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[313] of the Pilgrims more fully, than that they kept it sa-
Chap VIII.} 1620
credly, though every consideration demanded haste.

On Monday, the eleventh day of December, old style, the exploring party of the forefathers land at Plym-

Dec. 11.
outh. A grateful posterity has marked the rock which first received their footsteps. The consequences of that day are constantly unfolding themselves, as time advances. It was the origin of New England; it was the planting of the New England institutions. Inquisitive historians have loved to mark every vestige of the Pilgrims; poets of the purest minds have commemorated their virtues; the noblest genius has been called into exercise to display their merits worthily, and to trace the consequences of their daring enterprise.

The spot, when examined, seemed to invite a settle-

Dec 15
ment; and, in a few days, the Mayflower was safely moored in its harbor. In memory of the hospitalities which the company had received at the last English port from which they had sailed, this oldest New England colony obtained the name of Plymouth. The system of civil government had been established by common agreement; the character of the church had for many years been fixed by a sacred covenant. As the Pilgrims landed, their institutions were already perfected. Democratic liberty and independent Christian worship at once existed in America.

After some days, they began to build—a difficult

1621 Jan 9
task for men of whom one half were wasting away with consumptions and lung-fevers. For the sake of haste, it was agreed, that every man should build his own house; but frost and foul weather were great hindrances: they could seldom work half of the week; and tenements were erected as they could be, in the

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