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Word Count: 1,428
The Puritans 1 We would speak first of the Puritans the most remarkable body of men perhaps which the world has ever produced The odious and ridiculous parts of their character lie on the surface He that runs may read them nor have there been wanting attentive and malicious observers to point them out For many years after the Restoration they were the theme of unmeasured invective and derision They were exposed to the utmost licentiousness of the press and of the stage at the time when the press and the stage were most licentious They were not men of letters they were as a body unpopular they could not defend themselves and the public would not take them under its protection They were therefore abandoned without reserve to the tender mercies of the satirists and dramatists The ostentatious simplicity of their dress their sour aspect their nasal twang their stiff posture their long graces their Hebrew nanes the Scriptural phrases which they introduced on every occasion their contempt of human learning their detestation of polite amusements were indeed fair game for the laughers But it is not from the laughers alone that the philosophy of history is to be learnt And he who approaches this subject should carefully guard against the influence of that potent ridicule which has already misled so many excellent writers Ecco il fonte del riso ed ecco il rio Che mortali perigli in se contiene Hor qui tener a fren nostro a desio Ed esser cauti molto a noi conviene Those who roused the people to resistance - who directed their measures through a long series of eventful years - who formed out of the most unpromising materials the finest army that Europe had ever seen - who trampled down king church and aristocracy - who in the short intervals of domestic sedition and rebellion made the name of England terrible to every nation on the face
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