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Northern Illinois settled principally from New-York, and New-England - Protestant Re
formation-Luther-Calvin-Plymouth Patent-Henry VIII.-Anne Boleyn-Cardinal Woolsey-Acts of conformity-Queen Elizabeth-PuritansJames I.-Puritans embark for Holland-For America-Settle at Plymouth-Their success—Sir Harry Vane-Hugh Peters.
NORTHERN Illinois having been settled originally by emigrants, principally from New York and New England, and having also been included in the original patent granted by King James to the Plymouth company, on the third of November, 1620 ;-the history, habits, customs, manners, and character of “the Pilgrims,” are essentially ours. Although many German emigrants from Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, have resorted thither, and of late, foreigners from almost “every nation under the whole heaven," have made northern Illinois their home, still the habits, man. ners, and customs of New York and New England predominate, apparently at the north, in about the same ratio that the habits, manners, and customs of Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolina's, do at the south.
A concise view then of the origin, progress, and colonization of “the Pilgrims ” in New England, and their emigration and settlement else. where, in aftertimes, cannot be an obtrusive theme.
Religious reformation was the original principle which kindled the zeal of our Pilgrim fathers; and the settlement of New England was a part of its result. An Augustine monk* denouncing indulgences in the sixteenth century, introduced a schism into the Catholic church, and shook the papal throne to its centre. A young French refugee,t of great skill in theology and civil law, shortly thereafter established a powerful party in the republic of Geneva, by conforming its ecclesiastical discipline to the principles of republican simplicity, of which Englishmen after. ward became prominent members, and New-England its principal asylum. “ A mode of worship,” says Hume, “ was established, the most simple imaginable ; one that borrowed nothing from the senses; worthy of that Being it professed to serve, but little suitable to human frailty. Rejecting all exterior pomp and ceremony, it was so occupied in this inward life that it fled from all intercourse with society, and from every cheerful amusement which could soften and humanize the character."
“So absolute,” continues the same eloquent historian, " was the au. thority of the crown, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, that the pre
* Martin Luther.
† John Calvin
cious spark of liberty had been kindled, and was preserved by the Puri. tans; and it was to this sect, whose principles appear so frivolous, and habits so ridiculous, that the English owe the whole freedom of their in. stitutions."
These observations of a British author, (in 1759,) who had no partiality for republics, have since been fully illustrated, and their truth made more manifest by subsequent events.
The doctrines of popular liberty, protected during their infancy in the American forests, have been infused into the institutions of every rising state upon our Continent; and after making a proselyte of refined and ac, complished France, have aroused the public mind to resistless action, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the mighty Kremlin of the north.
Several ineffectual attempts were made to colonize New England, ere " the Pilgrims” landed on its shores. One near the mouth of the Kennebec, in 1607. Another in 1615, under the auspices of John Smith, familiar already to our readers in the history of Virginia, both of which were afterward abandoned.
In 1620, the old patent of the Plymouth company, before referred to, was revoked, and on the third of November, in the same year, King James issued to forty of his subjects, some of whom were of the highest nobility in England, a patent which has but one parallel in the history of the world. The adventurers were incorporated as “ The council estab. lished at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, or. dering, and governing of New England, in America.” The territory thus granted, extended in breadth from the 40th to the 48th degree of lat. itude ; and in length, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or as it was then called, to the South Sea Absolute property, with unlimited jurisdiction; the sole power of legislation, and the appointments of all offices was thus given in perpetuity to forty individuals, of a territory, equal in extent to one-half of Europe ; containing more than a million of square miles, and capable of sustaining in ease and affluence 100,000,000 of people. And all this by the mere signature of an English monarch, without even the assent of Parliament.
Nearly all the inhabited British possessions north of the United States, all New-England and New York, two-thirds of New Jersey and Ohio, about half of Pennsylvania, half of Indiana and Illinois, the whole of Michigan and Wisconsin, a part of Missouri, and all the territories of the United States, west of the Mississippi, on both sides of the Rocky Moun. tains, including a part of the Mexican dominions, and from a point within the same, northerly almost to Nootka's Sound, was thus granted in fee, "to the council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon.”
No regard was had for the rights of those who might hereafter inhabit this "proud domain." They were to be ruled by a company in England. Reference, it would seem, was merely had to the cupidity of its forty propri, etors. And like a former patent, issued by the same monarch, to the Vir, ginia company, it contained the very worst, the most obnoxiouş features of a commercial monopoly. Its object, no doubt, was to encourage emi. gration Adventurers refused, however, to embark, lest they should in. fringe the privileges of a powerful company. Those privileges, at least some of them, were questionable ; and while the English monopolists were disputing about their validity and extent, a permanent New-England colony was settled at Plymouth without their knowledge, and without assistance from the king.
The opinions of Wickliffe had prevailed in England to a considerable extent, and his followers, known and distinguished by the appellation of Lollards, were considerably numerous, before Luther commenced preach. ing upon the Continent against the sale of indulgences. Luther, finding his opinions greedily sought after, and his disciples daily increasing, was roused to extraordinary efforts, and all Saxony, Germany, and indeed the whole of Europe in a short time, were filled with the opinions of this da. ring innovator. Those opinions were speedily wafted across the Channel, and the new doctrines gained partisans in England among the laity of all ranks and denominations. Luther in his writings had spoken with great severity of Thomas Aquinas, a favorite author of the king. Henry the Eighth, reckless of consequences, breasted himself immediately to the shock, and among other things, wrote a book in Latin against the princi. ples of Luther, to which the latter replied, and without regard to the dignity of his royal antagonist, treated the king as he had other and more humble individuals, with all the acrimony to which this daring reformer had been accustomed. The public, who naturally took sides with the weaker party in this dispute, awarded to Luther the palm of victory. The king, however, sent a copy of his work, elegantly bound, to Leo the Tenth, who, in testimony of his regard for so magnificent a present, conferred on the English monarch the title of “Defender of the Faith.” The character of the disputants gave importance to the cause, and Luther obtained numerous converts in every part of Europe. “Adopting an enthusiastic strain of devotion, and placing great merit in a mysterious species of faith, inward vision, rapture, and ecstacy,” his followers, indefati. gable in the propagation of his doctrines, set at defiance all the anathemas and punishments with which the Roman pontiff endeavored to overwhelm them.
Calvin, a man of extraordinary learning, and one of the best writers of the age, soon followed in his wake, and the Reformation, from humble beginnings, acquired power and influence, and soon thereafter entered the courts and palaces of kings.
While it was thus progressing in England and Europe, an event transpired in the former, which influenced for a long time, either for good or ill, a large portion of the civilized world.
Anne Boleyn, a maid of honor to Catharine, Queen of England, having had frequent opportunities of being seen by the king, (Henry VIII.) acquired in a few months entire control of his affections. Young, handsome, and accomplished, both in person and mind, and being con.
nected with some of the proudest nobles in the realm, Henry avowed, without scruple, his design of raising her to his bed and throne. In order, however, to effect an object so desirable, it became necessary first to procure his marriage with Catharine of Arragon, (with whom he had lived in great amity for more than twenty years,) to be annulled. For that purpose, Knight, his confidential secretary, was sent abroad to consult the Roman pontiff. Clement, who filled the papal throne, was an illegitimate son of Julian of Medicis, of the sovereign family of Florence, and being then a prisoner in the hands of the emperor, (Charles V.,) and having no hopes of regaining his liberty, except through the league which Henry had formed with the French monarch, (Francis I.) to oppose the ambition of Charles, was at that time exceedingly anxious to gratify the English king. Henry's secretary, therefore, had no difficulty in obtain. ing an audience, and having solicited the holy father in private, received a favorable answer to his master's petition ; and his holiness promised, at the same time, to issue a dispensation immediately for the celebration of Henry's nuptials. The march, however, of a French army into Italy, under the command of Lautréc, obliging the emperor to restore Clement to his liberty, the pope, though full of high professions of friendship and gratitude to Henry, was not quite so prompt in granting his request as the anxious secretary anticipated. The emperor, who was nephew to Catharine, having got intelligence of Henry's application, desired the pontiff to take no steps in the affair without first consulting the imperial ministers; and Clement, overawed by the emperor's forces in Italy, manifested. a desire to postpone the concession desired by the king. He put, however, into the hands of Cardinal Wolsey, a commission to inquire into the validity of Henry's marriage, and the nature of Pope Julian's dispensation. He also granted a provisional dispensation for the king's marriage with Anne Boleyn, and promised to issue a decretal bull, annulling his marriage with Catharine. The dangerous consequences which would ensue to him if his concessions were known to the emperor, were also made known to Henry's secretary; and he was requested to keep the whole matter a secret, until the pope's affairs should become more prosperous. While these negotiations were in progress, the emperor, without any particular design, (as it was said, suggested to different persons, in the confidence of Clement, that some reform in the church was desirable, and that some abuses required correction. He went even so far, as to express some doubts whether, according to the cannon law, a bastard was eligible to the papal throne; and whether this stain, if stain it could be called, on the birth of the reigning pontiff, was not incompatible with so holy an office and the opinions of Charles being at that time exceed ingly popular in Rome, on account of the number and discipline of his armies, which hovered about the capital ; and Clement, previous to his elevation to the papal chair, having unfortunately given to one Colonna, a Romish cardinal, entirely dependent on the emperor, a written billet, “his own proper handwriting being thereunto subscribed,” in which he
had promised to advance the cardinal, in case he, Clement, should obtain the papal dignity by Colonna's concurrence, which billet Colonna threat. ened every moment to expose—the holy father could not see, with so clear an eye as formerly, the invalidity of Henry's marriage. But wishing to delay the matter, he granted a new commission, in which Campeggio, an Italian cardinal, was joined with Wolsey, to ascertain its legality; and to pacify the king, he put into the hands of one Gardiner, Henry's friend, a letter, in which he promised not to revoke the present commission. This letter, however, strange as it may seem, being couched in such ambiguous terms, as to leave everything just as doubtful as before, was unsatisfactory to Henry's partisans.
Campeggio was under some obligations to the king, but under still greater ones to the pope.; and being entirely at the disposal of the latter, he kept the court of England, and its youthful lover, for a long time in suspense.
Meanwhile, fortune seemed to smile on Henry's undertaking. Clement became dangerously ill, and Wolsey, a candidate for the throne of St. Peter—the prospect of death in one case, and success in the other, for some time being equally suspended. The pope, however, after several relapses, finally recovered. He again flattered Henry with hopes of success, and at the same time continued his secret negotiation with Charles, and thus protracted his decision, by artful delays, till he had settled the terms of a treaty with the emperor. Charles, unwilling that Henry should obtain a divorce without first consulting him, and wishing to make the dissolution of Henry's league with France a condi. tion precedent to his marriage with Anne Boleyn, listened with great attention to Catharine's appeal, (she being his aunt,) and promised to aid her. With that view, he requested the pope to revoke the commission he had given to Camepggio and Wolsey. Against this procedure, the English and French ministers earnestly protested, and both parties had recourse to promises and threats. The motives, however, which the latter set before the pope, were not so urgent or immediate as those held out by the emperor, (his army in Italy being then victorious,) and the fear of losing England, and of fortifying the Lutherans, being of less consequence than his present safety, he adjusted the terms of a settlement with Charles ; suspended the commission of the legates; ordered the decretal bull, intrusted to Campeggio, to be burned ; adjourned the cause to Rome, and resolved thenceforward to regard the queen's appeal.
Wolsey had anticipated and feared this, and looked upon it as the indication of his ruin. Anne Boleyn imputed the failure of her hopes to Wolsey's treachery ; and Henry's high opinion of the cardinal's capa. city hastened his downfall.
Henry, finding his prerogative firmly established, and the people disgusted with clerical usurpations, resolved to become pope in his own dominions. He dreaded, however, the reproach of heresy-abhorred all connection with the reformers; and having once exerted himself with