Alexander Young.

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

. (page 3 of 44)
Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 3 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

cause it claimed a larger jurisdic- commissioners were empowered
lion and higher powers than the and directed to inquire of all heret-
ordinary courts of the bishops; its ical opinions, to punish all persons
jurisdiction extended over the whole absent from church, to visit and re-
kingdom. It was provided for by reform all errors, heresies, and
the Act of Supremacy, passed in schisms, to deprive all persons of
1559, but did not go into full opera- ecclesiastical livings who main-
tion till 1584. It was an ecclesias- tained any doctrine contrary to the
fical court, consisting of forty-four thirty-nine articles, to examine all


CHAP, affliction was not small. Which, notwithstanding, they
— ^— ' bare sundry years with much patience, until they
were occasioned, by the continuance and increase of
these troubles, and other means which the Lord raised
up in those days, to see further into these ' things by
the light of the word of God ; how that ' not only
those base beggarly ceremonies were unlawful, but also
that the lordly, tyrannous power of the prelates ought
not to be submitted to, which those contrary to the
freedom of the Gospel would load and burthen men's
consciences with, and by their compulsive power make
a profane mixture of persons and things in the worship
of God ; and that their offices and callings, courts and
canons, &c. were unlawful and antichristian, being
such as have no warrant in the word of God, but the
same that were used in Popery, and still retained ; of
which a famous author thus writeth in his Dutch com-
mentaries : —
160 3. a \i tjjg coming of King James out of Scotland into

April. => . ° .

England,^ the new king," saith he, " found there estab-

suspected persons on iheir oaths, Puritans, i. 84, 274, 285; Hallam,

and to punish the refractory by ex- i. 215. (4to ed.)
communication, fine, or imprison- ' I have inserted the words these

ment, according to their discretion, and that from Prince, who quotes

They had full authority to com- this passage from Bradford's MS.

mand all sheriffs, justices, and other See his Annals, p. 100.
officers to apprehend and bring be- * At the famous Conference at

fore them all persons that they Hampton Court, held Jan. 14, 1604,

should see fit. Pursuivants or mes- James declared, "I will none of

sengers were sent to the houses of that liberty as to ceremonies; I will

suspected persons with a citation have one doctrine and one disci-

for them to appear before the com- pline, one religion in substance and

missioners, when they were re- ceremony. — I shall make them

quired to answer upon oath to a [the Puritans] conform themselves,

series of interrogatories, which as or I will harry them out of the land,

Lord Burleigh said, were "so curi- or else do worse. — If any would

ously penned, so full of branches not be quiet, and show his obedience,

and circumstances, as he thought he were worthy to be hanged." —

the inquisitors of Spain used not so In his speech at the opening of his

many questions to tr.ip their preys." first parliament, March 19, 1604,

See Strype's Annals, iii. ISO; Neal's he "professed that the sect of Purl-



lished the reformed religion, according to the reformed chap.
religion of King Edward the Sixth, retaining or keep- — v^
ing still the spiritual state of the bishops, &c. after the
old manner, much varying and differing from the Re-
formed Churches of Scotland, France, and the Nether-
lands, Emden, Geneva, &c., w^hose Reformation is
cut or shapen much nearer the first churches, as it was
used in the Apostles' times." ^

So many therefore of these professors as saw the
evil of these things, in these parts, and whose hearts
the Lord had touched with heavenly zeal for his truth,
they shook off this yoke of antichristian bondage, and,
as the Lord's free people, joined themselves, (by ai602.
covenant of the Lord,) into a church estate, in the fel-
lowship of the Gospel, to walk in all his ways, made
known, or to be made known unto them, according to
their best endeavours, whatsoever it should cost them.^

tans or Novelists was not to be suf-
fered in any well governed cotrimon-
wealth." In a private letter writ-
ten about the same time, he said,
" I had rather live like a hermit in
the forest, than be king over such a
people as the pack of Puritans that
overrules ihe lower house," He
had previously written to his son in
the Basilicon Doron, " Take heed,
my son, to such Puritans, very pests
in the church and commonwealth.
I protest before the great God, that
ye shall never find with any High-
land or Border thieves greater in-
gratitude and more lies and vile
perjuries than with these fanatic
spirits." Barlow's Sum and Sub-
stance, pp. 71, 83, 92 ; Calderwood,
Hist. Ch. Scotland, p. 478 ; Hallam,
i. 332.

In conformity with these views,
on the 5th of March, 1604, he issued
a proclamation, that the same reli-
gion, with common prayer, and
episcopal jurisdiction, shall fully
and only be publicly exercised, in

all respects, as in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, without hope of tolera-
tion of any other ; and on the 6th of
July he issued another proclamation
in which he ordered the Puritan
ministers either to conform before
the last of November, or dispose of
themselves and families some other
way ; as being men unfit, for their
obstinacy and contempt, to occupy
such places. The consequence of
this was, that before November of
the next year more than three
hundred ministers were ejected,
silenced, or suspended, some of
whom were imprisoned, and others
driven into exile. Prince, pp. 107,
108, 110; Neal's Puritans, i. 432.

' The Reformed Churches shapen
much nearer the primitive pattern
than England ; for they cashiered
the bishops, with their court canons ^
and ceremonies at the first, and left ,
them amongst the Popish trash, to
which they appertain. — Morton's

* Prince says, " Governor Brad-


CHAP. And that it cost them much pains, trouble, sorrow,
-^^^ affliction, and persecution, and expense of their estates,

&c. this ensuing history will declare.'
1606. These people became two distinct bodies or churches,
in regard of distance of place, and did congregate sever-
ally, for they were of several towns and villages, some
in Nottinghamshire, some in Lincolnshire,^ and some
of Yorkshire, where they bordered nearest together.
In the one of these churches, besides others of note,
was Mr. John Smith,^ a man of able gifts, and a good
preacher, who afterwards was chosen their pastor.
But these afterwards falling into some errors in the
Low Countries, there for the most part buried them-
selves and their names.

But in this other church, which must be the subject
of our discourse, besides other worthy men, was Mr.
Richard Clifton, a grave and reverend preacher, who
by his pains and diligence had done much good, and

ford's History takes no notice of the correct reading, as Lincolnshire
the year of this federal incorpora- borders both on Nottinghamshire
lion ; but Mr. Secretary Morton, in and Yorkshire, whilst Lancashire
his Memorial, places it in 1602. does not. Besides, Prince was re-
AnA I suppose he had the account markable for his accuracy, and is
either from some other writings of less likely to have made a mistake
Gov. Bradford, the Journals of Gov. in deciphering and copying a word
Winslow, or from oral conference than Morton. He tells us, "In the
with them, or other of the first passages relating to the Plymouth
planters ; with some of whom planters, I chiefly use Gov. Brad-
he was contemporary, and from ford's manuscript History of that
whence, he tells us, he received Church and Colony, in folio; who
his intelligence." Annals, p. 100. was with them from their beginning

* " These seem to be some of tne to the end of his Narrative, which

first in England that were brave is now before me, and was never

enough to improve the liberty published." Annals, p. 99.

wherewith the divine author of our ^ Someaccountof Smith, Clifton,

religion has made us free, and and Robinson, is contained in Gov.

observe his institutions as their only Bradford's Dialogue, in a subsequent

rule in church order, discipline, and part of this volume; where will

worship. " Prince, p. lOO. also be found a more extended

^ I have substituted Lincolnshire memoir of Elder Brewster, also

for Lancashire, on the authority of written by Gov. Bradford.
Prince. This is most likely to be


under God had been a means of the conversion of chap,
many ; and also that famous and worthy man, Mr. - ^ —
John Robinson, who afterwards was their pastor for 1606.
many years, until the Lord took him away by death ;
and also Mr. William Brewster, a reverend man, who
afterwards was chosen an elder of the church, and lived
with them until old age and death.

But, after these things, they could not long continue
in any peaceable manner, but were hunted and perse-
cuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were
but as molehills to mountains in comparison to these
which now came upon them. For some were taken
and clapped up in prisons, others had their houses beset
and watched night and day, and hardly escaped their
hands ; and the most were fain to fly and leave their
houses and habitations, and the means of their liveli-
hood. Yet these, and many other sharper things which
afterward befell them, were no other than they looked
for, and therefore were the better prepared to bear them
by the assistance of God's grace and spirit. Yet seeing
themselves thus molested, and that there was no hope
of their continuance there, by a joint consent they
resolved to go into the Low Countries, where they
heard was freedom of religion for all men,* as also how

' After the introduction of the Amsterdam as "a common harbour

Reformed religion into the Low of all opinions, of all heresies."

Countries in 1573, the utmost reli- Baylie, in his Dissuasive, p. 8, calls

gious freedom was allowed, all sects Holland " a cage for unclean birds."

were tolerated, and an asylum was Owen Felltham, in his amusing

opened for fugitives from persecu- description of the Low Countries,

tion from every land. See Grotius, says that "all strange religions

Annals, p. 41; Brandt, i. 308; Stra- flock thither." Johnson, in his

da, i. 457. This honorable pecu- Wonderworking Providence, ch.

liarity has often been made an 15, exclaims, " Ye Dutch, come out

occasion of reproach against the of your hodge-podge : the great

country. Thus Bishop Hall, in his mingle mangle of religion among

letter to Smith and Robinson, you hath caused the churches of

Decade iii. Epist. 1, speaks of Christ to increase so little with you,




CHAP, sundry from London and other parts of the land, that
— ^- had been exiled and persecuted for the same cause,
were gone thither, and lived at Amsterdam,^ and in
other places of the land.

So after they had continued together about a year,
and kept their meetings every Sabbath in one place or
another, exercising the worship of God amongst them-
selves,^ notwithstanding all the diligence and malice
of their adversaries, they seeing they could no longer
continue in that condition, they resolved to get over
into Holland, as they could, which was in the year
1607 and 1608 ; of which more in that which foi-

standing at a stay like corn among
weeds." Beaumont and Fletcher,
in their play, The Fair Maid of the
Inn, introduce one of their charac-
ters as saying,

" I am a schoolmaster, Sir, and would fain
Confer with you about erecting four
New sects of religion at Amsterdam."

And Andrew Marvell, in his " Char-
acter of Holland," writes,

" Sure when religion did itself embark,

And from the east would westward steer
its ark,

It struck ; and splitting on this unknown

Each one thence pillaged the first piece he

Hence Amsterdam, Turk, Christian, Pa-
gan, Jew,

Staple of sects, and mint of schism, grew ;

That bank of conscience, where not one so

Opinion, hut finds credit and exchange.

In vain for catholics ourselves we bear;

The universal church is only there."

' The English church at Am-
sterdam was that of which Francis
Johnson was pastor and Henry
Ainsworth teacher, and which had
been originally set up at London,
in 1592, and soon afterwards re-
moved to Holland. It came very
near being torn in pieces at first by
intestine divisions, but afterwards
flourished under a succession of
pastors for more than a century.

In 1596 they published a " Confes-
sion of Faith of certain English
people living in exile in the Low
Countries," which was reprinted in
1604, in " An Apology or Defence
of such true Christians as are com-
monly, but unjustly, called Brown-
ists." This work has sometimes
been confounded with John Robin-
son's "Just and Necessary Apology
of certain Christians not less con-
tumeliously than commonly called
Brownists or Barrowists," which
was first published in 1619. Some
account of Johnson and Ainsworth
is contained in Bradford's Dialogue,
in a subsequent part of this volume.
See Brandt's History of the Refor-
mation in the Low Countries, i.
479; Neal's Puritans, i. 363, 386;
Prince, p. 303.

' In a memoirof Elder Brewster,
written by Gov. Bradford, and
copied by Morton into the records
of the Plymouth Church, it is stated
that "they ordinarily met at his
(Brewster's) house on the Lord's
Day, which was within a manor of
the (jishop's ; and with great love he
entertained them when they came,
making provision for them to his
great charge, and continued to do
so while they could stay in Eng-





Being thus constrained to leave their native country, chap.

. n.
their lands and livings, and all their friends and familiar — ^—

acquaintance, it was much, and thought marvellous by

many. But to go into a country they knew not, but

by hearsay, where they must learn a new language,

and get their livings they knew not how, it being a

dear place, and subject to the miseries of war,^ it was

by many thought an adventure almost desperate, a case

intolerable, and a misery worse than death ; especially

seeing they were not acquainted with trades nor traffic,

(by which the country doth subsist) but had only been

* TheNetherlandshave, in every pendence. The best account of this
age, from the earliest times down war will be found in the conlem-
to the last great conflict at Water- porary historians, Bentivoglio, Re-
loo, been the battle-ground of Eu- latione delle Provincie Unite di
rope. Bishop Hall says in one of Fiandra, Strada, de Bello Belgico,
his epistles, "It were pity that your and Grotius, Annales et Historise
Holland should be still the amphi- de Rebus Belgicis. See also
theatre of the world, on whose Brandt's History of the Reforrna-
scatfolds all other nations should tion in the Low Countries, Sir
sit, and see variety of bloody shows, William Temple's Observations
not without pity and horror." At upon the United Provinces of the
this time Spain was waging that Netherlands, Watson's History of
dreadful war with her revolted the Reign of Philip H. and HI. and
subjects of the United Provinces, Grattan's History of the Nether-
wjaich terminated in their inde- lands, in Larduer's Cyclopedia.



CHAP, used to a plain country life and the innocent trade of

II. ^ ...
husbandry. But these things did not dismay them,

(although they did sometimes trouble them,) for their
desires were set on the ways of God, and to enjoy his
ordinances. But they rested on his jDrovidence, and
knew whom they had believed. Yet this was not all.
For although they could not stay, yet were they not
suffered to go ; but the ports and havens were shut
against them, so as they were fain to seek secret means
of conveyance, and to fee the mariners, and give extra-
ordinary rates for their passages. And yet were they
oftentimes betrayed, many of them, and both they and
their goods intercepted and surprised, and thereby put
to great trouble and charge ; of which I will give an
instance or two, and omit the rest.
1607. There was a great company of them purposed to get
passage at Boston, in Lincolnshire ; and for that end
had hired a ship wholly to themselves, and made agree-
ment with the master to be ready at a certain day, and
take them and their goods in at a convenient place,
where they accordingly would all attend in readiness.
So after long waiting and large expenses, though he
kept not the day with them, yet he came at length,
and took them in, in the night. And when he had
them and their goods aboard, he betrayed them, having
beforehand complotted with the searchers and other
officers so to do ; who took them and put them into
open boats, and there rifled and ransacked them, search-
ing them to their shirts for money, yea, even the women,
further than became modesty ; and then carried them
back into the town, and made them a spectacle and
wonderment to the multitude, which came flocking on
all sides to behold them. Being thus by the catchpole



officers rifled and stripped of their money, books, and g:hap.
much other goods, they were presented to the magis- -'-^-
trates, and messengers sent to inform the Lords of
the Council of them ; and so they were committed to
ward. Indeed, the magistrates used them courteously,
and showed them what favor they could ; but could
not deliver them until order came from the Council
table. But the issue was, that after a month's im-
prisonment the greatest part were dismissed, and sent
to the places from whence they came ; but seven ' of
the principal men ^ were still kept in prison, and bound
over to the assizes.^

The next spring after, there was another attempt i608.
made, by some of these and others, to get over at
another place ; and it so fell out that they lighted of a
Dutchman at Hull, having a ship of his own belonging

* The word in the MS. is some ;
but I have no doubt that seve^i was
the original reading. Hutchinson,
who quotes this passage at length
from Bradford's History, reads it
seven; and it will be seen by the
next note that Morion himself,
copying another manuscript of Gov.
Bradford alluding to this same af-
fair, mentions " the seven." The
word men I have also restored from
Hutchinson. See his History, ii.

* Gov. Bradford says, in the me-
moir already referred to on page 24,
that Elder Brewster " was the chief
of those that were taken at Boston,
in Lincolnshire, and suffered the
greatest loss, and one of the seven
that were kept lonsest in prison,
and after bound over to the assizes."
The books that were in the boats
probably belonged to him, as we
know that he had a considerable
library, which he brought over with
him to Plymouth. A catalogue of
them is contained in his inventory,
iif the Records of the Old Colony.

The whole number of volumes was
275, of which 64 were in the learned
languages. They were valued at
£43. See Morton's Memorial, p.
221, and Mass. Hist. Coll. iv. 117.
Cotton Mather, in his Life of
Gov. Bradford in the Magnalia, i.
102, stales that he was one of those
that were taken and imprisoned at
Boston. He adds that " Mr. Brad-
ford being a young man of about
eighteen, was dismissed sooner
than the rest, so that within a
while he had opportunity with
some others to get over to Zealand,
through perils both by land and sea
not inconsiderable; where he was
not long ashore ere a viper seized
on his hand, that is, an officer, who
carried him unto the magistrates,
unto whom an envious passenger
had accused him as having fled out
of England. When the magistrates
understood the true cause of his
coming thither, they were well
satisfied with him; and so he re-
paired joyfully unto his brethren at


*^H^P- to Zealand. They made .agreement with him, and
-^^^'^^ acquainted him with their condition, hoping to find
1608. jjjQj.g faithfuhiess in him than in the former, of their
own nation. He bade them not fear ; for he would do
well enough. He was by appointment to take them in
between Grimsby ^ and Hull, where was a large com-
mon, a good way distant from any town. Now against
the prefixed time, the women and children, with the
goods, were sent to the place in a small bark, which
they had hired for that end, and the men were to meet
them by land. But it so fell out that they were there a
day before the ship came ; and the sea being rough,^ and
the women very sick, prevailed with the seamen to put
into a creek hard by, where they lay on ground at low
water. The next morning the ship came ; but they
were fast, and could not stir until about noon. In the
mean time, the shipmaster, perceiving how the matter
was, sent his boat to be getting the men aboard, whom
he saw walking about the shore. But after the first
boat-full was got aboard, and she was ready to go for
more, the master espied a great company, both horse
and foot, with bills and guns and other weapons ; for
the country was raised to take them. The Dutchman
seeing that, swore his country's oath, (" sacrament ")
and having the wind fair, weighed his anchor, hoisted
sails, and away.

But the poor men which were got on board were in
great distress for their wives and children, which they

' Grimsby is a sea-port town in ^ Mr. Bancroft, who is generally

Lincolnshire, near the mouth of the very accurate in his facts, errs in

Humber. It was once rich and pop- saying that " the embarkation was

ulous, and carried on a considerable to be made under the shelter of

foreign trade. See Camden's Bri- darhness ; " and also draws upon

tannia, p. 471, and Britton's Topo- his imagination for " a night

graphical Description of the County storm" Hist. U. S. i. 302.
of Lincoln, p. 689


saw thus to be taken, and were left destitute of their chap.
helps, and themselves also not having a cloth to shift — - ^
them with, more than they had on their backs, and I6O8.
some scarce a penny about them, all they had being
on board the bark. It drew tears from their eyes, and
any thing they had they would have given to have
been on shore again. But all in vain ; there was no
remedy ; they must thus sadly part ; and afterwards
endured a fearful storm at sea, being fourteen days or
xnore before they arrived at their port ; in seven whereof
they neither saw sun, moon, nor stars, and were driven
to the coast of Norway ; the mariners themselves often
despairing of life, and once with shrieks and cries gave
over all, as if the ship had been foundered in the sea,
and they sinking without recovery. But when man's
hope and help wholly failed, the Lord's power and
mercy appeared for their recovery ; for the ship rose
again, and gave the mariners courage again to manage
her ; and if modesty ^ would suffer me, I might declare
with what fervent prayers they cried unto the Lord in
this great distress, especially some of them, even with-
out any great distraction. When the water ran into
their very ears and mouths, and the mariners cried out,
" We sink, we sink," they cried, if not with miracu-
lous, yet with a great height of divine faith, " Yet,
Lord, thou canst save ; yet. Lord, thou canst save : "
with such other expressions as I will forbear. Upon
which the ship did not only recover, but shortly after
the violence of the storm began to abate, and the Lord
filled their afflicted minds with such comforts as every

' From this expression, as well ford himself was in the vessel,
as from the whole passage, there The description is that of an eye-
/;an hardly be a doubt that Brad- witness.



CHAP, one cannot understand, and in the end brought them

-^•^-^ to then- desired haven ; where the people came flocking,

16 08. admiring their deliverance, the storm having been so
long and sore, in which much hurt had been done, as
the master's friends had related unto him in their con-

But to return to the others where we left. The rest
of the men that were in the greatest danger made shift
to escape away before the troop could surprise them,
those only staying that best might, to be assistant to
the women. But pitiful it was to see the heavy case

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 3 of 44)