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groves, and bad trod the ground hallowed by their sepulchres. The tempest' of war moaned in the wilderness; the rising mists rolled through their vales and settled on all their hills. Gathering blackness and vengeance in its course, the lurid storm was now prepared to burst its fury upon the inhabitants of this devoted spot. The wilderness from her boundless wastes “ unfolded her widest gates and poured forth all her Kings.” Headed by the master spirit of his race, an army of 1500 savage warriors, in five divisions, commenced their attack in as many several parts of the town. The peaceful slumbers of that ill fated morning were awakened by the horrid din of the war whoop, and the death cry of barbarian ferocity. The dismal glare of domestic conflagration reddened the horizon on every side, and from every glen and bill top around us, re. soupded the yells of savage vengeance, and the shrieks of the unprotected Aying for shelter. Neither arms defended the valiant, nor submission the timid; neither hoary age nor lisping childhood was spared; the same blow that pierced the mother, transfixed also the infapt in her arms.
The details of that day of carnage and ruin are sufficiently familiar to your minds. Suffice it to say, that most of the unfortified houses were burnt, and the principal garrison, that of their Reverend pastor, was besieged, and after a gallant and vigorous defence, was surrendered, rolling forth devouring fire, agonizing shrieks, the mangled brave, unprotected females, helpless children, the widow and her orphans. From the best authenticated accounts, fifty five of the wretched inhabitants were doomed to death or captivity. One alone of that garrison escaped. Of the miserable survivors, the men were reserved for the horrors of a lingering torture, a fate that no submission, no rewards, entreaties, nor imprecations, nor tears could avert.
Twenty four of the women and children destined for the still more protracted sufferings of savage captivity, were hurried off to a hill, about a mile west of the village. On yonder snow clad emi. nence female fortitude was summoned to its severest trials. The cup of human misery was not yet full ; something more appalling was wanted to complete the horrid picture. These wretched females had beheld their plantation, the fruit of an honorable purchase, its value enhanced by thirty years of toil, endeared to them by a thousand tender recollections, the natal spot of their children, and the sepulchre of many of their venerable fathers, all snatched from them in an unsuspecting moment. They had beheld the ruin
of their firesides, their altars and hearths overrun by barbarians,
Of the awful captivity of nearly three months that ensued, the simple and pathetic details are already familiar to you and your children. The sufferings of the intrepid heroine of that melancholy story, have already been consecrated by the tears of every succeeding generation.* Her fortitude and unwavering faith bave called forth the admiration of many a generous and pious heart. Who does not feel an increased veneration for the Holy Oracles of our faith, when we find them mitigating the bitterest griefs, and yielding comfort in the darkest hours of tribulation ? Timely aid arrived to rescue the remaining inhabitants of the town, who were conducted to a place of safety, when this, like all the other settlements of the County, was abandoned, and for a long time left in
* The wife of the Rev. Joseph Rowlandson, the minister of the place, was among the Captives. She published a narrative of her sufferings after berrer turn, entitled the “Twenty removes of Mary Rowlandson." .
ruing. Silence and desolation again resumed their solitary reign over these beautiful regions. Even the savage foot trod not the neglected fields, and the howlings of the bear and the wolf alone mingled with the murmurs of the Nashua, :- The death of Philip, in the following August, put an end to fur ther hostilities. No records of modern warfare describe so great a proportional aggregate of suffering as these settlements then sustained. But the inhabitants became inured to the peculiar privaLions and hardships of Savage warfare, which were of infinite impora tance to them in their subsequent conflicts with the French and Indians. From these wars their opponents always retired with great defeat and losses. The superior prowess of civilized life prevaile ed at length over the rude violence of barbarian warfare, and the ancient tribes of New England were erased from the list of na tions. lo 1680, the re-settlement of this town was commenced ; its sufferings from the Savages were renewed in the wars with the Indians and the French that followed each other in quick succession In each of these conflicts the Inhabitants had to mouro the loss of a beloved Minister, each cut off in the beginning of his days, and his usefulness, and their sepulchres remain with us to this day.” The year 1710 terminated the story of Indian warfare in this town. Since that period but few places have had more reason for grateful praise for the peace and harmony that bas prevailed within their borders. In 1708, the Rev. Mr. Prentice was ordained as the Minister of this place. During the long period of 118 years, the pulpit has been vacant but ten months, and but two other incumbents have filled the sacred desk. Through all those eventful periods, when other towns and churches were rent with dissensions, and brethren who had taken counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company, became estranged from each other, and when altar was set up against altar, no root of bitterness here sprang up to disa tract and divide this people. No ecclesiastical councils have been here assembled to reconcile the animosities of contending brethren, or to heal the wounds of the Church : " no grey haired synods!! to mete out the measure of their faith. Notwithstanding the repeated diminutions of their extent by the formation of the several flourishing and opulent towns within their former territory, this place still stands the first in the vicinity in population, and still maintains the proud pre-eminence of Queen among these villages.
Assembled from the various branches that sprang from this apcient stock, we congratulate the venerable Mother of our towns and
our Churches, upon all the pleasing and interesting circumstances and contrasts suggested by this brief though imperfect retrospect of her history. We exhort you, fellow citizens, to a consideration of the high and awful responsibility imposed opon you by the present prosperous situation of our beloved country, and particularly the relation we bear to our fellow men of other climes, who are yet groping in ignorance, and bending beneath the yoke of slavery, Our lot is cast in an age pre-eminent above all others for high advances in mental improvement. The Government under which we livé is literally a popular Government, and upon the discernment of the people depends many of our important measures. Projects of internal improvement, io volving intricate questions of science, are daily presented for our consideration. The increase of the reading community demands for our public journals distinguished talent and laborious research, for these heralds of intelligence are now sought for by almost our whole population. We believe, there fore, the time is arrived, having been accelerated by a rapid increase of means, when our public schools should be placed upon a more liberal and elevated foundation; when high qualifications should be required in the instructers; when more discrimination should be used in the selection of school books; when a new zeal and higher interest should be felt upon the part of those who have the oversight of Schools. We are not desirous that all our young men should be educated as Statesmen or Philosophers.
But no man is capable of acting in the selection of a ruler, unless he is acquainted with the principles of the Government that is to be administered. The general propositions of natural and moral philosophy are of importance to every citizen in his daily inter course with his fellow men.
Think not that I am undervaluing the first principles of education : these should be laid deep in the infant's mind, and lie should be led on to further attainments by more time and more liberal ap. propriations than have hitherto been devoted to these important objects.
I introduce this subject on this occasion, because I firmly believe it is the most useful improvement that can be drawn from the subjects we have been considering. I name it in this place because this people have been among the foremost in the liberality of their appropriations for the education of their children both at public and private schools. The catalogues of our university for the last tep years bear ample testimony in support of this fact.
It will little suffice “ to build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulcbres of the righteous," unless we imitate their good examples, and cherish their valued institutions. This is the most acceptabļe tribute we can offer to the memories of our fathers, and to this duty we are also summoned by a regard for posterity. The time and the place is fitted for high and decisive resolves. The ground we tread is boly, for it has been consecrated by the blood of heroes, of patriots, and of martyrs; beneath its turf are interred the ashes of the valiant defenders of our land, our laws, and our liberties: the air we breathe has been hallowed by the shrieks of widows, and the wailings of Rachels weeping for their first born.
FELLOW CITIZENS_We have thus traced the advancement of our country from its humble beginnings to its present state of opulence and power. We have seen the splendid fabric rising by regular gradations, under the hands of its master builders, from its lowly foundations, to a towering height of beauty and magnificence. We have seen it affording to our fathers and their descendants, through every succeeding generation, a resting place, safe and abiding. For a growth so rapid and so vast other times furnish no analogy, and other regions no precedent.
Is this the work of fancy? Is it a chimera or a dream ? Is it a castle of enchantment called into existence by the fabled genii of , romance, and to vanish again at the tomb of the mistic wand? Is it a palace of frost, glittering and evanescent, like the splendid bauble of the Muscovite, “as worthless as it seemed intrinsically precious ?”—No, the progress of our country is no fantasy of the imagination, for the registers of our fathers point to the origin of every column, and the names of its Architects start in bold relief from every pedestal. We have seen its Tuscan foundatious laid low and permanent and unyielding as the soul of the Puritan, who freighted the unpolished adamant across the wave. We have witnessed its massy Doric columns, reared by unconquerable fortitude, and cemented by the blood of valor, by a race who followed the thorny path of the Pilgrim in the wilderness, who forgot not their fathers and remembered the inestimable price of their purchase. We have seen the third race continue the growing pile by the tall and graceful Ionic, whose lofty elevations exposed the edifice to the view of the nations, and rendered its sacred treasures the object of cruel rapacity. But from its vistas and its iomost recesses poured forth legions of armed men, who manfully repelled the insidious designs of its aggressors, and stripped the cumbrous Gothic appendages,