Jan. 10th, 2006

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December and January seem to be the times for introspective entries. I'm not very good at them; I try to avoid them, actually. So, instead, we have, for your further enlightenment a letter which, I think, aptly sums up our society. That's not to say that I advocate any particular movement for social justice or anything, but just that we (or, at least, I) often take a short-sighted approach to things.

To the Aged and Beloved, Mr. John Higginson, 1682: There be now at sea a ship called Welcome, which has on board 100 or more of the heretics and malignants called Quakers, with W. Penn, who is the chief scamp, at the head of them. The General Court has accordingly given sacred orders to Master Malachi Huscott, of the brig Porpoise, to waylay the said Welcome slyly as near the Cape of Cod as may be, and make captive the said Penn and his ungodly crew, so that the Lord may be glorified and not mocked on the soil of this new country witht he heathen worship of these people. Much spoil can be made of selling the whole lot to Barbados, where slaves fetch good prices in rum and sugar, and we shall not only do the Lord great good by punishing the wicked, but we shall make great good for His Minister and people. Yours in the bowels of Christ, Cotton Mather

in The Oxford Book of Letters, Frank Kermode and Anita Kermode, eds.

I'm fairly amused.


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