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of our later time, will allow me to call their attention to the fact, that in those good old times the very first and ablest and most devout men felt it a duty to accept a military command. Perhaps two of our military bodies that have disappeared, a Roxbury Horse Guard that was in existence a little while after the Revolution, and the Warren Light Infantry, trusted too little to " the covenant of works.” Not a gala-day enthusiasm or skill in the gymnastics of a musket, good as they both are, make the soldier ; but discipline and drill. Society, in the face of the resistant forces that abound to threaten its peace, is criminal in not supporting by vigorous regular army legislation the brave men who, in the face of obloquy or indifference, try to maintain military organizations. To-day, at least, we will recollect that with the Puritan settlers "Liberty meant Law," and Law relied on an armed force behind it. The best authority in this nation has asserted that the efficient use of a single brigade would have prevented our late civil war. And yet madness, in the garb of economy, is likely to reduce us to impotence again. A false economy may be the worst extravagance.
After the Revolution the Roxbury Artillery, now the City Guards, was formed, and John Jones Spooner, gentleman of the best position and character, afterward a clergyman, was elected commander. This corps did good service in the disturbance known as Shay's rebellion. At the time of the Boston fire, 1872, the present organization, for thirteen days and nights, guarded the persons and property of the city against apprehended violence. Peace has its honors as well as war; and to-day this corps and its
old commander, Capt. Isaac Paul Gragg, who deserves commemoration, are attempting to rescue the old history of Roxbury from oblivion, by forming a special historical society for the old town. It is to his efforts, in large measure, that we owe this celebration, and the fact that Roxbury had any military representation at the grand anniversary of Lexington last year.
Not only did the Puritans of this old town train themselves to arms.
With famine in their faces and the savage at their doors, they entered into covenant, only thirteen years after the town was settled, and pledged their houses and farms and lands to maintain " The Free Schoole in Roxburie.” They lived in the age when the sentence was uttered, that to be a founder of States was chief of glories. And they knew that education of the head and heart together was the corner-stone of a State. It was a necessity that the descendants of such men should build a structure on that corner-stone. It is fitting that we, who have seen that * Free Schoole” become an opulent power in the United States, say a grateful word for the men of 1630, who defended this nation in the Revolution and the Rebellion, by founding it on intelligence two hundred and thirty-one years ago.
It is two hundred and eight years since Mr. John Prudden of Roxbury engaged to "instruct in all scholasticall, morall and theologicall discipline.” At first, it would seem that scholars who did not bring two feet of wood, or a certain sum of money, were not to come near the fire ; and afterward, the master was not to instruct such scholars. If they studied Virgil then, how they must have sniveled through the prophetic hexameter, in which the poet laments that Mantua was so near Cremona. The verse eminently applies to Roxbury, so near to Boston in the Revolutionary war; and still later, when the seven hundred acres of Boston have swallowed the eleven thousand of Roxbury, in a way that would have given to Pharaoh a nightmare, instead of a dream.
If it were not that a most competent author, Mr. Francis G. Drake, has now a history of Roxbury in hand, there would be danger of losing a large part of the traditional history of a town which existed as a town two hundred and fifteen years, from 1631 to 1846 ; which then, in 1851, became a city, of which the distinguished President of the day was the first Mayor; and which was then absorbed in two parcels, in 1868 and 1874, when the part, annexed, contained near 29,000 people, by its little neighbor of Boston. A hundred years before the first annexation the whole town contained about 1,500 people.
A little attempt may be made to-night to show those dominant traits of our fathers which explain the success of the Revolution. In this attempt I have been indebted to the Massachusetts Historical Society, and have availed 'myself of the valuable labors of Messrs. Ellis, C. R. Dillaway, Franklin Williams, F. G. Drake and others. But a local Historical Society should be formed to gather the vanishing material around the names of Eliot and Dudley and Eustis and Shirley and Sumner and Lowell and Dearborn, the authors, the pastors, the physicians, the soldiers, the patriotic men and women of this town. The birthplace of Warren surely deserves a Historical Society of its own. I believe the harvest is white.
It would be curious to collect evidence, that, in consequence of the presence of the Court in Boston, the Puritan sentiment of religious fervor, the intellectual habit of acute religious reasoning, and the sternness of manner that characterized the early settlers and produced traits conspicuous in the Revolution, were exhibited to a later period in' Roxbury than in Boston. I think we should learn the philosophy of a conduct which seems to have as much vigor, and as little violence as was shown by any community in the Revolution.
When "morall and theologicall discipline” was the business of life, religious fervor was the prevailing tone ; self-control the prevailing habit, and logical discussion of religious questions the chief amusement ! The first pastor of this church was one of the sternest combatants in that controversy of opinion and logic which drove Governor Coddington, Roger Williams and Mrs. Hutchinson out of Massachusetts. We see something to-day of the excitement among clergy and laity which a discussion of physical evolution creates. But when, in an age which had no intellectual excitement but religious discussions, Mrs. Hutchinson broached the idea of a spiritual evolution, by which, through the influx of the Holy Spirit, man became an immortal creature, men drew their sharpest texts on each other and ran them into their antagonists up to the hilt. But, though logic was suffered to cut as deep as it might, the softest Christian phrase and mien prevailed. Brethren who believed, and perhaps a little hoped, that other brethren would — not be saved, — "admonished them in love." It was an age of
spiritual bull-baiting. " But it was an age of self-control.” Everything was relegated to the Bible, and squared by "Moses his judicials.” But no Spanish Picador was more delighted, when he plunged a fiery dart neatly behind the ear of a baited bull, than was the conscientious and honest Reverend Thomas Welde, when he could transfix one of Mrs. Hutchinson's texts, full of hope in the Holy Spirit, by a "cross text” of despair. "Fasts for strife and debate were held,” when hungry clergymen wrestled, ostensibly, in prayer, but, really, with some other clergymen. Even little children, with squeaky voices, debated whether their parents, respectively, "stood for a covenant of grace" or " for a covenant of works.” The holiest men, boiling with indignation at the heresies of their opponents, enforced on themselves the calm exterior of Quakers. Governor Winthrop, writing to some who supported Mrs. Hutchinson, says:
I hope soon, by God's assistance, to make it appear what wrong had been done to the Court, yea, and to the truth itself, by your rash, unwarranted and seditious delinquency.
Your loving Brother, J. W.”
Under a guise of perfect serenity the people were seething. The excitement had some monstrous consequences upon the health of women, as the old records curiously tell. It lasted for years, and even affected the phrases and tone of generations. It must have affected the embryonic nation, and its fibre and functions.
When in the great Centennial Hall we see the central engine moving in awful silence, like a force of the universe,