SUNDRY REASONS FOR THE REMOVAL FROM LEYDEN
by William Bradford
AFTER they had lived in this city about some eleven or twelve years(whichis the more observablebeing the whole time of that famous truce between thatstate and the Spaniards) and sundry of them were taken away by deathand manyothers began to be well stricken in yearsthe grave mistress Experience havingtaught them many thingsthose prudent governorswith sundry of the sagestmembersbegan both deeply to apprehend their present dangersand wisely toforesee the futureand think of timely remedy. In the agitation of theirthoughtsand much discourse of things hereaboutat length they began toincline to this conclusionof removal to some other place. Not out of any new-fanglednessor other such like giddy humorby which men are oftentimestransported to their great hurt and dangerbut for sundry weighty and solidreasonssome of the chief of which I will here briefly touch. And firsttheysaw and found by experience the hardness of the place and country to be such asfew in comparison would come to themand fewer that would bide it outandcontinue with them. For many that came to themand many more that desired to bewith themcould not endure that great labor and hard farewith otherinconveniences which they underwent and were contented with. But though theyloved their personsapproved their causeand honored their sufferingsyetthey left them as it were weepingas Orpah did her mother-in-law Naomior asthose Romans did Cato in Uticawho desired to be excused and borne withthoughthey could not all be Catos. For manythough they desired to enjoy theordinances of God in their purityand the liberty of the gospel with themyetalas! they admitted of bondagewith danger of consciencerather than to endurethese hardships; yeasome preferred and chose the prisons in Englandratherthan this liberty in Hollandwith these 'afflictions. But it was thought thatif a better and easier place of living could be hadit would draw manyandtake away these discouragments. Yeatheir pastor would often saythat many ofthose who both wrote and preached now against themif they were in a placewhere they might have liberty and live comfortablythey would then practice asthey did.
Secondly. They saw that though the people generally bore all thesedifficulties very cheerfullyand with a resolute couragebeing in the best andstrength of their yearsyet old age began to steal on many of them(and theirgreat and continual laborswith other crosses and sorrowshastened it beforethe time) so as it was not only probably thoughtbut apparently seenthatwithin a few years more they would be in danger to scatterby necessitiespressing themor sink under their burdensor both. And therefore according tothe divine proverbthat a "wise man seeth the plague when it comethandhideth himself" so theylike skillful and beaten soldierswere fearfuleither to be entrapped or surrounded by their enemiesso as they should neitherbe able to fight nor fly; and therefore thought it better to dislodge betimes tosome place of better advantage and less dangerif any such could be found.
Thirdly. As necessity was a taskmaster over themso they were forced to besuchnot only to their servantsbut in a sortto their dearest children; thewhich as it did not a little wound the tender hearts of many a loving father andmotherso it produced likewise sundry sad and sorrowful effects. For many oftheir childrenthat were of best dispositions and gracious inclinationshavinglearned to bear the yoke in their youthand willing to bear part of theirparents' burdenwere oftentimes so oppressed with their heavy laborsthatthough their minds were free and willingyet their bodies bowed under theweight of the sameand became decrepit in their early youth; the vigor ofnature being consumed in the very budas it were. But that which was morelamentableandof all sorrowsmost heavy to be bornewas that many of theirchildrenby these occasionsand the great licentiousness of youth in thatcountryand the manifold temptations of the placewere drawn away by evilexamples into extravagant and dangerous coursesgetting the reins of theirnecksand departing from their parents. Some became soldiersothers took uponthem far voyages by seaand others some worse coursestending to dissolutenessand the danger of their soulsto the great grief of their parents and dishonorof God. So that they saw their posterity would be in danger to degenerate and becorrupted.
Lastly(and which was not least) a great hope and inward zeal they had oflaying some good foundationor at least to make some way thereuntofor thepropagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remoteparts of the world; yeathough they should be but even as stepping-stones untoothers for the performing of so great a work.
Theseand some other like reasonsmoved them to undertake this resolutionof their removal; the which they afterward prosecuted with so great difficultiesas by the sequel will appear.
The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast and unpeopled countriesof Americawhich are fruitful and fit for habitationbeing devoid of all civilinhabitantswhere there are only savage and brutish menwhich range up anddownlittle otherwise than the wild beasts of the same. This proposition beingmade public and coming to the scanning of allit raised many variable opinionsamongst menand caused many fears and doubts amongst themselves. Somefromtheir reasons and hopes conceivedlabored to stir up and encourage the rest toundertake and prosecute the same; othersagainout of their fearsobjectedagainst itand sought to divert from italleging many thingsand thoseneither unreasonable nor unprobable; as that it was a great designand subjectto many unconceivable perils and dangers; asbesides the casualties of the seas(which none can be freed from) the length of the voyage was suchas the weakbodies of women and other persons worn out with age and travel (as many of themwere) could never be able to endure. And yet if they shouldthe miseries of theland which they should be exposed untowould be too hard to be borne; andlikelysome or all of them togetherto consume and utterly to ruinate them.For there they should be liable to famineand nakednessand the wantin amannerof all things. The change of airdietand drinking of waterwouldinfect their bodies with sore sicknesses and grievous diseases. And also thosewhich should escape or overcome these difficultiesshould yet be in continualdanger of the savage peoplewho are cruelbarbarousand most treacherousbeing most furious in their rageand merciless where they overcome; not beingcontent only to killand take away lifebut delight to torment men in the mostbloody manner that may be; flaying some alive with the shells of fishescuttingoff the members and joints of others by piecemealand broiling on the coalseat the collops of their flesh in their sight whilst they live; with othercruelties horrible to be related. And surely it could not be thought but thevery hearing of these things could not but move the very bowels of men to gratewithin themand make the weak to quake and tremble. It was further objectedthat it would require greater sums of money to furnish such a voyageand to fitthem with necessariesthan their consumed estates would amount to; and yet theymust as well look to be seconded with suppliesas presently to be transported.Also many precedents of ill successand lamentable miseries befallen others inthe like designswere easy to be foundand not forgotten to be alleged;besides their own experiencein their former troubles and hardships in theirremoval into Hollandand how hard a thing it was for them to live in thatstrange placethough it wasa neighbor countryand a civil and richcommonwealth.
It was answeredthat all great and honorable actions are accompanied withgreat difficultiesand must be both enterprised and overcome with answerablecourages. It was granted the dangers were greatbut not desperate; thedifficulties were manybut not invincible. For though there were many of themlikelyyet they were not certain; it might be sundry of the things feared mightnever befall; othersby provident care and the use of good meansmight in agreat measure be prevented; and all of themthrough the help of Godbyfortitude and patiencemight either be borne or overcome. True it wasthatsuch attempts were not to be made and undertaken without good ground and reason;not rashly or lightlyas many have done for curiosity or hope of gainetc. Buttheir condition was not ordinary; their ends were good and honorable; theircalling lawfuland urgent; and therefore they might expect the blessing of Godin their proceeding. Yeathough they should lose their lives in this actionyet might they have comfort in the sameand their endeavors would be honorable.They lived here but as men in exileand in a poor condition; and as greatmiseries might possibly befall them in this placefor the twelve years of trucewere now outand there was nothing but beating of drumsand preparing for warthe events whereof are always uncertain. The Spaniard might prove as cruel asthe savages of Americaand the famine and pestilence as sore here as thereandtheir liberty less to look out for remedy. After many other particular thingsanswered and alleged on both sidesit was fully concluded by the major parttoput this design in executionand to prosecute it by the best means they could.
How the Colony was Troubled with a Hypocrite
THE third eminent person (which the letters before mention) was the ministerwhich they sent overby name John Lyfordof whom and whose doing I must bemore largethough I shall abridge things as much as I can. When this man firstcame ashorehe saluted them with that reverence and humility as is seldom to beseenand indeed made them ashamedhe so bowed and cringed unto themand wouldhave kissed their hands if they would have suffered him; yeahe wept and shedmany tearsblessing God that had brought him to see their faces; and admiringthe things they had done in their wantsetc.as if he had been made all ofloveand the humblest person in the world. And all the while (if we may judgeby his after carriages) he was but like him mentioned in Psa. x. 10; thatcroucheth and boweththat heaps of poor may fall by his might; or like to thatdissembling Ishmaelwhowhen he had slain Gedeliawent out weeping and metthem that were coming to offer incense in the house of the Lordsaying"Come to Gedelia" when he meant to slay them. They gave him the bestentertainment they could(in all simplicity) and a larger allowance of foodout of the store than any other had; and as the Governor had used in all weightyaffairs to consult with their ElderMr. Brewster(together with his assistants)so now he called Mr. Lyford also to counsel with them in their weightiestbusinesses. After some short time he desired to join himself a member to thechurch hereand was accordingly received. He made a large confession of hisfaithand an acknowledgment of his former disorderly walkingand his beingentangled with many corruptionswhich had been a burden to his conscienceandblessed God for this opportunity of freedom and liberty to enjoy the ordinancesof God in purity among his peoplewith many more such like expressions.
I must here speak a word also of Mr. John Oldhamwho was a copartner withhim in his after courses. He had been a chief stickler in the former factionamong the particularsand an intelligencer to those in England. But nowsincethe coming of this ship and he saw the supply that camehe took occasion toopen his mind to some of the chief amongst them hereand confessed he had donethem wrong both by word and deedand writing into England; but he now saw theeminent hand of God to be with themand his blessing upon themwhich made hisheart smite himneither should those in England ever use him as an instrumentany longer against them in any thing. He also desired former things might beforgottenand that they would look upon him as one that desired to close withthem in all thingswith such like expressions. Now whether this was inhypocrisyor out of some sudden pang of conviction (which I rather think)Godonly knows. Upon it they show all readiness to embrace his loveand carrytowards him in all friendlinessand called him to counsel with them in allchief affairsas the otherwithout any distrust at all.
Thus all things seemed to go very comfortably and smoothly on amongst themat which they did much rejoice; but this lasted not longfor both Oldham and hegrew very perverseand showed a spirit of great malignancydrawing as manyinto faction as they could; were they never so vile or profanethey did nourishand back them in all their doings; so they would but cleave to them and speakagainst the church here; so as there was nothing but private meetings andwhisperings amongst them; they feeding themselves and others with what theyshould bring to pass in England by the faction of their friends therewhichbrought others as well as themselves into a fool's paradise. Yet they could notcarry so closely but much of both their doings and say- ings were discoveredyet outwardly they still set a fair face of things.
At length when the ship was ready to goit was observed Lyford was long inwritingand sent many lettersand could not forbear to communicate to hisintimates such things as made them laugh in their sleevesand thought he haddone their errand sufficiently. The Governor and some other of his friendsknowing how things stood in Englandand what hurt these things might dotook ashallop and went out with the ship a league or two to seaand called for allLyford's and Oldham's letters. Mr. William Peircebeing master of the ship(and knew well their evil dealing both in England and here) afforded him allthe assistance he could. He found above twenty of Lyford's lettersmany of themlargeand full of slandersand false accusationstending not only to theirprejudicebut to their ruin and utter subversion. Most of the letters they letpassonly took copies of thembut some of the most material they sent truecopies of themand kept the originalslest he should deny themand that theymight produce his own hand against him. Amongst his letters they found thecopies of two letters which he sent enclosed in a letter of his to Mr. JohnPembertona ministerand a great opposite of theirs. These two letters ofwhich he took the copieswere one of them written by a gentleman in England toMr. Brewster herethe other by Mr. Winslow to Mr. Robinsonin Hollandat hiscoming awayas the ship lay at Gravesend. They lying sealed in the great cabin(whilst Mr. Winslow was busy about the affairs of the ship) this sly merchanttakes and opens themtakes these copiesand seals them up again; and not onlysends the copies of them thus to his friend and their adversarybut addsthereto in the margin many scurrilous and flouting annotations. The ship wentout towards eveningand in the night the Governor returned. They were somewhatblank at itbut after some weekswhen they heard nothingthey then were asbrisk as everthinking nothing had been knownbut all was gone currentandthat the Governor went but to dispatch his own letters. The reason why theGovernor and rest concealed these things the longerwas to let things ripenthat they might the better discover their intents and see who were theiradherents. And the rather because amongst the rest they found a letter of one oftheir confederatesin which was written that Mr. Oldham and Mr. Lyford intendeda reformation in church and commonwealth; andas soon as the ship was gonethey intended to join togetherand have the sacramentsetc.
For Oldhamfew of his letters were found(for he was so bad a scribe as hishand was scarce legible) yet he was as deep in the mischief as the other. Andthinking they were now strong enoughthey began to pick quarrels at every thing.Oldham being called to watch(according to order) refused to comefell outwith the Captaincalled him "rascal" and "beggarly rascal"and resisted himdrew his knife at him; though he offered him no wrongnorgave him no ill termsbut with all fairness required him to do his duty. TheGovernorhearing the tumultsent to quiet itbut he ramped more like afurious beast than a manand called them all traitorsand rebelsand othersuch foul language as I am ashamed to remember; but after be was clapt up awhilehe came to himselfand with some slight punishment was let go upon his behaviorfor further censure.
But to cut things shortat length it grew to this issuethat Lyford withhis accompliceswithout ever speaking one word either to the GovernorChurchor Elderwithdrew themselves and set up a public meeting aparton the Lord'sday; with sundry such insolent carriagestoo long here to relatebeginning nowpublicly to act what privately they had been long plotting.
It was now thought high time (to prevent further mischief) to call them toaccount; so the Governor called a court and summoned the whole company to appear.And then charged Lyford and Oldham with such things as they were guilty of. Butthey were stiffand stood resolutely upon the denial of most thingsandrequired proof. They first alleged what was written to them out of Englandcompared with their doings and practices here; that it was evident they joinedin plotting against themand disturbing their peaceboth in respect of theircivil and church statewhich was most injurious; for both they and all theworld knew they came hither to enjoy the liberty of their conscience and thefree use of God's ordinances; and for that end had ventured their lives andpassed through so much hardship hithertoand they and their friends had bornethe charge of these beginningswhich was not small. And that Lyford for hispart was sent over on this chargeand that both he and his great family wasmaintained on the sameand also was joined to the churchand a member of them;and for him to plot against them and seek their ruinwas most unjust andperfidious. And for Oldham or any other that came over at their own chargeandwere on their particularseeing they were received in courtesy by theplantationwhen they came only to seek shelter and protection under their wingsnot being able to stand alonethat they(according to the fable) like thehedgehog whom the cony in a stormy day in pity received into her burrowwouldnot be content to take part with herbut in the end with her sharp pricksforced the poor cony to forsake her own burrow; so these men with the likeinjustice endeavored to do the same to those that entertained them.
Lyford denied that he had any thing to do with them in Englandor knew oftheir coursesand made other things as strange that he was charged with. Thenhis letters were produced and some of them readat which he was struck mute.But Oldham began to rage furiously because they had intercepted and opened hislettersthreatening them in very high languageand in a most audacious andmutinous manner stood up and called upon the peoplesaying"My masterswhere is your hearts? Now show your courage; you have oft complained to me soand so; now is the timeif you will do any thingI will stand by you"etc. Thinking that every one (knowing his humor) thathad soothed and flatteredhimor otherwise in their discontent uttered any thing unto himwould now sidewith him in open rebellion. But he was deceivedfor not a man opened his mouthbut all were silentbeing struck with the injustice of the thing. Then theGovernor turned his speech to Mr. Lyfordand asked him if he thought they haddone evil to open his letters; but he was silentand would not say a wordwellknowing what they might reply. Then the Governor showed the people he did it asa magistrateand was bound to it by his placeto prevent the mischief and ruinthat this conspiracy and plots of theirs would bring on this poor colony. But hebesides his evil dealing herehad dealt treacherously with his friends thattrusted himand stole their letters and opened themand sent copies of themwith disgraceful annotationsto his friends in England. And then the Governorproduced them and his other letters under his own hand(which he could not deny)and caused them to be read before all the people; at which all his friends wereblankand had not a word to say.
It would be too long and tedious here to insert his letters (which wouldalmost fill a volume)though I have them by me. I shall only note a few of thechief things collected out of themwith the answers to them as they were thengiven; and but a few of those manyonly for instanceby which the rest may bejudged of.
1. Firsthe saiththe church would have none to live here but themselves.Secondlyneither are any willing so to do if they had company to live elsewhere.
Answer: Their answer wasthat this was falsein both the parts of it; forthey were willing and desirous that any honest men may live with themthat willcarry themselves peaceablyand seek the common goodor at least do them nohurt. And againthere are many that will not live elsewhere so long as they maylive with them.
2. That if there come over any honest men that are not of the separationthey will quickly distaste themetc.
Answer: Their answer was as beforethat it was a false calumniationforthey had many amongst them that they liked well ofand were glad of theircompany; and should be of any such like that should come amongst them.
3. That they excepted against him for these two doctrines raised from 2. Sam.xii. 7: Firstthat ministers must sometimes particularly apply their doctrineto special persons; secondlythat great men may be reproved as well as meaner.
Answer: Their answer wasthat both these were without either truth or colorof the same (as was proved to his face)and that they had taught and believedthese things long before they knew Mr. Lyford.
4. That they utterly sought the ruin of the particulars; as appears by thisthat they would not suffer any of the general either to buy or sell with themor to exchange one commodity for another.
Answer: This was a most malicious slander and void of all truthas wasevidently proved to him before all men; for any of them did both buysellorexchange with them as often as they had any occasion. Yeaand also both lendand give to them when they wanted; and this the particular persons themselvescould not denybut freely confessed in open court. But the ground from whencethis arose made it much worsefor he was in counsel with them. When one wascalled before themand questioned for receiving powder and biscuit from thegunner of the small shipwhich was the company'sand had it put in at hiswindow in the nightand also for buying salt of onethat had no right to ithe not only stood to back him (being one of these particulars) by excusing andextenuating his faultas long as he couldbut upon this builds thismischievous and most false slander: That because they would not suffer them tobuy stolen goodsergothey sought their utter ruin. Bad logic for a divine.
5. Next he writesthat he charged them with this: that they turned men intotheir particularand then sought to starve themand deprive them of all meansof subsistence.
Answer: To this was answeredhe did them manifest wrongfor they turnednone into their particular; it was their own importunity and earnest desire thatmoved themyeaconstrained them to do it. And they appealed to the personsthemselves for the truth hereof. And they testified the same against him beforeall presentas also that they had no cause to complain of any either hardorunkind usage.
6. He accuseth them with unjust distributionand writeththat it was astrange differencethat some have been allowed sixteen pounds of meal by theweekand others but four pounds. And then (floutingly) saith"It seemssome men's mouths and bellies are very little and slender over others."
Answer: This might seem strange indeed to those to whom he wrote his lettersin Englandwhich knew not the reason of it; but to him and others hereitcould not be strangewho knew how things stood. For the first comers had noneat allbut lived on their corn. Those which came in the "Anne" theAugust beforeand were to live thirteen months off the provisions they broughthad as good allowance in meal and pease as it would extend tothe most part ofthe year; but a little before harvestwhen they had not only fishbut otherfruits began to come inthey had but four pounds of meal a weeklived betterthan the otheras was well known to all. And yet it must be remembered thatLyford and his had always the highest allowance.
Many other things (in his letters) he accused them ofwith many aggravations;as that he saw exceeding great waste of tools and vessels; and thiswhen itcame to be examinedall the instance he could give wasthat he had seen an oldhogshead or two fallen to piecesand a broken hoe or two left carelessly in thefield by some. Though he also knew that a godlyhonest man was appointed tolook to these things. But these things and such like was written of by himtocast disgrace and prejudice upon them; as thinking what came from a ministerwould pass for current. Then he tells them that Winslow should saythat therewas not above seven of the adventurers that sought the good of the colony; thatMr. Oldham and himself had had much to do with themand that the faction heremight match the Jesuits for polity. With many the like grievous complaints andaccusations.
1. Thenin the next placehe comes to give his friends counsel anddirection. And firstthat the Leyden company (Mr. Robinson and the rest) muststill be kept backor else all will be spoiled. And lest any of them should betaken in privately somewhere on the coast of England(as it was feared might bedone) they must change the master of the ship (Mr. Wm. Peirce)and put anotheralso in Winslow's steadfor merchantor else it would not be prevented.
2. Then he would have such a number provided as might over- sway them here.And that the particulars should have voices in all courts and electionsand befree to bear any office. And that every particular should come over as anadventurerif he be but a servant; some other venturing ten poundsthe billmay be taken out in the servant's nameand then assigned to the party whosemoney it wasand good covenants drawn between them for the clearing of thematter; "and this" saith he"would be a means to strengthenthis side the more."
3. Then he tells them that if that captain they spoke of should come overhither as a generalhe was persuaded he would be chosen captain; for thisCaptain Standish looks like a silly boyand is in utter contempt.
4. Then he shows that if by the forementioned means they can not bestrengthened to carry and overbear thingsit will be best for them to plantelsewhere by themselves; and would have it articled by them that they might makechoice of any place that they liked best within three or four miles distanceshowing there were far better places for plantation than this.
5. And lastly he concludesthat if some number came not over to bear them upherethen there would be no abiding for thembut by joining with these here.Then he adds: " Since I began to writethere are letters come from yourcompanywherein they would give sole authority in divers things unto theGovernor here; whichif it take placethenvoe nobis. But I hope you will bemore vigilant hereafterthat nothing may pass in such a manner. Isuppose" saith he"Mr. Oldham will write to you further of thesethings. I pray you conceal me in the discovery of these things" etc.
Thus I have briefly touched some chief things in his lettersand shall nowreturn to their proceeding with him. After the reading of his letters before thewhole companyhe was demanded what he could say to these things. But all theanswer he made wasthat Billington and some others had informed him of manythingsand made sundry complaintswhich they now denied. He was again asked ifthat was a sufficient ground for him thus to accuse and traduce them by hislettersand never say word to themconsidering the many bonds between them.And so they went on from point to point; and wished himor any of his friendsand confederatesnot to spare them in any thing; if he or they had any proof orwitness of any corrupt or evil dealing of theirshis or their evidence mustneeds be there presentfor there was the whole company and sundry strangers. Hesaid he had been abused by others in their informations(as he now well saw)and so had abused them. And this was all the answer they could havefor nonewould take his part in any thing; but Billingtonand any whom he nameddeniedthe thingsand protested he wronged themand would have drawn them to such andsuch things which they could not consent tothough they were sometimes drawn tohis meetings. Then they dealt with him about his dissembling with them about thechurchand that he professed to concur with them in all thingsand what alarge confession he made at his admit- tanceand that he held not himself aminister till he had a new callingete. And yet now he contested against themand drew a company apartand sequestered himself; and would go minister thesacraments (by his episcopal calling) without ever speaking a word unto themeither as magistrates or brethren. In conclusionhe was fully convictedandburst out into tearsand "confessed he feared he was a reprobate; his sinswere so great that he doubted God would not pardon them; he was unsavory saltetc.; and that he had so wronged them as he could never make them amendsconfessing all he had written against them was false and noughtboth for matterand manner." And all this he did with as much fulness as words and tearscould express.
After their trial and convictionthe court censured them to be expelled theplace; Oldham presentlythough his wife and family had liberty to stay allwinteror longertill he could make provision to remove them comfortably.Lyford had liberty to stay six months. It wasindeedwith some eye to hisreleaseif he carried himself well in the meantimeand that his repentanceproved sound. Lyford acknowledged his censure was far less than he deserved.
Afterwardshe confessed his sin publicly in the churchwith tears morelargely than before. I shall here put it down as I find it recorded by some whotook it from his own wordsas himself uttered them. Acknowledging that he haddone very eviland slanderously abused them; and thinking most of the peoplewould take part with himhe thought to carry all by violence and strong handagainst them. And that God might justly lay innocent blood to his chargefor heknew not what hurt might have come of these his writingsand blessed God theywere stayed. And that he spared not to take knowledge from anyof any evil thatwas spokenbut shut his eyes and ears against all the good; and if God shouldmake him a vagabond in the earthas was Cainit was but justfor he hadsinned in envy and malice against his brethren as he did. And he confessed threethings to be the ground and causes of these his doings: pridevaingloryandself-love. Amplifying these heads with many other sad expressionsin theparticulars of them.
So as they began again to conceive good thoughts of him upon this hisrepentanceand admitted him to teach amongst them as before; and Samuel Fuller(a deacon amongst them)and some other tender-hearted men amongst themwere sotaken with his signs of sorrow and repentanceas they professed they would fallupon their knees to have his censure released.
But that which made them all stand amazed in the endand may do all othersthat shall come to hear the same(for a rarer precedent can scarce be shown)wasthat after a month or twonotwithstanding all his former confessionsconvictionsand public acknowledgmentsboth in the face of the church and thewhole companywith so many tears and sad censures of himself before God and menhe should go again to justify what he had done.
The Pestilent Morton and His Merry Mount
HITHERTO the Indians of these parts had no pieces nor other arms but theirbows and arrowsnor of many years after; neither durst they scarce handle a gunso much were they afraid of them; and the very sight of one (though out ofkilter) was a terror unto them. But those Indians to the east partswhich hadcommerce with the Frenchgot pieces of themand they in the end made a commontrade of it; and in time our English fishermenled with the like covetousnessfollowed their examplefor their own gain; but upon complaint against themitpleased the king's majesty to prohibit the same by a strict proclamationcommanding that no sort of armsor munitionshould by any of his subjects betraded with them.
About some three or four years before this timethere came over one CaptainWollaston(a man of pretty parts) and with him three or four more of someeminencywho brought with them a great many servantswith provisions and otherimplements for to begin a plantation; and pitched themselves in a place withinthe Massachusettswhich they calledafter their captain's nameMountWollaston. Amongst whom was one Mr. Mortonwhoit should seemhad some smalladventure (of his own or other men's) amongst them; but had little respectamongst themand was slighted by the meanest servants. Having continued theresome timeand not finding things to answer their expectationsnor profit toarise as they looked forCaptain Wollaston takes a great part of the servantsand transports them to Virginiawhere he puts them off at good ratessellingtheir time to other men; and writes back to one Mr. Rassdallone of his chiefpartnersand accounted their merchantto bring another part of them toVirginia likewiseintending to put them off there as he had done the rest. Andhewith the consent of the said Rassdallappointed one Fitcher to be hisLieutenantand govern the remains of the plantationtill he or Rassdallreturned to take further order thereabout. But this Morton above-saidhavingmore craft than honesty(who had been a kind of pettifoggerof Furnefells Inn)in the other's absencewatches an opportunity(commons being but hard amongstthem) and got some strong drink and other junketsand made them a feast; andafter they were merryhe began to tell themhe would give them good counsel.
"You see" saith he"that many of your fellows are carried toVirginia; and if you stay till this Rassdall returnyou will also be carriedaway and sold for slaves with the rest. Therefore I would advise you to thrustout this Lieutenant Fitcher; and Ihaving a part in the plantationwillreceive you as my partners and consociates; so may you be free from serviceandwe wilt conversetradeplantand live together as equalsand support andprotect one another" or to like effect. This counsel was easily received;so they took opportunityand thrust Lieutenant Fitcher out of doorsand wouldsuffer him to come no more amongst thembut forced him to seek bread to eatand other relief from his neighborstill he could get passages for England.
After this they fell to great licentiousnessand led a dissolute lifepowering out themselves into all profaneness. And Morton became lord of misruleand maintained (as it were) a school of Atheism. And after they had got somegoods into their handsand got much by trading with the Indiansthey spent itas vainlyin quaffing and drinking both wine and strong waters in great excessandas some reportedten pounds worth in a morning. They also set up aMay-poledrinking and dancing about it many days togetherinviting the Indianwomenfor their con- sortsdancing and frisking together(like so manyfairiesor furies rather) and worse practices. As if they had anew revived andcelebrated the feast of the Roman goddess Floraor the beastly practices of themad Bacchanalians. Morton likewise (to show his poetry) composed sundry rhymesand versessome tending to lasciviousnessand others to the detraction andscandal of some personswhich he affixed to this idle or idol May-pole. Theychanged also the name of their placeand instead of calling it Mount Wollastonthey call it Merry Mountas if this jollity would have lasted ever. But thiscontinued not longfor after Morton was sent for England(as follows to bedeclared) shortly after came over that worthy gentlemanMr. John Endicottwhobrought over a patent under the broad sealfor the government of theMassachusettswho visiting those parts caused that May-pole to be cut downandrebuked them for their profanenessand admonished them to look there should bebetter walking; so they nowor otherschanged the name of their place againand called it Mount Dagon.
Nowto maintain this riotous prodigality and profuse excessMortonthinking himself lawlessand hearing what gain the French and fishermen made bytrading of piecespowderand shot to the Indiansheas the head of thisconsortshipbegan the practice of the same in these parts; and first he taughtthem how to use themto charge and dischargeand what proportion of powder togive the pieceaccording to the size or bigness of the same; and what shot touse for fowland what for deer. And having thus instructed themhe employedsome of them to hunt and fowl for himso as they became far more active in thatemployment than any of the Englishby reason of their swiftness of footandnimbleness of bodybeing also quick-sightedand by continual exercise wellknowing the haunts of all sorts of game. So as when they saw the execution thata piece would doand the benefit that might come by the samethey became madas it wereafter themand would not stick to give any price they could attainto for them; accounting their bows and arrows but baubles in comparison of them.
And here I may take occasion to bewail the mischief that this wicked manbegan in these partsand which since base covetousness prevailing in men thatshould know betterhas now at length got the upper handand made this thingcommonnotwithstanding any laws to the contrary; so as the Indians are full ofpieces all overboth fowling piecesmusketspistolsete. They have alsotheir moulds to make shotof all sortsas musket bulletspistol bulletsswanand goose shotand of smaller sorts; yeasome have seen them have theirscrew-plates to make screw-pins themselveswhen they want themwith sundryother implementswherewith they are ordinarily better fitted and furnished thanthe English themselves. Yeait is well known that they will have powder andshotwhen the English want itnor can not get it; and that in a time of war ordangeras experience hath manifestedthat when lead hath been scarceand menfor their own defence would gladly have given a groat a poundwhich is dearenoughyet hath it been bought up and sent to other placesand sold to such astrade it with the Indiansat twelve pence the pound; and it is like they givethree or four shillings the poundfor they will have it at any rate. And thesethings have been done in the same timeswhen some of their neighbors andfriends are daily killed by the Indiansor are in danger thereofand live butat the Indians' mercy. Yeasome (as they have acquainted them with all otherthings) have told them how gunpowder is madeand all the materials in itandthat they are to be had in their own land; and I am confidentcould the attainto make saltpetrethey would teach them to make powder. Ohthe horribleness ofthis villany! how many both Dutch and English have been lately slain by thoseIndiansthus furnished; and no remedy providednaythe evil more increasedand the blood of their brethren sold for gainas is to be feared; and in whatdanger all these colonies are in is too well known. Oh! that princes andparliaments would take some timely order to prevent this mischiefand at lengthto suppress itby some exemplary punishment upon some of these gain-thirstymurderers(for they deserve no better title) before their colonies in theseparts be overthrown by these barbarous savagesthus armed with their ownweaponsby these evil instrumentsand traitors to their neighbors and country.But I have forgot myselfand have been too long in this digression; but now toreturn: This Morton having thus taught them the use of pieceshe sold them allhe could spare; and he and his consorts determined to send for many out ofEnglandand had by some of the ships sent for above a score; the which beingknownand his neighbors meeting the Indians in the woods armed with gun in thissortit was a terror unto themwho lived stragglinglyand were of no strengthin any place. And other places (though more remote) saw this misehief wouldquickly spread over allif not prevented. Besidesthey saw they should keep noservantsfor Morton would entertain anyhow vile soeverand all the scum ofthe countryor any discontentswould flock to him from all placesif thisnest was not broken; and they should stand in more fear of their lives and goods(in short time) from this wicked and debauched crewthan from the savagesthemselves.
So sundry of the chief of the straggling plantationsmeeting togetheragreed by mutual consent to solicit those of Plymouth (who were their of morestrength than them all) to join with them to prevent the further growth of thismischiefand suppress Morton and his consorts before they grew to further headand strength. Those that joined in this action (and after contributed to thecharge of sending him for England) were from PascatawayNamkeakeWinisimettWeesagascusettNatascoand other places where any English were seated. Thoseof Plymouth being thus sought too by their messengers and lettersand weighingboth their reasonsand the common dangerwere willing to afford them theirhelp; though themselves had least cause of fear or hurt. Soto be shorttheyfirst resolved jointly to write to himand in a friendly and neighborly way toadmonish him to forbear these coursesand sent a messenger with their lettersto bring his answer. But he was so high as he scorned all adviceand asked whohad to do with him; he had and would trade pieces with the Indians in despite ofallwith many other scurrilous terms full of disdain.
They sent to him a second timeand bade him be better advisedand moretemperate in his termsfor the country could not bear the injury he did; it wasagainst their common safetyand against the king's proclamation. He answered inhigh terms as beforeand that the king's proclamation was no law; demandingwhat penalty was upon it. It was answeredmore than he could bearhismajesty's displeasure. But insolently he persistedand said the king was deadand his displeasure with himand many the like things; and threatened withalthat if any came to molest himlet them look to themselvesfor he wouldprepare for them. Upon which they saw there was no way but to take him by force;and having so far proceedednow to give over would make him far more haughtyand insolent. So they mutually resolved to proceedand obtained of the Governorof Plymouth to send Captain Standishand some other aid with himto takeMorton by force. The which accordingly was done; but they found him to standstiffly in his defencehaving made fast his doorsarmed his consortssetdivers dishes of powder and bullets ready on the table; and if they had not beenoverarmed with drinkmore hurt might have been done. They summoned him toyieldbut he kept his houseand they could get nothing but scoffs and scornsfrom him; but at lengthfearing they would do some violence to the househeand some of his crew came outbut not to yieldbut to shoot; but they were sosteeled with drink as their pieces were too heavy for them; himself with acarbine (overcharged and almost half filled with powder and shotas was afterfound) had thought to have shot Captain Standish; but he stepped to himand putby his pieceand took him. Neither was there any hurt done to any of eithersidesave that one was so drunk that he ran his own nose upon the point of asword that one held before him as he entered the house; but he lost but a littleof his hot blood. Morton they brought away to Plymouthwhere he was kepttilla ship went from the Isle of Shoals for Englandwith which he was sent to theCouncil of New-England; and letters written to give them information of hiscourse and carriage; and also one was sent at their common charge to informtheir Honors more particularlyand to prosecute against him. But he fooled ofthe messengerafter he was gone from henceand though he went for Englandyetnothing was done to himnot so much as rebukedfor aught was heard; butreturned the next year. Some of the worst of the company were dispersedandsome of the more modest kept the house till he should be heard from. But I havebeen too long about so unworthy a personand bad a cause.
The Life and Death of Elder Brewster
I AM to begin this year with that which was a matter of great sadness andmourning unto them all. About the 18th of April died their Reverend Elderandmy dear and loving friendMr. William Brewster; a man that had done andsuffered much for the Lord Jesus and the gospel's sakeand had borne his partin weal and woe with this poor persecuted church above thirty-six years inEnglandHollandand in this wildernessand done the Lord and them faithfulservice in his place and calling. And notwithstanding the many troubles andsorrows he passed throughthe Lord upheld him to a great age. He was nearfourscore years of age (if not all out) when he died. He had this blessing addedby the Lord to all the restto die in his bedin peaceamongst the midst ofhis friendswho mourned and wept over himand ministered what help and comfortthey could unto himand he again recomforted them whilst he could. His sicknesswas not longand till the last day thereof he did not wholly keep his bed. Hisspeech continued till somewhat more than half a dayand then failed him; andabout nine or ten o'clock that evening he diedwithout any pangs at all. A fewhours beforehe drew his breath shortand some few minutes before his lasthedrew his breath longas a man fallen into a sound sleepwithout any pangs orgaspingsand so sweetly departed this life unto a better.
I would now demand of anywhat he was the worse for any former sufferings?What do I say? Worse? Naysure he was the betterand they now added to hishonor. "It is a manifest token" saith the Apostle"of therighteous judgment of God that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of Godfor which ye also suffer; seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompensetribulation to them that trouble you: and to you who are troubledrest with uswhen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. If yoube reproached for the name of Christhappy are yefor the spirit of glory andof God resteth upon you." What though he wanted the riches and pleasures ofthe world in this lifeand pompous monuments at his funeral? Yet the memorialof the just shall be blessed when the name of the wicked shall not (with theirmarble monuments).
I should say something of his lifeif to say a little were not worse than tobe silent. But I can not wholly forbearthough happily more may be donehereafter. After he had attained some learningviz.the knowledge of the Latintongueand some insight in the Greekand spent some small time at Cambridgeand then being first seasoned with the seeds of grace and virtuehe went to theCourtand served that religious and godly gentlemanMr. Davisondivers yearswhen he was Secretary of State; who found him so discreet and faithful as hetrusted him above all other that were about himand only employed him in allmatters of greatest trust and secrecy. He esteemed him rather as a son than aservantand for his wisdom and godliness (in private) he would converse withhim more like a friend and familiar than a master. He attended his master whenhe was sent in embassage by the Queen into the Low Countriesin the Earl ofLeicester's timeas for other weighty affairs of stateso to receivepossession of the cautionary townsand in token and sign thereof the keys ofFlushing being delivered to himin her Majesty's namehe kept them some timeand committed them to this his servantwho kept them under his pillowon whichhe slept the first night. Andat his returnthe States honored him with a goldchainand his master committed it to himand commanded him to wear it whenthey arrived in Englandas they rode through the countrytill they came to theCourt. He afterwards remained with him till his troublesthat he was put fromhis place about the death of the Queen of Scots; and some good time afterdoinghim many faithful offices of service in the time of his troubles. Afterwards hewent and lived in the country"in good esteem amongst his friends and thegentlemen of those partsespecially the godly and religious.
He did much good in the country where he livedin promoting and furtheringreligionnot only by his practice and exampleand provoking and encouraging ofothersbut by procuring of good preachers to the places thereaboutand drawingon of others to assist and help forward in such a work; he himself most commonlydeepest in the chargeand sometimes above his ability. And in this state hecontinued many yearsdoing the best good he couldand walking according to thelight he sawtill the Lord revealed further unto him. And in the endby thetyranny of the bishops against godly preachers and peoplein silencing the oneand persecuting the otherhe and many more of those times began to look furtherinto thingsand to see into the unlawfulness of their callingsand the burdenof many antichristian corruptionswhich both he and they endeavored to castoff; as they also didas in the beginning of this treatise is to be seen. Afterthey were joined together in communionhe was a special stay and help untothem. They ordinarily met at his house on the Lord's day(which was a manor ofthe bishop's) and with great love he entertained them when they camemakingprovision for them to his great charge. He was the chief of those that weretaken at Bostonand suffered the greatest loss; and of the seven that were keptlongest in prisonand after bound over to the assizes. After he came intoHolland he suffered much hardshipafter he had spent the most of his meanshaving a great chargeand many children; andin regard of his former breedingand course of lifenot so fit for many employments as others wereespeciallysuch as were toilsome and laborious. But yet he ever bore his condition withmuch cheerfulness and contentation.
Towards the latter part of those twelve years spent in Hollandhis outwardcondition was mendedand he lived well and plentifully; for he fell into a way(by reason he had the Latin tongue) to teach many studentswho had a desire tolearn the English tongueto teach them English; and by his method they quicklyattained it with great facility; for he drew rules to learn it byafter theLatin manner; and many gentlemenboth Danes and Germansresorted to himasthey had time from other studiessome of them being great men's sons. He alsohad means to set up printing(by the help of some friends) and so hademployment enoughand by reason of many books which would not be allowed to beprinted in Englandthey might have had more than they could do. But nowremoving into this countryall these things were laid aside againand a newcourse of living must be framed unto; in which he was no way unwilling to takehis partand to bear his burden with the restliving many times without breador cornmany months togetherhaving many times nothing but fishand oftenwanting that also; and drunk nothing but water for many years togetheryeatill within five or six years of his death. And yet he lived (by the blessing ofGod) in health till very old age. And besides thathe would labor with hishands in the fields as long as he was able; yet when the church had no otherministerhe taught twice every Sabbathand that both powerfully andprofitablyto the great contentment of the hearersand their comfortableedification; yeamany were brought to God by his ministry. He did more in thisbehalf in a yearthan many that have their hundreds a year do in all theirlives.
For his personal abilitieshe was qualified above many; he was wise anddiscreet and well spokenhaving a grave and deliberate utteranceof a verycheerful spiritvery sociable and pleasant amongst his friendsof an humbleand most modest mindof a peaceable dispositionundervaluing himself and hisown abilitiesand sometimes overvaluing others; inoffensive and innocent in hislife and conversationwhich gained him the love of those withoutas well asthose within; yet he would tell them plainly of their faults and evilsbothpublicly and privatelybut in such a manner as usually was well taken from him.He was tender-heartedand compassionate of such as were in miserybutespecially of such as had been of good estate and rankand were fallen untowant and povertyeither for goodness and religion's sakeor by the injury andoppression of others; he would sayof all men these deserved to be pitied most.And none did more offend and displease him than such as would haughtily andproudly carry and lift up themselvesbeing risen from nothingand havinglittle else in them to commend them but a few fine clothesor a little richesmore than others.
In teachinghe was very moving and stirring of affectionsalso very plainand distinct in what he taught; by which means he became the more profitable tothe hearers. He had a singular good gift in prayerboth public and privateinripping up the heart and conscience before Godin the humble confession of sinand begging the mercies of God in Christ for the pardon of the same. He alwaysthought it were better for ministers to pray oftenerand divide their prayersthan be long and tedious in the same (except upon solemn and special occasionsas in days of humiliation and the like). His reason wasthat the heart andspirits of allespecially the weakcould hardly continue and stand bent (as itwere) so long towards Godas they ought to do in that dutywithout flaggingand falling off. For the government of the church(which was most proper to hisoffice) he was careful to preserve good order in the sameand to preservepurityboth in the doctrine and communion of the same; and to suppress anyerror or contention that might begin to rise up amongst them; and accordinglyGod gave good success to his endeavors herein all his daysand he saw the fruitof his labors in that behalf. But I must break offhaving only thus touched afewas it wereheads of things.