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[150] and mackerel, and sometimes pursuing the whale into
chap. VI.} 1754.
the icy labyrinths of the Northern seas; yet loving home, and dearly attached to their modest freeholds. At Boston a society was formed for promoting domestic manufactures: on one of its anniversaries, three hundred young women appeared on the common, clad in homespun, seated in a triple row, each with a spinning-wheel, and each busily transferring the flax from the distaff to the spool. The town built ‘a manufacturing house,’ and there were bounties to encourage the workers in linen. How the Board of Trade were alarmed at the news! How they censured Shirley for not having frowned on the business! How committees of the House of Commons examined witnesses, and made proposals for prohibitory laws, till at last the Boston manufacturing house, designed to foster home industry, fell into decay, a commentary on the provident care of England for her colonies! Of slavery there was not enough to affect the character of the people, except in the southeast of Rhode Island, where Newport was conspicuous for engaging in the slave-trade, and where, in two or three towns, negroes composed even a third of the inhabitants.

In the settlements which grew up in the interior, on the margin of the greenwood, the plain meetinghouse of the congregation for public worship was every where the central point; near it stood the public school, by the side of the very broad road, over which wheels enough did not pass to do more than mark the path by ribbons in the sward. The snug farm-houses, owned as freeholds, without quitrents, were dotted along the way; and the village pastor among his people, enjoying the calm raptures of devotion,

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