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True causes of Prosperity. 159
bulk of the inhabitants are industrious, sagaeious husbandmen. Their farms furnish them with aJl the necessaries, most of the conveniences, and but few of the luxuries of life. They of course must be generally temperate, and if they choose, can subsist with as much independence as is consistent with happiness. The subsistence of the farmer is substantial, and does not depend on incidental circumstances, like that of most other professions. There is no necessity of serving an apprenticeship to the business, nor of a large stock of money to commence it to advantage. Farmers, whq deal much in barter, have less need of money, than any other class of people- The ease with which a comfortable subsistence is obtained, induces the husbandman to marry young. The cultivation of his farm makes him strong and healthful. He toils cheerfully through the day, eats the fruit of his own labour with a gladsome heart, at night devoutly thanks his bounteous God for his daily blessing, retires to rest, and his sleep is sweet. Such circumstances as these have greatly contributed to the amazing increase of the inhabitants in this state.
Beside, the people live und£r a free government, and have no fear of a tyrant. There are no overgrown estates, with rich and ambitious landlords, to have an undue and pernicious influence in the ele&ion of civil officers. Property is equally enough divided, and must continue to be so as long? 160 4 Character of the People
zp estates descend as they now do. No person qualified by law is prohibited from voting. He who has the most merit, not he who has the most money, is generally chosen into public office. As instances of this, it is to be observed, that many of the citizens of Connecticut, from the humble walks of life, have arisen to the first offices in the state, and filled them with dignity and reputation* That base business of electioneering, which is so direCtly calculated to introduce wicked and de« signing men into office, is yet but little known in Connecticut. A man who wishes to be chosen into office, a£ts wisely, for that end, when he keeps bis desires to himself.
Connecticut had but a small proportion of cit^ izens who did not join in opposing the oppressive measures of Great Britain? and was aCtive and influential, both in the field and in the cabinet, ia bringing about the revolution. Her soldiers were applauded by the commander in chief, for their bravery and fidelity.
The revolution, which so essentially affeCted the government of most of the colonies, produced no *ery perceptible alteration in the government of Connecticut. While under the jurisdiction of Great Britain, they eleCted their own govern, ors, and #1 subordinate civil officers, and made their own laws, in the same manner, and with as little control as they now do. Connecticut has ever been a republic, and perhaps as perfeCt and
of Connecticut. 161
as happy a republic as ever existed. She has uninterruptedly proceeded in her old track, both as to government and manners; and, by these means., has avoided those convulsions which have rent other states into violent parties.
At the anniversary election of governor and other public officers, which is held yearly at Hartford on the second Thursday in May, a sermon is preached, which is published at the expense of the state. On these occasions a vast concourse of respectable citizens, particularly of the clergy, are colledted from every part of the state; and white they add dignity and solemnity to the important and joyful transa&ions of the day, serve to exterminate party spirit, and to .harmonize the civil and religious interests o£the state.
Conne&icut, as wellas Massachusetts* has been highly distinguished in having a succession of gov^ ernors, eminent both for their religious and political accomplishments*
e H A P. XIIL
Settlement of Rhode Island, this colony refused admittance into the confederation, Narraganset Indians surrender their country to the king of England, Roman Catholics r Charter surren^ derecL
MOTIVES of the same kind witfe those which are well known to have oecafion-. ed the settlement of most of the other United States, gave birth to the settlement of Rhode Island* The emigrants from England, who came to Massachusetts,, though they did not perfectly agree in religious sentiments, had been tolerably united by their common zeal against the ceremonies of the church of England. But when they were removed from ecclesiastical courts, and possessed a charter allowing liberty of conscience., they fell into disputes and contentions amongthemselves. Of the principle of uniformity, the majority here were as fond as those from whose persecution they had fled.
The true grounds of religious liberty were not embraced at this time., nor understood by afty seft. While all disclaimed persecution for the ^ake of conscience, a regard for the public peace,, and the preservation of the church of Christ from infeQion,. together with the obstinacy of the heretics, was urged in justification of that, which. Roger Williams. 26S
stripped of all its disguises, the light of nature, and the laws of Christ, in the most solemn manner condemn.
Mr. Roger Williams, a puritan minister, came oyer to New England in 1631, and settled at Salem, assistant to the Rev. Mr. Skellon. His settlement was. opposed by the magistrates because he refused to join with the church,, at Boston, unless they would make a public declaration, of their repentance for maintaining communion with the church of England, while in their native country* In consequence Mr. Williams removed to Plymouth, where he remained assistant to Mr. Smith three years, or as others, say two, and others, not one; when he disagreed with some influential chara&ers in that town, and by invitation returned' to Salem and succeeded Mr. Skelton, who had: lately deceased. His settlement was still opposed by the magistrates, who charged him with maintaining, "That it is not lawfiil for a godly man t<& have communion in family prayer, or in an oath, with such as-they judge unregsenerate;" therefore he refused the oath of fidelity, and taught others, to follow his example; "- that it is not lawful for an unregenerate man to pray; that the magistrate has nothing to do in matters of the first table; that there should be a general and unlimited toleration, of all religions; that to punish a man for following the dictates of his conscience was persecution $ that the patent which was granted by king Charles