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WHAT the Journal of Madame Knight is to those who are studying tavern and transpor­tation conditions in the New England of two centuries ago,1 the Letters of John Dunton are to us when we are concerned with Boston in the latter part of the seventeenth century. That time was peculiarly barren of description at the hands of visitors, upon whom the city made an impression rather favourable as a whole. Sewall's Diary is of inestimable value, of course, but he was a part of all that he de­scribed and so could not bring an unbiased mind to bear upon his subject. And many of the visitors who wrote about us took a hostile tone and so presented material by no means, trustworthy.

Sometimes, to be sure, there was good reason for the harshness of the picture drawn. When Jasper Dankers and Peter Sluyter, for instance, gained the impressions which have since been published by the Long Island His­torical Society, they were strangers, unable to speak English, and "as Jesuits who had come here for no good" were of course regarded with suspicion. Some of the things which Dunton saw through rather rose-coloured glasses, they seem to have found not at all prepossessing. But their understatements of the country's attractions are generally less to be credited than his slight overstatement. What they wrote is interesting, though, and some few passages from their pens may well enough be quoted before we proceed to enjoy Dunton's racy discourse.

Our Jesuit friends shared in a fast day at one of the Boston churches and they were not in the least edified. "In the first place a min­ister made a prayer in the pulpit of full two hours in length; after which an old minister delivered a sermon an hour long, and after that a prayer was made and some verses sung out of the psalm. In the afternoon three or four hours were consumed with nothing except prayers, three ministers relieving each other alternately: when one was tired another went up into the pulpit. The inhabitants are all Independent in matter of religion, if it can be called religion; many of them perhaps more for the purposes of enjoying the benefit of its privileges than for any regard to truth and godliness.... All their religion consists in observing Sunday by not working or going into the taverns on that day; but the houses are worse than the taverns.... There is a penalty for cursing and swearing such as they please to impose, the witnesses thereof being at liberty to insist upon it. Nevertheless, you discover little difference between this and other places. Drinking and fighting occur there not less than elsewhere."

One of the most curious items is their pic­ture of Harvard College. Apparently the in­stitution was not then very flourishing (June, 1680), for they found only ten students and no Professor! On entering the College build­ing they discovered "eight or ten young fel­lows sitting about, smoking tobacco, with the smoke of which the room was so full that you could hardly see; and the whole house smelt so strong of it that when I was going upstairs, I said, this is certainly a tavern.... They could hardly speak a word of Latin so that my comrade could not converse with them. They took us to the library where there was nothing particular. We looked over it a little."

Dunton's experience at Harvard we shall find to be quite a different one though his visit there was only six years later than that of the missionaries. A very red-blooded gentleman was this London bookseller and journalist, who, after Monmouth’s insurrection, came to New England to sell a consignment of books and so retrieve his depressed fortunes. Dunton had been intended for the ministry, but developing some tendencies of the gay Lothario stripe he became, instead, apprenticed to a bookseller and, succeeding in this line of work, soon set up a shop for himself. On August 3, 1682, he married the daughter of Dr. Samuel Annesley, a distinguished non-conformist minister. One sister of this lady became the mother of John Wesley and another the wife of Defoe. She herself must have been a remarkable person for she held the affection of her flighty hus­band the while she enabled him to keep his credit good and to be of financial aid to several dependent relatives.

She had a piquant dash of Bohemianism, too, and this adds to her charm for us, as for her devoted spouse. She and John were al­ways Iris and Philaret to each other and in­stead of having a house and living staidly in it they settled down, when their honeymoon days were over, in the Black Raven, on Prince's street, London, where they lived for two years without a single care. "Look which way we would the world was always smiling on us," wrote Dunton of this time of their lives. "The piety and good-humour of Iris made our lives one continued courtship." But our bookseller had been "born under a rambling planet" and so, when opportunity came to him, he armed himself with a stock of his wares, took along plenty of ink and white paper and went forth to sell books, — and make them. In his letters home he was, from the start, very de­liberate and naive writing his wife from Cowes all about her leave-taking with him, adding as explanation that "'tis necessary to render the History of my Rambles perfect, which I design to print."

During the voyage Dunton enjoyed a sea­sickness which he so vividly describes, as to induce similar suffering on the part of his readers. But when the New World was reached he recovered speedily and began dili­gently to write back to Iris and his friends all he did, saw, read or squeezed out of others in the course of his stay in the town. The first letter descriptive of Boston was addressed to his London printer, sixty letters to Iris having been immediately dispatched previous to the inditing of this one. To Larkin he declares that he will in this New England letter "1. Give an account of my reception at Boston: 2. The character of my Boston Landlord, his wife and daughter: 3. Give you an account of my being admitted into the freedom of the City: 4. I shall describe next the town of Boston, it being the Metropolis of New Eng­land; and say something of the government, Law and Customs thereof. 5. I shall relate the Visits I made, the Remarkable friendships I contracted, and shall conclude with the char­acter of Madam Brick as the Flower of Bos­ton, and some other Ladyes. And I'll omit nothing that happened (if remarkable) during my stay here. And in all this I will not copy from other, as is usual with most Travellers, but relate my own Observations." After which preface Dunton goes on with character­istic verbosity to tell his little tale. Opposite to the Town House he found "in Capital Letters:


"I found 'twas convenient for my purpose and so we soon made a bargain. My Landlord, Mr. Richard Wilkins, like good old Jacob, is a good plain man. He was formerly a bookseller in Limerick, and fled hither on the account of conscience... and is now a member of Mr. Willard's church."

Having unloaded his books, opened his shop and presented letters which he bore to the Deputy Governor, William Stoughton, and to Joseph Dudley [Governor from 1702-1715] Dunton was made a freeman of the town through the good offices of Francis Burroughs. In a book at the City Clerk's office may still be found the document of this last transaction which is so interesting that I herewith repro­duce it:

"Witnesse these presents, that I, Francis Burrowes, of Bostone, Merchant, doe bind my­selfe, my Executors and Administrators to Edward Willis, Treasurer of the Towne of Bostone, in the sume of forty pounds in mony, that John Dunton booke-seller, nor any of his familie, shall not be chargeable to this towne duringe his or any of there abode therein. Witnesse my hand the 16th of February, 1685.

"That is, sd Burrowes binds himselfe as above to sd Willis and his successors in the office of Treasurer, omitted in the due place above.


This formality over, Dunton was in a posi­tion to enjoy himself. Which he did by promptly accepting an invitation to "dine with the Governour and Magistrates of Bos­ton; the Place of Entertainment was the Town-Hall, and the Feast Rich and Noble: As I enter'd the Room where the Dinner was, the Governour in Person [Bradstreet], the Deputy Governour, Major Dudley, and the other Mag­istrates, did me the Honour to give me a par­ticular welcome to Boston, and to wish me suc­cess in my undertaking." One wishes that Dunton had dwelt upon this dinner instead of proceeding to tell us, guide-book fashion, about the latitude and longitude of the city, and the manner in which it had been settled. But we would not for a great deal be without his de­scription of the houses:

"The Houses are for the most part raised on the Sea-banks, and wharfed out with great industry and cost; many of them standing upon piles, close together, on each side the streets, as in London, and furnished with many fair Shops; where all sorts of commodities are sold. Their streets are many and large, paved with Pebbles; the Materials of their Houses are Brick, Stone, Lime, handsomely contrived, and when any New Houses are built, they are made conformable to our New Buildings in London since the fire. Mr. Shrimpton has a very stately house there, with a Brass Kettle atop, to shew his Father was not ashamed of his Original [he had been a brazier]: Mr. John Usher (to the honour of our Trade) is judg'd to be worth above £20,000, and hath one of the best Houses in Boston; They have Three Fair and Large Meeting-Houses or Churches, [the First Church, which stood on the south side of what is now State street on Washington street; the second church or North Meeting-House which stood at the head of North square; and the Third or Old South Church] commodiously built in several parts of the Town, which yet are hardly sufficient to receive the Inhabitants, and strangers that come in from all Parts.

Governor Simon Bradstreet

"Their Town-House [which stood from 1657 to 1711 on the site of the present Old State House] is built upon Pillars in the mid­dle of the Town, where their merchants meet and confer every day. In the Chambers above they keep their Monthly Courts. The South­side of the Town is adorned with Gardens and Orchards. The Town is rich and very popu­lous, much frequented by strangers. Here is the dwelling of Mr. Bradstreet, Esq. their present Gouvernour. On the North-west and North-east two constant Fairs are kept, for daily Traffick thereunto. On the South there is a small but pleasant Common, where the Gallants a little before sunset walk with their Marmalet Madams, as we do in Moorfield &c till the Nine-a Clock Bell rings them home; after which the Constables walk their Rounds to see good order kept, and to take up loose people. In the high-street towards the Com­mon, there are very fair Buildings, some of which are of stone."

Dunton was a kindly and a liberal person, so he can speak with very little patience of the religious persecutions which he found going on all about him. "The Quakers here have been a suffering Generation," he writes, "and there's hardly any of the Yea and Nay Per­suasion but will give you a severe account of it; for the Bostonians, though their fore­fathers fled hither to enjoy liberty of con­science, are very unwilling any should enjoy it but themselves: But they are now grown more moderate. The Government, both Civil and Ecclesiastical is in the hands of the Independents and Presbyterians, or at least of those that pretend to be such."

Thanks to Dunton, we have an outsider's glimpse of a church collection among the Puri­tans. "On Sundays in the After-noon, after Sermon is ended, the People in the Galleries come down and march two a Brest, up one Isle and down the other, until they come before the Desk, for Pulpit they have none: Before the Desk is a long Pew, where the Elders and Deacons sit, one of them. with a Money-box in his hand, into which the People, as they pass put their Offerings, some a shilling, some two shillings, and some half a Crown or five shil­lings, according to the Ability or Liberality of the Person giving. This I look upon to be a Praise-worthy Practice. This money is dis­tributed to supply the Necessities of the Poor, according to their several wants, for they have no Beggars there. Every Church (for so they call their particular Congregations) have one Pastor, one Teacher, Ruling Elders and Deacons."

Borrowing adroitly from Josselyn's Two Voyages Dunton now describes what he calls "their Laws: This Colony is a Body Cor­porate, Politick in Fact, by the Name of, The Governeur and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England. Their Constitution is, That there shall be one governour and Deputy­-Governour, and eighteen Assistants of the same Company, from time to time. That the Governour and Deputy Governour, who for this year are Esq. Bradstreet and Esq. Stough­ton, Assistants and all other officers, to be chosen from among the Freemen the last Wednesday in Easter Term, yearly, in the General Court. The Governour to take his corporal oath to be True and Faithful to the Government, and to give the same Oath to the other Officers. They are to hold a Court once a month, and any seven to be a sufficient Quo­rum. They are to have four General Courts kept in Term-Time, and once General and sol­emn Assembly, to make Laws and Ordinances; Provided, They be not contrary or repugnant to the Laws and Statutes of the Realm of Eng­land. In Anno 1646, They drew up a Body of their Laws for the benefit of the People. Every Town sends two Burgesses to their Great and Solem General Court.

"Their Laws for Reformation of Manners are very severe," he now goes on to say, "yet but little regarded by the People, so at least to make 'em better or cause 'em to mend their manners. For being drunk, they either Whip or impose a Fine of Five shillings: And, yet notwithstanding this Law, there are several of them so addicted to it, that they begin to doubt whether it be a Sin or no; and seldom go to Bed without Muddy Brains. For Cursing and Swearing they bore through the Tongue with a hot Iron. For kissing a woman in the Street, though but in way of Civil Salute,2 Whipping or a Fine.... For adultry they are put to Death, and so for Witchcraft; For that they are a great many Witches in this Country the late Tryals of 20 New England Witches is a sufficient Proof.... An English Woman suf­fering an Indian to have carnal knowledge of her had an Indian cut out exactly in red cloth, and sewed upon her right Arm, and enjoyned to wear it Twelve Months. Scolds they gag, and set them at their own Doors, for certain hours together, for all comers and goers to gaze at. Stealing is punished with Restor­ing four-fold, if able; if not, they are sold for some years, and so are poor Debtors. I have not heard of many Criminals of this sort.... For I say again you must make a Distinction: For amongst all this Dross, there runs here and there a vein of pure Cold: And though the Generality are what I have describ'd 'em, yet is there as sincere a Pious and truly Religious People among them, as is any where in the Whole World to be found.

"The next thing I have to do is to proceed to give you some account of the Visits I made: For having gotten a Warehouse and my Books ready for sale, (for you know mine was a Learned Venture) 'twas my Business next to seek out the Buyers: So I made my first Visit to that Reverend and Learned Divine, Mr. In­crease Mather: He's the Present Rector of Harvard College: He is deservedly called, The Metropolitan Clergy-Man of the Kingdom. And the next to him in Fame (whom I likewise visited at the sane time) is his son, Mr. Cot­ton Mather, an Excellent Preacher, a great Writer; He has very lately finish'd the Church­ History of New England, which I'm going to print; And which is more than all, He Lives the Doctrine he Preaches. After an hour spent in his company (which I took for Heaven) he shew'd me his Study: And I do think he has one of the best (for a Private Library) that I ever knew.... I am sure it was the best sight I had in Boston.

"Early the next morning (before the Sun could shew his Face) I went to wait upon Mr. Willard: He's the Minister of the South Meeting in Boston: He’s a Man of Profound No­tions: Can say what he will, and prove what he says: I darken his Merits if I call him less than a Walking Library." Among the other clergymen visited by Mr. Dunton that day when he rose so early was Joshua Moody, honourably distinguished by his Opposition to the witchcraft delusion and extolled by Dunton, a little further on, for a sermon which he preached upon the hanging of James Morgan for murder.

The booksellers of the town are now de­scribed, together with Samuel Green, the printer, George Monk, landlord of the Blue Anchor, — which, standing as it did on the site of the present Globe building, was a very con­venient refuge for Dunton when the felicity of family life at the Wilkins' began to pall, — and Dr. Bullivant in whom were combined the pro­fessions of apothecary and physician. Bulli­vant was a good deal of a character. It is of him that Hutchinson says: "Among the more liberal was one Bullivant, an apothecary who had been a justice of the peace under Andros. Lord Bellamont, going from the lecture to his house, with a great crowd round him, passed by Bullivant standing at his shop door loiter­ing. 'Doctor,' says his lordship with an audi­ble voice, 'you have lost a precious sermon to-day.' Bullivant whispered to one of his companions who stood by him, 'If I could have got as much by being there as his lordship will, I would have been there too.' " Bullivant was a Church of England man and his lordship ­ought to have been.

We are now come, in Dunton's discursive letter to Larkin, to the portion devoted to his "Female Friends in Boston." Highly enter­taining reading this! One of these friends was a maiden, another was the wife of a rival book­seller and the third and most significant, re­ferred to interchangeably as "Madam Brick" and "the flower of Boston" was a widow. "I shall Speak first of the Damsel, [Comfort Wilkins, his landlord's daughter].... She was a little Transported with the Zeal of Vol­untary Virginity as knowing there's few Prac­tice it. But tho' an old (or Superannuated) Maid, in Boston, is thought such a curse as nothing can exceed it, and looked on as a Dis­mal Spectacle, yet she by her Good Nature, Gravity and strict Vertue, convinces all that 'tis not her Necessity but her Choice that keeps her a Virgin. She's now about Twenty Six years (the Age which we call a Thornback) yet she never disguises her self by the Gayetys of a Youthful Dress, and talks as little as she thinks of Love: She goes to no Balls or Dan­cing Match, as they do who go (to such Fairs) in order to meet with Chapmen.... Her Looks, her Speech, her whole behaviour are so very chaste, that but once going to kiss her I thought she had blush'd to death." [One won­ders if Dunton ever did kiss her; we know that he talked to her by the hour of "Platonick Love."]

Mrs. Green, though married, seems to have been quite as modest as this incomparable maiden. The tall: of that time was not always delicate and this the printer's wife set herself to reform. Dunton tells us that she "was so severely scrupulous that, there being an invi­tation of several Persons to a Gentleman's House in Boston and some that were invited resolving to be very merry, one of the company made this Objection 'that Mrs. Green woul'd be there which woul'd spoil their Mirth.' "

Of the Flower of Boston Dunton makes the rather terrifying statement that her "Head has been cut off yet she lives and walks." This, being interpreted, means that the lady's husband was dead and that she devoted her life to keeping his memory green. "Yet she did not think her self oblig'd to such Starch'dness of Carriage," comments Dunton tersely, "as is usual among the Bostonians, who value themselves thereby so much that they are ready to say to all others, Stand off, I am holier than thou. "

Not all the women in the Boston of that day were in a class with Cæsar's wife, however. Dunton records that he had "several Acquaint­ance with Persons of a far different character: For all sorts came to my Ware house to buy Books, according to their several Inclinations. There was Mrs. Ab—1, (a Person of Quality): A well-wisher to the Mathematics: A young Proficient, but willing to learn, and therefore came to Enquire for the School of Venus; She was one of the first that pos'd me, in asking for a Book I cou'd not help her to; I told her however, I had the School of Vertue; but that was a Book she had no occasion for.... Yet bad as she is, for her Father's sake, 1. hope she'll live to repent. The next I shall mention is Mrs. D—, who has a bad face and a worse tongue; and has the report of a Witch; whether she be one or no, I know not, but she has ig­norance and malice enough to make her one: And indeed she has done very odd things, but hitherto such as are rather strange than hurt­ful; yea, some of them are pretty and pleasing, but such as I think cann't be done without the help of the Devil: As for instance: She'll take 9 sticks, and lay 'em across, and by mumbling a few words, make 'em all stand up an End like a pair of Vine-Pins; but she had best have a care, for they that use the Devil's help to make sport, may quickly come to do mischief. I have been told by some that she has actually indented with the Devil; and that he is to do what she would have him for a time, and after­wards he is to have her Soul in Exchange: What pains poor Wretches take to make sure of Hell!" This naive description of a "witch," hot from the pen of a contemporary, is most interesting and worth bearing in mind when we are studying the phenomenon of witch­craft, as seen by the persecuting Mathers.

Of women who shop without knowing what the want the Boston of that day evidently had its due share. Dunton amusingly describes one of them: "Doll- S-der's life is a perpetual Contradiction; and she is made up of 'I will' and 'I will not.' 'Reach me that Book, yet let it alone too; but let me see't however: and yet 'tis no great matter neither;' was her con­stant Dialect in my Ware house: She's very fantastical but cann't be called Irresolute; for an Irresolute Person is always beginning, and she never makes an End. She writes and blots out again, whilst the other deliberates what to write: I know two negatives make an affirma­tive but what her aye and no together make I know not. Her head is just like a Squirrel's Cage and her Mind the Squirrel that whirls it round." One of his single women customers Dunton characterizes as "Vox et preterea nihil," adding that it is certainly "some bodies happiness that she is yet unmarried, for she would make a Husband wish that she were dumb, or he were deaf.... She us'd to come to my Warehouse, not to buy Books, (for she talk'd so much she had no time to read) but that others might hear her."

And now, as if to balance the entertainment offered by the first pant of this letter Dunton reproduces, almost in full, the three sermons preached at the unfortunate James Morgan before his execution! This event had just taken place in Boston and was remarkable for being the first of its kind to occur there in three years. The two Mathers and Joshua Moody officiated as preachers, the crowd present at the New Church being such that "the Gallery crack'd, and so they were forced to remove to Mr. Willard's." After the execution, to which Dunton "rid with Mr. Cotton Mather," our indefatigable friend, in the company of Mrs. Green, Madam Brick, Comfort Wilkins and two or three other acquaintances of both sexes, "took a Ramble to a place call'd Governour's Island, about a mile from Boston, to see a whole Hog roasted. We all went in a Boat; and having treated the Fair Sex, returned in the Evening."

To just this period belongs the holding of the first Church of England service in Boston and it is interesting to know that Dunton was present. The parson was Robert Ratcliffe who "the next Sunday after he landed, preached in the Town-house and read Common-Prayer in his Surplice, which was so great a Novelty to the Bostonians, that he had a very large Audience, myself among others." Dunton also bore his part in the Training Day exercises on the Common. "Tis their custom here for all that can bear arms, to go out on a Training Day: But I thought a pike was best for a young Souldier, and so I carry'd a Pike;... Be­tween you and I, Reader, there was another reason for it too, and that was I knew not how to shoot off a Musquet. Twas the first time I was ever in arms.

"Being come into the Field the Captain call'd us all into Close Order, in order to go to Prayer, and then Pray'd himself: And when our Exercise was done, the Captain likewise concluded with Prayer. I have heard that Gus­tavus Adolphus, the warlike King of Sweden, wou'd before the beginning of a Battel, kneel down devoutly at the head of his Army, and pray to God (the Giver of Victories) to give them Success against their Enemies, which commonly was the Event; and that he was as Careful also to return thanks to God for the Victory. But solemn Prayer in the Field upon a Day of Training, I never knew but in New England, where it seems it is a common Cus­tom. About three of the Clock both our Exer­cise and Prayers being over, We had a very Noble Dinner, to which all the Clergy were invited."

The influence of the "rambling planet" under which Dunton had been born, continuing as potent in New England as in old, our friend made many little journeys to places of interest near Boston, diligently writing back to his cor­respondents on the other side all that befell him on these occasions. His visit to the com­munity " that at first was called New Town but is now made a University and called Cam­bridge, there being a colledge erected there by one Mr. John Harvard, who gave £700 for the Erecting of it in the year 1638," is most enter­tainingly described. "I was invited hither by Mr. Cotton [son of the Reverend John Cotton and librarian of the College] by whom I was very handsomely Treated and shewn all that was remarkable in it. He discoursed with me about my venture of Books; and by this means I sold many of my Books to the Colledge." The book talk which then went on between these two is pleasantly hinted at Dunton, when asked who were "his great authors," spoke of "Jeremy Taylor, Mr. John Bunyan, who tho' a man of but very ordinary Education, yet was as well known for an Author through'out Eng­land as any,... Robert Boyle, Sir Matthew Hale, Cowley and Dryden." In return for which Cotton instanced as distinguished con­temporary authors of New England the "Fa­mous Mr. Elliot" and the inevitable Mathers.

Eliot, who was now a very old man, Dunton soon went to see "alone that I might have nothing to hinder me in conversing with him. When I came he receiv'd me with all the Ten­derness and respect imaginable, and had me up into his Study; and then he enquir'd of me with all the Expressions of Love and Kindness that cou'd be how my Father-in-Law, the Rev­erend Doctor Annesly did?... And then speaking to me, said, 'Well, Young Man, how goes the Work of Christ on in England?' I then told him of the Troubles that were there, and how like Popery was to be set up again. 'No,' said he, 'it never will be, it never shall: They may indeed attempt it; they have Tower­ing Thoughts, as their Brethren the Babel­-Builders had of old, but they shall never be able to bring their wicked Intentions to pass;..," And this he spake with good Assurance. 'But,' says he, 'do the People of God keep up their Meetings still? Is the Gospel preach'd? Does the work of Conversion go forward? '... I told him that tho' the Gaols were full of Dissenters, yet the Meetings were as nu­merous, and as much throng'd as ever. And I had heard my Father say, That more Members had been added to the Church the last year than in some years before.

"Mr. Elliot was very well pleas'd at what I had told, and said, 'It was a Token for Good, that God had not forsaken his People.'... After which he presented me with 12 Bibles in the Indian Language, and gave me a charge to present one of 'em to my father Dr. Annesly; he also gave me Twelve Speeches of Converted Indians, publish'd by himself, to give to my Friends in England: After which, he made me stay and dine with him, by which means the opportunity of hearing him Pray, and ex­pound the Scriptures with his Family. After Dinner, he told me that both for my own, but especially for my Father's sake, whom he said he admir'd above most Men in England, if his Countenance and Recommendation cou'd be of any Service to me, I sho'd not want it: And I have already found the good Effects of it."

So favourably, indeed, were Dunton's books received that he was almost persuaded to take up his permanent residence in Boston. But while debating the matter, he was suddenly seized with a great desire to ramble back to London and once again behold his beloved Iris. So, leaving his good landlord Wilkins to collect the remittances still due him, he sailed for Eng­land, where he arrived early in August, 1686. His whole stay in America covered, therefore, but four months. One of his first acts, after being restored to the arms of his faithful wife, was to send his regards to Comfort Wilkins, with whom he had so often discoursed upon Platonic love, and his "service in a more par­ticular manner to the Widow Brick." Already, he had let it be known that only the excellent health enjoyed by Iris prevented him from making actual love to this "flower of Boston."

His subsequent career was a bit checkered. A "ramble to Holland, where he lived four months," and up the Rhine, where he stayed, as he himself says, "until he had satisfied his curiosity and spent all his money," occupied the next two years. Then he took a shop op­posite London's Poultry Counter which he opened the day the Prince of Orange entered the city. Here he sold books with varying suc­cess for ten years, publishing, the while, several semi-political pamphlets. The blow of his life came in May, 1697, in the death of Iris. But within twelvemonths he had married another woman, — for her fortune, — and the last years of his life were full of squalid quarrels with this lady and with her mother.

Dunton's always-flowery style of composi­tion seems to have grown more marked as time went on, and the Spectator found his effusions good matter for ridicule. One kind friend tried to tell him this. "If you have essays or letters that are valuable, call them essays and letters in short plain language," this common-sense person counselled, "and if you have anything writ by men of sense and on subjects of impor­tance, it may sell without your name to it."

But Dunton was now sixty and could not give up the old way. To the last his projects had the catchword of Athenian appended to them. He died in obscurity in 1733, aged 74. If he had never come to Boston his name would long ago have been forgotten. Even as it is his "Letters" are almost unobtainable. For since the Prince Society of Boston reprinted a very limited edition, forty years ago, the vol­ume has been growing every year more and more rare. To-day only collectors can boast of its possession.


1 see "Among Old New England Inns."

2 See "Among Old New England Inns," p. 22

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