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An Indian, dressed in the habilaments of a sachem, met Capt. TURNER in the place where Massasoit was first discovered, and the emblems of peace and friendship, which were interchanged, brought into view, an interesting scene, that existed soon after the arrival of our ancestors. A sprightly ball at Old Colony Hall, in which the ladies, by their participation, heightened the social enjoyment, crowned the anniversary festival.
In 1802 among the toasts were the following:
Christianity and the Clergy: - Washington believed — Adams believes, and what if Tom Paine and his friend 2 do not believe?
May the New-England sun of federalism, which illumines a Strong, a Trumbull, a Gilman, and a Tichenor, no longer suffer a partial eclipse in the state of Rhode Island.
Our Sucktash and our Chowder:4 — May they never be supplanted by the soup-meagre of France, or the rerolutionary whiskey of the ancient dominion.
The memory of a Belknap, a Phillips, a Lowell, and a Minot 5 — Worthy of being enrolled among New-England Sages.
The President of these United States — May he, by his future administration, prove that he has at heart the good of his country.
In 1803 the Rev. John T. Kirkland delivered “a pathetic prayer and very excellent discourse;" from “this mental feast, about one hundred gentlemen, with grateful hearts, retired to the 'Feast of Shells,'? which displayed a sumptuous variety, consisting, not of clams and succatash alone, but of the more delicious rarities of the soil and forest:— nor was the table abandoned until the cheering glass, accompanied by the usual number of toasts, both appropriate and patriotic, closed the interesting scene;" in the evening, "the
1 Columbian Centinel, December 30, 1801, pp. 2–3. . The allusions here are to the English Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson.
3 Caleb Strong, Governor of Massachusetts; Isaac Tichenor, Governor of Vermont.
4 The earliest example of chowder quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary is under date of 1762. Versified “Directions for making a CHOUDER” were printed in the Boston Evening Post of September 23, 1751, p. 2/1.
5 Rev. Jeremy Belknap; Samuel Phillips (H. C. 1771), Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts; John Lowell (H. C. 1760); George Richards Minot (H. C. 1778).
• New England Palladium, December 28, 1802, pp. 2–3.
decorated Hall was crouded by a brilliant assembly of ladies and gentlemen, the progeny of the Pilgrims;" and among the “toasts drank by the younger sons of the Pilgrims in the Town House" were the following:
3. "The enlightened government of France.” — May it be remunerated for the quit-claim of Louisiana, while our citizens “manage their own affairs in their own way, unopposed by fiscal exactions."
7. "The daughters of pierless dames.”] – May they never put off the swaddling clothes of their pristine virtue, in exchange for the habliments of a WALSTONCRAFT.2
In 1804 it was “a proud reflection, that native hymns and odes furnished the songs, and the joy of the day;" and in the afternoon "a large company of citizens, and literary strangers, partook of an elegant dinner, where the moral and votive festivity of the entertainment was occasionally enlivened by the following toasts; and a brilliant Ball sent away the night in song:”
6. JOHN ADAMS, late President of the United States: — Whose private rectitude and honor, the slanderous tongue of party has never dared to assail. . . . 8. The memory of Gen. HAMILTON — “whose developement of truth, was lucid as its path.” . . . 12. The constitutional power of impeachment. “It poisons Justice, when the rancour of party tinctures her current.” ... The Upas of Monticello. May Judge CHASE 3 keep to the windward. ... Johnny Randolph. May he find it a hard chase to run down an independent Judge.
These toasts drew from a Boston Republican paper the following comment: THE federalists, in every transaction, evidence the folly and incon
sistency of their conduct. The Plymouth pilgrims have carefully confined their approbation of John Adams to his private character; and under this distinction, have presumed to screen their disapprobation of his public acts. Their toast is, “John Adams, late President of the U. S. whose private rectitude and honor, the slanderous tongue of party
i See Judge Davis's ode, p. 305 note 3, above. The allusion at the close of the toast is of course to Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1759–1797).
2 New England Palladium, December 30, 1803, p. 2/5.
has never dared to assail.” This is altogether applied to his private “rectitude and honor.” But, in a subsequent toast, they reprobate in the strongest terms his public conduct; which is thus evinced - "the memory of Gen. Hamilton, whose developement of truth, was lucid as its path.” – Every man knows what Hamilton wrote about Mr. Adams: if then he was accurate in what he said, surely Mr. A. was of all men the most improper person for President. Thus glares the inconsistency of these modern pilgrims — Hamilton was “lucid in the developement of truth,” when he calumniated Mr. Adams in his political reputation!! 1
In the following letter we have a suggestion that was not carried into effect until twelve years later:
HE important atchievements and pious examples of illustrious
characters of former times, are both interesting and instructive to rising generations. Among the glorious events recorded in our history, none claim our grateful recollection more, than the pilgrimage of our venerable fore-fathers. As a testimony of high respect for their characters and memory, the anniversary of their landing and establishment on our shores, should be commemorated as “the glory of children are their fathers.” What scene can be more interesting to the best feelings of the human heart, than a social union, celebrating the virtues and recounting the sufferings of our pious ancestors. While in the full enjoyment of their inestimable inheritance, let it not be imagined that prosperity has contracted our hearts, or debased our character; but, let us pay our annual tribute to their shrine, and perpetuate the theme to future generations. Plymouth should be the consecrated spot; there the footsteps of our fathers, the revered rock, and their more sacred relics are proper objects to employ our contemplations and animate our zeal. The duties of the anniversary have for several years past devolved upon a few individuals, and although we express no apprehension that the genuine sons of the Pilgrims will“ be weary in well doing,” yet inauspicious circumstances may exist by which the occasion may be perverted, or the celebration discontinued. It is therefore extremely desirable, that an institution for the purpose should be established, upon principles honorable to ourselves, and to those whose virtues we commemorate. The writer would propose, that an association be formed, to be denominated the Pilgrim Society. The number of members to
1 Independent Chronicle, January 3, 1805, p. 2/4.
consist of 101, corresponding with the number of the first settlers. Whether the members should be selected from the native inhabitants of the late Old Colony exclusively, the writer is not prepared to determine; nor is he tenacious of the precise number, should that be deemed inadequate to the purpose intended. The first object of the society should be, to render permanent the celebration of the anniversary. — By assessment or subscription, a fund should be raised, and a proper edifice erected for the festive occasion. In one of its apartments may be deposited such appropriate portraitures and antiquities, as can be procured. A valuable collection might probably be obtained, by donations from those who are generously disposed to promote the views of the institution. A monument, erected contiguous to the edifice, and inscribed to the memory of the Pilgrims, would be a valuable acquisition. But the particular objects which the institution may embrace, as also the necessary arrangements for its formation, are reserved for future consideration. The foregoing observations are intended merely to solicit attention to the subject. The scheme is at present immature — it is expected that it will receive improvement, or a more eligible one be devised.
A. B.1 Plymouth, Jan. 3, 1807.
In 1816 the sermon was preached on December 22, which that year fell on Sunday; but on Monday “a large and respectable number of citizens and strangers, partook of an excellent dinner," at which “appropriate toasts and occasional songs added to the pleasure of the festival;” and “A splendid Ball in the evening graced with the beauty and elegance of a brilliant collection of the ‘Daughters of peerless Dames,' concluded the celebration.” 2
The following accounts of the celebrations in 1817, 1818, and 1819 are given, because they indicate the nature of the discourses delivered in those years, which were never printed.
THE PILGRIM ANNIVERSARY
Was celebrated at Plymouth, on Monday last, in the usual appropriate style, and with undiminished interest. The severity of the weather did not prevent a full attendance on the exercises and entertainments of the day. The address by the Rev. Mr. HOLLEY, corresponded to the
1 Columbian Centinel, January 7, 1807, p. 2/3.
high expectations which were entertained, and his admiring audience will long cherish the remembrance of a performance in which just and elevated sentiments, embodied in the happiest expression, were delivered with peculiar grace and oratorical ability. It was the first visit of Mr. HOLLEY to the Old Colony. Early in the morning of the anniversary he viewed the places, which, from any peculiar circumstance, are considered as the most striking memorials of The Fathers, and in the short interval between the return from his walk about town and taking his assigned place in the desk, he was introduced to some aged inhabitants, whose communications suggested considerations, which he thought applicable to the occasion. The reflections originating from these sources, and from ascertaining his own descent from an ancient settler in the territory, formed an apt and pleasing introduction to his Discourse, and created a sympathy of the happiest tendency. The eloquent speaker was followed by bis audience with cheerful, animated and unremitted attention through the train of refined and weighty considerations which he ingeniously associated with the subject. It will not be attempted, in this notice, to analyze the Discourse. With its fine polish, there was a solidity of material, rendering it a most acceptable intellectual entertainment, and we hope that the request of the Selectmen, of a copy for publication, will not be denied.
LANDING OF OUR FOREFATHERS.
Plymouth, Dec. 26, 1818. The Landing of our Forefathers at Plymoutb was celebrated at that place on the 22d inst. by the inhabitants of that ancient town and its vicinity. - The descendants of the Pilgrims, forgetting all differences of party and opinion, united to celebrate the occasion with an affectionate remembrance of their common origin. A procession was formed at 11 o'clock, and escorted to the Meeting-House the Rev. Mr. KENDALL by the Standish Guards, a new military corps, under the command of Capt. Weston, who now made their first public appearance, and by their correct discipline and military appearance proved themselves worthy of their illustrious name and descent. — The anniversary oration was delivered by the Hon. WENDELL Davis, of Sandwich, and gave high satisfaction to a crowded audience. It was an animated and eloquent description of the toils and sufferings, the pious resignation and triumphant perseverance of our venerable Ancestors....
1 Columbian Centinel, December 27, 1817, p. 2/3.