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they were well feated, and that there was a
profpect of fuccefs to their undertaking, he
went, without their knowledge, but in their
name, and foliclted the Council for another
patent, of greater extent ; intending to keep
it to himfelf, and allow them no more than
he pleafed, holding them as his tenants, to
fue and be fued at his Courts. In purfuance
of this defign, having obtained the patent, he
bought a {hip, which he named the Paragon ;
loaded her with goods, took en board up
wards of fixty paflengers, and failed from
London, for the Colony of New Plymouth.


* Morton, 45. Prince, 136. Mag, I. i-r..


In the Downs, he was overtaken by a tempeft,
which fo damaged the fhip, that he was obli
ged to put her into dpck ; where fhe lay
feven weeks, and her repairs coft him one
hundred pounds. In December, 1622, he
failed a fecond time, having on board one
hundred and nine perfons ; but a feries of
tempeftuous weather which continued four
teen days, difabled his fhip, and forced him
back to Portfmouth. Thefe repeated difap-
pointments proved fo difcouraging to him,
that he was eafily prevailed upon by the
Company of Adventurers, to ailign his pa
tent to them for five hundred pounds. The
paflengers came over in other (hips.

In 1629, another patent of larger extent
was folicited by Ifaac Allerton, and taken out
in the name of " William Bradford, his heirs,
afTociates, and affigns." This patent con
firmed their title (as far as the Crown of
England could confirm it) to a tract of land
bounded on the eaft and fouth by the Atlan
tic Ocean, and by lines drawn weft from the
Rivulet of Conohaflet, and north from the
River of Narraganfet, which lines meet in
a point, comprehending all the country call

* Hazard, I. 298,


ed Pokanoket. To this tract they fuppofed
they had a prior title from the depopulation
of a great part of it by a peftilence, from the
gift of MafarToit, his voluntary fubjecYion to
the Crown of England, and his having taken
protection of them. In a declaration pub-
iifhed by them in 1636, they aflerted their
" lawful right in refpecl of vacancy, dona
tion, and purchafe of the natives/'* which, to
gether with their patent from the Crown,
through the Council of New-England, form
ed " the warrantable ground and foundation
of their government, of making laws an 4

difpofmg of lands."f


* Hazard, I. 404.

fin 1639, after the termination of the Pequod war,
Mafaffbit, who had then changed his name to Woofame-
quen, brought his fon Mooanam to Plymouth, and de&-
red that the league which he had formerly made, might
be renewed and made inviolable. The Sachem and his
fon voluntarily promifed, " for themfelves and their fuc-
ceffors, that they would not needlefsly nor unjuftly raife
any quarrels or do any wrong to other natives to provoke
them to war againft the Colony ; and that they would
not give, fell or convey any of their lands, territories cr
poffeffions whatever, to any perfon or perfons whomfccv-
er, without the privity or confent of the Government of
Plymouth, ether than to fuch as the faid Government
(hould fend or appoint. The whole Court did then ratify



In the fame patent was granted a large
tract bordering on the river Kennebeck,
where they had carried on a traffic with the
natives for furs, as they did alfo at Connecti
cut River, which was not equally beneficial,
becaufe there they had the Dutch for rivals.*
The fur trade was found to be much more
advantageous than the fifhery. Sometimes
they exchanged corn of their own growth,
for furs ; but European coarfe cloths, hard
ware, and ornaments, were good articles of
trade when they could command them.

The Company in England, with which
they were connected, did not fupply them
in plenty. Lories were fuftained by fea ;
the returns were not adequate to their ex
pectations ; they became difcouraged ; threw
many reflections on the planters, and finally
refufed them any farther fupplies ; f but flili


and confirm the aforefaid league, and promife to the faid
Woofamequen, his fon and fucceflbrs, that they \vculd
defend them againft all fuch as fhould unjuftly rife up
againft them, to wrong or opprefs them."

Morton's Memorial, 150,

* Hutch. II. 4(^9. Prince, 157.

f Bradford's Letters in the Collections of the Hiftorical
Society, vol. III. p. 29, 36, 60.


demanded the debt due from them, and
would not ptrmit them to connect them-
felves in trade with any other perfons. The
planters complained to the Council of New-
England, but obtained no redrefs. After
the expiration of the feven years (1628) for
which the contract was made, eight of the
principal perfons in the Colony, with four of
their friends in London, became bound for
the balance ; and from that time took the
whole trade into their own hands. Thefe
were obliged to take up money at an exor
bitant intereft, and to go deeply into trade at
Kennebeck, Penobfcot, and Connecticut ; by
which means, and their own great induftry
and economy, they were enabled to difcharge
the debt, and pay for the tranfportation of
thirty-live families of their friends from Ley-
den, who arrived in 1629.

The patent had been taken in the name of
Mr. Bradfo.d, in truft for the Colony; and
the event proved that their confidence was
mlfplaced. When the number of peo
ple was increafed, and new townfhips were
erected, the General Court, in 1640, requeft-
cd that he would furrender the patent into



their hands.* To this he readily confented ;
and, by a written inftrument, under his hand
and feal, furrendered it to them ; referving
for himfelf no more than his proportion, by
previous agreement. This was done in
open Court, and the patent was immediately
re-delivered into his cuftody*

Whilft they were few in number, the
whole body of aflbciates, or freemen, afFem-
bled for legiflative, executive and judicial bu-
fmefs.f In 1634, the Governor and Afiift-
ants were conftitufed a Judicial Court, and
afterward, the Supreme Judiciary. J Petty
offences, and actions of debt, trcfpafs and
damage, not exceeding forty millings, were
tried by the Selectmen of each town, with
liberty of appeal to the next Court of Affift-
ants. The firft AfTembly of Reprefentatives
was held in 1639, when two Deputies were
fent from each town, and four from Plym
outh. In 1649 Plymouth was reftrided to
the fame number with the other towns.
Thefe Deputies were chofen by the freemen ;
and none were admitted to the privilege of
freemen, but fuch as were twenty-one years


* Hazard, I, 298, 468.
| Hutch. II. 467* J Plymouth, Law:-

2 4 o B R A D F O R D,

of age, of fober and peaceable corrverfation,
orthodox in the fundamentals of religion,
and poiTefled of twenty pounds rateable

By the former patent, the Colony of
Plymouth was empowered " to enact fuch
laws, as mould moil befit a State, in its non
age, not rejecting, or omitting to obferve
fuch of the laws of their native country, as
would conduce to their good."* In the fec-
ond patent, the power of government was
granted to William Bradford and his aflbci-
ates, in the following terms.'f " To frame
and make orders, ordinances and conftitu-
tions, as well for the better government of
their affairs here, [in England] and the re
ceiving or admitting any to his or their fo-
ciety ; as alfo, for the better government of
his or their people, at fea, in going thither,
or returning from thence ; and the fame to
be put in execution, by fuch officers and
minifters as he or they mail authorife and
depute ; provided, that the faid laws be not
repugnant to the laws of England, or the


* Preface to Plymouth Laws, by Secretary Morton,
f Hazard, I. 302.

BTITAMf R'O R D; 241

frame of government by the fald Prefideat
and Council hereafter to be eftablifhed."

At that time, a general government over
the whole territory of New-England, was a
favourite object with the Council, which
granted thefe patents ; but, after feveral at
tempts, it finally mifcarried, to the no fmall
joy of the planters, who were then at liberty
to govern themfeives.

In the formation of the laws of New-
Plymouth, regard was had, " primarily and
principally, to the ancient platform of God's
law." For, though fome parts of that fy-
tem were peculiar to the circumftances of the
fons of Jacob, yet " the whole being ground
ed on principleg of moral equity," it was the
opinion of our firft planters, not at Plymouth
only, but in MafTachufetts, New-Haven and
Connecticut, that " all men, efpecially Chrif-
tians, ought to have an eye to it, in the fram
ing of their political conftitutions."* A fee-
ondary regard was had to the liberties, grant
ed to them by their Sovereign, and the laws
of England, which they fuppofed " any
impartial perfon might difcerri, in the pe-
G c rufal

* Preface to Plymouth Laws.

242 B R A E> F O R IX

ruial of the book of the laws of tlie

At firfl they had fome doubt concerning
their right of punifhing capital crimes. A
murder, which happened in 1630, made it
neceffary to decide this queftion. It was de
cided by the divine law againft medding hu
man blood, which was deemed indifpenfible.
In 1636 their Code of Laws was revifed, and
capital crimes were enumerated and defined,
In x6yi it was again revifed, and the next
year printed, with this title : " The book of
the general laws of the inhabitants of the ju-
rifdicvtlon of New-Plymouth ;"* a title very
limilar to the Codes of MafTachufetts and
Connecticut, which were printed at the fame
time by Samuel Green, at Cambridge*


* Governor Hutchinfon, with unaccountable carelefc
refs, has averted, (vol. II. 463) that they "never eftab-
lifaed any diftincl: code or body of laws ;" grounding his
afTertion on a pafTage in Hubbard's MS. Hiftory, which
implies no fuch thing. The quotation, imperfe<Sly given
by Hutchinfon, is correctly as follows, (p. 50.)

" The laws they intended to be governed by, were the
laws of England ; the which they were willing to be fub-
jec"t to, though in a foreign land j and have, fmce that
time, continued in that mind for the general, adding only
feme particular municipal laws of their own, in fuch ca


The piety, wifdom, and integrity of Mr.
Bradford^ were fiich prominent features in
his character, that he was annually chofen
Governor as long as he lived, excepting
three years, when Mr. Winilow, and two>
when Mr. Prince, were chofen ; and, even
then, Mr. Bradford was the firft in the lilt of
Affiliants;, which gave him the rank of Depu
ty-Governor. In 1624 they chofe five Affift-
ants, and, in 1633, (even; the Governor
having a double vote. Thefe augmentations
were made at the earneft requeft of Mr.
Bradford, who ftrongly recommended a ro
tation in the election of a Governor ; but,
could not obtain it for more than five years
in thirty-five ; and never for more than two
years in fucceffion, His argument was,
" that if it were any honour or benefit, others
befide himfelf fhould partake of it ; if it were
a burden, others befide himfelf fliould help


fes, v%-";ere the common laws and ftatutes of England could
not well reach, or afford them help in emergent difficul
ties of the place ; pofllbly on the fame ground that Paca-
vius fometimes advifed his neighbours of Capua, nos-^o
caftiier their old magiftrates, till they could agree on bet
ter to place in their room. So did thefe choofe to abide
by the laws of England, till they could be provided of

344 B R A D F O R D.

to bear it."* Notwithftanding the reafon-
ablenefs and equity of his plea, the people
had fuch a ftrong attachment to him, and
confidence in him, that they could not be per-
fuaded to leave him out of the Government,
For the laft twelve years of his life, he
was annually chofen without interruption,
and ferved in the oitice of Governor. His
health continued good till the autumn of
1656, when it began to decline ; and, as the
next fpring advanced, he became weaker,
but felt not any acute illnefs till the begin
ning of May.

After a diftrefling day, his mind was, in
the following night, fo elevated with the idea
of futurity, that he faid to his friends in th<*
morning, " God has given me a pledge of
my happinefs in another world, and the firfl
fruits of eternal glory." The next day,
being the ninth of May, 1657, he was re-
moved from this world by death, in the fix-
ty-ninth year of his age, to the inamenfc lois
and grief of the people, not only in Plym
outh, but the neighbouring Colonies j four|


* Morton, p. 53,

f Theft four Colonies were Maffachufetta, ConiAcftiaU,
and Rhcdc-Ifland.

B'R'A I> F O R D. 245

of which he lived to fee eftablifhed, befide
that of which he was one of the principal

In addition to what has been faid of Mr.
Bradford's character, it may be obferved>
that he was a fenfible man, of a ftrong mind,
a found judgment, and a good memory.
Though not favoured with a learned educa
tion, he was much inclined to ftudy and
writing. The French and Dutch languages
were familiar to him, and he attained a con-
fiderable knowledge of the Latin and Greek ;
but he more affiduoufly ftudied the Hebrew,
becaufe he faid that " he would fee with his
own eyes, the ancient oracles of God, in their
native beauty."

He had read much of hiflory and philof-
ophy, but theology was his favourite ftudy.
He was able to manage the polemic part of
it, with much dexterity ; and was particular
ly vigilant againft the fetaries which infeft-
ed the Colonies ; though by no means ie-
vere or intolerant, as long as they continued
peaceable ; wi filing rather to foil them by
argument, and guard the people againil re-


* Mather's Mngnalia, II. 5.

B R A D F O R $.

reiving their tenets, than to fupprefs them by
violence or cut them off by the fword of
magi ft racy. Mr. Hubbard's character of him
is, that he was " a perfon of great gravity
and prudence, of fober principles, and for
one of that perfuafion (Brownifts) very plia
ble, gentle and condefcending."

He wrote " a Hiflury of Plymouth people
and Colony,"* beginning with the firfl for
mation of the Church in 1602, and ending
in 1 646. It was continaed in a folio vol
ume of 270 pages. Morton's Memorial is
an abridgment of it. Prince and Hutchin*
fon had the ufe of it, and the manufcript was
carefully depofited with Mr. Prince's valua
ble Collection of Papers, in the library of the
Old South Church in Bofton, which fell a
facrifice to the unprincipled fury of the Brit-
i(h army, in the year 1775, fmce which time
it has not been feen. He alfo had a large
book of copies of letters relative to the afiairs
of the Colony, a fragment of which was, a
few years ago, recovered by accident,f and


* Preface to Prince's Annals, p- vi. ix.

f It was accidentally feen in a Grocer's fhop at Hali
fax, Nova-Scotia, by James Clarke, Efq. a Correfpcnding
Member of the Hiftorical Society, and by him tranfmitted
to Bofton.

B R A t> O R tfc

, by the Hiftorical Society.* To
this fragment is fufJJoined another, being a
" defcriptive and hiftorical account of New
England," in verfe ; which if it be not gra
ced with the charms of poetry, yet is a juft
and affecting narrative, intermixed with pi->
ous and ufeful reflections. Befides thefe, he
wrote, as Dr. Mather fays, " fome fignificant
tilings, for the confutation of the errors of
the times ; by which it appears, that he was
a perfon of a good temper, and free from
that rigid fpirit of feparation, which broke
the Separatifts to pieces."

In his office of chief magiftrate, he was
prudent, temperate and firm. He would
fuffer no perfon to trample on the laws, or
difturb the peace of the Colony* During
his adininiftratiori there were frequent accef-
fions of new inhabitants ; fome of whom
were at firft refractory ; but his wifdom and
fortitude obliged them to pay a decent re
pect to the laws and cuftoms of the coun
try. One particular inftance is preferved.
A company of young men, newly arrived,
were very unwilling to comply with the

Governor's order for working on the public


* Collections of H. S. vol. III. p. 27. 77.

B R A B F O R fir

account. On a Chriftinas day, they excufed
themfclves, under pretence that it was againft
their confcience to work. The Governor
gave them : no other anfwer than, that he
would let them alone, till they fhould be
better informed. In the oourfe of the day,
he found them at play in the ftreet ; and
commanding the instruments of their game
to be taken from them, he told them, that
it was againft his confcience to fufFer them
to play, whilft others were at work ; and
that if they had any religious regard to the
day, they mould mow it, in the exercife of
devotion at home. This gentle reproof had
the defired effect, and prevented a repetition
of fuch diforders.

His conduct toward intruders and . falfer
friends was equally moderate, but firm and
decifive. John Lyford haxi impofcd him-
felf upon the Colony as a Minifter,- being
recommended by fome of the adventurers.
At firft his behaviour was plaufible, and he
was treated with refpect; but it was not
long, before he began, in concert with John
Oldham, to excite a faction. The Gov
ernor watched them ; and when a fhip was
about failing for England, it was obferved



that Lyford was very bufy in writing let
ters, of which lie put a great number on
board. The Governor in a boat, followed
the (hip to fea, and by favour of the Mailer,
who was a friend to the Colony, examined
the letters, fome of which he intercepted, and
concealed. Lyford and Oidham were at
firft under much apprehenfion, but as noth
ing tranfpircd, they concluded that the
Governor had only gone on board to carry
his own letters ; and felt themfelves fecure.
In one of the intercepted letters, Lyford
had written to his friends, the difcontented
part of the adventurers, that lie and Oidham
intended a reformation in Church and State.
Accordingly they began to inftitute a fepa-
rate Church ; and when Oidham was fum-
moned to take his turn at a military watch,
he not only refufed compliance, but abufed
Captain Standifh, and drew his knife upon
him. For this he was imprifohed ; and
both he and Lyford were brought to trial,
before the whole Company. Their beha
viour was infolent and obftinate. The Gov
ernor took pains to convince them of their
folly, but in vain. The letters were then
H H produced 5


produced ; their adherents were confounded ;
and the evidence of their factious and difor-
derly conduct being fatisfactory, they were
condemned, and ordered to be banifhed from
the plantation. Lyford was allowed fix
months for probation ; but his pretences
proved hypocritical, and he was obliged to
depart. After fcvcral icmuvals he died in
Virginia. Oldham having returned after
banifhment, his fecond expulfion was con-
du<fted in this fmgular manner. " A guard
of mufqueteers was appointed, through which
he was obliged to pafs ; every one was order
ed to give him a blow on the hinder parts,
with the butt end of his mufquet ; then he
was conveyed to the water fide, where a boat
was ready to carry him away, with this fare
well, Go, and mend your manners"* 1 This
difcipline had a good effect on him ; he
made his fubmiffion, and was allowed to
come and go on trading voyages. In one of
thefe, he was killed by the Pequod Indians,
which proved the ocoafion of a war with
that nation.

Mr. Bradford had one fon by his firft wife ;
and by his fecond, Alice Southworth, whom


* Morton, 81.


he married in 1623, he had two fons and
a daughter. His fon William, born in 1 624,
was Deputy-Governor of the Colony after
his father's death, and lived to the age of 80 ;
as appears by his grave-ftone in Plymouth
chutch-yard. One of his grandfons and two
of his great grandfons were Counfellors of
Maflachufetts. Several others of his de-
fcendants have borne refpe&able characters,
and have been placed in ftations of honour
and ufefulnefs. One of them, William
Bradford, has been Deputy-Governor of the
State of Rhode-Ifland, and a fenator in the
Congrefs of the United States. Two others,
Alden Bradford and Gamaliel Bradford arc
members of the Hiftorical Society,




JL HE place of this gentleman's
birth is unknown. The time of it was
A. D. 1560. He received his education at
the Uniyerfity of Cambridge, where he be
came ferioufly imprcflcd \vlth the truth of
religion, which had its genuine influence on
his character,, through his whole life.

After leaving the Univerfity, he entered
into the fervince of William Dayifon, a
courtier of Queen Elizabeth, and her Ambaf-
fador in Scotland and in Holland ; whp
found him fo capable and faithful, that he
repofed the utmoft confidence in him. He
efteemed him as a fon, and converted with
him in private, both pn religious and political
fubjects, with .the greateft familiarity ; and
when any thing occurred which required
fecrefy, Brewfter was his confidential friend.

When the Queen entered into a league
with the United Provinces, (1584) and re
ceived poffcflion of feveral towns and forts,
as fecurity for her expenfes in defending
their liberties ; Davifon, who negociated the
matter, entrufled Brewfter with the keys of



Flufhing, one of thofe cautionary towns j
and the States of Holland were fo fenfible
of his merit, as to prefent him with the
ornament of a golden chain.*

He returned with the AmbafTador to Eng
land, and continued in his fervice, till Da-
vifon, having incurred the hypocritcal dif-
pleafure of hi*- arLitro.*y mlftrefs, was imprif-
oned, fined, and ruined. Davifon is faid to
have been a man of abilities and integrity,
but eafy to be impofed upon, and for that
very reafon was made Secretary of State, f
When Mary, the unfortunate Queen of
Scotland, had been tried and condemned,
and the Parliament of England had petition
ed their fovereign for her execution, Eliza
beth privately ordered Davifon to. draw a
death-warrant, which fhe figned, and fent
him with it to the Chancellor to have the
great feal annexed. Having performed his
duty, fhe pretended to blame him for his
precipitancy. Davifon acquainted the Coun
cil with the whole tranfaclion ; they knew
the Queen's real fentiments, and perfuaded
him to lend the warrant to the Earls of Kent
and Shrewlbury, promifmg to juftify his


* Morton's Memoiial, p. 154*
f Hume, vol. V. chap. 42.


conduct, and take the blame on themfelves,
Thefe Earls attended the execution of Mary ;
but, when Elizabeth heard of it, fhe afFecl:-. .
fid furprize and indignation ; threw all the
blame on the innocent Secretary, and com
mitted him to the tower ; where he became
the fubject of raillery from thofe very Coun-
feJlors who had proinlfed to countenance and
protect him. He was tried in the Star
Chamber, and fined ten thoufand pounds,
which being rigoroufly levied upon him,
reduced him to poverty.*

During thefe misfortunes, Brewfter faith
fully adhered to hinij and gave him all the
affiftance of which he was capable. When
he could no longer ferve him, he retired in
to the north of England, among his old
friends, and was very highly efteemed by
thofe who were moft exemplary for religion, f
Being poflefled of a handfome property, and
having fome influence, he made ufe of both
|n promoting the caufe of religion, and pro-

* For a particular account of Daviibn, and a full vin
dication of his conduct, the reader is referred to the 5th
volume of Biograpbia Brittanictf, publifhed by the late
learned and candid Dr. Kippis ; where the character of
Elizabeth is drawn in its proper colours. P. 4 13.

f Cotton's Appendix, in the Collections of the Hiftorj,
sal Society, vol. IV. 114.

B R E W S T E R. 255

curing perfons of good chara&er, io ferve in
the office of minifters to the parities in his

By degrees he became difgufted with the
impofitions of the prelatical party, and their
ie verity toward men of a moderate and peacea
ble difpofition. This led him to inquire critical
ly into the nature uf eujcfmftical authority ;
and having difcovered much corruption in the
conftitution, forms, ceremonies, and difcipline
of the eftabliihed Church,he thought it his du^.
ty to withdraw from its communion, and join
with others of the fame fentiments in the infti-
tution of a feparate Church; of which the aged

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