Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

MARINER'S HOME.PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS.

293

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The second occasion was for the benefit of the “Mariner's Home," a similar establishment of a larger size, and situated in a different locality. This is chiefly supported by the Unitarian portion of the community; though Father Taylor, who presides over the establishment, and is at once its commander, chaplain, and purser, is not a Unitarian in his doctrine. He was originally a Wesleyan Methodist, and continues to be so still, but upon rather a more enlarged foundation than any of the mere sects of Christians. To use his own quaint sea-language, in which he so cordially addresses his flock of seamen, he says, “ We know nothing here of Unitarians, Trinitarians, or any other arians into which mankind are divided. We don't allow such small craft as these to cruise in our deep waters. We all sail here under the broad pennant of pure Christianity.” And if ever man's heart and mind was truly catholic, such is undoubtedly Father Taylor's. The meeting on behalf of this institution was also very fully attended, the addresses convincing and impressive, and 500 dollars were raised by a collection from the audience for the funds of the institution.

These occupations brought me in communication with the most influential and benevolent of the inhabitants of Boston, and gave me an opportunity of seeing persons of all ranks and classes, from the highest to the lowest. I attended also about twenty of the churches, heard the most distinguished of the clergy, saw the most crowded congregations, and by these opportunities, added to occasional visits and daily intercourse with the inhabitants, enjoyed abundant opportunities for forming correct opinions as to their general character.

Of the institutions within the city I inspected personally the greatest number, and visited almost all the public buildings, including the Statehouse, Faneuil Hall, the Courthouse, the City Hall, the Custom-house, the Postoffice, the Navy Yard, its dock, ropewalk, and building-sheds, the State Prison, the Hospitals and Asylums, the Public Schools, and, indeed, almost every institution of public interest. These were the means I enjoyed for judging of the things I shall venture to describe.

In the environs of Boston we visited Dorchester, Roxbury, and Milton Hill. We were present at one of the public examinations of Harvard College at the University of Cambridge; and spent a delightful day at the beautiful cemetery of Mount Auburn. Each of these excursions afforded us considerable pleasure, though none were so full of interest as the last.

Among the remarkable public men with whom I had the pleasure to become acquainted in Boston were the ex-president, John Quincy Adams, and the senator Daniel Webster, both of whom I had before met at Washington, but here they were at home; President Quincy, of the University of Cambridge, Governor Everett, of the State of Massachusetts, the Rev. Dr. Channing, Mr. Pierpont,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

an accomplished poet, Dr. Harris, the venerable author of one of the most learned and elaborate works I had ever met with on the Natural History of the Bible, and Father Taylor, " the seaman's friend,” one of the most genuine sons of Neptune, with all a sailor's virtues, unspotted by the failings so common to the race. In addition to these, we had the pleasure to enjoy the acquaintance, and I believe the friendship, of several private families, whom I do not name, but of whose kindness we shall long retain the recollection.

During our stay at Boston I was invited to deliver my course of lectures at Salem, where I went by the railroad, a distance of thirteen miles, on two days in each week; and though the course was but slightly attended, the audience seldom exceeding 200 persons, I had the pleasure to form some very agreeable acquaintances, and to partake of the cordial hospitality of an English family residing there from Essex in England; persons with whom I had had no acquaintance whatever at home, but who, the moment I arrived in the country, sent me a pressing invitation to visit them at Salem, and desired me, whenever I came there, to make their house my home.

While at Salem I visited several times the interesting museum formed in that town by the contributions of the many sea-captains who sail from that port to various parts of India, China, and the islands of the Pacific, and made also a pleasant excursion to the neighbouring seaport and fishing-town of Marblehead; in a ship belonging to which port, called the Rising States, Captain Atkin Adams, I had visited the United States thirty years ago, in a voyage from London to Norfolk in Virginia.

As I purpose repeating my visit to Salem in the summer, 1 shall defer all description of that city and its environs till then; but I may mention that, during one of my visits here, I was much gratified at the opportunity of seeing “all Salem,” as the phrase is, at a military levee which was peculiar to the time. It appears that of late years the military mania, which is so fast dying away in the West, has been revived in the East; and Salem having partaken of it in a large degree, has now several companies of volunteers, who are exceedingly fond of parade days and public displays. A gentleman of fortune, Captain Sutton, who partakes of this taste himself

, encourages it in others by giving, on the occasion of public reviews, and at his own cost, a public levee, at which the volunteers, privates as well as officers, and all their families, are invited to partake in the pleasures of the dance, the promenade, and the refreshments of the evening. I was present at one of these, and found it a miniature edition of the president's levee at Washington. “Everybody in Salem was there,” was the common mode of describing it; and there was certainly a great variety in the complexion of the company. But, while there was something that might have

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

been spared by good taste in the richness and gaudiness of the attire, there was as much of female beauty as I ever saw among the same number of persons, and some of the younger faces were exquisitely lovely. The behaviour of all was respectful, orderly, and becoming; and though there was no want of joy and hilarity, yet it never manifested itself boisterously. I do not think that any country except America could furnish, out of such varied elements, embracing all classes of society, two such agreeable and well-conducted parties as these public levees at Washington and Salem.

Such is a brief notice of the chief incidents of our stay at Boston and in its neighbourhood ; and it was during this period, and surrounded by these opportunities and sources of information, that I threw into form the scattered facts which I was thus enabled to bring together, and appended to them the opinions and impressions which the subjects themselves occasioned, as they are arranged in the following chapters.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XXVIII.

[ocr errors]

Influence of Institutions on Character.-Early History of Massachusetts.-First Charter

to the Plymouth Company.-Origin of the name “New-England"-Arrival of the Puritans. - Charter of Charles the First.-Solemn League and Covenant of the Settlers.-Foundation of Plymouth and Salem.-- Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, and Roxbury. - First Act of Religious Intolerance.- First Representative Assembly.- War with the Indians.-Influence of the Clergy.-Female Assemblies-Hazelrig, Pym, Hampden, and Oliver Cromwell, Emigrants.-Rigour of the Puritan Laws.- First Federal Union of Provinces.-Foundation of Providence and Rhode Island.-Conduct of the Quakers.- Death inflicted on Quakers for entering the Colony.-Firmness of that Body triumphing over their Persecutors.-Restoration of Charles the second. Increased Emigration.-Statistics of New-England at this early Period.-Laws for restraining Indulgence in Dress and Amusements.--Remarkable Me.-Sir William Phipps.-Cotton Mather.-Benjamin Franklin.

و متال

As there is no portion of the United States in which the character of the inhabitants has been more extensively influenced, if not almost wholly formed, by the institutions and conduct of their ancestors than in New England, it is almost indispensable to a right understanding and due appreciation of that character to examine these institutions, and the conduct of those who framed them, for which purpose a brief sketch of the early settlement of these territories will perhaps be acceptable.

It was in the year 1606 that James the First of England sanctioned the planting of colonies in this part of America, then called Northern Virginia; and two separate companies, ore stationed at London, and the other at Plymouth, in England, had granted to them the privilege of forming such colonies in these parts

. The leading person in the Plymouth Company was Sir John Popham,

[ocr errors]

then Chief-justice of England, who a few years before presided at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, and condemned that distinguished individual, to whom both America and England owed so much, to the death of a traitor. The first expedition, led by two brothers of the judge, sailed from Plymouth in 1607, with about 100 emigrants, in two vessels; and, landing near the River Sagadahoc, they found themselves, in the first period of their stay here, so destitute of means, that all but forty-five of their number were sent back to England; while these suffered so severely from the winter that they lost a great portion of their number by disease, including their president, Henry Popham, before the spring: A vessel then arrived with fresh supplies; but this ship brought intelligence of the death of the Chief-justice Popham and Sir Henry Gilbert, their two most powerful patrons, and this induced them to return to England, where they spread the most discouraging accounts of the region in which so many calamities had befallen them.

Six years after this, in 1614, the celebrated Captain Smith, so renowned for his adventures with Pocahontas in Virginia, was engaged by the Plymouth Company to make a voyage of trade and survey to the abandoned coast, and, after exploring with great care both the coast and the interior, from Cape Cod to Penobscot

, he returned to England, and, laying his map and the narrative of his travels before Prince Charles, this generous patron of the gallant captain was so much pleased with the region described that he bestowed on it the name of “ New-England,” which has always been continued, and which now embraces the six states eastward of the Hudson River, namely, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New-Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. So many obstacles, however, intervened between this period and 1619, that the Plymouth Company in this year laid aside all attempts to colonize the quarter in which their first settlement was made.

In 1620 the Puritans, who had fled from England because of the religious persecutions to which they were subject, and had remained ten years in exile at Leyden, resolved to leave Europe altogether and settle in America; and, having procured from the Plymouth Company the grant of a tract of land within their territories, they purchased two vessels, in order to convey 120 of their number to the shores of the New World. The spot on which they had intended to form their settlement was on the banks of the Hudson River ; but the Dutch, then in possession of a part of that territory, wishing to exclude these new settlers from their neighbourhood, are said to have bribed the captain of the vessel, who sailed with these emigrants from Leyden, to take them to some spot farther north upon the coast. He accordingly took them as far north as Cape Cod, where the advanced period of the year, and the sufferings and sickness of a long voyage, compelled them to disembark. They bestowed upon the place of their first settlement the name of New

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Plymouth, from the English city of that name at which they last touched, when, driven back by storms after their departure from Leyden, they had taken shelter in the harbour of Plymouth, within the British Channel.

This first year was one of great privation, suffering, and difficulty; but these being at length overcome, they began to frame those institutions which had so powerful an influence on the character of their descendants. Their ecclesiastical constitution was the same as that under which they had lived in their exile at Leyden, and both this and their civil government were founded on the republican principle of the equal rights of man. All freemen who were members of their church were members also of the legislative body, and this continued until 1639, when for the first time a House of Representatives was formed; and these chose annually a governor and council for their executive body. The jurisprudence of England was in most cases their model; but the penalties of the Mosaic code were often intermingled with their laws; and their deep abhorrence of offences against morality, contrasted with their light estimate of pecuniary crimes, is strikingly shown in the fact that, while they punished fornication with Hogging and adultery with death, the

offence of forgery was only visited with a trifling fine in money. Considering themselves as members of one family, they adopted a community of property, and this continued for three years, when the influx of strangers rendered a return to individual possession, as they thought, necessary.

In 1626, the reign of Charles the First set in motion new causes to augment the number of those who sought refuge from religious intolerance in America, and a non-conformist minister at Dorchester, in England, named White, drew the attention of those who, like himself, sought relief from persecution, to the importance of leaving their homes for a new country. For this purpose, a publication, entitled “General Considerations for the Plantation of NewEngland," was extensively circulated, and the effect it produced may be judged of from some of the passages it contained. “ England,” it was asserted, “grew weary of her inhabitants, insomuch that man, the most precious of all creatures, was there recorded more vile and base than the earth he trod on." “English seminaries,” it was added, “abounded with so many spectacles and temptations of dissolute irregularity, that vice was there more effectually communicated by example, than knowledge and virtue by precept;" and the declaration then followed, that " The whole earth is the Lord's garden, and he hath given it to the sons of Adam to be tilled and improved by them. Why, then, should any stand starving here, in England, for places of habitation, and in the mean time suffer whole countries, as profitable for the use of man, to lie waste, without any improvement ?

The numbers induced by this stirring appeal were sufficient to
VOL. II.-PP

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]
« ForrigeFortsett »