Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VIII >> Page 127

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Page 127

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription EARLY DEVOTION OF VIRGINIA. 127
condition. This was in 1610. You are not to suppose that the
ruin of the church arose from the neglect of the worshippers.
It was rather the result of the more pressing misfortunes of the
colonists. Smith was superseded by Lord Delaware in 1609, who
brought with him a host of profligate adventurers, some of whom
Smith had sent out of the colony, tied neck and heels, as crimi-
nals. It was an evil augury to him and to the colony that they
were brought back. They brought with them faction, confusion,
and misery. Insurrection followed--the Indians revolted and
commenced the work of indiscriminate massacre, and the church
and religion necessarily suffered all the disasters which had be-
fallen society. But, with the restoration of the church under
Delaware, let us see what followed. Our Puritans make a great
outcry about their devotions. They are perpetually raising their
rams' horns, perhaps quite as much in the hope of bringing down
the walls of their neighbors, as with time passion of religion.
Our Virginia colonists boast very little of what they did in the
way of devotion. Let us hear Strachey still further on this
subject :
"' Every Sunday we have sermons twice a day, and every
Thursday a sermon�having two preachers which take their
wekely turnes�and every morning at the ringing of a bell,
about ten of the clocke, each man addressed' himself to prayers,
and so, at four of the clocke before supper.'"Verily, but few of the ' guid folk' of Virginia or New Eng-
land are so frequent now-a-days at their religious exercises !
The authorities of Virginia set the example :
" Every Sunday, when the Lord Governor and Captain Gen-
erall goeth to church, he is accompanied with all the Counsail-
lors, Captains, other officers, and all the gentlemen, and with a
guard of IIalberdiers, in his lordship's livery, faire red cloaks, to
the number of fifty, both on each side and behind him : and
being in the church, his lordship bath his seate in the Quier
in a green velvet chair, with a cloatl-, with a velvet cushion
spread on a table before him on which he kneeleth, and on each
side sit the Counsell, Captains, and officers, each in their place ;
and when he returneth home again, he is waited on to his house
in the same manner.'
Something stately, these devotions, but they were those of