ended his much-enduring and beneficent life in the flourishing town of Providence
He had already outlived Cotton and Hooker
, by more than thirty years. Inevitably men began, toward the end of the century, to take stock of the great venture of colonization, to scrutinize their own history and present position, to ask searching questions of themselves.
“You have better food and raiment than was in former times,” wrote the aged Roger Clark
, in 1676; “but have you better hearts than your forefathers had?”
's Languishing commonwealth
maintains that “Faith is dead, and love is cold, and zeal is gone.”
's election sermon of 1670 in Cambridge
is a condemnation of the prevalent worldliness and ostentation.
This period of critical inquiry and assessment, however, also gives grounds for just pride.
History, biography, eulogy, are flourishing.
The reader is reminded of that epoch, one hundred and fifty years later, when the deaths of John Adams
and of Thomas Jefferson
, falling upon the same anniversary day, the Fourth of July, 1826, stirred all Americans
to a fresh recognition of the services wrought by the Fathers of the Republic
So it was in the colonies at the close of the seventeenth century.