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expeditions trade or war was the impelling motive. Too often commerce and conquest moved hand in hand, and the colony was incarnadined with blood.
On the day we celebrate, the sun for the first time in his course looked down upon a different scene, begun and continued under a different inspiration. A few conscientious Englishmen, in obedience to the monitor within, and that they might be free to worship God according to their own sense of duty, set sail for the unknown wilds of the North American continent. After a voyage of sixty-four days in the ship Mayflower, with Liberty at the prow and Conscience at the helm, (applause,) they sighted the white sand-banks of Cape Cod, and soon thereafter in the small cabin framed that brief compact, forever memorable, which is the first written constitution of government in human history, and the very corner-stone of the American Republic; and then these Pilgrims landed.
This compact was not only foremost in time, it was also august in character, and worthy of perpetual example. Never before had the object of the "civil body politic" been announced as "to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony." How lofty! how true! Undoubtedly these were the grandest words of government, with the largest promise, of any at that time uttered.
If more were needed to illustrate the new epoch, it would be found in the parting words of the venerable pastor, John Robinson, addressed to the Pilgrims, as they were about to sail from Delft-Haven, - words often
1 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, ed. Deane, p. 90.
quoted, yet never enough. How sweetly and beautifully he says: "And if God should reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry; for I am very confident the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth out of His Holy Word." And then how justly the good preacher rebukes those who close their souls to truth! "As, for example, the Lutherans, they cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw, for, whatever part of God's will He hath further imparted and revealed to Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it; and so also you see the Calvinists, they stick where he left them, a misery much to be lamented; for, though they were precious shining lights in their times, yet God had not revealed His whole will to them."1 Beyond the merited rebuke, here is a plain recognition of the law of Human Progress, little discerned at the time, which teaches the sure advance of the Human Family, and opens the vista of the everbroadening, never-ending future on earth.
Our Pilgrims were few and poor. The whole outfit of this historic voyage, including £1,700 of trading-stock, was only £2,400;2 and how little was required for their succor appears in the experience of the soldier Captain Miles Standish, who, being sent to England for assistance, not military, but financial (God save the mark!), -succeeded in borrowing (how much do you suppose?) £150 sterling. (Laughter.) Something in the way of help; and the historian adds, "though at fifty per cent"
1 Winslow's Brief Narration: Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers, (2d ed.) p. 397.
2 Prince, Chronological History of New England, (ed. 1826,) p. 160. Bradford, pp. 57, 72.
So much for a valiant soldier on a financial expedition. (Laughter, in which General Sherman and the company joined.) A later agent, Allerton, was able to borrow for the Colony £200 at a reduced interest of thirty per cent.2 Plainly, the money-sharks of our day may trace an undoubted pedigree to these London merchants. (Laughter.) But I know not if any son of New England, oppressed by exorbitant interest, will be consoled by the thought that the Pilgrims paid the same.
And yet this small people, so obscure and outcast in condition, so slender in numbers and in means, so entirely unknown to the proud and great,-so absolutely without name in contemporary records, whose departure from the Old World took little more than the breath of their bodies, are now illustrious beyond the lot of men; and the Mayflower is immortal beyond the Grecian Argo, or the stately ship of any victorious admiral. Though this was little foreseen in their day, it is plain now how it has come to pass. The highest greatness, surviving time and storm, is that which proceeds from the soul of man. (Applause.) Monarchs and cabinets, generals and admirals, with the pomp of courts and the circumstance of war, in the gradual lapse of time disappear from sight; but the pioneers of Truth, though poor and lowly, especially those whose example elevates human nature and teaches the rights of man, so that Government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth (great applause), -such harbingers can never be forgotten, and their renown spreads coëxtensive with the cause they served.
1 Prince, p. 237. "With much adooe (and spent a good deal of it in expences)": Bradford, p. 204.
2 Bradford, p. 211. Prince, p. 242.
I know not if any whom I now have the honor of addressing have thought to recall the great in rank and power filling the gaze of the world as the Mayflower with her company fared forth on their venturous voyage. The foolish James was yet on the English throne, glorying that he had "soundly peppered off the Puritans."1 The morose Louis the Thirteenth, through whom Richelieu ruled, was King of France. The imbecile Philip the Third swayed Spain and the Indies. The persecuting Ferdinand the Second, tormentor of Protestants, was Emperor of Germany. Paul the Fifth, of the House of Borghese, was Pope of Rome. In the same princely company, and all contemporaries, were Christian the Fourth, King of Denmark, and his son Christian, Prince of Norway; Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden; Sigismund the Third, King of Poland; Frederick, King of Bohemia, with his wife, the unhappy Elizabeth of England, progenitor of the House of Hanover; George William, Margrave of Brandenburg, and ancestor of the Prussian house that has given an emperor to Germany; Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria; Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse; Christian, Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg; John Frederick, Duke of Würtemberg and Teck; John, Count of Nassau; Henry, Duke of Lorraine; Albert, Archduke of Austria, and his wife Isabella, Infanta of Spain, joint rulers of the Low Countries; Maurice, fourth Prince of Orange, of the House of Nassau; Charles Emanuel, Duke of Savoy, and ancestor of the King of United Italy; Cosmo de' Medici, fourth Grand Duke of Tuscany; Antonio Priuli, ninety-fifth Doge of Venice, just after the terrible tragedy commemorated on the English stage as "Venice Preserved"; Bethlen
1 Neal, History of the Puritans, (London, 1733,) Vol. II. p. 20.
Gabor, Prince of Unitarian Transylvania, and elected King of Hungary with the countenance of an African; and the Sultan Osman the Second, of Constantinople, eighteenth ruler of the Turks.
Such at that time were the crowned sovereigns of Europe, whose names were mentioned always with awe, and whose countenances are handed down by Art, so that at this day they are visible to the curious as if they walked these streets. Mark now the contrast. There was no artist for our forefathers, nor are their countenances now known to men; but more than any powerful contemporaries at whose tread the earth trembled is their memory sacred. (Applause.) Pope, emperor, king, sultan, grand-duke, duke, doge, margrave, landgrave, count, what are they all by the side of the humble company that landed on Plymouth Rock? Theirs, indeed, were the ensigns of worldly power; but our Pilgrims had in themselves that inborn virtue which was more than all else besides, and their landing was an epoch.
Who in the imposing troop of worldly grandeur is now remembered but with indifference or contempt? If I except Gustavus Adolphus, it is because he revealed a superior character. Confront the Mayflower and the Pilgrims with the potentates who occupied such space in the world. The former are ascending into the firmament, there to shine forever, while the latter have been long dropping into the darkness of oblivion, to be brought forth only to point a moral or to illustrate the fame of contemporaries whom they regarded not. (Applause.) Do I err in supposing this an illustration of the supremacy which belongs to the triumphs of the moral nature? At first impeded or postponed, they at