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other hand, as we have abundant indications in the works of genius and art which they left behind them, they had a reverence for all that is good and true; while they protested against everything that was false and vicious. They had a reverence for the good taste and the literature, science, eloquence and poetry of England, and so I trust it is with their successors in this once bleak and inhospitable, but now rich and prosperous land. They could appreciate poetry, as well as good sense and good taste, and so I call to your recollection the language of a poet, who had not loomed up at the time of the Puritans as he has since. It was addressed to his steed, after an ill-starred journey from London to Islington town. The poet said:
“'Twas for your pleasure you came here,
You shall go back for mine."
Being a candid and frank man, as one ought to be who addresses the descendants of the Puritans, I may say that it was not at all for your pleasure that I came here. Though I may go back to gratify you, yet I came here for my own purposes. The time has passed away when I could make a distant journey from a mild climate to a cold, though fair region, without inconvenience; but there was one wish, I might almost say there was only one wish of my heart that I was anxious should be gratified. I had been favored with many occasions to see the seats of empire in this western world, and had never omitted occasions to see where the seats of empire were planted, and how they prospered. I had visited the capital of my own and of many other American states. I had regarded with admiration the capital of this great republic, in whose destinies, in common with you all, I feel an interest which can never die. I had seen the capitals of the British empire, and of many foreign empires, and had endeavored to study for myself the principles which have prevailed in the foundation of states and empires. With that view I had beheld a city standing where a migration from the Netherlands planted an empire on the bay of New York, at Manhattan, or perhaps more properly at Fort Orange. They sought to plant a commercial empire, and they did not fail; but in New York now, although they celebrate the memories and virtues of fatherland, there is no day dedicated to the colonization of New York by the original settlers, the immigrants from Holland. I have visited Wilmington, on Christina creek, in Delaware, where a colony was planted by the Swedes, about the time of the settlement of Plymouth, and though the old church built by the colonists still stands there, I learned that there did not remain in the whole state a family capable of speaking the language, or conscious of bearing the name of one of the thirty-one original colonists.
I have stood on the spot where a treaty was made by William Penn with the aborigines of Pennsylvania, where a seat of empire was estaolished by him, and although the statue of the good man stands in public places, and his memory remains in the minds of men, yet there is no day set apart for the recollection of the time and occasion when civil and religious liberty were planted in that state. I went still further south, and descending the James river, sought the first colony of Virginia at Jamestown. There remains nothing but the broken, ruined tower of a poor church built of brick, in which Pocahontas was married, and over the ruins of which the ivy now creeps. Not a human being, bond or free, is to be seen within the circumference of a mile from the spot, nor a town or city as numerously populated as Plymouth, on the whole shores of the broad, beautiful, majestic river, between Richmond at the head, and Norfolk, where arms and the government have established fortifications. Nowhere else in America, then, was there left a remembrance by the descendants of the founders of colonies, of the virtues, the sufferings, the bravery, the fidelity to truth and freedom of their ancestors; and more painful still, nowhere in Europe can be found an acknowledgment or even a memory of these colonists. In Holland, in Spain, in Great Britain, in France, nowhere is there to be found any remembrance of the men they sent out to plant liberty on this continent. So on the way to the Mississippi, I saw where De Soto planted the standard of Spain, and in imagination at least, I followed the march of Cortez in Mexico, and Pizarro in Peru; but their memory has gone out. Civil liberty perishes, and religious liberty was never known in South America, nor does Spain, any more than other lands, retain the memory of the apostles she sent out to convert the new world to a purer faith, and raise the hopes of mankind for the well being of the future.
There was one only place, where a company of outcasts, men despised, contemned, reproached as malcontents, and fanatics, had planted a colony, and that colony had grown and flourished; and there had never been a day since it was planted, that the very town, and shore and coast, where it was planted had not grown and spread in population, wealth, prosperity and happiness, richer and stronger continually. It had not only grown and flourished like a vigorous tree, rejoicing in its own strength, but had sent out offshoots in all directions. Everywhere the descendants of these colonists were found engaged in the struggles for civil and religious liberty, and the rights of man. I had found them by my side, the champions of humanity, upon whose stalwart arms I might safely rely.
I came here, then, because the occasion offered, and if I pretermitted this, it might be the last, and I was unwilling that any friend or any child, who might lean upon me, who reckoned upon my counsel or advice, should know that I had been such a truant to the cause of religious liberty and humanity, as never to have seen the Rock of Plymouth.
My mission being now accomplished, having shed tears in the first church of the Puritans, when the heartfelt benediction was pronounced over my unworthy head by that venerable pastor, I have only to ask that I be dismissed from further service with your kind wishes. I will hold the occasion ever dear to my remembrance, for it is here I have found the solution of the great political problem. Like Archimedes, I have found the fulcrum by whose aid I may move the world -the moral world—and that sulcrum is Plymouth Rock.
DE WITT CLINTON.'
DE WITT CLINTON, son of James Clinton and Mary De Witt, was born at Little Britain, New Windsor, Orange county, in the colony of New York, on the second day of March, 1769. His descent on the father's side was from English ancestors long domiciled in Ireland, and on the mother's side was of French extraction, through a sojourn of the family of some duration in Holland. While yet young, he intermarried with Maria Franklin, who brought him a liberal fortune, and who died in 1818. In the succeeding year he was married to Catharine Jones, who survived him. He had a commanding stature, highly intellectual features, and a graceful form, set off with severe and dignified manners. He combined, in a rare degree, vigor, versatility and comprehensiveness of mind with untiring perseverance in the exercise of a lofty and unconcealed ambition. His ancestors, so far as they are known to us, were brave, cultivated and enterprising men. His father, General James Clinton, and his uncle, Governor George Clinton, mingled in their respective characters the opposite elements of civil conduct and military command, and throughout the American Revolution the latter was the chief popular figure of the state of New York. De Witt Clinton's education, begun in a grammar school near his home, continued at the academy in Kingston, Ulster county, and completed at Columbia College, in the city of New York, was conducted with great care by very learned preceptors. He bore away the college honors in 1786, and immediately engaged in the study of the law under the instruction of Samuel Jones in the city of New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1788. Political affairs at that time absorbed the public attention. The city of New York, a second rate mercantile and practically a provincial town, already felt, though it did not understand, the social impulses which were to push it forward so soon to become the capital city of America. The state of New York, a third rate political power, with a population confined to the shores of its few and short navigable rivers, undistinguished by either culture or enterprise, and embarrassed by African slavery, was undergoing the necessary preparation for that struggle with the moral and physical resistances which was at no distant day to be crowned with its inauguration as the leading state in the new Federal Union. The United States had achieved legal independence of Great Britain, and were perplexed with the responsibility of adopting an untried and purely experimental structure of government under which to contest by legislation, by diplomacy, and even hy war, for that real commercial independence and that practical political independence which the European states pertinaciously refused to them. Until that time the several states had been supreme, and their statesmen had exercised control, while the confederation was subordinate and its agents powerless. Centralization was now to begin, and ultimately was to reverse these relations. The new federal government was to enter the states, modifying the action of the respective forces, and they were to struggle as they might for the maintenance and preservation of reserved rights of sovereignty which were indispensable. The equality and sovereignty of the people were now newly and practically established, and the arena of public service open to all competitors. George Clinton differed from Hamilton, Jay and Schuyler concerning the merits of the federal constitution, and gave to its adoption only a reluctant and distrustful support. The temper of the time was uncharitable. His confessed integrity, heroic services and practical wisdom, were held by the friends of the new system insufficient to
1 A portion of this biography appears in the New American Cyclopedia.
this error, nor could he on his part accord his confidence to those of his compatriots who he thought were rashly subverting necessary foundations of public liberty. Holding the office of gov. ernor, which then was a station of the greatest dignity and influence, he became at once the head of the republican or anti-federal party within the state, and was immediately engaged in a contest which involved all the stakes of a generous and noble ambition. Numbers were on his side, but talents and the influences which favored the new federal government were against him. De Witt Clinton's ardent temper and earnest ambition carried him at once into the political field, and his sentiments, sympathies and affections determined his position under the banner of his kinsman, the chief within the state of the republican party. While the question of the adoption of the federal constitution was yet a subject of popular discussion, he proved his zeal and controversial power by writing a series of letters signed “A Countryman,” in reply to the celebrated letters of the “ Federalist.” He attended the state convention which adopted the constitution and reported its interesting debates for the press, and forsaking his profession at once and forever, he became the private secretary of George Clinton, the governor of New York. In this position he maintained the cause of his kinsman, and that of the republic, by such a vigorous use of the press that he immediately came to be regarded as its leading and most prominent champion. Thus early, he established that character of a partisan politician which he maintained ever afterward. But the official position which he held, though humble, afforded him an opportunity to devote himself to measures and policies important to the public safety and welfare, and the spirit with which he engaged in duties of that kind procured for him two other appointments, one of secretary of the newly organized board of regents of the university, and the other of secretary of the board of commissioners of fortifications of the state. So it happened, that he laid in the beginning of his public life the foundations of that superstructure of useful service which constitutes the enduring monument of his fame.
George Clinton was continued in the office of governor by repeated elections; but the federal party continually gained ground, and in 1792 a decided majority of votes were cast for John Jay, its candidate for that office. The returns, however, were held defective in form, and the credentials were given once more to George Clinton. It was manifest, in 1795, that the federalists must prevail. George Clinton voluntarily retired, and Mr. Jay was chosen his
De Witt Clinton relinquished his offices, but did not relax his championship of the republican cause, in opposition to the administration of Mr. Jay in the state, and to the administration of Jobn Adams at Washington. His opponents insisted then, as they did ever afterward, that he conducted political controversies with rancor and bitterness. Doubtlessly his language was often vehement and criminatory, and an aggressive personality marks his papers, which, if used at this day, would be universally condemned, and would detract from an otherwise just effect. But Junius was the ital del adopted by nearly all political writers at that period, and
ely any controversy was conducted, on either political or eccle