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[60] removal. Each town-meeting was a little legislature,
Chap. XI.}
and all inhabitants, the affluent and the more needy. the wise and the foolish, were members with equal franchises. There the taxes of the town were discussed and levied; there the village officers were chosen; there roads were laid out, and bridges vote,; there the minister was elected, the representatives to the assembly were instructed. The debate was open to all; wisdom asked no favors; the churl abated nothing of his pretensions. Whoever reads the records of these village democracies, will be perpetually coming upon some little document of political wisdom, which breathes the freshness of rural legislation, and wins a disproportioned interest, from the justice and simplicity of the times. As the progress of society required exertions in a wider field, the public mind was quickened by associations that were blended with early history; and when Connecticut emerged from the quiet of its origin, and made its way into scenes where a new political world was to be created, the sagacity that had regulated the affairs of the village, gained admiration in the field and in council.

During the intervening century, we shall rarely have occasion to recur to Connecticut; its institutions were perfected. For more than a century, peace was within its borders; and, with transient interruptions, its democratic institutions were unharmed. For a century, with short exceptions, its history is the picture of colonial happiness. To describe its condition is but to enumerate the blessings of self-government, as exercised by a community of farmers, who have leisure to reflect, who cherish education, and who have neither a nobility nor a populace. How dearly it

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