,) The more they are curs'd, the more they grow: Notwithstanding which, a young scribbling Collegian, who has just Learning enough to make a Fool of himself, has taken it in his Head to put a Stop to this wickedness (as he calls it) by a Better in the last Week's Gazette. Poor Boy! When your Letter comes to be seen in other Countries, (under the Umbrage of Authority,) what indeed will they think of New-England! They will certainly conclude, There is bloody Fishing for Nonsense at Cambridge, and [Illegible] Work at the Colledge, [Illegible] Wretch, when
he calls these who write the several Pieces in the Courant, The Hell-Fire Club of Boston, and finds a Godfather for them, (which by the way is a Hellish Mockery of the Ordinance of Baptism, as administered by the Church of England,) and tells us, That all the Supporters of the paper will be look'd upon as Destroyers of the Religion of the Country, and Enemies to the faithful Ministers of it, little thinks what a cruel Reflection he Throws on his Reverend Grandfather, who was then, and for some time before, a Subscriber for the Paper.
I verily believe, the Ministers of New-England in general, are as faithful to God and their Flocks, as any Clergy in the known World: But 'tis certain, that some of them of late, have been too industrious in reporting things, which tend to hurt the private Interest of some of their Hearers: Their Endeavours of this Nature against my self, is too plain and too Publick to be conceal'd and as I freely forgive them, so I heartily ask Pardon for offending them in following my proper Business.
For a Man to give up his Right and Title to his Senses, and allow his whimsical Minister (for some such there are in all Countries) to dispose of him Body and Soul, just as the Humour takes him, is no Argument of Love, but on the contrary opens a Door for a dangerous Prejudice, if not an irreconcilable Hatred between them. The best of Men are but Men at the best, and if of ambitious Tempers are apt to receive all the Honour given them, without considering whether it is due to them for their Work's sake: And if after a Minster has kept an open Breast to receive Honours of all Sorts, he begins to demand them as a Duty from his Hearers, 'tis no Wonder if he very much loses his Interest in some of their Affections. 'Tis necessary to love a Minister in order to profit by him, but 'tis not always necessary to please him in order to love him: This is so far from being good Protestants, & the Subjects of a king who allows us Liberty of Conscience.
It is a Pleasure to me, that I have never inserted any thing in the Courant, which charg'd any Man, or Society of Men, with being Guilty of the Crimes which were peculiar to the Hell-Fire Club in London, and which the Devils themselves are not capable of perpetrating. And, whether Mr. M--e or his young Champion know it or no, 'tis look'd upon as a gross Resection on the Government, that they should be told of a Hell-Fire Club in Boston, (in a Paper publish'd by Authority) and not use their Endeavours to discover who they are, in order to punish them. But I have already ingross'd too much Room in the Paper, and am prevented making any further Remarks on the young Scribbler's Performance, by the good will of my Correspondents in the following Letters, which I shall here insert.
To the Gazetteer,
Old Muss, Hall's Coffee-House, Jan. 20, 1721
I am not a little concern'd at the Loss you Weekly sustain of Customers, by your encouraging a certain Paper call'd the Courant. It seems you gave the occasion of its first Appearance in this Town, by publishing a Ministerial Inoculation Letter, which has been a Food of good Diversion for some Months past.
You still continue from Time to Time to afford the Couranteer Opportunities of amusing us agreeably. Pray, unless you go Shares with Couranto, consult your own Interest more. In Quality of Post-Master, you have the best Opportunity to excel, and telecommend your Paper by the freshest and best Intelligences, foreign and domestick: As Authority News-Writer, let the spare Places in your Paper be fill'd with Speeches, Addresses, Proclamations, and other publick Notifications; but above all let the Seat of the Muses be sacred: May nothing that is wicked, false, dull or childish, be said to come from our Alma Mater Cantabrigia; from thence we expect solid Sense, and bright Wit.
In your last Gazette, amongst other things not deserving Notice, I find the young Cub, a Chip of the old Black (by Direction) uses the Evasion of Mercury in general, instead of London Mercury. The first Passage concerning Inoculation is no more to be found in the London Mercury here on the Table, than COTTON MATHER D. D. is to be found in the Lift of the Royal Society affixed at the other end of the Room. I am glad the Inoculators by their Advertisement seem to be asham'd of their Practices, Publickly protesting that they have not one at present under that Operation. They are desired to withdraw the Words groundless & malicious, & add them to their own distinguishing Character of Inattention and rash Judgment: If they please to revise that Letter, they may find it dated December 20th, or about which time, if they require it, Instances are to be produced of some who died, of others who suffer'd much under Inoculation.
Per Couranto, Q. D. C. I am,
Tho' the scandalous and malicious Piece which has lately been seen flaming in a Publick Print, deserves scarce any Notice: yet for Several Reasons there few Remarks may be necessary. Certain It is, that no Man except his Head were made of Butter, and in a melting Posture, would ever publish such a Diabolical Medley of Nonsense, as scarce any Age or Country can parallel. And in my Opinion, it will be a lasting Repoach to Cambridge, that such Poysonous and more than Humane Malice from thence should Issue. It Seems the Venomous Itch of Scribbling is Hereditary; a Disease transmitted from the Father to the Son. Our Young Scribbler has made a very fine Beginning, and given the World a wonderful Specimen of what they may expect hereafter.
His saying, he is no Minister, is a cruel Reproach to that Order: for it will look in other Country, as if they were wont to vend such Hellish Stuff. Minisher! Poor young Man! It will be well for the World if thou art destin'd to be a Porter or a Plough-jogger; for, from such Ministers as Thou art like to more, Libera nos Domini! His Design (if he had any) was certainly to villify the Ministers of Religion; or else he would never have said, in the middle of his Libel, That one of the most Principal of them ( who sent your Curse at large to be printed ) was forsaken of God, and of Sense, &c.
I hope the Govenment will see to it, that no more such Hellish Stuff, as is a Reproach to any Christian Country, be suffered to go into a Paper Published by Authority.
Mr. Franklin, Ipswich, Jan 19, 1721.
Looking over the Boston Gazette of Monday Last, I took Notice of a Letter to Mr. M---e, dated at Cambridge the 11th Courant. At first View I was Somewhat concern'd, fearing lest it Should Come from one of the Learned Body belonging to the Academy there. But when I a little consider'd the whole Epistle, and found it to be made up of imperious and scandalous Invectives, and tending to very pernicious Consequences, I confess I was of another Opinion;
and concluded with my self, that it was some scurrilous Hireling of the P-st M---T't, carry on a wicked Design, under Pretense of his Vindication. 'Tis well he acknowledges he is no Minister, lest some ignorant Persons should think he was. I shall wave the Enquiry into the Truth of what is said about Inoculation in the London Mercury of the 16th of September, Since it lies with you to clear it up; neither shall I Say any thing about what that Letter drives at in the Mis-application of the Courant of the 8th Currant, concerning the Approbation and Advice of the Ministers being from the Devil. It is enough to shock every good Man to pen the Words after him, as well as that execrable Sentence he has set down of the Churches of New-England praying to the Devil: Monstrum Horrendum! &c.
These, and some other vile Things that Letter mentions, are to me both new and astonishing; and are what I can never believe till they are prov'd. But to come briefly to the Jugulum Cause, which if I mistake not is this: viz. The P--st-M---r I suppose looks upon his Character to be call'd in question, for his Pride, Idleness, and Dishonestly. These indeed are high Charges, and are very incumbent on him to wipe off, if he is able: But Pray, what is the reason that our Ministers must be crowded into this Affair? Why, in good Truth, the Mystery of Inquiry lies in this; That the vile Impostor who wrote the Cambridge Letter (so call'd) intended to tack our Ministers to M---e's Cafe, and by that Means to bring them into the Quarrel, in order to sink the Courant, and involve them into a controversy with some of their good Friends and Hearers, that may chances to buy or take in the Paper: for the Cambridge Letter says, That the supporters of the Courant will be looked upon as Enemies to the Ministers, and Destroyers of the Religion of the Country: Now the Buyers of that Paper, must be look'd upon as the only Supporters of it. For my own Part, I am apt to believe there is more of the Subtlety of the Wicked One in this Matter, than at first Sight every one may discern; for doubtless, it paves a fair way to lead our Ministers into Party Differences, and so into Contempt, which would be the Joy of our Adversaries. Whoever he was that wrote that Cambridge Letter, I may venture to say was neither a Friend to the Ministers not the country; and I hope he will not lye hid long. As to the Paper it self, let the Gazette and the Courant, for some Months Past be compar'd, and then let impartial Judges say which is Scandalous. I would ask Mr. M---e, If a Print should come out stuff up with Falsities, in order to destroy his Selling the Gazette, which is his Livelyhood, and by that Means he should lose the Sale of Part of them, would he not think it Actionable? Now the Difference between F---n and M---e, is not about the Gazette, but about the P--St-M---t's being defective in his Office, which may be easily set right, if M---e be innocent. As to the Cambridge Letter's mentioning that detestable Hell-Fire Club, it looks still in him as designedly mischievous as all the rest, to throw such a Lasting Reproach on the whole Country; since there is no Person That lives in Boston, (nor any where else,) that I could ever hear was able to give the least Reason for such a Report: And had Mr. Godfather C---l been prosecured some Months ago, when he in his Weekly Paper insinuated to the World, that there was such a Club in Boston, I am verily Perswaded, it would not have now been brought on the Stage to serve a Turn. However, In this Cafe the Onus Probandi lies upon the Author of the Cambridge Letter, which (for the good of the Country, he, and the Numbers he mentions, together with the Company that M---e need not be ashamed of, are forth with defir'd to Pluck up their Courage, and give a List of the Names of the Persons that are pointed at in that Letter, as a Hell Fire Club; that if any such there be, they may be rooted up and banished: But on the other hand, if the Accusation appears to be false and groundless, then let the Author of the Cam-
bridge Letter, or The Publisher, be branded with Infamy, and suffer the utmost Rigour that the Law can inflict. There is several other things might be touch'd upon in that Letter, but they are so false, ignorant and silly, that it's not worth the while to blot Paper about them; Particularly about the Courant's being seen in other Countrys, the Reflection on the Intent of Courant, the prejudging a Man when he prints anything that looks religious, &c. I shall say nothing of the Letter in Defense of Inoculation which he hints at, as I never meddled in that Matter, either for or against it. As to John Williams, I suppose he answer for himself; he is a Man I don't know, nor do ever remember to have seen in my whole Life time, If he be crankbrain'd, as the Cambridge Letter avers, Truly the poor Man is almost without a Remedy in the Law; but if he be a sober Man, and of sound Reason, ' tis highly probable that some of the Lawyers would tell him that he has a good Action against the Fictitious Cambridge Champion or Mr. M---e,
To the Author of the New-England Courant.
Queary, Whether it be not proper for the Sufferers to send in their Names, with an Account of the Damage they have sustain'd, in order to be Transmitted home, and prevent Progress of this Clandestine Practice? Another Dialogue between the Clergyman and Layman. Lay-man: In our last Discourse you were pleas'd to say that all the Rakes in Town are against Inoculation: So That I Plainly see, that Faith in the Doctrine of Inoculation, is by some Accounted a Discriminating Mark of the Godly. Clergyman: It is a wrong Consequence which you draw from what I said; for I did not mean that all who are against Inoculation are Rakes: and if any of those worthy Persons who favour that Practice, have made use of hasty Expressions in their Words or Writings, you ought to put the best Construction on them, and impute the same to their Pious Zeal for the Good of the People. Laym. I confess that Zeal is very Good when accompanied with Discretion: But (as the Rev. Mr. Foxcrost observes, Ordi. Serm, p.17.) "zeal not " according to Knowledge, is but an Erratique Fire, "that will often lead us into Boggs and Pracipices; "Ardour of Spirit, without a Temperature of Prudence and Discretion. portends nothing but wild "Confusion.--- a barren Face fix'd to an empty Scull "-- is but a miserable Tool to be emply'd in any Affair of Consequence and Intricate Involvement: but Contrarywise (as that Rev. Person observes p,36, ) "It becames the Advocates of Truth always to offer "unbroken Reason, that shall matter and overmatch "the Understanding, &c. Cler. I believe our Ministers are furnish'd with all other necessary Qualifications besides Zeal: But
there is such a vile Spirit of Opposition among the People, that they Cavil at every thing the Ministers say or do. I mean the Vulgar Sort of People; for the Learned and Understanding Sort are better Principled, they are for Inoculation.
Laym. So the Pharisees cry'd out, John 7:48. Do any of the Rulers believe? as if all others must make their Opinion and Belief, the Rule and Measure of their own; or if they do not, they are Accursed: for so it follows, v. 49. This People who know not the Law, (this ignorant, Rascally Rabble, the Dregs of the Common-wealth and manners too,) are Cursed. Cler. Why it is chiefly among the Vulgar Herd that this wicked Spirit of Party and Division prevails: It is they who oppose their Good Rulers and Ministers; and if any new Thing is propos'd they presently make it a Bone of Contention. For my Part I fear they will Sin away a Precious Ministry, & Pious Magistracy.
Laym. Sir I think it Strange that you should charge our Differences and Parties to the People's Account; When you can't but know that Some of your own Order have been broaches & fomenters of them! but there is a Sort of Men in the World who are Eagles abroad but Owls at Home; that is, they can see other Mens' Faults, but not their own.
Cler. I would have the Blame center on the Guilty; and then I am sure it will not all fall on the Clergy. Laym. I pray Sir, Who have been Instruments of Mischief and Trouble both in Church and State, from the Witchcraft to Inoculation? who is it that takes the Liberty to Villify a whole Town, in Words too black to be repeated? Who is that in common Conversation , make no Bones of calling the Town a MOB? and whose Disciple is he who has lately done the same? Cler. But you must not Condemn all because some are Imprudent.
Laym. I Condemn them for their Imprudence and you for endeavoring to Justify the same.
Cler. There are too many Authors, and that is the Cause of our Divisions: The Command of the Press is fallen into Layman's Hands and is made an Engine to Detract from the Worth of Good Men. And as for your Great Champion W----ams, he has stuff'd his Pamphlets with Scandalous Reflections instead of Arguments.
Laym. I know you cannot endure that Laymen should write or Know any thing: You would have them know but just enough to get to Heaven; but hear what the learned Dr. Edwards saith; "Clergymen should not disdain to call in Laymen to Judge" of those Things they treat of; for some of them "are Masters of Good Learning, and others understand Good Sense, and can discern an Augment, tho' they are not flock'd with Greek and Latin." And a Famous Civilian faith, we ought to believe a private Layman if he speak out of the Scriptures, rather than the Pope and a whole Council, if "they Decree any thing without the Word of God.---Neither Luther nor Calvin had so much of the Pope in them as to think themselves Infallible.
Cler. We don't desire to be Popes: but then we must need Censure those who run from Place to Place hearing and telling News,& prating about Politicks, and Promoting Jangles and Contention.
Laym. If you would all take Example by the Rev. Mr. S---L, and let Inoculation and State Affairs alone, there would not be so much Juggling and Contention as there is.
Cler. Why Must not Ministers be Suffered to Speak their Minds as well as other Men?
Laym. They may do it in Private, but then they ought to be very Cautious and Circumspect.
Cler. You best go into the Pulpit and teach us our Duty.
Laym. I should be in the Way of my Duty as much as you are, when you vend your private opinion there, if I should.
Cler. Formerly there was nothing Transacted with-
out the Clergy Advice: but now they must be afraid to Speak: A worthy Friend of mine some Time since, did but touch on Subjection to the higher Powers, and he was soon whipt up in print, with an Aire becoming a Son of Thunder.
Laym. Formerly there were many Grave and Wise Ministers ; now there are but few. Besides the People are more knowing and don't need so much Advice. It May be your Friend (whoever he was) went too far with his Digression.
Cler. He did but gently Chastise a Scribbler of the Low Tribe, who wrote a Pamphlet to villify our Order.
Laym. Did some of your Order meddle with that which was not their Business: and when they do so, is it strange if they are Expos'd?
Cler. Our Business is, to lift tip our Voice like a Trumpet, against growing Iniquity, and to Exhort every Soul to be Subject to the higher Powers: and we must do our Duty let Men say what they will.
Laym. The Clergy have no Business with innoculation, considered as a Practice in Physick. Dr. Cotton Mather observes, (Bonifa. p.105.) that "in some Reformed Churches, they do not permit a Minister of the Gospel to practice as a Physician, because either of those Callings is ordinarily enough to find a full Employment for him that faithfully follows it. And I am sure their Work being of a Spiritual Nature, is directly opposite to matters of State. Hear what the excellent Bishop Burnet saith; ----- the "Clergy, says a certain Author, had their Shere allow'd them wherein to Shine; but when they descend to the lower Regions, they degenerate to pernicicious Meteors.---The wisest Governments "have always excluded their Clergy from Affairs of State; from whence they have received the double Benefit, of having their Ghostly occasions better Serv'd, and their Temporal Concerns less Embroil'd; for of all Men living they have the worst Politicks — Whether it be or not, (says a judicious Person,) that the Clergy are not so well fitted by Education as others for Political Affairs, I know not; tho' I should think they have an Advantage above others, and if they would but even keep to the Bible, might make the best Ministers of State in the World.--- yet it is generally observ'd that Things Miscarry under their Government. If their be any Council more Precipitate, more Violent, vigorous and Extream than other, it is theirs. Truly I think the reason that God does not bless them in Affairs of State, is because he never intended them for that Employment.--- yet there are the Men that must be cutting us out Schemes of Politicks, Prescribing Government, &c.
Vienna, August 18. The Affairs of Religion even perplexes this Court; The Emperor has sent repeated Mandates and Letters to the Elector Palatine, and also Ambassadors or Envoys, to press him to do Justice to the Protestants his Subjects. On the other Hand, the Elector as often sends an Answer, that he has effectually commanded all his Officers to put the Imperial Mandates in Execution; that they in return have assur'd him, that they have done so, & yet the Protestant Agents complain too at the Imperial Court, that their Grievances are not redress'd, but that they are rather increas'd; so there is no end of affirming and complaining. They say now, that Prince Eugene of Savoy has promised to interest himself in the Affair , and that he will endeavour to oblige the Elector to set more serously about it, and to find out some means whereby his Officers may be oblig'd to a more dutiful Regard to his Order, and the Out-crys of his Protestant Subjects.
London, Sept, 7. Last Saturday Morning, the Cirencester flying Stage Coach, Which set out between 12 and 1, was stop'd by two Highwaymen at Knights-Bridge: there happen'd at that Time to be Six Passegers in it, and among the rest a Sister
of the Quakers, who told the Highwaymen, she wonder'd how they could be so troublesom to travelling Friends; but one of them clap'd a Pistol to her Breast, and with an Oath told her he was in halt; upon which she reply'd, Prithee Friend take away thy Bauble, I have nothing but a few Farthings about me. Another Person in the Coach had provided a green Purse with 4s. 6 d. in it, which she seem'd very loth to part with, and with they with Joy receiv'd. At the earnest Request of a Third, they return'd a key, and at last rode off, but very little heavier than they came.
Boston, Jan. 22. Last Week died one of the Indian Hostages (mention'd in our last) of the small Pox at Cambridge.
They write from N.H-mp-re, that the High Sheriff of that Province, finding one of the Courants, No. 21 in a Publick House there, and fearing it Might infect the Inhabitants with a desire of Liberty, seiz'd it as a Publick Disturber, and (according to Custom) without any Legal Tryal, acted the Part of a common Hangman in committing it to the Flames.
Letters from Nantucket assure us, that the small Pox spread very much there.
They write from Martha's Vineyards that a mortal Fever rages very much there, and that Capt. Thomas Chace and his Daughter lately dy'd of it after three
Days illness. We hear from Hingham that several Families there are ill of the Measles.
By Order of the select-Men of Boston. The Number of Persons buried in the Town, dyed of the Small Pox, from the middle of April last, to the 20th of January Instant, 1721, and the several Months they were buried in, having been care fully taken, is as follows
Custom House, Boston. No Vessels Entered Inwards last Week.
Thomas Porter, John Mackathur, and John Pick for South Carolina, Richard Huskins and John Peck for Jamaica, Thomas King, and Roger Dench for Barbadoes, Edward Cooper, and Edward Messeroy for West Indies.
Daniel Wair Sloop Paradox for Newport and Connecticut.
Whereas the Great and General Court, in their Sessions at Cambridge (May, 1721.) have Enacted: (in one Clause of the Excise Act) That Every Taverner, Victualler Inholder and Retailer shall after the 29th of June 1721. take an exact Account of all Rhum, Brandy and other Distilled spirits, and Wine then by him, and give an Account of the same to the Commissioner upon Oath. The like Account to be given by such other Persons as shall be Licensed during the continuance of this Act, of what Rhum, Brandy, or other distilled Spirits and Wine, they Shall have at the Time of their License. These are therefore to notify all the Taverners, Inholders, Common Victuallers and Retailers in the Town of, Boston, that they make out and deliever unto Mr. Alexander Miller (appointed Deputy by William Dudley, Esq;) such Account as before mentioned in the Act, by or before the 29th Day of this Instant January, at the Dwelling House of Mr. Alexander Miller in Moon Street, who (for the Ease and Conveniency of said Traverners, &c.) is impowered to receive the same. Dated at Roxbury December 30, 1721. And in the Eighth Year of His Majesty's Reign.
WILLIAM DUDLEY, Commissioner
All Persons indebted to the Estate of Robert, Calef, late of Roxbury, deceas'd, are desired to pay Their respective Debts to Joseph Cales in Water Street, Boston, Administer to whom those who have any Claims on the Said Estate may apply themselves for Payment.
Boston: Printed and Sold by J. Franklin in Queen Street, over against Mr. Sheaf's School, where Advertisements and Letters are taken in by J. Edwards at the Corner Shop on the North Side of the Town-House.