« PreviousContinue »
sufficiently simple for his understanding, yet important as a primary step to the higher branches of education. Should these purposes result in any considerable degree from the introduction of this volume as a second class reading book, the expectations of the author will be fully realized.
Ashburnham, Mass. 1826.
-Sect. 1. Persons,
SECOND CLASS BOOK.
ADVANTAGES OF HISTORY, AND DISCOVERY
OF NEW ENGLAND. 1. HISTORY has always been a persuasive method of instructing mankind. Many good men in every age employed it for this invaluable purpose. Though precepts and admonitions often have a commanding energy, an irresistible influence; though the pulpit will for ever stand unrivalled
among the means of instruction and reformation, still history lends her alluring and powerful assistance.
2. Her salutary light is of incalculable importance. She displays the felicity of goodness, and the miseries of vice, unfolds the time when many prophecies have been fulfilled, and produces confidence in those which remain. Examples of individuals great and good, of communities distinguished for integrity and success, powerfully persuade to an imitation of their virtues.
3. If any country has merited the notice of history, New England has strong claims. Beginning in weakness and sufferings; at one time less than a half dozen persons able to defend themselves from the hosom of uncounted tribes of savages; from feebleness, poverty and contempt, she has risen in might and numbers and resources, till she may bid defiance to invasion from any power.
4. Her virtues, industry, frugality, piety, and valor, in the hands of God, have been the means of this unexampled prosperity. Her soil is not the most fertile, her climate is forbidding, yet her wealth is greater, and her population more numerous, than any other portion of the United States.
5. There is much truth in the remark of an European writer ;
were not the cold climate of New England supplied with good laws and discipline, the barrenness of that country would never have brought people to it, nor have advanced it in consideration and formidableness above the other English plantations, exceeding it much in fertility and other inviting qualities.
6. America was discovered by Columbus in 1492. The news spread rapidly through Europe, and every maritime power, from the Baltic to the Adriatic sea, rushed forth to gaze on the amazing curiosity, a New World, or to seize a portion for themselves. Among these the English, ever forward in daring enterprises, took a conspicuous part.
7. In 1496, John Cabot, with two ships, sailed from England, having a commission from Henry 7th to discover unknown lands, and annex them to the British government. Directing his course for China, he fell in with Labrador, and coasted north to latitude 67o. The next year he made a second voyage, and discovered Newfoundland and New England, traversing the coast to Florida.
8. Thus was New England discovered in the summer of 1497; but no attempt for a permanent settlement was made for-more than a century. A long night of obscurity covered this part of the American coast. The people of England were living at ease in the land of their nativity ; the church was not prepared to fly for rest into this "wilderness ;' or the guilt of the natives had not ripened them for those judgments, which finally swept them away in war and pestilence, to make room for the holy pilgrims, the fathers of New England.
9. New England, now the north eastern grand division of the United States of America, lies in the form of a quarter of a circle around the great bay, or part of the Atlantic ocean, which sets up to the northwest between Cape Cod and Cape Sable. It contains the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Pro vidence Plantations, and Connecticut; and is situated between 410 and 48° north latitude, and 10 and 100 east longitude from Philadelphia. Its extreme length from the south west corner of Connecticut, is about 626 miles; its breadth is very unequal, from fifty to two hundred miles. It contains about 72,000 square