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Chronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 online

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CHAP, Some men there are who of necessity must here live,

XVI. .... "

-^ - -^ as being tied to duties either to church, commonwealth,
1621. household, kindred, &c. ; but others, and that many,
who do no good in none of those, nor can do none, as
being iiot able, or not in favor, or as wanting opportu-
nity, and live as outcasts — nobodies, eye-sores, eating
but for themselves, teaching but themselves, and doing
good to none, either in soul or body, and so pass over
days, years and months, yea, so live and so die. Now
such should lift up their eyes and see whether there be
not some other place and country to which they may
2. Why go to do good, and have use towards others of that
remove, knowlcdgc, wisdom, humanity, reason, strength, skill,
faculty, &c. which God hath given them for the ser-
vice of others and his own glory.

But not to pass the bounds of modesty so far as to

name any, though I confess I know many, who sit

Luke here still with their talent in a napkin, having notable

xix. 20. . .

endowments both of body and mind, and might do
great good if they were in some places, which here do
none, nor can do none, and yet through fleshly fear,
niceness, straitness of heart, &c. sit still and look on,
and will not hazard a drachm of health, nor a day of
pleasure, nor an hour of rest to further the knowledge
Reas. 1. and salvation of the sons of Adam in that new world,
where a drop of the knowledge of Christ is most pre-
cious, which is here not set by. Now what shall we
say to such a profession of Christ, to which is joined
no more denial of a man's self .^

Object. But some will say. What right have I to go live in
the heathens' country ?

Answ. Letting pass the ancient discoveries, contracts and
agreements which our Englishmen have long since


made in those parts, toaether with the acknowledg;- chap.

... . XVI.

ment of the histories and chronicles of other nations, — v^-
who profess the land of America from the Cape de 1621.
Florida unto the Bay of Canada^ (which is south and
north three hundred leagues and upwards, and east
and west further than yet hath been discovered) is
proper to the king of England, yet letting that pass,
lest I be thought to meddle further than it concerns
me, or further than I have discerning, I will mention
such things as are within my reach, knowledge, sight
and practice, since I have travailed in these affairs.

And first, seeing we daily pray for the conversion of Reas. 2.
the heathens, we must consider whether there be not
some ordinary means and course for us to take to con-
vert them, or whether prayer for them be only referred
to God's extraordinary work from heaven. Now it
seemeth unto me that we ought also to endeavour and
use the means to convert them ; and the means cannot
be used unless \ve go to them, or they come to us. To
us they cannot come, our land is full ; to them we may
go, their land is empty.

This then is a sufficient reason to prove our going Reas. 3.
thither to live, lawful. Their land is spacious and
void, and there are few, and do but run over the grass,
as do also the foxes and wild beasts. They are not
industrious, neither have art, science, skill or faculty to
use either the land or the commodities of it ; but all
spoils, rots, and is marred for want of manuring,
gathering, ordering, &c. As the ancient patriarchs,
therefore, removed from straiter places into more roomy,

'/Jacques Cartier, of St. Malo, Montreal. Florida was discovered
in France, discovered the great by Juan Ponce de I^enn, a Span-
river of Canada in August, 1534, iard, in 1512. See Bancroft's Unit-
and in 1535 sailed up as far as ed States, i. 19—24, 31—34.


CHAP, where the land lay idle and waste, and none used it,

XVI. -^ . .

"^'■^ though there dwelt inhabitants bv them, as Gen. xiii.

16 21. gj 11, 12, and xxxiv. 21, and xli. 20, so is it lawful
now to take a land wiiich none useth, and make use
of it.

Reas. 4. Aiid as it is a common land, or unused and undress-
ed country, so we have it by common consent, compo-
sition and agreement ;* which agreement is double.
First, the imperial governor, Massasoit, whose circuits,
in likelihood, are larger than England and Scotland,
hath acknowledged the King's Majesty of England to
be his master and commander, and that once in my
hearing, yea, and in writing, under his hand, to Cap-
tain Standish, both he and many other kings which
are under him, as Pamet, Nauset, Cummaquid, Nar-
rowhiggonset, Namaschet, &c., with divers others that
dwell about the bays of Patuxet and Massachuset.^
Neither hath this been accomplished by threats and
blows, or shaking of sword and sound of trumpet ; for
as our faculty that way is small, and our strength less,
so our warring with them is after another manner,
namely, by friendly usage, love, peace, honest and just
carriages, good counsel, &c., that so we and they may
not only live in peace in that land, and they yield sub-

psai. ex jection to an earthly prince, but that as voluntaries

sKiii.3. ^j^g^- ^y^^y ]-jg persuaded at length to embrace the Prince

of Peace, Christ Jesus, and rest in peace with him for-

Secondly, this composition is also more particular
and applicatory, as touching ourselves there inhabiting.

' This is to be considered as ^ See pages 193 and 220.
respecting New England, and the
territories about the plantation. —
Auihor^s Note.


The emperor, by a joint consent, hath promised and chap.

. ... XVI.

appointed us to live at peace where we will in all his ^^v^l-
dominions, taking what place we will, and as much 1621.
land as we will,' ^"d bringing as many people as we
will ; and that for these two causes. First, because we ,
are the servants of James, king of England, whose the
land (as he confesseth) is. Secondly, because he hath
found us just, honest, kind and peaceable, and so loves
our company. Yea, and that in these things there is
no dissimulation on his part, nor fear of breach (except
our security engender in them some unthought of
treachery, or our uncivility provoke them to anger) is
most plain in other Relations,^ which show that the
things they did were more out of love than out of fear.
It being then, first, a vast and empty chaos; secondly,
acknowledged the right of our sovereign king ; thirdly,
by a peaceable composition in part possessed of divers
of his loving subjects, I see not who can doubt or call
in question the lawfulness of inhabiting or dwelling
there ; but that it may be as lawful for such as are not
tied upon some special occasion here, to live there as
well as here. Yea, and as the enterprise is weighty
and difficult, so the honor is more worthy, to plant a
rude wilderness, to enlarge the honor and fame of our

' In the " Warrantable Grounds English New Plymouth. All which

and Proceedings of the first Asso- lands being void of inhabitants,

ciates of New Plymouth, in their we, the said John Carver, William

laying the first foundation of this Bradford, Edward Winslow, Wil-

Government, in their making of liam Brewster, Isaac AUerton, and

laws, and disposing of the lands the rest of our associates entering

within the same," prefixed to the into a league of peace with Massa-

Code of Laws printed in 16S5, it is soit, since called Woosamequin,

stated that " by the favor of the prince or sachem of those parts,

Almighty they began the colony in he, the said Massasoit, freely gave

New England (there being then them all the lands adjacent, to

no other within the said continent) them and their heirs forever."

at a place called by the natives ^ He refers to the preceding

Apaum, alias Patuxet, but by the Journal.


CHAP, dread sovereign, but chiefly to display the efficacy and
— -v^- power of the Gospel, both in zealous preaching, pro-
1621. fessing, and wise walking under it, before the faces of

these poor blind infidels.

As for such as object the tediousness of the voyage

thither, the danger of pirates' robbery, of the savages'
prov. treachery, Sec, these are but lions in the way : and it

xxii. 13. -^ ' ' '^ ^

were well for such men if they were in heaven. For
who can show them a place in this w^orld where in-
xiix^'s. iquity shall not compass them at the heels, and where
Mat. vi. they shall have a day without grief, or a lease of life
for a moment.'' And who can tell, but God, what
dangers may lie at our doors, even in our native coun-
try, or what plots may be abroad, or when God will
■^.mf| cause our sun to go down at noon-day, and, in the
midst of our peace and security, lay upon us some
lasting scourge for our so long neglect and contempt
of his most glorious Gospel ?
Object. But we have here great peace, plenty of the Gospel,

and many sweet delights, and variety of comforts.
Answ. True, indeed ; and far be it from us to deny and
schro. diminish the least of these mercies. But have we ren-


^" dered unto God thankful obedience for this long peace,
whilst other peoples have been at wars ? Have we
not rather murmured, repined, and fallen at jars amongst
ourselves, whilst our peace hath lasted with foreign
power ? Was there ever more suits in law, more en-
Gen. vy, contempt and reproach than nowadays ? Abraham

^^- ' and Lot departed asunder when there fell a breach

betwixt them, which was occasioned by the straitness
of the land ; and surely I am persuaded, that howso-
ever the frailties of men are principal in all conten-
tions, yet the straitness of the place is such, as each


man is fain to pluck his means, as it were, out of his chap.

. . . XVI.

neighbour's throat, there is such pressing and oppressing ^ - v^-
in town and country, about farms, trades, traffick, &c. ; 1621.
so as a man can hardly any where set up a trade, but
he shall pull down two of his neighbours.

The towns abound with young tradesmen, and the
hospitals are full of the ancient ; the country is replen-
ished with new farmers, and the almshouses are filled
with old laborers. Many there are who get their liv-
ing with bearing burdens ; but more are fain to burden
the land with their whole bodies. Multitudes get their
means of life by prating, and so do numbers more by
begging. Neither come these straits upon men always
through intemperance, ill husbandry, indiscretion, &c.,
as some think ; but even the most wise, sober, and
discreet men go often to the wall, when they have done
their best ; wherein, as God's providence swayeth all,
so it is easy to see that the straitness of the place, hav-
ing in it so many strait hearts, cannot but produce such
effects more and more ; so as every indifferent minded
man should be ready to say with father Abraham,
" Take thou the right hand, and I will take the left :"
let us not thus oppress, straiten, and afflict one another ;
but seeing there is a spacious land, the way to which
is through the sea, we will end this difference in a

That I speak nothing about the bitter contention
that hath been about religion, by writing, disputing
and inveighing earnestly one against another, the heat
of which zeal, if it were turned against the rude bar-
barism of the heathens, it might do more good in a
day, than it hath done here in many years. Neither
of the little love to the Gospel, and profit which is


CHAP, made by the preachers in most places, which might
— v-^ easily drive the zealous to the heathens ; who, no
1621. doLibt, if they had but a drop of that knowledge which
here flieth about the streets, would be filled with ex-
ceeding great joy and gladness, as that they would
even pluck the kingdom of heaven by violence, and
take it, as it were, by force.
'^•',^^'ast Xhe greatest let that is yet behind is the sweet fel-
lowship of friends, and the satiety of bodily delights.

But can there be two nearer friends almost than
Abraham and Lot, or than Paul and Barnabas ? And
yet, upon as little occasions as we have here, they de-
parted asunder, two of them being patriarchs of the
church of old, the other the apostles of the church
which is new ; and their covenants were such as it
seemeth might bind as much as any covenant between
men at this day ; and yet, to avoid greater inconve-
niences, they departed asunder.

Neither must men take so much thought for the
flesh, as not to be pleased except they can pamper
their bodies with variety of dainties. Nature is con-
tent with little, and health is much endangered by
mixtures upon the stomach. The delights of the palate
James do oftcu iuflamc the vital parts ; as the tongue setteth
a-fire the whole bod v. Secondlv, varieties here are
not common to all, but many good men are glad to
snap at a crust. The rent-taker lives on sweet mor-
sels, but the rent-payer eats a dry crust often with
watery eyes ; and it is nothing to say what some one
of a hundred hath, but what the bulk, body and com-
monalty hath ; which I warrant you is short enough.

And they also which now live so sweetly, hardly
will their children attain to that privilege ; but some


cii'cnmventor or other will outstrip them, and make chap.
them sit in the dust, to which men are brought in one — -^-^
age, but cannot get out of it again in seven genera- 1621.

To conclude, without all partiality, the present con-
sumption which groweth upon us here, whilst the land
groaneth under so many close-fisted and unmerciful
men, being compared with the easiness, plainness and
plentifulness in living in those remote places, may
quickly persuade any man to a liking of this course,
and to practise a removal ; which being done by hon-
est, godly and industrious men, they shall there be
right heartily welcome ; but for other of dissolute and
profane life, their rooms are better than their compa-
nies. For if here, where the Gospel hath been so
long and plentifully taught, they are yet frequent in
such vices as the heathen would shame to speak of,
what will they be when there is less restraint in word
and deed ? My only suit to all men is, that whether
they live there or here, they would learn to use this
world as they used it not, keeping faith and a good
conscience, both with God and men, that when the
day of account shall come, they may come forth as
good and fruitful servants, and freely be received, and
enter into the joy of their Master. R. C.^

' Robert Cushman. It will he those " which came first over in the

recollected that he was twice sent Mayflower." In a letter toGover-

frora Leyden to England as the nor Bradford, dated December 22,

agent of the Pilgrims, and embark- 1624, he writes, "I hope the next

ed in the Speedwell, in 1620, but ships to come to you;" but he

was obliged to put back. He came was prevented by death. Governor

over in the Fortune, and returned Bradford speaks of him as "our

in her, as the adventurers had ap- ancient friend, Mr. Cushman, who

poiijted, to give them information of was our right hand with the ad-

the state of the colony. In 1623, a venturers, and for divers years

lot of land was assigned him with managed all our business with



CHAP. [A Letter from New Plymouth.

1621. Loving Cousin,

■'^°^" At our arrival at New Plymouth, in New England,
we found all our friends and planters in good health,
though they were left sick and weak, with very small
means ; the Indians round about us peaceable and
friendly ; the country very pleasant and temperate,
yielding naturally, of itself, great store of fruits, as
vines of divers sorts, in great abundance. There is
likewise walnuts, chestnuts, small nuts and plums,
with much variety of flowers, roots and herbs, no less
pleasant than wholesome and profitable. No place
hath more gooseberries and strawberries, nor better.
Timber of all sorts you have in England doth cover
the land, that affords beasts of divers sorts, and great
flocks of turkeys, quails, pigeons and partridges ; many
great lakes abounding with fish, fowl, beavers, and ot-
ters. The sea affords us great plenty of all excellent
sorts of sea-fish, as the rivers and isles doth variety of
wild fowl of most useful sorts. Mines we find, to our
thinking ; but neither the goodness nor quality we
know. Better grain cannot be than the Indian corn,
if we will plant it upon as good ground as a man need
desire. We are all freeholders ; the rent-day doth not
trouble us ; and all those good blessings we have, of
which and what we list in their seasons for taking.

them." He brought his soa Thomas first minister of Plympton. De-

wilh him in the Fortune, whom he scendants of this honorable name

entrusted to the care of Governor are numerous in the Old Colony.

Bradford, and who, after the death See Morton's Memorial, 128, 376 ;

of Brewster was chosen, in 1619, Prince, p. 238; Mass. Hist. Coll.

ruling elder of the Plymouth church, iii. 35; Belknap's Am. Biog. ii.

He married Mary, daughter of Isaac 267.
AUertou, and his son Isaac was the



Our company are, for most part, very religious, hon- chap.
est people ; the word of God sincerely taught us -^~
every Sabbath; so that I know not any thing a con- 1621.
tented mind can here want. I desire your friendly
care to send my wife and children^ to me, where I wish
all the friends I have in England ; and so I rest

Your loving kinsman,

William Hilton.^]

' His wife and two childrea came
in the next ship, the Ann, which
arrived at Plymouth in the summer
of 1623. See Prince, p. 220, and
Morton, p. 379.

" I insert this letter, because it
was written by one of the passen-
gers iu the Fortune. It was first

printed in 1622, in Smith's New
England's Trials. The writer and
his brother Edward, fishmongers of
London, commenced, in the spring
of 1623, at Dover, the settlement of
New Hampshire. See Belknap's
New Hampshire, i. 14; Prince, p.
215; Savage's Winthrop, i. 97.




New England, so called not only (to avoid novel- ^^^^P'
ties) because Captain Smith hath so entitled it in his - ^-^-
Description, but because of the resemblance that is in 1^621.
it of England, the native soil of Englishmen ; it being
muchwhat the same for heat and cold in summer and
winter, it being champaign ground, but not high moun-
tains ; somewhat like the soil in Kent and Essex, full
of dales and meadow ground, full of rivers and svi^eet
springs, as England is. But principally, so far as we

' In the course of Robert Cush-
man's short residence of a month at
Plymouth he delivered a discourse
to the colonists on the Sin and
Danger of Self-Love, from 1 Cor.
X. 24, " Let no man seek his own,
but every man another's wealth ;"
which was printed at London in
1622, but without his name. In
a tract printed at London in 1644,
entitled " A Brief Narration of
some Church Courses in New Eng-
land," T find the following allusion
to this discourse; "There is a
book printed, called A Sermon
preached at Plymouth, in New
England, which, as I am certified,
was made there by a comber of

Dr. Belknap remarks, that "this
discourse may be considered as a
specimen of the prophesyings of the
brethren. Tiie occasion was sin-
gular; the exhortations and re-
proofs are not less so, but were
adapted to the existing state of the
colony." Judge Davis says that
" the late Isaac Lothrop, of Ply-
mouth, often mentioned an intima-
tion, received from an aged relative,
as to the spot where this sermon
was delivered. It was at the com-
mon house of the Plantation, which
is understood to have been erected
on the southerly side of the bank,
where the town brook meets the
harbour. Mr. Lothrop died in 1808,
aged seventy-three. Not many


CHAP, can yet find, it is an island,^ and near about the quantity
— ^^ of England, being cut out from the main land in Ameri-
1621. ca, as England is from the main of Europe, by a great
arm of the sea,^ which entereth in forty degrees, and
runneth up northwest and by west, and goeth out
eitlier into the South Sea, or else into the Bay of
Canada. The certainty whereof, and secrets of which,
we have not yet so found as that, as eye-witnesses,
we can make narration thereof; but if God give time
and means, we shall ere long discover both the extent
of that river, together with the secrets thereof; and
also try what territories, habitations, or commodities
may be found, either in it, or about it.

It pertaineth not to my purpose to speak any thing
either in praise or dispraise of the country. So it is, by
God's providence, that a few of us are there planted to
our content, and have with great charge and difficulty
attained quiet and competent dwellings there. And
thus much I will say for the satisfaction of such as
have any thought of going thither to inhabit ; that for
men which have a large heart, and look after great
riches, ease, pleasures, dainties, and jollity in this
world, (except they will live by other men's sweat, or
have great riches,) I would not advise them to come
there, for as yet the country will afford no such mat-
years before his death he had the England, together with all well-
satisfaction of being called to view Avillers and well-wishers thereunto,
sundry tools and implements which grace and peace, &c." The Epistle
were dug up at that spot, and which is here printed entire, and all that
he carefully preserved." See note" is of any general or historical in-
on page 173 ; Belknap's Am. Biog. terest in 'the discourse.
ii. 274 ; and Morton's Memorial, ' It will be seen hereafter that
P- '''4. Winslow too, on the authority of

Prefixed to the discourse is an the natives, calls it an island.
"Epistle Dedicatory, to his loving ^ Hudson's river,
friends, the adventurers for New


ters. But if there be any who are content to lay out chap.
their estates, spend their time, labors and endeavours, ^^^
for the benefit of them that shall come after, and in I62i.
desire to further the Gospel among those poor heathens,
quietly contenting themselves with such hardship and
difficulties, as by God's providence shall fall upon
them, being yet young, and in their strength, such
men I would advise and encourage to go, for their
ends cannot fail them.

And if it should please God to punish his people in
the Christian countries of Europe, for their coldness,
carnality, wanton abuse of the Gospel, contention,
&c., either by Turkish slavery, or by popish tyranny,
(which God forbid,) yet if the time be come, or shall
come (as who knovveth ?) when Satan shall be let loose
to cast out his floods against them, here is a way open- r
ed for such as have wings to fly into this wilderness ;
and as by the dispersion of the Jewish church through
persecution, the Lord brought in the fulness of the Acts xi.

2U, -21.

Gentiles, so who knoweth, whether now by tyranny
and affliction, which he suffereth to come upon them,
he will not by little and little chase them even amongst
the heathens, that so a light may rise up in the dark, Luke
and the kingdom of heaven be taken from them which
now have it, and given to a people that shall bring ^'"•''■^•
forth the fruit of it.^ This I leave to the judgment of
the godly wise, being neither prophet nor son of a Amog
prophet. But considering God's dealing of old, and
seeing the name of Christian to be very great, but the
true nature thereof almost quite lost in all degrees and
>sects, I cannot think but that there is some judgment
not far off, and that God will shortly, even of stones, M;iiih
raise up children unto Abraham.

ev. XII.

14, 15.

vii. 14.

2 Kings
xvii. 23.

iii. 9.


CHAP. And whoso rio^htlv considereth what manner of en-
^^v^ trance, abiding, and proceedings we have had among
16 21. these poor heathens since we came hither, will easily


think that God hath some great work to do towards

They were wont to be the most cruel and treacher-
ous people in all these parts, even like lions ; but to
us they have been like lambs, so kind, so submissive,
and trusty, as a man may truly say, many Christians
are not so kind nor sincere.

They were very much wasted of late, by reason of
a great mortality* that fell amongst them three years

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 23 of 44)