« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
people of New England held fasts and offered prayers CHAP. for the success of their Saxon brethren.
The first years of the residence of Puritans in America, were years of great hardship and affliction ; it is an error to suppose that this short season of distress was not promptly followed by abundance and happiness. The people were full of affections; and the objects of love were around them. They struck root in the soil immediately. They enjoyed religion. They were, from the first, industrious, and enterprising, and frugal; and affluence followed of course. When persecution ceased in England, there were already in New England - thousands who would not change their place for any other in the world ;" and they were tempted in vain with invitations to the Bahama Isles, to lreland, to Jamaica, to Trinidad. The purity of morals completes the picture of colonial felicity. “As Ireland will not brook venomous beasts, so will not that land vile livers.” One might dwell there “ from year to year, and not see a drunkard, or hear an oath, or meet a beggar."1 The consequence was universal health-one of the chief elements of public happiness. The average duration of life in New England, compared with Europe, was doubled ; and the human race was so vigorous, that of all who were born into the world, more than two in ten, full four in nineteen, attained the age of seventy. Of those who lived beyond ninety, the proportion, as compared with European tables of longevity, was still more remarkable.
I have dwelt the longer on the character of the early Puritans of New England, for they are the
1 New England's First Fruits, printed 1643, p. 23, 26.
CHAP. parents of one third the whole white population of the - United States. Within the first fifteen years,—and
there was never afterwards any considerable increase from England,--we have seen that there came over twenty-one thousand two hundred persons, or four thousand families. Their descendants are now not far from four millions. Each family has multiplied on the average to one thousand souls. To New York and Ohio, where they constitute half the population, they have carried the Puritan system of free schools ; and their example is spreading it through the civilized world.
Historians have loved to eulogize the manners and virtues, the glory and the benefits, of chivalry. Puritanism accomplished for mankind far more. If it had the sectarian crime of intolerance, chivalry had the vices of dissoluteness. The knights were brave from gallantry of spirit; the Puritans from the fear of God The knights were proud of loyalty ; the Puritans of liberty. The knights did homage to monarchs, in whose smile they beheld honor, whose rebuke was the wound of disgrace; the Puritans, disdaining ceremony, would not bow at the name of Jesus, nor bend the knee to the King of Kings. Chivalry delighted in outward show, favored pleasure, multiplied amusements, and degraded the human race by an exclusive respect for the privileged classes; Puritanism bridled the passions, commanded the virtues of self-denial, and rescued the name of man from dishonor. The former valued courtesy ; the latter, justice. The former adorned society by graceful refinements; the latter founded national grandeur on universal education. The institutions of chivalry were subverted by the gradually-increasing weight, and knowledge, and opu
THE RESTORATION OF THE STUARTS.
lence of the industrious classes ; the Puritans, rallying CHAP. upon those classes, planted in their hearts the undying a principles of democratic liberty.
The golden age of Puritanism was passing away, 1660 Time was silently softening its asperities, and the revolutions of England prepared an era in its fortunes. Massachusetts never acknowledged Richard Cromwell; it read clearly in the aspect of parties the impending restoration. The protector had left the benefits of self-government and the freedom of commerce to New England and to Virginia ; and Maryland, by the act of her inhabitants, was just beginning to share in the same advantages. Would the dynasty of the Stuarts deal benevolently with the colonies? Would it imitate the magnanimity of Cromwell, and suffer the staple of the south still to seek its market freely throughout the world? Could the returning monarch forgive the friends of the Puritans in England ? Would he show favor to the institutions that the outcasts had reared beyond the Atlantic ?
END OF VOL. I.