Imatges de pàgina

What tho’ thy depths be hushed !
More eloquent in breathless silence thou,
Than when the music of glad songsters gushed

From every green-robed bough.

Gone from thy walks the flowers ! Thou askest not their forms thy paths to fleck ;The dazzling radiance of these sunlit bowers

Their hues could not bedeck.

I love thee in the Spring, Earth-crowning forest! when amid thy shades The gentle South first waves her odorous wing,

And joy fills all thy glades.

In the hot Summer time, With deep delight thy sombre aisles I roam, Or, soothed by some cool brook's melodious chime,

Rest on thy verdant loam.

But O, when Autumn's hand Hath marked thy beauteous foliage for the grave, How doth thy splendor, as entranced I stand,

My willing heart enslave!

I linger then with thee,
Like some fond lover o'er his stricken bride ;
Whose bright, unearthly beauty tells that she

Here may not long abide.

When my last hours are come,
Great God ! ere yet life's span shall all be filled,
And these warm lips in death be ever dumb,

This beating heart be stilled,

Bathe thou in hues as blest-
Let gleams of Heaven about my spirit play!
So shall my soul to its eternal rest,

In glory pass away!





It was in the summer of 1636, that Roger Williams, banished from Massachusetts, and warned by the friendly voice of the Governor of Plymouth, sought an asylum beyond the territories of Christian men. Forsaking his plantation at Seekonk, he embarked on the Pawtucket, approaching the western shore, was greeted with the friendly whatcheer of the natives, and doubling the southern promontories directed his little bark where a beautiful cove received the waters of the Moshassuck. Here he landed ; beneath the forest boughs, and beside a crystal spring, he sought refreshment and repose; here he offered up his thanks to God, that when the hearts of his civilized brethren were alienated, he had found sympathy, protection and sustenance from the rude children of nature; and here in the thankfulness of his heart for past mercies, and full of pious hope for the future, he fixed his abode and named it Providence. The spring remains and sends forth its refreshing waters, the only local memorial of the place of his landing and settlement. The principle remains which brought him hither, unimpaired by time, its truth tested and enforced by the experience of two hundred years, and now constituting, not the reproach of a small, despised, and persecuted colony, but the glory and happiness of millions of freemen.

To commemorate this event, to honor this founder, to dwell on some passages of our history which may help us to appreciate the perils, toils, and sufferings of the Narragansett pilgrims, to discharge a portion of that debt which is due to the memory of our worthy ancestors, to cherish those principles which have made us what we are, and which we hope to transmit as their best inheritance to posterity --for these high purposes we are here assembled.

The dimensions of our State are humble; the


politician of the day, in his estimate of relative power, regards us as of small account; but in the history of mind, in the progress of intellectual and moral excellence, what is there, from the dawn of the reformation, unto the present day, of more importance than the principle which gave birth to our State, and has pervaded all our institutions ?

We celebrate annually the birth day of our independence, and long may we continue to celebrate it, not because we should delight in the story of wrong and outrage, of battles fought and battles won; but because it tells the price of freedom, and shows how dearly it was purchased. But of what value is independence? Why rejoice that we have broken a foreign yoke, if it should only prepare us for a domestic yoke of greater oppression. Unless our liberty is preserved, the story of the revolution would only cause us to lament that so much blood had been shed, and so much suffering endured in vain. It is liberty which gives to our annual celebrations their greatest charm, their best propriety. It is that true liberty may be well understood, and duly appreciated, that lessons of wisdom may, on this day, be inculcated, that they may be enforced by examples of heroism and patriotism which abounded in those glorious days of our republic—it is for these great ends, that this day should be commemorated, from age to age, by all that can impress the youthful mind, or animate and purify maturer years.

If, then, liberty is the charm which awakens all hearts, shall we forget him who proclaimed, and suffered for proclaiming a principle which is the corner stone of freedom, and who made it the basis of our State ? a principle without which perfect civil liberty cannot long exist, and the existence of which will ultimately destroy tyranny in church and state ?

Civil liberty may exist to a certain extent without religious liberty; but where religious liberty exists, her triumph insures the triumph of civil liberty. Destroy the hierarchy and you have removed the firmest support of the throne ; if the throne continues, it must be filled, not by an arbitrary monarch, but a constitutional king, who executes the will of the people.

Look at the history of despotism, and you will find a two-fold cord has bound the human race. Force has enslaved the body, and superstition the mind. What but this has prevented, in our day, the regeneration of Spain and Portugal ? And what but this has deformed the history of South-American liberty and independence ? The mind, free to act upon religious topics, unawed by councils, popes, or

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