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To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
Religion, the Cause of the Settlements of New Eng
land. JOHN Q. ADAMS.
The primary cause of the various settlements of New England was religion. It was not the search for gold
- it was not the pursuit of wealth - it was not the spirit of adventure. It was not the martial spirit of conquest, which animated our English forefathers to plant themselves here in a desert and barren wilderness, to lay the foundations of the mightiest empire that the world ever saw. It was religion. It was the Christian religion, purified and refined from its corruptions by the fires of persecution.
The first colonists were indeed of that class of emigrants from their native land, driven away by oppression ; but in the settlements of Plymouth and of Massachusetts, the stern and severe impulses of religion were tempered by the tenderest and most attractive sympathies of English patriotism.
The Plymouth colonists had been fugitives from the north of England, who from time to time had escaped by crossing the North Sea to Holla in numbers sufficient to form an English church at Leyden. They had fled from their country for the enjoyment of religious liberty in peace. But with that religion was inseparably connected the code of Christian morals in its simplicity and in its purity — a code above all others resting upon the fundamental principle of the natural equality of mankind.
The English Puritan found in Holland a refuge from the persecution of his own countrymen; but he found not his English home, he found not the same system of pure morals to which his soul was bound. In the lapse of time, he found that his children were leaving him and losing the name of Englishmen; and notwithstanding all that he had suffered from the injustice of his countrymen, so intense was his attachment to the name of England, that, interdicted as he was from returning to her bosom, he determined to seek, beyond the Atlantic Ocean, at the distance of three thousand miles, in the most desolate region of the new hemisphere, a spot of earth where he could make for himself an English home, and find or create in the wilderness a New England, as the only consolation accessible to his heart for the loss of the Old.
The same spirit is breathed in the address from the company of the Massachusetts colony, dated at Yarmouth, on the 7th of April, 1630, on board of the Arbella. In the fervent spirit at once of piety and of patriotism, they earnestly beseech their countrymen, whom they leave behind, to consider them as their brethren, needing their prayers for the successful accomplishment of their great and arduous undertaking: professing not to be of those that dream of perfection in this world, they yet desire their countrymen to take notice of the principals and body of their company, as those who esteem it their honor to call the church of England, from whence they rose, their dear mother, and could not part from their native country, where she especially resided, without much sadness of heart and many tears in
In these recorded monuments of the motives which prompted the Pilgrims both of the Plymouth and of the Massachusetts colonies, in their emigration to this hemisphere, may we not clearly discern the peculiar propriety with which the name of New England was given to the land which they were to inhabit ? The profound sense of their duty to God - the tender tie of affection for their native land the Puritan moral principle of equal and inalienable rights — the secret, pungent, and only spúr to their secession from that dear mother church, whom they so dearly loved, and yet from whom with such agonizing tears they were compelled to part! O, how was it possible that this combination of elementary principles, swelling with an irresistible impulse to action in the bosoms of our patriarchal forefathers, could be so signally manifested and so deeply rooted in the hearts of all their posterity, and in the memory of all mankind, as by adopting for their country, in the new world, the name of that which had been the centre of all their affections in the old!
Conclusion of a Discourse in Commemoration of the
first Settlement of Salem, Mass. JOSEPH STORY.
When we reflect on what has been, and is, how is it possible not to feel a profound sense of the responsibleness of this republic to all future ages? What vast motives press
are no more.
upon us for lofty efforts ! What brilliant prospects invite our enthusiasm! What solemn warnings at once demand our vigilance, and moderate our confidence !
The old world has already revealed to us, in its unsealed books, the beginning and end of all its own marvellous struggles in the cause of liberty. Greece, lovely Greece, “ the land of scholars and the nurse of arms,” where sister republics in fair processions chanted the praises of liberty and the gods, - where and what is she? For two thousand years, the oppressor has bound her to the earth. Her arts
The last sad relics of her temples are but the barracks of a ruthless soldiery: the fragments of her columns and her palaces are in the dust, yet beautiful in ruin. She fell not when the mighty were upon her. Her sons were united at Thermopylæ and Marathon ; and the tide of her triumph rolled back upon the Hellespont. She was conquered by her own factions. She fell by the hands of her own people. The man of Macedonia did not the work of destruction. It was already done by her own corruptions, banishments, and dissensions.
Rome, republican Rome, whose eagles glanced in the rising and setting sun, - where and what is she? The eternal city yet remains, proud even in her desolation, noble in her decline, venerable in the majesty of religion, and calm as in the composure of death. The malaria has but travelled in the paths worn by her destroyers. More than eighteen centuries have mourned over the loss of her empire. A mortal disease was upon her vitals, before Cæsar had crossed the Rubicon; and Brutus did not restore her health by the deep probings of the senate-chamber. The Goths, and Vandals, and Huns, the swarms of the North, completed only what was already begun at home. Romans betrayed Rome. The legions were bought and sold, but the people offered the tribute money.
And where are the republics of modern times, which clustered round immortal Italy? Venice and Genoa exist but in name. The Alps, indeed, look down upon the brave and peaceful Swiss in their native fastnesses; but the guaranty of their freedom is in their weakness, and not in their strength. The mountains are not easily crossed, and the vaileys are not easily retained. When the invader comes, he moves like an avalanche, carrying destruction in his path. The peasantry sinks before him. The country is too poor for plunder, and too rough for valuable conquest. Nature presents her eternal barriers, on every side, to check the wantonness of ambition ; and Switzerland remains, with her simple institutions, a military road to fairer climates, scarcely worth a permanent possession, and protected by the jealousy of her neighbors.
We stand the latest, and, if we fail, probably the last, experiment of self-government by the people. We have begun it under circumstances of the most auspicious nature We are in the vigor of youth. Our growth has never been checked by the oppressions of tyranny. Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the vices or luxuries of the old world. Such as we are, we have been from the beginning – asimple, hardy, intelligent, accustomed to self-government and self-respect. The Atlantic rolls between us and any formidable foe.
Within our own territory, stretching through many de egrees of latitude and longitude, we have the choice of many products, and many means of independence. The government is mild. The press is free. Religion is free. Knowl«edge reaches, or may reach, every home. What fairer prospect of success could be presented? What means more adequate to accomplish the sublime end? What more is necessary, than for the people to preserve what they themselves have created ?
Already has the age caught the spirit of our institutions. It has already ascended the Andes, and snuffed the breezes of both oceans.
It has infused itself into the life-blood of Europe, and warmed the sunny plains of France, and the