'Mellowed by two centuries'

  A remnant building of Brook Farm, a utopian community in the 1840s  in West Roxbury, Mass., closely associated with Transcendentalists, a group that included such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller and influenced  many writers and intellectuals through much of the 19th Century. It was centered in New England.

A remnant building of Brook Farm, a utopian community in the 1840s  in West Roxbury, Mass., closely associated with Transcendentalists, a group that included such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller and influenced  many writers and intellectuals through much of the 19th Century. It was centered in New England.

“Transcendentalism has been called the inevitable flowering of the Puritan spirit. But Puritanism does not necessarily bear blossoms, and the fruit thereof is often gnarled and bitter. In New England, however, the soil was conserved by a bedrock of character, mellowed by two centuries of cultivation, and prepared by Unitarianism. New England Federalism checked the flow of sap, fearful lest it feed flowers of Jacobin red. There was just time for a gorgeous show of blossom and a harvest of wine-red fruit between this late frost and the early autumn blight of the Civil War.’’

-- By Samuel Eliot Morrison, in The Oxford History of the American People.