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Myles Standish one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America

The Standish Monument Duxbury USA .




DUXBURY, AUG. 17, 1871.





The character of the Pilgrims of New England probably stands out with more force and is as marked and distinctive as that of the pioneer settlers or conquerors of any country of which we read, while the result of their influence upon the nationality they created has been much wider spread, more various and beautiful, and giving life to a more liberal national and religious sentiment than that ever before engrafted in the hearts of any people. The Norman conquest, from which so much has been claimed for humanity, though so cruel and devastating in its first effects, and which for eight hundred years has exerted such an influence in the Old World, was conceived in sin, selfishness, and an unholy ambition, and was established with a vengeance diabolic and almost unheard of in the history of nations. The landing of the Pilgrims, and the settlement of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, on the contrary, gave birth to national ideas which were the offspring of a pure and supreme love of Deity, a free and untrammelled worship, and a government of universal liberty, based upon Christian principle, pre­ceding, in all cases, the cravings for worldly gain or ambitious personal preferment. The sterling worth of a people in humble lite, that would forsake home, friends, and country, cross the trackless ocean, and settle upon a frozen, barren shore, with privations and sufferings before them which they were certain to meet, shows the possession of a moral strength and force, that, perpetuated in their descendants, gives the New England people an ancestry of which they may justly be proud. Such were the founders of Plymouth in 1620, among whom there was one, a representative man, worthy in every respect to become a leader, who, without pretensions to special piety, worshipped acceptably at their shrine, guided their settlements, laid out their grounds, drew plans for their mills, collected and disbursed their money, sat for years at their council board, commanded their military forces, subdued their savage and bloodthirsty enemies, all without ever losing the confidence of the colony, or being doubted either as a Christian, citizen, soldier, or financier, and who died after long years of service, beloved and lamented to a degree seldom found in the conflicting associations of life.

Captain Myles Standish was born at Lancashire, England, probably in 1584. He descended from a long and illustrious line of ancestors of that name. Descending from Thurston de Standish and Ralph Standish, his family was divided and designated as the Standishes of Standish, and the Standishes of Duxbury Hall. They separated, —“ Jordan"  becoming the proprietor of Standish, and “ Hugh" of Duxbury, one upholding the Catholic, the other the Protestant religion. The baronetcy of Standish, erected in 1676, became extinct in 1812. The family seats are situated near the village of Chorley, in Lancashire, and the property is large, the income being some five hundred thousand dollars per annum. The records of the parish from 1549 to 1652 were thoroughly searched a few years since by Mr. Bromley, the agent sent out by the heirs of Standish in this country, the result proving to his mind that Myles Standish was the true and rightful heir to the estates, which were surreptitiously detained from him. Justin Winsor, in his History of Duxbury, says: “ The records were all readily deciphered, with the exception of the years 1584 and 1585, the very dates, about which time Standish is supposed to have been born; and the parchment leaf, which contained the registers of the births of these years was wholly illegible, and their appearance was such, that the conclusion was at once established, that it had been done purposely with pumice-stone, or otherwise, to destroy the legal evidence of the parentage of Standish, and his consequent title to the estates thereabout. The mutilation of these pages is supposed to have been accomplished, when, about twenty years before, the family in America made similar inquiries. The rector of the parish, when afterwards re­quested by the investigator to certify that the pages were gone, at once suspected his design of discovering the title to the prop­erty, and taking advantage of the rigor of the law (as he had entered as an antiquarian researcher merely), compelled him to pay the sum of about £15 or suffer imprisonment.

Myles was educated to the military profession, and early re­ceived a commission as lieutenant in Queen Elizabeth’s forces on the Continent, in aid of the Dutch. He repaired to the Netherlands, the seat of war, where ho remained a short time after peace was declared, but soon joined the English refugees of Leyden. He joined the first company of Pilgrims for America, and on their arrival on the coast was sent out in the command of the shallop with sixteen men, to make discoveries along the shore. After spending nearly a month in various expeditions, surveying the different bays and channels, he reported in favour of the harbor of Plymouth as a settling point, where the final landing was made. He was soon elected to the chief military command, a position he retained till his death, thirty-six years afterwards. There is, perhaps, no parallel of his military expe­rience in the early settlement of the country.

“Standish affords us not only an instance of the nerve of the Pilgrims, but a type of their hearts.” His courage was indis­putable. In his various expeditions against the Indians he wanted but few men, and the choice of these he claimed for himself. He was always a leader in every hazardous undertaking, and the people, confiding in his bravery and prudence, were ever ready to place themselves under his command, and in the most trying conflicts they felt themselves secure. His actions show forbearance rarely met with in one of his profession; while in the time of decisiveaction, his courage and persever­ance were equal to the boldest resolutions.

- PREPARED BY STEPHEN M. ALLEN, Corresponding Secretary of the Standish Memorial Association.


Captain Standish in his old age.

“ In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of the Pilgrims,

To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling,

Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather,

Strode, with a martial air, Myles Standish the Puritan Captain. 

Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands behind him,

And pausing ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of warfare,

Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber —

Cutlass and corselet of steel, and his trusty sword of Damascus,

Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical Arabic sentence,

While underneath, in a corner, were fowling piece, musket and matchlock.

Short of stature he was, but strongly built and athletic, broad in the shoulders,

Deep chested, with muscles and sinews of iron; Brown as a nut was his face,

But his russet beard was already flaked with patches of snow as hedges sometimes in November.

Captain Standish, in his old age, so far as can now be ascer­tained, enjoyed good health till his last illness. His vigor, both of mind and body, seemed as strong and fresh as in his early days. He combined in a pre-eminent degree the practical use of intuition and intellect; and when convinced of the wisdom of a plan, however suddenly made, he executed it with great rapid­ity. His temperament was sanguine and impulsive, but through the whole course of his life, he seemed to exercise a wonderful control over his passions. He loved nature more than art, and entered with his whole soul into the enjoyments of his home and farm at Captain’s Hill. His domestic and social life, and the great variety in the associations around this spot, seemed to captivate and control his very being. Here the careworn soldier found rest, — but rest only through that usefulness which ever brings happiness. Ever active and earnest, the full measure of his soul was drawn out in the many opportunities before him to serve his fellow-man, and the reward sank deep into a warm and tender heart, full of appreciation and love. The impetuous dreams of early life, the sense of wrong and injustice which drove him from the fatherland were here soothed and put to rest, and perhaps for­ever buried from thought in the consciousness of the emptiness of title, the possession of wealth, and the glitter of courts and palaces.



The great interest taken by the public in the erection of some suitable memorial to Captain Myles Standish, has properly taken the subject from the hands of a few of his immediate descendants, and placed it in charge of the American people at large, the representatives of whom, as shown by the list of the officers of the Association, are fully capable of taking care of the subject in all its bearings. The military of the United States very naturally claim a large share in perpetuating the memory of the first commissioned military officer of the New World, especially when the martial character of the man, after more than two hundred and fifty years’ test, still stands out almost unparalleled in the history of the country.

It has often been said that the military powers of Standish, together with his great executive ability, and incessant labor in the various departments of the colony, saved it many times from dissolution. Be that as it may, there is abundant evidence that the colony always held him in high confidence and respect. The last commission against the Dutch, so near his death, proves that even in his old age their confidence was not diminished.

Members of the Grand Army of the Republic alone would cheerfully erect a monument; but some of our first merchants and citizens are too sensible of the great service of our soldiers to allow them to be at this expense, and offer liberally in its behalf. It is to be presumed that the sum of fifty thousand dollars can be easily raised for such a purpose. President Grant and many of his Generals have signified their hearty approval of the object, and citizens from almost every part of the country offer their aid and support.

The spot chosen for the monument is Captain’s Hill, on the old Standish Farm, at Duxbury, where Captain Standish lived and died. This Farm was given him by the colony about 1630, and remained in the family till the middle of the last century. The hill is one hundred and eighty feet high, and overlooks Plymouth and Duxbury Bays, and is now much used as a sight­ing point to navigators in entering Massachusetts Bay. When the shaft is up it will be most useful to the coast survey as well as to navigators.

Thus, after two and a half centuries, this tribute is offered to the memory of one who left the allurements of wealth, luxury, and power, for the wilderness of New England, there to give a life service in sowing seeds for the fruit we to-day enjoy.



Article 1st. The object and purpose of this Association is to cause to be erected a suitable and proper Memorial Monu­ment, Obelisk, or Tablet, to the memory of Captain Myles Standish, on or near Captain’s Hill, Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Art. 2d. — The Board of Directors of the Association, for the time being, shall constitute the Board of Management, and have full power to act and do all things necessary to secure the object of the Association, appoint agents and assistants, and fill all vacancies in their board.

Art. 3d. — The property and funds of the Association may be held by one or more trustees, or a treasurer, who, with the officers of the Association, after the year eighteen hundred and seventy-one, shall be chosen by the subscribers to the fund, under such rules or by-laws as the directors or subscribers may adopt at any regular meeting.

Art. 4th. — The officers of the Association shall be a Presi­dent, one or more advisory or Vice-Presidents, Trustees and Directors, Secretaries and Treasurer, and such other officers or agents as may be appointed or chosen for the necessary pur­poses of the Association; and the Selectmen of Duxbury are to appoint or approve the first officers of the Association.

Art. 5th. — The President, or any five Directors, may call a meeting of the Directors when needed. The annual meeting for the choice of officers and other business shall be held, after notice, the first Tuesday of January in each year. All officers may hold over till new ones are elected in their place.

Art. 6th. — An Executive Committee of twelve shall be chosen, who shall have special charge of the planning and build­ing the Monument, under the control of the Board of Directors.

Art. 7th.— The foregoing Constitution, Rules, and Specifica­tions may be altered and changed by the subscribers or directors at any regular meeting of the officers of the Association.

Duxbury, December 21st, 1870, and the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the landing of Myles Standish with the Pilgrims, at Plymouth, on the 21st day of December, 1620.


Officers of the Association appointed and approved by the Select­men of Duxbury, July 7th, 1871.


Advisory Presidents. — His Excellency Marshall Jewell, Connecticut; His Excellency James A. Weston, New Hamp­shire; Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, Massachusetts; Rev, Dr. George Putnam; Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain, Maine; Hon. Alexander H. Rice; Dr. George B. Loring; Hon. John H. Clif­ford, Massachusetts; Gen. A. E. Burnside, Rhode Island; Hon. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Boston; Hon. E S. Tobey, Boston; Hon. Horatio Harris, Boston.

Directors. — Hon. Onslow Stearns, Concord, N. H.; Hon. Thomas Russell, Boston; Nathaniel Adams, Boston; Lemuel Myles Standish, Boston; Samuel Little,Boston; Samuel Loring, Duxbury; Nathan Matthews, Boston; Frederick 0. Adam, Kingston; Francis -Standish, Boston; William Whiting, Boston; Nathan Morse, Boston; Isaac Keene, Duxbury; Jonathan S. Ford, Duxbury; Rev. Josiah Moore, Duxbury; Dr. James Wilde, Duxbury; James Ritchie, Boston; S. M. Allen, Boston; Edwin Adams, Boston; Edwin 0. Bailey, Boston; Stephen N. Gifford, Duxbury; Joseph S. Beal, Kingston; Alden S. Bradford, King­ston; George B. Standish, Duxbury; Alden B. Weston, Dux­bury; Elbridge Chandler, Duxbury; Hamilton E. Smith, Dux­bury; Oliver Ditson, Boston; John G. Jackson, Boston; Dr. Cushing Webber, Boston; Gen. B. F. Butler; Jonas Fitch, Bos­ton; Jacob H. Loud, Plymouth; George Bradford, Duxbury; John S. Loring, Duxbury; Harrison Loring, Boston; Joseph W. Coburn, Boston; Alden Frink, Boston; W. S. Danforth, Ply­mouth; George W. Wright, Duxbury; Dr. Calvin Pratt, Dux­bury; Parker C. Richardson, Duxbury; Job A. Turner, Boston; Joshua M. Cushing, Duxbury.

Secretary. — Stephen N. Gifford, Duxbury.

Corresponding Secretary. — Stephen M. Allen, Boston.

Treasurer. — Jacob H. Loud, Plymouth and Boston.


Committees chosen at the meeting at .Duxbury, Aug.  17, 1871.

Executive Committee. — Nathaniel Adams, of Boston; Sam­uel Myles Standish, Hon. E. S. Tobey, Samuel Little, Francis Standish, James Ritchie, S. M. Allen, Edwin Adams, Jacob H. Loud, Harrison Loring, Job H. Turner, Gen. H. B. Sargent.

Finance Committee. — Horatio Harris, Hon. Alexander JH. Rice, Hon. E. S. Tobey, Nathan Matthews, Oliver Ditson, Dr. Geo. B. Loring, Samuel Little, Jacob H. Loud, Nathaniel Adams, Jonathan S. Ford, George B. Standish, Gen. B. F. But­ler, George W. Wright, Jonas Fitch, W. S. Danforth, Hon. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Rev. Dr. George Putnam, and Joseph S. Beal.






The first train on the new Duxbury and Cohasset Railroad arrived at the Duxbury station at seven o’clock the evening pre­vious, with freight and passengers, and bringing a section of two guns and twenty men of the First Battery, under command of Capt. E. C. Langley and Lieut. I. C. Foster. On the morn­ing of the seventeenth, on the arrival of the cars and steamboat, the exercises of the day commenced with the firing of one hun­dred guns by the batttery.

A procession was formed at the depot, under the direction of Joshua M. Cushing, the marshal of the day, the Standish Guards, Lieut. Lanman, commanding, acting as escort.

Arriving at the monument grounds, the assembly were called to order by Gen. Sargent, President of the Association, and the Executive and Finance Committees were appointed, and the exercises progressed as follows: —


Hail to the Chief.




Sung by the Audience

All Hail, departed Chief! The Nation to thee brings An offering free;

Not of mere bronze or stone, Nor set on hill alone, — Our memories long have flown O’er land and sea.

Fond hopes in Britain left, Of wealth and power bereft,

Still, spirit free, You braved the ocean’s roar, You wooed a frozen shore, That we might evermor Wed liberty.

That seed of freedom sown, Through frost and blood hath grown

A Nation free! An empire, great in trust, A people full of rest, Millions, thus happy blest,

ALL honour thee.

After the singing, General Sargent was formally introduced to the audience, by the Secretary, Mr. Gifford, and addressed them as follows:





It would have been more fitting to the grandeur of a noble memory that a distinguished connection of Myles Standish should have addressed you to day. It would have been most agreeable to myself, as well as to you, that one of the many, illustrious by letters or by deeds, with which the Pilgrim blood is blessed, should enjoy the honour of speaking before an au­dience familiar with the simple, grand traditions, which I can only repeat like a twice-told tale to you. I crave your courteous patience for my short recital. About the time that all Christendom was in mourn­ing for the murdered Prince of Orange, and deploring in his death the overthrow of the bulwark of the Protestant faith, a little fair-haired child was playing among the hedge-rows of England, who was destined to learn the art of war in the armies of that king’s more warlike son, Prince Maurice, then a boy of seventeen, and to be a tower of defence to the unsolder Pilgrim colony of Protestant America.

That child — whose bones, after nearly fourscore years of toil and war, were laid somewhere on this hillside, perhaps under our unconscious feet — was Myles Standish, the great Puritan captain! He was born about the year 1580, of English ancestry, dating back to rank and opulence as far as the thirteenth century. Of his childhood, little is known. To de­feat the title of his line to lands in England, the rent-roll of which is half a million per annum, the hand of fraud is supposed to have defaced the page that contained the parish record of his birth. Unjustly deprived of these vast estates, as he avers in his will, in which he bequeaths his title to his eldest son, it seems probable that he went to Holland near the time of his majority. Queen Elizabeth signed his commission as lieutenant in the English forces, serv­ing in the Netherlands against the cruel armies of the Inquisition. As she died in 1603, about two years after his majority, it is not improbable that we are in­debted to that first disappointment, which may have driven him, in his early manhood and some despair, into the army. Even to our own late day, when many of the best fighting regiments were blessed with the most earnest chaplains, that men never tender their lives more gallantly to God and mother-land than when they are fervently preached to and prayed for. Yet the all-daring contempt for peril, the rough­ness of temper, the masterly economy with which Standish saved human life by consummate indifference to personal homicide upon prudent occasion, his power of breathing his own fiery heart into a handful of followers, till he made them an army able to with­stand a host in the narrow gates of death, would lead us to expect such a colleague for the saintly Brewster as little as we should expect to see.” Cavalry Sheridan, Him of the horses and sabres we sing “ — prominent among the Methodists.

In truth, with the poem of our sweetest and most cultured bard in our minds, and with the memory of those fierce mono syllables with which our great cavalry leader rolled back defeat upon the jubilant rebel host, and rescued victory at Winchester, fancy can depict the foaming black horse pressed into the rush of the shell-shattered gudgeons by the iron gripe of knees booted in “ Cordovan leather,” and imagine that little Myles Standish rode that day in the saddle of little Phil Sheridan.

To the genealogist, who believes that names represent qualities and things, it is not unpleasing to find in the family record of Standish and Duxbury Hall, in the Parish Church of Chorley, Old England, the name Milo Standanaught.

To stand at nothing, in the way of a duty commanded by the civil authority, seemed the essence of character in Myles Standish; and thoroughness stamps the reputation of the name and blood to-day.The materials for personal biography are scanty. His wife, Rose Standish, — an English rose, — whose very name augurs unfitness for a New-England winter on an unsettled cape, died within a month of the landing. A light tradition exists that his second wife, Barbara, was her sister, whom he left an orphan child in England, and sent for. She arrived a woman grown, and the valorous captain added an­other illustration to the poet's story, that "Venus and the forger of thunderbolts were married".





Our sires from other spheres. For “Auld Lang Syne” they come,

For “Auld Lang Syne,” And gather round those “ Pilgrim Homes,”

Of “Auld Lang Syne.” Hosannas to our Pilgrim sires

Bright memories round them twine; Our prayers invoke celestial lyres

Around their homes divine.  For “Auld Lang Syne “ we sing,




At the close of the exercises on the monument grounds, a procession was formed for the dinner tent, which was reached at about half-past two. Gen. Sargent led the guests, consisting of General Butler, General Schouler, Dr. Geo. B. Loring, Hon. Jacob H. Loud, Hon. Josiah Quincy, Ex-Mayor Shurtleff, Mayor Gaston, Hon. William T. Davis of Plymouth, members of the Executive Council, and Hon. Oliver Warner, Secretary of State, Rev. Dr. Caswell, Hon. A. C. Barstow, Rev. A. A. Miner, Rev. Edward E. Hale, Hon. Otis Cary, and others.

After the company were seated, they were called to order by General Sargent. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Burgess. After about an hour spent in eating, General Sargent rapped to order, and introduced the speech-making by expressing the satisfaction which he enjoyed, after having been tortured by making a speech earlier in the day, to torture other gentlemen by calling upon them for speeches.    In introducing the first toast, he made very complimentary allusion to Gen. Butler, which was applauded.

He announced the first regular toast as follows: “ The President of the United States, and the great Puritan Captain : trained soldiers both, and none the less determined to carry out the will of the people without any policy of their own.”

The Next regular toast was: -

“Rose Standish, the type of womanly sacrifice: her mantle has fallen on American women.”

To this, Rev. E. E. Hale responded as follows.


It is certainly quite time, Mr. President, and ladies and gentlemen, that something should be said about Rose Standish and the women who came with her. Rose Standish is a little forgotten when we talk of Priscilla Mullens, or whatever her name may be. (Laughter.) The truth is, the women who came out in the Mayflower solved the problem of emigration. I give that fact to the lady editors, who. do not seem to me to make as much use of it as I think they would be wise to do. The effort to settle North America to the northward of the Grulf of Mexico had been made again and again, and yet again and again, and yet again and again, for a century, and had failed. The Huguenots had made it and had failed; the Spaniards had made it and had failed; the French had made it in Canada, they had made it again in Carolina, and they had failed; Gosnold had made it and had failed; the runagates that came out with Popham had made it and had failed; the people who settled at Jamestown had made it and, as we think, they had failed. As my distinguished friend in front of me said in my hearing, they failed till the day came when the cavalier found out that the Puritan was his master; until that great moment, even James­town was a failure. The failure was steady, sir, from 1492 till 1620; the attempt to colonize the north American continent, north of Florida, was a failure; and why? It was a failure because always, — when Ralph Lane came over, when the Huguenots came over, when John Smith came over, when Grosnold came over, the men came over alone. With the first winter they were inevitably disappointed, and in the next spring they returned to England. "Ralph Lane returned to England and his men; Popham and his men returned to England. Gosnold returned to England with his men the very year they came. And why did they return to England? They re­turned to England because they had not brought their homes with them; because their Rose Standishes stayed at home, while our Rose Standish came here, though she came here to die. It was the women of Plymouth who made the colony of Plymouth the first permanent colony. Rose Standish and the lovely women who came with her (we know they were lovely) because we know their descendants) stand for the success of Protestant colonization. Protestant colonization depends upon the transfer of homes. It is in the transfer of homes that emigration and colonization have succeeded in America. It is only in the transfer of homes that it succeeds, and when my excellent friends who are in charge of the woman's rights movement learn that deeper than constitutions, stronger than churches, more powerful than schools in civilization are the homes of a nation, they will have learned what it seems to me they do not know to-day (applause), and they will have learned the greatest secret of the church government and of the state government of the world.    (Applause.)