Joseph Ripley Chandler.

Address of the Hon. Joseph R. Chandler online

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31ttti) I5t0, 1855.




No. 82 Baltimore Street.


Mr. President and Gentlemen :

The desire to make commemoration of distinguished
favors, is among the best impulses of the human heart.
The justification of the desire has marked domestic, so-
cial and even national movements in all ages ; and has
had for its sanction not only the spirit of purest gratitude
for the benefits of the past, but a hope of connecting the
favors and the spirit they suggest with the future.

" Gratitude," says a French satirist, " is a strong sense
of favors to come," and the apothegm conveys more of
truth than at first flush it seems to imply ; and, correctly
received, it has less that is offensive than at first strikes
the ear, or perhaps was intended by the author.

Nothing merely present deeply concerns a human be-
ing. His nature, his instincts, his impulses, lead him to
look away from the present and connect himself with the
realities of the past, to strengthen his hopes and his en-
joyments for the future. This is no accident of position,
it is the gift of God. "He made us with such large dis-
course looking before and after."

Scarcely a festival, domestic or national, among the
Hebrews was unconnected with the past. Gratitude for
special providences, or sorrows for pecuhar offences, were
the motives for the feasts and fasts of the chosen people ;.
and the sanctity of the weekly Sabbath was commemo-
rativ of the rest of the Most High. Their passovers

preserved the recollection of the sparing mercies of God
towards the male born of their tribes in Egypt, and their
Purim kept bright the remembrances of salvation from
the destructive edict of the Assyrian monarch.

Year by year pagan nations, pagan municipalities, and
pagan individuals, made memorial of important events.
Marathon, Leiictra^ Thermopylae, were remembered, and
the obligations of the present and the hopes of the fu-
ture, were cemented with the illustrious past. It was the
great work of the orator and the poet to leave the lustre
of eloquence and song upon the loftiest deeds of the de-
parted, and it was the delight and honor of an admiring
people to mark the names of the mighty dead, as they
left the shadows of the past, to grow lustrous in the praise
and gratitude of the present. As the summit peaks of
the mountains are kept visible and beautiful by the post-
humous rays of that sun which has gone to enlighten
other worlds.

But I have said that gratitude for the past connects it-
self with the enjoyments of the present and the hopes of
the future. No event deserves special commemoration
that does not appeal to the present for evils avoided or
benefits secured ; and that anniversary which is not sanc-
tified by the commemoration of what belongs to the pre-
sent and relates to the future, is unworthy of general or
individual observance.

We commemorate to-day the landing in 1634 of the
emigrants from Great Britain on the very spot on which
we stand. Their advent has been deemed of consequence
sufficient for special memorial. In these times, every day
brings to our coast more than a thousand European emi-
o-rants, who are crowding our cities, peopling our plains,
felling our forests, swelhng our commerce and augmenting
our national resources and national importance. Let the
future commemorate the benefits which they shall have
derived from these their ancestors. But to-day the shad-

ows of the past are entered, and the arrival of only two
boat loads of men, women and children is selected for a
commemoration in which science and the arts, patriotism
and religion are deemed to have an interest. What claim
have the immigration and colonization of Calvert and his
followers — men, women, children — upon our gratitude for
a commemoration ? Is it that we have descended from
the stock of these educated, high-minded and generous
emigrants, and would do honor to the families of which
we are a part ? Probably not half of this assembly can
trace their ancestral line to any of that company. Is it
that these Pilgrims fled away from rehgious persecution
at home and thus became confessors in the cause of
Christian truth ? Why, almost every one of the original
colonies of this country, owes its foundation to the same
spirit of religious intolerance on one side and religious in-
dependence on the other. Massachusetts, Rhode Island
and Pennsylvania present strong instances of attachment
to creeds, and of sacrifices for their free enjoyment. Is
it that they, who fled from intolerance at home and sought
religious liberty here, were of our own creed, and thus
appeal to our denominational sympathies for grateful re-
membrance and ceremonious commemoration ?

We may safely say, as members of that church of which
these immigrants formed a part, that mere endurance of
persecution for conscience sake is too general for special
commemoration ; and the bare profession of Catholicity
is no enforcement of an appeal to perpetual distinction.

Religion — Christianity — is a personal concern with each
individual, and man adopts and practices it for his own
salvation. He endures the present for the sake of its
effect on his own future, and he may abide amid the em-
barrassments and fears of legal persecutions in a belief
that it is more endurable than the perils of removal. Or
he may hasten to hide himself away from the storm in the
hope of reaching and enjoying the sunshine and calm of a
situation that is exempted from those annoyances.


Ijoes he confess or does he apostatize amid antagonistic
influences ? his confession or his apostacy is his own, and
the greatest consequences are his. Thousands amid the
terrors of early pagan persecution, gave fortune and hfe
for the faith they professed, and many shrunk from the an-
guish of the torture and the terrors of the amphitheatre.
Neither party, from the simple act appeals to us for a com-
memoration of its proceedings. The strength of faith and
the hopes of immortal salvation vi^ere the prevaihng mo-
tives, with one portion ; and weakness that makes the
present hide the mighty future, prevailed with the other,
In both cases personal feelings and views, attachments to
the present or trust to the future, merely individual con-
siderations, predominated, and if unconnected with subse-
quent events, by direct operations or by indirect influence,
none of those martyrs or apostates have a claim upon con-
sideration beyond their bare connection with the history of
the times of which they constitute a part.

And consideredonly asof and forIthemselves,the pilgrims
of St. Mary's, though demanding our admiration for purity
of character, loftiness of purpose, and clear, well defined
sense of justice in their aims ; yet considered as only for
themselves and their own times, these pilgrims entitled
themselves to no special commemoration, and they estab-
lished, as certainly they preferred, no claim upon the grati-
tude of succeeding ages. The past and the present must be
concerned to give character or eflect to a public celebration.

Who does not feel that the great current of human
events gives to the latter the influences and character of
the former ages, and the present catches and displays the
characteristics of the past, as the lower waters of the Mis-
sissippi owe a portion of their quality and their depth to
the sources and the streams above .?

The claim of the past upon the present is thus founded
on the beneficial influences of the former on the latter ;
and the propriety and importance of the celebration of

this day are referable to what the celebrants most value
in what the celebrated mtended and performed.

It will be my aim on the present occasion to invite and
lead you to a consideration of a certain important and
distinguishing characteristic in the early movements of
the colony of Maryland ; and I shall, perhaps, incidentally
institute a comparison of the conduct, laws and customs
of some of the other colonies with those of Lord Balti-
more, especially with regard to the influences of creed
upon the pursuits of the colonists ; of the effect of that
creed upon their treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants,
the owners and occupants of the soil, which the colonists
desired to possess, and above all, because connected with
the motives which influenced their emigration from Eu-
rope ; the effect of that creed on the regulations and
enactments of the executive and legislative bodies of those
colonists, with regard to the freedom of worship by diflfer-
ent denominations, and the entire poUtical and social
equality of men of diflferent religious creeds.

I shall endeavor also to institute an inquiry as to the
connection between the character of our present form of
national government, its exclusions and protections, and
the plans and objects of those who were the founders of
the colony whence sprung the State of Maryland.

As patriots loving our country above all countries ; as
philanthropists feeling for man in every relation of life,
and respecting the rights of man, however they may be
exposed to injury or neglect ; as Christians believing in
the doctrines and loving the example of the Founder of our
creed, and as Catholics interested in all that concerns the
history of our church, and all that illustrates its graces and
its influences, the inquiry is one of deep concern, and we
have only to lament that the time and the peculiarity of
the celebration allow only a hasty reference to the great
and most salient points of consideration, and compel us to
refer to future celebrations and more accompHshed ora-


tors the completion of a task that as much concerns the
future as the present — a task ahvays growing.

Who shall record the whole glories, the sufferings and
triumphs of the Church of Christ? Who shall make
mention of the experience of its members, which is that
Church's history here, its glories and its merits hereafter ?
Who shall declare all the progress of that religion which,
rising on imperial pagan Rome, sustained the shock of its
public contempt and the terrible infliction of its hatred,
tamed the wild beasts of the amphitheatre, shamed the
persecutors till it poured its influence over their hearts ;
moulded them to Christian graces and prepared them for
those high responsibihties as Christians which they might
not have incurred as heathens, responsibilities that
brought down the pagan hordes upon the mistress of the
conquered world and gave her to desolation and ruin ; —
that religion which paused in awe amid the inflictions
which a just God had sent, and while the infidel victor
was fining the palaces of the Csesars, or stalking among
the ruins of pagan pride and Christian ingenuity, conquer-
ed the conqueror and led captivity captive, sending back
the ruthless invaders, missionaries of Christian truth and
Christian peace ? This is a theme that demands the
inspiration of poetry to begin on earth, and which the
redeemed will perpetuate in heaven.

The course which I am about to pursue, though it will
not admit, and, I hope, will not be regarded as requiring
much attention to order, is favorable to a candid investi-
gation of the subject, inasmuch as it calls for a judgment
upon the character and motives of a people, a judgment
to be founded on their earliest public acts with regard to
others, and especially their legislation for themselves, and
for those who might come into connection with them by
commerce, war, social intercourse, or political relations.

The history of the planting of the colony of Maryland
is within the reach of all ; its events must be so famihar

to most of you, that I shall not occupy my time with even
such an abstract thereof as would, under ordinary circum-
stances, be deemed necessary to a proper understanding
of the course of the argument. I shall suppose you
familiar with the record, and hence I shall rarely quote,
except in support of a direct assertion.

The philosophical historian or the careful observer of
events in nations must be often struck with the fidelity
with which the early laws of a people become the expo-
nents of their views and feelings. Those laws originate
rather in their authors' general train of thought than in
any particular circumstances or requirements of the people.
They are often made to prevent difficulties of which the
anticipation is due rather to the habits of people's minds,
than to events that really occur ; or if they are suggested
by errors or wants at home, those errors or wants spring
naturally from the mode of thinking common to the people.

Later laws are made to suit a state of society that is
consequent upon enlarged intercourse, rival efforts and
emulous minds. They prevent or correct evils that could
scarcely have come from the simplicity of early associa-
tion, and present less the real state of a community than
a portion of the inconveniences and evils to which that
community has been exposed by age, and enlarged asso-
ciation. These later laws denote the extent of trade, the
change of manners anti the necessities of a mixed com-
munity. They seem to be a sort of estimate of what good
qualities a people ought to have, by providing punishment
for the evil qualities which they exhibit ; while the earlier
enactments speak the general feelings and wishes and
denote the exact state of the community. The enactments
of older society show what effect vice or error has had
upon the general morals, while the laws of a young commu-*
nity bear testimony to the influences of the religious
creed. The late enactments show the deficiency of the
moral code ; the former, the suggestions of the religious


We have an opportunity to judge of the character of the
St. Mary colonists by their trade with the Indians, and their
legislation with regard to that people whose existence and
rights seem to have been a stumbling-block to most of the

The acquisition of territory by the various bodies of col-
onists was made by different modes; sometimes by means
that suited the peculiar character of the purchaser, some-
times in a manner that denoted the estimate in which the
seller was held by the purchaser. Sometimes a distribu-
tion of miserable trinkets sent away the uninformed savage
to comprehend at his leisure the entire alienation of his fields
and hunting grounds, and the utter worthlessness of the
finery which he had received in exchange — finery which,
with barbaric taste, he had associated with the display and
dignity of his seignorial rights, but which became utterly
useless when he found that he had bartered away the reali-
ties of power for the worthless insignia of condition.

Others debased the appetite of the aborigines, and then
ministered to their morbid cravings, till the poor wretches
became maddened with the liquid fire and exposed them-
selves to the visitations of vengeance that thinned their
number and confiscated their possessions.

Others made treaties which they could scarcely believe —
which probably they did not hope — would be observed by
the native party to the compact; and swept the tribe with
exterminating vengeance for the violation of agreements that
had in them neither reason nor right ; a vengeance that
stretched the first reached offenders dead upon their lordly
paternal possessions; and dragged the fugitives from their
fastnesses to be sold into foreign slavery.

Christianity was made terrible to these worshipers of
#the Great Spirit, by the vindictiveness of its professors, who
punished offences w'ith unforgiving rigor and confounded in-
vincible ignorance and premeditated crime. Nay, that reli-
gion was often made abhorrent to the savages by the haughti-


ness of its teachers, who would not admit of any adaptation
of its administration and influences to the nomadic taste and
habits of the lords of the soil.

One other mode of dealing with the Indians was adopted
by a portion of the early white settlers, and has been by
practice transmitted down to the present day, not always
with the same amount of actual injury as formerly, but often
with an equal liability to abuse. The improved sense of
the community, sustained by the conduct of one small class
of immigrants and the philanthropic teachings of the Qua-
kers, prevented a portion of t)ie injury which might result
to the Indians from a natural, though perhaps, not a legal
operation of the treaty-making customs.

The terrible inflictions which preceded some of these
treaties, and the utter deprivation which followed, must have
made the natives more apprehensive of the pen of the white
man than of the sword ; and what was called a treaty by
European emigrants must have seemed a forceful distress to
the natives, and that which was dignified with the name of
Peace had certainly more of destruction and solitude. Un-
der these circumstances the Indians might well exclaim,
"Auferre trucidare, rapare, fulsis, nominibus, imperium," if
they had ever read Tacitus or heard of Agricola, " atque
solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant." '

In strong and beautiful contrast with these various modes
of transferring the possessions of the nations, and of alien-
ating their aflections, is the plan adopted by the Catholic
Pilgrims of Maryland, who acknowledge the poor Indian to
be the proprietor of the soil, and recognize in him the form
of the Creator and the object of the sacrifice and redemption
of the Saviour. They saw and confessed him a man, and as
such, Christianity as they understood it — Humanity as they
had been taught to practice it — Paganism indeed, as ex-
plained by the polished bondman of Rome,* forbade that the
rights, interests, and whatever else related to those meni-



bers of the human family, should be alien to their own hearts.
If they took the land of the savages, it tvas not to repay
them with profitless gew-gaws ; nol to hold by the dead
hand of unsatisfied contract, nor^the red hand of violence;
not, indeed, to pay for the material and valuable possessions
of the aboriginal planters in the cold lessons of selfish mo-
ralit}^ or impracticable and repulsive forms of Christianity.
They purchased the lands and paid for them. They of-
fered peace and peaceful associations, and they presented
the nxost attractive points of the Christian religion for the
admiration and confidence of the Indians, viz : peace among
themselves and kindness and justice towards others.

Those who had left England to avoid the unjust penal
statutes of the government and the persecuting spirit of non-
conformists, felt how attractive must be the evidences of
justice and how conciliating the procedure that recognizes
in man the dignity and the rights of man.

The Christian religion is never more exalted in the eyes
of the pagan or skeptic than when its possessors manifest
their high sense of its character and importance, by making
its requirements the most distinguished of all the difference
between men, and it is never more attractive than when all
other distinctions are merged in that difference ; all dif-
ferences buried in the eff"ort to make it respected by the
virtues of its professors, and to have it adopted because of
the gentleness and charity with which it is presented.

The Pilgrims who came to this spot with Calvert were of
the same country and of the same age as those who settled
Virginia and New England. They had grown up amid the
same contests and had had their minds moulded, their opin-^
ions formed in the same circumstances, as were those of the
other contemporary colonies. If then we succeed in show-
ing that in purity of life they excelled, in righteousness
towards others they exceeded, and in the presentation of the
elements of our present form of national government, they
stood, if not alone, at least pre-eminent, we may well in-


quire — it is our duty as Americans to inquire — it is our
privilege as religionists diligently to inquire, what Avas the
extent and influence of their superiority, and to what prin-
ciple it is to be referred.

For myself, I have by reading and reflection formed an
cpinion on that subject, and it is a part of the duty I as-
sumed for this day to express and to support that opinion.

I do not think that the colonists who came with Calvert
were men of education (in the ordinary sense of that word)
much superior to many of the settlers of Virginia. They
were certainly not of more acute intellects than the first
colonists of Plymouth or Massachusetts. They stood in
the same relation to the savages as did the other colonists
with regard to the danger from violence or the advantages
of peace. They had the means of vitiating the physical ap-
petites of the Indians as abundant as others ; and could have
used cunning (I say not fraud) to become owners of the soil,
and could have appealed to the love of finery or the thirst of
revenge to limit the possessions of the natives or diminish
their number. But they did not resort to these modes,
which distinguished the conduct of some other colonists,
and their forbearance was not the consequence of impaired
appetite for possession, or a deficiency of means to enforce
a wrong. In all these circumstances, in all their antecedents
these settlers stood on the same ground of power, the same
.strength of desire, the same means of appreciation as did the
English immigrants to other colonies of this country. The
difference in conduct was great, it was eminently distinguish-
ing. Whence did it come ?

The only difference in the circumstances of the colonists
of Maryland, and those of Virginia and New England, the
only operative difference was in their religious creed, and
the educational influences immediately and necessarily re-
sulting therefrom, combined with the painful experience to
which that creed had exposed them, and the lofty motives
of purity and justice which the Christian religion supplies to


all its followers, at all times, but which it suggests with great
cogency when it also exposes them to the persecution of a
tyrant king, or a thoughtless infuriate populace.

There is scarcely a more beautiful page in history, sacred
or profane, than that which records the dealings of Leonard
Calvert and his followers with the aborigines who tilled the
soil on which we stand. He landed not as a proprietor, but
as a visiter. He addressed the native chief, not as one who
came to conquer, but as one who came to purchase. His
manners were not those which offended first and then irri-
tated to hostility. They awakened caution, but they con-
ciliated esteem and secured confidence.

When the intrigues of an enemy in disguise provoked a
portion of the savages to war, the followers of Calvert made
it a duty of the colonists to restore lands acquired by con-
quest, and made it a penal offence to kidnap or sell a friend-
ly Indian, and a high misdemeanor to supply them with
intoxicating liquor. Surely in these arrangements not only
is there manifested the true spirit of Christianity with the
fruits of charity and justice, but we must find in them some-
thing which appeals to our approval more than does the con-
duct of some of the other colonists ; and I may as well add
that the difference in the conduct of Calvert and that of the
Governors of the other colonies was noticed at the time,
and an old contemporary writer says '' Justice Popham and
Sir George Calvert agreed not more unanimously in the
public design of planting than they differed in the private
way of it. The first was for extirpating heathens; the
second for converting them. The one was for present
profit, the other for reasonable expectation. The first set
up a common stock out of which the people should be pro-
vided by proportions. The second left every one to provide
for himself"

This is not the time nor the place to pursue at length a
comparison between the different modes of colonizing, adopt-
ed by men of different objects.


Where entire dominancy and sudden profits are expected,
the utter destruction of the conquered race is the policy of
the victor. Wherever christianizing and humanizing our
fellow^ being are the leading motives, there patient endurance,

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Online LibraryJoseph Ripley ChandlerAddress of the Hon. Joseph R. Chandler → online text (page 1 of 4)