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ford, the incidents of which are fresh in the minds of many here present, was caused by the earnestness of conflicting political opinions. The same independence of thought and persistency of action which characterized the early settlers in resisting the church-rates, can be seen throughout the whole political history of the town.
Another fruitful theme, and one richly entitled to a place in an address of this nature, is found in the treatment of the negro race by the inhabitants of the town. Dartmouth, and especially New Bedford, for many years has been to them a city of refuge and safety, and here, in a far greater degree than elsewhere, have been held out to these people the encouragements of quiet homes, the benefits of education, and the rewards attending fidelity of labor and diligence in business.
It was in Westport that Paul Cuffee, the negro sailor, merchant and farmer, lived, and they were his determined and manly efforts, and his appeals and arguments, accompanied with a refusal to pay the taxes assessed upon him, on the ground that he had no voice or vote with his neighbors, that finally secured from the Legislature of Massachusetts equal rights of suffrage for the colored man with the white man, - a system which the war of the rebellion is likely to incorporate into the political constitutions of all the States of the Union. Thus we see Dartmouth again in advance of the age, settling within herself another of the great problems in human progress.
Dartmouth, too, has her biographies. Although the peculiar religious training and teaching of her children, through the Society of Friends, has been such that we
find few names of distinction in professional or military life, yet no town or city in the world can boast of merchants more truly princely in nobleness of character and far-seeing mercantile ability, or of mechanics more skilled in the arts and craft they practise. William Rotch, Sen., the Christian merchant, and George Claghorn, the builder of the frigate Constitution, are names that any people in any age may cherish with pride.
But time forbids the further mention of these and many kindred topics.
And now, in conclusion, fellow-citizens of Dartmouth, what are the duties and responsibilities attaching to us in view of the Past ? We have seen that our fathers were industrious, thoughtful, earnest men; that they were bold and independent in their opinions, resolute and unfaltering in their actions. They call upon us likewise to be brave for the truth, never to yield the right, never to tolerate an unjust enactment or a false public sentiment. Their frugal economy, laborious industry, and temperate, simple habits, enabled them to subdue the wilderness, and secured for them happy and comfortable homes. Their intrepidity and daring upon the ocean, and their energy in business, secured for them wealth and prosperity. The character of our fathers was formed among our granite rocks and sturdy oaks. They were faithful in purpose, patient and persevering in endeavor. They call upon us to resist the temptations of ease, and to stand firm against the encroachments of luxury. They bid us boldly to grapple with the storms of adversity, and with heroic valor and unfaltering faith struggle for the triumphs of human advancement and liberty. Our fathers, who laid so broad the foundations of domestic peace and social order, and established, through much patience and suffering, our glorious institutions, call upon us to exhibit the same piety, integrity and courage in maintaining them. As they prospered, so may we prosper, advancing in resources, intelligence, virtue, and happiness, an enterprising and affluent population, invincible against domestic assaults and foreign violence.
Many of us here present are of the old stock. Let us acquit ourselves as worthy sons of noble sires. Let us emulate their virtues, and meeting the emergencies which arise in our paths practise their self-denial. Thus may we, while mindful of the memory of the great and good who have preceded us - who so faithfully labored for our benefit — receive the homage of grateful commendation from those who years hence will celebrate the return of this anniversary.