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PEEP AT THE PILGRIMS.

CHAPTER I.

From native shores by tempests driven

He sought a purer sky,
And found beneath a wilder heaven
The home of Liberty !

MELLEN.

EARLY in the autumn of 1636 a British vessel approached the coast of New-England; it was filled with adventurers, who, on the first cry of land, eagerly crowded the deck to catch a glimpse of its rugged shores. Political dissentions and religious persecution, which, at that period, unhappily agitated England, induced many of her subjects to quit the home of their fathers, and seek the hospitality, or endure the rigour of foreign climes; while others, stimulated by a romantic spirit of adventure; by ambition, or a thirst of gain; and allured by the sanguine representations of the enthusiastic, or the exaggerated reports of the interested, annually embarked their lives and fortunes, and swelled the population, and extended VOL. I.

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the boundaries of the infant colonies. Such was the motley group, who now gazed, for the first time, upon the blue mountains and thickly wooded shores of New England; while, rapidly pressed forward by a favourable wind, the rough outlines of the landscape gradually assumed distinctness, and stood forth in all the glowing beauty and majestic grandeur of nature's colouring.

Apart from his companions, stood a young man whose countenance and figure were singularly prepossessing. In an attitude of deep attention, he regarded the new world, which stretched around him;-his dark eyes now sparkling with admiration, then softening into sadness; and, again, some object of sublimity or beauty kindling the glow of enthusiasm on his cheek. To him, they seemed approaching a wilderness; for already the forests were enveloped in darkness, and the gigantic hills invested with the shadows of twilight. Presently a dim speck appeared on the horizon :-it was the little village of Plymouth, the most ancient of the settlements, fast rising into importance, and farfamed for the success and enterprize of its inhabitants.

The stranger experienced a momentary disappointment, as he rapidly surveyed the limited dimensions, and rude architecture of that new city of refuge. His fancy had sketched scenes of Arcadian loveliness, and coloured the picture, which it drew, with the fairy tints of romance; but he only saw, rising from the rocky and sea-girt shore, the humble roofs of the Pilgrims, clustered together in two compact lines, and thinly shaded by native trees; each tenement encircled by a patch of vegetation, then wearing the seared and fading hues of autumn. The English colours waved gaily from the battlements of a square fort, which crowned the summit of a commanding eminence, and its flat roof was paced by several persons, who watched with curiosity the approaching vessel.

• And this is my adopted country! was his first reflection, accompanied by a deep sigh, as his

thoughts reverted to the refinements of polished • life to which he had been accustomed. But this involuntary chagrin gave place to other feelings, as the ship rode gallantly into the shallow but extensive harbour, and anchored beneath the very rock which, seventeen years before, received the intrepid band of adventurers, who had forsaken the enjoyments and comforts of civilized life, braved the howlings of the wintry blast, the horrors of famine, and the terrors of an unknown wilderness, for conscience' sake,'-reposing an unwavering confidence in Him, who had hitherto sustained and kept them, as in the "hollow of his hand.'

Major Atherton, in the enthusiasm which the scene inspired, remained lost in a train of reflections, till accosted by the captain of the vessel, who enquired if he had any friend to welcome him on shore.

No; I am friendless and a stranger, he replied, and never had the loneliness of his situation

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struck so forcibly on his heart; for, looking around, he perceived the vessel was almost deserted, and there were few of his fellow-passengers, who had not recognized some old acquaintance, and received a cordial greeting. The inhabitants of the town hastened towards the ship, eager to learn tidings from the friends and relatives they had left in their native, and still fondly remembered, country ;-and it was pleasant to witness the interchange of kind inquirers, the mutual expressions of good-will, and the heart-felt earnestness, with which they listened to, even, the minutest incidents relating to those, with whom, though perhaps forever separated, they still felt united by the ties of kindred affection, the sweet sympathies of one common country, and the delightful associations of childhood and youth.

Atherton indulged but a moment in gloomy reflections :-naturally cheerful, and always sanguine, he turned to the Captain, who still regarded him with an air of kindness, and said,

• Pardon me, that I have so long trespassed on your patience; but I feel like one in a dream, to whom every object is strange and incongruous; we seem to have passed the threshold of earth, and to verge on a new creation.'

• To me it is not new,' replied his companion, I have thrice before visited this rocky coast, and am well known to most of the inhabitants; and if my services can be of use to you, I pray you to command them.'

I thank you,' returned the young man, fervently; but I have one kinsman in this land of strangers, to whom my first respects are due; Captain Standish, sir, with whom you are probably acquainted. I am personally unknown to him, but we are nearly allied by blood, and I would crave your courtesy to shew me the place of his residence.'

• The military commander of New Plymouth,' said the Captain. You will find a warm heart, as well as a brave one, in him; and I will gladly go with you to his house, as soon as I can find a moment of leisure.'

So saying, they both sprang on shore, and Atherton continued walking alone, to and fro, on the beach, until the crowd had dispersed, and he was rejoined by the Captain, from whom he learned, with chagrin, that Captain Standish had gone to the Massachusetts Bay, to transact some public business, and that the period of his return was uncertain,

• It was an unlucky planet which presided at my birth,' he said, ' but patience must be my counter-charm; and so, if it please you, Captain, I will return to your floating castle to-night, and the morrow may bring me better fortune.'

They, however, continued to walk on, for a considerable time, and almost in silence; it was a mild evening, in the early part of September; and, just escaped from the monotony of a long and tedious

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