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

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Brewster at Leyden, was the fol- presented to that Church in 1828

lowing : " Commentarii Succincti by the Hon. John Davis, LL.D.

et Dilucidi in Proverbia Salomonis. the learned editor of Morton's New

Aulhore Thoma Cartwrightio, SS. England's Memorial. Another copy

Theologise in Academia Cantabri- is in the library of the Pilgrim So-

giensi quondam Professore. Qui- ciety at Plymouth. See Thacher's

bus adhibita est Proefatio clarissimi Plymouth, p. 270.

viri Johannis Polyandri, S. Theo- '' It appears from the following

logise Professoris Leidensis. Lug- extracts of letters written by Sir

duni Batavorum. Apud Guliei- Dudley Carleton to Secretary Naun-



But now removing into this country, all these things chap.

1 • J • 1 • 1 /• !• • XXVII.

were Jam aside again, and a new course of living must - v-^.
be submitted to; in which he was no way unwilling ^ 620.
to take his part and to bear his burden with the rest,
living many times without bread or corn many months
together, having many times nothing but fish, and
often wanting that also ; and drank nothing but water
for many years together, yea, until within five or six
years of his death. And yet he lived, by the blessing
of God, in health until very old age ; and besides that,
he would labor with his hands in the fields as long as
he was able. Yet when the Church had no other
minister, he taught twice every sabbath, and that both
powerfully and profitably, to the great contentment of
the hearers, and their comfortable edification. Yea,
many were brought to God by his ministry. He did
more in their behalf in a year, than many that have
their hundreds a year do in all their lives.

ton, from the Hague in 1619, that
Brewster was at this time an object
of suspicion and pursuit to the Eng-
lish government on account of cer-
tain obnoxious books which he had

" July 22. One William Brew-
ster, a Brownist, hath been for
some years an inhabitant and print-
er at Leyden, but is now within
three weeks removed from thence
and gone back to dwell in London,
where he may be found out and ex-
amined, not only of this book De
Regimine Ecdesicc Scoticame, but
likewise of Perth Assembly, of
Avhich if he was not the printer
himself, he assuredly knows botli
the printer and author; for, as I
am informed, he hath had, whilst
he, remained here, his hand in all
such books as have been sent over
into England and Scotland ; as par-
ticularly a book in folio, entitled A
Confutation of the Rhemists' Trans-

lation, Glosses and Annotations of
the Neiu Testament, anno 1618,
was printed by him. So was an-
other in 18mo, De vera et genuind
Jesii Christi Domini et Salvatoris
nostri Rcligione, of which I send
your honor herewith the title page ;
and if you will compare that, which
is underlined therein, with the
other, De Regimine Ecclesim Scoti-
coiKc, of which I send your honor
the title-page likewise, you will
find it is the same character ; and
the one being confessed (as that
De vera et genuind Jesu Christi,
4"c. Religione, Brewster doth openly
avow,) ^he other cannot well be
denied." — " Aug. 20. I have made
good inquiry after William Brew-
ster, at Leyden, and am well as-
sured that he is not returned thither;
neither is it likely he will, having
removed from thence both his fam-
ily and goods."—" Sept. 12. In my
last I advertised your honor that





For his personal abilities, he was qualified above
many. He was wise and discreet and well spoken,
having a grave, deliberate utterance ; of a very cheerful
spirit, very sociable and pleasant amongst his friends,
of an humble and modest mind, of a peaceable disposi-
tion, undervaluing himself and his own abilities, and
sometimes overvaluing others ; inoffensive and innocent
in his life and conversation, which gained him the love
of those without as well as those within. Yet he
would tell them plainly of their faults and evils, both
publicly and privately ; but in such a manner as usually
was well taken from him. He was tender-hearted,
and compassionate of such as were in misery, but es-
pecially of such as had been of good estate and rank,
and were fallen into want and poverty, either for good-
ness and religion's sake, or by the injury and oppres-
sion of others. He would say, of all men these de-
served to be most pitied ; and none did more offend

Brewster was taken at Leyden :
which proved an error, in that the
schout, who was employed b^ the
magistrates for his apprehension,
being a dull drunken fellow, took
one man for another. But Brewer,
who set him on work, and being a
man of means bare the charge of his
printing, is fast in the University's
prison ; and his printing letters,
Avhich were found in his house in a
garret, where he had hid them, and
his books and papers, are all seized
and sealed up. I expect to-morrow
lo receive his voluntary confession
of such books as he hath caused to
be printed by Brewster for this
year and a half or two years past ;
and then I intend to send one ex-
pressly to visit his books and pa-
pers, and to examine him particu-
larly touching Perth Assembly, the
discourse De Regimine EcclesicB
Scuticance, and other Puritan pam-

phlets, which I have newly reco-
vered." — "Sept. 18. It appears
that this Brewer, and Brewster,
whom this man set on work, hav-
ing kept no open sliop, nor printed
many books fit for public sale in
these provinces, their practice was
to print prohibited books to be
vented underhand in his Majesty's
kingdom."— "Jan. 19,1620. Un-
less Brewer undertakes to do his
uttermost in finding out Brewster,
(wherein I will not fail likewise of
all other endeavours) he is not like
to be at liberty; the suspicion
whereof keeps him from hence, for
as yet he appears not in these
parts." Carleton's Letters, pp. 3S0,
386, 3S9, 390, 437. It appears
from page 71, that in May, 1619,
Brewster was in England. It is
probable he did not return to Ley-
den, but kept close till the May-
flower sailed.



and displease him, than such as would haujilitily and chap.
proudly carry and lift up themselves, being risen from
nothing, and having little else in them but a (e.w fine
clothes or a little riches more than others.

In teaching, he was very stirring, and moving the
affections ; also very plain and distinct in what he
taught ; by which means he became the more profita-
ble to the hearers. He had a singular good gift in
prayer, both public and private, in ripping up the heart
and conscience before God, in the humble confession
of sin, and begging the mercies of God in Christ for
the pardon thereof. He always thought it were better
for ministers to pray oftener, and divide their prayers,
than to be long and tedious in the same ; except upon
solemn and special occasions, as on days of Humilia-
tion and the like. His reason was that the heart and
spirits of all, especially the weak, could hardly continue
and stand bent (as it were,) so long towards God, as
they ought to do in that duty, without flagging and
falling off.

For the government of the church, which was most
proper to his oftice, he was careful to preserve good
order in the same, and to preserve purity both in the
doctrine and communion of the same, and to suppress
any error or contention that might begin to arise
amongst them ; and accordingly God gave good suc-
cess to his endeavours herein all his days, and he saw
the fruit of his labors in that behalf. But I must
break off, having thus touched a few heads of things.^

' William Brewster, the rul- He was probably the oldest of the

jng elder of John Robinson's Pilgrims, being 56 when he arrived

church, and whose name stands at Plymouth. On account of his

fourth among the signers of the age and office he probably was not

Compact, was born in 1564; but much employed in the civil affairs

the place of his birth is not known, of the Colony, and consequently



CHAP, his name seldom occurs in the pre-
XXVII. ceding History. The reason why
• — ^"^ he was not chosen governor after
the death of Carver in 1621, is
slated in note ' on page 197. It
appears from this Memoir that he
had ''many children ;" but the ex-
act number has not been ascer-
tained. He brought his wife with
him, and four other individuals,
who were probably his children.
The following are known to have
been his children — Jonathan, Love,
Wrestling, Patience, and Fear.
The last two came in the Ann in
1623; Patience married in 1624
Thomas Prince, who was after-
wards governor, and Fear married
Isaac Allerton in 1626. It appears
from page 173 that the venerable
elder had a house lot assigned him
in 1621, in Plymouth, on the street
now called Leyden-street. In the

latter part of his life he built a
house in Duxbury, near Captain's
Hill, and resided there a short
time. His sons Jonathan and
Love settled in Duxbury. Love
died there, and his son William
was deacon of the church in that
place. Jonathan, wiih his family,
removed to Connecticut after 1643.
There are many descendants of the
worthy elder in Plymouth, Duxbu-
ry, Kingston, Pembroke, and in
Connecticut, and elsewhere. A
town on Cape Cod was named after
him in 1S03, and it is believed that
the Brewsters, in Boston harbour,
were so called in compliment to
him. See note ^ on page 27 ; Bel-
knap's Am. Biog. ii. 252 — 266;
Hutchinson's Mass. ii. 460; Mitch-
ell's Bridgewater, p. 361 ; Mass.
Hist. Coll. X. 73, XX. 57—68.

ELDER Brewster's chair.


" That is the best History, which is collected out of Letters.'"


" Letters of affairs, from such as manage them, or are privy to
them, are of all others the best instructions for history, and to a
diligent reader the best histories in themselves."

Lord Bacon.



To the Church of God at Plymouth, in New England}

Much Beloved Brethren,

Neither the distance of i)lace, nor distinction of chap.

^ ' xxvni.

body, can at all either dissolve or weaken that bond of ^^ - ^
true Christian affection in which the Lord by his spirit 1^21.
hath tied us together. My continual prayers are to
the Lord for you ; my most earnest desire is unto you;^
from whom I will not longer keep (if God vv'ill) than
means can be procured to bring with me the wives
and children of divers of you and the rest of your
brethren, whom I could not leave behind me without
great injury both to you and them, and offence to God
and all men. The death of so many our dear friends
and brethren,^ oh ! how grievous hath it been to you
to bear, and to us to take knowledge of; which, if it

1 This and most of the following nately destroyed, having been put

letters are taken from a fragment to the most ignoble uses. See

o& Gov. Bradford's Letter Book, Belknap's Am. Biog. ii. 246, and

■which was rescued about fifty years Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 45.

since from a grocer's shop in Hali- * See note on page 453.

fax, Nova Scotia. The earlier and ^ See note ' on page 198.
more valuable part was unfortu-



CHAP, could be mended with lamenting, could not sufficiently
^^v^' be bewailed ; but we must go unto them, and they
1621. shall not return unto us. And how many even of us
God hath taken away here and in England, since your
departure, you may elsewhere take knowledge. But
the same God has tempered judgment with mercy, as
otherwise, so in sparing the rest, especially those by
whose godly and wise government you may be and (1
know) are so much helped.^ In a battle it is not looked
for but that div ers should die ; it is thought well for a
side if it get the victory, though with the loss of divers,
if not too many or too great. God, I hope, hath given
you the victory, after many difficulties, for yourselves
and others ; though I doubt not but many do and will
remain for you and us all to strive with.

Brethren, I hope I need not exhort you to obedience
unto those whom God hath set over you in church and
commonwealth, and to the Lord in them. It is a
Christian's honor to give honor according to men's
places ; and his liberty to serve God in faith, and his
brethren in love, orderly and with a willing and free heart.
God forbid I should need to exhort you to peace, which
is the bond of perfection, and by which all good is tied
together, and without which it is scattered. Have
peace with God first, by faith in his promises, good
conscience kept in all things, and oft renewed by re-
pentance ; and so one with another, for his sake who
is, though three, one ; and for Christ's sake, who is
one, and as you are called by one spirit to one hope.

' It was certainly a remarka- Carver, most of the prominent

ble providence, that out of the 21 men were spared. How different

men who died the first winter, so might have been the fate of the

few were among the leaders of the Colony had Bradford, Winslow,

expedition. With the exception of Standish and AUerton been cut off.


And the God of peace and grace and all goodness be chap.
with you in all the iVuits thereof plenteously upon your ^ii'
heads, now and forever. 162I.

All your brethren here remember you with great
love, a general token whereof they have sent you.

Yours ever in the Lord,

John Robinson.

Ley den, (Holland,) June 30, anno 1C21.

robinson to elder brewster.

Loving and Dear Friend and Brother,^

That which 1 most desired of God in regard of you,
namely, the continuance of your life and health, and
the safe coming of those sent unto you, that I most gladly
hear of, and praise God for the same. And I hope
mistress Brewster's weak and decayed state of body
will have some repairing by the coming of her daugh-
ters,^ and the provisions in this and other ships sent,
w hich I hear is made for you ; which makes us with
the more patience bear our languishing state and the
deferring of our desired transportation, (which I call
desired rather than hoped for,) whatsoever you are
borne in hand with by others. For first, there is no
hope at all, that I know nor can conceive of, of any
new stock to be raised for that (Mid, so that all must
depend upon returns from you ; in which are so many
uncertainties, as that nothing with any certainty can
thence be concluded. Besides, howsoever, for the

' This letter is copied from the the daughters of the Elder, arrived

records of Plymouth Church, book in tho Ann, in 1G23. See note on

i. folio 27. page 352.

' Patience and Fear Brewster,


CHAP, present, the adventurers allege nothing but want of
^^^^' money, which is an invincible difficulty ; yet if that
16 23. be taken away by you, others without doubt will be
found. For the better clearing of this, we must dis-
pose the adventurers into three parts ; and of them
some five or six (as I conceive) are absolutely bent for
us above others. Other five or six are our bitter pro-
fessed adversaries. The rest, being the body, I con-
ceive to be honestly minded, and lovingly also towards
us ; yet such as have others, namely, the forward
preachers,' nearer unto them than us, and whose course,
so far as there is any difference, they would advance
rather than ours. Now what a hank ^ these men have
over the professors you know ; and I persuade myself
that for me they of all others are unwilling I should be
transported ; especially such as have an eye that way
themselves, as thinking if I come there, their market ,
will be marred in many regards. And for these adver-
saries, if they have but half their will to their malice,
they will stop my course when they see it intended,
for which this delaying serveth them very opportunely;^
and as one rusty ^ jade can hinder by hanging back

' John Lyford, who came over * Lyford wrote home to the ad-

in the spring of 1624, was probably verse part of the adventurers, in

one of those " forward preachers," 1624, counselling them that "the

and John Pemberton, his corres- Leyden Company, Mr. Robinson

pendent, was another. Robert and the rest, must still be kept

Cushman, in a letter dated Jan. 24, back, or else all will be spoiled;

1624, says " we send a preacher, and lest any of them should be ta-

though not the most eminent, for ken in privately on the coast of

whose going Mr. Winslow and I England, (as it was feared might

gave way to give content to some be done,) they must change the

at London." Bradford speaks of master of the ship, Mr. William

" tiie minister, Mr. John Lyford, Peirce, and put another also in Mr.

whom a faction of the adventurers Winslow's room for merchant, or

send, to hinder Mr. Robinson." otherwise it would not be prevent-

See Morton's Memorial, pp. Ill, ed." MS. Records of Plymouth

114, and Prince's Annals, pp. 226, Church, b. i. folio 30.

228. 4 Rusty, dull, lazy.
^ Hank, influence.


more than two or three can or wiJl (at least if they be chap.
not very free) draw forward, so will it be in this case. ^^^'
A notable experiment of this they gave in yom- mes- 1623.
senger's presence/ constraining the company to pro-
mise that none of the money now gathered should be
expended or employed to the help of any of us towards

Now touching the question propounded by you, I
judge it not lawful for you, being a ruling elder, as
Rom. xii. 7, 8, and 1 Tim. v. 17, ojiposed to the elders
that teach and exhort and labor in the word and doc-
trine, to which the sacraments are annexed, to admin-
ister them, nor convenient if it were lawful.^

Be you heartily saluted, and your wife with you,
both from me and mine. ^ Your God and ours, and the
God of all his, bring us together, if it be his will, and
keep us in the mean while and always to his glory,
and make us serviceable to his majesty, and faithful to
the end. Amen.

Your very loving brother,

John Robinson.^

Leyden, December 20, 1623.

' This messenger was Edward England, although he so much
Winslow, who sailed from Ply- longed to be with his flock, and his
mouth in the Ann, Sept. 10, 1623, flock with him ; a wortliy pattern
and returned in the Charity in unto all churches and their minis-
March, 1624. He was the bearer ters to be imitated." — Bradford's
of this letter. See Morton's Me- or Morton's Note.
morial, p. Ill; Prince's Annals, Morion, in his Memorial, p. 126,
pp. 225, 6. Prince quotes from says, that " his and their adversa-
another letter of Robinson's to ries had been long and continually
Gov. Bradford, brought by the same plotting how they might hinder his
ship. coming into New England ; " and

^ For the difference between a Hutchinson, ii. 454, says, that " he

teaching and a ruling elder, see was prevented by disajjpointmcnts

npte ' on page 455. from those in England who under-

* "By the above written letter it took to provide for the passage of

may appear how much the adver- him and his congregation." It

sary hindered the coming of this appears that " Sir Fcrdinando Gor-

blessed servant of Christ into New ges and others were at this time




To his loving friend, Mr. William Bradford, Governor
of Plymouth, in New England, these he, ^c}


Loving and Kind Friends, &c.

I know not whether ever this will come to your
hands, or miscarry, as other of my letters have done ;
yet in regard of the Lord's dealing with us here, I have
had a great desire to write unto you, knowing your
desire to bear a part with us, both in our joys and sor-
rows, as we do with you.

These therefore are to give you to understand, that
it hath pleased the Lord to take out of this vale of tears
your and our loving and faithful pastor, and my dear
and reverend brother, Mr. John Robinson, who was
sick some eight days, beginning first to be sick on a
Saturday morning ; yet the next day, being the Lord's
day, he taught us twice, and the week after grew
every day weaker than other, yet felt no pain but
weakness, all the time of his sickness. The physic
he took wrought kindly, in man's judgment, yet he
grew every day weaker than other, feeling little or no

determined that New England man as Mr. Robinson." Sherley,

should be settled under episcopacy; one of the merchant adventurers,

and though they would allow and incurred the ill-will of his associ-

encourage people to settle here, ates, by being in favor of his remo-

they were unwilling that anyPu- val. " The sole cause, he observed,

ritan ministers should accompany in a letter to the Plymouth people,

them. The bishops had prevented why the greater part of the adven-

the crown from granting liberty to turers malign me, was that I would

the petitioners from Leyden ; and not side with them against you and

it was accounted a great matter, in the coming over of the Leyden

1621, to obtain a cautious allow- people." See Holmes's Annals, i.

ance of indulgence under the au- 192, 575.

thority of the President and Council ' From the records of Plymouth

for the Affairs of New England. Church, book i. folio 31, and Gov.

But they took great care to obstruct Bradford's Letter Book,
the coming over of so important a


pain, yet sensible, till the very last. He fell sick the chap.
22d of February, and departed this life on the 1st of ^Si^^'
March. He had a continual inward ague, but, 1 thank 1625.
the Lord, was free of the plague, so that all his friends
could come freely to him ; and if either prayers, tears,
or means would have saved his life, he had not gone
hence. But he having faithfully finished his course,
and performed his work, which the Lord had appointed
him here to perform, he now rests with the Lord, in
eternal happiness ; we wanting him and all church
governors, not having one at present that is a govern-
ing officer amongst us. Now for ourselves here left (I
mean the whole church) we still, by the mercy of
God, continue and hold close together in peace and
quietness, and so I hope we shall do, though we be very
weak ; wishing (if such were the will of God) that you
and we were again together in one, either there or
here ; but seeing it is the will of the Lord, thus to dis-
pose of things, we must labor with patience to rest
contented, till it please the Lord otherwise to dispose
of things.*

For news at present here, is not much worth the
writing ; only as in England we have lost our old king,
James, who departed this life about a month ago,^ so
here we have lost Grave Maurice,^ the old prince here,

> "Until Robinson's death, the lution of his congregation at Ley-
congregation at Plymouth had not den, some of whom removed to Am-
abandoTied the hope of his coming sterdara, and others to New Eng-
to America with their brethren land." Holmes, Ann. i. 191, 575.
who remained in Holland. The ^ King James died March 27,
only solution of the singular fact, 1625, in his 59th year,
that the Plymouth people remained ^ Maurice, the prince of Orange,
for so many years without a min- or landgrave of Holland,^ died at
is<er, is— that until his death, their the Hague April 23, 1625, in his
affectionate and beloved pastor 59th year. He was succeeded by
cherished the desire, and they the his brother Frederick Henry. See
expectation, of his coming to Ame- Grattan's Hist, of the Netherlands,
rica. His death caused the disso- p. 250.


CHAP, who both departed this life since my brother Robin-
■ — — son ; and as in England we have a new king, Charles,

16 25. of whom there is great hope of good, so here likewise
we have made Prince Hendrick general, in his bro-
ther's place, who is now with the Grave of Mansfield
with a great army, close bj the enemy, to free Breda,
if it be possible, which the enemy hath besieged now
some nine or ten months ; but how it will fall out at
last, is yet uncertain ; the Lord give good success, if it
be his will. The king is making ready about one
hundred sail of ships ; the end is not yet certain, but
they will be ready to go to sea very shortly ; the king
himself goes to see them once in fourteen days. And
thus fearing lest this will not come to your hands, hop-
ing as soon as I hear of a convenient messenger, to
write more at large, and to send you a letter which my
brother Robinson sent to London, to have gone to some
of you, but coming too late was brought back again.
And so for this time I cease further to trouble you, and

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 40 of 44)