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moned to erect sepulchres for the dead. The ground had become sacred, by enclosing the remains of some of their companions and connexions. A parent, a child, a husband or a wife, had gone the way of all flesh, and mingled with the dust of New England. We naturally look with strong emotions to the spot, though it be a wilderness, where the ashes of those we have loved repose. Where the heart has laid down what it loved most, it is desirous of laying itself down. No sculptured marble, no enduring monument, no honorable inscription, no ever burning taper that would drive away the darkness of death, can soften our sense of the reality of mortality, and hallow to our feelings the ground which is to cover us, like the consciousness that we shall sleep, dust to dust, with the objects of our affections.
In a short time other causes sprung up to bind the Pilgrims with new cords to their chosen land. Children were born, and the hopes of future generations arose, in the spot of their new habitation. The second generation found this the land of their nativity, and saw that they were bound to its fortunes. They beheld their fathers' graves around them, and while they read the memorials of their toils and labors, they rejoiced in the inheritance which they found bequeathed to them.
Under the influence of these causes, it was to be expected, that an interest and a feeling should arise here, entirely different from the interest and feeling of mere Englishmen; and all the subsequent history of the colonies proves this to have actually and gradually taken place. With a general acknowledgement of the supremacy of the British crown, there was, from the first, a repugnance to an entire submission to the control of British legislation. The colonies stood upon their charters, which as fhey contended, exempted them from the ordinary power of the British parliament, and authorised them to conduct their own concerns by their own counsels. They utterly resisted the notion that they were to be ruled by the mere authority of the government at home, and would not endure even that their own charter governments should be established on the other side of the Atlantic. It was not a controlling or protecting board in England, but a government of their own, and existing immediately within their limits, which could satisfy their wishes. It was easy to foresee, what we know also to have happened, that the first great cause of collision and jealousy would be, under the notion of political economy then and still prevalent in Europe, an attempt on the part of the mother country to monopolize the trade of the colonies. Whoever has looked deeply into the causes which produced our revolution, has found, if I mistake not, the original principle far back in this claim, on the part of England, to monopolize our trade, and a continued effort on the part of the colonies to resist or evade that monopoly; if indeed it be not still more just and philosophical to go farther back, and to consider it decided, that an independent government must arise here, the moment it was ascertained that an English colony, such as landed in this place, could sustain itself against the dangers which surrounded it, and, with other similar establishments, overspread the land with an English population. Accidental causes retarded at times, and at times accelerated the progress of the controversy. The colonies wanted strength, and time gave it to them. They required measures of strong and palpable injustice, on the part of the mother country, to justify resistance; the early part of the late king's reign furnished them. They needed snirits of high order, of great daring, of long foresight and of commanding power, to seize the favoring'occasion to strike a blow, which should sever, forever, the tie of colonial dependence; and these spirits were found, in all the extent which that or any crisis could demand, in Otis, Adams, Hancock, and the other immediate authors of our independence. Still it is true, that for a century, causes had been in operation tending to prepare things for this great result. In the year 1660 the English act of Navigation was passed; the first and grand object of which seems to have been to secure to England the whole trade with her plantations. It was provided, by that act, that none but English ships should transport American produce over the ocean; and that the principal articles of that produce should be allowed to be sold only in the markets of the mother country. Three years afterwards another law was passed, which enacted, that such commodities as the colonies might wish to purchase, should be bought only in the markets of the mother country. Severe rules were prescribed to enforce the provisions of these laws, and heavy penalties imposed on all who should violate them. In the subsequent years of the same reign, other statutes were passed to reenforce those statutes, and other rules prescribed, to secure a compliance with these rules. In this manner was the trade, to and from the colonies, tied up, almost to the exclusive advantage of the parent country. But laws, which rendered the interest of a whole people subordinate to that of another people, were not likely to execute themscjves; nor was it cosy to find many on the spot, who could be depended upon for currying them into execution. In fact, these laws were more or less evaded, or resisted, in all the colonies. To enforce them was the constant endeavour of the government at home; to prevent or elude their operation, the perpetual object here. "The laws of navigation," says a living British writer, " were nowhere so openly disobeyed and contemned as in New England." "The people of Massachusetts Bay," he adds, " were from the first disposed to act as if independent of the mother country, and having a governor and magistrates of their own choice, it was difficult to eiitorce any regulation which came from the English parliament, adverse to their interests." To provide more effectually for the execution of these laws, we know that courts of admiralty were afterwards established by the crown, witli power to try revenue causes, as questions of admiralty, upon the construction given by the crown lawyers, to an act of parliament;—a great departure from the ordinary principles of English jurisprudence, but which has been maintained, nevertheless, by the force of habit and precedent, and is adopted in our own existing systems of government.
'' There lie," says another English writer, whose connexion with the Board of Trade has enabled him to ascertain many facts connected with colonial history,—" There lie among the documents in the board of trnd«' ami paper office, the most satisfactory proofs, trinu the epoch of the English revolution in 1683, throughout every reign, and during every administration, of the settled purpose of the colonies to acquire direct independence and positive sovereignty." Perhaps this may be stated somewhat too strongly; but it cannot be denied, that from the very nature of the establishments here, and from the general character of the measures respecting t^eir concerns, early adopted, and steadily pursued by the English government, a division of the empire was the natural and necessary result to which everything tended.
I have dwelt on this topic, because it seems to me, that the peculiar original character of the New England colonies, and certain causes coeval with their existence, have had a strong and decided influence on all their subsequent history, and especially on the great event of the Revolution. Whoever would write our history, and would understand and explain early transactions, should comprehend the nature and force of the feeling which I have endeavoured to describe. As a son, leaving the house of his father for his own, fmds, by the order of nature, and the very law of his being, nearer and dearer objects around which his affections circle, while his attachment to the parental roof becomes moderated, by degrees, to a composed regard, and an affectionate remembrance; so our ancestors, leaving their native land, not without some violence to the feelings of nature and affection, yet, in time, found here a new circle of engagements, interests, and affections; a feeling, which more and more encroached upon the old, till an undivided sentiment, that this was their country, occupied the heart; and patriotism, shutting out from its embraces the parent realm, became loeal to America.
Some retrospect of the century which has now elapsed, is among the duties of the occasion. It must, however, necessarily be im
ferfect, to be compressed within the limits of a single discourse, shall content myself, therefore, with taking notice of a few of the leading, and most important occurrences, which have distinguished the period.
When the first century closed, the progress of the country appeared to have been considerable; notwithstanding that, in comparison with its subsequent advancement, it now seems otherwise. A broad and lasting foundation had been laid: excellent institutions had been established; much of the prejudices of former times had become removed; a more liberal and catholic spirit on subjects of religious concern had begun to extend itself, and many things conspired to give promise of increasing future prosperity. Great men had arisen in public life, and the liberal professions. The Mathers, father and son, were then sinking low in the western horizon; Levcrett, the learned, the accomplished, the excellent Leverett, was about to withdraw his brilliant and useful light. In Pemberton, great hopes had been suddenly extinguished, but Prince and Colman, were in our sky; and the crepuscular light had begun to flash along the East, of a great luminary which was about to appear; and which was to mark the age with his own name, as the age of Franklin.
The bloody Indian wars, which harassed the people for a part of the first century; the restrictions on the trade of the colonies—added to the discouragements inherently belonging to all forms of colonial government; the distance from Europe, and the small hope of immediate profit to adventurers, are among the causes which had contributed to retard the progress of population. Perhaps it may be added, also, that during the period of the civil wars in England, and the reign of Cromwell, many persons, whose religious opinions and religious temper might, under other circumstances, have induced them to join the New England colonists, found reasons to remain in England; either on account of active occupation in the scenes which were passing, or of an anticipation of the enjoyment, in their own country, of a form of government, civil and religious, accommodated to their views and principles. The violent measures, too, pursued against the colonies in the reign of Charles the second, the mockery of a trial, and the forfeiture of the charters, were serious evils. And during the open violences of the short reign of James the second, and the tyranny of Andros, as the venerable historian of Connecticut observes, "All the motives to great actions, to industry, economy, enterprise, wealth, ami population, were in a manner annilulated. A general inactivity and lunguishment pervaded the public body. Liberty, property, and everything which ought to be dear to men, every day grew more ami more insecure."
With the revolution in England, a better prospect had opened on this country, as well as on that. The joy had been as great, at thot event, and far more universal in New than iu Old England. A new charter bad been granted to Massachusetts, which, although it did not confirm to her inhabitants all their former privileges, yet relieved them from great evils and embarrassments, and promised future security. More than all, perhaps, the revolution in England, had done good to the general cause of liberty and justice. A blow had been struck in favor of the rights and liberties, not of England alone, but of descendants and kinsmen of England, all over the world. Great political truths had been established. The champions of liberty had been successful in a fearful and perilous conflict. Somers, and Cavendish, and Jckyl, and Howard, had triumphed in one of the most noble causes ever undertuken bv men. A revolution had been made upon principle. A monarch had been dethroned, for violating the original compact between King and People. The rights of the people to partake in the government, and to limit the monarch by fundamental rules of government, had been maintained; and however unjust the government of England might afn rwards be, towards other governments or towards her colonies, she had ceased to be governed herself by the arbitrary maxims ol tin, Stuarts.
New England had submitted to the violence of James the second, not longer than Old England. Not only was it reserved to Massachusetts, that on her soil should be acted the first scene of that great revolutionary Drama, which was to take place near a century afterwards, but the English revolution itself, as far as the colonies were concerned, commenced in Boston. A direct and forcible resistance to the authority of James the second, was the seizure and imprisonment of Andros, iu April IG09. The pulse of Liberty beat as high in the extremities as at the heart. The vigorous feeling of tho Colony burst out, before it was known how the parent country would finally conduct itself. The king's representative, Sir Edmund Andros, was a prisoner in the castle at Boston, before it was or could be known, that the king himself had ceased to exercise his full dominion on the English throne.
Before it was known here, whether the invasion of the Prince of Orange would or could prove successful; as soon only as it was known that it had been undertaken, the people of Massachusetts, at the imminent hazard of their lives and fortunes, had accomplished the revolution as far as respected themselves. It is probable, that, reasoning on general principles, and the known attachment of the English people to their constitution and liberties, and their deep and fixed dislike of the king's religion and polities, the people of New England expected a catastrophe fatal to the power of the reigning Prince. Yet, it was not either certain enough, or near enough, to come to their aid against the authority of the crown, in that crisis which had arrived, and in which they trusted to put themselves, relying on God, and their own courage. There were spirits in Massachusetts, congenial with the spirits of the distinguished friends of the revolution in England. There were those, who were fit to associate with the boldest asserters of civil liberty; and Mather himself, then in England, was not unworthy to be ranked with those sons of the church, whose firmness and spirit in resisting kingly encroachment in religion, entitled them to the gratitude of their own and succeeding ages.
The second century opened upon New England under circumstances which evinced that much had already been accomplished, and that still better prospects, and brighter hopes, were before her. She had laid, deep and strong, the foundations of her society. Her religious principles were firm, and her moral habits exemplary. Her public schools had begun to diffuse widely the elements of knowledge; and the College, under the excellent and acceptable administration of Leverett, had been raised to a high degree of credit and usefulness.
The commercial character of the country, notwithstanding all discouragements, had begun to display itself, and five hundred vessels, then belonging to Massachusetts, placed her in relation to commerce, thus early, at the head of the colonies. An author who wrote very near the close of the first century says; " New England is almost deserving that noble name, so mightily hath it increased; and from a small settlement, at first, is now become a very populous and flourishing government. The capital city, Boston, is a place of great teealth and trade.; and by much the largest of any in the English empire of America; and not exceeded but by few cities, perhaps two or three, in all the American world."
But, if our ancestors at the close of the first century, could look back with joy, and even admiration at the progress of the country; what emotions must we not feel, when, from the point in which we stand, we also look back and run along the events of the century which has now closed? The country, which then, as we have seen, was thought deserving of a "noble name;" which then hud "mightily increased," and become "very populous;" what was it, in comparison with what our eyes behold it? At that period, a very