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a special stay and help to them. They ordinarily met
at his house on the Lord's day, which was within the
manor of a bishop. With great love he entertained
them when they came, making provision for them to
his great charge, and continued so to do while they
should remain in England. And when they were to
remove out of the country, he was the first in all ad-
ventures. He was the chief of those who were taken
at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and suffered the greatest
loss, and one of the seven that were kept longest in
prison, and after bound over to the assizes.

" After he came to Holland he suffered much
hardship, after he had spent the most of his means,
having a great charge and many children. And in
regard to his former breeding and course, not so fit
for many employments as others were, especially such
as were toilsome and laborious. Yea, he ever bore
his condition with much cheerfulness and content.
Towards the latter part of those twelve years, spent
in Holland, his outward condition was mended, and he


lived well and plentiful ; for he fell into a way, by
reason he had the Latin tongue, to teach many stu-
dents, who had a desire to learn the English tongue.
By his method they quickly attained it, with great
facility, for he drew rules to learn it by after the Latin
manner. And many gentlemen, both Danes and
Germans, resorted to him, as they had time, from
their other studies, some of them being great men's

" But now, removing into this country, all these
things were laid aside again, and a new course of
living must be framed unto ; in which he was in no
way unwilling to take his part, and to bear his bur-
den 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
drunk nothing but water for many years together,
until five or six years of his death. And yet he lived,
by the blessing of God, in health until very old age."

Elder Brewster was an accomplished gentleman,
a genial friend, an eloquent preacher, and a fervent
Christian. History has transmitted to us the record
of but few characters so well balanced in all energetic,
harmonious, and lovely traits. He died as he had
lived, tranquilly, peacefully, in the enjoyment of all
his faculties. His sickness was short, confining him
to his bed but one day. He could converse with his


friends until within a few hours of his last breath.
About ten o'clock in the evening of April i8th, 1644,
he fell asleep.

" Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep !
From which none ever wake to weep."

Removal to Duxbury.

Friendship Between Captain Standish and Mr. Brewstei. Character
of Mr. Brewster. His Death and Burial. Mode of Worship.
Captain's Hill. Difficulty with the Narragansets. Firmness and
Conciliation. Terms of Peace. Plans for Removal from Ply-
mouth. Captain Standish's Home in Duxbury. Present Aspect
of the Region.

It is greatly to the credit of Captain Miles Stand-
ish, the puritan soldier, that his life-long friend was
William Brewster, the puritan divine. Their farms
in Duxbury were side by side. The scene upon which
this noble Christian man looked, in the evening of his
eventful life, must have been one full of peaceful
beauty, as he stood, staff in hand, upon the threshold of
his lowly, yet comfortable cottage. His peaceful home
was situated about three miles across the bay from the
village of Plymouth. By land it was a roundabout
route of nearly eight miles. His farm was on a pic-
turesque peninsula shooting out southerly into the
placid waters of Plymouth Bay. In his life of four-
score years and four, he had witnessed the long reigns
of three of the most remarkable of the English sove-

The days of his early manhood were passed through


scenes of persecution and suffering, whose vicissitudes
were painful and agitating in the extreme. His men-
tal energies had been strengthened by the discipline
of adversity and severe afflictions. As an exile, he
had encountered poverty and had been exposed to
the most severe deprivations and toils. He had
landed, with a feeble band, in this New World when
it was but a howling wilderness, and where the ut-
most courage and prudence were requisite, to save
the little colony from utter extinction by a savage

He had lived to see the colony securely estab-
lished, to see the Indians to a very great degree con-
ciliated, and not a few of them brought under the in-
fluence of Christian example and instruction. From
one little settlement, of seven log huts, he had seer
others springing up all around, till eight flourishing
towns were established, with eight churches, under
eight pastors. He had seen the colony reduced to
but fifty souls, men, women and children. And, ere
he died, the census reported a population of eight
thousand, with a well-defined government, a free con-
stitution and established laws. Infant colonies were
rising in various points to a vigorous manhood, and
were uniting in a confederacy, already sufficiently
powerful to repel all native foes, and which gave
promise of being able, ere long, to maintain inde-


pendence against the machinations of all foreign ene-

A system of common schools was established,
which even then was the glory of New England.
Harvard University, modelled after the renowned uni-
versity of Cambridge in England, was already begin-
ning to train young men for the highest offices in the
church and the state. Thus freedom, education and
religion were walking hand in hand. In the retro-
spect of his path through life, this thoughtful, devout
and hopeful man could contemplate the stern con-
flicts, the cruel errors, and the heroic deeds of one of
the most important eras in the world's history. Though
he had sown in tears, he could hopefully look forward
to the time when his children, and his children's
children should reap in joy. In speaking of the death
of this eminent man, Governor Bradford writes, under
date of the year 1643 : *

"I am to begin this year with that which was a
matter of great sadness and mourning unto them all.
About the i8th of April died their reverend elder,
and my dear and loving friend, Mr. William Brew-
ster, a man who had done and suffered much for the
Lord Jesus and the gospel's sake, and had borne his
part in weal and woe with this poor persecuted church

* There is a little uncertainty whether Elc'er Brewster died in the
year 1640 or 1644.


above thirty-six years in England, Holland, and in
this wilderness, and done the Lord and them faith-
ful service in his place and calling. And notwith-
standing the many troubles and sorrows he passed
through, the Lord upheld him to a great age. He
was near fourscore years of age, if not all out, when
he died. He had this blessing added by the
Lord to all the rest, to die in his bed, in peace
among the midst of his friends, who mourned and
wept over him, and ministered what help and comfort
they could unto him, and he again recomforted them
while he could.

" His sickness was not long, and till the last day
thereof, he did not wholly keep his bed. His speech
continued till somewhat more than half a day, and
then failed him. About nine or ten o'clock that even-
ing he died, without any pangs at all. A few hours
before his death he drew his breath short, and some
few minutes before his last he drew his breath long,
as a man falling into a sound sleep, without any pangs
or gaspings, and so sweetly departed this life unto a
better. I would now demand of any, what was he the
worse for any former -sufferings ? What do I say
worse ? Nay, sure he was the better, and they now
added to his honor. ' It is a manifest token/ saith
the apostle, 'of the righteous judgment of God, that

* Morton says, " He was fourscore and four years of age."


ye may be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God,
for which ye also suffer ; seeing it is a righteous thing
with God to recompense tribulation to them that
trouble you ; and to you who are troubled, rest with
us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven
with his mighty angels.' What though he wanted the
riches and pleasures of the world in this life, and
pompous monuments at his funeral, yet the just shall
be blessed, when the name of the wicked shall rot,
with their marble monuments."

A very pleasing account is given by Prince, of the
mode in which public worship was conducted by these
Christians, who were anxious in all things to be con-
formed to the habits of the disciples in apostolic days.
The customs they observed have been transmitted to
the present times in our meetings for conference and
prayer. On Thursday, the 25th of October, 1632,
Governor Winthrop, with Mr. Wilson, who was pas-
tor of the church in Boston, with several other Chris-
tian friends, made a visit to Plymouth. They were
received with great hospitality. Governor Bradford,
Rev. Mr. Brewster, the ruling elder, and several oth-
ers of the prominent men of Plymouth, came some
distance out from the village to meet their friends,
who probably travelled on foot. They were conducted
to the house of Governor Bradford, where most oi
them were entertained during their stay. They were,


however, every day invited to dinner parties at the
houses of the more opulent of the villagers.

On Sunday the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper
was administered, in the morning. The service oc-
cupied the whole time. In the afternoon devotions,
the service was opened by Mr. Roger Williams, who
propounded a question of theology, or of conscience,
upon which he made sundry remarks. Rev. Mr.
Smith, pastor of the Boston church, then spoke briefly
upon the subject. Mr. Williams again spoke, quot-
ing freely from the Bible in explanation of the ques-
tion which he had proposed. Then Governor Brad-
ford, who had studied Hebrew, and was familiar with
all scriptural antiquities, expressed his views upon
the subject. He was followed by Elder Brewster.
His reputation, as a man of profound learning, caused
all to listen attentively when he spake. Then, by
special invitation from the Elder, Governor Winthrop
spoke upon the question, followed by Mr. Wilson,
pastor of the church in Boston. Deacon Fuller, who
was also the physician of the colony at Plymouth,
then called for the contribution for the support of
public worship and of the poor. The Governor, and
all the rest of the congregation rose from their seats
and went to the deacon's seat to deposit their gifts.
The exercises were closed with the benediction.

This peculiarity of having various members of the


church speak in public worship, one after another,
they brought with them from Holland, such having
been the practice adopted by Rev. Mr. Robinson,
founded on the primitive practice of the church at
Corinth, as recorded by St. Paul, in chapter xiii.
of the Acts, I4th and i$th verses. But, as the com-
munity advanced in intelligence, it was found that
study was essential to the teacher who, Sabbath after
Sabbath, would interest a congregation. It was also
remembered that such a practice was peculiarly
adapted to the age of inspiration which had passed
away. Thus the practice was gradually laid aside
for the mode of worship now adopted by all the
churches descended from the Puritans. The highly
educated preacher, in the stated services of the sanc-
tuary, brings from his treasury things new and old for
the benefit of the church and congregation. But in
frequent meetings for conference and prayer, all the
brethren of the church have an opportunity of ex-
pressing their views upon all questions of faith and

There was probably no more sincere mourner, at
the grave of Elder Brewster, than his life-long com-
panion and friend, Captain Miles Standish. As we
have mentioned, their farms in Duxbury were side by
side. They had gathered around them several men of
congenial spirit, among whom we find the name of




John Alden. From whatever direction one approach-
es the homes of these illustrious men, he sees looming
up before him the remarkable eminence known as
" Captain's Hill." It is an oval-shaped mound, rising
to the height of about one hundred and eighty feet.
This hill was on the farm of Captain Standish. From
its summit, scenery of landscape and water was pre-
sented, in a calm summer's day, such as can scarcely
be surpassed in beauty in any country.

In a clear atmosphere one can discern, in the far
distance of the eastern horizon, over the bay, the out-
line of the sand-hills of Cape Cod, with its sickle bend
forming in the extreme north the harbor where the
Mayflower first cast anchor ; and where for five
long weeks their shattered bark rested while the
Pilgrims were in vain seeking for a home. Almost at
one's feet is to be seen the whole expanse of Ply-
mouth Bay, with the entrance through which their
storm-shattered shallop passed through the foaming
breakers on either side. There was then no light-
house on Gurnet's Point to guide their endangered
keel. Just before you is Clark's Isle, under whose
lee, in the midnight tempest, the Pilgrims found
shelter, when every moment in danger of being sub-
merged by the waves ; and where they 'passed the
ever-memorable Sabbath.

From the summit of the hill, all the land to the


south belonged to Captain Standish. On the east,
spreading out to the water's edge, including what is -
called the Nook, were the acres allotted to Elder
Brewster. Near the site of the humble house which
he reared and occupied, are still to be seen the
gray and decaying remains of a farm-house, and its
outbuildings, erected by some one of his 'immediate
successors. It was from this spot that the remains
of the Elder were conveyed, in long procession wind-
ing around the western shore of the bay, to their
final resting-place on Burial Hill.

It was in the midst of these peaceful scenes that
Captain Miles Standish passed the evening of his
days, mainly engaged in agricultural pursuits. But
whenever serious trouble came, his energies were
immediately called into requisition.

When the English commenced their settlements
on Connecticut River, Uncas, sachem of the Mohegan
Indians, acknowledged a sort of feudal submission to
Sassacus, the powerful chief of the Pequot tribe.
This chieftain had, as we have mentioned, twenty-six
minor sachems, who paid him feudal homage. Uncas
was a very ambitious, energetic man, and he was
gradually bringing minor tribes under his sway. His
territory was situated east of the Connecticut River
and north of New London, Stonington and Norwich.
Uncas, though a friend of the white men, was bitterly


hostile to the introduction of Christianity among the
Indians. Some occasion of war arose between the
Narragansets and the Mohegans, and a very large
force of the former fell upon Uncas, and slew a large
number of his men, while they wounded more. This
was in the year 1645, two years after the death of
Elder Brewster. Many of the Narragansets had
obtained muskets. Being superior in numbers to the
Mohegans, and more powerfully armed, they gained
an easy victory.

The English were not willing to see their friend
and ally thus destroyed. They were bound by treaty
to defend him, and sent to the Narragansets a remon-
strance. The Narragansets, having engaged the co-
operation of the Mohawks, and flushed with victory,
returned an insulting and defiant answer. The Con-
necticut colonists immediately despatched forty well-
armed men, for the protection of their ally, while
commissioners from the several English colonies met,
at Boston, to decide upon what further measures to
adopt. Three messengers were sent to the Narragan-
sets and to the Mohegans, calling upon both par-
ties to appoint commissioners to confer with the
English upon the points in dispute, and thus to
settle the question by diplomacy and not by butch-
ery. If the Narragansets refused to accede this
proposal, which they were bound, by previous treaty,


to respect, they were to be informed that the Eng-
lish had already sent forty armed men to Uncas,
and a definite answer was demanded to the question
whether they intended to abide by the treaty of peace,
into which they had entered with the English, or
whether they intended to make war upon them also.

To this perfectly just and friendly message, the
Narragansets returned again a contemptuous and
threatening reply. At the same time Roger Williams,
who dwelt in the near vicinity, almost in the midst of
the Narragansets, and who was familiar with all their
operations, wrote to the Governors of Plymouth and
of Massachusetts, stating that the war would soon
break out far and wide, with great violence, and the
whole country would be in flames. This was alarm-
ing tidings to the English. By the arts of peace alone
could they be enriched, and for peace and friendship
their hearts yearned.

The Narragansets were not far from Plymouth.
The fiend-like warfare of the savages, with their hid-
eous yells, tomahawks and firebrands, would first fall
upon the scattered farm-houses of that colony. An
immediate convention was called of the magistrates,
elders and chief military commanders of the Massa-
chusetts and Plymouth colonies. They came unani-
mously to the following decisions, That they were
bound, by treaty, to aid and defend Uncas ; that this


aid was not intended merely to defend him in his fort,
or when attacked in his dwelling, but also to enable
him to preserve his liberty and his estates ; that this
aid must be immediately furnished or Uncas would
be overwhelmed and ruined by his enemies ; that the
war against the Narragansets being so manifestly just,
the reasons for it ought to be proclaimed to the world ;
that a day of humiliation and prayer should be ap-
pointed to implore the Divine guidance and blessing ;
that three hundred men should be immediately sent
to the aid of Uncas, of which Massachusetts should
furnish one hundred and ninety, Plymouth forty,
Connecticut forty, and New Haven thirty ; that, con-
sidering the immediate danger of Uncas, forty men
should be instantly sent to his succor from Massachu-

In accordance with the promptness which has ever
characterized the Massachusetts colony, scarcely an
hour elapsed, after the tidings reached Boston, ere the
men were on the march. Governor Bradford, speaking
of the insolent tone adopted by the Narragansets, writes,

" They received the English commissioners with
scorn and contempt, and told them that they would
have no peace with Uncas without his head. They
also gave them this further answer, that it mattered
not who began the war, they were resolved to follow
it up, and that the English should withdraw their gar-


rison from Uncas, or they would bring down the Mo-
hawks upon them. And withal they gave them this
threatening answer, that they would lay the English
cattle on heaps as high as their houses, and that no
Englishman should step out of his door but that he
should be shot."

The English commissioners needed guides to lead
them through the wilderness of the Narraganset
country, to communicate the reply of the Narragan-
set chiefs to Uncas. They refused to furnish them
with any guide. At last, in scorn they brought for-
ward a poor, old, decrepit Pequot woman saying, with
derisive laughter, that they might take her if they
pleased. In addition to all these indignities the com-
missioners were seriously menaced with personal vio-
lence. As their interpreter was communicating his
message to the sachems, three burly savages came
and stood behind him, brandishing their tomahawks
in the most insulting and threatening manner. The
friendly Indians, who had accompanied the English,
were so alarmed by this conduct of the Narragansets
that they fled in the utmost haste, leaving the com-
missioners to go home alone.

" Thus," writes Governor Bradford, " while the
commissioners in care of the public peace sought
to quench the fire kindled among the Indians, these
children of strife breathe out threatenings, provoca-


tion and war against the English themselves. So
that unless they should dishonor and provoke God by
violating a just engagement, and expose the colonies
to contempt and danger from the barbarians, they can-
not but exercise force, when no other means will pre-
vail to reduce the Narragansets and their confede-
rates to a more just and sober temper."

The Plymouth colonists were as prompt in action
as those of Massachusetts. Captain Miles Standish
was of course placed at the head of the command.
With rapid steps his little army of forty men traversed
the forest to the appointed rendezvous at Seekonk,
now Rehoboth. Having a much shorter journey to
take, he was encamped upon the spot before the Mas-
sachusetts men reached it. The Connecticut and
New Haven forces also soon arrived. Quite a large
number oi friendly Indian warriors also joined them.
They were armed with muskets, and placed under
the command of Captain Standish.

All these measures were adopted with the great-
est energy and promptness. The sachem of the Nar-
ragansets had, a short time before, sent a present to
the Governor of Massachusetts. It was intended
either to blind him as to their hostile designs, or to
bribe him not to interpose in behalf of the Mohegans.
But the Governor was not thus to be duped. He
frankly informed the messenger that he was not fully


satisfied respecting the friendly intentions of the sa-
chem of the Narragansets, that he could not, there-
fore, immediately accept the present. He would not
however refuse it, but would lay it aside to wait the
developments of the future.

The military bands being now all assembled at
Rehoboth and ready to march into the territoiy of the
Narragansets, the Governor of Massachusetts, before
commencing hostilities, sent two commissioners, with
an interpreter, to return the present to the Narragan-
set sachem, and to inform him that he had already
sent forty men for the protection of Uncas, and that
another armed force was on the march to defend him.
They were also directed to inform the Narraganset
sachem that the English troops had express orders to
stand only upon his and their own defence ; that they
should make no attempt to invade the Narraganset
country ; and that if the sachem would make repara-
tion for the wrongs which he had already inflicted
upon the Mohegans, and would give security for his
peaceful conduct in future, he would find that the
English were as desirous of peace, and as reluctant
to shed Narraganset blood, as they ever had been. In
conclusion, this messenger, seeking only peace, said :

" If, therefore, Pessecus and Innemo, with the
other sachems, will, without further delay, come to
Boston, they shall have free liberty to come and re-


turn without molestation, or any just grievance from
the English. But deputies will not now serve ; nor
may the preparations in hand be now stayed, or the
directions given recalled, till the forementioned saga-
mores come, and some further order be taken. But
if the Narragansets will have nothing but war, the
English are providing for it, and will proceed accord-

These wise measures accomplished the desired
results. The Narraganset sachems had sufficient in-
telligence to perceive that they were arraying against
themselves forces which they were but poorly able to
withstand. Three of their most prominent chiefs,
xvith a large array of warriors, after a few days visited
Boston, and entered into a treaty of peace.

The Indians agreed to pay to Massachusetts two
thousand fathoms of good white wampum, in payments
extending through two years ; to restore to Uncas all
the captives, men, women and children they had
taken, and all the canoes, and to pay in full for the
corn they had destroyed or carried away. They also
agreed to meet the commissioners from the several
colonies at New Haven, and submit to their arbitra-
tion those grievances which would otherwise result in
war. There were one or two other articles in the
treaty of a similar nature. Four children of the sa-
chems were, within fourteen days, to be surrendered


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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottMiles Standish, the Puritan captain .. → online text (page 19 of 21)