It was the Rev. Charles Brooks, of Boston, who said at the late Scientific Association, in Providence, that there was hardly a living descendant of Martha’s Vineyard who could write consecutively a page of good sense! Mr. Brooks, it would seem by the papers, made himself quite merry over the supposed misfortunes of our people. He stated that but few strangers could be persuaded to settle here! And the following is given as one of his periods, when trying to prove us of the Vineyard of lilliputian intellect: -
“At Martha’s Vineyard they have a particularly bad time. The island is sea-girt. The youths cannot go a-courting elsewhere, because of the rolling billows, and so they content themselves with Marthas in the Vineyard. The island in consequence is, according to the author, ‘full of illustrations.’ ’Their minds,’ says Mr. Brooks, ‘are moderate. Their health is feeble.’ ”
“The man whom I employed in that Island,” says Mr. Brooks, “married his first cousin, and their parents were second cousins. Their first children were born without eyes and lived but a few hours. A very particularly unfortunate case.”
We are satisfied that Mr. Brooks has done great injustice to the Vineyard. We are not prepared to state that he is not correct in some of his statements respecting the offspring of those who married first cousins. But we are confident that most of his assertions are based upon error. It will doubtless be news to our people, and to the people of the civilized world generally, to know that the hardy sons of the Vineyard, who have for a century past visited every region and clime known to man, cannot leave the Island, “because of the rolling billows!” We know that many sons of the Vineyard marry abroad. We also know that our fair daughters are sought in marriage by men from all parts of the world, who visit our shores. These men come here for health, or recreation, or are brought here in whaleships, from distant seas, several of which arrive every year. We also know that the Vineyard people are great travellers, and pass about the country as freely as any people of the Union. In this way they often find partners for life. Some of them marry at home, of course; and some of them marry their cousins; but we doubt if, on the whole, the average is larger than it is in the city where Mr. Brooks belongs.
“Their minds are moderate, Their health is feeble.” This is perfect stuff - rank nonsense, indeed. The people of the Island are as healthy, and their minds are as strong as the average anywhere. We want the Rev. Mr. Brooks to furnish us with a little proof. He has taken bold ground; but, he stands on a foundation of sand. He gives no examples. He furnishes no data to prove the Vineyard one whit behind any of her sister counties of the State. We say we want the proof of our imbecility; and Mr. Brooks must stand before the world as a traducer of our “island and home,” if he cannot, or will not, furnish it.