網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

could not contain them. They would not only fill the houses, but crowd round the doors and windows without, and press together wherever they could hear the preacher. They would not only thus assemble in their own towns and parishes when the word was preached, but if they had the knowledge of lectures in the neighboring towns and parishes, they would attend them. Sometimes they would follow the preacher from town to town, and from one place to another, for several days together. In some instances, in places but thinly settled, there would be such a concourse, that no house could hold them. There was, in the minds of people, a general fear of sin, and of

the wrath of God denounced against it.

There seemed to be a general conviction, that all the ways of man were before the eyes of the Lord. It was the opinion of men of discernment and sound judgment, who had the best opportunities of knowing the feelings and general state of the people at that period, that bags of gold and silver, and other precious things, might, with safety, have been laid in the streets, and that no man would have converted them to his own use. Theft, wantonness, intemperance, profaneness, Sab'bath-breaking, and other gross sins, appeared to be put away. The intermissions on the Lord's Day, instead of being spent in worldly conversation and Vanity, as had been too usual before, were now spent in religious conversation, in reading and singing the praises of God. At lectures there was not only great attention and seriousness in the house of God, but the conversa

tion out of it was generally on the great concerns of the soul.” “There is a circumstance which considerably contributed to accelerate the diffusion of a revival spirit, which must not be overlooked—the visits of the celebrated contemporaries, Wesley and Whitfield, to the American continent, just at this period. The extraordinary exertions of the latter especially excited and emboldened many faithful ministers of Connecticut, whose labors and pecuniary sacrifices now became greater than they had ever before experienced or imagined they could endure. They not only abounded in active exertions among their own and neighboring congregations, but preached in all parts of the colony, where their brethren would admit them, and in many places in Massachusetts, and the other colonies. They were very popular, and their labors were generally acceptable to their brethren, and useful to the people. They were not noisy preachers, but grave, sentimental, searching, and pungent. Connecticut was, however, more remarkably the seat of the work than any part of New England, or of the American colonies. In the years 1740, 1741, and 1742, it had pervaded, in a greater or less degree, every part of the colony. In most of the towns and societies, it was very general and powerful. . “It has been estimated, that, during three years, from thirty to forty thousand persons had their minds affected in the decided manner which has been described. It might naturally have been supposed, that, as many of these impressions occurred at a period of ex

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

traordinary excitement, they would not have been generally productive of permanently beneficial results. The con

trary, however, in a very great majority

of instances, appears to have been the fact. ‘The effects on great numbers,” says Dr. Trumbull, ‘were abiding and most happy; they were the most uniform, exemplary Christians, with whom I was ever acquainted. I was born, and had my education, in that part of the town of Hebron in which the work was most prevalent and powerful. They were extraordinary for their constant and serious attention on the public worship; they were prayerful, righteous, peaceable, and charitable; they Kept up their religious meetings for prayer, reading, and religious conversation, for many years; they were strict in the religion and government of their families, and I never knew that any one of them was ever guilty of scandal, or fell under discipline. About eight or ten years after the religious revival and reformation, that part of the town was made a distinct society, and it was mentioned to Mr. Lothrop, the pastor elect, as an encouragement to settle with them, that there was not a drunkard in the whole parish. While I lived in it, I did not know of one prayerless family among his people, nor ever heard of one. Some of those people, who dated their conversion from that period, lived until they were far advanced in life ; and after I was settled in the ministry, I became acquainted with them in one place and another. They appeared to be some of the most consistent practical Christians with whom I ever had an acquaintance.

Their light shone before men, through a long life, and brightened as they advanced on their way. Some I was called to visit in their last moments in full possession of their rational powers, who appeared perfectly to acquiesce in the will of God, to die in the full assurance of faith, and in perfect triumph over the last enemy.’” But to return from this digression. The government of Georgia thus far had not proved quite satisfactory; the trustees determined, therefore, after Oglethorpe's return to England, to introduce important changes, committing civil affairs to a president and four councillors. William Stevens was appointed president, and notwithstanding his advanced age, he discharged effectively the duties of his post. . The progress of Georgia was slow and uncertain. Not only did the course pursued by the trustees serve to hinder its growth, but the nature of the climate and similar causes had a serious influence upon its prosperity. “After twenty years' efforts, and the expenditure of parliamentary grants to the amount of more than $600,000, besides about $80,000 contributed by private ostentation or charity, when the trustees surrendered their rights under the charter, Georgia, contained only three small towns and some scattered plantations, with seventeen hundred white inhabitants and four hundred negroes. The total value of the exports for the three years preceding, had hardly amounted to $13,000. The exportation of wine and drugs had been totally relinquished,

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

CH. VI.]

T)’IBERVILLE AND HIS

PLANS. 207

the harbor of Pensacola—D'Iberville landed on Dauphine Island, near Mobile, and soon after discovered the River Pascagoula and the tribes of the Biloxi. Leaving most of the colonists in huts on Ship Island, D'Iberville, in company with his brother, Bienville, and about fifty men, took two barges and set out to find the entrance to the Mississippi. Guided by the muddy waters, on the 2d of March, they discovered the mouth of the great river, which they ascended as high as Red River, and received from some Indians the letter which Tonti had written to La Salle, in 1684. Turning again down the river, D'Iberville left the main stream, and passing through the Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, made his way back by a shorter passage, to the place where the main body of the colonists were waiting his movements. At the head of the Bay of Biloxi, on the sandy and desolate shore, and under the burning sun of that region, a fort was erected in May. D'Iberville returned to France, leaving his brothers Sauvolle and Bienville in command. Such was the beginning of the colony, and though it was plainly impossible to look for prosperity there, still it was an important movement in advancing the purposes of the French in America. “Already a line of communication existed between Quebec and the Gulf of Mexico. The boundless southern region—made a part of the French empire by lilies carved on forest trees, or crosses erected on bluffs, and occupied by French missionaries and forest rangers—was annexed to the

H 699.

[blocks in formation]

pied and settled by the French, and

thus got rid of a very troublesome visitor. The point where this occurred in the river is still known as the English Turn. D'Iberville returned early in December, 1699, and various and important projects were entrusted to him to carry out; but especially was he to seek for, and to find, gold. In company with his brother, he ascended the Mississippi, and visited various tribes of Indians; but all inquiry and search for gold was in vain: the aged Tonti, with a few companions from the banks of the Illinois, joined D'Iberville in this expedition, and they ascended the Mississippi, some three or four hundred miles. Bilious fevers carried off numbers, the amiable Sauvolle among the earliest; and when D'Iberville returned again from France, to which he had gone for provisions and soldiers, he found only a hundred and fifty alive. D'Iberville was

H 700.

H”02.

* Bancroft’s “History of the United States,” vol. iii., p. 202.

attacked by yellow fever, and his health was broken down by its effects upon his constitution. He died at Havana, in 1706. Louisiana, at his death, was little more than a wilderness: in the whole of its borders there were not more than thirty families. The major part of the settlers found it necessary to abandon Biloxi, and removed to Mobile, near the head of the bay of that name. This was the first European settlement within the limits of what is now the State of Alabama, and it remained, as Mr. Hildreth states, for twenty years the head quarters of the colony. No regular systematic industry had place among them ; pearls, gold mines, furs, the wool of the buffalo, were sought for by the colonists. Biloxi was a sandy desert, and the soil on Dauphine Island was meagre and unproductive; in fact, to use Mr. Bancroft's poetic language, “Bienville and his few soldiers were insulated and unhappy, at the mercy of the rise of waters in the river; and the buzz and sting of mosquitoes, the hissing of the snakes, the croaking of the frogs, the cries of alligators, seemed to claim that the country should still for a generation, be the inheritance of reptiles, while at the fort of Mobile, the sighing of the pines and the hopeless character of the barrens, warned the emigrants to seek homes farther within the land.” Recruits, it is true, were added from time to time to the colony; but the whole number of the colonists does not seem ever to have exceeded two hundred at any one time during the next ten years; and had it not been for provisions sent from France and St. Do

mingo, even these would probably have perished by starvation. Hardly sustaining itself in existence, even by such means, the colony became a burden to Louis XIV., and in 1712, he granted to Anthony Crozat the exclusive privilege for fifteen years of trading in all that immense country, which, with its undefined limits, France claimed as her own under the name of Louisiana. Bienville, still acting as Governor, was succeeded, in 1713, by Cadillac, as Governor, he himself being appointed Lieutenant Governor. Crozat charged Cadillac to look especially after mineral wealth; and the new Governor, whose character is presented in a very ludicrous light by Mr. Gayarré, expected soon to realize an immense fortune. But his expectations met with a mortifying failure, and he was dismissed without ceremony from his office, whose duties he had discharged to so little profit to any one. Crozat, wearied out with the ill success of his plans for establishing commercial relations with the Spaniards, and getting a share in the trade with the Indians, which trade was monopolized by the English, begged the government, Ho Ho in 1717, to take the colony off © his hands. At this date, the whole population, white and colored, was only about seven hundred, and notwithstanding Bienville's activity and success in conciliating and overawing the Natchez Indians, among whom he had placed Fort Rosalie, and notwithstanding various efforts in behalf of the colony, it was at this date in a very depressed State. France, however, was unwilling to

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »