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HE THAT BEGUN THE WORKE WAS
THE GREATER MAN.
“APOLLOS WATERED, BUT PAUL PLANTED ;
... You SHALL HAVE MADE THIS ISLAND, [ENGLAND) WHICH IS BUT AS THE SUBURBS OF THE OLD WORLD, A BRIDGE, A GALLERY TO THE NEW ; TO JOYNE ALL TO THAT WORLD THAT SHALL NEVER GROW OLD, THE KINGDOME OF HEAVEN. YOU SHALL ADD PERSONS TO THIS KINGDOME, AND TO THE KINGDOME OF HEAVEN, AND NAMES TO THE BOOKES OF OUR CHRONICLES, AND TO THE BOOKE OF LIFE.”
Dr. John Donne's Sermon to the “ Honorable Virginian Company," Nov. 13, 1622.
“ LET IT NOT BE GRIEVOUS TO YOU, THAT YOU HAVE BEEN INSTRUMENTS TO
BREAK THE ICE FOR OTHERS WHO COME AFTER WITH LESS DIFFICULTY: TUE HONOR
SHALL BE YOURS TO THE WORLD'S END."
Letter to the Plymouth Planters. — 1623.
“SMALL THINGS IN THE BEGINNING OF NATURAL OR POLITIC BODIES ARE AS REMARKABLE AS GREATER IN BODIES FULL GROWN."
Dudley's Letter to Lady Bridgett, Countess of Lincoln, March 12, 1631.
“ MY HOLD OF THE COLONIES IS IN THE CLOSE AFFECTION WHICH GROWS FROM COMMON NAMES, FROM KINDRED BLOOD, FROM SIMILAR PRIVILEGES AND EQUAL PROTECTION. THESE ARE TIES WHICH, THOUGH LIGHT ĄS AIR, ARE AS STRONG AS LINKS OF IRON.”
Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America, 1775.
As the geologist discovers vestiges of the primitive globe and its inhabitants in the pebble and the fossil, as the geographer explores great rivers back to mountain rivulets, so the historian finds eloquent witnesses of former generations in crumbling monuments and obscure parchments, and traces national greatness to its beginning. Thus the incidents in the early lives of the good and great are gleaned with interest and veneration, and the events in the dawn of a nation's existence are clothed with dignity and importance, proportionate to its after intelligence and greatness.
The distinct and authentic history of the planting and growth of the American colonies, peculiar to us, in contrast with the legendary and obscure origin of many nations in the Old World, has ever afforded satisfaction to the philosopher and historian, and whatever tends to its completeness, will be received with interest.
The following pages prove that Massachusetts begins her history not at Salem, nor under the patronage of the organization which obtained the charter of March, Anno 1627-8, but in the spring of the year 1624, at Cape Anne, where the colony was established under the authority of THIS HER FIRST CHARTER the very initial of her annals — now first presented to the public.
It is venerable, as the historical foundation of the Society or State, which, continuing under various charters and titles, in the year 1780, adopted the name of the COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
It is remarkable as guaranteeing the principles of free government vindicated in the Revolutionary struggle ; that the government is of, from and for the individual, the people, the body politic, and not they for the government. From the recognition or denial of this principle, results freedom, or despotism.
This venerable instrument opens to the mind a vision of the past, and in the quiet depths of thought, those obscure but mighty men, now men of renown, rise from their tombs; and we feel as it were that our lives are united with theirs, while we study the privileges that encouraged their hearts, lighted their future with hope, and supported their onward steps. This tract relates to the first colonial lustre - the period commenced under the authority of this, the first, or Cape Anne charter, and embraced in the years 1624 to 1629.
The parchment was in the possession of the Hon. Paul Dudley, F. R. S., Chief Justice of Massachusetts, son of the younger Governor Dudley, who may have received it from his father, Gov. Thomas Dudley. The narrative, written more than a year since, has been enlarged, developing more fully the authority on which the charter was issued.
My thanks are due to Rev. Joseph B. Felt, for his aid and for valuable original documents in the Appendix. Several of the scarce works cited, were from the library of my friend, Charles Deane, Esq., whose familiarity with this period of American history, has been of much service in editing the charter.
J. WINGATE THORNTON.
Boston, OCTOBER, 1854.