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of liberty! what millions attest the authenticity of your mission ! Meek champions of truth! no stain of private interest, or of innocent blood, is on the spotless garments of your renown! The great continents of Americà have become, at length, the theatre of your achievements ; the Atlantic and the Pacific the highways of communication, on which your principles, your institutions, your example, are borne. From the oldest abodes of civilization, the venerable plains of Greece, to the scarcely explored range of the Cordilleras, the impulse you gave at length is felt. While other regions revere you as the leaders of this great march of humanity, we are met, on this joyful day, to offer to your memories our tribute of filial affection. The sons and daughters of the pilgrims, we have assembled on the spot where you, our suffering fathers, set foot on this happy shore. Happy, indeed, it has been for us. O that you could have enjoyed those blessings, which you prepared for your children !--that our comfortable homes could have shielded you from the wintry air; our abundant harvests have supplied you in time of famine ; and the broad shield of our beloved country have sheltered you from the visitations of arbitrary power! We come, in our prosperity, to remember your trials; and here, on the spot where New England began to be, we come to learn, of our pilgrim fathers, a deep and lasting lesson of virtue, enterprise, patience zeal, and faith!

LESSON CX.

Claim of the Pilgrims to the Reverence and Gratitude of thet

Descendants.-0. Dewey.

Let it not be forgotten, at least by us, the immediate de scendants of the Puritans—for the sake of our gratitude and our virtue, too, let it not be forgotten-that, when the weary pilgrim traversed this bleak coast, his step was lightened, and his heart was cheered, by the thoughts of a virtuous posterity; that, when our fathers touched this land, they would fain have consecrated it as a holy land ; that, when they entered it, they lifted up their eyes towards heaven, and said, “Let this be the land of refuge for the oppressed and persecuted—the land of knowledge ; and, O! let it be the land of picty.” Let the descendants of the pilgriins know, that if their fathers wept, it was not for themselves alone; if they toiled, they toiled, or as one of them nobly said,--they “spent their time, and labours, and endeavours, for the benefit of them who should come after;" that if they prayed, they prayed not for themselves alone, but for their posterity. And little, it may be, do we know of the fervour and fortitude of that prayer. When we pray, we kneel on pillows of down, beneath our own comfortable dwellings : but the pilgrims kneeled on the frozen and flinty shore. Our prayers ascend within the walls of the consecrated temple: but the mighty wave and the shapeless rock, and the dark forest, were their walls: and no shelter. ing dome had they, but the rolling clouds of winter, and the chill and bleak face of heaven. We pray in peace, and quietness, and safety: but their anxious and wrestling supplication went up amidst the stirring of the elements, and the struggle for life; and often was the feeble cry of the defence. less band broken by the howling of wild beasts, and the war. whoop of wilder savages.

Yes, our lot has fallen to us in different times; and now it is easy for us, no doubt, calmly to survey the actions of those who were engaged in the heat of the contest; and we have leisure to talk at large about ignorance, and bigotry, and su. perstition; and we can take the seat of grave wisdom, and philosophize upon the past, when to philosophize is all that we can do. Yes, it is easy, now that the forest is cleared away, and we bask in the sunshine which they have opened upon us, through the deep and dark foliage--it is easy, no doubt, coolly and nicely to mark their mistakes and errors : but go back to their struggle with fear, and want, and disease; go to the fields which they cultivated, and see them with the felling axe in one hand, and the weapon of defence in the other; go back to all the rude dwellings of their poverty and trouble - but you cannot, even in imagination, you cannot. No: the days of trial and suffering have been ; but it is not for us even to understand what they were! This little only is required of us—to do justice to the virtues which we have no longer any opportunity to imitate.

Nor, in urging such an obligation as this, has it often been found necessary to com'bat the prejudices of mankind. On the contrary, there has been a universal propensity to do more than justice, to do honour, to the achievements of

times. There never was a people, unless we are the exception, who were not inclined to receive the most specious story that could be told of their ancestry, who were not glad to have their actions set forth in splendid fable. The epic histories of Homer and Virgil, all fabulous as they were, were receive ed with uncontrollable bursts of enthusiasm by their respec. tive nations. The Israelites sung the early history of their wandering tribes, in all their solemn assemblies. The meinory of former days and of elder deeds, has always, ard among all nationis, been held sacred. The rudest people have not been wanting to their still ruder ancestry. Immor. tal poems have preserved their memory; or their ballads of olden time have kept alive, with their simple tale, the recol. lection of ancient heroism and suffering. In after days History takes up the theme, and,

past

"Proud of the treasure, marches down with it
To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn,
Gives bond, in stone and ever-during brass,

To guard them, and to immortalize her trust." This propensity has given a language to nature itself. There is no portion of the earth but has had its consecrated spots :-places, the bare mention of which is enough to awaken, in all ages, the reverence and enthusiasm of man. kind. There is some hill or mountain, that stands as a monument of ancient deeds. There is some field of conflict, which needs no memorial but a name; or some rude heap of stones at Gilgal, that needs no inscription; or some rod that is ever budding afresh with remembrance.

And is our own land destitute of every scene that is worthy to be remembered ? Among all these rich and peaceful scenes around us, there is not a plain, but it has been the trenched field of the warrior: there is not a hill, but it stands as a monument. And the structures of art, that shall rise upon them, shall only point them out to other times, as holy. But harder contests than those of blood and battle have been sustained in this land. And the Rock of Plyinouth shall, in all ages, be celebrated as the Thermopylæ of this new world, where a handful of men held conflict with ghastly famine, and sweeping pestilence, and the win. try storm; held conflict, and were not conquered. And, so long as centuries shall roll over this happy and rising nation, shall wealth, and taste, and talent, resort to that hallowed spot, to pay homage to the elder fathers of New Eng. land.-Go, children of the pilgrims,-might we say to all the inhabitants of the land, -it is well to gather around that shrine of our fathers' virtues, that monument of their toils and sufferings, which the chafing billows of the ocean shall never wear away. It is well to make a holy pilgrimage to that sacred spot. It is well that gifted orators and statesmen should proclaim our enthusiasm and our gratitude in: the listening assembly. But with what striking emphasis might it be said, to those who make this pilgrimage at the present day, “Ye go, not as your fathers came, in weariness and sorrow_not as they came, amidst poverty, and peril, and sickness-not through the solitary glooms and howling storms of the wilderness; but ye go, through rich plantations and happy villages, with chariots, and horses, and equipage, and state, with social mirth and joyful minstrelsy and music; but, ah! remember that ye are gathering to the spot, which was once trodden by the steps of the houseless wanderer, which was marked with the pilgrim's staff, and · watered with the pilgrim's tears."

The claims of ancestry, we know, are commonly held sacred, in proportion as its date is removed back into

ages of antiquity; in proportion to the number of successive generations that have intervened; in proportion as fiction and romance find aid in the darkness of some remote and unknown period. But, though the character of our fathers needs no such aid, yet I can scarcely conceive any thing more romantic even, than their entrance into this vast domain of nature, never before disturbed by the footsteps of civilized man. They came to the land where fifty centuries had held their reign, with no pen to write their history. Silence, which no occupation of civilized life had broken, was in all its borders, and had been from the creation. The lofty oak had grown through its lingering age, and decayed, and perished, without name or record. The storm had risen and roared in the wilderness; and none had caught its sublime inspiration. The fountains had flowed on; the mighty river had poured its useless waters; the cataract had lifted up its thunderings to the march of time; and no eye had seen it, but that of the wild tenants of the desert. A band of fugitives came to this land of barbarism, with no patronage, but the prayers of the friends they had left behind them; with no wealth, but habits of industry; with no power, but what lay in firm sinews and courageous hearts ; and with these they turned back the course of ages. Pilgrims from the old world, they became inheritors of the

new.

They set up the standard of Christianity; they opened the broad pathways of knowledge; the forest melted away before them, like a dark vapour of the morning ; the voice of comfort, the din of business, went back into its murmuring solitudes; the wilderness and solitary place were glad for them; the desert rejoiced and blossomed as the rose. We might almost take the description of it from the language of prophecy. The lamb lies down in the den of the wolf; and where the wild beast prowled, is now the grazing ox. “ The cow and the bear feed, and their young ones lie down together. The suckling child plays on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child puts his hand on the adder's den." Where the deep wood spread its solitary glooms, and the fierce savage laid his dark and deadly ambush, are now the sunny hill-side, and the waving field, and the flowery plain ; and the unconscious child holds his gambols on the ground that has been trodden with weariness, and watered with tears, and stained with the blood of strife and slaughter.

These are the days, these are the men, that we are called upon to remember and to honour. But it is not enough to remember their deeds : we are bound to imitate their virtues. This is the true, the peculiar honour, which we are bound to render to such an ancestry. The common measure of national intelligence and virtue is no rule for us. It is not enough for us to be as wise and improved, as virtuous and pious, as other nations. Providence, in giving to us an origin so remarkable and signally favoured, demands of us a proportionate improvement. We are in our infancy, it is true, but our existence begun in an intellectual maturity. Our fathers' virtues were the virtues of the wilderness-yet without its wildness ; hardy, and vigorous, and severe, indeed—but not rude, nor mean. Let us beware lest we become more pros: perous than they-more abundant in luxuries and refinements-only to be less temperate, upright, and religious. Let us beware lest the stern and lofty features of primeval recti. tude should be regarded with less respect among us. heware lest their piety should fall with the oaks of their forests ; lest the loosened bow of early habits and opinions, which was once strung in the wilderness, should be too much relaxed.

18*

Let us

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