Excerpt: ...Their denizens may in many instances be the degenerate offspring of a sound New England stock, but they sometimes show strong points of resemblance to that "white trash" which has come to be a recognizable strain of the English race; and one cannot help suspecting that while the New England colonies made every effort to keep out such ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...Their denizens may in many instances be the degenerate offspring of a sound New England stock, but they sometimes show strong points of resemblance to that "white trash" which has come to be a recognizable strain of the English race; and one cannot help suspecting that while the New England colonies made every effort to keep out such riff raff, it may nevertheless have now and then crept in. However this may be, it cannot be said that this element ever formed a noticeable feature in the life of colonial New England. As regards their social derivation, the settlers of New England were homogeneous in character to a remarkable degree, and they were drawn from the sturdiest part of the English stock. In all history there has been no other instance of colonization so exclusively effected by picked and chosen men. The colonists knew this, and were proud of it, as well they might be. It was the simple truth that was spoken by William Stoughton when he said, in his election sermon of 1688: "God sifted a whole nation, that He might send choice grain into the wilderness." Sidenote: Respectable character of the emigration This matter comes to have more than a local interest, when we reflect that the 26,000 New Englanders of 1640 have in two hundred and fifty years increased to something like 15,000,000. From these men have come at least one-fourth of the present population of the United States. Striking as this fact may seem, it is perhaps less striking than the fact of the original migration when duly considered. In these times, when great steamers sail every day from European ports, bringing immigrants to a country not less advanced in material civilization than the country which they leave, the daily arrival of a thousand new citizens has come to be a commonplace event. But in the seventeenth century the transfer of more than twenty thousand well-to-do people within twenty years from their comfortable homes in England to the American wilderness was by no...Read Less
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