Alexander Young.

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

. (page 24 of 44)
Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 24 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

since ; which, together with their own civil dissensions
and bloody wars, hath so wasted them, as I think the
twentieth person is scarce left alive ; and those that
are left, have their courage much abated, and their
countenance is dejected, and they seem as a people
affrighted. And though when we first came into the
country, we were few, and many of us were sick, and
many died by reason of the cold and wet, it being the
depth of winter, and we having no houses nor sheltei*,
yet when there was not six able persons among us,
and that they came daily to us by hundreds, with their
sachems or kings, and might in one hour have made a
dispatch of us, yet such a fear was upon them, as that
they never offered us the least injury in word or deed.
And by reason of one Tisquanto,^ that lives amongst
us, that can speak English, we have daily commerce
with their kings, and can know what is done or in-
tended towards us among the savages ; also we can
acquaint them with our courses and purposes, both
human and religious. And the greatest commander of

' See note ' on page 183. ' See note ^ on page 190.


the country, called Massasoit,^ cometh often to visit chap.

us, though he lives fifty miles from us, often sends us '-

presents, he having with many other of their governors i 621.


promised, yea, subscribed obedience to our Sovereign
Lord King James, and for his cause to spend both
strength and life.^ And we, for our parts, through
God's grace, have with that equity, justice, and com-
passion carried ourselves towards them, as that they
have received much favor, help, and aid from us, but
never the least injury or wrong by us."^ We found
the place where we live empty, the people being all
dead and gone away,^ and none living near by eight
or ten miles ; and though in the time of some hard-
ship, we found, travelling abroad, some eight bushels
of corn hid up in a cave, and knew no owners of it,
yet afterwards hearing of the owners of it, we gave
them (in their estimation) double the value of it.^
Our care also hath been to maintain peace amongst
them, and have always set ourselves against such of
them as used any rebellion or treachery against their
governors ; and not only threatened such, but in some
sort paid them their due deserts. And when any of

' See page 191. avoid the least scruple of intrusion.

* See pages 193 and 232. Particularly publish that no wrong

^ They offer us to dwell where or injury be offered to the natives."

we will. — Cushman-s Note. And in 1676, it was as truly as

The first planters of Plymouth proudly said by Governor Josiah
and Massachusetts invariably pur- Winslow, of Plymouth, " I think I
chased of the natives the lands on can clearly say, that before these
which they settled, for considera- present troubles broke out, the
tions which were deemed at the English did not possess one foot of
time fully equivalent. They fol- land in this Colony but what was
lowed literally the instructions giv- fairly obtained by honest purchase
en by the governor of the New Eng- of the Indian proprietors." See
land Company to Gov. Endicolt, in Hutchinson's Mass. ii. 266; Haz-
^629: "If any of the salvages pre- ard's State Papers, i. 263; Hub-
tend right of inheritance to all or bard's Indian Wars, p. 13, (ed.
any part of the lands granted in our 1677.)
patent, we pray you endeavour to * See pages 184 and 206.
purchase their title, that we may * See page 217.


CHAP, them are in want, as often they are in the winter,


when their corn is done, we supply them to our power,
162 1. and have them in our houses eating and drinking, and

Dec .

warming themselves ; which thing, though it be some-
thing a trouble to us, yet because they should see and
take knowledge of our labors, orders and diligence,
both for this life and a better, we are content to bear
it ; and we find in many of them, especially of the
younger sort, such a tractable disposition, both to reli-
gion and humanity, as that if we had means to ap-
parel them, and wholly to retain them with us, (as
their desire is,) they would doubtless in time prove
serviceable to God and man ; and if ever God send us
means, we will bring up hundreds of their children
both to labor and learning.

But leaving to speak of them till a further occasion
be ofifered, if any shall marvel at the publishing of this
treatise in England, seeing there is no want of good
books, but rather want of men to use good books, let
them know, that the especial end is, that we may keep
those motives in memory for ourselves and those that
shall come after, to be a remedy against self-love, the
bane of all societies ; and that we also might testify to
our Christian countrymen, who judge diversely of us,
that though we be in a heathen country, yet the grace
of Christ is not quenched in us, but we still hold and
teach the same points of faith, mortification, and sanc-
tification, which we have heard and learned, in a most
ample and large manner, in our own country. If any
shall think it too rude and unlearned for this curious
age, let them know, that to paint out the Gospel in
plain and flat English, amongst a company of plain
Englishmen, (as we are,) is the best and most profita-


ble teaching ; and we will study plainness, not cu- chap.

riosity, neither in things human nor heavenly. If any '-

error or unsoundness be in it, fas who knoweth .'^) i(^2i.


impute it to that frail man which indited it, which
professeth to know nothing as he ought to know it.
I have not set down my name, partly because I seek
no name, and principally, because I would have nothing
esteemed by names ; for I see a number of evils to
arise through names, when the persons are either fa-
mous or infamous, and God and man is often injured.
If any good or profit arise to thee in the receiving of it,
give God the praise, and esteem me as a son of Adam,
subject to all such frailties as other men are.

And you, my loving friends, the adventurers to this
Plantation, as your care has been, first to settle religion'
here, before either profit or popularity, so I pray you,
go on to do it much more, and be careful to send godly
men, though they want some of that worldly policy
which this world hath in her own generation ; and so,
though you lose, the Lord shall gain. I rejoice greatly
in your free and ready minds to your powers, yea, and
beyond your powers to further this work, that you thus
honor God with your riches ; and I trust you shall be
lepayed again double and treble in this world, yea,
and the memory of this action shall never die. But

» "The great and known end of his Majesty's dominions, might,
the first comers, in the year of our with the liberty of a good con-
Lord 1620, leaving their dear na- science, enjoy the pure scriptural
tive country and all that was dear worship of God, without the mix-
to them there, transporting them- ture of human inventions and im-
selves over the vast ocean into this positions ; and that their children
remote waste wilderness, and there- alter them might walk in the holy
in willingly conflicting with dan- ways of the Lord." See General
gers, losses, hardships and distress- Fundamentals, prefixed to theLavvs
'es, sore and not a few, was, that of New Plymouth, published in
without offence, they under the 1672, and reprinted in Brigham's
protection of their native prince, edition, p. 242.
together with the enlargement of



CHAP, above all, addins; unto this, as I trust you do, like free-

Y \/TT

^— ^ ness in all other God's services, both at home and
1621. abroad, you shall find reward with God, ten thousand-
fold surpassing all that you do or think. Be not, there-
fore, discouraged, for no labor is lost, nor money spent,
which is bestowed for God. Your ends were good,
your success is good, and your profit is coming, even
in this life, and in the life to come much more. And
what shall I say now ? A word to men of understand-
ing suffiiceth. Pardon, I pray you, my boldness, read
over the ensuing treatise, and judge wisely of the poor
weakling ; and the Lord, the God of sea and land,
stretch out his arm of protection over you and us, and
over all our lawful and good enterprises, either this, or

any other way.

Plymouth., in Neio England., Decemher 12, 1621.

There is a generation, which think to have more in
this world than Adam's felicity in innocency, being
born, as they think, to take their pleasures and their
ease. Let the roof of the house drop through, they
stir not ; let the field be overgrown with weeds, they
care not ; they must not foul their hand, nor wet their
foot. It's enough for them to say. Go you, not. Let us
go, though never so much need. Such idle drones are
intolerable in a settled commonwealth, much more in
a commonwealth which is but as it were in the bud.
Of what earth, I pray thee, art thou made ? Of any
better than the other of the sons of Adam ? And
canst thou see other of thy brethren toil their hearts
out, and thou sit idle at home, or takest thy pleasure
abroad ?


It is reported, that there are many men gone to that chap.
other plantation in Virginia, which, whilst they lived 3^
in England, seemed very rehgious, zealous, and con-i62L
scionable ; and have now lost even the sap of grace, ^^'
and edge to all goodness ; and are become mere world-
lings. This testimony I believe to be partly true,
and amongst many causes of it, this self-love is not the
least. It is indeed a matter of some commendations
for a man to remove himself out of a thronged place
into a wide wilderness ; to take in hand so long and
dangerous a journey, to be an instrument to carry the
Gospel and humanity among the brutish heathen ; but
there may be many goodly shows and glosses, and yet
a pad in the straw. Men may make a great appear-
ance of respect unto God, and yet but dissemble with
him, having their own lusts carrying them ; and, out
of doubt, men that have taken in hand hither to come,
out of discontentment, in regard to their estates in
England, and aiming at great matters here, affecting
it to be gentlemen, landed men, or hoping for office,
place, dignity, or fleshly liberty. Let the show be
what it will, the substance is naught ; and that bird of
self-love which was hatched at home, if it be not looked
to, will eat out the life of all grace and goodness ; and
though men have escaped the danger of the sea, and
that cruel mortality, which swept away so many of our
loving friends and brethren, yet except they purge out
this self-love, a worse mischief is prepared for them.
And who knoweth whether God in mercy have deliv-
ered those just men which here departed, from the
pvils to come, and from unreasonable men, in whom
there neither was, nor is, any comfort, but grief, sor-
row, affliction, and misery, till they cast out this spawn
of self-love ?


CHAP. Now, brethren, I pray you, remember yourselves,
^v~ and know that you are not in a retired, monastical
1^21. course, but have given your names and promises one
to another, and covenanted here to cleave together in
the service of God and the King. What then must
you do ? May you live as retired hermits, and look
after nobody ? Nay, you must seek still the wealth of
one another, and inquire, as David, How liveth such a
man ? How is he clad ? How is he fed ? He is my
brother, my associate ; we ventured our lives together
here, and had a hard brunt of it ; and we are in league
together. Is his labor harder than mine ? Surely 1
will ease him. Hath he no bed to lie on ? Why, I
have two ; I'll lend him one. Hath he no apparel ?
Why, I have two suits ; I'll give him one of them.
Eats he coarse fare, bread and water, and I have bet-
ter ? Why, surely we will part stakes. He is as good
a man as I, and we are bound each to other; so that
his wants must be my wants, his sorrows my sorrows,
his sickness my sickness, and his welfare my welfare ;
for I am as he is. And such a sweet sympathy were
excellent, comfortable, yea, heavenly, and is the only
maker and conserver of churches and connnonwealths ;
and where this is wanting, ruin comes on quickly.

It wonderfully encourageth men in their duties,
when they see the burthen equally borne ; but when
some withdraw themselves, and retire to their own
particular ease, pleasure, or profit, what heart can men
have to go on in their business ? When men are come
together to lift some weighty piece of timber, or vessel,
if one stand still and do not lift, shall not the rest be
weakened and disheartened ? Will not a few idle
drones spoil the whole stock of laborious bees ? So


one idle belly, one murmurer, one complainer, one self- chap.
lover, will weaken and dishearten a whole colony. -^^^
Great matters have been brought to pass, where men 1621.
have cheerfully, as with one heart, hand and shoulder,
gone about it, both in wars, buildings and plantations ;
but where every man seeks himself, all cometh to

The country is yet raw ; the land untilled ; the cities
not builded ; the cattle not settled. We are compassed
about with a helpless and idle people, the natives of
the country, which cannot, in any comely or comfort-
able manner, help themselves, much less us. We also
have been very chargeable to many of our loving friends,
which helped us hither, and now again supplied us ;
so that before we think of gathering riches, we must
even in conscience think of requiting their charge, love,
and labor; and cursed be that profit and gain which
aimeth not at this. Besides, how many of our dear
friends did here die at our first entrance ; many of them,
no doubt, for want of good lodging, shelter, and com-
fortable things ; and many more may go after them
quickly, if care be not taken. Is this then a time for
men to begin to seek themselves ? Paul saith, that
men in the last days shall be lovers of themselves ; but 2 Tim.
it is here yet but the first days, and, as it were, the
dawning of this new world. It is now therefore no
time for men to look to get riches, brave clothes, dainty
fare ; but to look to present necessities. It is now no
time to pamper the flesh, live at ease, snatch, catch,
scrape, and pill, and hoard up ; but rather to open the
doors, the chests, and vessels, and say, Brother, neigh-
bour, friend, what want ye ? any thing that I have ?
Make bold with it ; it is yours to command, to do you


111. i


CHAP, eood, to comfort and cherish you ; and glad I am that


-— v^l^ I have it for you.

16 21. Let there be no prodigal person to come forth and say,
Give me the portion of lands and goods that appertain-


''''■^^- eth to me, and let me shift for myself.^ It is yet too
soon to put men to their shifts. Israel was seven years,
in Canaan, before the laud was divided unto tribes,
much longer before it was divided unto families ; and
why wouldest thou have thy particular portion, but be-
cause thou thinkest to live better than thy neighbour,
and scornest to live so meanly as he ? But who, 1 pray
thee, brought this particularizing first into the world ?
Did not Satan, who was not content to keep that equal
state with his fellows, but would set his throne above
the stars ? Did not he also entice man to despise his
general felicity and happiness, and go try particular
knowledge of good and evil ? And nothing in this
world doth more resemble heavenly happiness, than for
men to live as one, being of one heart and one soul ;
neither any thing more resembles hellish horror, than
for every man to shift for himself; for if it be a good
mind and practice, thus to affect particulars, mine and
thine, then it should be best also for God to provide
one heaven for thee, and another for thy neighbour.

Objection. But some will say. If all men will do
their endeavours, as I do, I could be content with this

' Throughout this paragraph ment, and were clamorous for a

there is a manifest reference to the partition of the lands, and the in-

copartnership into which they had stitution of separate property. It

been obliged to enter with the was the design of Mr. Cushman to

merchant adventurers, by which exhort them to be faithful to their

all the property and profits of the engagement, to cherish a public spi-

Plantation for seven years were to rit, and to seek the general and

be held as a joint stock, not to be ultimate good of the Colony, rather

divided till the expiration of that than their personal and immediate

time. The colonists had already interest. See the conditions on

become impatient of this arrange- page 81, and note ' on page 84.


generality ; but many are idle and slothful, and eat up chap.
others' labors, and therefore it is best to part, and iX^
then every man may do his pleasure. 1621.

If others be idle and thou diligent, thy fellowship, ^'^'
provocation, and example, may well help to cure that
malady in them, being together; but being asunder,
shall they not be more idle, and shall not gentry and
beggary be quickly the glorious ensigns of your com-
monwealth ?

Be not too hasty to say men are idle and slothful.
All men have not strength, skill, faculty, spirit, and
courage to work alike. It is thy glory and credit, that
canst do so well, and his shame and reproach, that can
do no better ; and are not these sufficient rewards to
you both ?

If any be idle apparently, you have a law and gov-
ernors to execute the same, and to follow that rule of
the Apostle, to keep back their bread, and let them not
eat. Go not therefore whispering to charge men with
idleness ; but go to the governor and prove them idle,
and thou shalt see them have their deserts.

And as you are a body together, so hang not together
by skins and gymocks, but labor to be jointed toge-
ther and knit by flesh and sinews. Away with envy
at the good of others, and rejoice in his good, and sor-
row for his evil. Let his joy be thy joy, and his sorrow
thy sorrow. Let his sickness be thy sickness, his hun-
ger thy hunger, his poverty thy poverty ; and if you
profess friendship, be friends in adversity, for then a
friend is known and tried, and not before.

Lay away all thought of former things and forget
them, and think upon the things that are. Look not
gapingly one upon other, pleading your goodness,
your birth, your life you lived, your means you had and


CHAP, might have had. Here you are by God's providence
— ^ under difficulties ; be thankful to God it is no worse,
16 21. and take it in good part that which is, and lift not up
yourselves because of former privileges. Consider
therefore what you are now, and where you are. Say
not, I could have lived thus and thus ; but say. Thus and
thus 1 must live ; for God and natural necessity requir-
eth, if your difficulties be great, you had need to cleave
the faster together, and comfort and cheer up one an-
other, laboring to make each other's burden lighter.

There is no grief so tedious as a churlish companion;
and nothing makes sorrows easy more than cheerful as-
sociates. Bear ye therefore one another's burthen, and
be not a burthen one to another. Avoid all factions, fro-
wardness, singularity, and withdrawings, and cleave fast
to the Lord and one to another continually ; so shall
you be a notable precedent to these poor heathens, whose
eyes are upon you, and who very brutishly and cruelly
do daily eat and consume one another, through their
emulations, wars and contentions. Be you, therefore,
ashamed of it, and win them to peace, both with your-
selves and one another, by your peaceable examples,
which will preach louder to them than if you could
cry in their barbarous language. So also shall you be
an encouragement to many of your Christian friends
in your native country, to come to you, when they hear
of your peace, love and kindness that is amongst you.
But, above all, it shall go well with your souls, when
that God of peace and unity shall come to visit you
with death, as he hath done many of your associates ;
you being found of him, not in murmurings, discontent,
and jars, but in brotherly love and peace, may be trans-
lated from this wandering wilderness unto that joyful
and heavenly Canaan.


" Good Newes from New England : or a true Relation of things
very remarkable at the Plantation of Plimoth in New-England.

Shewing the wondrous providence and goodness of God, in their
preservation and continuance, being delivered from many appa-
rent deaths and dangers.

Together with a Relation of such religious and civill Lawes and
Customes, as are in practise amongst the Indians, adjoyning to
them at this day. As also what Commodities are there to be
raysed for the maintenance of that and other Plantations in the
said Country.

Written by E. W. who hath borne a part in the fore-named trou-
bles, and there lived since their first Arrivall.

Whereunto is added by him a briefe Relation of a credible intel-
ligence of the present Estate of Virginia.

London. Printed by I. D. for William Bladen and lotin Bellamie^
and are to be sold at their Shops, at the Bille in PauVs
Church-yard, and at the three Golden Lyons in Corn-hill, neere
the Royall Exchange. 1624." pp. 66, sm. 4to.

To all well-ioillers and furtherers of Plantations in New
England, especially to such as ever have or desire to
assist the people of Plyinouth in their just proceedings,
grace and peace he multiplied.

Right Honorable and Worshipful Gentlemen,
or whatsoever,

Since it hath pleased God to stir jou up to be
instruments of his glory in so honorable an enterprise
as the enlarging of his Majesty's dominions by planting
his loyal subjects in so healthful and hopeful a country
as New-England is, where the church of God being
seated in sincerity, there is no less hope of convincing
the heathen of their evil ways, and converting them to
the true knowledge and worship of the living God, and
so consequently the salvation of their souls by the me-
rits of Jesus Christ, than elsewhere, though it be much
talked on and lightly or lamely prosecuted, — I there-
fore think it but my duty to offer the view of our pro-
ceedings to your worthy considerations, having to that
end composed them together thus briefly, as you see ;
wherein, to your great encouragement, you may behold
the good providence of God working with you in our
preservation from so many dangerous plots and treach-
eries as have been intended against us, as also in giving


his blessing so powerfully upon the weak means we
had, enabling us with health and ability beyond expec-
tation in our greatest scarcities, and possessing the
hearts of the salvages with astonishment and fear of
us ; whereas if God had let them loose, they might
easily have swallowed us up, scarce being a handful
in comparison of those forces they might have gathered
together against us ; which now, by God's blessing,
will be more hard and diflicult, in regard our number
of men is increased, our town better fortified, and our
store better victualled. Blessed therefore be his name,
that hath done so great things for us and hath wrought
so great a change amongst us.

Accept, I pray you, my weak endeavours, pardon
my unskil fulness, and bear with my plainness in the
things I have handled. Be not discouraged by our
former necessities, but rather encouraged with us, hop-
ing that as God hath wrought with us in our beginning
of this worthy work, undertaken in his name and fear,
so he will by us accomplish the same to his glory and
our comfort, if we neglect not the means. I confess it
hath not been much less chargeable to some of you ^
than hard and difficult to us, that have endured the
brunt of the battle, and yet small profits returned.
Only, by God's mercy, we are safely seated, housed,
and fortified, by which means a great step is made
unto gain, and a more direct course taken for the same,
than if at first we had rashly and covetously fallen
upon it.

Indeed three things are the overthrow and bane, as
I may term it, of plantations.

' The merchant adventurers. See pages 67 and 78.


1. The vain expectation of present profit, which too
commonly taketh a principal seat in the heart and af-
fection, though God's glory, &c. is preferred before it

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 24 of 44)