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to send a delegate to the Provincial Congress. But, at a town meeting regularly warned, they voted “Not to Send A man to the Provincial Congress." Quick upon this came those stirring times of which no one can read to day without a quickening of the pulse. The news of the battle of Lexington reached Buzzard's Bay, by a rider from Boston, on the 20th of April. In scores of other communities of farmers, as plain as these, when the same tidings reached them, men everywhere left their oxen in the furrow, and with their trusty muskets in their hands hastened to join their neighbors, and in less than twentyfour hours were on the march to take their part in the battle of Bunker Hill. Mr. Bliss says: “When this town met four days after, no allusion to the battle was made, and the meeting was adjourned for five months, with as little concern as to the magnitude of the current events, as if they involved no issues greater than those which had interested town meetings in previous years.” It should be stated, however, to the credit of the townspeople, that although the town as such showed throughout the war an utter indifference to the struggle that was going on, individuals were in full sympathy with the patriotic cause. On the receipt of the news from Lexington a company of volunteers started for Boston, and at least a hundred men fought in the armies of the Revolution. But nothing appears on the town records which shows the least sympathy with the cause of national independence. Mr. Bliss says: “Town meetings were held as usual during all those years, and the Town's Mind was expressed in regard to sheep, foxes, hogs, alewives, highways, the minister, the schoolmaster, the meeting-house, the rates, the paupers, as in preceding years, but not one word further, until-our readers will hardly repress a smile as they read—until some years after the war was over, when on Feb. 11, 1788, a vote was passed in town-meeting, ordering its British colors to be sold—when doubtless the proceeds were duly placed in the town treasury.

We stated at the outset of our remarks that the story which this book gives of the way in which a frontier New England town grew up in the old colonial times is valuable for the reason that it shows how it was that New England institutions

had their origin, and what was the nature of the social life which was developed. The book is even more valuable for the illustrations which it gives of the way that the New England character grew up.

There is, we believe, no question anywhere that New Englanders have a character as marked as that of any people on the face of the earth. It may be freely admitted, also, that while they have excellencies of character, they have defects as well.

We speak now more specially of the New England character down to the time of the civil war, or at least down to the time of that immense immigration from every nationality under the heavens, which has changed that character somewhat. The New England institutions and the New England character have stamped themselves on the whole nation, in a way that can never be effaced. The national constitution, the State constitutions, the Supreme Court of the nation, all the institutions, educational, religious, philanthropic, political, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, have been in important respects shaped or modified by them, for good or for ill. There is even no organization which has been brought to this country by any body of foreign immigrants that has not felt their influence. Roman Catholicism itself is to-day another thing in the United States from what it is in Ireland, or France, or Italy, and must be forever

Roman Catholics themselves being the judges. Naturally New England has been and is hated—and with a will—by those who do not sympathize with its ideas. But there they are, and they can be read of all men. This book, as we have said, does not exhibit the best of these characteristics, and we value it for the very reason that it does not. We can the better see how it was that what is defective and unlovely grew up; and—we add in the true New England spirit—we can the better see how that which is defective and unlovely can be improved in the future.

Of this third subject—the way in which the New England character was developed—we had intended to speak at length in the present Article. It is the most important and most interesting of all the subjects mentioned. But the space at our command has already been filled, and we must accordingly defer what we have to say to some future number of the Review.

There is, however, a single remark which we cannot forbear to add. Enough has been already said to make it very clear that whatever of good has been accomplished in New England has been accomplished in the face of constant and never-ceasing opposition. The successes upon which New Englanders may congratulate themselves have not been easily won. All along from the beginning, in each succeeding generation, there have been even descendants of the Puritans who did not inherit their principles, and who did not manifest any of their spirit. Then, in addition, it is to be remembered that there have always been in New England a large number of people who were not descendants of the Puritans. We have no space here to go into particulars. But we have already stated that in Plymouth itself there were not a few who were mere adventurers. Then, in close proximity, at Weymouth, and within three years of being as old as Plymouth, was the settlement of the boasting followers of Weston. These men, after receiving the generous hospitalities of the Pilgrim Fathers, left for their new home, contemptuously declaring that they “should take another course, and not fall into such a condition as those simple people were come to.” Dr. Leonard Bacon says:* “No thought had they of self-sacrifice for Christ's sake-no dream of a refuge which they, in that wilderness, were to make for truth and purity, persecuted in the old world—no inspiration even from household affections and anxieties. They-practical men, amply provided for and nnincumbered—were sure to prosper.” The pious Governor Bradford, the historian of Plymouth, making the record of their disastrous failure, adds: “A man's way is not in his own power. God can make the weak to stand. Let him also that standeth take heed lést he fall.” Then, too, almost within sight of the hills where the Boston colonists were to establish themselves, was Mount Wollaston, which Morton renamed “Merry Mount,” and where as a veritable Lord of Misrule he reigned over the bacchanalian orgies of his motley crew of desperadoes. In all the great crises of New England history, political, religious, educational, philanthropic—there have been from the very first those who were the successors-spiritual if not by natural generation—of those men, who have everywhere

* Genesis of the New England Churches, p. 378.

and always stood in the way of progress, and made their influence felt for evil. Happily, the better elements of New England society have always succeeded in carrying through the measures which were for the highest interests of the country, and then, every one and everything has been forced to conform to the new state of things. We have seen how it was in the town at the head of Buzzard's Bay. No public manifestation of sympathy with the war for Independence was made there. But when the struggle was crowned with success, the result was accepted, and ever since, nowhere probably has a more loyal spirit been displayed.

This hopeful and encouraging fact to which we allude may be observed not only in our New England experience, but in our whole American history. When an important public measure has once been carried through—even if, to use a homely expression, it has “just nicked through”—it has not only been quietly acquiesced in by those who have opposed it, but often the children and the descendants of those very men have been its warmest supporters.

That accomplished scholar, Hon. Joseph B. Walker—in his recent history of the New Hampshire Federal Convention of 1788, which ratified the present national constitution—states that one of the ablest and most patriotic of the delegates was so impressed by the fears which his constituents entertained and expressed, lest such a strong central government as it was proposed to create, might endanger the rights of the individual States, that at last, finding all opposition hopeless, he absented himself from the Convention when the final vote was to be taken. The adhesion of New Hampshire, as the

ninth State”—according to the provisions of the constitution

-secured its adoption; and now it is Daniel Webster, the son of that very delegate, who will be known in all time to come as the great “Defender and Expounder" of the Constitution to which his father hesitated to give his adhesion.

There is a story-familiar to every one-of an orator at a Fourth-of-July celebration in New Jersey, who was eloquently describing the victories of Washington at Trenton and Princeton, when his eye fell on the one surviving “revolutionary soldier” to whom had been assigned a seat by his side on the platform. In a moment of sudden inspiration, the orator called upon the aged man to rise and give his testimony to the worth of the great commander under whom he had served. The veteran slowly rose to his feet, and with diffidence, and in a low voice, which was yet distinctly heard by all the vast assembly, stammered forth the words, “Me Hessian !”

It is one of the things about our American institutions which affords a bright omen for the future, that they have shown themselves capable of absorbing every element however heterogeneous, and of moulding the descendants of even the “rude and profane” followers of Weston at Weymouth, the descendants of the drunken revellers at “Merry Mount,” the descendants of Hessians, and of all the multitude of "Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia” who have come among us—and of making them over into law abiding American citizens.


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