Pinterest

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (5) by Faragher

Faragher argues in his book, A Great and Noble Scheme, than part of the motivation for New Englanders to enlist to invade Acadia/Nova Scotia was the call to rid the peninsula of the Catholics.
As a group the recruits were mostly unemployed young men from seafaring towns along the Massachusetts coast...The recruits were formed into companies and sent off to Boston to the accompaniment of shrill ani-Catholic cant. "Are we willing to give up our Religion, the Religion of Jesus, which we now enjoy in its Purity, and which should be more dear to us than our Lives?" Reverend Isaac Morrill of Wilmington asked the young men of Captain Phineas Osgood's company. p. 300
Maybe Morrill is an obscure name, but Jonathan Edwards, the greatest philosopher in the history of the U.S., also participated in the anti-Catholic cheerleading.
Hatred of French Catholics was rampant in New England. In a sermon delivered in 1755, Jonathan Edwards quoted a passage from the book of Samuel: "Then David said to the Philistine...I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee...for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands." New England's fightingmen were embarked on a religious crusade, he argued, and "how happy they are that have God on their side!" p. 352
The sermon can be found here. The notes introducing this sermon do not agree that Edwards used this sermon for troops heading off to Nova Scotia but against the French in general. Nevertheless, the issue of hatred against "papists" as a general motivation for war mongering is a shameful blot on the church and Edwards' legacy in particular. One of Edwards' applications in this sermon's notes is
Third. The religion of the Papists, that they are of, is contrary to God's word, and what he hates.3 The Pope [is an impostor; Papists] pray to images, [and] pray to [the] Virgin Mary. [They] pray to dead men. [The] Pope contrived for his4 people to get away money from the people [by selling them] pardon [for] sin. [They] pretend that in another world there is a fire that is on this side hell, where their people lie a great while, [until they are released by the church's intervention]. [They] won't let the people have the Bible.
I don't see how this has anything to do with defense of a country in response to an attack.

No comments: