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CHARACTER OF PURITANISM.
doubled ; and the human race was so vigorous, that CHAP. of all who were born into the world, more than two in ten, full four in nineteen, attained the age of seventy.
Of those who lived beyond ninety, the proportion, as compared with European tables of longevity, was still more remarkable.
I have dwelt the longer on the character of the early puritans of New-England, for they are the parents of one-third the whole white population of the United States. In the first ten or twelve years, and there was never afterwards any increase from England, we have seen, that there came over twenty one thousand two hundred, or four thousand families. Their descendants are now not far from four millions. Each family has multiplied on the average to one thousand souls. To New-York and Ohio, where they constitute half the population, they have carried the puritan system of free schools ; and their example is spreading it through the civilized world.
Historians have loved to eulogize the manners and virtues, the glory and the benefits, of chivalry. Puritanism accomplished for mankind far more. If it had the sectarian crime of intolerance, chivalry had the vices of dissoluteness. The knights were brave from gallantry of spirit; the puritans from the fear of God. The knights were proud of loyalty; the puritans, of liberty. The knights did homage to monarchs, in whose smile they beheld honor, whose rebuke was the wound of disgrace; the puritans, disdaining ceremony, would not bend the knee to the King of kings. The former valued courtesy; the
CHAP. latter, justice. The former adorned society by
graceful refinements; the latter founded national grandeur on universal education. The institutions of chivalry were subverted by the gradually increasing weight, and knowledge, and opulence, of the industrious classes; the puritans, rallying upon those classes, planted in their hearts the undying principles of democratic liberty.
The golden age of puritanism was passing away. Time was silently softening its asperities, and the revolutions of England prepared an era in its fortunes. Massachusetts never acknowledged Richard Cromwell; it read clearly in the aspect of parties, the impending restoration. The protector had left the benefits of self-government and the freedom of commerce to New-England and to Virginia; and Maryland, by the act of her inhabitants, was just beginning to share in the same advantages. Would the dynasty of the Stuarts deal benevolently with the colonies ? Would it imitate the magnanimity of Cromwell, and suffer the staple of the south still to seek its market freely throughout the world ? Could the returning monarch forgive the friends of the puritans in England? Would he show favor to the institutions, that the outcasts had reared beyond the Atlantic ?