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May all movers of Sedition, and lords of mis-rule, whether native or imported, meet the fate of Oldham and Morton, of Mount Wallaston!1
Our Fore-Mothers: — let their heroism, patience, and conjugal love be consecrated to everlasting esteem and imitation.
To the revered memory of our lamented divine, biographer, and historian, Dr. BELKNAP, who has conducted us thro' the pleasant paths of ancient times.
The spirit of the Old Colony Executive,? who for a present of Arrows and a Snake-skin, from a savage enemy, returned powder and ball, with this answer “If you wish war, you may have it”!
The Federal Constitution: like the “shallop of our fathers,” may it find a “Rock" and a shelter in Old Colony virtues and principles !
The President of the United States.3 — In the glorious work of animating and guiding the patriotic spirit of his country, may he go on and prosper!
Lieut. General Washington. — May his sword be successfully wielded against foreign insolence and oppression, and the hero of American liberty yet have the satisfaction of again contemplating in his retirement, the independence and prosperity of his country.*
John Jay. — May the lasting happiness and gratitude of his country, and the plaudits of an admiring world, be the recompense of his talents, patriotism, and services.
Alexander Hamilton. May the future services of this luminary of our western hemisphere be as useful and brilliant as the past.
Governor Sumner. — May he long enjoy the rich reward of the love and reverence of his countrymen.
Chief Justice Dana.” — May his fame be as permanent as our law, and our law as pure as his integrity.
Timothy Pickering. - The Rock of State, firm while Frenchmen froth around its base.
Oliver Wolcott. When French men or the friends of Frenchmen come to our treasury, may he keep the key.
Buonaparte, and his army. — May they wander in the wilderness of Egypt without manna to feed, or the brazen serpent to heal them,
The Red Sea. — May it continue faithful to the cause of God and men, if the modern Egyptians should attempt its passage.
The military and naval establishments of the United States. — May they be encreased and supported in proportion to our exigences.
The strong arm of government May it be felt by intrigaing aliens, and seditious citizens.?
1 John Oldham, who came in the Anne in 1623; and the notorious Thomas Morton of Merrymount.
? Bradford. The “present" came early in 1622 from Canonicus, the great sachem of the Narragansetts: see Bradford's History (ed. Ford), i. 240–241.
3 John Adams.
· Washington had accepted the position of Lieutenant-General and Commander-in-Chief on July 13, 1798. 6 Francis Dana (H. C. 1762).
Secretary of the Treasury. 7 An allusion to the Alien and Sedition Acts, passed by Congress in 1798.
The Apostate Talleyrandi - a man by chance, a bishop by grace, and a knave by instinct.
The following elegant and patriotic Ode written for the occasion by Mr. THOMAS PAINE was repeatedly sung amidst the most unbounding applause.
Paine's ode, to the tune of the “President's March,” 3 contained eight stanzas, of which the second and fourth are as follows:
Round the consecrated ROCK,
Heirs of Pilgrims, now renew
The Worm, that blights your blossom'd field! 1 In 1797 John Marshall, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Elbridge Gerry had been sent on an unsuccessful mission - commonly known as the “XYZ Mission " - to France to treat with Talleyrand. It was then that Pinckney used an expression that has become famous : "'Millions for defence,'" said the Independent Chronicle of January 28, 1799, “'but not a cent for tribute.' This has been the language of those who are in favor of War (with France) ” (p. 2/3).
? Massachusetts Mercury, December 28, 1798, p. 2/4. Thomas Paine (H. C. 1792), who afterwards (March 8, 1803) changed his name to Robert Treat Paine, was the son of Robert Treat Paine (H. C. 1749) the Signer.
3 See p. 310 note, above.
OR A DESERT LET IT BE!" The account promised by the Columbian Centinel duly appeared in the issue of December 29, and began as follows:
“THE HEIRS OF THE PILGRIMS” Celebrated on Saturday Dec. 22, the 177th Anniversary of the landing of their Forefathers at Plymouth Rock. — As it was the day of the nativity of New-England, the commemorating banquet was attended by a very numerous and respectable company, most of whom were lineally descended from the first settlers of the Old Colony. Gen. LINCOLN presided, and Jos. RUSSELL, Esq. was Vice-President, at the board of the “Pilgrims,” which was amply and characteristically furnished with every species of wild food, which the elements afford, at this period of the year. The portrait of the pious Wilson, and the swords of CARVER and STANDISH were conspicuous among the embellishments of the hall; and the following toasts evinced that the spirit of the Old Colony patriots had been bequeathed to the inheritors of their soil (pp. 2–3).
It is thus seen that the term Feast of Shells ? at once made its appearance, and that the word Pilgrim, as specifically applied to
1 Massachusetts Mercury, December 28, 1798, p. 4/1.
? The Boston celebration perhaps received this name (see p. 347, below) in allusion to the shell-fish so often mentioned in early days. It should be pointed out, however, that the expressions “the shells of the feast," “the shells of joy," "the shell of feasts," "to rejoice in the shell," "the hall of shells,” “the feast of shells," occur in the Ossianic poems; Macpherson explaining that "To rejoice in the shell, is a phrase for feasting sumptuously, and drinking freely;" and further says: “The ancient Scots, as well as the present Highlanders, drunk in shells; hence it is that we so often meet, in the old poetry, with the chief of shells, and the halls of shells." See Poems of Ossian, London, 1805, ii. 154, 161 note, 201 note, 235 and note, 297 and note, iii. 6–7. Cf. Notes and Queries, 11th Series, ix. 108, 175. Oscar and Malvina, a pantomime "taken from the Poems of Ossian," was given at the Boston Theatre on March 14, 1796. "At the opening of the Piece the Theatre represents the Hall of Fingal at the Feast of Shells" (Oscar & Malvina, Hamburg, 1795, p. 6).
At all events, the Boston celebration was not called the Feast of Shells in reference to the scallop-shell as a pilgrim's badge. In 1896 W. T. Davis said:
The corner stone of the canopy over the Rock was laid on the 2d of August, 1859, and the structure was completed in 1867. ... The use of scallop shells on
an early settler, was first used by Thomas Paine and immediately caught the popular fancy.
It was not to be expected that the gross partizanship displayed by the participants in the celebration should have escaped criticism. A communication signed “Propriety" appeared in the Independent Chronicle of December 31:
The “Feast of Shells."
FOR THE CHRONICLE.
“Several of the Rev. Clergy were present." No doubt recommended by their politicks, suitable persons for such a feast, they boast of feasting on such a dish once in their lives. But polilicks gave even shells a relish. — Their parishioners complain that these shepherds feed them with the husks of politicks once a week, without the least tincture of truth to season husks — though they pay them weekly and well, to be served with Christian truth, and not with the fibs and artifices of the Politician.
The Feasts all Shell and no Fish, as one would conclude, must have ended with all Bottle and no Liquor. But that was not the case. It was necessary there should be wine and that the best of priests' wine, sufficient for twenty-nine Toasts from their priestly lips, which last served to fit them for a song of the American Tom Paine to the tune of the President's march. ...
Strange it was that the managers of that feast, should imagine that those Heavenly Pilgrims could approve of the practice of toasting, to which they were so much averse on earth. They thought it to be of evil tendency, and immoral, and therefore not to be countenanced; they thought it could be borne with only by Bachanalian Topers. To have heard 29 toasts given, must immediately have ended their journey
its top was suggested by the fact that this shell was the emblem worn by the Pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. . . . The first use of the scallop shell associated with the Plymouth Pilgrims was at the anniversary celebration in 1820, when at the ball in the evening some young ladies hung a shell suitably decorated on the breast of Mr. Webster, the orator of the day (Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian, pp. 27, 28).
1 In E. C. Stedman and Ellen M. Hutchinson's Library of American Literature (1888, ii. 185) are quoted, under the heading “To the Heirs of the Pilgrims,” twenty-six lines from a poem written by Dr. Benjamin Church in 1765. The lines are correctly quoted from pp. 7–8 of "The Times. A Poem. By an American” (1765), but the heading under which they appear in the work cited is of course due to the editors.
through this then howling wilderness, and carried them strait to their desired home.
But those men of sobriety only perceive that they led to tipling, but not that they might be improved by Tories and Courtiers to injure the essential interests of a free and virtuous People. The publisher of the toasts given at the Feast of Shells, says that justice is done to our first and later worthies with affection, cordiality, and sincerity. Yet as to some of those toasts, tho' called federal, they surely do not discover the features of a Pilgrim, — I mean of one traveling to the land of purity and peace — Such were our venerable Ancestors. . ...
Let us take a look at some of the Toasts and see if they discover more judiciousness. ....
" Alexander Hamilton. May the future services of this Luminary of the Western hemisphere be as useful and brilliant as the past.” — Astonishment almost stops my pen. What! and was there no Phineas present, to take up the faithful sword of one of the chiefs of the first Settlers and which helped to decorate the Hall, and with a laudable zeal have avenged the shameful insult offered in this toast to the conjugal purity of those Ancient Worthies? 2 And why in the name of common decency did not the brave and virtuous General then in the Chair, give out immediate orders to his Drum Major to go round the Hall and beat to the tune of — “Drunk or sober, go to bed Tom — go to bed Tom" (pp. 2-3).3
1 In a letter to Sir Robert Naunton dated November 28, 1619, Sir Dudley Carleton, referring to Thomas Brewer, who had charge of the Pilgrim press (cf. p. 384 note 1, below) at Leyden (though he did not come to this country), said:
The states fleet now prepared against the pirates could not possibly put to sea until this day; which is the first easterly wind we have had for these six weeks past. I hope it will carry over sir WILLIAM ZOUCHE with mr. BREWER to your honour, who have lain long together at Flushing; and his fellow Brownists at Leyden are somewhat scandalized, because they hear sir WILLIAM hath taught him to drink healths (Letters from and to Sir Dudley Carleton, 1775, p. 423).
3 The reference is to Hamilton's Observations on Certain Documents, etc., 1797, usually known as the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” in which he explained his public conduct at the expense of his private character. In the Independent Chronicle of January 27, 1803, there is an allusion to "Maria's financier” (p. 2/4).
• In the same paper of January 10, 1799, “Propriety" again wrote: “The Salem Gazette contains the celebration of the Feast of shells, and the printer has honoured himself by shewing his regard to Propriety, in leaving out the exceptionable toasts, given at that feast" (p. 2/4).