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free. They lost their tenacity in a moment, when attempted to be recast on the forge of despotism and employed in the service of oppression. Nay, the brittle fragments into which they were broken in such a process, were soon moulded and tempered and sharpened into the very blades of a triumphant resistance. What more effective instruments, what more powerful incitements, did our fathers enjoy, in their revolutionary struggle, than the lessons afforded them in the language, the examples held up to them in the history, the principles, opinions, sensibilities, impulses, flowing from the hearts and vibrating through the veins, which they inherited from the very nation against which they were contending! Yes, let us not omit, even on this day, when we commemorate the foundation of a colony which dates back its origin to British bigotry and British persecution, even in this connection, too, when we are speaking of that contest for liberty which owed its commencement to British oppression and British despotism, — let us not omit to express our gratitude to God, that old England was still our mother country, and to acknowledge our obligations to our British ancestors for the glorious capabilities and instincts which they bequeathed us.
But, with the single exception that both emigrated from Eng. land, the colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth had nothing in common, and, to all outward appearances, the former enjoyed every advantage. The two companies, as it happened, though so long an interval elapsed between their reaching America, left their native land within about a year of each other; but under what widely different circumstances did they embark! The former set sail from the port of the Metropolis, in a squadron of three vessels, under an experienced commander, under the patronage of a wealthy and powerful corporation, and with an ample patent from the Crown. The latter betook themselves to their solitary bark, by stealth, under cover of the night, and from a bleak and desert heath in Lincolnshire, while a band of armed horsemen, rushing down upon them before the embarkation was completed, made prisoners of all who were not already on board, and condemned husbands and wives, and parents and children, to a cruel and almost hopeless separation.
Nor did their respective arrivals on the American shores, though divided by a period of thirteen years, present a less sig. nal contrast. The Virginia colony entered the harbor of Jamestown about the middle of May, and never could that lovely Queen of Spring have seemed lovelier, than when she put on her flowery kirtle and her wreath of clusters, to welcome those admiring strangers to the enjoyment of her luxuriant vegetation. But there were no May-flowers for the Pilgrims, save the name written, as in mockery, on the stern of their treacherous ship. They entered the harbor of Plymouth on the shortest day in the year, in this last quarter of December, — and when could the rigid Winter-King have looked more repulsive than when, shrouded with snow and crowned with ice, he admitted those shivering wanderers within the realms of his dreary domination?
But mark the sequel. From a soil teeming with every variety of production for food, for fragrance, for beauty, for profit, the Jamestown colonists reaped only disappointinent, discord, wretchedness. Having failed in the great object of their adventure the discovery of gold — they soon grew weary of their condition, and within three years after their arrival are found on the point of abandoning the country. Indeed, they are actually embarked, one and all, with this intent, and are already at the mouth of the River, when, falling in with new hands and fresh supplies which have been sent to their relief, they are induced to return once more to their deserted village.
But even up to the very year in which the Pilgrims landed, ten years after this renewal of their designs, they had hardly become settled in their minds,” had hardly abandoned the purpose of ultimately returning to England; and their condition may be illustrated by the fact, that in 1619, and again in 1621, cargoes of young women, (a commodity of which there was scarcely a sample in the whole plantation — and would to Heaven, that all the traffic in human flesh on the Virginian coast, even at this early period, had been as innocent in itself and as beneficial in its results!) were sent out by the corporation in London and sold to the planters for wives, at from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco apiece!
Nor was the political condition of the Jamestown colony much in advance of its social state. The charter, under which they came out, contained not a single element of popular liberty, and secured not a single right or franchise to those who lived under it. And, though a gleam of freedom seemed to dawn upon them in 1619, when they instituted a Colonial Assembly and introduced the representative system for the first time into the New World, the precarious character of their popular institutions and the slender foundation of their popular liberties at a much later period, even as far down as 1671, may be understood from that extraordinary declaration of Sir William Berkeley, then Governor of Virginia, to the Lords Commissioners: “ I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing - and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; - for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world; and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both.”
But how was it with the Pilgrims? From a soil of comparative barrenness, they gathered a rich harvest of contentment, harmony, and happiness. Coming to it for no purpose of commerce or adventure, they found all that they sought — religious freedom; and that made the wilderness to them like Eden, and the desert as the garden of the Lord. Of quitting it, from the very hour of their arrival, they seem never once to have entertained, or even conceived, a thought. The first foot that leapt gently but fearlessly on Plymouth Rock was a pledge that there would be no retreating, — tradition tells us that it was the foot of Mary Chilton.* They have brought their wives and their little ones with them, and what other assurance could they give that they have come to their home? And accordingly they proceed at once to invest it with all the attributes of home, and to make it a free and a happy home. The compact of their own adoption under which they landed, remained the sole guide of their government for nine years, and though it was then superseded by a charter from the Corporation within whose limits they had fallen, it was a charter of a liberal and comprehensive character, and under its provisions they continued to lay broad and deep the foundations of civil freedom. The trial by jury was established by the Pilgrims within three years after their arrival, and constitutes the appropriate opening to the first chapter of their legislation. The education of their children, as we have seen, was one of their main motives for leaving Holland, and there is abundant evidence that it was among the earliest subjects of their attention; while the planters of Massachusetts, who need not be distinguished from the planters of Plymouth for any purposes of this comparison, founded the college at Cambridge in 1636; set up a printing press at the same place in 1639, which “divulged," in its first workings at least, nothing more libellous or heretical than a Psalm book and an Almanac; and as early as 1647 had instituted, by an ever-memorable statute, that noble system of New England free schools, which constitutes at this moment the best security of liberty, wherever liberty exists, and its best hope, wherever it is still to be established.
* The distinction of being the first person that set foot on Plymouth Rock has been claimed for others beside Mary Chilton, and particularly for John Alden. But I could not resist the remark of Judge Davis on this point, in one of his notes to Morton's Memorial. After quoting the language of another, that " for the purposes of the arts a female figure, typical of faith, hope, and charity, is well adapted," — he observes that, “ as there is a great degree of uncertainty on this subject, it is not only grateful, but allowable, to indulge the imagination, and we may expect from the friends of John Alden, that they should give place to the lady."
It would carry me far beyond the allowable limits of this Address, if, indeed, I have not already exceeded them, to contrast, in detail, the respective influences upon our country, and, through it, upon the world, of these two original colonies. The elements for such a contrast I have already suggested, and I shall content myself with only adding further upon this point, the recent and very remarkable testimony of two most intelligent French travellers, whose writings upon the United States have justly received such distinguished notice on both sides the Atlantic.
“ I have already observed,” says De Tocqueville, that "the origin of the American settlements may be looked upon as the first and most efficacious cause, to which the present prosperity of the United States may be attributed.
When I reflect upon the consequences of this primary circumstance, methinks, I see the destiny of America embodied in the first PURITAN who landed on these shores, just as the human race was represented by the first man."
“ If we wished,” says Chevalier, " to form a single type, representing the American character of the present moment as a single whole, it would be necessary to take at least three fourths of the Yankee race and to mix it with hardly one fourth of the Virginian.”
But the Virginia type was not complete when it first appeared on the coast of Jamestown, and I must not omit, before bringing these remarks to a conclusion, to allude to one other element of any just comparison between the two colonies. The year 1620 was unquestionably the great epoch of American destinies. Within its latter half were included the two events which have exercised incomparably the most controlling influence on the character and fortunes of our country. At the very time the Mayflower, with its precious burden, was engaged in its perilous voyage to Plymouth, another ship, far otherwise laden, was approaching the harbor of Virginia. It was a Dutch man-ofwar, and its cargo consisted in part of twenty slaves, which were subjected to sale on their arrival, and with which the foundations of domestic slavery in North America were laid.
I see those two fate-freighted vessels, laboring under the divided destinies of the same nation, and striving against the billows of the same sea, like the principles of good and evil advancing side by side on the same great ocean of human life. I hear from the one the sighs of wretchedness, the groans of despair, the curses and clankings of struggling captivity, sounding and swelling on the same gale, which bears only from the other the pleasant voices of prayer and praise, the cheerful melody of contentment and happiness, the glad, the glorious “ anthem of the free." O, could some angel arm, like that which seems to guide and guard the Pilgrim bark, be now interposed to arrest, avert, dash down, and overwhelm its accursed compeer! But it may not be. They have both reached in safety the place of their destination. Freedom and Slavery, in one and the same year, have landed on these American shores. And American liberty, like the Victor of ancient Rome, is doomed, let us hope not forever, to endure the presence of a fettered captive as a companion in her Car of Triumph!