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There is no war among them : they pass on,
Oh! when the planet shone o'er Bethlehem,
Brief Account of the first Settlers of New England; their de
parture from Europe ; and their landing at Plymouth, Mass. 22d Dec. 1620.-Abridged from ROBERTSON and Neal.
ROBERT Brown, a popular preacher in high estimation among the Puritans of England, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, maintained that a society of Christians, uniting together to worship God, constituted a church, possessed of complete jurisdiction in the conduct of its own affairs, independent of any other society, and accountable to no superior :--that the priesthood neither was a distinct order in the church, nor conferred an indelible character; but that every man, qualified to teach, might be set apart for that office by the election of the brethren, and by imposition of their hands; and that, in like manner, by their authority, he might be discharged' from that function, and reduced to the rank of a private Christian.
Those who adopted this democratical form of government, which abolished all distinction of ranks in the church, and conferred an equal portion of power on each individual, were, from the founder of the sect, denominated Brownists: and, as their tě'nets were more hostile to the established religion than those of other separatists, the fiercest storm of persecution fell upon their heads. Many of them were fined or imprisoned, and some were put to death.
Still, the sect not only subsisted, but continued to spread. But, as all their motions were carefully watched, both by the ecclesiastical and civil courts, which, as often as they were detected, punished them with the utmost rigour, a body of them, weary of living in a state of continual danger and alarm, fled to Holland, and settled in Leyden, under the care of Mr. John Robinson their pastor.
There they resided for several years, unmolested and obscure. But, many of their aged members dying, and some of the younger marrying into Dutch families, while their church received no increase, either by recruits from England, or by proselytes gained in the country, they began to be afraid, that all their high attainments in spiritual knowledge would be lost, and that that perfect fabric of policy, which they had erected, would be dissolved, and consigned to oblivion, if they remained longer in a strange land.
At length, after several solemn addresses to Heaven, the younger part of the congregation resolved to remove into some part of America, under the protection of the king of England, where they might enjoy the liberty of their consciences, and be capable of encouraging their friends and countrymen to follow them.
Accordingly, they sent over agents into England, who, having obtained a patent from the crown, agreed with several merchants to become adventurers in the undertaking. Se
veral of Mr. Robinson's congregation sold their estates, and made a common bank, with which they purchased a small ship of sixty tons,* and hired another of one hundred and eighty.†
The agents sailed into Holland with their own ship, to take in as many of the congregation as were willing to embark, while the other vessel was freighting with all necessaries for the new plantation. All things being ready, Mr. Robinson observed a day of fasting and prayer with his congregation, and took his leave of the adventurers with the following truly generous and Christian exhortation :
Brethren,-We are now quickly to part from one another, and whether I may ever live to see your faces on earth any more, the God of heaven only knows; but, whether the Lord has appointed that or no, I charge you, before God and his blessed angels, that you follow me no farther than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
“ If God reveal any thing to you, by any other instrument of his, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry; for I am verily persuaded, the Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of his holy word. For
my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw: whatever part of his will our God has revealed to Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it; and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all Things.
« This is a misery much to be lamented; for, though they were burning and shining lights in their times, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God, but, were they now living, would be as willing to embrace further light as that which they first received. I beseech you remember, it is an article of your church covenant, that you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written word of God. Remember that, and every other article of your sacred covenant. But I must herewithal exhort you to take heed what you receive as truth; examine it, consider it, and compare it with other scriptures of truth, before you receive it; for it is not possible the Christian
* The Speedwell.
+ The May-Flower.
world should come so lately out of such thick antichristian darkness, and that perfection of knowledge should break forth at once.
I must also advise you to abandon, avoid, and shake off the name of Brownists; it is a mere nick-name, and a brand for the making of religion, and the professors of it, odious to the Christian world."
On the 1st of July, 1620, the adventurers went from Leyden to Delfthaven, whither Mr. Robinson and the ancients of his congregation accompanied them; they continued together all night; and next morning, after mutual embraces, Mr. Robinson kneeled down on the sea-shore, and, with a fervent prayer, committed them to the protection and blessing of Heaven. The adventurers were about one hundred and twenty, who, having joined their other ship, sailed for New England, August 5th, but, one of their vessels proving leaky, they left it, and embarked in one vessel, which arrived at Cape Cod, November 9th, 1620.
Sad was the condition of these poor men, who had the winter before them, and no accommodations at hand for their entertainment: most of them were in a weak and sickly condition with the voyage : but there was no remedy: they therefore manned their long boat, and, having coasted the shore, at length found a tolerable harbour, where they landed, with a part of their effects, on the 22d of December, and, on the 25th, began to build a storehouse, and some smart cottages, to preserve them from the weather.
Their company was divided into nineteen families, each family having an allotment of land for lodging and gardens, in proportion to the number of persons of which it consisted; and, to prevent disputes, the situation of each family was decided by lot. They agreed likewise upon some laws for their civil and military government, and, having chosen a governor, they called the place of their settlement by the name of New Plymouth.
Inexpressible were the hardships these new planters underwent, the first winter. A sad mortality raged among them, occasioned by the fatigues of their late voyage, by the severity of the weather, and their want of necessaries. The country was full of woods and thickets; their poor cottages could not keep them warm; they had no physician, or wholesome food; so that, within two or three months, half their company was dead, and of them who remained alive about fifty-not above six or seven at a time were capable of helping the rest. But, as the spring came on, they recovered, and, having received some fresh supplies from their friends in England, they maintained their station, and laid the foundation of one of the noblest settlements in America, which from that time has proved an asylum for the Protestant Non-conformists under all their oppressions.
LESSON CVIII. Extract from an Oration, delivered at Plymouth, Mass. 22 Dec.
1924, in commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims.E. EVERETT.
It is not by pompous epithets or lively antitheses, that the exploits of the pilgrims are to be set forth by their children. We can only do this worthily, by repeating the plain tale of their sufferings, by dwelling on the circumstances under which their memorable enterprise was executed, and by cherishing and uttering that spirit, which led them across the ocean, and guided them to the spot where we stand.We need no voice of artificial rhetoric to celebrate their names. The bleak and deathlike desolation of nature proclaims, with touching eloquence, the fortitude and patience of the meek adventurers. On the bare and wintry fields around us, their exploits are written in characters, which will last, and tell their tale to posterity, when brass and marble have crumbled into dust.
The occasion which has called us together is certainly one, to which no parallel exists in the history of the world. Other countries, and our own also, have their national festivals. They commemorate the birthdays of their illustrious children; they celebrate the foundation of important institutions: momentous events, victories, reformations, revolutions, awaken, on their anniversaries, the grateful and patriotic feelings of posterity. But we commemorate the birthday of all New England; the foundation, not of one institution, but of all the institutions, the settlements, the establishments, the communities, the societies, the improvements, comprehended within our broad and happy borders.
Were it only as an act of rare adventure ; were it a trait in foreign or ancient history; we should fix upon the achievement of our fathers, as one of the noblest deeds in the annals of the world. Were we attracted to it by no