previous next

[40] first manufactory in Medford. They are very large, very badly made, and burned to the hardness of granite. Thus fixed, in the most favorable position, Gov. Cradock's men passed the first winter; and were ready to proceed to business in the spring of 1631.

As we sit in our safe and comfortable homes, how difficult is it for us to estimate the perils and labors of our ancestors! How faintly do we appreciate those daily toils by which they rescued from the forest the fields we now reap! How inadequate is our measurement of those multiform deprivations through which they secured to us our present abundance! Above all, how imperfect is our appraisement of those anxious endeavors to establish the civil institutions by which we are protected, and to cement those social relations in which we are blessed! Theirs were the labors of sowing; ours, the joys of harvest. In their life's great picture, poverty and suffering were the dark clouds prepared as the background for the exhibition of their Christian graces. They had made up their minds on the duties of their mission, and they “endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” They did not expect that a natural Virginian bridge would be thrown over all the deep gulfs of human life. They meditated, prayed, resolved, acted, and conquered. Honor virtutis premium.

We confess to hear with small patience some of the fashionable and flippant denunciations of our pilgrim ancestors. They are uttered sometimes by those who should know better, and sometimes by those who are sumptuously feeding from tables which these ancestors have spread for them. If we disregard the early education and conventional habits, the peculiar exposures and straightened circumstances of our forefathers, it may then be very easy, judging them by our rules, to impugn their motives, criticize their plans, ridicule their errors, and magnify their faults; but we think it would show our wisdom and magnanimity much better if we should do for posterity, in our situations, as much as they did for it in theirs.

To illustrate the peril supposed to exist in the early settlement, we copy the following order of the General Court. Sept. 3, 1635: “It is agreed, that hereafter no dwelling-house shall be built above half a mile from the meeting-house, in any new plantation, without leave from the Court.”

Our Medford ancestors kept a jealous eye upon new comers,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Medford (Massachusetts, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Mathew Cradock (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 3rd, 1635 AD (1)
1631 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: