D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

. (page 16 of 118)
Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 118)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ried the widow of Edward Southworth. There is a
tradition, too, that Bradford in early manhood had
become attached to Alice (Carpenter) Southworth
before her first marriage, but was opposed by her



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



65



friends. The fact that after the loss of his wife, who
was drowned in Cape Cod harbor, he proposed to her
anew by tetter soon after she became a widow, re-
inforces the tradition, and so mingles the Bradford
and Carpenter families as to strengthen the prob-
ability of their common local origin and residence.

Of course, it was impossible for the church at
Scrooby to remain long undisturbed. A longer resi-
dence in England was neither compatible with safety,
nor adapted to a free enjoyment of their worship, and
consequently a removal to Holland was determined
on. In the winter of 1607-8 they made an attempt
to embark from Boston iu Lincolnshire, which resulted
in failure, owing to the treachery of the captain who
was to take them on board his vessel, and many of
their number were arrested and temporarily im-
prisoned. Why their departure should have been in-
terfered with, when the penalty for separation was
banishment, has been a common inquiry. But King
James had issued a proclamation against emigration
to the English colony of Virginia without a royal
license, and a suspicion was entertained, either real or
feigned, that such was the destination of the Scrooby
band. During the spring of 1608 they succeeded in
making their escape from England, and after vexatious
delays and annoyances reached Amsterdam in safety.
It was intended at first to make Amsterdam their
home, but dissensions between John Smith and Fran-
cis Johnson, English Separatists already settled there,
induced them to remove, in the spring of 1609, to
Leyden, twenty-two miles distant ; aud that place for
nearly twelve years they made their residence.

In Leyden, then, from 1609 to 1620 the Pilgrims
lived, joined at various times by William White,
Isaac Allerton, Samuel Fuller, Degory Priest, aud
Edward Winslow from London, Robert Cushman
from Canterbury, George Morton from York, and
John Carver aud other exiles from various parts of
Euglaud. Of these, Winslow, a man, if not of uni-
versity education, at least of liberal culture, the son
of Edward Winslow of Droitwich, in Worcester,
joiued the Pilgrims not many years before their em-
barkation for New England. He married in Leydeu,
iu 1618, Elizabeth Barker, of Chester, England, and
became, as is well known both as Governor and at all
times a wise and trusted counselor, one of the chief
staff and supports of the Plymouth Colony.

Miles Staudish also joined the Pilgrims in Leyden,
not perhaps on account of any religious affinity, but
because his bold and adventurous nature was tempted
by the enterprise on which they were about to embark.
His great-grandfather was a younger brother of the
Staudish family, of Dokesbury Hall, of which it is
5



believed John Standish, knighted by Richard the
Second, was founder. He had served with the troops
sent by Elizabeth to assist the Dutch against the
armies of Spain, and during the armistice, which be-
gan the year of the arrival of the Pilgrims in Leyden,
he had fallen in with some of their number and cast
in with them his lot. The hand of Providence, which
seems to have guided every step of the Pilgrims with
a clearer design than is apparent in most events in
history, in attaching these men to the Pilgrim band,
brought to it ingredients which it needed, if it needed
anything, to make it a comprehensive, symmetrical
organization, like an orchestra complete in all its parts,
and wanting nothing to produce harmouious results.
Without Winslow they were a body of religionists,
circumscribed in their boundaries, keeping themselves
unspotted from a world with which after all they must
finally mingle and negotiate. With him the states-
man, the scholar, the man of affairs, they had an am-
bassador in whose diplomacy they might trust, and
the fruits of whose wisdom they would be sure to
reap. Without Standish they would have gone iuto
undertakings the daugers of which had not even
haunted their dreams, like soldiers iu battle with
neither armor nor arms. With him the complement
of their trust in God would be contributed to their
enterprise, — a trust in their own right arm, a valiant
spirit, an indomitable physical courage, without which
trust in God would have been weak aud powerless.

Richard Clyfton having concluded to remain in
Amsterdam, John Robinson was chosen pastor, and
at his house on Clock Alley, in the rear of St.
Peter's Church, the congregation probably met on the
Sabbath. Here Robinson lived from the 5th of May,
1611, the date of the deed of the premises, until his
death, in 1625. The records of the church of St.
Peter's show that he was buried under its pavement,
and that the sum of nine florins was paid for the right
of burial. This sum only secured a place of deposit
for the term of seven years, and it is probable that at
the end of that time, either his coffin was removed to
an unknown grave, or his ashes were scattered in the
burial of others. During the residence of the Pil-
"rims at Leyden Robinson was connected with the
University of Leyden, and in the discussion with
Episcopius he was selected as a man of recognized
ability and learning to defend the tenets of Calvinism.
In addition to ministrations in his church he engaged
in the labors of authorship. He published in 1610
"A Justification of Separation from the Church;" iu
1614, a book on religious communion; in 1619,
"Apologia Justa et Necessaria," and in 1 624, the year
before his death, " A Defence of the Doctrine of the



66



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



Syuod of Dort." His posthumous publications were
" Essays and Observations Divine and Moral" in 1628,
and a " Treatise on the Lawfulness of Learning of the
Ministers in the Church of England" in 1634. A
sweet and liberal spirit pervaded his life, full of charity,
toleration, and love, and to his teachings was doubtless
mainly due the freedom from bigotry which always
characterized the Pilgrims, but for which, from the
ignorant who have always confouuded them with the
Puritans, they have failed to receive credit.

William Brewster, obliged to seek some occupation
for a livelihood, at first engaged in teaching the Eng-
lish language to students in the university, and after-
wards opened a publishing house, assisted with capital
by Thomas Brewer, an Englishman, who was a mem-
ber of the university. In 1616 he published a com-
mentary in Latin on the Proverbs of Solomon, by
Cartwright, with a preface by Polyander, and in 1618
a " Confutation of the Retuish Translation of the
New Testament," by the same author. A treatise in
Latiu on the true and geuuine religion, and Ames'
reply to Grevinchovius on the Arminian controversy
(also in Latin) followed, and other works, which fully
occupied his time until his departure for New Eng-
land.

The appearance of these works caused King James
to give orders to Sir Dudley Carleton, Euglish am-
bassador at the Hague, to prevent their further pub-
lication, and if possible secure the arrest of the pub-
lishers. Brewster was sought for, but was at that
time in England, engaged in negotiations with the
Virginia Company, and could not be found. Brewer
was arrested, but, as under the charter of the univer-
sity he was exempted from the liability of being sent
to England, the university only consented to his going
ou the condition that he should not be treated as a
prisoner, aud should, after his examination, be returned
without charge to himself. He was afterwards dis-
charged, and it is probable that the abandonment by
Brewster of his business, in anticipation of his
departure, prevented further trouble.

Nor was Brewster alone in earning a livelihood.
The other members of the Pilgrim Church had,
doubtless, either disposed of or abandoned their
worldly goods on leaving England, and were forced
to engage in occupations far from indicative of their
social couditiou before they became exiles, as refugees
from the Old World, men of culture aud high social
standing, in our own couutry and time engage in pur-
suits often the most menial to maintain themselves
and families. It is recorded at Leyden that William
Bradford was a fustian-maker or maker of cotton
cloth ; that Robert Cushmau aud William White were



wool-carders ; Samuel Fuller and Stephen Tracy, say
or silk-makers; that John Jenney was a brewer's
man ; that Edward Winslow was a printer, and
Degory Priest a hatter. It was evident that they
were determined to keep the promise made by them
when they took up their residence in Leyden. Be-
fore leaving Amsterdam a letter was addressed to the
burgomaster of Leyden, representing that John Rob-
insoD, a minister of the divine word, and some of the
members of the Christian reformed religion, born iu
the kingdom of Great Britain, to the number of one
huudred persons or thereabouts, men and women,
were desirous of going to live in that city, and to
have the freedom thereof iu carrying on their trades
" without beiug a burden in the least to any one."
This request, the records of Leyden say, was granted.
How well their promise was kept is shown by the re-
gret expressed by the authorities of the city at their
determination, after eleven years' residence, to leave a
city to whose inhabitants they had furnished an ex-
ample of industry, frugality, and virtuous liviug.

There is no exact record of the number of the
Pilgrim congregation under Robinson. Bradford's
" Dialogue" states that before 1620 accessions to the
church had increased its number to about three hun-
dred. Bradford further says that the church of
Johnson, before their division, contained about
" three hundred commuuicants," " aud for the church
in Leyden there were sometimes not much fewer in
number nor at all inferior in able men." Edward
Winslow says, also, " These things being agreed, the
major part stayed, and the pastor with them for the
present, but all intended (except a few who had
rather we would have stayed) to follow after. The
minor part, with Mr. Brewster, their elder, resolved
to enter upon the great work (but take notice the
difference of number was not great)." We know
that one hundred and twenty set sail in the " May-
flower" and "Speedwell," aud they being " the miuor
part," it is probable that one hundred and fifty or more
remained. It is known, also, that one hundred aud
two finally sailed in the " Mayflower" iu 1620, thirty-
six in the " Fortune" in 1621, sixty in the " Little
James" and "Ann" iu 1623, thirty-five (with their
families) in the "Mayflower" in 1629, aud sixty in
the " Handmaid" in 1630, making iu all three huu-
dred or more as the probable number of the Pilgrim
Church after twelve years' residence in Holland.
Notwithstanding the occupations in which they were
engaged in Leyden, the probable fact that Robinson,
Brewster, Bradford, Winslow, White, Fuller, Allertou,
and Cushman were educated men leads to the con-
clusion that the Pilgrim community represented all




osiAiraoia H©y§E, S'Sia©©©"?.




HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



67



the different classes of English life, outside of the
circle of nobility and of the hangers-ou and depend-
ents of court and fashionable life. Differences of
social and intellectual condition there undoubtedly
were among them, and between those of the highest
and lowest these differences were extreme, but their
common religious faith was a bond of union which it
was not possible for any outward and worldly condi-
tion to break. Thus constituted the Pilgrim congre-
gation was like an island in the sea, and became neces-
sarily a democratic community, surrounded as it was
by a population of strange habits, a strange language,
and strange methods of thought, which served to make
it more compact and harmonious. Thus was the seed
of a true democratic spirit planted, which finally ger-
minated and found its full flower and perfect fruit iu
the soil of New England.

And more than this, the life of the Pilgrims in
Holland, by the inscrutable wisdom of Providence,
was a period of probation, which they were destined
to serve before the great work of their lives begau.
They left England simply religious devotees; they
finally left Holland trained, disciplined, practical men.
They crossed the German Ocean, in 160S, full of
religious zeal and trust in God ; they crossed the
Atlantic, in 1C20, equally full of self-reliance and
trust in themselves. They left their English homes
bound together, it is true, by the bond of Christian
sympathy and love, but still recognizing the distinc-
tions of social and civil rank. Their life in Holland,
under the pressure of common necessities, of common
burdens, and at last of a common destiny, moulded
them into a community in which labor became the
foundation on which was reared that equality of
rights and powers which became the recognized law.
Without this period of probatioti their efforts at
colonization would have been a failure, — or, if not a
failure, would have planted the seed of an autocratic
government on these shores, from which it is hardly
possible that the majestic tree could have sprung
under which are now gathered in our land fifty
millions of liberty-loving and liberty-enjoying men.

But the Pilgrims were not destined to remain in
Holland. The period of their probation had ended ;
they were now ready for the work which God had
given them to do. The precise motives which influ-
enced them in considering the question of a removal,
it is difficult to state. Their residence iu Holland
began at the beginning of the twelve years' truce be-
tween that country and Spain, and the period of the
truce was rapidly coming to an end. They may not
have unreasonably feared that a renewal of hostilities
might result in the triumph of Philip, and iu a per-



secution more serious than any they had before en-
countered. They were among a strange people, and
as the greater in time ahsorbs the less, they might
have feared that sooner or later their identity would
be lost. The education of their children too, both
intellectual and moral, was a matter of serious con-
cern, and they looked with anxiety on the influences
and examples which surrouuded them. It is by no
means improbable that visions of the future occasion-
ally rose before their eyes, and that they [.bought in
a new world, away from all the controlling influences
of the old, they might plant the foundations of a free
and independent State. Having determined to leave
Leyden, their place of destination became a matter
for serious consideration. Virginia, named after the
virgin queen, was decided on, and as early as Septem-
ber, 1617, the preliminary steps were taken. In that
month John Carver and Robert Cushuiau were sent
to Eugland to obtain, if possible, a charter from the
king, and a patent of lauds from the Virginia Com-
pany. The charter was refused, and so far as their
application to the king for freedom of worship iu an
English colony was concerned, Bradford says, "Thus
far they prevailed iu sounding His Majesty's mind
that he would connive at them aud not molest them
provided they carried themselves peaceably, but to
allow or tolerate them by his public authority under
his seal they found it would not be granted."

The Virginia Company, sometimes called the South-
ern Virginia Compauy, with which the Pilgrim nego-
tiations were carried on, was oue of two companies
established in 1606. In that year King James by
letters patent divided between these two companies
a strip of land one hundred miles wide along the At-
lantic coast of North America, extending from the
thirty-fourth to the forty-filth degree of north lati-
tude, a territory which then went under the name of
Virginia. This territory extended from Cape Fear
to the British provinces. The patent to the first or
Southern Virginia Company was granted to certaiu
knights, gentlemen, merchauts aud adventurers of
London, covering lands betweeu the thirty-fourth and
forty-first degrees, or between Cape Fear aud a line
running through Port Chester on Long Island Sound
aud the easterly corner of New Jersey on the Hud-
son. The patent to the second or Northern Virginia
Company was granted to persons of the same descrip-
tion in Bristol, Exeter, aud Plymouth, covering lauds
between the thirty-eighth and forty-fifth degrees, or
between the southeastern corner of Maryland and the
provinces. That portiou of the whole strip lyiug
between the thirty-eighth aud forty-first degrees,
which was included in both patents, was grauted to



68



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



that company which should first occupy it, and it was
provided that neither company should occupy any
laud within a hundred miles of a settlement pre-
viously made by the other. It was the Southern
Virgiuia Compauy with whom the negotiations of the
Pilgrims were carried on. In November, 1G17, Car-
ver and Cushman returned to Holland, bearing a letter
from Sir Edwin Sandys to Robinson and Brewster,
dated London, November 12th :

"After tuy hearty salutations, — The agents of your congre-
gation, Robert Cualnuan aud John Carver, havo been in com-
munication with divers select gentlemen of His Majesty's
council for Virginia; and by the uniting of seven articles sub-
scribed with your names have given them good degree of satis-
faction, which hath carried them on with a resolution to set
forward your desire in the best sort that may be for your own
and the public good; divers particulars whereof we leavo to
their faithful report, having carried themselves here with that
good discretion as is both to their own and their credit from
whom they came. Aod whereas being to treat for a multitude
of people, thoy have requested further time to confer with them
that are to be interested in this action about tho several par-
ticulars which in the persecution thoreof will fall out consider-
able, it hath been very willingly assented unto; and so they
do now return to you. If, therefore, it may please God so to
direct your desires as that on your parts there fall out no just
impediments, I trust by the same direction it shall likewiso
appear that on our parts all forwardness to set you forward
shall be found in the best sort, which with reason luny be ex-
pected. And so I betake you with tho design (which I hope
verily is the work of God) to the gracious protection and bless-
ing of the highest.

"Your very loving friend,

" Edwin Sandys."

The writer of this letter was a son of Archbishop
Sandys and a brother of Sir Samuel Sandys, the lessee
of Scrooby manor, under whom William Brewster
occupied it as tenant. The seven articles to which
Sandys alludes, found by Mr. Bancroft in the Vir-
ginia volumes in the State Paper Office in West-
minster, were sent to England by the Leydeu Church,
to be considered in connection with their application
for a charter and patent, and were as follows :

"1. To the oonfession of faith published in the name of the
Church of England and to ovcry article thoreof we do with tho
reformed churches where wo live und ulso elsewhere assent
wholly.

" 2. As we do acknowledge the doctrine of faith there taught
so do we tho fruits and effects of the same doctrine to the beget-
tiug of said faith in thousauds in the land (conformists and re-
formists) as they are called, with whom also as with our breth-
n-ii wo do desire to keep spiritual communion in peace and will
practico in our parts all lawfull things.

" o. The King's Majesty we acknowledge for Supreme Gov-
ernor in his Dominion in nil causes and over all persons, and
that nnue may decline, or appeal from, his authority or judg-
ment in any causo whatsoever, but that in all things obedience
is duo unto him cither active if the thing commanded bu not
ugainst God's word, or passive if it be, except pardon can be
obtained.

"4. Wejudgo it lawfull fur His Majesty to appoint bishops,



and overseers or officers in authority under him in the several
provinces, dioceses, congregations or parishes to oversee the
churches and govern them civilly according to the laws of the
land unto whom they are in all things to give an account and
by them to be ordered according to Godliness.

"5. The authority of the present bishops in the land we do
acknowledge so far forth as the same is indeed derived from His
Majesty unto them and as they proceed in his name, whom we
will also therein honor in all things and him in them.

" 6. We believe that noS'tnod, classis, convocation or assembly
of ecclesiastical ollicers hath any power or authority at all but
as the same by the magistrate given unto them.

" 7. Lastly we desire to givo unto all Superiors due honor to
preserve the unity of the spirit with all that fear God to have
peaco with all men what in us lieth and whereiu wc err to be
instructed by any.

" Subscribed by

"JonN Robinson

and
"William Brewster."

Precisely in what attitude the declaration of these
articles placed Robinson and the Pilgrims it is diffi-
cult to state. It is clear that it cannot be made to
coincide with the declaration of the rigid Separatists
represented by Robert Brown and John Smith, " that
the Church of England was no true Church and that
it was sinful and wrong to attend its worshipping as-
semblies or hear the preaching of the word of God
therein." Robinson again declared, " For myself I
believe with my heart before God and profess with
my tongue and have before the world that I have one
and the same faith, hope, spirit, baptism and Lord
which I had in the Church of Englaud and none
other ; that I esteem so many in the church of what
state or order soever as are truly partakers of that
faith (as I account many thousands to be) for my
Christian brethren and myself a fellow member with
them of that one mystical body of Christ scattered
far and wide throughout the world, that I have always
in spirit and affection all Christian fellowship aud com-
munion with them and am most ready in all outward
actions aud exercises of religion lawful and lawfully
to be done to express the same ; and withall that I
am persuaded the hearing of the word of God there
preached in the manner and upon the grounds for-
merly mentioned both lawful and upon occasious ne-
cessary for me and all true Christians, withdrawing
from the hierarchical order of church government
and ministry and tho appurtenances thereof aud
uniting in the order and ordinances instituted by
Christ the only King and Lord of his church aud by
all his disciples to bo observed." And Winslow says,
" If any joining to us formerly either when we lived
at Leyden, in Holland, or since we cume to New Eng-
land have with the manifestation of their faith aud
holiuess held forth therewith separation from the
Church of England, I have divers times both in the



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



69



one place and the other heard either Mr. Robinson,
our Pastor, or Mr. Brewster, our elder, atop them forth-
with, showing them that we required uo such things
at their hands, leaviug the Church of England to
themselves and to the Lord before whom they should
stand or fall." It was the moderate temper and spirit
manifested in these various declarations which excited
the bitter spirit of the rigid Separatist, Smith, in
Amsterdam, and caused him to say of the Pilgrim
Church, " Be it known, therefore, to all the Separation
that we account them in respect to their constitution
to be as very a harlot as either her mother the Church
of England or her grandmother Rome." And yet the
Pilgrims were Separatists, differing only in the sweet-
ness of their loving spirits from their more bitter
companions in the movement of reform, and finally
so chastened by exile, so weaned by time from the
church, and so thoroughly freed from its exactions
and restraints as to have lost their hostility to an
establishment at whose hands they once suffered per-
secution.

Under date of Dec. 15, 1617, Robinson and Brew-
ster sent the following answer to the letter of Sandys :

" Right Worshipful, —

" Our humble duties remembered in our own, our messenger's,
and our church's nutne, with all thankful acknowledgment of
your singular love expressing itself as otherwise, so more es-
pecially in your great care and earnest endeavor of our good
in this woighty business about Virginia, which the less able we
are to requite we shall think ourselves the more bound to ouin-
mend in our prayers unto Qod for recompense; whom as for the
present you rightly behold in our endeavors, so shall wo not be



Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 118)