The Pilgrimage to Jamestown, Va; Of the Bishops and Deputies of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America

The Pilgrimage to Jamestown, Va; Of the Bishops and Deputies of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America

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Excerpt from The Pilgrimage to Jamestown, Va; Of the Bishops and Deputies of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Saturday, October 15, 1898

You will listen again to the story, brie?y told, of the planting of the germs of our political life, and the planting of the Church of England, bear ing in it the seeds of a pure and primitive Christianity, upon this spot where we stand.

It is an easy effort of the historic imagination to understand that ideas of government, of law and of liberty, which had been growing in the thoughts of the men Of our mother-country centuries before our forefathers crossed the sea, should feel the breath of the free air the moment their feet touched this shore. They were thousands of miles away, with the mysterious vast ness of the ocean between them and the absolutisms, the autocracies, the weights, the fixed traditions and forms of the Old World they had left behind them. The conviction at once would dawn upon them that God had led them out here into the wilderness that they might think for themselves, and that the ideas of justice which His providential hand had planted in them might, after long delay, come to the birth. That is the philosophy, as you will see from the story, of the movement of political ideas from the day our forefathers landed at Jamestown, to the formation of our State and Federal Constitutions, and our glorious achievement of our national independence.

You will be told of the missionary fervor of members of the Church of England who organized the migration and established the colony' planted here. You will be reminded, not from histories manufactured out of the brain of the historian, or in the atmosphere of prejudice and passion which is the bane of history, but from the records, many of them recently come to light, of the feeling and the motives of the men who did the work and braved the danger and planted the cross upon this spot.

A moment more and I gladly give place to others, representatives of our Church from the North and the East, from the South and the West, who have consented to speak to us and whom we love to hear.

We represent the Protestant Episcopal Church of America, coming to lay our tribute of reverence upon the Spot where She prayed her first prayer, preached her first sermon, and knelt at her first Communion on the shores of this heathen continent.

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