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[266]

Chapter 8:

The Pilgrims.

The settlement of New England was a result of
Chap VIII.}
the Reformation;1 not of the contest between the new opinions and the authority of Rome, but of implacable differences between Protestant dissenters and the established Anglican church.

Who will venture to measure the consequences of actions by the apparent humility or the remoteness of their origin? The mysterious influence of that Power which enchains the destinies of states, overruling the decisions of sovereigns and the forethought of statesmen, often deduces the greatest events from the least commanding causes. A Genoese adventurer, discovering America, changed the commerce of the world; an obscure German, inventing the printing-press, rendered possible the universal diffusion of increased intelligence; an Augustine monk, denouncing indulgences, introduced a schism in religion, and changed the foundations of European politics; a young French refugee, skilled alike in theology and civil law, in the duties of magistrates and the dialectics of religious controversy, entering the republic of Geneva, and conforming its ecclesiastical discipline to the principles of republican simplicity, established a party, of which Englishmen became members, and New England the

1 Heeren, i. 102, 103

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