Images de page
PDF
ePub

which played some part in arousing in America the desire for independence. Once when the people of North Carolina complained of the way their lands were doled out, the Governor replied that if they did not like the conditions they could give up their lands, which after all were the King's and not theirs. It was a small thing, this quitrent, but it touched men's daily lives a thousand times more often than did some of the larger grievances to which the Revolution has been ascribed.

The towns of New England were compact little communities, favorably situated by sea or river! . and their inhabitants were given over in the main to the pursuit of agriculture. Even many of the seaports and fishing villages were occupied by a folk as familiar with the plow as with the warehouse, the wharf, or the fishing smack, and accustomed to supply their sloops and schooners with the produce of their own and their neighbors' acres. Life in the towns was one of incessant activity. The New Englander's house, with its barns, outbuildings, kitchen garden, and back lot, fronted the village street, while near at hand were the meetinghouse and schoolhouse, pillories, stocks, and signpost, all objects of constant interest and frequent concern. Beyond this clustered group of

houses stretched the outlying arable land, meadows, pastures, and woodland, the scene of the villager's industry and the source of his livelihood. Thence came wheat and corn for his gristmill, hay and oats for his horses and cattle, timber for his sawmill, and wood for the huge fireplace which warmed his home. The lots of an individual owner would be scattered in several divisions, some near at hand, to be reached easily on foot, others two or more miles distant, involving a ride on horseback or by wagon. While most of the New Englanders preferred to live in neighborly fashion near together, some built their houses on a convenient hillside or fertile upland away from the center. Here they set up "quarters" or "corners" which were often destined to become in time little villages by themselves, each the seat of a cow pound, a chapel, and a school. Sometimes these little centers developed into separate ecclesiastical societies and even into independent towns; but frequently they remained legally a part of the original church and township, and the residents often journeyed many miles to take part in town meeting or to join in the social and religious life of the older community.

The New Englander who viewed for the first time the list of his allotments as entered in the THE PEABODY MANSION, DANVERS, MASS.

One of the best specimens of New England Colonial domestic architecture. Built by "King" Hooper, of Marblehead, about 1754.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
« PrécédentContinuer »