D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

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

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In testimony whereof to this part of these presents remaining
with the said Isaack Allerton, the said subscribing adventurers
have sett to their names, ic. And to the other part remaining
with the said adventurers the said Isaack Allerton huth sub-
scribed hia name the 15 November, Anno lb2ti, in the 2 year of
his Mujustie's raigne."

After a prolonged consultation it was decided to
approve the agreement, and the debt of eighteeu hun-
dred pounds to the adventurers, together with a debt
of six hundred more to other parties, was assumed by
William Bradford, Miles Standish, Isaac Allerton,
Edward Winslow, William Brewster, John Ilowland,
John Alden, and Thomas Prence, together with James
Sherley, John Beauchamp, Richard Andrews, and
Timothy Hatherly, four of their friends among the
adventurers. By the following instrument the trading
rights of the colony were assigned to these gentlemen
as security for their assumption of the debt :

"Articles of aqreeuente betweene the collony of New Plitn-
oth of the one partie and William Bradford, Captain .Myles
Standish, Isaaok Allerton, Ac., on the other partie, and shuch
others as they shall thinke good to take as partners and under-
takers with them concerning the trade for beaver and other
furrs and commodities, Ac. ; made July, 1C27.
" First, it is agreede and covenanted bolweexto the said par-
ties that the afforesaid William Bradford, Captain Myles Stan-
dish, and Isaack Allerton, Jfcc, have undertaken, and doe by
these presents covenant and agree to pay, discharge, and ac-
quite the said collony of all the debtes both due for the pur-
chase or any other belonging to them at the duy of the date of
these presents.

" Secondly, the above said parties are to have and freely in-
joye the pinosa latly built, the bout at Munainctt, and the shal-
lop called the Baas-boat, with all other iuiplimeuts to them
belonging that is in the store of the said company ; with all tho
whole stock of furrs, bells, beads, come, watupumpeak, halcbctts,
knives, Ac, that is now in the storre or any way duo unto the
same uppon accounte.

"Thirdly, That the above said parties have the whole trade
to themselves, their heires and assignes, with all the privileges
thereof as the said cullonie doth now or may use the same for
six full years, to begin the last of September next insoiug.

"Fourthly, In furder consideration of the discharge of tho
said debtes, every severall purchaser doth promise and covo-
nunte yearly to pay or cause to be payed to the above suid par-
ties during the full terme of the aaid six yeares three busholls
of oorne or six pounds of tobacco, at the undertaker's choyse.

" Fifthly, The aaid undertaken shall durcing the alloreaaid
terme bestow fifty pounds per annum in hose and sboesc, to bo
brought over for the collonie's use, to be sould unto them for
corne at six shillings per bushel!.

"Sixthly, That at the end of the said terme of six yeares the



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



91



whole trade shall returne to the use and henetite of the said
collonic as before.

" Lastly, if the atfuresaid undertakers, after they have ac-
quainted their friends in England with the covenants, doe
(upon the first returne) resolve to jierforrue them, and under-
take to discharge the debtes of the said collony according to
the true lueaning and intcnte of these prcsentes, then they are
(upon such notice given) to stand in full force; otherwise all
things to remaine as formerly they were, and a true accounte to
be given to the said collonie of the disposing of all things ac-
cording to the former order."

Thus was the connection of the colony with the mer-
chant adventurers dissolved. The guarantors of the
debt at once took steps to develop the trade whose
monopoly they had secured ; and after familiarizing
the inland tribes with the use of wampum, which
they introduced as a circulating medium, their opera-
tions iu furs and other commodities, which they
shipped to England, became sufficiently large to en-
able them to liquidate the debt within the specified
time. The wampum used by the Pilgrims, specimens
of which are preserved in Pilgrim Hall, was made
from the purple and white parts of the quaw-haug
shell, round, about a sixteenth of an inch thick, and
a little more than a quarter of an inch in diameter,
with a hole in the middle for stringing on strings of
bark or hemp, the purple and white alternating on
the string, the purple of double the value of the
white, and the whole rated at five shillings per
fathom. On such a currency the foundation of the
commercial prosperity of New England was laid.
Without it, it is possible that the effort at coloniza-
tion would have been a failure. It is difficult to
imagine the desperate condition from which at this
period the colony succeeded in extricating itself. Less
than three hundred strong, surrounded by savages
and the forest, sheltered by thatched huts from the
winter's cold, insufficiently clothed and fed, looking
out from their windows on the graves of husbands
and wives and parents and children, borrowing money
iu England at an interest of fifty per cent., and bur-
dened with a debt larger per capita than our national
debt at the close of the war; at this critical period,
the very turning-point in their enterprise, when
merely worldly men without trust in God would
have faltered, and merely religious men without trust
iu themselves would have abandoned themselves to
prayer, they brought into play those practical traits
of character which their life in Holland had devel-
oped, and consummated an act which will ever be
considered one of the miracles of history. From this
time forth the colonization of New England was an
assured success. The cement in which its founda-
tions were laid had hardened, and the safety of the
structure to be reared was secured.



The connection of the Pilgrims with the adventur-
ers, though one of necessity, was interwoven with
annoyances and embarrassments. They were a body
of men far from homogeneous in their character, en-
tering into the enterprise with various purposes and
motives. Some were men of religious instincts,
hopiug to aid in the conversion of the heathen tribes
of the New World, and some were speculators, eager
to secure large profits from what they believed to be
a good investment. Of the men religiously inclined
not all, nor a majority, were iu sympathy with the
Pilgrims. Only a few occupied the advanced ground
of separatism on which the colonists stood ; most of
them were still adherents to the church, hoping while
they converted the heathen to exert a restraining in-
fluence on the schismatic movements of the Pilgrims
themselves. To the influence of the latter was un-
doubtedly due the effort to keep Robinson separated
from his departed flock, and the attempt to substitute
pastoral leaders more conservative than him to guide
the footsteps of the growing colony. Indeed, to them
were due, with the exception of the feeble and unsuc-
cessful movement on the part of the Council for New
England to make Robert Gorges Governor, all the ob-
stacles emanating from England, which until the latest
days of the colony the Pilgrims were obliged to en-
counter. King James, under whose reign their enter-
prise had been undertaken, had died without even a
recognition of the colony; Charles had come to the
throne and gone to the block almost in ignorance of his
extending empire across the seas ; while Cromwell, a
Puritan himself, took Winslow, a leading Pilgrim,
into his confidence and service and imposed on him
duties of responsibility and trust. There was still
another class, however, among the adventurers, neither
religious devotees nor speculators, composed of men
who cared as little for the conversion of the heathen
as for the inordinate profits of trade, — who probably
thought little of the purification of the forms of the
church, or of their abandonment, or even of their
importance and value, — men undoubtedly of large
means, but generous hearts, such as are seen to-day
in our own communities combining all the qualities
of broad, liberal, honest, square-dealing, sympathetic,
manly merchants, — and this was the class, represented
by Sherley and Hatherly and Beauchamp, which when
once embarked in the scheme of colonization discov-
ered the quality of the men they were assisting, and
through evil and through good report adhered to
their cause, and looked upon the gain to a noble body
of self-sacrificing men as a satisfactory complement to
what was a loss to themselves. Whatever may be
said of the adventurers and their dealings, it must be



92



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



finally acknowledged that their connection with the
Pilgrims proved the bridge of safety across which
civilization made a successful march from the QUi to
the New World.



CHAPTER III.

LIFE OF THE COLONY— TOWN GOVERNMENT— SEC-
OND PATENT— DEATH OF BREWSTER.

Before proceeding further with a history of the
affairs of the Old Colony, it may be well to allude to
several published works to which reference has been
made in these pages. The first is that called Mourt's
" Relation." It was written somewhat in the form of
a journal by two or more persons in Plymouth, aod
contains a diary of events from the arrival of the
" Mayflower" at Cape Cod, Nov. 9, 1620, to the
return of the "Fortune," Dec. 11, 1621. It has
long been an accepted theory that Bradford and
Winslow were the authors, and the " Relation" has
often been called Bradford and Winslow's " Journal."
It contains an address to the reader signed G. Mourt,
in which he says, " These ' Relations' coming to my
hand from my both known and faithful friends, on
whose writings I do much rely, I thought it not amiss
to make them more general." The " Relations" being
anonymous, it was natural that they should have
taken their name from the editor and been called
Mourt's " Relation." Br. Young was the first to
suggest the theory that Mourt was an abbreviated
form of Mourton or Morton, and that George Mor-
ton, who came to Plymouth in the "Ann," in 1623,
is the only person to whom the initials and the words
in the opening address ("as myself then much desired
and shortly hope to effect, if the Lord will the putting
to of my shoulders in this hopeful business") will
apply. Following the address is a letter " to his
much respected friend J. P.," signed R. G. The
recipient of the letter was undoubtedly John Peirce,
as antiquarian students generally suppose, but it is
not easy to adopt the theory of Young, Dexter, and
others, that the letter G was a misprint for C, aud
that Robert Cushman was the author. It must be
remembered that Cushman came to Plymouth in the
" Fortune," arriving Nov. 9, 1621, and sailed in her
on his return on the 11th of the next month. As
Cushman was a stranger in the colony and a passen-
ger in the vessel which carried the " Relation" to
England, the letter of which the following is a copy
bears, as the reader will see, internal evidence throwing
serious doubts on this theory :



" Good Friend:

" As we cannot but account it in extraordinary blessing of
God in directing our course for these parts, alter we came out of
our native country, — for that we had the happiness to be pos-
sessed of the comforts we receive by the benetit of one of the
most pleasant, most healthful, and most beautiful parts of the
world, — so uiudt we acknowledge the same blessing to be mul-
tiplied upon our whole company, for that we obtained the honor
to receive allowance and approbation of our free possession, and
enjoying thereof under the authority of those thrice honored
persons, The President and Council for the affairs of New Eng-
land, by whose bounty aud grace in that behalf all of us are
tied to dedicate our best service unto them, as those under his
Majesty that we owe it unto, whose noble endeavors iu these
their actions the God of heaven and earth multiply to his glory
and their own eternal comforts.

"As for this poor Relation, I pray you to accept it as being
writ by the several actors themselves after their plain aud rude
manner. Therefore, doubt nothing of the truth thereof. If it
bo defective in anything it is their ignorance that are better ac-
quainted with planting than writing. If it satisfy those that
are well affected to the business, it is all I care for. Sure I am
the place wo are in and the hopes that are apparent cannot but
suffice any that will not desire more than enough. Neither is
there want of aught among us but company to enjoy the bless-
ings so plentifully bestowed upon the inhabitants that are here.
While I was writing this I had almost forgot that I had but the
recommendation of the Relation itself to your further consider-
ation, and therefore I will end without saying more, save that
I shall always rest

"Yours in the way of friendship, R. G.

" From Plymouth tn New Enoland."

It is not only clear that such a letter must have
been written by one who was one of the original com-
pany in the " Mayflower," and who still remained in
Plymouth after the departure of the " Fortune," but
no one besides one of the writers would have spoken
of " this poor Relation," or attributed its defects to
the ignorance of those who were better acquainted
with " planting than writing." It is a serious charge
againBt Cushman to declare him to be author of such
a statement against Winslow, whose use of language
in the " Relation" itself shows him to have been a
man of education and culture. There was a Richard
Gardiner among the " Mayflower" passengers who
was living at the time of the division of lands in
1624, and, notwithstanding the statement of Brad-
ford in his history, made, perhaps erroneously,
twenty-five years afterwards, that he became a sea-
man and returned to England, it is more probable
that he was the author than Cushman. If a mis-
print is within the limits of possibility, it would be
more likely to point to Richard Clarke, another of
the " Mayflower" passengers, as the unknown writer.

The authorship of the above letter is important,
because, if not attributable to Cushman, the writer
must have shared with Bradford aud Wiuslow the
authorship of the " Relation" itself. That part of
the work called a " Journal of the beginnings and



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



93



proceedings of the English Plantation," is attributed
to Bradford, and probably correctly so. With as un-
doubted correctness, the second paper in the " Rela-
tion, " concerning the journey to " Packanokick," is
attributed to Winslow. It betrays a familiarity with
the use of language and a facility of expression which
are found in no other Pilgrim writer. The third
and fourth papers, concerning expeditions to Nauset
and Nemasket, have the characteristics of neither
Bradford nor Winslow, and may, with some consider-
able reason, be attributed to the unknown writer.
Again, in the fifth paper, concerning a voyage to Mas-
sachusetts, the style of Winslow is seen, and the claim
that he was its author is undoubtedly correct. The
two remaining papers are signed with the initials
"E. W." to one, and " R. C." to the other, and were
written by Winslow and Cushman.

The " Relation" was first printed in London, by
John Bellamie, in 1622, and enjoys the distinction
of being the corner-stone of American literature.
Surely no claim can, with justice, be made in behalf
of the writers in Virginia, all of whom, whose
writings were printed in England before this period,
were merely temporary sojourners in the land. Until
1841, when Dr. Young reproduced it in his " Chron-
icles," it was never reprinted in a complete form. In
1865 the first reissue was mado under the intelligent
and careful editorship of Henry Martyn Dexter, in
which, as he says in his introduction, " the endeavor
has been made to follow exactly the first copies in
style of type, paging, and identity of embellishment,
iu all of which particulars neither pains nor expense
has been spared to render it worthy of the confidence
and favor of connoisseurs. Every caption, initial let-
ter, and ornameutal heading has been engraved in
facsimile from the original, and the only defect in
the reproduction is, that the copy — thanks to the su-
perior capabilities of the modern press — is a great
deal more splendid than its modest prototype ever
was in all the glory of its freshness."

Cushman's sermon, already alluded to, was delivered
in the Common House during Ijis short visit in Plym-
outh, and was also printed in London in 1622.
Original copies of this sermon are in existence, as
well as of Mourt's " Relation." Mr. Cushman was
not a clergyman, and the title of sermon, according to
our acceptation of the word, is incorrectly applied to
it, though it was delivered from the text, 1 Cor. x.
24 : " Let no man seek his own, but every man
another's wealth." Dr. Young states that he found
in a tract, printed at London, 1644, entitled " A brief
Narrative" of some church courses in New England,
the following allusion to this sermon : " There is a



book printed called A Sermon preached at Plymouth,
in New England, which, as I am certified, was made
there by a comber of wool."

In 1624 a book entitled "Good News from New
England," written by Edward Winslow, was published
in London, " showing the wondrous providence and
goodness of God" in the preservation and continuance
of the Plymouth Plantation, " together with a Rela-
tion of such religious and civil laws and customs as
are in practice among the Indians, as also what com-
modities are there to be raised for the maintenance of
that and other Plantations in the said country." In
1646, " Hypocrasie Unmasked," also written by Ed-
ward Winslow, was published in London, containing
a relation of the proceedings against Samuel Gorton,
together with an answer to the slanders and falsehoods
promulgated by him, " whereunto is added a brief
Relation of the true grounds or cause of the first
planting of New England."

The " History of Plymouth Plantation," by Wil-
liam Bradford, has had an eventful career. After
having remained in manuscript for more than two
hundred years, it was first printed by the Massachu-
setts Historical Society in 1856, under the editorial
care of Charles Deane. The history covers a period
from the formation of the Pilgrim Church to 1646.
After the death of Bradford, Nathaniel Morton had
access to, and used, the manuscript in the preparation
of " New England's Memorial," and it was subse-
quently made use of by Prince and Hutchinson, in
1736 and 1767 respectively. In 1705 it was in the
possession of Maj. John Bradford, a grandson of the
Governor, and was borrowed by Thomas Prince, while
preparing his " Annals," and deposited by him in the
New England Library in the tower of the Old South
Church. From that time nothing was known of the
missing manuscript until 1855, when John S. Barry, at
that time engaged in writing a history of Massachusetts,
borrowed from a friend a small volume entitled" A His-
tory of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America,"
in which he found passages bearing the marks of Brad-
ford's style, which the author credited to a manuscript
history of the Plantation of Plymouth, in the Fulhaui
Library. Upon application to the Bishop of Oxford
by Joseph Hunter, of London, at the request of Mr.
Deane, the Fulham manuscript was found to be the
long-lost history, and an exact copy was at once se-
cured by the Historical Society for publication. How
it found its resting-place iu the English library no
one kuows. It is thought probable, however, that
during the siege of Boston, when the Old South
Church was used as a riding-school by the British, it
was abstracted, and falling into the hands of some



94



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY



one who appreciated its value, was saved from the
destruction to which much other material in the
library was doomed.

The " New England's Memorial," by Nathaniel Mor-
ton, was published in Cambridge, in 1669, by Sam-
uel Greene and Marmaduke Johnson. It contains a
history of the Plymouth Colony to near the date of
its publication. The following extracts from the Old
Colony Records are interesting as showing the part
taken by the colony in the publication of this valu-
able work. At the court held on the 5th of March,
1667, it was ordered " that whereas a certain Indian
appertaining to our jurisdiction is now in hold att
Boston for matter of fact, and that there is probabilitie
of a tender of some land for his ransome from being
sent to Barbadoes, that in case the said land be teu-
dered to acceptance that it shall be improved and ex-
pended for the defraying of the charge of the printing
of the booke intitled ' New England's Memoriall.' " On
the 3d of June, 1668, it was ordered " that twenty
pounds be improved by the Treasurer for and towards
the printing of the booke intitled ' New England's
Memoriall,' and it was likewise recommended to the
several towns of the jurisdiction by their deputies to
make a free and voluntary contribution in money for
and towards the procuring of paper for the printing
of said booke." On the 7th of July, 1668, it was
ordered " that with reference to the printing of the
booke intitled ' New England's Memoriall,' the Treas-
urer indent with the printer for the printing thereof;
and to improve that which is or shall be contributed
thereunto with the sume of twenty pounds ordered
by the Court to that end, and the sume of five pounds
more if he shall see cause, the said twenty-five pounds
to be out of the countreyes stock ; and to indent with
Mr. Green to print it if he will do it as cheap as the
other, and for the number of coppyes, to do as he
shall see cause." And on the 3d of July, 1669, it
was ordered " that the Treasurer, in the behalf of the
countrey, is to make good a barrel of merchantable
beefe to Mr. Green, the printer, att Cambridge, which
is to satisfy what is behind unpayed for and towards
the printing of the book called ' New England's Mem-
orial!,' which barrel of biefe is something more than
is due by bargain, but the Court is willing to allow it
in consideration of his complaint of a hard bargaine
about the printing of the book aforesaid." A second
editiou was published in Bostou, in 1721, by Nicholas
Boone, to which was added a supplement by Josiah
Cotton, of Plymouth. In 1772 a third edition was
published in Newport by Solomon Southwick, and
abuut 1820 a fourth edition, with the supplement by
Cotton, by Allen Dauforth, of Plymouth. Iu 1826



a fifth edition was published under the editorial care
of John Davis, who added copious notes of great in-
terest and value. Nathaniel Morton was the sou of
George Morton, the presumed editor of Mouit's :l Rela-
tion," who came to Plymouth in the " Ann," in 1623,
bringing, with his other children, his sou Nathaniel,
then ten years of age. He was the secretary of the
colony from 1645 to 1685, the year of his death, and
also clerk of the town of Plymouth. The records and
papers relating to the colony aud town are full of his
writing, and bear testimony which his memorial rein-
forces and confirms to his intelligence, fidelity, and
usefulness.

These books, together with here and there a pub-
lished letter, tract, pamphlet, or sermou, constitute
the literature of the Old Colony up to the time of the
union with Massachusetts in 1692. No other evi-
dence is needed to show the intelligence aud culture
of a community than that fouud iu its demaud for
intellectual effort and its ability to furnish the men
to supply it. No other colony before or since can
furnish so complete and exhaustive a record of its
acts and events as that of the Old Colony, iu which
the fate of every man, woman, aud child is accounted
for, — a record which neither cold, nor hunger, nor sick-
ness, nor sorrow over the dead could silence or even
interrupt.

On the 22d of May, 1627, it was " concluded by
the whole company that the cattle which were the
companies, to wit, the cows & the goats, should be
equally divided by lot to all the psous of the same
company, and so kept until the expiration of ten
years after the date above written. That the old
stock with half the increase should remain for com-
mon use, to be divided at the end of the said term or
otherwise as occasion falleth out, aud the other half
to bo their own forever."

" 1. The first lot fell to Francis Cooke and his company joined
to him, his wife,

Hester Cooke. To this lot foil tho least of

3. John Cooke. the 4 black Heifers which camo

4. Jacob Cooke. on tho Jacob and two shc-



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 22 of 118)