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At a meeting of the Board of Officers of The New-England Society in the City of New York, held at the Astor House December 30th, 1846, it was, on motion of Mr. Fessenden, seconded by Mr. Babcock,
Resolved, that a Committee be appointed by the Chair to wait upon Rev. CHARLES W. UPHAM, to tender him the thanks of the Society for his Oration de. livered on the late Anniversary, and to request a copy of the same for publication ; and that when said Oration is received, it be published on behalf of the Society, under the direction of seid Committee.
Copy from the Minutes.
ALFRED A. WEEKS, Secretary.
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE New ENGLAND SOCIETY,
IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
The topics that claim our consideration, on this Anniversary, are so obvious, and so inseparable from the occasion and the sentiments awakened by it, and those sentiments are so uniform in all hearts, that no ingenious and elaborate exordium is needed to bring your minds into an appropriate frame. The field over which our meditations are led this day, is not a remote point from our spontaneous and involuntary associations, to be reached only by longdrawn approaches, but opens at once upon the vision,
On the 22d of December, in the year 1620, a company of Englishmen landed on the shore of what has since been the township of Plymouth, in the present State of Massachusetts. This circumstance has long been regarded, with a just and felicitous discrimination, as the opening scene in the drama of civilized humanity in the New World.
Voyagers had often before, we know not from how early a period, visited the coasts of America. Scientific philologists, and philosophical students of manners, customs, and other memorials, have imagined themselves to have traced, more or less clearly, evidence of transmigrations from the older continents to this, in the ages of a remote antiquity. European settlements, many of which quickly disappeared, but, in some instances, giving rise to permanent and populous Provinces and States, were commenced at dates anterior to the landing of the Pilgrims on the day we commemorate.
But the attending and resulting circumstances of that event are so peculiar in their character, so momentous in their bearings, and so wide-spread in their influence, that, by general consent, the opening of the continent of America to the civilization of Christendom, is everywhere getting to be considered as dating from the hour when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. It may safely be taken for granted, that, whatever particular interest different localities may feel in contemplating the origin of their own communities, whether before or after the 22d of December, 1620, all will acquiesce and con-spire in regarding the Rock of Plymouth as the point from which the ever-advancing and ever-expanding wave of Anglo-Saxon liberty and light began to flow over America. Taking this comprehensive view of the subject, presenting the occasion
as the best example and highest instance of the various settlements by Europeans and Christians on the American continent, we may rely upon the sympathy of those of our fellow-citizens of a different colonial origin from ourselves, who may honor us with their presence, in the sentiments and associations to which we yield our own minds and hearts. While, as the descendants of New-England men, with filial and grateful reverence, we pay honor to their memory, it is my purpose, so far as the privilege and ability are given me to determine the spirit of the day, that the contemplation of your ancestral glories shall convey to your hearts lessons which may be profitably pondered by all Americans, in whatever portion of the republic they may have their abode, and from whatever sources they have sprung.
Before taking up the topics suggested by any more limited view of the subject, I wish to concentrate attention upon the event we commemorate in the light I have suggested, as, by way of eminence, marking the era of the contact and intercommunication of the two hemispheres of our globe. Let us pause, at the outset, and open our minds to receive and appreciate the interest and grandeur of the thought.
From the beginning of time, the great oceans had been impassable walls, keeping the opposite sides of our planet in distant and complete