George Henry Miles.

Discourse in commemoration of the landing of the pilgrims of Maryland, pronounced at Mt. St. Mary's College, May 10, 1847 online

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry MilesDiscourse in commemoration of the landing of the pilgrims of Maryland, pronounced at Mt. St. Mary's College, May 10, 1847 → online text (page 1 of 3)
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pao>0IM.I.3i AT .-^1. :^T. XATtV R COLLHOB, JIAT 10, X^VS-.


Frinied ai the " Star (''fficc'






,„o,NOVNrE» AT MT. ST. ^.vR^s coLLKc.s, M ..■ 10, 1847.



Printed at the " Star Officer

U. S.A,



Mt, St.Mcmjs College, May lOth, 1847.

George H. Miles, Esq.,

Dear Sir : — The Students of Mt. St. Mary's Col-
lege, highly gratified by the able and eloquent Oration which you have delivered be-
torc them, beg leave, through us their Comcaittee, to tender you their thank?, and so-
licit a copy for publication.


your ob't servants,



Mt. St. Marys College, May lOth, 1847.

Messk!!. "\V'm. Gr.o. Kevd,
.Tamks E, (jowkx,


Laurkxce M'Closket,
H. Chxtari) Scott,
Marshall IVriLiiKX.NT,



I send you with this a copy of my remarks, and, most grateful for
your kindness, renmiti

"i'our obedient servant,


Not many years ago, the Pilgrims of Maryland were permitted
to sleep uncommemorated even by those, who trod the very soil that
had been tlie cradle of the infant colony : but they are no longer un-
sung and unrevered. Though we learned as soon as we could read, to
admire the Puritan and to sympathize with him in all his struggles
with the Indian, there was no juvenile history to people the shores of
the Chesapeake with venerated forms. Cape Cod was our first love.
But this season of apathy is over. The historian whose " first
fruits "* make us so deeply regret that they are still his last, has
brought to light the ancient image of our State, long buried like the
masterpiece of antiquity, — has given us a classic Maryland to cherish
and preserve. The name of Calvert is prominent in Bancroft's co-
lonial history, where the peculiar glory of the colony he planted, is
briefly but forcibly displayed. An altar has been thus erected to the
founders of our State, You know, my friends, how that altar has
been enriched with the yearly ofierings of genius and eloquence, by
some who are amongst us, by others whose hearts are here, and by
one who has left us in the hope of a better world, until it has become
a fitting memorial of the virtues it celebrates. I can add nothing to its
beauty : but we can observe together the rite that should never he ne-
glected, of dedicating one day in the year to the memory of the Pit-
GR1M3 OF Maryland. Though there be something of human weak-
ness in pride of ancestry, there is much of tilial reverence , — a lively
"M'Mahon's Marvbnd, Freface.

contemplation of noble actions is a strong incentive to equal exertion ;
— the memory of the American Revolution, is, next to religion, the
best guardian of our liberti.s.

It is not my purpose to enumerate all the claims which the colonists
of St. Mary's have to our remembrance : we are now familiar witii
them. We will not dv/ell upon the many expeditions to our shores,
set on foot by avarice or ambition. Columbus had sailed to discover
a new passage to the Indies, — Cabot to establish lucrative fisheries in
the north, — Cortereal to kidnap the Indian ; Verrazzani had discerned
gold in the hills of New Jersey ; Champlain had scaled the cliff of
Quebec to secure a monopoly of the fur-trade ; John Kibault of Dieppe
had mistaken the caterpillar of the St. John's for'lhe silk-worm ; the
piracies of the " motley groups of dissolute men,* under Laudon-
niere, had provoked, but could not justify the atrocities of Melendez:
Ponce de Leon had repaired to Florida in quest of the magic spring,
whose waters had power to restore health, youth and beauty, remove
the wrinkle, and re-light the eye ; De Soto had roamed from St. Au-
gustine to the Mississippi, finding only a grave where he had fancied
riches surpassing those of Mexico and Peru ; Frobisher had penetra-
cd Baffin's Bay, and sought for gold i|i the islands of the coast ; Gil-
bert had examined the minerals of New Foundland and perished in the
Squirrel ; Sir Walter Raleigh had sacrificed his fortune in attempting
to impart to the New World the civilization of the Old. But wc must
abstain from these tempting themes.

Nor shall we pause to watch the Jesuit missionary under the auspi-
ces of Mary ol Medici, chaunting matins and vespers on (^ilic northern
bank of Penobscot, or the Dominican erecting the cross on the Peninsu-
la, that was wet with Spanish blood, and suffering inartYrdom in liis zeal

to teach the Seminole. ^ Such instances of Clirislian charity and fear-
'F.ancroli'ii L'niled fSUlcs. vol. l.paeo (>.'>.

less derolion, gleam with almost supernatural lustre amidst scenes of
selfish adventure and reckless ambition.

I shall confine myself to a consideration of the cwz^scs that led'to
the permanent English colonization of a portion of the Atlantic coast
of North America, and to the main features in the history of that colo-

The history of a colony is always so interwoven with that of its pa-
rent country, that the career of the one can only be fully explained
by the conduct of the other. Itthus becomes a very important part of
our inquiry to obtain a clear idea of the condition of England under
James I.

" In the fifteenth century," says an elegant and accurate author,
" England had acquired a just reputation for the goodness of her laws
and the security of her citizens from oppression. This liberty had
been the slow fruit of ages, still waiting a happier season for its per-
fect ripeness, but already giving proof of the vigor and industry which
had been employed in its culture.t" But a long and disastrous period
was to intervene before that perfect ripeness could be attained ; nor
is it certain that the happier season has yet arrived.

The next century presented a revolution, only second in interest
to that which overthrew the Gods of Greece and Italy.

— " The majestic lord

"Who broke the bonds of Rome,"
as Gray styles the English Blue Beard, assuming an absolute spiritual,
in virtue of his temporal power, constituted himself head of Church
and State; thus aiming the first blow at the religion, that had planted
and fostered the liberty and happiness so conspicuous in England of
the fifteenth century. Avarice and envy soon plundered the monaste
* Bancroft's United States, vol. 1, p. 60.
fHulIamV Constitutioiiiil Historv. vol. 1, p. 2.


ry, the church, the hospital, the free school, — and a strange fanaticism
exulted over their ruins. It would require a volume to trace the tri-
umph of the principles of tlieReformation over the old faith of the is-
land. The triumph was complete however, and the monk was huftt-
ed down like a dog in midsummer.

The spiritual supremacy of Henry VIII was not gained without an
accession of temporal power, afterward carried to an alarming height.
The Commons had lost the spirit displayed under Edward III and
Richard II ; — a " perfidious parliament " permitted the monarch and
his successors after the age of twenty four, to repeal any act passed in
their reigns, and gave to all proclamations made by king and council
and not conflicting with established laws, the force of statutes. *^ With
a terrified House of Commons and a nobility led on by the baser influ-
ence of gain, Henry wanted but his father's parsimony to render the revenue independent of parliamentary grants, and to build up an
unconiroliable despotism.!

But the intolerance of the monarchy church was not long to be lev-
elled against the Cailiolie alone. If Luther had disputed at Leipsic,
Calvin had preached at Ccneva. The reformers had been at some
pains to tear down an existing system ; but they found it easier to de-
stroy tiian to create. Like one who unravels some nice piece of me-
chanism and vainly endeavours to re-unite the disjointed parts, they
failed in the efTort to restore the unity they had broken. The stream
of light that once shot upward with such a steady and undivided blaze,
seemed about to fall like the rocket in a shower of sparks. There
was fast springing up, in England, alarge class of men who regarded the
Established Church as but a modification of Popery. They beheld her
ceremonies with mistrust and condemned them as tending to perpetu-
iilc Romish sui)er£'.ilion and idolatry. Not satisfied with the extinc-

•Hrtllnin.ror). Uist. vol. I, pp. I'l, 17.

;M':'i., fp. '(."). Ifl, And irr U rm\ I'-.^jv on •• : l;- IMiti-h Hincviirirnt."


I'lon ol the gfrong-holds of Catlioliclty, tliey recoiled from the mere
semblance of its least treasonable ceremonies. The sign of the cross
was to them the seal of infamy, — a surplice or a cassock, the livery of
Satan. They loathed all traditionary forms and tolerated no ceremo-
hy not expressly enjoined by the written Word of God.* They even
went so far, as to call Queen Elizabelh's'chapel, the " pattern and prece-
dent of all superstition. "t But though thus widely differing from the
fipiscopalian, the Puritan contrived to escape the stake and the rack
until he became politically obnoxious. Yet he' could not remain long
unsuspected ; for the State was too intimately connected with the
Church, not to construe a coarse abuse of its partner info an insult to it-
self. But the temper of the State-Church was destined to be more se-
verely tried.

As Puritanism sprung from Reform, so it quickly gave birth to a bo-
dy subsequently known as tndependants. While yet'in its cradle, thfe
child inveighed against its mother for opposing^too cold and feeble a re-
sistance to the corruption and evil tendencies of the progenitor of both.
The Puritan was content with a reformation of discipline, but the In-
dependent deemed it incapable of amendment and required. separation.!
It was inconsistent with the principles they held in common, to sub-
mit to the authority of a body of prelates, when, claiming the right of
private interpretation, they were inspired to reject the doctrines of their
teachers. These principles were fast gaining ground, and the results
to which they led began to be dimly shadowed forth to the few who
• tead the future. It was urged against the Puritan faction, " with

* Bancroft, vol. I, p. 279.

tHallam's Cons. Hist. vol. I, 231.

'Sec HiUain and Bancroft'under the head of Puritan,



more or less of initli,*'' thatil aspired to subvert the Episcopacy, anil to
reiiodcl the civil institutions of the kiiijjdom. liut though the- result
proves that ihe seeds of civil war were iheii sown, it is iiiiproba-
hle that the bulk of thfi party sa.v the mighty storm gathering beneath
the horizon. In IGOl, the Lower House had manifested an inclina-^
lion to Pniitanism, and the remainder of Elizabeth's reign abounds in
specimens of tlie reforming temper of the Commons and the Queen's
jealous maintenance of her eupren^Hcy. The far-seeing danghter of
Ann Boleyn discovered the direciiofi of the anti-ceremonialists and es-
sayed to curb it. "NVhilst the rich learning and eloquence of Hooker
were employed in combating the theories of ihe adversaries of hia
faith, his virgin mistress resorted to sterner weapons against the theo-
rists themselves. Barrow and fireenwood perished with expressions
ofloyalty upon their lips, and their disciples were compelled to seek
refuge in Hoilatul.t

Despised and persecuted by Puritan, Indepcndanf, and Cimrchman,
the Catholics of England bent over their bitter clialice. All that the
retaliation of Queen !\Iary had effected, was to render them still more
odious to her successor. Collectively, ihcy experienced the most re-
fined cruelty from a co\irt, to whi'jh mercy and truth were stranger9,
and were deprived even of incidental protection ; fcr to pardon a sin-
gle Cal?)oIic, was to give mortnl ofience to the Puritan, who was con-
ciliated even wlicn persec'uteil.: Yet they were cliarged with no trea-
sonable designs. T.ord AIontLi;.'UC had borne fearless and unriuestion-
ed testimony lo tiicir loyally. " 'Diey dispute not, they preach not,
they disobey not the Queen 1" — lie exclaims in his powerful ap-
peals to the lords. § They had seen their fondest hofies on the

• Cod: - . Hi.-l. vol. 1, -^'Sl.
tihiil. ('oi;:^. U:-t. V..!. I. "i^'!.


scaflold of Mary of Scotland, and yet gave vent lo no open murmur.*
•' In that memorable year when Europe stoot! by in fearful suspense
to beliold what should be the result of that great cast in tiie game of
human politic?, what the craft of Kome, the power of Philip, tlie ge-
nius of Farnese could achieve against the island Queen with her
Drakes and her Cecils, — in that agony of the protcslant faith and Eng-
lish name they stood the trial of their spirits without swerving from
their allegiance. " t Tliey liew from every country to the standard
of the Lord Lieutenant, and the venerable Lord Montague broucrht a
troop of horse to the queen at Tilbury commanded by himself, his
son, and grandson. But neither uncomplaining submission, nor cou-
age, nor patriotism, that, superior to the scavenger's daughter
and the dungeon, to insult and wanton spoliation, had rushed to the
seashore when the terrible Armada came on, could soften the stern, un-
sparing bigotry that demanded their extermination. There was not
one generous pulse to stay the hand that crushed them, and the work
of death and confiscation went on more mercilessly than before.
Archbishop WhitgilVs court of high commission clothed with almost
tinlimited powers, studied to entrap the unwary dissenter and employ-
ed every artifice to hush forever the uncouth voice of liberty of con-
science. The cruelty of this tribunal must have been excessive in-
deed, since Strype and Burleigh, employing terms by which they
meant to express the height of fiendi?h malice, stamped it as worse
than the Spanish Inquisition. J

As the oath of supremacy denied the spiritual power of the Pope,§
the Catholic found that perjury or aposfacy were conditions precedent
to his enjoyment of civil ]irivilcgcs. On the other iiand, it was not

'Ital'ani, Cons. Hist. vo!. I, '.nO.
•jlhid. '-'lO.

. nancioH, vol, 1. '-SfK — Jliillniii, ('on?. lli>t. vol, •'.-.lO.
\Ut Kli/. d\. ': "all- 'Vni-. !(i.'-f. p. i.'-o. d. 1.


until ihe Puritan became the Independant, that he refiised^to concede
nhat the monarch claimed in the oath. There was a wide dilTerence
between persecuting the Catholic and persecuting the Independant.
In the first case, it was unprovoked oppression ; — in the last, partly
defensive. The Catholic, as we have seen, guilty of no political of-
fence, could not expiate his sin by any political virtue. A deep root-
ed antipathy to his faith sealed his doom, thougli his behaviour as a
citizen was unquestioned. But the Independant had^long d-splayed
that restless and .determined opposition which ultimately] triumphed at
Naseby. He repeated to the Established Church the lesson her ex-
ample had taught him, to respect no religious authority but his own.
Still, the efforts of Elizabeth were levelled, not so much against his in-
ferior illumination, as against the political consequences flowing from
his religious tenets. The Catholic sufiered, because he obeyed tlie
Pope as head of the Church; — the Independaiit, because'he'was a po-
litical agitator. The acts of Parliament and the Slate Trials suggest
this distinction. Mayne was hanged with no charge against liim but
Papistry; — but it was necessary to convict the Brownists under the
statute against the spreadmg of seditious writmgs.* The statutet was
an expedient to bring the Independant within the pale ol persecution ;
lor the temper of the nation required a political offence to justify seve-
nty to the Protestant dissenter. In the year I08I, we hear the Com-
mons condenmii)g the casligat.on'of Puritans, and in the next breath
declaring their willingness to assist in the extirpation of Popery .+

But wc have marked, clearly enough for our purposes, the position
and aims of the religious parties under Elizabeth. It would be a mel-
ancholy task to explore the anuals of the charnal hogsc kept b7

•Hallain.Cons. I.'isl. vol. 1^ -^'CU— i;8l>.
j-3d Elizabc'lh.
IJallam, ruiis.Ili.f. vul. 1. i;t.".


this unn-lenling woman, anil listen to llio " never idle rack "-^ creak-
ing a hoarse defiance to the violated precepts of the common law.
Her name shonid rathernot be mentioned when men are thns assem-
bled ; for her nature abhorred tlie glory we celebrate. If the virgin
whiteness she claimed have no other stain, it is at least red with blood
far purer than her own.

You must be familiar with the character of James I, since it is well
drawn by Ilallam, Lingard and Bancroft, and its brighter side happi-
ly sketched in the fortunes of Nigel. Forgetting Elizabeth in four
days, the nation anxiously^ awaited a sign of the future from her suc-
cessor. The Catholic hugging a/aint hope that he might by chance
hare inherited the inclinations of his mother: — the Puritan half be-
lieving that a Scottish education had secretly swayed him to the prin-
ciples of the kirk ;— t!ie regular clergy confidently tempting the
approaching monarch with the golden bait of arbitrary power.t 'J'he
king yielded to the allurements of the Bishops. Then began, in earn-
est, the struggle between Prerogative and Privilege. The insolence
of the Court was inflamed by the stubbornness of the Commons, and
every Iresh stretch of power awakened a corresponding burst of oppo-
sition. Zeal for prerogative had reached an alarming height under
Elizabeth, when Ileyle and Cecil insisted that her ability to convert
her subjects' property to her own use, was as clear and perfect as her
right to any revenue of the Crown ;+ but it fell lar short of the mad-
ness for despotism that raged under James. Then, ' tlie_^Barons of
the Exchequer tore down with savage joy the fundamental liberties
which neither Henry VH nor his less scrupulous son had dared to

'Hallam, Cons. Hist. p. "^00.

■j' " The Bishops hud promised him an obsequioiit-LCss to wliich ho had been little
accufetoiaed, and a zeal to_t;iihuncc_his [acrogalivc v h'ldi they al'tcrward loo well
dljplnytd. "—■//«//«;;;, CoHi, Iliil. vol. 1, p, 100.

■•.4..W. 5 1


invade. ' ••'I'lie seaports are ihe king's gales, lie may open anJ siiul
lIiiMii to whom he pleases !■" — ^v■ns the argiiment by which the ina-
bility of the king to impose a duty without the assent of parliament,
was answered. Even Raleigh was infected with the despotism mania,
tniless we suppose tliat he stooped to conquer, and flattered the kinsrto
induce him to call a parliament. How strange this gallant knight
could ever have written, — " Tho bonds of sulijects, to their kings,
shordd always be wrought out of iron ; the bonds of kings unto sub-
jects but with cobwebs !'*t Bui cries of a fur more alarming na-
ture were sounded by the Birdiops and the lliglichurchmen. The
canons of IGIO prescribe passive obedience in all cases to the estab-
lished monarch.';: " Civil power is God's ordinance," exclaims the
second canon. § The logic of Cowel supported by the Archbishop and
approved by the king, enjoins that — •* the king is above law by his
absolute power and may disregard his coronation oath ! lie may
break all laws, inasmuch as they were not made to bind him, but to
benefit the people, and to fetter the king is to injure the people I''1 Hut
the crowning jiem to this Asiatic servility, was the complacency with
which the Star Chamber listened to .lames in lOlG. " It is atheism
and blasphemy," says James, " to dispute what God can do ; good
Christians content themselves with his will revealed i;i liis word ; so
\l is presumption and liigh contempt in a subject to dispute what a
king can do, or say thai a king cannot do this and cannot l\o that."!|
'J'liese doctrines, which now found in the clergy their warmest advo-
cates, were the Icgitimalc consequence of the movements of Henry

'llallai;!. Cons. Hist. vol. 1. 4'r/,l:!l.

jlbid. :n4, n. I. •

■.11.1(1. V. 1, lo.").

^. 'bill. Mime pav;

1 3

Online LibraryGeorge Henry MilesDiscourse in commemoration of the landing of the pilgrims of Maryland, pronounced at Mt. St. Mary's College, May 10, 1847 → online text (page 1 of 3)