Part 2: Seventeenth Century English Colonial Literature
2.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES
After reading this chapter, students will be able to
- Understand both the shared and distinctive motives leading to different European groups’ traveling to and settling in the new world.
- Understand how their respective founding charters shaped the ideologies of the different European settlements in the new world.
- Understand the adverse effects on the relationship of the English and the Native American tribes of the ongoing European expansion of English colonies in North America.
- Understand the significance of the Pequod War and the so-called King Philip’s War.
- Identify the introduction, growth, and effects of African slavery in the colonies.
- Understand the significance of Puritanism to seventeenth century literature and culture in the new world.
- Identify the aesthetic features of the Puritan plain style in literature.
The Puritans tend to be overrepresented in the histories and literature of the seventeenth century English colonies in North America; however, they were hardly the only group from England to travel to the new world. Some groups came for similar reasons as the Puritans—to practice their religion freely—though many came for secular reasons. The Jamestown colony in Virginia, a territory which originally included not only the current state of Virginia but also the northern parts of North Carolina up to the Long Island Sound in New York, was founded as a commercial venture. In addition, people with commercial interests in the new world traveled alongside William Bradford’s pilgrims on the Mayflower, and considerable tension existed between settlements with secular interests and those of the Puritans, as we see in William Bradford’s account of Thomas Morton (c. 1579–1647) and the residents of Merrymount.
More colonies soon joined those in Massachusetts and Virginia. In 1632, Lord Baltimore (1605–1675) was given a charter for land north of the Potomac River. A Catholic, Baltimore established the colony of Maryland as a place of religious tolerance. A charter for the Carolinas, a territory which extended well beyond the modern borders of those states, was granted in 1663 and settlers established one of the first colonies under this charter near Charleston, South Carolina. In 1681, Pennsylvania was granted by King Charles II to William Penn (1644–1718) in repayment of a debt owed to Penn’s father. The colony became a refuge for members of the Society of Friends or Quakers, as Penn was a recent convert to the denomination. Georgia was the last of the original colonies. Founded in 1732, the colony was intended primarily as a bulwark between the English colonies to the north and the Spanish colonies to the south.
Certainly, this ongoing expansion of English colonies caused continual tension with the Native American tribes already occupying the territory. The Powhatan Confederacy, a union of tribes occupying the tidewater Virginia region, alternately collaborated with and fought against the Jamestown colony from its founding until 1645, when the English forced the confederacy to surrender and cede land. In New England, the Pequod War (1636–1638) was one of the first significant fights between the colonies in Massachusetts and the local tribes, pitting the Pequod tribe against the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies and their allies, the Narragansett tribe. The natives of New England continued attempting to hold back English encroachments, making their last major effort when the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and other allied tribes, led by Metacom (1638–1675)—called King Philip by the English—attacked frontier towns. The so-called King Philip’s War lasted from 1675 to 1676, when Metacom was captured and executed.
The use of African slaves in the colonies also grew during this century. African slavery had first been introduced to North America by the Spanish, especially after the Catholic Church started cracking down on enslaving Native Americans. Slaves were first brought to the English colony of Jamestown in 1619, to Connecticut in 1629, and to Massachusetts in 1637. The widespread adoption of slavery languished initially as it proved to be too expensive of an option for the struggling colonists. Indentured servants were a more economical option, but as wages rose in England toward the end of the century and dried up the supply of indentured servants, the use of enslaved Africans grew in the colonies. Though slavery was most prevalent in the southern colonies because of their greater focus on agriculture, the New England colonies were the first to codify slavery (in Massachusetts in 1641) and the first to forbid it (in Rhode Island in 1652). Even before America was a nation officially, America had a slavery problem. As Samuel Sewall’s anti-slavery tract shows, the arguments for and against slavery made during this century are some of the same ones that will be made again and again in the following two centuries.
While the Puritans were only one of many groups settling the English colonies, they were the one with the most cultural power. For that reason, it is necessarily to understand who they were and how they saw the world to understand many of the readings of this section. The Puritans were groups who felt that the Church of England, otherwise known as the Anglican Church, retained too much of the doctrine and culture of the Catholic Church after the Protestant reformation. Their name derived from their desire to purify the church of these Catholic vestiges. There were also non-separatist and separatist groups within the Puritans as a whole. The non-separatists, like John Winthrop’s company, believed that the Puritans should remain within the Anglican Church and correct it from within the system; the separatists, represented by William Bradford’s Plymouth company, felt the Church of England was a lost cause from which the Puritans should separate themselves. The restoration of King James I to the throne and the subsequent persecutions of dissenters made the distinction moot. The only way to safely practice views that differed from the orthodoxy was to put considerable distance between oneself and English authorities, which both Winthrop’s and Bradford’s groups did.
The Puritans came to the new world with the goal of building a community constructed around religious principles that could stand as a model—a “city upon a hill,” as Winthrop put it—for a Christian community. The Puritans subscribed to Calvinist theology, and Calvinism’s assumptions about humanity and its relationship to God influence their works. First, Calvinism held that mankind was born depraved as a result of Adam’s original sin. The presence of sin within the human soul meant that all of man’s impulses, desires, and beliefs were tainted. As John Calvin put it in his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536):
Let it stand, therefore, as an indubitable truth, which no engines can shake, that the mind of man is so entirely alienated from the righteousness of God that he cannot conceive, desire, or design any thing but what is wicked, distorted, foul, impure, and iniquitous; that his heart is so thoroughly envenomed by sin that it can breathe out nothing but corruption and rottenness; that if some men occasionally make a show of goodness, their mind is ever interwoven with hypocrisy and deceit, their soul inwardly bound with the fetters of wickedness.
Congenitally incapable of righteousness, humanity was incapable of achieving salvation on their own. Only God’s intervention could save people from the damnation they deserved.
According to Calvinism, some of the faithful will be saved because of unconditional election. Election, or God’s decision to replace a person’s original depraved spirit with a clean one capable of understanding and following God’s will, could not be earned through good behavior; it was unconditional in that it had nothing to do with choices the person made or would make. It was also limited to a relatively small number of people rather than all of humanity. A logical outgrowth of these points of theology was the concept of predestination, which Calvin described in Institutes as “the eternal decree of God, by which He hath determined in Himself what He would have to become of every individual of mankind . . . . eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others.” Whatever one’s predestined fate was, one could do nothing to change it. Nonetheless, the Puritans held that one should always behave piously regardless of one’s destined outcome and emphasized the weaning of affections from the things of this world. Puritans were instructed to develop an attitude of indifference toward material things—to “wean” themselves of their natural attraction to the worldly—as well as to personal relationships, including one’s own family. This was not to encourage hard-heartedness but rather to make spiritual things the main priority of one’s life because the things of this world will not last; only the life of the spirit was permanent for the Puritans.
Given their beliefs in the total fallibility of mankind, Puritans looked outside of themselves for guidance in following God’s will. The first source of guidance was the Bible, which the Puritans took to be the most direct expression of God’s will. The Puritans, like other scholars of the Bible before them, believed in a typological relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Stories of the Old Testament were types or, as Hebrews 10:1 puts it, “a shadow of good things to come,” that foreshadowed the antitypes or “the very image of the good things” in the New Testament. For example, Jonah’s release from the whale in the Old Testament would be considered a type to the antitype of Jesus’ resurrection in the New Testament. However, the Puritans did not confine typological interpretation to the Bible alone. Typology assumes that all of human history and experience is part of a larger pattern of meanings that communicate God’s will, so any event—as big as smallpox decimating the native populations in greater numbers than the colonial populations or as small as a snake failing to ingest a mouse as recorded in John Winthrop’s journal—could be considered part of that pattern and signs of God’s approbation or disapprobation.
Despite vigorous policing of their theological borders against antinomians (who argued that salvation through faith meant that one needn’t follow the laws of a church); Quakers who disagreed with the beliefs of total depravity and salvation for only a limited number; and others who criticized Puritan practices, the Puritans’ power eventually faded along with the membership of the denomination by the end of the seventeenth century. Initially, the bar for membership in the church was quite high. Believing that only the elect, or those who are destined to be saved, should be members of the church and thereby be able to choose leaders for both the church and the state, prospective members were required to testify of their conversion experience and be interrogated by the other members of the church. It was a rigorous experience that more and more people decided to forego, and eventually, church members in the colonies were outnumbered by non-church members. To increase their ranks and hold on to political power, Puritan churches adopted the Half-Way Covenant in 1662. Under this covenant, the children of church members could become members without testifying to their conversion. Despite this measure, the political power of the Puritan churches continued to decline, though their cultural power continues to influence American culture.
Finally, in the spirit of purification and a return to a simpler practice, many of the works in this section demonstrate the Puritan aesthetic of plain style. In contrast to the more ornate style of writers like William Shakespeare, the Puritans and some other Protestant denominations felt that the best style was that which lacked embellishment or ornamentation and strove for simplicity and accessibility to the average person. Plain-style writing typically eschewed classical allusions, preferring to use figurative language originating either in the Bible or in everyday experience; was didactic (intended to teach a lesson) rather than entertaining; and featured limited variation in syntactical structures—though those structures might seem complex to a modern reader. This aesthetic can also be seen in the narrow color range of Puritan clothing and the distinct lack of gilding, statuary, and altars in Puritan churches.
2.3 WILLIAM BRADFORD
William Bradford was born in Austerfield, Yorkshire and reared as a farmer. In 1606, inspired by the preaching of non-conformist minister Richard Clyfton (d. 1616), Bradford joined the Separatist group tied to William Brewster (1568–1644) in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire. As Separatists from the Church of England headed by the English monarch, this group (and similar others) engaged in treason against the English crown. To escape the consequent-enforced secrecy and persecution, the group left England for the Netherlands. In 1609, Bradford joined them there, became a weaver, and started his own business upon inheriting money from his family.
Image 2.1 | William Bradford
Artist | Unknown
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
To escape further persecution, the group petitioned for and won a land grant in North America. Bradford was one of the pilgrims who sailed from Southampton, England in 1620 on the Mayflower to settle in the land granted. Their land grant was originally meant to be in Virginia but, due to difficulty navigating in storms, they landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. William Bradford helped define for themselves and future generations their Puritan settlement and endeavor at Plymouth Plantation. After the death of their elected governor John Carver (1576–1621), Bradford was elected governor. He was re-elected thirty times, serving as governor for almost all but the last five years of his life. He signed the Mayflower Compact that ordered their earthly rule (even as a means to prepare for heavenly rule); held to the Compact’s democratic principles in his governorship; worked to repay the debt to the British investors who funded their project in America; and did much to organize and lead the pilgrims’ lives.
Self-educated particularly in languages—including Hebrew—and an avid reader, Bradford applied his knowledge and skills to recording the history Of Plymouth Plantation. He started this chronicle largely in response to the growth of Non-Separatist settlers in the colony, settlers whom he saw as competing with the Separatists. His history records such important events as the pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth, the Mayflower Compact, the first Thanksgiving, and the Puritan ethic in action as it was put to trial and served as testimony of God’s designs. These designs included the pilgrims’ persecutions, voyage to and landing at Plymouth, suffering starvation and sickness there, as well as experiencing increasing tensions between themselves and the Native Americans. In the Puritan plain style, Bradford offers simple yet monumental truths of their lives.
Image 2.2 | Landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth 11th Dec. 1620
Artist | N. Currier
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
2.3.1 Of Plymouth Plantation
It is well knowne unto ye godly and judicious, how ever since ye first breaking out of ye lighte of ye gospell in our Honourable Nation of England, (which was ye first of nations whom ye Lord adorned ther with, affter yt grosse darknes of popery which had covered & overspred ye Christian worled,) what warrs & opposissions ever since, Satan hath raised, maintained, and continued against the Saincts, from time to time, in one sorte or other. Some times by bloody death and cruell torments; other whiles imprisonments, banishments, & other hard usages; as being loath his kingdom should goe downe, the trueth prevaile, and yechurches of God reverte to their anciente puritie, and recover their primative order, libertie, & bewtie. But when he could not prevaile by these means, against the maine trueths of ye gospell, but that they began to take rootting in many places, being watered with ye blooud of ye martires, and blessed from heaven with a gracious encrease; He then begane to take him to his anciente strategemes, used of old against the first Christians. That when by ye bloody & barbarous persecutions of ye Heathen Emperours, he could not stoppe & subuerte the course of ye gospell, but that it speedily overspred with a wounderfull celeritie the then best known parts of ye world, He then begane to sow errours, heresies, and wounderfull dissentions amongst yeprofessours them selves, (working upon their pride & ambition, with other corrupte passions incidente to all mortall men, yea to ye saints them selves in some measure,) by which wofull effects followed; as not only bitter contentions, & hartburnings, schismes, with other horrible confusions, but Satan tooke occasion & advantage therby to foyst in a number of vile ceremoneys, with many unproffitable cannons & decrees, which have since been as snares to many poore & peaceable souls even to this day. So as in ye anciente times, the persecutions by ye heathen & their Emperours, was not greater then of the Christians one against other; the Arians & other their complices against ye orthodoxe & true Christians. As witneseth Socrates in his 2. booke. His words are these; The violence truly (saith he) was no less than that of ould practised towards ye Christians when they were compelled & drawne to sacrifice to idoles; for many indured sundrie kinds of tormente, often rackings, & dismembering of their joynts; confiscating of ther goods; some bereaved of their native soyle; others departed this life under ye hands of ye tormentor; and some died in banishmēte, & never saw ther cuntrie againe, &c.
The like methode Satan hath seemed to hold in these later times, since ye trueth begane to springe & spread after ye great defection made by Antichrist, yt man of sin̄e.
For to let pass ye infinite examples in sundrie nations and severall places of ye world, and instance in our owne, when as yt old serpente could not prevaile by those firie flames & other his cruell tragedies, which he by his instruments put in ure every wher in ye days of queene Mary & before, he then begane an other kind of warre, & went more closly to worke; not only to oppuggen, but even to ruinate & destroy ye kingdom of Christ, by more secrete & subtile means, by kindling ye flames of contention and sowing yeseeds of discorde & bitter enmitie amongst ye proffessors & seeming reformed them selves. For when he could not prevaile by ye former means against the principall doctrins of faith, he bente his force against the holy discipline & outward regimente of the kingdom of Christ, by which those holy doctrines should be conserved, & true pietie maintained amongest the saints & people of God.
Mr. Foxe recordeth how yt besids those worthy martires & confessors which were burned in queene Marys days & otherwise tormented, many (both studients & others) fled out of ye land, to ye number of 800. And became severall congregations. At Wesell, Frankford, Bassill, Emden, Markpurge, Strausborugh, & Geneva, &c. Amongst whom (but especialy those at Frankford) begane yt bitter warr of contention & persecutiō aboute ye ceremonies, & servise-booke, and other popish and antichristian stuffe, the plague of England to this day, which are like ye highplases in Israell, wch the prophets cried out against, & were their ruine; which ye better parte sought, according to ye puritie of ye gospell, to roote out and utterly to abandon. And the other parte (under veiled pretences) for their ouwn ends & advancments, sought as stifly to continue, maintaine, & defend. As appeareth by ye discourse therof published in printe, Ano: 1575; a booke ytdeserves better to be knowne and considred.
The one side laboured to have ye right worship of God & discipline of Christ established in ye church, according to ye simplicitie of ye gospell, without the mixture of mens inventions, and to have & to be ruled by ye laws of Gods word, dispensed in those offices, & by those officers of Pastors, Teachers, & Elders, &c. according to ye Scripturs. The other partie, though under many colours & pretences, endevored to have yeepiscopall dignitie (affter ye popish man̄er) with their large power & jurisdiction still retained; with all those courts, cannons, & ceremonies, togeather with all such livings, revenues, & subordinate officers, with other such means as formerly upheld their antichristian greatnes, and enabled them with lordly & tyranous power to persecute ye poore servants of God. This contention was so great, as neither ye honour of God, the commone persecution, nor ye mediation of Mr. Calvin & other worthies of ye Lord in those places, could prevaile with those thus episcopally minded, but they proceeded by all means to disturbe ye peace of this poor persecuted church, even so farr as to charge (very unjustly, & ungodlily, yet prelatelike) some of their cheefe opposers, with rebellion & hightreason against ye Emperour, & other such crimes.
And this contētion dyed not with queene Mary, nor was left beyonde ye seas, but at her death these people returning into England under gracious queene Elizabeth, many of them being preferred to bishopricks & other promotions, according to their aimes and desires, that inveterate hatered against ye holy discipline of Christ in his church hath continued to this day. In somuch that for fear it should preveile, all plotts & devices have been used to keepe it out, incensing ye queene & state against it as dangerous for ye com̄on wealth; and that it was most needfull yt ye fundamentall poynts of Religion should be preached in those ignorante & superstitious times; and to win̄e ye weake & ignorante, they might retaine diverse harmles ceremoneis; and though it were to be wished yt diverse things were reformed, yet this was not a season for it. And many the like, to stop ye mouthes of ye more godly, to bring them over to yeeld to one ceremoney after another, and one corruption after another; by these wyles begyleing some & corrupting others till at length they begane to persecute all ye zealous professors in ye land (though they knew little what this discipline mente) both by word & deed, if they would not submitte to their ceremonies, & become slaves to them & their popish trash, which have no ground in ye word of God, but are relikes of yt man of sine. And the more ye light of ye gospell grew, ye more yey urged their subscriptions to these corruptions. So as (notwithstanding all their former pretences & fair colures) they whose eyes God had not justly blinded might easily see wherto these things tended. And to cast contempte the more upon ye sincere servants of God, they opprobriously & most injuriously gave unto, & imposed upon them, that name of Puritans, which [it] is said the Novatians out of prid did assume & take unto themselves. And lamentable it is to see ye effects which have followed. Religion hath been disgraced, the godly greeved, afflicted, persecuted, and many exiled, sundrie have lost their lives in prisones & otherways. On the other hand, sin hath been countenanced, ignorance, profannes, & atheisme increased, & the papists encouraged to hope againe for a day.
This made that holy man Mr. Perkins crie out in his exhortation to repentance, upon Zeph. 2. Religion (saith he) hath been amongst us this 35. years; but the more it is published, the more it is contemned & reproached of many, &c. Thus not prophanes nor wickednes, but Religion it selfe is a byword, a moking-stock, & a matter of reproach; so that in England at this day the man or woman yt begines to profes Religion, & to serve God, must resolve with him selfe to sustaine mocks & injueries even as though he lived amongst ye enimies of Religion. And this com̄one experience hath confirmed & made too apparente.
A late observation, as it were by the way, worthy to be Noted.
Full litle did I thinke, yt the downfall of ye Bishops, with their courts, cannons, & ceremonies, &c. had been so neare, when I first begane these scribled writings (which was aboute ye year 1630, and so peeced up at times of leasure afterward), or that I should have lived to have seene or heard of ye same; but it is ye Lords doing, and ought to be marvelous in our eyes! Every plante which mine heavenly father hath not planted (saith our Saviour) shall be rooted up. Mat: 15. 13. I have snared the, and thou art taken, O Babell (Bishops), and thou wast not aware; thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord. Jer. 50. 24. But will they needs strive against ye truth, against yeservants of God; what, & against the Lord him selfe? Doe they provoke the Lord to anger? Are they stronger than he? 1. Cor: 10. 22. No, no, they have mete with their match. Behold, I come unto ye, O proud man, saith the Lord God of hosts; for thy day is come, even the time that I will visite the. Jer: 50. 31. May not the people of God now say (and these pore people among ye rest), The Lord hath brought forth our righteousnes; come, let us declare in Sion the work of the Lord our God. Jer: 51. 10. Let all flesh be still before the Lord; for he is raised up out of his holy place. Zach: 2. 13.
In this case, these poore people may say (among ye thousands of Israll), When the Lord brougt againe the captivite of Zion, we were like them that dreame. Psa: 126. 1. The Lord hath done greate things for us, wherof we rejoyce. v. 3. They that sow in teares, shall reap in joye. They wente weeping, and carried precious seede, but they shall returne with joye, and bring their sheaves, v. 5, 6.
Doe you not now see ye fruits of your labours, O all yee servants of ye Lord that have suffered for his truth, and have been faithfull witneses of ye same, and yee litle handfull amongst ye rest, ye least amongest ye thousands of Israll? You have not only had a seede time, but many of you have seene yejoyefull harvest; should you not then rejoyse, yea, and againe rejoyce, and say Halleluiah, salvation, and glorie, and honour, and power, be to ye Lord our God; for true and righteous are his judgments. Rev. 19. 1, 2.
But thou wilte aske what is ye mater? What is done? Why, art thou a stranger in Israll, that thou shouldest not know what is done? Are not those Jebusites overcome that have vexed the people of Israll so long, even holding Jerusalem till Davids days, and been as thorns in their sids, so many ages; and now begane to scorne that any David should meadle with them; they begane to fortifie their tower, as that of the old Babelonians; but those proud Anakimes are throwne downe, and their glory laid in yedust. The tiranous bishops are ejected, their courts dissolved, their cannons forceless, their servise casheired, their ceremonies uselese and despised; their plots for popery prevented, and all their superstitions discarded & returned to Roome from whence they came, and ye monuments of idolatrie rooted out of ye land. And the proud and profane suporters, and cruell defenders of these (as bloody papists & wicked athists, and their malignante consorts) marvelously over throwne. And are not these greate things? Who can deney it?
But who hath done it? Who, even he that siteth on ye white horse, who is caled faithfull, & true, and judgeth and fighteth righteously, Rev: 19. 11. whose garments are dipte in blood, and his name was caled the word of God, v. 13. for he shall rule them with a rode of iron; for it is he that treadeth the winepress of the feircenes and wrath of God almighty. And he hath upon his garmente, and upon his thigh, a name writen, The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, v. 15, 16.
Anno Dom: 1646.
But that I may come more near my intendmente; when as by the travell & diligence of some godly & zealous preachers, & Gods blessing on their labours, as in other places of ye land, so in ye North parts, many became inlightened by the word of God, and had their ignorance & sins discovered unto them, and begane by his grace to reforme their lives, and make conscience of their wayes, the worke of God was no sooner manifest in them, but presently they were both scoffed and scorned by ye prophane multitude, and yeministers urged with ye yoak of subscription, or els must be silenced; and ye poore people were so vexed with apparators, & pursuants, & ye comissarie courts, as truly their affliction was not smale; which, notwithstanding, they bore sundrie years with much patience, till they were occasioned (by ye continuance & encrease of these troubls, and other means which the Lord raised up in those days) to see further into things by the light of ye word of God. How not only these base and beggerly ceremonies were unlawfull, but also that ye lordly & tiranous power of ye prelats ought not to be submitted unto; which thus, contrary to the freedome of the gospell, would load & burden mens consciences, and by their compulsive power make a prophane mixture of persons & things in the worship of God. And that their offices & calings, courts & cannons, &c. were unlawfull and antichristian; being such as have no warrante in ye word of God; but the same yt were used in poperie, & still retained. Of which a famous author thus writeth in his Dutch com̄taries. At the coming of king James into England; The new king (saith he) found their established ye reformed religion, according to ye reformed religion of king Edward ye 6. Retaining, or keeping still ye spirituall state of ye Bishops, &c. after ye ould maner, much varying & differing from ye reformed churches in Scotland, France, & ye Neatherlands, Embden, Geneva, &c. whose reformation is cut, or shapen much nerer ye first Christian churches, as it was used in ye Apostles times.
So many therfore of these proffessors as saw ye evill of these things, in thes parts, and whose harts yeLord had touched wth heavenly zeale for his trueth, they shooke of this yoake of antichristian bondage, and as ye Lords free people, joyned them selves (by a covenant of the Lord) into a church estate, in ye felowship of ye gospell, to walke in all his wayes, made known, or to be made known unto them, according to their best endeavours, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them. And that it cost them something this ensewing historie will declare.
These people became 2. distincte bodys or churches, & in regarde of distance of place did congregate severally; for they were of sundrie townes & vilages, some in Notingamshire, some of Lincollinshire, and some of Yorkshire, wher they border nearest togeather. In one of these churches (besids others of note) was Mr. John Smith, a man of able gifts, & a good preacher, who afterwards was chosen their pastor. But these afterwards falling into some errours in ye Low Countries, ther (for ye most part) buried them selves, & their names.
But in this other church (wch must be ye subjecte of our discourse) besids other worthy men, was Mr. Richard Clifton, a grave and reverēd preacher, who by his paines and dilligens had done much good, and under God had ben a means of ye conversion of many. And also that famous and worthy man Mr. John Robinson, who afterwards was their pastor for many years, till ye Lord tooke him away by death. Also Mr. William Brewster a reverent man, who afterwards was chosen an elder of ye church and lived with them till old age.
But after these things they could not long continue in any peaceable condition, but were hunted & persecuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were but as flea-bitings in comparison of these which now came upon them. For some were taken & clapt up in prison, others had their houses besett & watcht night and day, & hardly escaped their hands; and ye most were faine to flie & leave their howses & habitations, and the means of their livelehood. Yet these & many other sharper things which affterward befell them, were no other then they looked for, and therfore were ye better prepared to bear them by ye assistance of Gods grace & spirite. Yet seeing them selves thus molested, and that ther was no hope of their continuance ther, by a joynte consente they resolved to goe into ye Low-Countries, wher they heard was freedome of Religion for all men; as also how sundrie from London, & other parts of ye land, had been exiled and persecuted for ye same cause, & were gone thither, and lived at Amsterdam, & in other places of ye land. So affter they had continued togeither aboute a year, and kept their meetings every Saboth in one place or other, exercising the worship of God amongst them selves, notwithstanding all ye dilligence & malice of their adverssaries, they seeing they could no longer continue in yt condition, they resolved to get over into Hollād as they could; which was in ye year 1607. & 1608.; of which more at large in ye next chap.
Showing ye reasons & causes of their remoovall.
After they had lived in this citie about some 11. or 12. years, (which is ye more observable being ye whole time of yt famose truce between that state & ye Spaniards,) and sundrie of them were taken away by death, & many others begane to be well striken in years, the grave mistris Experience haveing taught them many things, those prudent governours with sundrie of yesagest members begane both deeply to apprehend their present dangers, & wisely to foresee yefuture, & thinke of timly remedy. In ye agitation of their thoughts, and much discours of things hear aboute, at length they began to incline to this conclusion, of remoovall to some other place. Not out of any newfanglednes, or other such like giddie humor, by which men are oftentimes transported to their great hurt & danger, but for sundrie weightie & solid reasons; some of yecheefe of which I will hear breefly touch. And first, they saw & found by experience the hardnes of ye place & countrie to be such, as few in comparison would come to them, and fewer that would bide it out, and continew with them. For many yt came to them, and many more yt desired to be with them, could not endure yt great labor and hard fare, with other inconveniences which they underwent & were contented with. But though they loved their persons, approved their cause, and honoured their sufferings, yet they left them as it weer weeping, as Orpah did her mother in law Naomie, or as those Romans did Cato in Utica, who desired to be excused & borne with, though they could not all be Catoes. For many, though they desired to injoye yeordinances of God in their puritie, and ye libertie of the gospell with them, yet, alass, they admitted of bondage, with danger of conscience, rather then to indure these hardships; yea, some preferred & chose ye prisons in England, rather then this libertie in Holland, with these afflictions. But it was thought that if a better and easier place of living could be had, it would draw many, & take away these discouragments. Yea, their pastor would often say, that many of those wo both wrate & preached now against them, if they were in a place wher they might have libertie and live comfortably, they would then practise as they did.
2ly. They saw that though ye people generally bore all these difficulties very cherfully, & with a resolute courage, being in ye best & strength of their years, yet old age began to steale on many of them, (and their great & continuall labours, with other crosses and sorrows, hastened it before ye time,) so as it was not only probably thought, but apparently seen, that within a few years more they would be in danger to scatter, by necessities pressing them, or sinke under their burdens, or both. And therfore according to ye devine proverb, yt a wise man seeth ye plague when it cometh, & hideth him selfe, Pro. 22. 3., so they like skillfull & beaten souldiers were fearfull either to be intrapped or surrounded by their enimies, so as they should neither be able to fight nor flie; and therfor thought it better to dislodge betimes to some place of better advantage & less danger, if any such could be found. Thirdly; as necessitie was a taskmaster over them, so they were forced to be such, not only to their servants, but in a sorte, to their dearest chilldren; the which as it did not a litle wound ye tender harts of many a loving father & mother, so it produced likwise sundrie sad & sorowful effects. For many of their children, that were of best dispositions and gracious inclinations, haveing lernde to bear ye yoake in their youth, and willing to bear parte of their parents burden, were, often times, so oppressed with their hevie labours, that though their minds were free and willing, yet their bodies bowed under ye weight of ye same, and became decreped in their early youth; the vigor of nature being consumed in ye very budd as it were. But that which was more lamentable, and of all sorowes most heavie to be borne, was that many of their children, by these occasions, and ye great licentiousnes of youth in yt countrie, and ye manifold temptations of the place, were drawne away by evill examples into extravagante & dangerous courses, getting ye raines off their neks, & departing from their parents. Some became souldiers, others tooke upon them farr viages by sea, and other some worse courses, tending to dissolutnes & the danger of their soules, to ye great greefe of their parents and dishonour of God. So that they saw their posteritie would be in danger to degenerate & be corrupted.
Lastly, (and which was not least,) a great hope & inward zeall they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way therunto, for ye propagating & advancing ye gospell of ye kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of ye world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for ye performing of so great a work.
These, & some other like reasons, moved them to undertake this resolution of their removall; the which they afterward prosecuted with so great difficulties, as by the sequell will appeare.
The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast & unpeopled countries of America, which are frutfull & fitt for habitation, being devoyd of all civill inhabitants, wher ther are only salvage & brutish men, which range up and downe, litle otherwise then ye wild beasts of the same. This proposition being made publike and coming to ye scaning of all, it raised many variable opinions amongst men, and caused many fears & doubts amongst them selves. Some, from their reasons & hops conceived, laboured to stirr up & incourage the rest to undertake & prosecute ye same; others, againe, out of their fears, objected against it, & sought to diverte from it, aledging many things, and those neither unreasonable nor unprobable; as that it was a great designe, and subjecte to many unconceivable perills & dangers; as, besids the casulties of ye seas (which none can be freed from) the length of ye vioage was such, as ye weake bodys of women and other persons worne out with age & traville (as many of them were) could never be able to endure. And yet if they should, the miseries of ye land which they should be exposed unto, would be to hard to be borne; and lickly, some or all of them togeither, to consume & utterly to ruinate them. For ther they should be liable to famine, and nakednes, & ye wante, in a maner, of all things. The chang of aire, diate, & drinking of water, would infecte their bodies with sore sickneses, and greevous diseases. And also those which should escape or overcome these difficulties, should yett be in continuall danger of ye salvage people, who are cruell, barbarous, & most trecherous, being most furious in their rage, and merciles wher they overcome; not being contente only to kill, & take away life, but delight to tormente men in ye most bloodie man̄er that may be; fleaing some alive with ye shells of fishes, cutting of ye members & joynts of others by peesmeale, and broiling on ye coles, eate ye collops of their flesh in their sight whilst they live; with other cruelties horrible to be related. And surely it could not be thought but ye very hearing of these things could not but move ye very bowels of men to grate within them, and make ye weake to quake & tremble. It was furder objected, that it would require greater sum̄es of money to furnish such a voiage, and to fitt them with necessaries, then their consumed estats would amounte too; and yett they must as well looke to be seconded with supplies, as presently to be trāsported. Also many presidents of ill success, & lamentable misseries befalne others in the like designes, were easie to be found, and not forgotten to be aledged; besids their owne experience, in their former troubles & hardships in their removall into Holand, and how hard a thing it was for them to live in that strange place, though it was a neighbour countrie, & a civill and rich comone wealth.
It was answered, that all great & honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages. It was granted ye dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible. For though their were many of them likly, yet they were not cartaine; it might be sundrie of ye things feared might never befale; others by providente care & ye use of good means, might in a great measure be prevented; and all of them, through ye help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne, or overcome. True it was, that such atempts were not to be made and undertaken without good ground & reason; not rashly or lightly as many have done for curiositie or hope of gaine, &c. But their condition was not ordinarie; their ends were good & honourable; their calling lawfull, & urgente; and therfore they might expecte ye blessing of God in their proceding. Yea, though they should loose their lives in this action, yet might they have comforte in the same, and their endeavors would be honourable. They lived hear but as men in exile, & in a poore condition; and as great miseries might possibly befale them in this place, for ye 12. years of truce were now out, & ther was nothing but beating of drumes, and preparing for warr, the events wherof are allway uncertaine. Ye Spaniard might prove as cruell as the salvages of America, and ye famine and pestelence as sore hear as ther, & their libertie less to looke out for remedie. After many other perticuler things answered & aledged on both sids, it was fully concluded by ye major parte, to put this designe in execution, and to prosecute it by the best means they could.
Of their vioage, & how they passed ye sea, and of their safe arrivall at Cape Codd.
Septr: 6. These troubls being blowne over, and now all being compacte togeather in one shipe, they put to sea againe with a prosperus winde, which continued diverce days togeather, which was some incouragmente unto them; yet according to ye usuall maner many were afflicted with sea-sicknes. And I may not omite hear a spetiall worke of Gods providence. Ther was a proud & very profane yonge man, one of ye sea-men, of a lustie, able body, which made him the more hauty; he would allway be contemning ye poore people in their sicknes, & cursing them dayly with greēous execrations, and did not let to tell them, that he hoped to help to cast halfe of them over board before they came to their jurneys end, and to make mery with what they had; and if he were by any gently reproved, he would curse and swear most bitterly. But it plased God before they came halfe seas over, to smite this yong man with a greeveous disease, of which he dyed in a desperate maner, and so was him selfe ye first yt was throwne overbord. Thus his curses light on his owne head; and it was an astonishmente to all his fellows, for they noted it to be ye just hand of God upon him.
After they had injoyed faire winds and weather for a season, they were incountred many times with crosse winds, and mette with many feirce stormes, with which ye shipe was shroudly shaken, and her upper works made very leakie; and one of the maine beames in ye midd ships was bowed & craked, which put them in some fear that ye shipe could not be able to performe ye vioage. So some of ye cheefe of ye company, perceiveing ye mariners to feare ye suffisiencie of ye shipe, as appeared by their mutterings, they entred into serious consulltation with ye mr. & other officers of ye ship, to consider in time of ye danger; and rather to returne then to cast them selves into a desperate & inevitable perill. And truly ther was great distraction & differance of opinion amongst ye mariners them selves; faine would they doe what could be done for their wages sake, (being now halfe the seas over,) and on ye other hand they were loath to hazard their lives too desperatly. But in examening of all opinions, the mr. & others affirmed they knew ye ship to be stronge & firme under water; and for the buckling of ye maine beame, ther was a great iron scrue ye passengers brought out of Holland, which would raise ye beame into his place; ye which being done, the carpenter & mr. affirmed that with a post put under it, set firme in ye lower deck, & otherways bounde, he would make it sufficiente. And as for ye decks & uper workes they would calke them as well as they could, and though with ye workeing of ye ship they would not longe keepe stanch, yet ther would otherwise be no great danger, if they did not overpress her with sails. So they com̄ited them selves to ye will of God, & resolved to proseede. In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so feirce, & ye seas so high, as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were forced to hull, for diverce days togither. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a mighty storme, a lustie yonge man (called John Howland) coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was, with a seele of the shipe throwne into [ye] sea; but it pleased God yt he caught hould of ye top-saile halliards, which hunge over board, & rane out at length; yet he held his hould (though he was sundrie fadomes under water) till he was hald up by ye same rope to ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat hooke & other means got into ye shipe againe, & his life saved; and though he was something ill with it, yet he lived many years after, and became a profitable member both in church & com̄one wealthe. In all this viage ther died but one of ye passengers, which was William Butten, a youth, servant to Samuell Fuller, when they drew near ye coast. But to omite other things, (that I may be breefe,) after longe beating at sea they fell with that land which is called Cape Cod; the which being made & certainly knowne to be it, they were not a litle joyfull. After some deliberation had amongst them selves & with ye mr. of ye ship, they tacked aboute and resolved to stande for ye southward (ye wind & weather being faire) to finde some place aboute Hudsons river for their habitation. But after they had sailed yt course aboute halfe ye day, they fell amongst deangerous shoulds and roring breakers, and they were so farr intangled ther with as they conceived them selves in great danger; & ye wind shrinking upon them withall, they resolved to bear up againe for the Cape, and thought them selves hapy to gett out of those dangers before night overtooke them, as by Gods providence they did. And ye next day they gott into ye Cape-harbor wher they ridd in saftie. A word or too by ye way of this cape; it was thus first named by Capten Gosnole & his company, Anno: 1602, and after by Capten Smith was caled Cape James; but it retains ye former name amongst seamen. Also yt pointe which first shewed those dangerous shoulds unto them, they called Pointe Care, & Tuckers Terrour; but ye French & Dutch to this day call it Malabarr, by reason of those perilous shoulds, and ye losses they have suffered their.
Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente. And no marvell if they were thus joyefull, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on ye coast of his owne Italy; as he affirmed, that he had rather remaine twentie years on his way by land, then pass by sea to any place in a short time; so tedious & dreadfull was ye same unto him.
But hear I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amased at this poore peoples presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he well considers ye same. Being thus passed ye vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembred by yt which wente before), they had now no freinds to wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire too, to seeke for succoure. It is recorded in scripture as a mercie to ye apostle & his shipwraked company, yt the barbarians shewed them no smale kindnes in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they mette with them (as after will appeare) were readier to fill their sids full of arrows then otherwise. And for ye season it was winter, and they that know ye winters of yt cuntrie know them to be sharp & violent, & subjecte to cruell & feirce stormes, deangerous to travill to known places, much more to serch an unknown coast. Besids, what could they see but a hidious & desolate wildernes, full of wild beasts & willd men? and what multituds ther might be of them they knew not. Nether could they, as it were, goe up to ye tope of Pisgah, to vew from this willdernes a more goodly cuntrie to feed their hops; for which way soever they turnd their eys (save upward to ye heavens) they could have litle solace or content in respecte of any outward objects. For sum̄er being done, all things stand upon them with a wetherbeaten face; and ye whole countrie, full of woods & thickets, represented a wild & savage heiw. If they looked behind them, ther was ye mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a maine barr & goulfe to seperate them from all ye civill parts of ye world. If it be said they had a ship to sucour them, it is trew; but what heard they daly from ye mr. & company? but yt with speede they should looke out a place with their shallop, wher they would be at some near distance; for ye season was shuch as he would not stirr from thence till a safe harbor was discovered by them wher they would be, and he might goe without danger; and that victells consumed apace, but he must & would keepe sufficient for them selves & their returne. Yea, it was muttered by some, that if they gott not a place in time, they would turne them & their goods ashore & leave them. Let it also be considred what weake hopes of supply & succoure they left behinde them, yt might bear up their minds in this sade condition and trialls they were under; and they could not but be very smale. It is true, indeed, ye affections & love of their brethren at Leyden was cordiall & entire towards them, but they had litle power to help them, or them selves; and how ye case stode betweene them & ye marchants at their coming away, hath allready been declared. What could now sustaine them but the spirite of God & his grace? May not & ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: Our faithers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this willdernes; but they cried unto ye Lord, and he heard their voyce, and looked on their adversitie, &c. Let them therfore praise ye Lord, because he is good, & his mercies endure for ever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of ye Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from ye hand of ye oppressour. When they wandered in ye deserte willdernes out of ye way, and found no citie to dwell in, both hungrie, & thirstie, their sowle was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before ye Lord his loving kindnes, and his wonderfull works before ye sons of men.
Showing how they sought out a place of habitation, and what befell them theraboute.
Being thus arrived at Cap-Cod ye 11. of November, and necessitie calling them to looke out a place for habitation, (as well as the maisters & mariners importunitie,) they having brought a large shalop with them out of England, stowed in quarters in ye ship, they now gott her out & sett their carpenters to worke to trime her up; but being much brused & shatered in ye shipe wth foule weather, they saw she would be longe in mending. Wherupon a few of them tendered them selves to goe by land and discovere those nearest places, whilst ye shallop was in mending; and ye rather because as they wente into yt harbor ther seemed to be an opening some 2. or 3 leagues of, which ye maister judged to be a river. It was conceived ther might be some danger in ye attempte, yet seeing them resolute, they were permited to goe, being 16. of them well armed, under ye conduct of Captain Standish, having shuch instructions given them as was thought meete. They sett forth ye 15. of Novebr: and when they had marched aboute the space of a mile by ye sea side, they espied 5. or 6. persons with a dogg coming towards them, who were salvages; but they fled from them, & ran̄e up into ye woods, and ye English followed them, partly to see if they could speake with them, and partly to discover if ther might not be more of them lying in ambush. But ye Indeans seeing them selves thus followed, they againe forsooke the woods, & rane away on ye sands as hard as they could, so as they could not come near them, but followed them by ye tracte of their feet sundrie miles, and saw that they had come the same way. So, night coming on, they made their randevous & set out their sentinels, and rested in quiete yt night, and the next morning followed their tracte till they had headed a great creake, & so left the sands, & turned an other way into ye woods. But they still followed them by geuss, hopeing to find their dwellings; but they soone lost both them & them selves, falling into shuch thickets as were ready to tear their cloaths & armore in peeces, but were most distresed for wante of drinke. But at length they found water & refreshed them selves, being ye first New-England water they drunke of, and was now in thir great thirste as pleasante unto them as wine or bear had been in for-times. Afterwards they directed their course to come to ye other shore, for they knew it was a necke of land they were to crosse over, and so at length gott to ye sea-side, and marched to this supposed river, & by ye way found a pond of clear fresh water, and shortly after a good quantitie of clear ground wher ye Indeans had formerly set corne, and some of their graves. And proceeding furder they saw new-stuble wher corne had been set ye same year, also they found wher latly a house had been, wher some planks and a great ketle was remaining, and heaps of sand newly padled with their hands, which they, digging up, found in them diverce faire Indean baskets filled with corne, and some in eares, faire and good, of diverce collours, which seemed to them a very goodly sight, (haveing never seen any shuch before). This was near ye place of that supposed river they came to seeck; unto which they wente and found it to open it selfe into 2. armes with a high cliffe of sand in ye enterance, but more like to be crikes of salte water then any fresh, for ought they saw; and that ther was good harborige for their shalope; leaving it further to be discovered by their shalop when she was ready. So their time limeted them being expired, they returned to ye ship, least they should be in fear of their saftie; and tooke with them parte of ye corne, and buried up ye rest, and so like ye men from Eshcoll carried with them of ye fruits of ye land, & showed their breethren; of which, & their returne, they were marvelusly glad, and their harts incouraged.
After this, ye shalop being got ready, they set out againe for ye better discovery of this place, & ye mr. of ye ship desired to goe him selfe, so ther went some 30. men, but found it to be no harbor for ships but only for boats; ther was allso found 2. of their houses covered with matts, & sundrie of their implements in them, but ye people were rune away & could not be seen; also ther was found more of their corne, & of their beans of various collours. The corne & beans they brought away, purposing to give them full satisfaction when they should meete with any of them (as about some 6. months afterward they did, to their good contente). And here is to be noted a spetiall providence of God, and a great mercie to this poore people, that hear they gott seed to plant them corne ye next year, or els they might have starved, for they had none, nor any liklyhood to get any till ye season had beene past (as ye sequell did manyfest). Neither is it lickly they had had this, if ye first viage had not been made, for the ground was now all covered with snow, & hard frozen. But the Lord is never wanting unto his in their greatest needs; let his holy name have all ye praise.
The month of November being spente in these affairs, & much foule weather falling in, the 6. of Desemr: they sente out their shallop againe with 10. of their principall men, & some sea men, upon further discovery, intending to circulate that deepe bay of Cap-codd. The weather was very could, & it frose so hard as ye sprea of ye sea lighting on their coats, they were as if they had been glased; yet that night betimes they gott downe into ye botome of ye bay, and as they drue nere ye shore they saw some 10. or 12. Indeans very busie aboute some thing. They landed aboute a league or 2. from them, and had much a doe to put a shore any wher, it lay so full of flats. Being landed, it grew late, and they made them selves a barricade with loggs & bowes as well as they could in ye time, & set out their sentenill & betooke them to rest, and saw ye smoake of ye fire ye savages made yt night. When morning was come they devided their company, some to coaste along ye shore in ye boate, and the rest marched throw ye woods to see ye land, if any fit place might be for their dwelling. They came allso to ye place wher they saw the Indans ye night before, & found they had been cuting up a great fish like a grampus, being some 2. inches thike of fate like a hogg, some peeces wher of they had left by ye way; and ye shallop found 2. more of these fishes dead on ye sands, a thing usuall after storms in yt place, by reason of ye great flats of sand that lye of. So they ranged up and doune all yt day, but found no people, nor any place they liked. When ye sune grue low, they hasted out of ye woods to meete with their shallop, to whom they made signes to come to them into a creeke hardby, the which they did at highwater; of which they were very glad, for they had not seen each other all yt day, since ye morning. So they made them a barricado (as usually they did every night) with loggs, staks, & thike pine bowes, ye height of a man, leaving it open to leeward, partly to shelter them from ye could & wind (making their fire in ye midle, & lying round aboute it), and partly to defend them from any sudden assaults of ye savags, if they should surround them. So being very weary, they betooke them to rest. But aboute midnight, they heard a hideous & great crie, and their sentinell caled, “Arme, arme”; so they bestired them & stood to their armes, & shote of a cupple of moskets, and then the noys seased. They concluded it was a companie of wolves, or such like willd beasts; for one of ye sea men tould them he had often heard shuch a noyse in New-found land. So they rested till about 5. of ye clock in the morning; for ye tide, & ther purposs to goe from thence, made them be stiring betimes. So after praier they prepared for breakfast, and it being day dawning, it was thought best to be carring things downe to ye boate. But some said it was not best to carrie ye armes downe, others said they would be the readier, for they had laped them up in their coats from ye dew. But some 3. or 4. would not cary theirs till they wente them selves, yet as it fell out, ye water being not high enough, they layed them downe on ye banke side, & came up to breakfast. But presently, all on ye sudain, they heard a great & strange crie, which they knew to be the same voyces they heard in ye night, though they varied their notes, & one of their company being abroad came runing in, & cried, “Men, Indeans, Indeans”; and wthall, their arowes came flying amongst them. Their men rane with all speed to recover their armes, as by ye good providence of God they did. In ye mean time, of those that were ther ready, tow muskets were discharged at them, & 2. more stood ready in ye enterance of ther randevoue, but were comanded not to shoote till they could take full aime at them; & ye other 2. charged againe with all speed, for ther were only 4. had armes ther, & defended ye baricado which was first assalted. The crie of ye Indeans was dreadfull, espetially when they saw ther men rune out of ye randevoue towourds ye shallop, to recover their armes, the Indeans wheeling aboute upon them. But some run̄ing out with coats of malle on, & cutlasses in their hands, they soone got their armes, & let flye amongs them, and quickly stopped their violence. Yet ther was a lustie man, and no less valiante, stood behind a tree within halfe a musket shot, and let his arrows flie at them. He was seen shoot 3. arrowes, which were all avoyded. He stood 3. shot of a musket, till one taking full aime at him, and made ye barke or splinters of ye tree fly about his ears, after which he gave an extraordinary shrike, and away they wente all of them. They left some to keep ye shalop, and followed them aboute a quarter of a mille, and shouted once or twise, and shot of 2. or 3. peces, & so returned. This they did, that they might conceive that they were not affrade of them or any way discouraged. Thus it pleased God to vanquish their enimies, and give them deliverance; and by his spetiall providence so to dispose that not any one of them were either hurte, or hitt, though their arrows came close by them, & on every side them, and sundry of their coats, which hunge up in ye barricado, were shot throw & throw. Aterwards they gave God sollamne thanks & praise for their deliverance, & gathered up a bundle of their arrows, & sente them into England afterward by ye mr. of ye ship, and called that place ye first encounter. From hence they departed, & costed all along, but discerned no place likly for harbor; & therfore hasted to a place that their pillote, (one Mr. Coppin who had bine in ye cuntrie before) did assure them was a good harbor, which he had been in, and they might fetch it before night; of which they were glad, for it begane to be foule weather. After some houres sailing, it begane to snow & raine, & about ye midle of ye afternoone, ye wind increased, & ye sea became very rough, and they broake their rudder, & it was as much as 2. men could doe to steere her with a cupple of oares. But their pillott bad them be of good cheere, for he saw ye harbor; but ye storme increasing, & night drawing on, they bore what saile they could to gett in, while they could see. But herwith they broake their mast in 3. peeces, & their saill fell over bord, in a very grown sea, so as they had like to have been cast away; yet by Gods mercie they recovered them selves, & having ye floud with them, struck into ye harbore. But when it came too, ye pillott was deceived in ye place, and said, ye Lord be mercifull unto them, for his eys never saw yt place before; & he & the mr. mate would have rune her ashore, in a cove full of breakers, before ye winde. But a lusty seaman which steered, bad those which rowed, if they were men, about with her, or ells they were all cast away; the which they did with speed. So he bid them be of good cheere & row lustly, for ther was a faire sound before them, & he doubted not but they should find one place or other wher they might ride in saftie. And though it was very darke, and rained sore, yet in ye end they gott under ye lee of a smalle iland, and remained ther all yt night in saftie. But they knew not this to be an iland till morning, but were devided in their minds; some would keepe ye boate for fear they might be amongst ye Indians; others were so weake and could, they could not endure, but got a shore, & with much adoe got fire, (all things being so wett,) and ye rest were glad to come to them; for after midnight ye wind shifted to the north-west, & it frose hard. But though this had been a day & night of much trouble & danger unto them, yet God gave them a morning of comforte & refreshing (as usually he doth to his children), for ye next day was a faire sunshinīg day, and they found them sellvs to be on an iland secure from ye Indeans, wher they might drie their stufe, fixe their peeces, & rest them selves, and gave God thanks for his mercies, in their manifould deliverances. And this being the last day of ye weeke, they prepared ther to keepe ye Sabath. On Munday they sounded ye harbor, and founde it fitt for shipping; and marched into ye land, & found diverse cornfeilds, & litle runing brooks, a place (as they supposed) fitt for situation; at least it was ye best they could find, and ye season, & their presente necessitie, made them glad to accepte of it. So they returned to their shipp againe with this news to ye rest of their people, which did much comforte their harts.
On ye 15. of Desemr: they wayed anchor to goe to ye place they had discovered, & came within 2. leagues of it, but were faine to bear up againe; but ye 16. day ye winde came faire, and they arrived safe in this harbor. And after wards tooke better view of ye place, and resolved wher to pitch their dwelling; and ye 25. day begane to erecte ye first house for com̄one use to receive them and their goods.
In these hard & difficulte beginings they found some discontents & murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches & carriags in other; but they were soone quelled & overcome by ye wisdome, patience, and just & equall carrage of things by ye Govr and better part, wch clave faithfully togeather in ye maine. But that which was most sadd & lamentable was, that in 2. or 3. moneths time halfe of their company dyed, espetialy in Jan: & February, being ye depth of winter, and wanting houses & other comforts; being infected with ye scurvie & other diseases, which this long vioage & their inacomodate condition had brought upon them; so as ther dyed some times 2. or 3. of a day, in ye foresaid time; that of 100. & odd persons, scarce 50. remained. And of these in ye time of most distres, ther was but 6. or 7. sound persons, who, to their great comendations be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of toyle and hazard of their owne health, fetched them woode, made them fires, drest them meat, made their beads, washed their lothsome cloaths, cloathed & uncloathed them; in a word, did all ye homly & necessarie offices for them wch dainty & quesie stomacks cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly & cherfully, without any grudging in ye least, shewing herein their true love unto their freinds & bretheren. A rare example & worthy to be remembred. Tow of these 7. were Mr. William Brewster, ther reverend Elder, & Myles Standish, ther Captein & military comander, unto whom my selfe, & many others, were much beholden in our low & sicke condition. And yet the Lord so upheld these persons, as in this generall calamity they were not at all infected either with sicknes, or lamnes. And what I have said of these, I may say of many others who dyed in this generall vissitation, & others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea, or any strength continuing, they were not wanting to any that had need of them. And I doute not but their recompence is with ye Lord.
But I may not hear pass by an other remarkable passage not to be forgotten. As this calamitie fell among ye passengers that were to be left here to plant, and were hasted a shore and made to drinke water, that ye sea-men might have ye more bear, and one in his sicknes desiring but a small cann of beere, it was answered, that if he were their owne father he should have none; the disease begane to fall amongst them also, so as allmost halfe of their company dyed before they went away, and many of their officers and lustyest men, as ye boatson, gunner, quarter-maisters, the cooke, & others. At wch ye mr. was something strucken and sent to ye sick a shore and tould ye Govr he should send for beer for them that had need of it, though he drunke water homward bound. But now amongst his company ther was farr another kind of carriage in this miserie then amongst ye passengers; for they that before had been boone companions in drinking & joyllity in ye time of their health & wellfare, begane now to deserte one another in this calamitie, saing they would not hasard ther lives for them, they should be infected by coming to help them in their cabins, and so, after they came to dye by it, would doe litle or nothing for them, but if they dyed let them dye. But shuch of ye passengers as were yet abord shewed them what mercy they could, wch made some of their harts relente, as ye boatson (& some others), who was a prowd yonge man, and would often curse & scofe at ye passengers; but when he grew weak, they had compassion on him and helped him; then he confessed he did not deserve it at their hands, he had abused them in word & deed. O! saith he, you, I now see, shew your love like Christians indeed one to another, but we let one another lye & dye like doggs. Another lay cursing his wife, saing if it had not ben for her he had never come this unlucky viage, and anone cursing his felows, saing he had done this & that, for some of them, he had spente so much, & so much, amongst them, and they were now weary of him, and did not help him, having need. Another gave his companion all he had, if he died, to help him in his weaknes; he went and got a litle spise & made him a mess of meat once or twise, and because he dyed not so soone as he expected, he went amongst his fellows, & swore ye rogue would cousen him, he would see him choaked before he made him any more meate; and yet ye pore fellow dyed before morning.
All this while ye Indians came skulking about them, and would sometimes show them selves aloofe of, but when any aproached near them, they would rune away. And once they stoale away their tools wher they had been at worke, & were gone to diner. But about ye 16. of March a certaine Indian came bouldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marvelled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to ye eastrene parts, wher some English-ships came to fhish, with whom he was aquainted, & could name sundrie of them by their names, amongst whom he had gott his language. He became proftable to them in aquainting them with many things concerning ye state of ye cuntry in ye east-parts wher he lived, which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of ye people hear, of their names, number, & strength; of their situation & distance from this place, and who was cheefe amongst them. His name was Samaset; he tould them also of another Indian whos name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England & could speake better English then him selfe. Being, after some time of entertainmente & gifts, dismist, a while after he came againe, & 5. more with him, & they brought againe all ye tooles that were stolen away before, and made way for ye coming of their great Sachem, called Massasoyt; who, about 4. or 5. days after, came with the cheefe of his freinds & other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto. With whom, after frendly entertainment, & some gifts given him, they made a peace with him (which hath now continued this 24. years) in these terms.
- That neither he nor any of his, should injurie or doe hurte to any of their peopl.
- That if any of his did any hurte to any of theirs, he should send ye offender, that they might punish him.
- That if any thing were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should doe ye like to his.
- If any did unjustly warr against him, they would aide him; if any did warr against them, he should aide them.
- He should send to his neighbours confederats, to certifie them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in ye conditions of peace.
- That when ther men came to them, they should leave their bows & arrows behind them.
After these things he returned to his place caled Sowams, some 40. mile from this place, but Squanto continued with them, and was their interpreter, and was a spetiall instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corne, wher to take fish, and to procure other comodities, and was also their pilott to bring them to unknowne places for their profitt, and never left them till he dyed. He was a native of this place, & scarce any left alive besids him selfe. He was caried away with diverce others by one Hunt, a mr. of a ship, who thought to sell them for slaves in Spaine; but he got away for England, and was entertained by a marchante in London, & imployed to New-foundland & other parts, & lastly brought hither into these parts by one Mr. Dermer, a gentleman imployed by Sr. Ferdinando Gorges & others, for discovery, & other designes in these parts. Of whom I shall say some thing, because it is mentioned in a booke set forth Ano: 1622. by the Presidente & Counsell for New-England, that he made ye peace betweene ye salvages of these parts & ye English; of which this plantation, as it is intimated, had ye benefite. But what a peace it was, may apeare by what befell him & his men.
This Mr. Dermer was hear the same year that these people came, as apears by a relation written by him, & given me by a friend, bearing date June 30. Ano: 1620. And they came in Novembr: following, so ther was but 4. months differance. In which relation to his honored freind, he hath these passages of this very place.
I will first begine (saith he) wth that place from whence Squanto, or Tisquantem, was taken away; wch in Cap: Smiths mape is called Plimoth: and I would that Plimoth had ye like comodities. I would that the first plantation might hear be seated, if ther come to the number of 50. persons, or upward. Otherwise at Charlton, because ther ye savages are lese to be feared. The Pocanawkits, which live to ye west of Plimoth, bear an inveterate malice to ye English, and are of more streingth then all ye savags from thence to Penobscote. Their desire of revenge was occasioned by an English man, who having many of them on bord, made a great slaughter with their murderers & smale shot, when as (they say) they offered no injurie on their parts. Whether they were English or no, it may be douted; yet they beleeve they were, for ye Frenche have so possest them; for which cause Squanto can̄ot deney but they would have kiled me when I was at Namasket, had he not entreated hard for me. The soyle of ye borders of this great bay, may be compared to most of ye plantations which I have seene in Virginia. The land is of diverce sorts; for Patuxite is a hardy but strong soyle, Nawsel & Saughtughtett are for ye most part a blakish & deep mould, much like that wher groweth ye best Tobaco in Virginia. In ye botume of yt great bay is store of Codd & basse, or mulett, &c.
But above all he comends Pacanawkite for ye richest soyle, and much open ground fitt for English graine, &c.
Massachussets is about 9. leagues from Plimoth, & situate in ye mids betweene both, is full of ilands & peninsules very fertill for ye most parte.
With sundrie shuch relations which I forbear to transcribe, being now better knowne then they were to him.
He was taken prisoner by ye Indeans at Manamoiak (a place not farr from hence, now well knowne). He gave them what they demanded for his liberty, but when they had gott what they desired, they kept him still & indevored to kill his men; but he was freed by seasing on some of them, and kept them bound till they gave him a cannows load of corne. Of which, see Purch: lib. 9. fol. 1778. But this was Ano: 1619.
After ye writing of ye former relation he came to ye Ile of Capawack (which lyes south of this place in ye way to Virginia), and ye foresaid Squanto wth him, wher he going a shore amongst ye Indans to trad, as he used to doe, was betrayed & assaulted by them, & all his men slaine, but one that kept the boat; but him selfe gott abord very sore wounded, & they had cut of his head upon ye cudy of his boat, had not ye man reskued him with a sword. And so they got away, & made shift to gett into Virginia, wher he dyed; whether of his wounds or ye diseases of ye cuntrie, or both togeather, is uncertaine. By all which it may appeare how farr these people were from peace, and with what danger this plantation was begune, save as ye powerfull hand of the Lord did protect them. These things were partly the reason why they kept aloofe & were so long before they came to the English. An other reason (as after them selvs made know̄) was how aboute 3. years before, a French-ship was cast away at Cap-Codd, but ye men gott ashore, & saved their lives, and much of their victails, & other goods; but after ye Indeans heard of it, they geathered togeather from these parts, and never left watching & dogging them till they got advantage, and kild them all but 3. or 4. which they kept, & sent from one Sachem to another, to make sporte with, and used them worse then slaves; (of which ye foresaid Mr. Dermer redeemed 2. of them;) and they conceived this ship was now come to revenge it.
Also, (as after was made knowne,) before they came to ye English to make freindship, they gott all the Powachs of ye cuntrie, for 3. days togeather, in a horid and divellish maner to curse & execrate them with their cunjurations, which asembly & service they held in a darke & dismale swampe.
But to returne. The spring now approaching, it pleased God the mortalitie begane to cease amongst them, and ye sick and lame recovered apace, which put as it were new life into them; though they had borne their sadd affliction with much patience & contentednes, as I thinke any people could doe. But it was ye Lord which upheld them, and had beforehand prepared them; many having long borne ye yoake, yea from their youth. Many other smaler maters I omite, sundrie of them having been allready published in a Jurnall made by one of the company; and some other passages of jurneys and relations allredy published, to which I referr those that are willing to know them more perticulerly. And being now come to ye 25. of March I shall begine ye year 1621.
This year the Dutch sent againe unto them from their plantation, both kind leterss, and also diverse comodities, as suger, linen cloth, Holand finer & courser stufes, &c. They came up with their barke to Manamete, to their house ther, in which came their Secretarie Rasier; who was accompanied with a noyse of trumpeters, and some other attendants; and desired that they would send a boat for him, for he could not travill so farr over land. So they sent a boat to Manonscussett, and brought him to ye plantation, with ye cheefe of his company. And after some few days entertainmente, he returned to his barke, and some of them wente with him, and bought sundry of his goods; after which begining thus made, they sente often times to ye same place, and had entercourse togeather for diverce years; and amongst other comodities, they vended much tobaco for linen cloath, stuffs, &c., which was a good benefite to ye people, till the Virginians found out their plantation. But that which turned most to their profite, in time, was an entrance into the trade of Wampampeake; for they now bought aboute 50li. worth of it of them; and they tould them how vendable it was at their forte Orania; and did perswade them they would find it so at Kenebeck; and so it came to pass in time, though at first it stuck, & it was 2. years before they could put of this small quantity, till ye inland people knew of it; and afterwards they could scarce ever gett enough for them, for many years togeather. And so this, with their other provissions, cutt of they trade quite from ye fisher-men, and in great part from other of ye stragling planters. And strange it was to see the great allteration it made in a few years amonge ye Indeans them selves; for all the Indeans of these parts, & ye Massachussets, had none or very litle of it, but ye sachems & some spetiall persons that wore a litle of it for ornamente. Only it was made & kepte amonge ye Nariganssets, & Pequents, which grew rich & potent by it, and these people were poore & begerly, and had no use of it. Neither did the English of this plantation, or any other in ye land, till now that they had knowledg of it from ye Dutch, so much as know what it was, much less yt it was a com̄oditie of that worth & valew. But after it grue thus to be a comoditie in these parts, these Indeans fell into it allso, and to learne how to make it; for ye Narigansets doe geather ye shells of which yey make it from their shors. And it hath now continued a current comoditie aboute this 20. years, and it may prove a drugg in time. In ye mean time it maks ye Indeans of these parts rich & power full and also prowd therby; and fills them with peeces, powder, and shote, which no laws can restraine, by reasone of ye bassnes of sundry unworthy persons, both English, Dutch, & French, which may turne to ye ruine of many. Hithertoo ye Indeans of these parts had no peeces nor other armes but their bowes & arrowes, nor of many years after; nether durst they scarce handle a gune, so much were they affraid of them; and ye very sight of one (though out of kilter) was a terrour unto them. But those Indeans to ye east parts, which had com̄erce with ye French, got peces of them, and they in the end made a commone trade of it; and in time our English fisher-men, led with ye like covetoussnes, followed their example, for their owne gaine; but upon complainte against them, it pleased the kings majestie to prohibite ye same by a stricte proclaimation, commanding that no sorte of armes, or munition, should by any of his subjects be traded with them.
Aboute some 3. or 4. years before this time, ther came over one Captaine Wolastone, (a man of pretie parts,) and with him 3. or 4. more of some eminencie, who brought with them a great many servants, with provissions & other implments for to begine a plantation; and pitched them selves in a place within the Massachusets, which they called, after their Captains name, Mount-Wollaston. Amongst whom was one Mr. Morton, who, it should seeme, had some small adventure (of his owne or other mens) amongst them; but had litle respecte amongst them, and was sleghted by ye meanest servants. Haveing continued ther some time, and not finding things to answer their expectations, nor profite to arise as they looked for, Captaine Wollaston takes a great part of ye sarvants, and transports them to Virginia, wher he puts them of at good rates, selling their time to other men; and writs back to one Mr. Rassdall, one of his cheefe partners, and accounted their marchant, to bring another parte of them to Verginia likewise, intending to put them of ther as he had done ye rest. And he, wth ye consente of ye said Rasdall, appoynted one Fitcher to be his Livetenante, and governe ye remaines of ye plantation, till he or Rasdall returned to take further order theraboute. But this Morton abovesaid, haveing more craft then honestie, (who had been a kind of petie-fogger, of Furnefells Inne,) in ye others absence, watches an oppertunitie, (commons being but hard amongst them,) and gott some strong drinck & other junkats, & made them a feast; and after they were merie, he begane to tell them, he would give them good counsell. You see (saith he) that many of your fellows are carried to Virginia; and if you stay till this Rasdall returne, you will also be carried away and sould for slaves with ye rest. Therfore I would advise you to thruste out this Levetenant Fitcher; and I, having a parte in the plantation, will receive you as my partners and consociats; so may you be free from service, and we will converse, trad, plante, & live togeather as equalls, & supporte & protecte one another, or to like effecte. This counsell was easily received; so they tooke oppertunitie, and thrust Levetenante Fitcher out a dores, and would suffer him to come no more amongst them, but forct him to seeke bread to eate, and other releefe from his neigbours, till he could gett passages for England. After this they fell to great licenciousnes, and led a dissolute life, powering out them selves into all profanenes. And Morton became lord of misrule, and maintained (as it were) a schoole of Athisme. And after they had gott some good into their hands, and gott much by trading with ye Indeans, they spent it as vainly, in quaffing & drinking both wine & strong waters in great exsess, and, as some reported, 10li. worth in a morning. They allso set up a May-pole, drinking and dancing aboute it many days togeather, inviting the Indean women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking togither, (like so many fairies, or furies rather,) and worse practises. As if they had anew revived & celebrated the feasts of ye Roman Goddes Flora, or ye beasly practieses of ye madd Bacchinalians. Morton likwise (to shew his poetrie) composed sundry rimes & verses, some tending to lasciviousnes, and others to ye detraction & scandall of some persons, which he affixed to this idle or idoll May-polle. They chainged allso the name of their place, and in stead of calling it Mounte Wollaston, they call it Merie-mounte, as if this joylity would have lasted ever. But this continued not long, for after Morton was sent for England, (as follows to be declared,) shortly after came over that worthy gentlman, Mr. John Indecott, who brought over a patent under ye broad seall, for ye govermente of ye Massachusets, who visiting those parts caused yt May-polle to be cutt downe, and rebuked them for their profannes, and admonished them to looke ther should be better walking; so they now, or others, changed ye name of their place againe, and called it Mounte-Dagon.
Now to maintaine this riotous prodigallitie and profuse excess, Morton, thinking him selfe lawless, and hearing what gaine ye French & fisher-men made by trading of peeces, powder, & shotte to ye Indeans, he, as ye head of this consortship, begane ye practise of ye same in these parts; and first he taught them how to use them, to charge, & discharg, and what proportion of powder to give ye peece, according to ye sise or bignes of ye same; and what shotte to use for foule, and what for deare. And having thus instructed them, he imployed some of them to hunte & fowle for him, so as they became farr more active in that imploymente then any of ye English, by reason of ther swiftnes of foote, & nimblnes of body, being also quick-sighted, and by continuall exercise well knowing ye hants of all sorts of game. So as when they saw ye execution that a peece would doe, and ye benefite that might come by ye same, they became madd, as it were, after them, and would not stick to give any prise they could attaine too for them; accounting their bowes & arrowes but bables in comparison of them.
And here I may take occasion to bewaile ye mischefe that this wicked man began in these parts, and which since base covetousnes prevailing in men that should know better, has now at length gott ye upper hand, and made this thing com̄one, notwithstanding any laws to ye contrary; so as ye Indeans are full of peeces all over, both fouling peeces, muskets, pistols, &c. They have also their moulds to make shotte, of all sorts, as muskett bulletts, pistoll bullets, swane & gose shote, & of smaler sorts; yea, some have seen them have their scruplats to make scrupins them selves, when they wante them, with sundery other implements, wherwith they are ordinarily better fited & furnished then ye English them selves. Yea, it is well knowne that they will have powder & shot, when the English want it, nor cannot gett it; and yt in a time of warr or danger, as experience hath manifested, that when lead hath been scarce, and men for their owne defence would gladly have given a groat a l which is dear enoughe, yet hath it bene bought up & sent to other places, and sould to shuch as trade it with ye Indeans, at 12. pence ye li.; and it is like they give 3. or 4.s ye pound, for they will have it at any rate. And these things have been done in ye same times, when some of their neigbours & freinds are daly killed by ye Indeans, or are in deanger therof, and live but at ye Indeans mercie. Yea, some (as they have aquainted them with all other things) have tould them how gunpowder is made, and all ye materialls in it, and that they are to be had in their owne land; and I am confidente, could they attaine to make saltpeter, they would teach them to make powder. O the horiblnes of this vilanie! how many both Dutch & English have been latly slaine by those Indeans, thus furnished; and no remedie provided, nay, ye evill more increased, and ye blood of their brethren sould for gaine, as is to be feared; and in what danger all these colonies are in is too well known. Oh! that princes & parlements would take some timly order to prevente this mischeefe, and at length to suppress it, by some exemplerie punishmente upon some of these gaine thirstie murderers, (for they deserve no better title,) before their collonies in these parts be over throwne by these barbarous savages, thus armed with their owne weapons, by these evill instruments, and traytors to their neigbors and cuntrie. But I have forgott my selfe, and have been to longe in this digression; but now to returne. This Morton having thus taught them ye use of peeces, he sould them all he could spare; and he and his consorts detirmined to send for many out of England, and had by some of ye ships sente for above a score. The which being knowne, and his neigbours meeting ye Indeans in ye woods armed with guns in this sorte, it was a terrour unto them, who lived straglingly, and were of no strenght in any place. And other places (though more remote) saw this mischeefe would quietly spread over all, if not prevented. Besides, they saw they should keep no servants, for Morton would entertaine any, how vile soever, and all ye scume of ye countrie, or any discontents, would flock to him from all places, if this nest was not broken; and they should stand in more fear of their lives & goods (in short time) from this wicked & deboste crue, then from ye salvages them selves.
So sundrie of ye cheefe of ye stragling plantations, meeting togither, agreed by mutuall consente to sollissite those of Plimoth (who were then of more strength then them all) to joyne with them, to prevente ye further grouth of this mischeefe, and suppress Morton & his consortes before yey grewe to further head and strength. Those that joyned in this acction (and after contributed to the charge of sending him for England) were from Pascataway, Namkeake, Winisimett, Weesagascusett, Natasco, and other places wher any English were seated. Those of Plimoth being thus sought too by their messengers & letters, and waying both their reasons, and the com̄one danger, were willing to afford them their help; though them selves had least cause of fear or hurte. So, to be short, they first resolved joyntly to write to him, and in a freindly & neigborly way to admonish him to forbear these courses, & sent a messenger with their letters to bring his answer. But he was so highe as he scorned all advise, and asked who had to doe with him; he had and would trade peeces with ye Indeans in dispite of all, with many other scurillous termes full of disdaine. They sente to him a second time, and bad him be better advised, and more temperate in his termes, for ye countrie could not beare ye injure he did; it was against their comone saftie, and against ye king’s proclamation. He answerd in high terms as before, and that ye kings proclamation was no law; demanding what penaltie was upon it. It was answered, more then he could bear, his majesties displeasure. But insolently he persisted, and said ye king was dead and his displeasure with him, & many ye like things; and threatened withall that if any came to molest him, let them looke to them selves, for he would prepare for them. Upon which they saw ther was no way but to take him by force; and having so farr proceeded, now to give over would make him farr more hautie & insolente. So they mutually resolved to proceed, and obtained of ye Govr of Plimoth to send Captaine Standish, & some other aide with him, to take Morton by force. The which accordingly was done; but they found him to stand stifly in his defence, having made fast his dors, armed his consorts, set diverse dishes of powder & bullets ready on ye table; and if they had not been over armed with drinke, more hurt might have been done. They som̄aned him to yeeld, but he kept his house, and they could gett nothing but scofes & scorns from him; but at length, fearing they would doe some violence to ye house, he and some of his crue came out, but not to yeeld, but to shoote; but they were so steeld with drinke as their peeces were to heavie for them; him selfe with a carbine (over charged & allmost halfe fild with powder & shote, as was after found) had thought to have shot Captaine Standish; but he stept to him, & put by his peece, & tooke him. Neither was ther any hurte done to any of either side, save yt one was so drunke yt he rane his owne nose upon ye pointe of a sword yt one held before him as he entred ye house; but he lost but a litle of his hott blood. Morton they brought away to Plimoth, wher he was kepte, till a ship went from ye Ile of Shols for England, with which he was sente to ye Counsell of New-England; and letters writen to give them information of his course & cariage; and also one was sent at their com̄one charge to informe their Hors more perticulerly, & to prosecute against him. But he foold of ye messenger, after he was gone from hence, and though he wente for England, yet nothing was done to him, not so much as rebukte, for ought was heard; but returned ye nexte year. Some of ye worst of ye company were disperst, and some of ye more modest kepte ye house till he should be heard from. But I have been too long aboute so un-worthy a person, and bad a cause.
This year Mr. Allerton brought over a yonge man for a minister to ye people hear, wheather upon his owne head, or at ye motion of some freinds ther, I well know not, but it was without ye churches sending; for they had bene so bitten by Mr. Lyford, as they desired to know ye person well whom they should invite amongst them. His name was Mr. Rogers; but they perceived, upon some triall, that he was crased in his braine; so they were faine to be at further charge to send him back againe ye nexte year, and loose all ye charge that was expended in his hither bringing, which was not smalle by Mr. Allerton’s accounte, in provissions, aparell, bedding, &c. After his returne he grue quite distracted, and Mr. Allerton was much blamed yt he would bring such a man over, they having charge enough otherwise.
Also ye people of ye plantation begane to grow in their owtward estats, by reason of ye flowing of many people into ye cuntrie, espetially into ye Bay of ye Massachusets; by which means corne & catle rose to a great prise, by wch many were much inriched, and com̄odities grue plentifull; and yet in other regards this benefite turned to their hurte, and this accession of strength to their weaknes. For now as their stocks increased, and ye increse vendible, ther was no longer any holding them togeather, but now they must of necessitie goe to their great lots; they could not other wise keep their katle; and having oxen growne, they must have land for plowing & tillage. And no man now thought he could live, except he had catle and a great deale of ground to keep them; all striving to increase their stocks. By which means they were scatered all over ye bay, quickly, and ye towne, in which they lived compactly till now, was left very thine, and in a short time allmost desolate. And if this had been all, it had been less, thoug to much; but ye church must also be devided, and those yt had lived so long togeather in Christian & comfortable fellowship must now part and suffer many divissions. First, those that lived on their lots on ye other side of the bay (called Duxberie) they could not long bring their wives & children to ye publick worship & church meetings here, but with such burthen, as, growing to some competente number, they sued to be dismissed and become a body of them selves; and so they were dismiste (about this time), though very unwillingly. But to touch this sadd matter, and handle things together that fell out afterward. To prevent any further scatering from this place, and weakning of ye same, it was thought best to give out some good farms to spetiall persons, yt would promise to live at Plimoth, and lickly to be helpfull to ye church or comonewelth, and so tye ye lands to Plimoth as farmes for the same; and ther they might keepe their catle & tillage by some servants, and retaine their dwellings here. And so some spetiall lands were granted at a place generall, called Greens Harbor, wher no allotments had been in ye former divission, a plase very weell meadowed, and fitt to keep & rear catle, good store. But alass! this remedy proved worse then ye disease; for wthin a few years those that had thus gott footing ther rente them selves away, partly by force, and partly wearing ye rest with importunitie and pleas of necessitie, so as they must either suffer them to goe, or live in continuall opposition and contention. And others still, as yey conceived them selves straitened, or to want accom̄odation, break away under one pretence or other, thinking their owne conceived necessitie, and the example of others, a warrente sufficente for them. And this, I fear, will be ye ruine of New-England, at least of ye churches of God ther, & will provock ye Lords displeasure against them.
In ye year 1634, the Pequents (a stoute and warlike people), who had made warrs with sundry of their neigbours, and puft up with many victories, grue now at varience with ye Narigansets, a great people bordering upon them. These Narigansets held correspondance and termes of freindship with ye English of ye Massachusetts. Now ye Pequents, being conscious of ye guilte of Captain-Stones death, whom they knew to be an-English man, as also those yt were with him, and being fallen out with ye Dutch, least they should have over many enemies at once, sought to make freindship with ye English of ye Massachusetts; and for yt end sent both messengers & gifts unto them, as appears by some letters sent from ye Govr hither.
Dear & worthy Sr: &c. To let you know somwhat of our affairs, you may understand that ye Pequents have sent some of theirs to us, to desire our freindship, and offered much wampam & beaver, &c. The first messengers were dismissed without answer; with ye next we had diverce dayes conferance, and taking ye advice of some of our ministers, and seeking the Lord in it, we concluded a peace & freindship with them, upon these conditions: that they should deliver up to us those men who were guilty of Stones death, &c. And if we desired to plant in Conightecute, they should give up their right to us, and so we would send to trade with them as our freinds (which was ye cheefe thing we aimed at, being now in warr with ye Dutch and ye rest of their neigbours). To this they readily agreed; and that we should meadiate a peace betweene them and the Narigansetts; for which end they were contente we should give the Narigansets parte of yt presente, they would bestow on us (for they stood so much on their honour, as they would not be seen to give any thing of them selves). As for Captein Stone, they tould us ther were but 2. left of those who had any hand in his death; and that they killed him in a just quarell, for (say they) he surprised 2. of our men, and bound them, to make them by force to shew him ye way up ye river; and he with 2. other coming on shore, 9. Indeans watched him, and when they were a sleepe in ye night, they kiled them, to deliver their owne men; and some of them going afterwards to ye pinass, it was suddainly blowne up. We are now preparing to send a pinass unto them, &c.
In an other of his, dated ye 12. of ye first month, he hath this.
Our pinass is latly returned from ye Pequents; they put of but litle comoditie, and found them a very false people, so as they mean to have no more to doe with them. I have diverce other things to write unto you, &c.
Yours ever assured,
Boston, 12. of ye 1. month, 1634.
After these things, and, as I take, this year, John Oldom, (of whom much is spoken before,) being now an inhabitant of ye Massachusetts, went wth a small vessell, & slenderly mand, a trading into these south parts, and upon a quarell betweene him & ye Indeans was cutt of by them (as hath been before noted) at an iland called by ye Indeans Munisses, but since by ye English Block Iland. This, with ye former about the death of Stone, and the baffoyling of ye Pequents with ye English of ye Massachusetts, moved them to set out some to take revenge, and require satisfaction for these wrongs; but it was done so superfitially, and without their acquainting of those of Conightecute & other neighbours with ye same, as they did litle good. But their neigbours had more hurt done, for some of ye murderers of Oldome fled to ye Pequents, and though the English went to ye Pequents, and had some parley with them, yet they did but delude them, & ye English returned without doing any thing to purpose, being frustrate of their oppertunitie by ye others deceite. After ye English were returned, the Pequents tooke their time and oppertunitie to cut of some of ye English as they passed in boats, and went on fouling, and assaulted them ye next spring at their habytations, as will appear in its place. I doe but touch these things, because I make no question they wall be more fully & distinctly handled by them selves, who had more exacte knowledg of them, and whom they did more properly concerne.
Anno Dom: 1637.
In ye fore parte of this year, the Pequents fell openly upon ye English at Conightecute, in ye lower parts of ye river, and slew sundry of them, (as they were at work in ye feilds,) both men & women, to ye great terrour of ye rest; and wente away in great prid & triumph, with many high threats. They allso assalted a fort at ye rivers mouth, though strong and well defended; and though they did not their prevaile, yet it struk them with much fear & astonishmente to see their bould attempts in the face of danger; which made them in all places to stand upon their gard, and to prepare for resistance, and ernestly to solissite their freinds and confederats in ye Bay of Massachusets to send them speedy aide, for they looked for more forcible assaults. Mr. Vane, being then Govr, write from their Generall Courte to them hear, to joyne with them in this warr; to which they were cordially willing, but tooke opportunitie to write to them aboute some former things, as well as presente, considerable hereaboute. The which will best appear in ye Govr answer which he returned to ye same, which I shall here inserte.
Sr: The Lord having so disposed, as that your letters to our late Govr is fallen to my lott to make answer unto, I could have wished I might have been at more freedome of time & thoughts also, that I might have done it more to your & my owne satisfaction. But what shall be wanting now may be supplyed hereafter. For ye matters which from your selfe & counsell were propounded & objected to us, we thought not fitte to make them so publicke as ye cognizance of our Generall Courte. But as they have been considered by those of our counsell, this answer we thinke fitt to returne unto you. (1.) Wereas you signifie your willingnes to joyne with us in this warr against ye Pequents, though you cannot ingage your selves without ye consente of your Generall Courte, we acknowledg your good affection towards us, (which we never had cause to doubt of,) and are willing to attend your full resolution, when it may most seasonably be ripened. (2ly.) Wheras you make this warr to be our peopls, and not to conceirne your selves, otherwise then by consequence, we do in parte consente to you therin; yet we suppose, that, in case of perill, you will not stand upon such terms, as we hope we should not doe towards you; and withall we conceive that you looke at ye Pequents, and all other Indeans, as a com̄one enimie, who, though he may take occasion of ye begining of his rage, from some one parte of ye English, yet if he prevaile, will surly pursue his advantage, to ye rooting out of ye whole nation. Therfore when we desired your help, we did it not without respecte to your owne saftie, as ours. (3ly.) Wheras you desire we should be ingaged to aide you, upon all like occasions; we are perswaded you doe not doubte of it; yet as we now deale with you as a free people, and at libertie, so as we cannot draw you into this warr with us, otherwise then as reason may guid & provock you; so we desire we may be at ye like freedome, when any occasion may call for help from us. And wheras it is objected to us, that we refused to aide you against ye French; we conceive ye case was not alicke; yet we cannot wholy excuse our failing in that matter. (4ly.) Weras you objecte that we began ye warr without your privitie, & managed it contrary to your advise; the truth is, that our first intentions being only against Block Iland, and ye interprice seeming of small difficultie, we did not so much as consider of taking advice, or looking out for aide abroad. And when we had resolved upon ye Pequents, we sent presently, or not long after, to you aboute it; but ye answer received, it was not seasonable for us to chaing our counsells, excepte we had seen and waighed your grounds, which might have out wayed our owne.
(5ly.) For our peoples trading at Kenebeck, we assure you (to our knowledge) it hath not been by any allowance from us; and what we have provided in this and like cases, at our last Courte, Mr. E. W. can certifie you.
And (6ly); wheras you objecte to us yt we should hold trade & correspondancie with ye French, your enemise; we answer, you are misinformed, for, besids some letters which hath passed betweene our late Govr and them, to which we were privie, we have neither sente nor incouraged ours to trade with them; only one vessell or tow, for ye better conveāce of our letters, had licens from our Govr to sayle thither.
Diverce other things have been privatly objected to us, by our worthy freind, wherunto he received some answer; but most of them concerning ye apprehention of perticuler discurteseis, or injueries from some perticuler persons amongst us. It concernes us not to give any other answer to them then this; that, if ye offenders shall be brought forth in a right way, we shall be ready to doe justice as ye case shall require. In the meane time, we desire you to rest assured, that such things are without our privity, and not a litle greeveous to us.
Now for ye joyning with us in this warr, which indeed concerns us no other wise then it may your selves, viz.: the releeving of our freinds & Christian breethren, who are now first in ye danger; though you may thinke us able to make it good without you, (as, if ye Lord please to be with us, we may,) yet 3. things we offer to your consideration, which (we conceive) may have some waight with you. (First) yt if we should sinck under this burden, your opportunitie of seasonable help would be lost in 3. respects. 1. You cannot recover us, or secure your selves ther, with 3. times ye charge & hazard which now ye may. 2ly. The sorrowes which we should lye under (if through your neglect) would much abate of ye acceptablenes of your help afterwards. 3ly. Those of yours who are now full of courage and forwardnes, would be much damped, and so less able to undergoe so great a burden. The (2.) thing is this, that it concernes us much to hasten this warr to an end before ye end of this somer, otherwise ye newes of it will discourage both your & our freinds from coming to us next year; with what further hazard & losse it may expose us unto, your selves may judge.
The (3.) thing is this, that if ye Lord shall please to blesse our endeaours, so as we end ye warr, or put it in a hopefull way without you, it may breed such ill thoughts in our people towards yours, as will be hard to entertaine such opinione of your good will towards us, as were fitt to be nurished among such neigbours & brethren as we are. And what ill consequences may follow, on both sids, wise men may fear, & would rather prevente then hope to redress. So with my harty salutations to you selfe, and all your counsell, and other our good freinds with you, I rest
Yours most assured in ye Lord,
Boston, ye 20. of ye 3. month, 1637.
In ye mean time, the Pequents, espetially in ye winter before, sought to make peace with ye Narigansets, and used very pernicious arguments to move them therunto: as that ye English were stranegers and begane to overspred their countrie, and would deprive them therof in time, if they were suffered to grow & increse; and if ye Narigansets did assist ye English to subdue them, they did but make way for their owne overthrow, for if they were rooted out, the English would soone take occasion to subjugate them; and if they would harken to them, they should not neede to fear ye strength of ye English; for they would not come to open battle with them, but fire their houses, kill their katle, and lye in ambush for them as they went abroad upon their occasions; and all this they might easily doe without any or litle danger to them selves. The which course being held, they well saw the English could not long subsiste, but they would either be starved with hunger, or be forced to forsake the countrie; with many ye like things; insomuch that ye Narigansets were once wavering, and were halfe minded to have made peace with them, and joȳed against ye English. But againe when they considered, how much wrong they had received from the Pequents, and what an oppertunitie they now had by ye help of ye English to right them selves, revenge was so sweete unto them, as it prevailed above all ye rest; so as they resolved to joyne with ye English against them, & did. The Court here agreed forwith to send 50. men at their owne charg; and wth as much speed as posiblie they could, gott them armed, and had made them ready under sufficiente leaders, and provided a barke to carrie them provisions & tend upon them for all occasions; but when they were ready to march (with a supply from ye Bay) they had word to stay, for ye enimy was as good as vanquished, and their would be no neede.
I shall not take upon me exactly to describe their proceedings in these things, because I expecte it will be fully done by them selves, who best know the carrage & circumstances of things; I shall therfore but touch them in generall. From Connightecute (who were most sencible of ye hurt sustained, & ye present danger), they sett out a partie of men, and an other partie mett them from ye Bay, at ye Narigansets, who were to joyne with them. Ye Narigansets were ernest to be gone before ye English were well rested and refreshte, espetially some of them which came last. It should seeme their desire was to come upon ye enemie sudenly, & undiscovered. Ther was a barke of this place, newly put in ther, which was come from Conightecutte, who did incourage them to lay hold of ye Indeans forwardnes, and to shew as great forwardnes as they, for it would incorage them, and expedition might prove to their great advantage. So they went on, and so ordered their march, as the Indeans brought them to a forte of ye enimies (in which most of their cheefe men were) before day. They approached ye same with great silence, and surrounded it both with English & Indeans, that they might not breake out; and so assualted them with great courage, shooting amongst them, and entered ye forte with all speed; and those yt first entered found sharp resistance from the enimie, who both shott at & grapled with them; others rane into their howses, & brought out fire, and sett them on fire, which soone tooke in their matts, &, standing close togeather, with ye wind, all was quickly on a flame, and therby more were burnte to death then was otherwise slain; it burnte their bowstrings, and made them unservisable. Those yt scaped ye fire were slaine with ye sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400. at this time. It was a fearfull sight to see them thus frying in ye fyer, and ye streams of blood quenching ye same, and horrible was ye stinck & sente ther of; but ye victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prays therof to God, who had wrought so wonderfuly for them, thus to inclose their enimise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud & insulting an enimie. The Narigansett Indeans, all this while, stood round aboute, but aloofe from all danger, and left ye whole execution to ye English, exept it were ye stoping of any yt broke away, insulting over their enimies in this their ruine & miserie, when they saw them dancing in ye flames, calling them by a word in their owne language, signifing, O brave Pequents! which they used familierly among them selves in their own prayes, in songs of triumph after their victories. After this servis was thus happily accomplished, they marcht to the water side, wher they mett with some of their vesells, by which they had refreishing with victualls & other necessaries. But in their march ye rest of ye Pequents drew into a body, and acoasted them, thinking to have some advantage against them by reason of a neck of land; but when they saw the English prepare for them, they kept a loofe, so as they neither did hurt, nor could receive any. After their refreishing & repair to geather for further counsell & directions, they resolved to pursue their victory, and follow ye warr against ye rest, but ye Narigansett Indeans most of them forsooke them, and such of them as they had with them for guids, or otherwise, they found them very could and backward in ye bussines, ether out of envie, or yt they saw ye English would make more profite of ye victorie then they were willing they should, or els deprive them of such advantage as them selves desired by having them become tributaries unto them, or ye like.
For ye rest of this bussines, I shall only relate ye same as it is in a leter which came from Mr. Winthrop to ye Govr hear, as followeth. Worthy Sr: I received your loving letter, and am much provocked to express my affections towards you, but straitnes of time forbids me; for my desire is to acquainte you with ye Lords greate mercies towards us, in our prevailing against his & our enimies; that you may rejoyce and praise his name with us. About 80. of our men, haveing costed along towards ye Dutch plantation, (some times by water, but most by land,) mett hear & ther with some Pequents, whom they slew or tooke prisoners. 2. sachems they tooke, & beheaded; and not hearing of Sassacous, (the cheefe sachem,) they gave a prisoner his life, to goe and find him out. He wente and brought them word where he was, but Sassacouse, suspecting him to be a spie, after he was gone, fled away with some 20. more to ye Mowakes, so our men missed of him. Yet, deviding them selves, and ranging up & downe, as ye providence of God guided them (for ye Indeans were all gone, save 3. or 4. and they knew not whither to guid them, or els would not), upon ye 13. of this month, they light upon a great company of them, viz. 80. strong men, & 200. women & children, in a small Indean towne, fast by a hideous swamp, which they all slipped into before our men could gett to them. Our captains were not then come togeither, but ther was Mr. Ludlow and Captaine Masson, with some 10. of their men, & Captaine Patrick with some 20. or more of his, who, shooting at ye Indeans, Captaine Trask with 50. more came soone in at ye noyse. Then they gave order to surround ye swampe, it being aboute a mile aboute; but Levetenante Davenporte & some 12. more, not hearing that com̄and, fell into ye swampe among ye Indeans. The swampe was so thicke with shrub-woode, & so boggie with all, that some of them stuck fast, and received many shott. Levetenant Davenport was dangerously wounded aboute his armehole, and another shott in ye head, so as, fainting, they were in great danger to have been taken by ye Indeans. But Sargante Rigges, & Jeffery, and 2. or 3. more, rescued them, and slew diverse of ye Indeans with their swords. After they were drawne out, the Indeans desired parley, & were offered (by Thomas Stanton, our interpretour) that, if they would come out, and yeeld them selves, they should have their lives, all that had not their hands in ye English blood. Wherupon ye sachem of ye place came forth, and an old man or 2. & their wives and children, and after that some other women & children, and so they spake 2. howers, till it was night. Then Thomas Stanton was sente into them againe, to call them forth; but they said they would selle their lives their, and so shott at him so thicke as, if he had not cried out, and been presently rescued, they had slaine him. Then our men cutt of a place of ye swampe with their swords, and cooped the Indeans into so narrow a compass, as they could easier kill them throw ye thickets. So they continued all ye night, standing aboute 12. foote one from an other, and ye Indeans, coming close up to our men, shot their arrows so thicke, as they pierced their hatte brimes, & their sleeves, & stockins, & other parts of their cloaths, yet so miraculously did the Lord preserve them as not one of them was wounded, save those 3. who rashly went into ye swampe. When it was nere day, it grue very darke, so as those of them which were left dropt away betweene our men, though they stood but 12. or 14. foote assunder; but were presenly discovered, & some killed in ye pursute. Upon searching of ye swampe, ye next morning, they found 9. slaine, & some they pulled up, whom ye Indeans had buried in ye mire, so as they doe thinke that, of all this company, not 20. did escape, for they after found some who dyed in their flight of their wounds received. The prisoners were devided, some to those of ye river, and the rest to us. Of these we send ye male children to Bermuda, by Mr. William Peirce, & ye women & maid children are disposed aboute in the townes. Ther have been now slaine & taken, in all, aboute 700. The rest are dispersed, and the Indeans in all quarters so terrified as all their friends are affraid to receive them. 2. of ye sachems of Long Iland came to Mr. Stoughton and tendered them selves to be tributaries under our protection. And 2. of ye Neepnett sachems have been with me to seeke our frendship. Amonge the prisoners we have ye wife & children of Mononotto, a womon of a very modest countenance and behaviour. It was by her mediation that the 2. English maids were spared from death, and were kindly used by her; so that I have taken charge of her. One of her first requests was, that the English would not abuse her body, and that her children might not be taken from her. Those which were wounded were fetched of soone by John Galopp, who came with his shalop in a happie houre, to bring them victuals, and to carrie their wounded men to ye pinass, wher our cheefe surgeon was, wth Mr. Willson, being aboute 8. leagues off. Our people are all in health, (ye Lord be praised,) and allthough they had marched in their armes all ye day, and had been in fight all ye night, yet they professed they found them selves so fresh as they could willingly have gone to such another bussines.
This is ye substance of that which I received, though I am forced to omite many considerable circomstances. So, being in much straitnes of time, (the ships being to departe within this 4. days, and in them the Lord Lee and Mr. Vane,) I hear breake of, and with harty saluts to, &c., I rest
The 28. of ye 5. month, 1637.
The captains reporte we have slaine 13. sachems; but Sassacouse & Monotto are yet living.
That I may make an end of this matter: this Sassacouse (ye Pequents cheefe sachem) being fled to ye Mowhakes, they cutt of his head, with some other of ye cheefe of them, whether to satisfie ye English, or rather ye Narigansets, (who, as I have since heard, hired them to doe it,) or for their owne advantage, I well know not; but thus this warr tooke end. The rest of ye Pequents were wholy driven from their place, and some of them submitted them selves to ye Narigansets, & lived under them; others of them betooke them selves to ye Monhiggs, under Uncass, their sachem, wth the approbation of ye English of Conightecutt, under whose protection Uncass lived, and he and his men had been faithful to them in this warr, & done them very good service. But this did so vexe the Narrigansetts, that they had not ye whole sweay over them, as they have never ceased plotting and contriving how to bring them under, and because they cannot attaine their ends, because of ye English who have protected them, they have sought to raise a generall conspiracie against ye English, as will appear in an other place.
Anno Dom: 1644.
Mr. Edward Winslow was chosen Govr this year.
Many having left this place (as is before noted) by reason of the straightnes & barrennes of ye same, and their finding of better accommodations elsewher, more sutable to their ends & minds; and sundrie others still upon every occasion desiring their dismissions, the church begane seriously to thinke whether it were not better joyntly to remove to some other place, then to be thus weakened, and as it were insensibly dissolved. Many meetings and much consultation was held hearaboute, and diverse were mens minds and opinions. Some were still for staying togeather in this place, aledging men might hear live, if they would be contente with their condition; and yt it was not for wante or necessitie so much yt they removed, as for ye enriching of them selves. Others were resolute upon removall, and so signified yt hear yey could not stay; but if ye church did not remove, they must; insomuch as many were swayed, rather then ther should be a dissolution, to condescend to a removall, if a fitt place could be found, that might more conveniently and comfortablie receive ye whole, with such accession of others as might come to them, for their better strength & subsistence; and some such like cautions and limitations. So as, with ye afforesaide provissos, ye greater parte consented to a removall to a place called Nawsett, which had been superficially veiwed and ye good will of ye purchassers (to whom it belonged) obtained, with some addition thertoo from ye Courte. But now they begane to see their errour, that they had given away already the best & most com̄odious places to others, and now wanted them selves; for this place was about 50. myles from hence, and at an outside of ye countrie, remote from all society; also, that it would prove so straite, as it would not be competente to receive ye whole body, much less be capable of any addition or increase; so as (at least in a shorte time) they should be worse ther then they are now hear. The which, with sundery other like considerations and inconveniences, made them chaing their resolutions; but such as were before resolved upon removall tooke advantage of this agreemente, & wente on notwithstanding, neither could ye rest hinder them, they haveing made some begin̄ing. And thus was this poore church left, like an anciente mother, growne olde, and forsaken of her children, (though not in their affections,) yett in regarde of their bodily presence and personall helpfullness. Her anciente members being most of them worne away by death; and these of later time being like children translated into other families, and she like a widow left only to trust in God. Thus she that had made many rich became her selfe poore.
2.3.2 Reading and Review Questions
- How does Bradford connect the Pilgrims’ experience typologically with the Old Testament? Why does he do so?
- Why and how does Bradford place the Puritan faith within the larger Christian struggle against Satan and related history of martyrs and pilgrims such as the Marian exiles?
- How does Bradford measure God’s approval of the Puritan efforts? Why? Are his views consistent? Why or why not?
- What governing (versus religious) principles shape the Mayflower Compact? Why?
- What is Bradford’s attitude towards Native Americans? What shapes his attitude? How do you know?
2.4 JOHN WINTHROP
John Winthrop was born into a prosperous family in Groton, England, and followed the path of many such prosperous gentlemen by studying at Cambridge University. Though he practiced law at the Inner Temple, he soon shifted paths when he became a Puritan, devoted to purifying the Anglican Church from within and eschewing lingering Catholic practices and rituals. When Charles I ascended the throne, Puritans such as Winthrop faced being ruled by a monarch with clear and expressed sympathies for Catholicism. To avoid losing his earthly possessions to the throne, Winthrop joined a group of Puritans who obtained permission from the king to leave England for America. They gained a charter from the Council for New England and formed themselves as “The Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England,” free to found a religious colony beyond the king’s rule. Their colony would in time become New England’s chief colony.
Image 2.3 | John Winthrop
Artist | Charles Osgood
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
In 1629, Winthrop was chosen governor, a position he would hold for twenty years. The initial group of colonists left England on April 8, 1630, sailing on the Arbella. Either before embarkation or early in the voyage itself, Winthrop gave his sermon A Model of Christian Charity which envisaged a harmonious Puritan community that would serve as guide and model for future emigrants. Preparing the colonists to face adversity and temptation, the sermon also prepared for their future society’s being built on and guided by Christian principles. As governor of the colony, Winthrop himself modeled these principles through his steadfast morality and selfless concern for others.
Image 2.4 | Massachusetts Bay Colony Seal
Artist | Unknown
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
A Model of Christian Charity speaks plainly and clearly of an earthly life in the wilderness guiding towards God’s heavenly city, the new Jerusalem.
2.4.1 A Model of Christian Charity
WRITTEN ON BOARD THE ARBELLA, ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.
By the Hon. John Winthrop Esqr. In his passage (with a great company of Religious people, of which Christian tribes he was the Brave Leader and famous Governor;) from the Island of Great Brittaine to New-England in the North America. Anno 1630.
A Modell hereof.
God Almighty in his most holy and wise providence, hath soe disposed of the condition of mankind, as in all times some must be rich, some poore, some high and eminent in power and dignitie; others mean and in submission.
The Reason hereof.
1 Reas. First to hold conformity with the rest of his world, being delighted to show forth the glory of his wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures, and the glory of his power in ordering all these differences for the preservation and good of the whole; and the glory of his greatness, that as it is the glory of princes to have many officers, soe this great king will haue many stewards, counting himself more honoured in dispensing his gifts to man by man, than if he did it by his owne immediate hands.
2 Reas. Secondly that he might haue the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in moderating and restraining them: soe that the riche and mighty should not eate upp the poore nor the poore and dispised rise upp against and shake off theire yoake. 2ly In the regenerate, in exerciseing his graces in them, as in the grate ones, theire love, mercy, gentleness, temperance &c., in the poore and inferior sorte, theire faithe, patience, obedience &c.
3 Reas. Thirdly, that every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knitt more nearly together in the Bonds of brotherly affection. From hence it appears plainly that noe man is made more honourable than another or more wealthy &c., out of any particular and singular respect to himselfe, but for the glory of his creator and the common good of the creature, man. Therefore God still reserves the propperty of these gifts to himself as Ezek. 16. 17. he there calls wealthe, his gold and his silver, and Prov. 3. 9. he claims theire service as his due, honor the Lord with thy riches &c.—All men being thus (by divine providence) ranked into two sorts, riche and poore; under the first are comprehended all such as are able to live comfortably by their own meanes duely improved; and all others are poore according to the former distribution. There are two rules whereby we are to walk one towards another: Justice and Mercy. These are always distinguished in their act and in their object, yet may they both concurre in the same subject in eache respect; as sometimes there may be an occasion of showing mercy to a rich man in some sudden danger or distresse, and alsoe doeing of meere justice to a poor man in regard of some perticular contract &c. There is likewise a double Lawe by which wee are regulated in our conversation towardes another; in both the former respects, the lawe of nature and the lawe of grace, or the morrall lawe or the lawe of the gospell, to omitt the rule of justice as not propperly belonging to this purpose otherwise than it may fall into consideration in some perticular cases. By the first of these lawes man as he was enabled soe withall is commanded to love his neighbour as himself. Upon this ground stands all the precepts of the morrall lawe, which concernes our dealings with men. To apply this to the works of mercy; this lawe requires two things. First that every man afford his help to another in every want or distresse. Secondly, that hee performe this out of the same affection which makes him carefull of his owne goods, according to that of our Savior, (Math.) Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you. This was practised by Abraham and Lot in entertaining the angells and the old man of Gibea. The lawe of Grace or of the Gospell hath some difference from the former; as in these respects, First the lawe of nature was given to man in the estate of innocency; this of the Gospell in the estate of regeneracy. 2ly, the former propounds one man to another, as the same flesh and image of God; this as a brother in Christ allsoe, and in the communion of the same Spirit, and soe teacheth to put a difference between christians and others. Doe good to all, especially to the household of faith; upon this ground the Israelites were to putt a difference betweene the brethren of such as were strangers though not of the Canaanites.
3ly. The Lawe of nature would give no rules for dealing with enemies, for all are to be considered as friends in the state of innocency, but the Gospell commands loue to an enemy. Proofe. If thine Enemy hunger, feed him; Love your Enemies, doe good to them that hate you. Math. 5. 44.
This lawe of the Gospell propounds likewise a difference of seasons and occasions. There is a time when a christian must sell all and give to the poor, as they did in the Apostles times. There is a time allsoe when christians (though they give not all yet) must give beyond their abillity, as they of Macedonia, Cor. 2, 6. Likewise community of perills calls for extraordinary liberality, and soe doth community in some speciall service for the churche. Lastly, when there is no other means whereby our christian brother may be relieved in his distress, we must help him beyond our ability rather than tempt God in putting him upon help by miraculous or extraordinary meanes.
This duty of mercy is exercised in the kinds, Giueving, lending and forgiving.—
Quest. What rule shall a man observe in giueving in respect of the measure?
Ans. If the time and occasion be ordinary he is to giue out of his abundance. Let him lay aside as God hath blessed him. If the time and occasion be extraordinary, he must be ruled by them; taking this withall, that then a man cannot likely doe too much, especially if he may leave himselfe and his family under probable means of comfortable subsistence.
Object. A man must lay upp for posterity, the fathers lay upp for posterity and children, and he is worse than an infidell that pronideth not for his owne.
Ans. For the first, it is plaine that it being spoken by way of comparison, it must be meant of the ordinary and usuall course of fathers, and cannot extend to times and occasions extraordinary. For the other place the Apostle speaks against such as walked inordinately, and it is without question, that he is worse than an infidell who through his owne sloathe and voluptuousness shall neglect to provide for his family.—
Object. The wise man’s Eies are in his head, saith Solomon, and foreseeth the plague; therefore he must forecast and lay upp against evill times when hee or his may stand in need of all he can gather.
Ans. This very Argument Solomon useth to persuade to liberallity, Eccle.: Cast thy bread upon the waters, and for thou knowest not what evill may come upon the land. Luke 26. Make you friends of the riches of iniquity; you will ask how this shall be? very well. For first he that giues to the poore, lends to the lord and he will repay him even in this life an hundredfold to him or his.—The righteous is ever mercifull and lendeth and his seed enjoyeth the blessing; and besides wee know what advantage it will be to us in the day of account when many such witnesses shall stand forth for us to witnesse the improvement of our tallent. And I would know of those whoe pleade soe much for laying up for time to come, whether they holde that to be Gospell, Math. 16. 19. Lay not upp for yourselves Treasures upon Earth &c. If they acknowledge it, what extent will they allowe it? if only to those primitive times, let them consider the reason whereopon our Saviour groundes it. The first is that they are subject to the moathe, the rust, the theife. Secondly, They will steale away the hearte; where the treasure is there will ye heart be allsoe. The reasons are of like force at all times. Therefore the exhortation must be generall and perpetuall, withallwayes in respect of the love and affection to riches and in regard of the things themselves when any speciall seruice for the churche or perticular Distresse of our brother doe call for the use of them; otherwise it is not only lawfull but necessary to lay upp as Joseph did to haue ready uppon such occasions, as the Lord (whose stewards wee are of them) shall call for them from us; Christ giues us an Instance of the first, when hee sent his disciples for the Ass, and bidds them answer the owner thus, the Lord hath need of him: soe when the Tabernacle was to be built, he sends to his people to call for their silver and gold, &c; and yeildes noe other reason but that it was for his worke. When Elisha comes to the widow of Sareptah and findes her preparing to make ready her pittance for herselfe and family, he bids her first provide for him, he challengeth first God’s parte which she must first give before shee must serve her owne family. All these teache us that the Lord lookes that when hee is pleased to call for his right in any thing wee haue, our owne interest wee haue, must stand aside till his turne be served. For the other, wee need looke noe further then to that of John 1. he whoe hath this world’s goodes and seeth his brother to neede and shutts upp his compassion from him, how dwelleth the loue of God in him, which comes punctually to this conclusion; if thy brother be in want and thou canst help him, thou needst not make doubt, what thou shouldst doe; if thou louest God thou must help him.
Quest. What rule must wee observe in lending?
Ans. Thou must observe whether thy brother hath present or probable or possible means of repaying thee, if there be none of those, thou must give him according to his necessity, rather then lend him as he requires; if he hath present means of repaying thee, thou art to look at him not as an act of mercy, but by way of Commerce, wherein thou arte to walk by the rule of justice; but if his means of repaying thee be only probable or possible, then is hee an object of thy mercy, thou must lend him, though there be danger of losing it, Deut. 15. 7. If any of thy brethren be poore &c., thou shalt lend him sufficient. That men might not shift off this duty by the apparent hazzard, he tells them that though the yeare of Jubile were at hand (when he must remitt it, if hee were not able to repay it before) yet he must lend him and that chearefully. It may not greive thee to giue him (saith hee) and because some might object, why soe I should soone impoverishe myself and my family, he adds with all thy worke &c; for our Saviour, Math. 5. 42. From him that would borrow of thee turne not away.
Quest. What rule must we observe in forgiuing?
Ans. Whether thou didst lend by way of commerce or in mercy, if he hath nothing to pay thee, must forgive, (except in cause where thou hast a surety or a lawfull pleadge) Deut. 15. 2. Every seaventh yeare the Creditor was to quitt that which he lent to his brother if he were poore as appears ver. 8. Save when there shall be no poore with thee. In all these and like cases, Christ was a generall rule, Math. 7. 22. Whatsoever ye would that men should doe to you, doe yee the same to them allsoe.
Quest. What rule must wee observe and walke by in cause of community of perill?
Ans. The same as before, but with more enlargement towards others and lesse respect towards ourselves and our owne right. Hence it was that in the primitive Churche they sold all, had all things in common, neither did any man say that which he possessed was his owne. Likewise in theire returne out of the captivity, because the worke was greate for the restoring of the church and the danger of enemies was common to all, Nehemiah directs the Jews to liberallity and readiness in remitting theire debts to theire brethren, and disposing liberally to such as wanted, and stand not upon their owne dues which they might have demanded of them. Thus did some of our Forefathers in times of persecution in England, and soe did many of the faithful of other churches, whereof wee keepe an honorable remembrance of them; and it is to be observed that both in Scriptures and latter stories of the churches that such as have beene most bountifull to the poore saintes, especially in those extraordinary times and occasions, God hath left them highly commended to posterity, as Zacheus, Cornelius, Dorcas, Bishop Hooper, the Cuttler of Brussells and divers others. Observe againe that the Scripture gives noe caussion to restraine any from being over liberall this way; but all men to the liberall and cherefull practise hereof by the sweeter promises; as to instance one for many, Isaiah 58. 6. Is not this the fast I have chosen to loose the bonds of wickedness, to take off the heavy burdens, to lett the oppressed go free and to breake every yoake, to deale thy bread to the hungry and to bring the poore that wander into thy house, when thou seest the naked to cover them; and then shall thy light brake forth as the morning and thy healthe shall growe speedily, thy righteousness shall goe before God, and the glory of the Lord shall embrace thee; then thou shall call and the Lord shall answer thee &c., Ch. 2. 10. If thou power out thy soule to the hungry, then shall thy light spring out in darkness, and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfie thy soule in draught, and make falt thy bones, thou shalt be like a watered garden, and they shalt be of thee that shall build the old wast places &c. On the contrary most heavy cursses are layed upon such as are straightened towards the Lord and his people, Judg. 5. Cursse the Meroshe because he came not to help the Lord. Hee whoe shutteth his eares from hearing the cry of the poore, he shall cry and shall not be heard; Math. 25. Goe ye curssed into everlasting fire &c. I was hungry and ye fedd mee not, Cor. 2. 9. 16. He that soweth sparingly shall reape sparingly. Haveing already sett forth the practice of mercy according to the rule of God’s lawe, it will be useful to lay open the groundes of it allsoe, being the other parte of the Commandment and that is the affection from which this exercise of mercy must arise, the Apostle tells us that this love is the fullfilling of the lawe, not that it is enough to loue our brother and soe noe further; but in regard of the excellency of his partes giueing any motion to the other as the soule to the body and the power it hath to sett all the faculties on worke in the outward exercise of this duty; as when wee bid one make the clocke strike, he doth not lay hand on the hammer, which is the immediate instrument of the sound, but setts on worke the first mouer or maine wheele; knoweing that will certainely produce the sound which he intends. Soe the way to drawe men to the workes of mercy, is not by force of Argument from the goodness or necessity of the worke; for though this cause may enforce, a rationall minde to some present act of mercy, as is frequent in experience, yet it cannot worke such a habit in a soule, as shall make it prompt upon all occasions to produce the same effect, but by frameing these affections of loue in the hearte which will as naturally bring forthe the other, as any cause doth produce the effect.
The deffinition which the Scripture giues us of loue is this. Love is the bond of perfection, first it is a bond or ligament. 2ly it makes the worke perfect. There is noe body but consists of partes and that which knitts these partes together, giues the body its perfection, because it makes eache parte soe contiguous to others as thereby they doe mutually participate with each other, both in strengthe and infirmity, in pleasure and paine. To instance in the most perfect of all bodies; Christ and his Church make one body; the severall partes of this body considered a parte before they were united, were as disproportionate and as much disordering as soe many contrary quallities or elements, but when Christ comes, and by his spirit and loue knitts all these partes to himselfe and each to other, it is become the most perfect and best proportioned body in the world, Eph. 4. 16. Christ, by whome all the body being knitt together by every joint for the furniture thereof, according to the effectuall power which is in the measure of every perfection of partes, a glorious body without spott or wrinkle; the ligaments hereof being Christ, or his love, for Christ is love, 1 John 4. 8. Soe this definition is right. Love is the bond of perfection.
From hence we may frame these conclusions. 1. First of all, true Christians are of one body in Christ, 1 Cor. 12. 12. 13. 17. Ye are the body of Christ and members of their parte. All the partes of this body being thus vnited are made soe contiguous in a speciall relation as they must needes partake of each other’s strength and infirmity; joy and sorrowe, weale and woe. 1 Cor. 12. 26. If one member suffers, all suffer with it, if one be in honor, all rejoyce with it. 2ly. The ligaments of this body which knitt together are loue. 3ly. Noe body can be perfect which wants its propar ligament. 5ly. This sensibleness and sympathy of each other’s conditions will necessarily infuse into each parte a native desire and endeavour, to strengthen, defend, preserve and comfort the other. To insist a little on this conclusion being the product of all the former, the truthe hereof will appeare both by precept and patterne. 1 John 3. 10. Yee ought to lay doune your lives for the brethren. Gal. 6. 2. beare ye one another’s burthen’s and soe fulfill the lawe of Christ. For patterns wee haue that first of our Saviour whoe out of his good will in obedience to his father, becomeing a parte of this body and being knitt with it in the bond of loue, found such a natiue sensibleness of our infirmities and sorrowes as he willingly yielded himselfe to deathe to ease the infirmities of the rest of his body, and soe healed theire sorrowes. From the like sympathy of partes did the Apostles and many thousands of the Saintes lay doune theire lives for Christ. Againe the like wee may see in the members of this body among themselves. 1 Rom. 9. Paule could have been contented to have been separated from Christ, that the Jewes might not be cutt off from the body. It is very observable what hee professeth of his affectionate partaking with every member; whoe is weake (saith hee) and I am not weake? whoe is offended and I burne not; and againe, 2 Cor. 7. 13. therefore wee are comforted because yee were comforted. Of Epaphroditus he speaketh, Phil. 2. 30. that he regarded not his owne life to do him service. Soe Phebe and others are called the servants of the churche. Now it is apparent that they served not for wages, or by constrainte, but out of loue. The like we shall finde in the histories of the churche, in all ages; the sweete sympathie of affections which was in the members of this body one towards another; theire chearfullness in serueing and suffering together; how liberall they were without repineing, harbourers without grudgeing, and helpfull without reproaching; and all from hence, because they had feruent loue amongst them; which onely makes the practise of mercy constant and easie.
The next consideration is how this loue comes to be wrought. Adam in his first estate was a perfect modell of mankinde in all their generations, and in him this loue was perfected in regard of the habit. But Adam, rent himselfe from his Creator, rent all his posterity allsoe one from another; whence it comes that every man is borne with this principle in him to loue and seeke himselfe onely, and thus a man continueth till Christ comes and takes possession of the soule and infuseth another principle, loue to God and our brother, and this latter haueing continuall supply from Christ, as the head and roote by which he is vnited, gets the predomining in the soule, soe by little and little expells the former. 1 John 4. 7. loue cometh of God and every one that loueth is borne of God, soe that this loue is the fruite of the new birthe, and none can have it but the new creature. Now when this quallity is thus formed in the soules of men, it workes like the Spirit upon the drie bones. Ezek. 39. bone came to bone. It gathers together the scattered bones, or perfect old man Adam, and knitts them into one body againe in Christ, whereby a man is become againe a living soule.
The third consideration is concerning the exercise of this loue, which is twofold, inward or outward. The outward hath beene handled in the former preface of this discourse. From unfolding the other wee must take in our way that maxime of philosophy. Simile simili gaudet, or like will to like; for as of things which are turned with disaffection to eache other, the ground of it is from a dissimilitude or ariseing from the contrary or different nature of the things themselves; for the ground of loue is an apprehension of some resemblance in the things loued to that which affects it. This is the cause why the Lord loues the creature, soe farre as it hathe any of his Image in it; he loues his elect because they are like himselfe, he beholds them in his beloued sonne. So a mother loues her childe, because shee throughly conceives a resemblance of herselfe in it. Thus it is betweene the members of Christ; eache discernes, by the worke of the Spirit, his oune Image and resemblance in another, and therefore cannot but loue him as he loues himself. Now when the soule, which is of a sociable nature, findes anything like to itselfe, it is like Adam when Eve was brought to him. She must be one with himselfe. This is flesh of my flesh (saith he) and bone of my bone. Soe the soule conceives a greate delighte in it; therefore shee desires nearness and familiarity with it. Shee hath a greate propensity to doe it good and receiues such content in it, as fearing the miscarriage of her beloved, shee bestowes it in the inmost closett of her heart. Shee will not endure that it shall want any good which shee can giue it. If by occasion shee be withdrawne from the company of it, shee is still looking towardes the place where shee left her beloved. If shee heard it groane, shee is with it presently. If shee finde it sadd and disconsolate, shee sighes and moanes with it. Shee hath noe such joy as to see her beloved merry and thriving. If shee see it wronged, shee cannot hear it without passion. Shee setts noe boundes to her affections, nor hath any thought of reward. Shee findes recompense enough in the exercise of her loue towardes it. Wee may see this acted to life in Jonathan and David. Jonathan a valiant man endued with the spirit of love, soe soone as he discovered the same spirit in David had presently his hearte knitt to him by this ligament of loue; soe that it is said he loued him as his owne soule, he takes soe great pleasure in him, that hee stripps himselfe to adorne his beloved. His father’s kingdome was not soe precious to him as his beloved David, David shall haue it with all his hearte. Himself desires noe more but that hee may be neare to him to rejoyce in his good. Hee chooseth to converse with him in the wildernesse even to the hazzard of his oune life, rather than with the greate Courtiers in his father’s Pallace. When hee sees danger towards him, hee spares neither rare paines nor perill to direct it. When injury was offered his beloued David, hee would not beare it, though from his oune father. And when they must parte for a season onely, they thought theire heartes would have broake for sorrowe, had not theire affections found vent by abundance of teares. Other instances might be brought to showe the nature of this affection; as of Ruthe and Naomi, and many others; but this truthe is cleared enough. If any shall object that it is not possible that loue shall be bred or upheld without hope of requitall, it is graunted; but that is not our cause; for this loue is alluayes vnder reward. It never giues, but it alluayes receives with advantage; First in regard that among the members of the same body, loue and affection are reciprocall in a most equall and sweete kinde of commerce.
2nly. In regard of the pleasure and content that the exercise of loue carries with it, as wee may see in the naturall body. The mouth is at all the paines to receive and mince the foode which serves for the nourishment of all the other partes of the body; yet it hath noe cause to complaine; for first the other partes send backe, by severall passages, a due proportion of the same nourishment, in a better forme for the strengthening and comforting the mouthe. 2ly the laboure of the mouthe is accompanied with such pleasure and content as farre exceedes the paines it takes. Soe is it in all the labour of love among Christians. The partie louing, reapes loue
again, as was showed before, which the soule covetts more then all the wealthe in the world. 3ly. Nothing yeildes more pleasure and content to the soule then when it findes that which it may loue fervently; for to love and live beloved is the soule’s paradise both here and in heaven. In the State of wedlock there be many comforts to learne out of the troubles of that Condition; but let such as have tryed the most, say if there be any sweetness in that Condition comparable to the exercise of mutuall loue.
From the former Considerations arise these Conclusions.—1. First, This loue among Christians is a reall thing, not imaginarie. 2ly. This loue is as absolutely necessary to the being of the body of Christ, as the sinews and other ligaments of a naturall body are to the being of that body. 3ly. This loue is a divine, spirituall, nature; free, active, strong, couragious, permanent; undervaluing all things beneathe its propper object and of all the graces, this makes us nearer to resemble the virtues of our heavenly father. 4thly It rests in the loue and wellfare of its beloued. For the full certain knowledge of those truthes concerning the nature, use, and excellency of this grace, that which the holy ghost hath left recorded, 1 Cor. 13, may give full satisfaction, which is needful for every true member of this louely body of the Lord Jesus, to worke upon theire heartes by prayer, meditation continuall exercise at least of the speciall [influence] of this grace, till Christ be formed in them and they in him, all in eache other, knitt together by this bond of loue.
It rests now to make some application of this discourse, by the present designe, which gaue the occasion of writing of it. Herein are 4 things to he propounded; first the persons, 2ly the worke, 3ly the end, 4thly the meanes. 1. For the persons. Wee are a company professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, in which respect onely though wee were absent from each other many miles, and had our imployments as farre distant, yet wee ought to account ourselves knitt together by this bond of loue, and, live in the exercise of it, if wee would have comforte of our being in Christ. This was notorious in the practise of the Christians in former times; as is testified of the Waldenses, from the mouth of one of the adversaries Æneas Sylvius “mutuo ament pere antequam norunt,” they use to loue any of theire owne religion even before they were acquainted with them. 2nly for the worke wee have in hand. It is by a mutuall consent, through a speciall overvaluing providence and a more than an ordinary approbation of the Churches of Christ, to seeke out a place of cohabitation and Consorteshipp under a due forme of Government both ciuill and ecclesiasticall. In such cases as this, the care of the publique must oversway all private respects, by which, not only conscience, but meare civill pollicy, dothe binde us. For it is a true rule that particular Estates cannot subsist in the ruin of the publique. 3ly The end is to improve our lives to doe more service to the Lord; the comforte and encrease of the body of Christe, whereof we are members; that ourselves and posterity may be the better preserved from the common corruptions of this evill world, to serve the Lord and worke out our Salvation under the power and purity of his holy ordinances. 4thly for the meanes whereby this must be effected. They are twofold, a conformity with the worke and end wee aime at. These wee see are extraordinary, therefore wee must not content ourselves with usuall ordinary meanes. Whatsoever wee did, or ought to have, done, when wee liued in England, the same must wee doe, and more allsoe, where wee goe. That which the most in theire churches mainetaine as truthe in profession onely, wee must bring into familiar and constant practise; as in this duty of loue, wee must loue brotherly without dissimulation, wee must loue one another with a pure hearte fervently. Wee must beare one anothers burthens. We must not looke onely on our owne things, but allsoe on the things of our brethren. Neither must wee thinke that the Lord will beare with such faileings at our hands as he dothe from those among whome wee have lived; and that for these 3 Reasons; 1. In regard of the more neare bond of mariage between him and us, wherein hee hath taken us to be his, after a most strickt and peculiar manner, which will make them the more jealous of our loue and obedience. Soe he tells the people of Israell, you onely have I knowne of all the families of the Earthe, therefore will I punishe you for your Transgressions. 2ly, because the Lord will be sanctified in them that come neare him. We know that there were many that corrupted the service of the Lord; some setting upp altars before his owne; others offering both strange fire and strange sacrifices allsoe; yet there came noe fire from heaven, or other sudden judgement upon them, as did upon Nadab and Abihu, whoe yet wee may think did not sinne presumptuously. 3ly When God gives a speciall commission he lookes to have it strictly observed in every article, When he gave Saule a commission to destroy Amaleck, Hee indented with him upon certain articles, and because hee failed in one of the least, and that upon a faire pretense, it lost him the kingdom, which should have beene his reward, if hee had observed his commission. Thus stands the cause betweene God and us. We are entered into Covenant with Him for this worke. Wee haue taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to drawe our own articles. Wee haue professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. Wee have hereupon besought Him of favour and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to heare us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath hee ratified this covenant and sealed our Commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if wee shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends wee have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnall intentions, seeking greate things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely breake out in wrathe against us; be revenged of such a [sinful] people and make us knowe the price of the breache of such a covenant.
Now the onely way to avoyde this shipwracke, and to provide for our posterity, is to followe the counsell of Micah, to doe justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, wee must be knitt together, in this worke, as one man. Wee must entertaine each other in brotherly affection. Wee must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities. Wee must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekeness, gentlenes, patience and liberality. Wee must delight in eache other; make other’s conditions our oune;
rejoice together, mourne together, labour and suffer together, allwayes haueving before our eyes our commission and community in the worke, as members of the same body. Soe shall wee keepe the unitie of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as his oune people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our wayes. Soe that wee shall see much more of his wisdome, power, goodness and truthe, than formerly wee haue been acquainted with. Wee shall finde that the God of Israell is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when hee shall make us a prayse and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it likely that of New England.” For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are uppon us. Soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our God in this worke wee haue undertaken, and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. Wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of God, and all professors for God’s sake. Wee shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into curses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whither wee are a goeing.
I shall shutt upp this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithfull servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israell, Deut. 30. Beloued there is now sett before us life and good, Death and evill, in that wee are commanded this day to loue the Lord our God, and to loue one another, to walke in his wayes and to keepe his Commandements and his Ordinance and his lawes, and the articles of our Covenant with him, that wee may liue and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may blesse us in the land whither wee goe to possesse it. But if our heartes shall turne away, soe that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worshipp and serue other Gods, our pleasure and proffitts, and serue them; it is propounded unto us this day, wee shall surely perishe out of the good land whither wee passe over this vast sea to possesse it;
Therefore lett us choose life
that wee, and our seede
may liue, by obeyeing His
voyce and cleaveing to Him,
for Hee is our life and
2.4.2 Reading and Review Questions
- In what ways, if any, is A Model of Christian Charity a theodicy, that is, a vindication of divine goodness in the face of existing evil, justifying the ways of God to man? Why? How do you know?
- What temptations, if any, does Winthrop believe the Puritans will face in America? Why does he view them as temptations rather than opportunities?
- According to Winthrop, what causes social distinctions, or inequalities? What does he think counters or answers them? Why?
- Why is self-love not a form of love, according to Winthrop? Why does he think self-love should be avoided, and what are the benefits he sees for doing so?
- Why does Winthrop believe that the Massachusetts Bay Colony should be seen as a city on a hill? What is he cautioning against through this allusion? What is he promising?
2.5 ROGER WILLIAMS
Born in London, Roger Williams hailed from a merchant family. His work as a stenographer for Sir Edward Coke (1552–1634) led to Williams’ attending a grammar school in London and then enrolling as a scholarship student at Cambridge University in 1623. He earned his BA with honors and, in order to graduate, signed an oath to the Anglican Church, which was headed by the English monarch. He began a course of study for an MA in theology; however, growing estranged from what he saw as the corrupt practices of the Anglican Church, he withdrew without obtaining the degree and converted to Puritanism.
The religious controversies in England were tied to the crown, and the civil war between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians was already fomenting. To escape threatened persecutions against the Puritans, Roger Williams and his wife Mary Barnard (m. 1629–d. 1676) left for religious freedom in America.
He soon deemed the refuge he sought as unobtainable at the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other such established religious colonies. He objected to their intolerance of religious dissent, appropriation of Native American land, and uniting government with the church. His objections and criticisms led the General Court of Massachusetts Bay to eject Rogers from the colony in 1636. He again sought refuge, this time at Narragansett Bay, where he purchased land from the Native Americans and founded Providence in what is now Rhode Island, a city he envisaged as a religious sanctuary for true Dissenters and Separatists.
Williams viewed existing churches and institutions—as well as Christians themselves—as imperfect and unable to achieve true purity until the return of Christ, or the millennium. From this perspective, he believed that the church had no dominion over individual conscience and should therefore not enforce religious conformity in its civil rule or organization.
He returned to England in 1644 to obtain a patent for Rhode Island, returning again in 1651 to have it renewed upon its expiration or annulment. Williams thereby ensured a place open to liberty of conscience and relative tolerance of religious and racial differences. In 1654, he was elected as the colony’s president, a position he held for three succeeding terms.
He wrote several important polemical tracts, attacking the theology at Massachusetts Bay Colony and advocating for the separation of church and state. His Christenings Make Not Christians calls out those in the New World who claim to be practicing Christians, who cling more to form than real practice of charity for all humans on earth, including Native Americans.
Image 2.5 | The Return of Roger Williams
Artist | C. R. Grant
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
2.5.1 Christenings Make Not Christians
A Briefe Discourse concerning that name HEATHEN Commonly given to the Indians. As also concerning that great point of their conversion.
Shall first be humbly bold to inquire into the name Heathen, which the English give them, & the Dutch approve and practise in their name Heydenen, signifying Heathen or Nations. How oft have I heard both the English and Dutch (not onely the civill, but the most ded bauched and profane) fay, These Heathen Dogges, better kill a thousand of them then that we Christians should be indangered or troubled with them; Better they were all cut off, & then we shall be no more troubled with them: They have spilt our Christian bloud, the best way to make riddance of them, cut them all off, and fo make way for Christians.
I shall therefore humbly intreat my country-men of all forts to consider, that although men have used to apply this word Heathen to the Indians that go naked, and have not heard of that One-God, yet this word Heathen is most improperly sinfully, and unchristianly so used in this fence. The word Heathen signifieth no more then Nations or Gentiles; so do our Translations from the Hebrew and the Greeke in the old and New Testament promiscuoufly render these words Gentiles, Nations, Heathens.
Why Nations? Because the Jewes being the onely People and Nation of God, esteemed (and that rightly) all other People, not only those that went naked, but the famous BABYLONIANS, CALDEANS, MEDES, and PERSIANS, GREEKES and ROMANES, their stately Cities and Citizens, inferiour themselves, and not partakers of their glorious privileges, but Ethnicke, Gentiles, Heathen, or the Nations of the world.
Now then we must enquire who are the People of God, his holy nation, snce the comming of the Lord Jesus, and the rejection of his first typicall holy Nation the Jewes.
It is confest by all, that the CHRISTIANS the followers of Jesus, are now the onely People of God, his holy nation, &c. 1. Pet. 2. 9.
Who are then the nations, heathen, or gentiles, in opposition to this People of Goa? I answer, All People, civilized as well as uncivilized, even the most famous States, Cities, and the Kingdomes of the World: For all must come within that distinction. 1. Cor. 5. within or without.
Within the People of God, his Church at CORNITH: Without the City of CORINTH worshipping Idols, and so consequently all other People, HEATHENS, or NATIONS, opposed, to the People of God, the true Jewes: And therefore now the naturall Jewes themselves, not being of this People, are Heathens Nations or Gentiles. Yea, this will by many hands be yeelded, but what say you to the Christian world? What say you to Christendome? I answer, what do you thinke Peter or John, or Paul, or any of the first Messengers of the Lord Jesus; Yea if the Lord Jesus himselfe were here, (as he will be shortly) and were to make answer, what would they, what would he fay to a CHRISTIAN WORLD? To CHRISTENDOME? And otherwise then what He would speak, that is indeed what he hath spoken, and will shortly speake, must no man speak that names himselfe a Christian.
Herdious in his Map of his CHRISTIAN WORLD takes in all Asia, Europe, a vaste part of Africa, and a great part also of America, so far as the Popes Christnings have reached to.
This is the CHRISSION WORLD, or Christendome, in which respect men stand upon their tearmes of high opposition between the CHRISTIAN and the TVRKE, (the Chriftian shore, and the Turkish shore) betweene the CHRISTIANS of this Christian WORLD and the JEVV, and the CHRISTIAN and the HEATHEN, that is the naked American.
But since Without is turned to be Within, the WORLD turned CHRISTIAN, and atheittle flocke of JESVS CHRIST hath so marvelllously increased in such wonderfull converfions, let me be bold to aske what is Christ? What are the Christians? The Hebrew and the Greeke will tell us that Christ was and is the Anointed of God, whom the Prophets and Kings and preists of Israel in their anointings did prefigure and type out; whence his followers are called christians, that is Anointed also: So that indeed to be a christian implyes two things, first, to be afollower of that anointed one in all his Offices; secondly, to pertake of his anointings, for the Anointing of the Lord Jesus (like to the anointings of AARON, to which none might make the like on pain of death) descend to the skirt of his garments.
To come nearer to this Christion world, (where the world becomes christian holy, anointed, Gods People, &c.) what faith John? What faith the Angel? Yea, What faith Jesus Christ and his Father (from whom the Revelation came Revel 1. 1.) What fay they uuto the Beast and his Worshippers Revel. 13.
If that beast be not the Turke, northe Roman Emperour (as the grosest interpret-but either the generall councels, or the catholike church of Rome, or the Popes or Papacy (as the most refined interpret) why then all the world, Revel. 13. wonders after the Beast, worships the Beast, followeth the Beast, and boasts of the Beast, that there is none like him, and all People, Tongues, and Nations, come under the power of this Beast, & no man shall buy nor fell, nor live, who hath not the marke of the Beast in his Fore-head, or in his hand, or the number of his name.
If this world or earth then be not intended of the whole terrestriall Globe, Europe, Asia, Africa and America, (which fence and experience denyes) but of the Roman earth, or world, and the People, Languages, and Nations, of the Roman Monarchy, transferred from the Roman Emperour to the Roman Popes, and the Popish Kingdomes, branches of that ROMAN-ROOT, (as all history and consent of time make evident.)
Then we know by this time what the Lord Jesus would say of the Christian world and of the Christian: Indeed what he saith Revel. 14. If any man worship the Beast or his picture, he shall drinke &c. even the dread fullest cup that the whole Booke of God ever held forth to snners. Grant this, say some of Popish Countries, that notwithstanding they make up Christendome, or Christian world, yet submitting to that Beast, they are the earth or world and must drinke of that most dreadfull cup: But now for those nations that have withdrawn their necks from that beastly yoke, & protesting against him, are not Papists, but Protestants, shall we, may we thinke of them, that they, or any of them may also be called (in true Scripture fence) Heathens, that is Nations or Gentiles, in opposition to the People of God, which is the onely holy Nation.
I answer, that all Nations now called Protestants were at first part of that whole Earth, or main (ANTICHRISTIAN) Continent, that wondered after, worshipped the Beast, &c. This must then with holy feare and trembling (because it concernes the KINGDOME of God, and salvation) be attended to, Whether such a departure from the Beast, and coming out from ANTICHRISTIAN abominations, from his markes in a false converson, and a false constitution, or framing of NATIONAL CHVRCHES in false MINISTERIES, and ministrations of BAPTISME, Supper of the Lord, Admonitions, Excommunications as amounts to a true perfect Iland, cut off from that Earth which wonderd after and worshipped the Beast: or-whether, not being so cut off, they remaine not Peninsulâ or necks of land, contiguous and joyned still unto his Christtendome? If now the bodies of Protestant Nations remaine in an unrePentant, unregenerate, naturall estate, and so consequently farre from hearing the admonitions of the Lord Jesus, Math 18. I lay they must sadly consder and know (least their profession of the name of Jesus prove at last but an aggravation of condemnation) that Christ Jesus hath faid, they are but as Heathens and Publcanes, vers. 17. How might I therefore humbly beseech my counry men to consider what deepe cause they have to fearch their conversons from that Beast and his Pisture?’ And whether having no more of Christ then the name (besde the invented wayes of worship, derived from, or drawn after Romes pattern) their hearts and conversations will not evince them unconverted and unchristian Christians, and not yet knowing what it is to come by true Regeneration within, to the true spirituall Jew from without amongst the Nations, that is Heathens or Gentiles.
How deeply and eternally this concerns each foule to search into! yea, and much more deeply such as professe to be Guides, Leaders, and Builders of the HOUSE OF GOD.
First, as they look to Formes and Frame of Buildings, or Churches.
Secondly, as they attend to Meanes and Instruments, &c.
Thirdly, as they would lay sure Foundations; and lasting Groundfells.
Fourthly, as they account the cost and charge such buildings will amount unto.
Fifthly, so they may not forget the true spirituall matter and mateaials of which a true House, Citty, Kingdome, or Nation of of God, now in the new Testament are to be composed or gathered.
Now Secondly, for the hopes of CONVERSION, and turning the People of America unto God: There is no respect of Persons with him, for we are all the worke of his hands; from the rising of the Sunne to the going downe thereof, his name shall be great among the nations from the Eats: & and from the West, &c. If we respect theirsfins, they are far short of European sinners: They neither abuse such corporall mercies for they have them not; nor sin they against the Gospell light, (which shines not amongst them) as the men of Europe do: And yet if they were greater sinners then they are, or greater sinners then the Europeans, they are not the further from the great Ocean of mercy in that respect.
Laftly, they are intelligent, many very ingenuous, plaine-hearted, inquisitive and (as I said before) prepared with many convictions, &c.
Now secondly, for the Catholicks conversion, although I believe I may safely hope that God hath his in Rome, in Spaine, yet if Antichrist be their false head (as most true it is) the body, faith, baptisme, hope (opposte to the true, Ephef. 4.) are all false also; yea consequently their preachings, conversons, salvations (leaving fecret things to God) must all be of the same false nature likewise.
If the reports (yea some of their owne Historians) be true, what monstrous and molt inhumane conversons have they made; baptizing thousands, yea ten thousands of the poore Natives, sometimes by wiles and subtle devices, sometimes by force compelling them to submit to that which they understood not, neither before nor after such their monstrous Christning of them. Thirdly, for our Newendland parts; I can speake uprightly and confidently, I know it to have been easie for my selfe, long ere this, to have brought many thousands of these Natives, yea the whole country, to a far greater Antichristian conversion then ever was yet heard of in America. I have reported something in the Chapter of their Religion, how readily I could have brought the whole Country to have observed one day in seven; I adde to have received a Baptisme (or washing) though it were in Rivers (as the first Christians and the Lord Jesus himselfe did) to have come to a stated Church meeting, maintained priests and formes of prayer, and a whole forme of Antichristian worship in life and death. Let none wonder at this, for plausible perswations in the mouths of those whom naturall men esteem and love: for the power of prevailing forces and armies hath done this in all the Nations (as men speake) of Christendome. Yea what lamentable experience have we of the Turnings and Turnings of the body of this Land in point of Religion in few yeares?
When England was all Popish under Henry the the seventh, how ease is conversion wrought to halfe Papist halfe-Protestant under Henry the eighth?
From halfe-Proteftanifme halfe-Popery under Henry the eight, to absolute Protestanisme under Edward the sxth: from absoluer Protestation under Edward the sixt to absalute popery under Quegne Mary, and from absolute Popery under Queene Mary, (just like the Weather-cocke, with the breatq of every Prince) to absolute Protestanisme under Queene Elizabeth &c.
For all this, yet some may aske, why hath there been such a price in my hand not improved? why have I not brought them to such a conversion as I speake of? I answer, woe be to me, if I call light darknesse, or darknesse light; sweet bitter, or bitter sweet; woe be to me if I call that conversion unto God, which is indeed subversion of the soules of Millions in Christendome, from one false worship to another, and the prophanation of the holy name of God, his holy Son and blessed Ordinances. America (as Europe and all nations) lyes dead in sin and trespasses: It is not a fuite of crimson Satten will make a dead man live, take off and change his crimson into white he is dead still, off with that, and shift him into cloth of gold, end from that to cloth of diamonds, he is but a dead man still: For it is not a forme, nor the change of one forme into another, a finer, and a finer, and yet more fine, that makes a man a convert I meane such a convert as is acceptable to God in Jesus Christ, according to the visible Rule of his last will and Testament. I speake not of Hypocrites, (which may but glister, and be no solid gold as Simon Magus, Judas &c.) But of a true externall converson; I say then, woe be to me if intending to catch men (as the Lord Jesus said to Peter) I should pretend converson) and the bringing of men as mistical fish, into a Church-estate, that is a converted estate, and so build them up with Ordinances as a converted Christian People, and yet afterward still pretend to catch them by an after converson. I question not but that it hath pleased God in his infinit pitty and patience, to fuffer this among us, yea and to convert thousands, whom all men, yea and the persons (in their personall estates converted) have esteemed themselves good converts before.
But I question whether this hath been so frequent in these late yeares, when the times of ignorance (which God pleaseth to pase by) are over, and now a greater light concerning the Church, Ministery, and conversion, is arisen. I question whether if such rare talents, which God hath betrusted many of his precious Worthies with, were laid out (as they shall be in the Lord’s molt holy season) according to the first pattern; I say, I question whether or no, where there hath been one (in his personall estate converted) there have not been, and I hope in the Lords time shall be, thousands truly converted from Antichristian Idols (both in person and worship) to serve the living and true God.
And lastly, it is out of question to me, that I may not pretend a false conversion, and false state of worship, to the true Lord Jesus.
If any noble Berean shall make inquiry what is that true conversion I intend; I answer first negatively.
First, it is not a converson of a People from one false worship to another, as Nebuchadnezzer compeld all Nations under his Monarchy.
Secondly, it is not to a mixture of the manner or worship of the true God, the God of Israel, with false gods & their worships, as the People were converted by the King of Assyria, 2, Kin. 17. in which worship for many Generations did these Samaritans continue, having a forme of many wholsome truths amongst them, concerning God and the Messiah, Ioh. 4.
Thirdly, it is not from the true to a false, as IEREBOAM turned the ten Tribes to their mine and disperson unto this day, 1. Kin. 12.
Fourthly, it must not be a conversion to some externall submisson to Gods Ordinances upon earthly respects, as JACOBS sons converted the Sichemites, Gen. 34.
Fiftly it mustnot be, (it is not poslible it should be in truth) a converson of People to the worship of the Lord Jesus, by force of Armes and swords of steele: So indeed did Nebuchadnezzer deale with all the world, Dan. 3. to doth his Antitype and successorr the Beast deal with all the earth, Rev. 13. &c.
But so did never the Lord Jesus bring any unto his most pure worship, for he abhorres (as all men, yea the very Indians doe) an unwilling Spouse, and to enter into a forced bed: The will in worship, if true, is like a free Vote, nec cogit, nec cogitur: JESVS CHRIST compells by the mighty perswasons of his Messengers to come in, but otherwise with earthly weapons he never did compell nor can be compelled. The not discerning of this truth hath let out the bloud of thousands in civill combustions in all ages; and made the whore drunke, & the Earth drunk with the bloud of the Saints, and witnesses of Jesus.
And it is yet like to be the destruction & and dissolution of (that which is called) the Christian world, unlesse the God of peace and pity looke downe upon it, and satisfy the soules of men, that he hath not so required. I should be far yet from unsecuring the peace of a City, of. a Land, (which I confesse ought to be maintained by civill weapons, & which I have so much cause to be earnest with God for;) Nor would I leave a gap open to any mutinous hand or tongue, nor wish a weapon left in the hand of any known to be mutinous and peace-breakers.
I know (lastly) the consciences of many are otherwise perswaded, both from Israels state of old, and other Allegations; yet I shall be humbly bold to lay, I am able to present such considerations to the eyes of all who love the Prince of truth and Peace, that shall discover the weaknesse of all such allegations, aud answer all objections, that have been, or can be made in this point. So much negatively. Secondly, affirmatively: I answer in generall, A true Conversion (whether of Americans or Europeans) must be such as those Conversions were of the first pattern, either of the Jewes or the Heathens; That Rule is the golden Mece wand in the hand of the Angell or Messenger, rev. 11. 1. besde which all other are leaden and crooked.
In particular: First, it must be by the free proclaiming or preaching of Repentance & forgivenesse of sins. Luk. 24. by such Messengers as can prove their lawfull fending and Commission from the Lord Jesus, to make Disciples out of all nations: and so to baptize or wash them into the name or profession of the holy Trinity, Mat, 28. 19 Rom. 10. 14. 15.
Secondly, such a conversion (so farre as mans Judgement can reach which is fallible, (as was the judgement of the first Messengers, as in Simon Magus, &c.) as is a turning of the whole man from the power of Sathan unto God, act. 26. Such a change, as if an old man became a new Babe Ioh. 3. yea, as amounts to Gods new creation in the soule, Ephes, 2. 10.Thirdly, Visibly it is a turning from Idols not only of conversation but of worhsip (whether Pagan, Turkish, Jewish, or Antichristian) to the Living and true God in the waies of his holy worship, appointed by his Son, 1 Thes. 1. 9.
I know Objections use to be made against this, but the golden Rule, if well attended to, will discover all crooked swervings and aberrations.
If any now say unto me, Why then if this be Conversion, and you have such a Key of Language, and such a dore of opportunity, in the knowledge of the Country and the inhabitants, why proceed you not to produce in America some patternes of such conversions as you speake of?
I answer, first, it must be a great deale of practise, and mighty paines and hardship undergone by my selfe, or any that would proceed to such a further degree of the Language, as to be able in propriety of speech to open matters of salvation to them. In matters of Earth men will helpe to spell out each other, but in matters of Heaven (to which the soule is naturally so averse) how far are the Eares of man hedged up from listening to all improper Language?
Secondly, my dsfires and endeavours are constant (by the helpe of God) to attaine a propriety of Language.
Thirdly, I confesse to the honour of my worthy Countrymen in the Bay of Massachuset, and elsewhere, that I received not longsfince expressions of their holy desires and prossers of assistance in the worke, by the hand of my worthy friend Colonell Humphreys, during his abode there.
Yet fourthly, I answer, if a man were as affectionate and zealous as David to build an house for God, and as wife and holy to advise and incourage, as Nathan, attempt this worke without a Word, a Warrant and Comimission, for matter, and manner, from GOD himselfe, they must afterwards heare a voice (though accepting good desires, yet reproving want of Commission) Did I ever speak a word saith the Lord? &c. 2. Sam. 7. 7.
The truth is, having not been without (through the mercy of God) abundant and constant thoughts about a true Commission for such an Embassie and Ministery. I must ingenuousy confesse the restlesse unsatisfiednesse of my soule in divers main particulars:
As first, whether (snce the Law must go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem) I say whether Gods great businesse between Christ Jesus the holy Son of God and Antichrist the man of sin and Sonne of perdition, must not be first over, and Zion and Jerusalem be re-built and re-established, before the Law and word of life be sent forth to the rest of the Nations of the World, who have not heard of Christ: The Prophets are deep concerning this.
Secondly snce there can be no preaching (according to the last Will and Testament of Christ Jesus) without a true sending Rom. 14. 15 Where the power and authority of sending and giving that Commission on Math. 28 &c. I say the question is where that power now lyes?
It is here unseasonable to number up all that lay claime to this Power, with their grounds for their pretences, either those of the Romish fort, or those of the Reforming or Re-building fort, and the mighty controverses which are this day in all parts about it: in due place (haply) I may present such sad Queries to consideration, that may occasion some to cry with DANIEL (concer-JERVSALEMS desolation Dan. 9.) Under the whole Heaven hath not been done, as hath been done to JERVSALEM: and with JEREMY in the fame respect, Lam. 2. 12. Have you no respect all you that passe by, behold and see there were ever sorrow like to my sorrow, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce wrath.
That may make us ashamed for all that wee have done, Ezek. 43 and loath our selves, for that (in whorish worships) wee have broken him with our whorish hearts Ezek. 9. To fall dead at the feet of JESVS, Rev. 1. as JOHN did, and to weepe much as hee Rev. 5. that so the LAMB may please to open unto us that WONDERFVLL BOOK and the seven SEALED MYSTERIES thereof.
Your unworthy Country-man
2.5.2 Reading and Review Questions
- How does Williams distinguish Native Americans from “heathens?” Why, do you think?
- What criticisms does Williams make against many Christians who have converted Native Americans? Why?
- What hypocrisies, if any, does Williams perceive among the Puritans in America? Why?
- How does Williams’s view of the Puritans’ purpose and place in America differ from Bradford’s or Winthrop’s? Why?
- What views does Williams express that foreshadow America’s post-Revolutionary separation of church and state?
2.6 CECIL CALVERT, LORD BALTIMORE
From his father George Calvert, Cecil Calvert inherited the title of Lord Baltimore and the charter from King Charles I to establish a colony at the Province of Maryland, comprising ten to twelve million acres of land in what is now the state of Maryland. Calvert governed the colony from England, sending his Instructions to the Colonists by Lord Baltimore to his brother Leonard, who served as the colony’s first governor. Calvert’s instructions served as the foundation for Maryland’s laws. Throughout his proprietorship, Cecil Calvert fostered religious tolerance in the colony of Maryland. After Leonard’s death, Calvert commissioned a Protestant, William Stone, to serve as governor. He gave Stone a new law to be voted on by the Maryland Assembly, a law that came to be known as the Act of Toleration. This new law allowed colonists freedom of worship in any Christian faith, provided they maintained loyalty to Cecil Calvert and Maryland’s government.
2.6.1 From A Relation of the Lord Baltemore’s Plantation in Maryland
His most Excellent Majestie having by his Letters Patent, under the Great Seale of England, granted a certaine Countrey in America (now called Maryland, in honour of our gratious Queene) unto the Lord Baltemore, with divers Priviledges, and encouragements to all those that should adventure with his Lordship in the Planting of that Countrey: the benefit and honour of such an action was readily apprehended by divers Gentlemen, of good birth and qualitie, who thereupon resolved to adventure their Persons, and a good part of their fortunes with his Lordship, in the pursuite of so noble and (in all likelihood) so advantagious an enterprize. His Lordship was at first resolved to goe in person; but the more important reasons perswading his stay at home, hee appointed his brother, Mr. Leonard Caluert to goe Governour in his stead, with whom he joyned in Commission, Mr. Jerome Hawley, and Mr. Thomas Cornwallis (two worthy and able Gentlemen.) These with the other Gentlemen adventurers, and their servants to the number of neere 200. people, imbarked theselves for the voyage, in the good ship called the Arke, of 300. tunne & upward, which was attended by his Lordships Pinnace, called the Dove, of about 50. tunne. And so on Friday, the 22. of November, 1633. a small gale of winde coming gently from the Northwest, they weighed from the Cowes in the Isle of Wight, about ten in the morning; And having stayed by the way Twenty dayes at the Barbada’s, and Fourteene dayes at Saint Christophers (upon some necessary occasions) they arrived at Point Comfort in Virginia, on the foure & twentyeth of February following. They had Letters from his Majesty, in favor of them, to the Governour of Virginia, in obedience whereunto, he used them with much courtesie and humanitie. At this time, one Captaine Cleyborne (one of the Councel of Virginia) comming from the parts whether they intended to goe, told them that all the Natives were in preparation of defence by reason of a rumor some had raised amongst them, that 6. shippes were to come with many people, who would drive all the inhabitants out of the Countrey.
On the 3. of March, they left Point-Comfort, & 2. dayes after, they came to Patowmeck river, which is about 24. leagues distant, there they began to give names to places, and called the Southerne point of that River, Saint Gregories; and the Northerne point, Saint Michaels.
They sayled up the River, till they came to Heron Island, which is about 14. leagues, and there came to an Anchor under an Island neere unto it, which they called S. Clements. Where they set up a Crosse, and tooke possession of this Countrey for our Saviour, and for our Soveraigne Lord the King of England.
Heere the Governor thought fit for the ship to stay, untill hee had discovered more of the Countrey: and so hee tooke two Pinnaces, and went up the River some 4. leagues, and landed on the South side, where he found the Indians fled for feare, from thence hee sayled some 9. leagues higher to Patowmeck Towne where the Werowance being a child, Archibau his unckle (who governed him and his Countrey for him) gave all the company good wellcome, and one of the company having entered into a little discourse with him, touching the errours of their religion, hee seemed well pleased therewith; and at his going away, desired him to returne thither againe, saying he should live with him, his men should hunt for him, and hee would divide all with him.
From hence the Governor went to Paschatoway, about 20. leagues higher, where he found many Indians assembled, and heere he met with one Captaine Henry Fleete an English-man, who had lived many yeeres among the Indians, and by that meanes spake the Countrey language very well, and was much esteemed of by the natives. Him our Governour sent a shore to invite the Werowance to a parley, who thereupon came with him aboard privatly, where he was courteously entertained, and after some parley being demanded by the Governour, whether hee would be content that he and his people should set downe in his Countrey, in case he should find a place convenient for him, his answere was, “that he would not bid him goe, neither would hee bid him stay, but that he might use his owne discretion.”
While this Werowance was aboard, many of his people came to the water side, fearing that he might be surprised, whereupon the Werowance commanded two Indians that came with him, to goe on shore, to quit them of this feare, but they answered, they feared they would kill them; The Werowance therefore shewed himselfe upon the decke, and told them hee was in safety, wherewith they were satisfied.
Whilest the Governour was abroad, the neighbouring Indians, where the ship lay, began to cast off feare, and to come to their Court of guard, which they kept night and day upon Saint Clements Ile, partly to defend their barge, which was brought in pieces out of England, and there made up; and partly to defend their men which were imployed in felling of trees, and cleaving pales for a Palizado, and at last they ventured to come aboard the ship.
The Governour finding it not fit, for many reasons, to seate himselfe as yet so high in the River, resolved to returne backe againe, and to take a more exact view of the lower part, and so leaving the Ship & Pinnaces there, he tooke his Barge (as most fit to search the Creekes, and small rivers) and was conducted by Captaine Fleete (who knew well the Countrey) to a River on the North-side of Patomeck river, within 4. or 5. leagues from the mouth thereof, which they called Saint Georges River. They went up this river about 4. Leagues, and anchored at the Towne of Yoacomaco: from whence the Indians of that part of the Countrey, are called Yoacomacoes:
At their comming to this place, the Governour went on shoare, and treated friendly with the Werowance there, and acquainted him with the intent of his comming thither, to which hee made little answere (as it is their manner, to any new or suddaine question) but entertained him, and his company that night in his house, and gave him his owne bed to lie on (which is a matt layd on boords) and the next day, went to shew him the country, and that day being spent in viewing the places about that towne, and the fresh waters, which there are very plentifull and excellent good (but the maine rivers are salt) the Governor determined to make the first Colony there, and so gave order for the Ship and Pinnaces to come thither.
This place he found to be a very commodious situation for a Towne, in regard the land is good, the ayre wholsome and pleasant, the River affords a safe harbour for ships of any burthen, and a very bould shoare; fresh water, and wood there is in great plenty, and the place so naturally fortified, as with little difficultie, it will be defended from any enemie.
To make his entry peaceable and safe, hee thought fit to present the Werowance and the Wisoes of the Towne with some English Cloth, (such as is used in trade with the Indians) Axes, Howes, and Knives, which they accepted very kindly, and freely gave consent that hee and his company should dwell in one part of their Towne, and reserved the other for themselves; and those Indians that dwelt in that part of the Towne, which was allotted for the English, freely left them their houses, and some corne that they had begun to plant: It was also agreed between them, that at the end of harvest they should leave the whole towne; which they did accordingly: And they made mutuall promises to each other, to live friendly and peaceably together, and if any injury should happen to be done on any part, that satisfaction should be made for the same, and thus upon the 27. day of March, Anno Domini, 1634. the Governour tooke possession of the place, and named the Towne Saint Maries.
There was an occasion that much facilitated their treaty with these Indians, which was this: The Sasquehanocks (a warlike people that inhabite betweene Chesopeack bay, and Delaware bay) did usually make warres, and incursions upon the neighbouring Indians, partly for superiority, partly for to get their Women, and what other purchase they could meet with, which these Indians of Yocomaco fearing, had the yeere before our arivall there, made a resolution, for their safety, to remove themselves higher into the Countrey where it was more populous, and many of them were gone thither before the English arrived.
Three dayes after their comming to Yoacomaco the Arke with the two Pinaces arived there. The Indians much wondred to see such ships, and at the thundering of the Ordnance when they came to an Anchor.
The next day they began to prepare for their houses, and first of all a Court of Guard, and a Store-house; in the meane time they lay abord the ship: They had not beene there many dayes before Sir John Haruie the governor of Virginea came thither to visit them: Also some Indian Werowances, and many other Indians from severall parts came to see them, amongst others the Werowance of Patuxent came to visit the Governour, and being brought into the great Cabin of the ship, was placed betweene the Governour of Virginea, and the Governour of Mary-land; and a Patuxent Indian that came with him, comming into the Cabin, and finding the Werowance thus sitting betweene the two Governours, started backe, fearing the Werowance was surprised, and was ready to have leapt overboard, and could not be perswaded to come into the Cabin, untill the Werowance came himselfe unto him; for he remembered how the said Werowance had formerly beene taken prisoner by the English of Virginia.
After they had finished the store-house, and unladed the ship, the Governour thought fit to bring the Colours on shore, which were attended by all the Gentlemen, and the rest of the servants in armes; who received the Colours with a volley of shot, which was answered by the Ordnance from the ships; At this Ceremony were present, the Werowances of Patuxent, and Yoacomaco, with many other Indians; and the Werowance of Patuxent hereupon tooke occasion to advise the Indians of Yoacomaco to be carefull to keepe the league that they had made with the English. He stayed with them divers dayes, and used many Indian Complements, and at his departure hee said to the Governour. “I love the English so well, that if they should goe about to kill me, if I had but so much breath as to speake; I would command the people, not to revenge my death; for I know they would not doe such a thing, except it were through mine owne default.”
They brought thither with them some store of Indian Corne, from the Barbado’s, which at their first arivall they began to use (thinking fit to reserve their English provision of Meale and Oatemeale) and the Indian women seeing their servants to bee unacquainted with the manner of dressing it, would make bread thereof for them, and teach them how to doe the like: They found also the countrey well stored with Corne (which they bought with truck, such as there is desired, the Natives having no knowledge of the use of money) whereof they sold them such plenty, as that they sent 1,000. bushells of it to New-England, to provide them some salt-fish, and other commodities which they wanted.
During the time that the Indians stai’d by the English at Yoacomaco, they went dayly to hunt with them for Deere and Turkies, whereof some they gave them for Presents, and the meaner sort would sell them to them, for knives, beades and the like: Also of Fish, the natives brought them great store, and in all things dealt very friendly with them; their women and children came very frequently amongst them, which was a certaine signe of their confidence of them, it being found by experience, that they never attempt any ill, where the women are, or may be in danger.
Their comming thus to feate upon an Indian Towne, where they found ground cleered to their hands, gave them opportunity (although they came late in the yeere) to plant some Corne, and to make them gardens, which they sowed with English seeds of all sorts, and they prospered exceeding well. They also made what haste they could to finish their houses; but before they could accomplish all these things, one Captaine Cleyborne (who had a desire to appropriate the trade of those parts unto himselfe) began to cast out words amongst the Indians, saying, That those of Yoacomaco were Spaniards and his enemies; and by this meanes endeavoured to alienate the mindes of the Natives from them, so that they did not receive them so friendly as formerly they had done. This caused them to lay aside all other workes, and to finish their Fort, which they did within the space of one moneth; where they mounted some Ordnance, and furnished it with some murtherers, and such other meanes of defence as they thought fit for their safeties: which being done, they proceeded with their Houses and finished them, with convenient accommodations belonging thereto: And although they had thus put themselves in safety, yet they ceased not to procure to put these jealousies out of the Natives minds, by treating and using them in the most courteous manner they could, and at last prevailed therein, and setled a very firme peace and friendship with them. They procured from Virginia, Hogges, Poultrey, and some Cowes, and some male cattell, which hath given them a foundation for breed and increase; and whoso desires it, may furnish himselfe with store of Cattell from thence, but the hogges and Poultrey are already increased in Maryland, to a great stocke, sufficient to serve the Colonie very plentifully. They have also set up a Water-mill for the grinding of Corne, adjoyning to the Towne.
Thus within the space of fixe moneths, was laid the foundation of the Colonie in Maryland; and whosoever intends now to goe thither, shall finde the way so troden, that hee may proceed with much more ease and confidence then these first adventurers could, who were ignorant both of Place, People, and all things else, and could expect to find nothing but what nature produced: besides, they could not in reason but thinke, the Natives would oppose them; whereas now the Countrey is is discovered, and friendship with the natives is assured, houses built, and many other accommodations, as Cattell, Hogges, Poultry, Fruits and the like brought thither from England, Virginea, and other places, which are usefull, both for profit and Pleasure: and without boasting it may be said, that this Colony hath arived to more in fixe moneths, then Virginia did in as many yeeres. If any man say, they are beholding to Virginea for so speedy a supply of many of those things which they of Virginia were forced to fetch from England and other remote places, they will confesse it, and acknowledge themselves glad that Virginea is so neere a neighbour, and that it is so well stored of all necessaries for to make those parts happy, and the people to live as plentifully as in any other part of the world, only they wish that they would be content their neighbours might live in peace by them, and then no doubt they should find a great comfort each in other.
The Commodities which this Countrey affords naturally.
This Countrey affords naturally, many excellent things for Physicke and Surgery, the perfect use of which, the English cannot yet learne from the Natives: They have a roote which is an excellent preservative against Poylon, called by the English, the Snake roote. Other herbes and rootes they have, wherewith they cure all manner of woundes; also Saxafras, Gummes, and Balfum. An Indian seeing one of the English, much troubled with the tooth-ake, fetched of the roote of a tree, and gave the party some of it to hold in his mouth, and it eased the paine presently. They have other rootes fit for dyes, wherewith they make colours to paint themselves.
The Timber of these parts is very good, and in aboundance, it is usefull for building of houses, and shippes; the white Oake is good for Pipe-staves, the red Oake for wainescot. There is also Walnut, Cedar, Pine, & Cipresse, Chesnut, Elme, Ashe, and Popler, all which are for Building, and Husbandry. Also there are divers sorts of Fruit-trees, as Mulberries, Persimons, with severall other kind of Plummes, and Vines, in great aboundance. The Mast and the Chesnuts, and what rootes they find in the woods, doe feede the Swine very fat, and will breede great store, both for their owne provision, or for merchandise, and such as is not inferior to the Bacon of Westphalia.
Of Strawberries, there is plenty, which are ripe in Aprill: Mulberries in May; and Raspices in June; Maracocks which is somewhat like a Limon, are ripe in August.
In the Spring, there are severall sorts of herbes, as Corn-fallet, Violets, Sorrell, Purflaine, all which are very good and wholsome, and by the English, used for sallets, and in broth.
In the upper parts of the Countrey, there are Bufeloes, Elkes, Lions, Beares, Wolues, and Deare there are in great store, in all places that are not too much frequented, as also Beavers, Foxes, Otters, and many other sorts of Beasts.
Of Birds, there is the Eagle, Goshawke, Falcon, Lanner, Sparrow-hawke, and Merlin, also wild Turkeys in great aboundance, whereof many weigh 50. pounds, and upwards; and of Partridge plenty: There are likewise sundry sorts of Birds which sing, whereof some are red, some blew, others blacke and yellow, some like our Black-birds, others like Thrushes, but not of the same kind, with many more, for which wee know no names.
In Winter there is great plenty of Swannes, Cranes, Geese, Herons, Ducke, Teale, Widgeon, Brants, and Pidgeons, with other sorts, whereof there are none in England.
The Sea, the Bayes of Chesopeack, and Delaware, and generally all the Rivers, doe abound with Fish of severall sorts; for many of them we have no English names: There are Whales, Sturgeons very large and good, and in great aboundance; Grampuses, Porpuses, Mullets, Trouts, Soules, Place, Mackerell, Perch, Crabs, Oysters, Cockles, and Mussles; But above all these, the fish that have no English names, are the best except the Sturgeons: There is also a fish like the Thornebacke in England, which hath a taile a yard long, wherein are sharpe prickles, with which if it strike a man, it will put him to much paine and torment, but it is very good meate: also the Todefish, which will swell till it be ready to burst, if it be taken out of the water.
The Mineralls have not yet beene much searched after, yet there is discovered Iron Oare; and Earth fitt to make Allum, Terra lemnia, and a red soile like Bolearmonicke, with sundry other sorts of Mineralls, which wee have not yet beene able to make any tryall of.
The soile generally is very rich, like that which is about Cheesweeke neere London, where it is worth 20. shillings an Acre yeerely to Tillage in the Common-fields, and in very many places, you shall have two foote of blacke rich mould, wherein you shall scarce find a stone, it is like a sifted Garden-mould, and is so rich that if it be not first planted with Indian corne, Tobacco, Hempe, or some such thing that may take off the ranknesse thereof, it will not be fit for any English graine; and under that, there is found good loame, where-of wee have made as good bricke as any in England; there is great store of Marish ground also, that with good husbandry, will make as rich Medow, as any in the world: There is store of Marie, both blue, and white, and in many places, excellent clay for pots, and tyles; and to conclude, there is nothing that can be reasonably expected in a place lying in the latitude which this doth, but you shall either find it here to grow naturally: or Industry, and good husbandry will produce it.
The commodities that may be procured in Maryland by industry.
Hee that well considers the situation of this Countrey, and findes it placed betweene Virginia and New-England, cannot but, by his owne reason, conclude that it must needs participate of the naturall commodities of both places, and be capable of those which industry brings into either, the distances being so small betweene them: you (hall find in the Southerne parts of Maryland, all that Virginia hath naturally; and in the Northerne parts, what New-England produceth: and he that reades Captaine John Smith shall see at large discoursed what is in Virginia, and in Master William Wood, who this yeere hath written a treatise of New-England, he may know what is there to be expected.
Yet to say something of it in particular.
In the first place I name Corne, as the thing most necessary to sustaine man; That which the Natives use in the Countrey, makes very good bread, and also a meate which they call Omene, it’s like our Furmety, and is very savory and wholesome; it will Mault and make good Beere; Also the Natives have a sort of Pulse, which we call Pease and Beanes, that are very good. This Corne yeelds a great increase, so doth the Pease and Beanes: One man may in a season, well plant so much as will yeeld a hundred bustiells of this Corne, 20 bushells of Beanes and Pease, and yet attend a crop of Tobacco: which according to the goodnesse of the ground may be more or lesse, but is ordinarily accompted betweene 800 and 100 pound weight.
They have made tryall of English Pease, and they grow very well, also Muskmellons, Water-melons, Cow-cumbers, with all sorts of garden Roots and Herbes, as Carrots, Parsenips, Turnips, Cabbages, Radish with many more; and in Virginia they have sowed English Wheate and Barley, and it yeelds twise as much increase as in England; and although there be not many that doe apply themselves to plant Gardens and Orchards, yet those that doe it, find much profit and pleasure thereby: They have Peares, Apples, and severall forts of Plummes, Peaches in abundance, and as good as those of Italy; so are the Mellons and Pumpions: Apricocks, Figgs and Pomegranates prosper exceedingly; they have lately planted Orange and Limon trees which thrive very wel: and in fine, there is scarce any fruit that growes in England, France, Spaine or Italy, but hath been tryed there, and prospers well. You may there also have hemp and Flax, Pitch and Tarre, with little labour; it’s apt for Rapefeed, and Annis-seed, Woad, Madder, Saffron, &c. There may be had, Silke-wormes, the Countrey being stored with Mulberries: and the superfluity of wood will produce Potashes.
And for Wine, there is no doubt but it will be made there in plenty, for the ground doth naturally bring foorth Vines, in such aboundance, that they are as frequent there, as Brambles are here. Iron may be made there with little charge; Brave ships may be built, without requiring any materials from other parts: Clabboard, Wainscott, Pipe-staves and Masts for mips the woods will afford plentifully. In fine, Butter and Cheese, Porke and Bacon, to transport to other countrys will be no small commodity, which by industry may be quickly had there in great plenty, &c. And if there were no other staple commodities to be hoped for, but Silke and Linnen (the materialls of which, apparantly will grow there) it were sufficient to enrich the inhabitants.
Of the Naturall disposition of the Indians which Inhabite the parts of Maryland where the English are seated: And their manner of living.
Hee that hath a Curiosity to know all that hath beene observed of the Customes and manners of the Indians, may find large discourses thereof in Captaine Smiths Booke of Virginia, and Mr. Woods of New-England: but he that is desirous to goe to Maryland, shall here find enough to informe him of what is necessary for him to know touching them. By Captaine Smith’s, and many other Relations you may be informed, that the People are War-licke, and have done much harme to the English; and thereby are made very terrible. Others say that they are a base and cowardly People, and to be contemned: and it is thought by some who would be esteemed States-men, that the only point of pollicie that the English can use, is, to destroy the Indians, or to drive them out of the Countrey, without which, it is not to be hoped that they can be secure. The truth is, if they be injured, they may well be feared, they being People that have able bodies, and generally, taller, and bigger limbed then the English, and want not courage; but the oddes wee have of them in our weapons, keepes them in awe, otherwise they would not flie from the English, as they have done in the time of Warres with those of Virginia, and out of that respect, a small number of our men being armed, will adventure upon a great troope of theirs, and for no other reason, for they are resolute and subtile enough: But from hence to conclude, that there can be no safety to live with them, is a very great errour. Experience hath taught us, that by kind and faire usage, the Natives are not onely become peaceable, but also friendly, and have upon all occasions performed as many friendly Offices to the English in Maryland, and New-England, as any neighbour or friend uses to doe in the most Civill parts of Christendome: Therefore any wise man will hold it a far more just and reasonable way to treat the People of the Countrey well, thereby to induce them to civility, and to teach them the use of husbandry, and Mechanick trades, whereof they are capable, which may in time be very usefull to the English; and the Planters to keepe themselves strong, and united in Townes, at least for a competent number, and then noe man can reasonably doubt, either surprise, or any other ill dealing from them.
But to proceede, hee that sees them, may know how men lived whilest the world was under the Law of Nature; and, as by nature, so amongst them, all men are free, but yet subject to command for the publike defence. Their Government is Monarchicall, he that governes in chiefe, is called the Werowance, and is assisted by some that consult with him of the common affaires, who are called Wisoes: They have no Lawes, but the Law of Nature and discretion, by which all things are ruled, onely Custome hath introduced a law for the Succession of the Government, which is this; when a Werowance dieth, his eldest sonne succeeds, and after him the second, and so the rest, each for their Hues, and when all the sonnes are dead, then the sons of the Werowances eldest daughter shall succeede, and so if he have more daughters; for they hold, that the issue of the daughters hath more of his blood in them than the issue of his sonnes. The Wisoes are chosen at the pleasure of the Werowance, yet commonly they are chosen of the same family, if they be of yeeres capable: The yong men generally beare a very great respect to the elder.
They have also Cockorooses that are their Captains in time of war, to whom they are very obedient: But the Werowance himselfe plants Corne, makes his owne Bow and Arrowes, his Canoo, his Mantle, Shooes, and what ever else belongs unto him, as any other common Indian; and commonly the Commanders are the best and most ingenious and active in all those things which are in esteeme amongst them. The woman serve their husbands, make their bread, dresse their meate, such as they kill in hunting, or get by fishing; and if they have more wives than one, as some of them have (but that is not generall) then the best beloved wife performes all the offices of the house, and they take great content therein. The women also (beside the houshold businesse) use to make Matts, which serve to cover their houses, and for beds; also they make baskets, some of Rushes, others of Silke-grasse, which are very handsom.
The Children live with their Parents; the Boyes untill they come to the full growth of men; (for they reckon not by yeeres, as we doe) then they are put into the number of Bow-men, and are called Blacke-boyes (and so continue until they take them wives) When they are to be made Black-boyes, the ancient men that governe the yonger, tell them, That if they will be valiant and obedient to the Werowance, Wisos, and Cockorooses, then their god will love them, all men will esteeme of them, and they shall kill Deere, and Turkies, catch Fish, and all things shall goe well with them; but if otherwise, then shall all goe contrary: which perswasion mooves in them an incredible obedience to their commands; If they bid them take fire in their hands or mouthes, they will doe it, or any other desperate thing, although with the apparant danger of their lives.
The woman remaine with their Parents until they have huasonds, and if the Parents bee dead, then with some other of their friends. If the husband die, he leaves all that he hath to his wife, except his bow and arrowes, and some Beades (which they usually bury with them) and she is to keepe the children untill the sons come to be men, and then they live where they please, for all mens houses are free unto them; and the daughters untill they have husbands. The manner of their marriages is thus; he that would have a wife, treates with the father, or if he be dead, with the friend that take care of her whom he desires to have to wife, and agrees with him for a quantity of Beades, or some such other thing which is accepted amongst them; which he is to give for her, and must be payed at the day of their marriage; and then the day being appointed, all the friends of both parts meet at the mans house that is to have the wife, and each one brings a present of meate, and the woman that is to be married also brings her present: when the company is all come, the man he sits at the upper end of the house, and the womans friends leade her up, and place her by him, then all the company sit down upon mats, on the ground (as their manner is) and the woman riseth and serves dinner, First to her husband, then to all the company the rest of the day they spend in singing and dancing (which is not unpleasant) at night the company leaves the, and comonly they live very peaceably and lovingly together; Yet it falls out sometimes, that a man puts away one wife and takes another: then she and her children returne to her friends again. They are generally very obedient to their husbands, and you shal seldome heare a woman speake in the presence of her husband, except he aske her some question.
This people live to a great age, which appeares, in that although they marry not so yong as we doe in England, yet you may see many of them great-grandfathers to children of good bignesse; and continue at that age, very able and strong men: The Men and Women have all blacke haire, which is much bigger and harsher then ours, it is rare to see any of them to waxe gray, although they be very old, but never bauld: It is seldome seene that any of the men have beards, but they weare long locks, which reach to their shoulders, and some of them to their wasts: they are of a comely stature, well favoured, and excellently well limbed, and seldome any deformed. In their warres, and hunting, they use Bowes and Arrowes (but the Arrowes are not poysoned, as in other places.) The Arrow-heads are made of a Flint-stone, the top of a Deares horn, or some Fish-bone, which they fasten with a sort of glew, which they make. They also use in warres, a short club of a cubite long, which they call a Tomahawk.
They live for the most part in Townes, like Countrey Villages in England; Their houses are made like our Arboures, covered some with matts, others with barke of trees, which defend them from the injury of the weather: The fiers are in the midst of the house, and a hole in the top for the smoake to goe out at. In length, some of them are 30. others 40. some a 100. foote; and in breadth about 12. foote. They have some things amongst them which may well become Christians to imitate, as their temperance in eating and drinking, their Justice each to other, for it is never heard of, that those of a Nation will rob or steale one from another; and the English doe often trust them with truck, to deale for them as factors, and they have performed it very justly: Also they have sent letters by them to Virginia, and into other parts of of the Countrey, unto their servants that have beene trading abroad, and they have delivered them, and brought backe answere thereof unto those that sent thfcm; Also their conuersation each with other, is peaceable, and free from all scurrulous words, which may give offence; They are very hospitable to their owne people, and to strangers ; they are also of a grave comportment: Some of the Adventurers at a time, was at one of their feasts, when Two hundred of them did meet together; they eate of but one dish at a meale, and every man, although there be never so many, is serued in a dish by himselfe; their dishes are made of wood, but handsomely wrought; The dinner lasted two houres; and after dinner, they sung and danced about two houres more, in all which time, not one word or action past amongst them that could give the least disturbance to the company; In the most grave assembly, no man can expect to find so much time past with more silence and gravitie: Some Indians comming on a time to James Towne in Virginia, it happened, that there then fate the Councell to heare causes, and the Indians feeing such an assembly, asked what it meant? Answere was made, there was held a Match-comaco (which the Indians call their place of Councell) the Indian replyed, that they all talke at once, but wee doe not so in our Match-comaco.
Their attire is decent and modest; about their wasts, they weare a covering of Deares skinnes, which reacheth to their knees, and upon their shoulders a large mantle of skinnes, which comes downe to the middle of the legge, and some to the heele; in winter they weare it furred, in summer without; When men hunt they put off their Mantles, so doe the women when they worke, if the weather be hot: The women affect to weare chaines and bracelets of beades, some of the better sort of them, weare ropes of Pearle about their necks, and some hanging in their eares, which are of a large sort, but spoyled with burning the Oysters in the fire, and the rude boaring of them. And they and the young men use to paint their faces with severall colours, but since the English came thither, those about them have quite left it; and in many things (hew a great inclination to conforme themselues to the English manner of living. The Werowance of Paschatoway desired the Governor to send him a man that could build him a house like the English, and in sundry respects, commended our manner of living, as much better then their owne: The Werowance of Patuxent, goes frequently in English Attire, so doth he of Portoback, and many others that have bought Clothes of the English: These Werowances have made request, that some of their children may be brought up amongst the English, and every way, shew great demonstrations of friendship, and good affection unto them.
These People acknowledge a God, who is the giver of al the good things, wherewith their life is maintained; and to him they sacrifice of the first fruits of their Corne, and of that which they get by hunting and fishing: The sacrifice is performed by an Ancient man, who makes a speech unto their God (not without something of Barbarisme) which being ended, hee burnes part of the sacrifice, and then eates of the rest, then the People that are present, eate also, and untill the Ceremony be performed, they will not touch one bit thereof: They hold the Immortalitie of the soule, and that there is a place of Joy, and another of torment after death, and that those which kill, steale, or lye, shall goe to the place of torment, but those which doe no harme, to the good place; where they shall have all sorts of pleasure.
It happened the last yeere, that some of the Sasquehanocks and the Wicomesses (who are enemies) met at the Hand of Monoponson, where Captaine Cleyborne liveth, they all came to trade, and one of the Sasquehanocks did an Injury to a Wicomesse, whereat some of Cleybornes people that saw it, did laugh. The Wicomesses seeing themselves thus injured and despised (as they thought) went away, and lay in ambush for the returne of the Sasquehanocks, and killed five of them, onely two escaped; and then they returned againe, and killed three of Cleybornes People, and some of his Cattle; about two moneths after this was done, the Wicomesses sent a messenger unto his Lordships Governor, to excuse the fact, and to offer satisfaction for the harme that was done to the English: The Wicomesse that came with the message, brought in his company an Indian, of the Towne of Patuxent, which is the next neighbouring Towne unto the English at Saint Maries, with whom they have good correspondence, and hee spake to the Governour in this manner.
I am a Native of Patuxent, as this man (whom you know) can tell you, true it is, I married a wife amongst the Wicomesses, where I have lived ever since, and they have sent me to tell you, that they are sorry for the harme, which was lately done by some of their people, to the English at Monaponson; and hope you will not make the rash act of a few young men (which was done in heate) a quarrell to their Nation, who desire to live in peace and love with you, and are ready to make satisfaction for the Injury, desiring to know what will give you content, and that they will returne such things as were then taken from thence; But withall, they desire you not to thinke that they doe this for feare, for they have warres with the Sasquehanocks, who have by a surprise, lately killed many of their men, but they would not sue to them for peace, intending to revenge the injuries, as they could find opportunitie, yet their desire was to have peace with the English.
The Governour returned answere to the Wicomesse ;since you acknowledge the Injury, and are sorry for it, and onely desire to know what I expect for satisfaction; I tell you I expect that those men, who have done this out-rage, should be delivered unto me, to do with them as I shall thinke fit, and likewise that you restore all such things as you then tooke from the English; and withall, charged him with a second Injury attempted upon some of his owne People, since that time, by the Wicomesses.
The Wicomesse after a little pause, replyed; It is the manner amongst us Indians, that if any such like accident happen, wee doe redeeme the life of a man that is so slaine, with a 100. armes length of Roanoke (which is a sort of Beades that they make, and use for money) and since that you are heere strangers, and come into our Countrey, you should rather conforme your selves to the Customes of our Countrey, then impose yours upon us; But as for the second matter, I know nothing of it, nor can give any answere thereunto.
The Governour then told him; It seemes you come not sufficiently instructed in the businesse which wee have with the Wicomesses, therefore tell them what I have said; and that I expect a speedy answere; and so dismist him.
It fell in the way of my discourse, to speake of the Indian money of those parts, It is of two sorts, Wompompeag and Roanoake; both of them are made of a fish-shell, that they gather by the Sea side, Wompompeag is of the greater sort, and Roanoake of the lesser, and the Wompompeag is three times the value of Roanoake; and these serve as Gold and Silver doe heere; they barter also one commoditie for another, and are very glad of trafficke and commerce, so farre as to supply their necessities: They shew no great desire of heaping wealth, yet some they will have to be buryed with them; If they were Christians, and would live so free from covetousnesse, and many other vices, which abound in Christendome, they would be a brave people.
I therefore conclude, that since God Almighty hath made this Countrey so large and fruitfull, and that the people be such as you have heard them described; It is much more Prudence, and Charity, to Civilize, and make them Christians, then to kill, robbe, and hunt them from place to place, as you would doe a wolfe. By reducing of them, God shall be served, his Majesties Empire enlarged by the addition of many thousand Subjects, as well as of large Territories, our Nation honoured, and the Planters themselves enriched by the trafficke and commerce which may be had with them; and in many other things, they may be usefull, but presudiciall they cannot be, if it be not through their owne faults, by negligence of fortifying themselves, and not consering military discipline.
Reading and Review Questions
- What, if any, significance do you see in the voyagers on the Dove and the Arke hearing as soon as they arrived at the Patowmeck river that hostile American Indians were gathering against them, and (b) they raised a cross on the island of S. Clements, taking possession of “this Countrey for our Saviour, and for our Soveraigne Lord the King of England?”
- How does the experience of these colonizers compare with those at Jamestown or Plymouth Plantation? Why? How does the purpose of these colonizers differ from earlier groups?
- Why does Calvert make such a point about the approval and support these colonizers gained from the start from the Native Americans? What evidence does he give?
- What values, in terms of material wealth and prosperity, are apparent in Calvert’s account of the commodities procurable through industry? How do these values compare to those of other colonizers?
- How much attention does Calvert give to gender issues among the American Indians? Why? What is his attitude towards American Indian women? How do you know? How does his description of gender issues differ from those of other accounts, like van der Donck’s or Champlain’s?
2.7 ANNE BRADSTREET
Like many women of her era, Anne Bradstreet’s life quite literally depended upon those of her male relatives. In Bradstreet’s case, these relatives were her father, Thomas Dudley (1576–1653), and her husband Simon Bradstreet (1603–1697). Her father encouraged Bradstreet’s literary bent; her husband caused her emigration from England to America. Both guided her Puritan faith. She met Simon Bradstreet through his and her father’s working for the estate of the Earl of Lincoln (1600– 1667), a Puritan. Simon Bradstreet helped form the Massachusetts Bay Company. With him, Anne Bradstreet sailed on the Arbella to become a member of that colony.
Despite this dependence, Bradstreet showed independence of mind and spirit quite remarkable for a woman of her era. She felt that the Bible was not fulfilling the religious enlightenment and transcendence she sought. In America, she eventually saw firsthand, so to speak, the hand of the God to whom she would devote herself. Even as she fulfilled a woman’s “appointed” domestic role and duties as wife and mother, Bradstreet realized her individual voice and vision through the poetry she wrote from her childhood on. Her poetic ambitions appear through the complex poetic forms in which she wrote, including rhymed discourses and “Quaternions,” or four-part poems focusing on four topics of fours: the four elements, the four humors, the four ages of man, and the four seasons. Her ambitions show also in the poets whose work she emulated or learned from, poets including Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586), Edmund Spenser (1552–1599), and John Donne (1572–1631).
Image 2.6 | “The Tenth Muse”
Author | Anne Bradstreet
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
Her ambition may not have been to publish her work. It was due to another male relative, her brother-in-law John Woodbridge (1613–1696), that her manuscript of poems was published. He brought the manuscript with him to London where it was published in 1651 as The Tenth Muse Lately Spring Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts. The first book of poetry published by an American, it gained strong notice in England and Europe.
Image 2.7 | Etching of a House from The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse
Artist | Unknown
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
These poems use allusion and erudition to characterize Bradstreet’s unique, “womanly” voice. Poems later added to this book, some after her death, augment this voice through their simplicity and their attention to the concrete details of daily life. With personal lyricism, these poems give voice to Bradstreet’s meditations on God and God’s trials—such as her own illness, the burning of her house, and the deaths of grandchildren—as well as God’s gifts, such as marital love.
2.7.1 “The Prologue”
To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun,
For my mean pen are too superior things:
Or how they all, or each their dates have run
Let Poets and Historians set these forth,
My obscure Lines shall not so dim their worth.
But when my wondring eyes and envious heart
Great Bartas sugar’d lines, do but read o’re
Fool I do grudge the Muses did not part
‘Twixt him and me that overfluent store,
A Bartas can, do what a Bartas will
But simple I according to my skill.
From school-boyes tongue no rhet’rick we expect
Nor yet a sweet Consort from broken strings,
Nor perfect beauty, where’s a main defect:
My foolish, broken blemish’d Muse so sings
And this to mend, alas, no Art is able,
‘Cause nature, made it so irreparable.
Nor can I, like that fluent sweet-tongu’d Greek,
Who lisp’d at first, in future times speak plain
By Art he gladly found what he did seek
A full requital of his, striving pain
Art can do much, but this maxime’s most sure
A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits.
A Poets pen all scorn I should thus wrong.
For such despite they cast on Female wits:
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,
They’l say it’s stoln, or else it was by chance.
But sure the Antique Greeks were far more mild,
Else of our Sexe why feigned they those Nine
And poesy made, Calliope’s own child;
So ‘mongst the rest they placed the Arts Divine:
But this weak knot, they will full soon untie,
The Greeks did nought, but play the fools & lye.
Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are.
Men have precedency, and still excell.
It is but vain unjustly to wage warre,
Men can do best, and women know it well
Preheminence in all and each is yours;
Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours.
And oh ye high flown quills that soar the Skies,
And ever with your prey still catch your praise,
If e’re you daigne these lowly lines your eyes
Give Thyme or Parsley wreath; I ask no bayes,
This mean and unrefined ore of mine
Will make you glistring gold, but more to shine:
2.7.2 “The Author to Her Book”
Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did’st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise then true
Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view,
Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudg,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg)
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht thy joynts to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find
In this array, ‘mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam
In Criticks hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy Mother she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.
2.7.3 “To My Dear and Loving Husband”
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee,
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more then whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold,
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Sometime now past in the Autumnal Tide,
When Phœbus wanted but one hour to bed,
The trees all richly clad, yet void of pride,
Were gilded o’re by his rich golden head.
Their leaves & fruits seem’d painted, but was true
Of green, of red, of yellow, mixed hew,
Rapt were my sences at this delectable view.
I wist not what to wish, yet sure thought I,
If so much excellence abide below,
How excellent is he that dwells on high?
Whose power and beauty by his works we know.
Sure he is goodness, wisdome, glory, light,
That hath this under world so richly dight:
More Heaven then Earth was here, no winter & no night.
Then on a stately Oak I cast mine Eye,
Whose ruffling top the Clouds seem’d to aspire.
How long since thou wast in thine Infancy?
Thy strength, and stature, more thy years admire,
Hath hundred winters past since thou wast born,
Or thousand since thou brakest thy shell of horn,
If so, all these as nought, Eternity doth scorn.
Then higher on the glistering Sun I gaz’d,
Whose beams was shaded by the leavie Tree.
The more I look’d, the more I grew amaz’d
And softly said, what glory’s like to thee?
Soul of this world, this Universes Eye,
No wonder, some made thee a Deity:
Had I not better known, (alas) the same had I.
Thou as a Bridegroom from thy Chamber rushes
And as a strong man, joyes to run a race,
The morn doth usher thee, with smiles & blushes.
The Earth reflects her glances in thy face.
Birds, insects, Animals with Vegative,
Thy heart from death and dulness doth revive;
And in the darksome womb of fruitful nature dive.
Thy swift Annual, and diurnal Course,
Thy daily streight, and yearly oblique path,
Thy pleasing fervor, and thy scorching force,
All mortals here the feeling knowledg hath
Thy presence makes it day, thy absence night,
Quaternal Seasons caused by thy might:
Hail Creature, full of sweetness, beauty & delight.
Art thou so full of glory, that no Eye
Hath strength, thy shining Rayes once to behold?
And is thy splendid Throne erect so high?
As to approach it, can no earthly mould.
How full of glory then must thy Creator be?
Who gave this bright light luster unto thee:
Admir’d, ador’d for ever, be that Majesty.
Silent alone, where none or saw, or heard,
In pathless paths I lead my wandring feet,
My humble Eyes to lofty Skyes I rear’d
To sing some Song, my mazed Muse thought meet.
My great Creator I would magnifie,
That nature had, thus decked liberally:
But Ah, and Ah, again, my imbecility!
I heard the merry grasshopper then sing,
The black clad Cricket, bear a second part,
They kept one tune, and played on the same string,
Seeming to glory in their little Art.
Shall Creatures abject, thus their voices raise?
And in their kind resound their makers praise:
Whilst I as mute, can warble forth no higher layes.
When present times look back to Ages past,
And men in being fancy those are dead,
It makes things gone perpetually to last
And calls back moneths and years that long since fled
It makes a man more aged in conceit,
Then was Methuselah or’s grand-sire great:
While of their persons & their acts his mind doth treat.
Sometimes in Eden fair, he seems to be,
Sees glorious Adam there made Lord of all,
Fancies the Apple, dangle on the Tree,
That turn’d his Sovereign to a naked thral.
Who like a miscreant’s driven from that place,
To get his bread with pain, and sweat of face:
A penalty impos’d on his backsliding Race.
Here sits our Grandame in retired place,
And in her lap, her bloody Cain new born,
The weeping Imp oft looks her in the face,
Bewails his unknown hap, and fate forlorn;
His Mother sighs, to think of Paradise,
And how she lost her bliss, to be more wise,
Believing him that was, and is, Father of lyes.
Here Cain and Abel come to sacrifice,
Fruits of the Earth; and Fatlings each do bring,
On Abels gift the fire descends from Skies,
But no such sign on false Cain’s offering;
With sullen hateful looks he goes his wayes,
Hath thousand thoughts to end his brothers dayes,
Upon whose blood his future good he hopes to raise.
There Abel keeps his sheep, no ill he thinks,
His brother comes, then acts his fratricide,
The Virgin Earth of blood her first draught drinks
But since that time she often hath been cloy’d;
The wretch with gastly face and dreadful mind,
Thinks each he sees will serve him in his kind,
Though none on Earth but kindred near then could he find.
Who fancyes not his looks now at the Barr,
His face like death, his heart with horror fraught,
Nor Male-factor ever felt like warr,
When deep dispair, with wish of life hath fought,
Branded with guilt, and crusht with treble woes,
A Vagabond to Land of Nod he goes,
A City builds, that walls might him secure from foes.
Who thinks not oft upon the Father’s ages.
Their long descent how nephews sons they saw,
The starry observations of those Sages,
And how their precepts to their sons were law,
How Adam sighed to see his Progeny,
Cloath’d all in his black, sinfull Livery,
Who neither guilt, not yet the punishment could fly.
Our Life compare we with their length of dayes
Who to the tenth of theirs doth now arrive?
And though thus short, we shorten many wayes,
Living so little while we are alive;
In eating, drinking, sleeping, vain delight
So unawares comes on perpetual night,
And puts all pleasures vain unto eternal flight.
When I behold the heavens as in their prime
And then the earth (though old) still clad in green,
The stones and trees, insensible of time,
Nor age nor wrinkle on their front are seen;
If winter come and greeness then do fade,
A Spring returns, and they more youthfull made,
But Man grows old, lies down, remains where once he’s laid.
By birth more noble then those creatures all,
Yet seems by nature and by custome curs’d,
No sooner born, but grief and care makes fall
That state obliterate he had at first:
Nor youth, nor strength, nor wisdom spring again,
Nor habitations long their names retain,
But in oblivion to the final day remain.
Shall I then praise the heavens the trees, the earth
Because their beauty and their strength last longer
Shall I wish there, or never to had birth,
Because they’re bigger, & their bodyes stronger?
Nay, they shall darken, perish, fade and dye,
And when unmade, so ever shall they lye.
But man was made for endless immortality.
Under the cooling shadow of a stately Elm
Close sate I by a goodly Rivers side,
Where gliding streams the Rocks did overwhelm;
A lonely place, with pleasures dignifi’d.
I once that lov’d the shady woods so well,
Now thought the rivers did the trees excel,
And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.
While on the stealing stream I fixt mine eye
Which to the long’d for Ocean held its course,
I markt, nor crooks, nor rubs that there did lye
Could hinder ought, but still augment its force.
O happy Flood, quoth I, that holds thy race
Till thou arrive at thy beloved place,
Nor is it rocks or shoals that can obstruct thy pace.
Nor is’t enough, that thou alone may’st slide,
But hundred brooks in thy cleer waves do meet,
So hand in hand along with thee they glide
To Thetis house, where all imbrace and greet:
Thou Emblem true, of what I count the best,
O could I lead my Rivolets to rest,
So may we press to that vast mansion, ever blest.
Ye Fish which in this liquid Region ‘bide
That for each season, have your habitation,
Now salt, now fresh where you think best to glide
To unknown coasts to give a visitation,
In Lakes and ponds, you leave your numerous fry,
So nature taught and yet you know not why,
You watry folk that know not your felicity.
Look how the wantons frisk to tast the air,
Then to the colder bottome streight they dive,
Eftsoon to Neptun’s glassie Hall repair
To see what trade they great ones there do drive,
Who forrage o’re the spacious sea-green field
And take the trembling prey before it yield,
Whose armour is their scales, their spreading fins their shield.
While musing thus with contemplation fed,
And thousand fancies buzzing in my brain,
The sweet-tongu’d Philomel percht o’re my head,
And chanted forth a most melodious strain
Which rapt me so with wonder and delight,
I judg’s my hearing better then my sight,
And wisht me wings with her a while to take my flight.
O merry Bird (said I) that fears no snares,
That neither toyls nor hoards up in thy barn,
Feels no sad thoughts, nor cruciating cares
To gain more good, or shun what might thee harm
Thy cloaths ne’re wear, thy meat is everywhere,
Thy bed a bough, thy drink the water cleer,
Reminds not what is past, nor whats to come dost fear.
The dawning morn with songs thou dost prevent,
Sets hundred notes unto thy feathered crew,
So each one tunes his pretty instrument,
And warbling out the old, begin anew,
And thus they pass their youth in summer season,
Then follow thee into a better Region,
Where winter’s never felt by that sweet airy legion.
Man at the best a creature frail and vain,
In knowledg ignorant, in strength but weak,
Subject to sorrows, losses, sickness, pain,
Each storm his state, his mind, his body break.
From some of these he never finds cessation,
But day or night, within, without, vexation,
Troubles from foes, from friends, from dearest, near’st Relation.
And yet this sinfull creature, frail and vain,
This lump of wretchedness, of sin and sorrow,
This weather-beaten vessel wrackt with pain,
Joyes not in hope of an eternal morrow.
Nor all his losses, crosses, and vexation,
In weight, in frequency and long duration
Can make him deeply groan for that divine Translation.
The Mariner that on smooth waves doth glide,
Sings merrily, and steers his Barque with ease,
As if he had command of wind and tide,
And now becomes great Master of the seas;
But suddenly a storm spoiles all the sport.
And makes him long for a more quiet port.
Which ‘gainst all adverse winds may serve for fort.
So he that faileth in this world of pleasure,
Feeding on sweets, that never bit of th’ sowre,
That’s full of friends, of honour and of treasure,
Fond fool, he takes this earth ev’n for heav’ns bower.
But sad affliction comes & makes him see
Here’s neither honour, wealth, nor safety.
Only above is found all with security.
O Time the fatal wrack of mortal things,
That draws oblivions curtains over kings,
Their sumptuous monuments, men know them not;
Their names without a Record are forgot.
Their parts, their ports, their pomp’s all laid in th’ dust
Nor wit nor gold, nor buildings scape times rust,
But he whose name is grav’d in the white stone
Shall last and shine when all of these are gone.
2.7.5 “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House”
In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow neer I did not look,
I waken’d was with thundring nois
And Piteous shreiks of dreadfull voice.
That fearfull sound of fire and fire,
Let no man know is my Desire.
I, starting up, the light did spye,
And to my God my heart did cry
To strengthen me in my Distresse
And not to leave me succourlesse.
Then coming out beheld a space,
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And, when I could no longer look,
I blest his Name that gave and took,
That layd my goods now in the dust:
Yea so it was, and so ’twas just.
It was his own: it was not mine;
far be it that I should repine.
He might of All justly bereft,
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruines oft I pasft,
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast,
And here and there the places spye
Where oft I fate, and long did lye.
Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest;
There lay that store I counted best:
My pleasant things in ashes lye,
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sitt,
Nor at thy Table eat a bitt.
No pleasant tale shall ’ere be told,
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle ’ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom’s voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lye;
Adeiu, Adeiu; All’s vanity.
Then streight I ’gin my heart to chide,
And did thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the skye
That dunghill mists away may flie.
Thou haft an house on high erect,
Fram’d by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished,
Stands permanent tho: this bee fled.
’Its purchased, and paid for too
By him who hath enough to doe.
A Prise so vast as is unknown,
Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own.
Ther’s wealth enough, I need no more;
Farewell my Pelf, farewell my Store.
The world no longer let me Love,
My hope and Treasure lyes Above.
2.7.6 “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet”
Farewel dear babe, my hearts too much content,
Farewel sweet babe, the pleasure of mine eye,
Farewel fair flower that for a space was lent,
Then ta’en away unto Eternity.
Blest babe why should I once bewail thy fate,
Or sigh the dayes so soon were terminate;
Sith thou art setled in an Everlasting state.
By nature Trees do rot when they are grown,
And Plumbs and Apples throughly ripe do fall,
And Corn and grass are in their season mown,
And time brings down what is both strong and tall.
But plants new set to be eradicate,
And buds new blown to have so short a date,
Is by his hand alone that guides nature and fate.
2.7.7 “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Anne Bradstreet”
With troubled heart & trembling hand I write,
The Heavens have chang’d to sorrow my delight.
How oft with disappointment have I met,
When I on fading things my hopes have set?
Experience might ‘fore this have made me wise,
To value things according to their price:
Was ever stable joy yet found below?
Or perfect bliss without mixture of woe.
I knew she was but as a withering flour,
That’s here to day perhaps gone in an hour;
Like as a bubble, or the brittle glass,
Or like a shadow turning as it was.
More fool then I to look on that was lent,
As if mine own, when thus impermanent.
Farewel dear child, thou ne re shall come to me,
But yet a while and I shall go to thee.
Mean time my throbbing heart’s chear’d up with this
Thou with thy Saviour art in endless bliss.
2.7.8 “On My Dear Grandchild Simon Bradstreet”
No sooner come, but gone, and fal’n asleep,
Acquaintance short, yet parting caus’d us weep.
Three flours, two scarcely blown, the last i’th’ bud,
Cropt by th’ Almighties hand; yet is he good,
With dreadful awe before him let’s be mute,
Such was his will, but why, let’s not dispute,
With humble hearts and mouths put in the dust,
Let’s say he’s merciful as well as just.
He will return, and make up all our losses,
And smile again, after our bitter crosses.
Go pretty babe go rest with Sisters twain
Among the blest in endless joyes remain.
2.7.9 Reading and Review Questions
- In “The Prologue,” what are her “inherent defects” to which Bradstreet brings attention? Why does she do so? Does the poem as a whole bear out these “defects” as actual defects? To what degree, if any, do these defects reflect Bradstreet’s sense of her gender and her religion?
- Why do you think Bradstreet essentially records her knowledge of literature and the classics in “The Prologue?”
- In “The Author to Her Book,” what conventional maternal behaviors does Bradstreet apply to her book? Why? Why does she make an especial note of her “offspring” not having a father?
- In “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” what conventions and tropes often used in the sonnet form does Bradstreet use? What, if anything, is unconventional in her using them? Why?
- How does Bradstreet console herself for such losses and suffering as the deaths of her grandchildren and the burning of her house? How, if at all, does her religious faith support her as a woman?
2.8 MICHAEL WIGGLESWORTH
Michael Wigglesworth’s parents, Edward and Esther Wigglesworth, brought him with them when they emigrated to the American colonies in 1683. Wigglesworth was educated in America, first at home under the tutelage of Ezekiel Cheever (1514–1708), then at Harvard. In 1652, he earned his MA from Harvard and remained there as lecturer.
Image 2.4 | First Edition of The Day of Doom
Author | Michael Wigglesworth
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
After his graduation, Wigglesworth also began preaching; he ultimately became an ordained minister at Malden, Massachusetts in 1656. Chronic illness curtailed his ministry activities, ministry that he nevertheless maintained through his writing. His The Day of Doom: Or, A Description of the Great and Last Judgment, with a Short Discourse about Eternity (1662) is a didactic religious poem, exhorting his parishioners to adhere to true Puritan doctrines and ideals. Its publication coincided with the controversy over church membership, later resolved in what became known as the Half-Way Covenant, allowing church membership without conversion testimony. The Covenant intended to bring colonists to the fervid faith held by first-generation settlers. This historical context may help explain the purpose of Wigglesworth’s work.
Its effectiveness as a didactic piece appears in its extraordinary popularity (selling over 1,800 copies) and its being used to teach children Puritan theology. Its 224 eight-line stanzas—all with striking details and often terrifying images— arrest the attention of wandering minds and souls threatening to fall into sins of omission and commission, souls that may repent too late before the inevitable judgment day. Its stanzaic lines alternate between eight and six syllables; with internal rhymes in the eight-syllable lines, and end rhymes in alternating pairs of the six-syllable lines. Through its artistry and style combined with substance, through its sweetness and light, The Day of Doom fulfills poetry’s highest purpose (according to Sir Phillip Sidney) in encouraging right living.
2.8.1 The Day of DoomOr, A Description of the Great and Last Judgment
Still was the night, serene and bright,
when all men sleeping lay;
Calm was the season, & car [. . .] l reason
thought so ‘twould last [. . .] or ay.
Soul take thine ease, let sorrow cease,
much good thou hast in store;
This was their song their cups among
the evening before.
Wallowing in all kind of sin,
vile wretches lay secure,
The best of men had scarcely then
their Lamps kept in good ure.
Virgins unwise, who through disguise
amongst the best were number’d,
Had clos’d their eyes; yea, and the Wise
through sloth and frailty slumber’d.
Like as of old, when men grew bold
Gods threatnings to contemn,
(Who stopt their ear, and would not hear
when mercy warned them?
But took their course, without remorse,
till God began to pour
Destruction the world upon,
in a tempestuous show [. . .]
They put away the evil day
and drown’d their cares and fears,
Till drown’d were they, and swept away
by vengeance unawares:
So at the last, whilest men sleep fast
in their security,
Surpriz’d they are in such a snare
as cometh suddenly.
For at midnight broke forth a light,
which turn’d the night to day:
And speedily an hideous cry
did all the world dismay.
Sinners awake, their hearts do ake,
trembling their loyns surprizeth;
Am [. . .] z’d with fear, by what they hear,
each one of them ariseth.
They rush from beds with giddy heads,
and to their windows run,
Viewing this Light, which shines more bright
than doth the noon-day Sun.
Straightway appears (they see’t with [. . .] ears)
the Son of God most dread,
Who with his train comes on amain
to judge both Quick and Dead.
Before his face the Heavens give place,
and Skies are rent asunder,
With mighty voice and hideous noise,
more terrible then Thunder.
His brightness damps Heav’ns glorious l [. . .] mps,
and makes them hide their heads:
As if afraid, and quite dismaid,
they quit their won [. . .] ed steads.
Ye sons of men that durst contemn
the threatnings of Gods word,
How cheer you now? your hearts (I trow)
are thrill’d as with a sword.
Now Atheist blind, whose bru [. . .] ish min [. . .]
a God could never see,
Dost thou perceive, dost now believe
that Christ thy Judge shall be [. . .]
Stout courages (whose hardiness
could death and hell out-face)
Are you as bold now you behold
your Judge draw near apace?
They cry, No, no: alas and wo [. . .]
our courage all is gone:
Our hardiness, ( [. . .]ool-hardiness)
hath us undone, undone.
No heart so b [. . .]ld but now grows cold,
and almost dead with fear:
No eye so dry but now can cry,
and pour out many a tear.
Earths Po [. . .] entates and pow’rful States,
Captains and men of Might
Are qui [. . .] e abasht, their courage dasht.
At this most dreadful sight.
Mean men lament, great men do r [. . .] nt
their robes and tear their hair:
They do not spare their flesh to tear
through horrible despair.
All kindreds wail, their hearts do fail:
horrour the world doth fill
Wi [. . .] weeping eyes, and loud out-cries,
yet knows not how to kill.
Some hide themselves in Caves and Delves,
and pl [. . .] ces under ground:
Some rashly leap into the deep,
to, scape by being drown’d:
Some to the Rocks, (O sensless blocks)
and woody Mountains run,
T [. . .] a [. . .] there they might this fearful [. . .] ight
and dreaded Presence shun.
In v [. . .] in do they to Mountains say,
Fall on us, and us hide
From Judges i [. . .] e, more hot then fire,
For who may it abide?
No hiding place can from his face
sinners at all conceal,
Whose flaming eye hid things doth spy,
and darkest things reveal.
The Judge draws nigh, exalted high
upon a lofty Throne,
Amids the throng of Angels strong,
LIKE Israel’s [. . .] oly One.
The excellence of whose Presence,
and awful Majesty,
Am [. . .] zeth Nature, and every Crea [. . .] ure
doth more then terrifie.
The Mountains smo [. . .] k, the Hills are shook,
the Earth is rent and torn,
As if she should be clean dissolv’d,
or from her Cen [. . .] re born.
The Sea doth roar, forsakes the sho [. . .] e,
and shrinks away for fear:
The wild beasts flee into the Sea
so soon as he draws nea [. . .].
Whose glory bright, whose wond [. . .] ous might,
whose Power Imperial,
So far surpass what ever was
in Realms Terrestrial;
That tongues of men (nor Angels pen)
cannot the same express:
And the [. . .] efore I must pass it by,
lest speaking should transgress.
Before his throne a Trump is blown,
proclaiming th’ day of Doom:
Forthwith he c [. . .] ies, Ye dead arise,
and unto Judgement come.
No sooner said, but ‘tis obey’d;
Sepulch [. . .] es open’d are;
Dead bodies all [. . .] ise at his call,
and’s mig [. . .] y power declare.
Both s [. . .] a and land at his command,
their dead at once surrender:
The fire and air constrained are
also [. . .] heir de [. . .] d to [. . .] ender.
The mighty wo [. . .] d of [. . .] his great Lord
links body and soul toge [. . .] her,
Both of the just and the unjust,
to part no more for ever.
The same translates from mortal states
[. . .] o imm [. . .] tality,
All that survive, and be alive,
i’th’ twinkling of an eye.
That so they may abide for ay
to endless weal or woe;
Both the Renate and Reprobate
are made to dye no moe.
His winged Hosts fly through all Coasts,
Both good and bad, both quick and dead,
and all to Judgement bring.
Out of their holes these creeping Moles,
that hid themselves for fear,
By force they take, and quickly make
before the Judge appear.
Thus every one before the Throne
of Christ the Judge is brought,
Both righteous and impious,
that good or ill had wrought.
A sepa [. . .] ation, and diff’ring station
by Christ appointed is
To sinners sad (‘ [. . .] wixt good and bad,)
‘ [. . .] wixt Heirs of woe, and bliss.
At Christ’s right hand the sheep do st [. . .] nd,
his Holy Martyrs who
For his dear Name, suffering shame,
calamity, and woe,
Like Champions stood, and with their blood
their Testimony sealed;
Whose innocence, without off [. . .] nce
to Christ their Judge appealed.
Next unto whom there find a room,
all Christs [. . .] fflicted one [. . .],
Who being chastis’d, neither despis’d,
nor sank amidsts their g [. . .] oans:
Who by the Rod were turn’d to God,
and loved him the more,
N [. . .] murmuring nor quarrelling [. . .]
when they were chast’ned sore.
Moreover such as loved much,
that had not such a trial,
As might constrain to so great pain,
and such deep sel [. . .]-denial;
Yet ready were the Cross to bear,
when Christ them call’d thereto,
And did rejoyce to hear his voice,
they’r counted Sheep also.
Christ’s flock of Lambs there also stands,
whose Faith was weak, yet true;
All sound Believers (Gospel-receivers)
whose grace was small, but grew.
And them among an infant throng
of Babes, for whom Christ dy’d;
Whom [. . .] or his own, by ways unknown.
to men, he sanctify’d.
All stand before their Saviour
in long white Robes [. . .] clad,
Their countenance [. . .] ull of pleasance,
appearing wondrous glad.
O glorious sight I behold how bright
dust heaps are made to shine,
Conformed so their Lord unto,
whose glory is divine.
At Christs left hand the Goats do stand,
all whining Hypocrites,
Who for self-ends did seem Christ’s friends,
but fost’red guileful sprites:
Who Sheep resembled, but they dissembled
(their heart was not sincere)
Who once did throng Christ’s Lambs among;
but now must not come near.
Apostata’s, and Run-away’s,
such as have Christ forsaken,
(Of whom the the Devil, with seven more evil,
hath fresh possession taken:
Sinners in grain, reserv’d to pain
and torments most severe)
Because ‘gainst light they sinn’d with spight,
are also placed there.
There also stand a num’rous band,
that no profession made
Of Godliness, nor to redress
their wayes at all assay’d:
Who better knew, but (sin [. . .] ul Crew [. . .])
Gospel and Law despised;
Who all Christ’s knocks withstood like blocks,
and would not be advised.
Moreover there with them appear
a number numberless
Of great and small, vile wretches all,
that did Gods Law transgress:
Idolaters, false Worshippers, Prophaners of Gods Name,
Who not at all thereon did call,
or took in vain the same.
Blasphemers lewd, and Swearers shrewd,
Scoffers at Purity,
That hated God, contemn’d his Rod,
and lov’d security.
Sabbath-polluters, Saints Persecuters,
Presumptuous men, and Proud,
Who never lov’d those that reprov’d;
all stand amongst this crowd.
Adulterers and Whoremongers
were there, with all unchast.
There Covetou [. . .] , and Ravenous,
that Riches got too fast:
Who us’d vile ways themselves to raise
t’ Estates and worldly wealth,
Oppression by, or Knavery,
by Force, or Fraud, or Stealth.
Moreover, there together were
Children fl [. . .] gitious,
And Parents who did them undo
by nature vicious.
False-witness-bearers, and self-forswearers,
Murd’rers and men of blood,
Witches, Inchanters, and Alehouse-haunters,
beyond account there stood.
Their place there find all Heathen blind,
that Natures light abused,
Although they had no tidings glad
of Gospel-grace re [. . .] used.
There stand all Nations and Generations
of Adam’s Progeny,
Whom Christ redeem’d not, who Christ esteem’d not
Who no Peace-maker, no Undertaker
to shrowd them from God’s ire
Ever obtained; they must be pained
with everlasting fire.
These num’rous bands, wringing their hands,
and weeping, all stand there,
Filled with anguish, whose hearts do languish
through self-tormenting fear.
Fast by them stand at Christ’s left hand
the Lion fierce and fell,
The Dragon bold, that Serpent old
that hurried Souls to Hell.
There also stand, under command,
Legions of Sprights unclean.
And hellish Fiends that are no friends
to God, nor unto men.
With dismal chains and strong reins,
like prisoners of Hell,
They’r held in place before Christ’s face,
till he their Doom shall tell.
These void of tears, but fill’d with fears,
and dreadful expectation
Of endless pains, and scalding flames,
stand waiting for Damnation.
All silence kept, both Goats and Sheep,
before the Judges Throne:
With mild aspect to his Elect
then spake the Holy One:
My Sheep draw near, your sentence hear,
which is to you no dread,
Who clearly now discern, and know
your sins are pardoned.
‘Twas meet that ye should judged be,
that so the world may ‘spy
No cause of grudge, when as I judge
and deal impartially,
Know therefore all both great and small,
the ground and reason why
These men do stand at my right hand,
and look so chearfully.
These men be those my Father chose
before the world’s foundation,
And to me gave that I should save
from death and condemnation.
For whose dear sake I flesh did take,
was of a woman born,
And did inure my self t’endure
unjust reproach and scorn.
For them it was that I did pass
through sorrows many a one:
That I drank up that bitter Cup,
which made me sigh and groan.
The Cross his pain I did sustain;
yea more, my Fathers ire
I under-went, my bloud I spent
to save them from Hell fire.
Thus I esteem’d, thus I redeem’d
all these from every Nation,
that they might be (as now you see)
a chosen Generation.
What if ere-while they were as vile
and bad as any be,
[. . .] nd yet from all their guilt and thrall
at once I set them free?
My grace to one is wrong to none:
none can Election claim.
Amongst all those their souls that lose,
none can Rejection blame.
He that may chuse, or else refuse,
all men to save or spill,
May this man chuse, and that refuse,
redeeming whom he will.
But as for those whom I have chose
Salvations heirs to be,
I u [. . .] derwent their punishment,
and therefore set them free.
I bore their grief, and their relief
by suffering procur’d,
That they of bliss and happiness
[. . .] ight firmly be assur’d.
And this my g [. . .] ace they did embrace,
believing on my name;
Which Faith was true, the fruits do shew
proceeding from the same.
Their Penitence, their Patience,
their Love, their Self-den [. . .] al;
In suffering losses and bearing crosses,
when put upon the trial:
Their sin forsaking, their cheerful taking
my yoke; their chari [. . .] ee
Unto the Saints in all their wants,
and in them unto me.
These things do clear, and make appear
their Faith to be unfeigned:
And that a part in my desert
and purchase they have gained.
Their debts are paid, their peace is made,
their sins remitted are;
Therefore at once I do pronounce
and openly declare,
That Heaven is theirs, that they be Heir [. . .]
of Life and of Salvation;
Nor ever shall they come at all
to death or to damnation.
Come, blessed ones, and sit on Thrones,
judging the world with me:
Come, and possess your happiness,
and bought [. . .] elicitee.
Henceforth no fears, no care, no tears,
no sin shal you annoy,
Nor any thing that grief doth bring;
eternal rest enjoy.
You bore the Cross, you suffered loss
of all [. . .] or my Names sake:
Receive the Crown that’s now your own;
come, and a kingdom take.
Thus spake the Judge: the wicked grudge,
and grind their teeth in vain;
They see with groans these plac’d on throne [. . .]
which addeth to their pain:
That those whom they did wrong and slay,
must now their judgement see!
Such whom they sleighted and once de [. . .] spighte [. . .]
must of their Judges be!
Thus ‘tis decreed, such is their meed and guerdon glorious:
With Christ they sit, judging it fit
to plague the impious.
The wicked are brought to the Bar
like guilty malefactors,
That oftentimes of bloody crimes
and treasons have been actors.
Of wicked men none are so mean
as there to be neglected:
Nor none so high in dignity,
as there to be respected.
The glorious Judge will priviledge
nor Emperour nor King:
But every one that hath misdone
doth into judgement bring;
And every one that hath misdone,
the Judge impartially
Condemneth to eternal wo,
and endless misery.
Thus one and all, thus great and small,
the rich as well as poor,
And those of place, as the most base,
do stand their Judge before:
They are arraign’d, and there detain’d
before Christ’s judgement seat
With trembling fear their Doom to hear,
and feel his angers heat.
There Christ demands at all their hands
a strict and straight account
Of all things done under the Sun;
who [. . .] e numbers far surmount
Man’s wit and thought: yet all are brought
unto this solemn trial;
And each offence with evidence,
so that there’s no denial.
There’s no excuses for their abuse [. . .]
since their own consciences
More proof give in of each man’s sin;
then thousand witnesses.
Though formerly this faculty
had grosly been abused,
(Men could it stifle, or with it trifle,
whenas it them accused.)
Now it comes in, and every si [. . .]
unto mans charge doth lay:
It judgeth them, and doth condemn,
though all the world say nay.
It so stingeth and tortureth,
it worketh such di [. . .] tress,
That each mans self against himself
is forced to confess.
It’s vain, moreover, for men to cover
the least iniquity;
The Judge hath seen and privy been
to all their villany.
He unto light and open sight
the works of darkness b [. . .] ings:
He doth unfold both new and old,
both known and hidden things.
All filthy facts and secret acts,
however closely done
And long conceal’d, are there reveal’d.
before the mid-day Sun.
Deeds of the night shunning the light,
which darkest corners sought,
To fearful blame and endless shame,
are there most justly brought.
And as all facts and grosser acts,
so every word and thought,
Erroneous notion and lust [. . .] ul motion,
are into judg [. . .] ment brought.
No sin so small and trivial,
but hi [. . .] her it must come:
[. . .] or so long past, but now at last
it must receive a doom.
[. . .] t this sad season Christ asks a reason
(with just austerity)
Of Grace refus’d, of Light abus’d
so oft, so wilfully:
O [. . .] Talents lent, by them-mispent,
and on their lusts bestown;
Which if improv’d as it behoov’d,
Heaven might have been their own.
Of time neglected, of meanes rejected,
of God’s long-suffering,
And patience, to penitence
that sought hard hearts to bring.
Why cords of love did nothing move
to shame or to remorse?
Why warnings grave, and councels have
nought chang’d their sinful course?
Why chastenings and evil [. . .] hings,
why judgments so severe
Prevailed not with them a jo [. . .],
nor wrought an awful fear?
Why promises of holiness,
and new obedience,
[. . .] hey oft did make, but always break
the [. . .] ame to Gods offence?
Why, still Hell-ward, without regard,
the boldly ventured,
And chose Damnation before Salvation
when it was offered?
Why sinful pleasures and earthly treasures,
like fools they prized more
Then heavenly wealth, eternal health,
and all Christs Royal store?
Why, when he stood off’ring his Bloud
to wash them from their sin,
They would embrace no saving Grace,
but liv’d and di’d therein?
Such aggravations, where no evasions
nor false pretences hold,
Exagerate and cumulate
guilt more then can be told:
They multiply and magnifie
mens gross iniquities;
They draw down wrath (as Scripture saith)
out of God’s treasuries [. . .]
Thu [. . .] all their ways Christ open lays
to Men and Angels view,
And, as they were, makes them appear
in their own proper hue.
Thus he doth find of all ma [. . .] kind
that stand at his left hand
No mothers son but hath misdone,
and broken God’s command.
All have transgrest, even the best,
and merited God’s wrath
[. . .] nto their own perdition,
and everlasting scath.
Earth’s dwellers all both great and small,
have wrought iniquity,
And suffer must (for it is just)
Amongst the many there come not any
before the Judge’s face,
That able are themselves to clear,
of all this curled race.
Nevertheless they all express,
Christ granting liberty,
What for their way they have to say,
how they have liv’d, and why.
They all draw near, and seek to clear
themselves by making plea’s.
There hypocrites, false-hearted wights,
do make such pleas as these.
Lord, in thy Name, and by the same
we Devils dispossest:
We rais’d the dead, and ministred
succour to the distrest.
Our painful preaching and pow’rful teaching,
by thine own wond’rous might,
Did throughly win from God to sin
many a wretched wight.
All this (quoth he) may granted be [. . .]
and your case little better’d,
Who still remain under a chain,
and many irons fetter’d.
You that the dead have quickened,
and rescu’d from the grave,
Your selves were dead, yet never ned
a Christ your Souls to save.
You that could preach, and others teach
wh [. . .] t way to life doth lead;
Why were you slack to find that track,
and in that way to tread?
How could you bear to see or hear
of others freed at last
From Satans Paws, whilst in his jaws
your selves were held more fa [. . .] t?
Who though you kne [. . .] Repentance true
and faith in my great Name,
The only mean to quit you clean
from punishment and blame,
Yet took no pain true faith to gain,
(such as might not deceive)
Nor would repent wi [. . .] h true intent
[. . .] our evil deeds to leave.
[. . .] is Masters will how to fulfil
[. . .] he servant that well knew,
[. . .] et left undone his duty known,
more plagues to him are due.
[. . .] ou against Light perverted Right;
[. . .] herefore it shall be now
[. . .] or Sidon and for Sodom’s Land
[. . .] ore easie then for you.
[. . .] ut we have in thy presence bin,
say some, and eaten there.
[. . .] id we not eat thy flesh for meat,
and feed on heavenly cheer?
Whereon who feed shall never need,
as thou thy self dost say,
[. . .] or shall they die eternally,
but live with thee for ay.
We may alledge, thou gav’st a pledge
of thy dea [. . .] love to us
[. . .] Wine and B [. . .] e [. . .] d, [. . .] hich figured
[. . .] hy grace bestowed thus.
Of streng [. . .] hning seals, of s [. . .] eetest meals
have we so oft partaken?
[. . .] nd shall we be cast off by thee,
and utterly forsaken?
[. . .] whom the Lord thu [. . .] in a word
[. . .] eturns a short reply:
I never k [. . .] ew any of you
that wrought iniquity.
You say y’ have bin, my Presence in;
bu [. . .] , f [. . .] iends, how came you there
Wi [. . .] h Raiment vile, that did defile
and quite disgrace my cheer?
Durst you draw near without due fear
unto my holy Table?
Du [. . .] st you prophane and render vain
so far as you were able,
Those Mysteries? which whoso prize
and carefully improve,
Shall saved be undoubtedly,
and nothing shall them move.
How du [. . .] st you venture, bold guests, to enter
in such a [. . .] ordid hi [. . .] e,
Amongst my guests, unto those feasts
that were not made for you?
How durst you eat for spir’tual meat
your bane, and drink damnation,
Whilst by your guile you rendred vile
so rare and great salvation?
Your fancies fed on heav’nly bread;
your hearts fed on some lust:
You lov’d the Creature more then th’Creator
your soules clave to the dust.
And think you by hypocrisie
and cloaked wickedness,
To enter in, laden with sin,
to lasting happiness.
This your excuse shews your abuse
of things ordain’d for good;
And do declare you guilty are
of my dear Flesh and Bloud.
Wherefore those Seals and precious Meals
you put so much upon
As things divine, they seal and sign
you to perdition.
Then forth issue another Crew,
(those being silenced)
Who drawing nigh to the most High
adventure thus to plead:
We sinners were, say they, ‘tis clear,
But did not we rely on thee,
O Christ, for whole Salvation?
We did believe, and of receive
thy gracious Promises:
We took great care to get a share
in endless happiness:
We pray’d and wept, we Fast-days kept,
lewd ways we did eschew:
We joyful were thy Word to h [. . .] ar,
we fo [. . .] m’d our lives anew.
We thought our sin had pardon’d bi [. . .],
that our estate was good,
Our debts all paid, [. . .] ur peace well made,
our Souls wash [. . .] wi [. . .] h [. . .] hy B [. . .] oud.
Lord, why dost thou rej [. . .] ct us now,
who have not thee rejected,
Nor utterly true sanctity
and holy li [. . .] e neglected?
The Judge ince [. . .] sed at their pretenced
With such a look as trembling strook
into them, made reply;
O impudent, impeni [. . .] ent,
and guile [. . .] ul generation!
Think you that I cannot descry
your hearts abomination?
You not receiv’d, nor yet believ [. . .] d
my promises of grace;
Nor were you wise enough to prize
my reconciled face:
But did presume, that to assume
which was not yours to take,
And challenged the childrens bread,
yet would not sin forsake.
B [. . .] ing too bold you laid fast hold
where int’ [. . .] est you had none,
Your selves deceiving by your believing;
all which you might have known.
You [. . .] an away (but ran astray)
with Gospel promises,
And perished, being still dead
in sins and trespasse [. . .].
How oft did I hypocrisie
and hearts deceits unmask
Before your sight, giving you ligh [. . .]
to know a Christians task?
But you held fast unto the last
your own conceits so vain:
No warning could prevail, you would
your own deceits re [. . .] ain.
As for your care to get a share
in bliss, the fear of Hell,
And of a part in endless smart,
did thereunto compel.
Your holiness and ways redress,
such as it was, did spring
From no true love to things above,
but from some other thing.
You pray’d and wept, you Fast-days kept,
but did you this to me?
No, but for [. . .] n you sought to win
the greater liberte [. . .].
For all your vaunts, you had vile haunt’s;
for which your consciences
Did you alarm, whose voice to charm
you us’d these practises.
Your penitence, your diligence
to read, to pray, to hear,
Were but to drown the clam’rous sound
of conscience in your ea [. . .]
If light you lov’d, vain-glory mov’d
your selves therewith to store,
Th [. . .] t seeming wise, men might you prize,
and honour you the more.
Thus from your selves unto your selves
your duties all do tend:
And as self-love the wheels do move,
so in self-love they end.
Thus Ch [. . .] ist detects their vain projects,
and close impiety,
And plainly shews that all their shows
were but hypocrisie.
Then were brought nigh a company
of [. . .] ivil honest men,
That lov’d true dealing, and hated stealing,
[. . .] e wrong’d their brethren:
Who pleaded thus, Thou knowest us
that we were blamele [. . .] s livers;
No whore-mongers, no murderers,
no quarrellers nor strivers.
Church-robbers we were none;
Nor false dealers, nor couzeners,
but paid each man his own.
Our way was fair, our dealing square,
we were no wastful spenders,
No lewd toss-pots, no drunken sots,
no scandalous offenders.
We hated vice, and set great price
by vertuous conversation:
And by the same we got a name,
and no small commendation.
God’s Laws express that righteousness
is that which he doth prize;
And to obey, as he doth say,
is more then sacrifice.
Thus to obey, hath been our way;
let our good deeds, we pray,
Find some regard, and good rewa [. . .] d
with thee, O Lord, this day.
And whereas we transgressors be;
of Adam’s Race were n [. . .] ne,
(No not the best) but have confes [. . .]
themselves to h [. . .] ve mis [. . .] one.
Then answered, un [. . .] o their dread,
the Judge, True piety
God doth desire, and eke requi [. . .] e
no less then honesty.
Justice demands at all your hands
If but in part you have come sh [. . .],
that is a just offence.
On earth below where men did owe
a thousand pounds and more,
Could twenty pence it recompence?
could that have clear’d the score?
Think you to buy felicity
with part of what’s due debt?
O [. . .] for desert of one small part
the whole should off be set?
And yet that part (whose great desert
you think to reach so far
For your excuse) doth you accuse,
and will your boasting mar.
However fair, however square
your way, and work h [. . .] th bin
Before mens eyes, yet God espies
God looks upon th’ [. . .] ff [. . .] ction
and temper of the heart;
Not only on the action,
and the external part.
Whatever end vain men pretend,
God knows the v [. . .] ri [. . .] y [. . .]
And by the end which they intend
their words and deeds doth try.
Without true faith, the Scripture saith,
God cannot take delight
In any deed, that doth proceed
from any si [. . .] ful wight.
And withou [. . .] love all actions prove
but barren empty things:
Dead works they be, and vanity,
the which vexation brings.
Nor from true faith, which quencheth wrath
hath your obedience flown:
Nor from true love, which wont to move
believers, hath it grown.
Your argument shews your intent
in all that you have done:
You thought to [. . .] cale heavens lofty wall,
by ladders o [. . .] your own.
Your blinded spirit, hoping to merit
by your own righteousness,
Needed no Saviour, but your b [. . .] haviour
and blameless ca [. . .] riages [. . .]
You trusted to what you could do,
and in no need you stood:
Your haughty pride laid me aside,
and trampled on my Bloud.
All men have gone astray, and done
that which God’s Law [. . .] condemn:
But my Purchase and offered Grace
all men did not contemn.
The Ninevites and Sodomites
had no such sin as this:
Yet as if all your sins were small,
you say, All did amiss.
Again, you thought, and mainly sought
a name with men t’ acquire:
Pride bare the B [. . .] ll that made you swell,
and your own selves admire.
M [. . .] an frui [. . .] it is, and vile, I wis,
that sp [. . .] ings from such a root:
Vertue divine and genuine
wants not from pride to shoor.
Such deeds as you are worse then poo [. . .],
they are but sins guilt over
With silver dross, whose glistering gloss
[. . .] an them no longer cover.
The best of them would you condemn,
and [. . .] uine you alone,
Al [. . .] hough you were from faults so clear,
that other you had none.
Your gold is dross, you [. . .] silver brass,
your righteousness is sin:
And think you by such honesty
Eternall life to win?
You much mistake, if for it’s sake
you dream of acceptation;
Whereas the same deserveth shame,
and meriteth damnation.
A wond’rous Crowd then ‘gan aloud
thus for themselves to say;
We did intend, Lord to mend,
and to reform our way:
Ou [. . .] true intent was to repent,
and make our peace with thee;
But sudden death stopping our breath,
left us no libertee.
Short was our time; for in his prime
our youthful flow’r was cropt:
We dy’d in youth, before full growth;
so was our purpose stopt.
Let our good will to turne from ill,
and sin to have forsaken,
Accepted be O Lord, by thee,
and in good part be taken.
To whom the Judg; Where you alledge
the shortness of the space
That from your bi [. . .] th you liv’d on earth,
to compass S [. . .] ving Grace:
It was free-grace, that any space
wa [. . .] given you at all
To turn from evil, defie the Devil,
and upon God to call.
One day, one week, wherein to seek
Gods face with all your hearts,
A favour was that far did pass
the best of your deserts.
You had a season; what was your Reason
such preciou [. . .] hours to waste?
What could you find, what could you mind
that was of greater haste?
Could you find time for vain pastime?
for loose licentious mirth?
For fruitless toys, and fading joyes
that perish in the birth?
Had you good leisure for Carnal pleasure
in days of health and youth?
And yet no space to seek Gods face,
and turn to him in truth?
In younger years, beyond your fears,
what if you were surprised?
You put away the evil day,
and of long life devised.
You oft were told, and might behold,
that Death no age would spare.
Why then did you your time foreslow,
and slight your Souls welfare?
H [. . .] d your intent been to Repent,
and had you it desir’d,
There would have been endeavours seen
before your time expir’d.
God makes no [. . .] reasure nor hath he pleasure
in idle purpo [. . .] es:
Such fair pretences are foul offences,
and cloaks for wickedness.
Then were brought in and charg’d with sin
another Compa [. . .] y,
Who by Petition obtain’d permission
to make apology:
They argued; We were mis-led,
as is well known to thee,
By their Example, that had more ample
abilities than we.
Such as profest we did detest
and hate each wicked way:
Whose seeming grace whil’st we did trace,
our Souls were led astray.
When men of Parts, Learning and Arts,
Did thus and thus, it seem’d to us
we might take liberty.
The Judge Replies; I gave you eyes,
a [. . .] d light to see your way:
Which had you lov’d and well improv’d
you had not gone astray.
My Word was pure, the Rule was sure;
why did you it forsake,
Or thereon trample, and men’s Example
your Directory make?
This you well know, that God is true,
and that most men are liars,
In word professing holiness,
in deed thereof deniers [. . .]
O simple [. . .] ools! that having Rules
your lives to Regulate,
Would them refuse, and rather chuse
vile men to imitate.
But Lord, say they, we we [. . .] astray,
and did more wickedly,
By means of those whom thou hast chose
Salvations Heirs to be.
To whom the Judge; What you alledge
doth nothing help the case,
But makes appear how vile you were,
and rend’reth you more ba [. . .] e.
You understood that what was good
was to be [. . .] ollowed,
And that you ought that which was nought
to have relinquished.
Contrariwise, it was your guise,
only to imitate
Good mens defects, and their neglects
that were Regenerate.
But to express their holiness,
or imitate their Grace,
Yet little ca [. . .] ‘d, not once prepar’d
your hearts to seek my face.
They did Repent, and truly Rent
their hearts for all known sin:
You did Offend, but not Amend,
to follow them therein.
We had thy Word, (said some) O Lord,
but wiser men then wee
Could never yet interpret it,
but always disagree.
How could we fools be led by Rules
so far beyond our ken,
Which to explain, did so much pain
and puzzle wisest men?
Was all my Word obscure and hard?
the Judge then answered:
It did contain much Truth so plain,
you might have run and read.
But what was hard you never car’d
to know, nor studied:
And things that were most plain and clear,
you never practised.
The Mystery of Pie [. . .] y
God unto Babes reveals;
When to the wise he it denies,
and from the world co [. . .] ceals.
If [. . .] o fulfill Gods holy will
had seemed good to you,
You would have sought light as you ought,
and done the good y [. . .] u knew.
Then came in view ano [. . .] her Crew,
and ‘gan to make their plea’s;
Amongst the rest, some of the best
had such poor [. . .] hifts as these:
Thou know’st right well, who all canst tell,
we liv’d amongst thy foes,
Who the Renate did sorely hate,
and goodness much oppose.
We Holiness durst not profess,
fearing to be forlorn
Of all our friends, and for amends
to be the wicked’s scorn.
We knew thei [. . .] anger would much endanger
our lives and our estates:
Therefore for fear we durst appear
no better than our mates.
To whom the Lord returns this word;
O wonderful deceits!
To cast off aw of Gods strict Law,
and fear mens wrath and th [. . .] eats!
To fear Hell-fire and Gods fierce ire
less then the rage of men!
As if Gods wrath could do less scath
than wrath of bretheren!
To use such strife to temp’ral life
to rescue and secure!
And be so b [. . .] ind as not to mind
that life that will endure!
This was you [. . .] case, who carnal peace
more then [. . .] ue joyes did savour:
Who fed on dus [. . .] , clave to your lust,
and spurned at my [. . .] avour.
To please your kin, mens loves to win,
to flow in wo [. . .] ldly wealth,
To save your skin, these things have bin
more than Eternal health.
You had your choice, wherein rejoyce,
it was your portion,
For which you chose your Souls t’ expose
Who did not hate friends, life, and state,
with all things else for me,
And all forsake, and’s Cross up take,
shall never happy be.
Well worthy they do die for ay,
who death then life had rather:
Death is their due that so value
the friendship of my Father.
Others argue, and not a few,
is not God gracious?
His Equity and Clemency
are they not marvellous?
Thus we believ’d; are we deceiv’d?
cannot his Mercy great,
(As hath been told to us of old)
asswage his anger’s heat?
How can it be that God should see
his Creatures endless pain?
O [. . .] hear their groans or ruefull moanes,
and still his wrath retain?
Can it agree with equitee?
can Mercy have the heart,
To Recompence few years offence
with Everlasting smart?
Can God delight in such a sight
as sinners Misery?
Or what great good can this our bloud
bring unto the most High?
Oh thou that dost thy Glory most
in pard’ning sin display!
Lord! might it please thee to release,
and pardon us this day?
Unto thy Name more glorious fame
would not such Mercy bring?
Would it not raise thine endless praise,
more than our suffering?
With that they cease, holding their peace,
but cease not still to weep;
Griefe ministers a flood to tears,
in which their words do steep:
But all too late; Grief’s out of date
when Life is at an end.
The glorious King thus answering,
all to his voice attend:
God gracious is, quoth he, like his
no Mercy can be found;
His Equity and Clemency
to sinners do abound.
As may appear by those that here
are plac’d at my right hand;
Whose stripes I bore and clear’d the score
that they might quitted stand.
For surely none but God alone,
whose Grace transcends man’s thought,
For such as those that were his foes
like wonders would have wrought.
And none but he such lenitee
and patience would have shown
To you so long, who did him wrong,
and pull’d his judgements down.
How long a space (O stiff-neck’t Race!)
did patience you afford?
How oft did love you gently move
to turn unto the Lord?
With cords of Love God often strove
your stubborn hearts to tame:
Nevertheless, your wickedness
did still resist the same.
If now at last Mercy be past
from you for evermore,
And Justice come in Mercies room,
yet grudge you no [. . .] therefore.
If into wrath God tu [. . .] ed hath
his Long-long [. . .] uffe [. . .] ing,
And now for Love you Vengeance prove,
it is an equal thing.
Your waxing worse, hath stopt the course
of wonted Clemency:
Mercy refus’d, and Grace misus’d,
call for severity.
It’s now high time that every Crime
be brought to punishment:
VVrath long contain’d, and oft refrain’d,
at last must have a vent.
Justice [. . .] evere cannot fo [. . .] bear
to plague sin any longer;
But must inflict with hand mo [. . .] t strict
mischief upon the wronger.
In vain do they for Mercy pray,
the season being past,
Who had no care to get a share
therein, while time did last.
The men whose ear refus’d to hear
the voice of Wisdom’s cry,
Earn’d this reward, that none regard
him in his misery.
It doth agree with Equitee,
and with God’s holy Law,
That those should dy eternally,
that death upon them draw.
The Soul that sin’s damnation win’s;
for so the Law ordains:
Which Law is just [. . .] and therefore must
such suffer endless pains.
Etern [. . .] l smart is the desert
ev’n of the least offence;
Then wonder not if I allot
to you this Recompence:
But wonder more that, since so sore
and lasting plagues are due
To every sin, you liv’d therein,
who well the danger knew.
God hath no joy to crush or ‘stroy,
and ruine wretched wights:
But to display the glorious ray
of Justice he delights.
To manifest he doth detest
and throughly hate all sin,
By plaguing it, as is most fit,
this shall him glory win.
Then at the Bar arraigned are
an impudenter sort,
Who to evade the guilt that’s laid
upon them, thus retort;
How could we cease thus to transgress?
how could we Hell avoid,
Whom God’s Decree shut out from thee,
and sign’d to be destroy’d?
Whom God ordains to endless pains
by Laws unalterable,
Repentance true, Obedience new,
to save such are unable:
Sorrow for sin no good can win
to such as are rejected;
Ne can they give, not yet believe
that never were elected.
Of man’s faln Race who can true Grace
or Holiness obtain?
Who can convert or change his heart,
if God with-hold the same?
Had we apply’d our selves, and tri’d
as much as who did most
Gods love to gain, our busie pain
and labour had been lost.
Christ readily makes this reply;
I damn you not because
You are rejected, or not elected;
but you have broke my Laws.
It is but vain your wits to strain
the E [. . .] d and Me [. . .] ns to sever:
Men fondly seek to dart or break
what God hath link’d together.
Whom God will save, such he will have
the means of life to use:
Whom he’l pass by, shall chuse to di [. . .],
and ways of life refuse.
He that fore-sees and fore-decrees,
in wisdom order’d has,
That man’s free-will electing ill
shall bring his Will to pass.
High God’s Decree, as it is free,
so doth it none compel
Against their will to good or ill;
i [. . .] forceth none to Hell.
They have their wish whose Souls perish
with torments in Hell-fire:
Who rather chose their souls to lose,
then leave a loose desire.
God did ordain sinners to pain;
and I to hell send none,
But such as swe [. . .] v’d, and have deserv’d
destruction as their own.
His pleasure is, that none fr [. . .] ss
and endless happiness
Be barr’d, but such as wrong [. . .] much
by wilful wickedness.
You (sinful crew!) no other knew
but you might be elect:
Why did you then your selves condemn?
why did you me reject?
Where was your strife to gain that life
which lasteth evermore?
You never knock’t, yet say God lock’t
against you heavens door.
‘Twas no vain task to knock, to ask,
whilst life continued.
Who ever sought Heav’n as he ought,
and seeking perished?
The lowly-meek who truly seek
for Christ and for salvation,
There’s no Decree whereby such be
ordain’d to condemnation.
You argue then; But abject men,
whom God resolves to spill,
Cannot repent, nor their hearts rent;
ne can they change their will.
Not for his Can is any man
adjudged unto hell:
But for his Will [. . .] to do what’s ill,
and nilling to do well.
I often stood tend’ring my Bloud
to wash away your guilt:
And eke my Sprite to frame you right,
lest your souls should be spilt.
But you, vile race, rejected Grace
when Grace was freely proffer’d:
No changed heart, no heav’nly part
would you, when it was offer’d.
Who wilfully the remedy
of Grace and Life contemned,
Cause have the same themselves to blame,
if now they be co [. . .] demned.
You have your selves, you and none else,
your selves have done to die:
You chose the way to your decay,
and perish’d wilfully.
These words apale and daunt them all;
dismai’d, and all amort,
Like stocks they stand at Christs left hand,
and dare no more retort.
Then were brought near, with trembling fear
a number numberless
Of blind Heathen and b [. . .] utish men,
that did Gods Law transgress.
Whose wicked ways, Christ open lays,
and makes their sins appear,
They making plea’s the case to ease,
if not themselves to clear.
Thy written word (say they) good Lord
we never did enjoy:
We not refus’d nor it abus’d,
Oh do not us destroy.
You ne’r abus’d nor yet refus’d
my written Word, you plead;
That’s t [. . .] ue, (quoth he) therefore shall ye
the less be punished.
You shall not smart for any part
of other mens offence,
But for your own transgression
receive due recompence.
But we were blind, say [. . .] hey, in mind;
too dim was natures light,
Our only guide (as hath been try [. . .] d)
to bring us to the sight
Of our estate degenerate,
and cu [. . .] st by Adam’s fall;
How we were born and lay forlorn
in bondage and in th [. . .] all.
We did not know a Christ till now,
nor bow fal [. . .] man he saved:
Else should we not, right well we wo [. . .] ,
have so our selves behaved.
We should have mourn’d, we should have turn’d
from sin at thy reproof,
And been more wise through thine advice
for our own Souls behoof.
But natures light shin’d not so bright
to teach us the right way:
We might have lov’d it, & well improv’d it,
and yet have gone astray.
The Judge most high makes this reply;
you ignorance pretend,
Dimness of sight, and want of light
your course Heav’n-ward to bend:
How came your mind to be so blind?
I once you knowledge gave,
Clearness of sight, and judgement right;
who did the same deprave?
If to your cost you have it lost,
and quite defac’d the same;
Your own desert hath caus’d your smart,
you ought not me to blame.
Your selves into a pit of wo
your own transgressions led:
If I to none my grace had shown,
who had been injured?
If to a few, and not to you,
I shew’d a way of life,
My Grace so free, you clearly see,
gives you no ground of strife.
‘Tis [. . .] ain to tell, you wot full well,
if you in time had known
Your Misery and Remedy,
your actions had it shown.
You, sinful crew, have not been true
unto the light of Nature;
No [. . .] done the good you understood,
nor owned your Creator.
He that the Light, because ‘tis Light,
hath used to despize,
Would not the Light, shining more bright,
be likely for to prize.
If you had lov’d and well improv’d
your knowledge and dim sight,
Herein your pain had not been vain,
your plagues had been more light.
Then to the Bar all they drew near
who dy’d in infancy,
And never had or good or bad
But from the womb unto the tomb
were straightway carried,
(Or at the least, ere they transgrest)
who thus began to plead.
If for our own transgression,
We here did stand at thy left hand,
j [. . .] st were the recompence:
But Adam’s guilt our souls hath spilt,
his fault is charg’d upon us;
And that alone hath overthrown,
and utterly undone us.
Not we, but he, a [. . .] e of the Tree,
whose fruit was interdicted:
Yet on us all of his sad fall
the punishment’s inflicted.
How could we sin who had not bin?
or how is his sin our
Without consent, which to prevent
we never had a pow’r?
O great Creator, why was our nature
depraved and forlorn?
Why so defil’d, and made so vild
Whilst we were yet unborn?
If it be just, and needs we must
transgressors reckon’d be,
Thy mercy, Lord, to us afford,
which sinners hath set free.
Behold, we see Adam [. . .] et free,
and sav’d from his tre [. . .] pass,
Whose sinful fall hath split us all,
and brought us to this pass.
Canst thou deny us once to try,
or grace to us to tender,
When he finds grace before thy face,
that was the chief offender?
Then answered the Judge most dread;
God doth such doom forbid,
T [. . .] at men should die eternally
for what they never did.
But what you call old Adam’s Fall,
and only his Trespass,
You call amiss to call it his:
both his and yours it was.
He was design’d of all mankind
to be a publick Head,
A common Root whence all should shoot,
and stood in all their stead:
He stood and fell, did ill or well,
not for himself alone,
But for you all, who now his Fall
and trespass would disown.
If he had stood, then all his brood
had been established
In Gods true love, never to move,
nor once awry to tread:
Then all his Race my Fathers Grace
should have enjoy’d for ever,
And wicked Sprights by subtil sleights
could them have harmed never.
Would you have griev’d to have receiv’d
through Adam so much good,
As had been your for evermore,
if he at first had stood?
Would you have said, We ne’r obey’d
nor did thy Laws regard;
It ill befits with benefits
us, Lord, so to reward?
Since then to share in his welfare
you could have been content,
You may with reason share in his treason,
and in the punishment.
Hence you were born in state forlorn,
with natures so dep [. . .] aved:
Death was your due, because that you
had thus your selves behaved.
You think if we had been as he,
whom God did so betrust,
all for a paltry lust.
Had you been made in Adam’s stead,
you would like things have wrought;
And so into the self-same wo
your selves and yours have brought.
I may deny you once to try,
or Grace to you to tender,
Though he finds grace be [. . .] ore my face
who was the chief offender:
Else should my Grace cease to be Grace,
for it should not be free,
If to release whom
I shall please I have not libertee.
I [. . .] upon one what’s due to none
I frankly shall bestow,
And on the rest shall not think best
compassions skirt to throw,
Whom injure I? will you envy,
and grudge at others weal?
Or me accuse, who do refuse
your selves to help and heal?
Am I alone of what’s my own
no Master or [. . .] o Lord?
Or if I am, how can you claim
w [. . .] at I to some afford?
Will you demand G [. . .] ace at my hand,
and challenge what is mine?
Will you teach me whom to set free,
and thus my Grace confine?
You sinners are, and such a share
as sinners may expect,
Such you shall have, for I do save
none but mine own Elect.
Yet to compare your sin with their
who liv’d a longer time,
I do confess yours is much less,
though ev’ry sin’s a crime:
A crime it is: therefore in bliss
you may not hope to dwell:
But unto you I shall allow
the easiest room in hell.
The glorious King thus answering,
they cease and plead no longer:
Their consciences must needs confess
his Reasons are the stronger.
Thus all mens plea’s the Judge with ease
doth answer and confute,
Until that all both great and small,
are silenced and mute.
Vain hopes are cropt, all mouths are stopt,
sinners have nought to say,
But that ‘tis just, and equal most
they should be damn’d for ay.
Now what remains, but that to pains
and everlasting smart
Christ should condemn the sons of men,
which is their just desert?
Oh ru [. . .] ul plights of sinful wights!
Oh wretches all forlorn!
That happy been they ne’r had seen
the Sun, or not been born.
Yea, now it would be good they could [. . .]
And cease to be, themselves to free
from such a fearful state.
Oh happy Dogs, and Swine, and Frogs!
yea, Serpents generation!
Who do not fear this doom to hear,
and sentence of D [. . .] mnation!
This is their state so de [. . .] perate:
their sins are fully known;
Their vani [. . .] ies and villanies
Before the world are shown.
As they are gross and impious,
so are their numbers more
Then motes i’ th’ air, or then their hair,
or sands upon the shore.
Divine Justice offended is,
a [. . .] d Satisfaction claime [. . .] h:
Gods wrathful ire kindled like fire
against them fiercely flameth.
Their Judge severe doth quite cashire
and all their Pleas off take,
That never a man, or dare, or can
a further Answer make.
Their mouthes are shut, each man i [. . .] put
to silence and to shame:
Nor have they ought within their thought
Christs Justice for to blame;
The Judge is just, and plague them must,
nor will he mercy shew
(For Mercy’s day is past away)
to any of this Crew.
The Judge is strong; doers of wrong
cannot his Power withstand:
None can by flight run out of sight,
nor scape out of his hand.
Sad is their sta [. . .] e; for Advocate
to plead their Cause there’s none:
None to prevent their punishment,
or misery to bemo [. . .] e.
O dismal day! whither shall they
for help or succour flee?
To God above, with hopes to move
their greatest Enemee?
His wrath is g [. . .] eat, whose burning heat
to flood of Tears can [. . .] lake:
His word stands fast, that they be cast
into the burning Lake.
To Chr [. . .] st their Judge? he doth adjudge
them to the Pit of Sorrow:
Nor will he hear or cry, or tear,
nor respite them on morrow.
To Heav’n? Alas they cannot pass,
it is against them shut:
To enter there (O heavy chear!)
they out of hopes are put.
U [. . .] to their Treasures, or to their Pleasures?
all these have been forsaken:
Had they full Coffers to make large offers,
their Gold would not be taken.
Unto the place where whilome was
their birth and education?
Lo! Christ begins for their great sins
to fire the Earths foundation:
And by and by the flaming Sky
shall drop like moulten Lead
About their ears, t’ increase their fears
and aggravate their dread.
To Angels good that ever stood
in their integrity,
Should they betake themselves, and make
their suit incessantly?
They neither skill, nor do they will
to work them any ease:
They will not mourn to see them burn,
nor beg for their release.
To wicked men, their brethren
in sin and wickedness,
Should they make mone? their case is one;
they’re in the same distress.
Ah, cold comfort, and mean support
from such like Comforters!
Ah, little joy of Company,
Such shall increase their hearts disease,
and add unto their wo,
Because that they brought to decay
themselves and many moe.
Unto the Saints with sad complaints.
should they themselves apply?
They’re not dejected nor ought affected
with all their misery.
Friends stand aloof, and make no proof
what Prayers or Tears can do:
Your godly friends are now more friends
to Christ then unto you.
Where tender love mens hearts did move
unto a sympathy,
And bearing part of others smart
in their anxiety;
Now such compassion is out of fashion,
and wholly laid aside:
No friend so near, but Saints to hear
their judgement can abide.
One natural Brother beholds another
in this astonied fit,
Yet sorrows not thereat a jot,
nor pities him a whit.
The godly wife conceives no grief,
nor can she shed a tear
For the sad state of her dear Mate,
when she his doom doth hear.
He that was erst a Husband pierc’t
with sense of Wives distress,
Whose tender heart did bear a part
of all her grievances,
Shall mourn no more as heretofore
because of her ill plight;
Although he see her now to be
a damn’d forsaken wight.
The tender Mother will own no other
of all her numerous brood,
But such as stand at Christs right hand
acquitted through his Blood.
The pious Father had now much rather
his graceless Son should lye
In Hell with Devils, for all his evils
Then God most High should injury
by sparing him sustain;
And doth rejoyce to hear Christs voice
adjudging him to pain.
Who having all (both great and small)
convinc’t and silenced,
Did then proceed their Doom to read,
and thus it uttered;
Ye [. . .] inful wights, and cursed sprights,
that work Iniquity,
Depart together from me for ever
to endless Misery.
Your portion take in that sad Lake
where Fire and Brimstone flameth:
Suffer the smart, which your desert
as its du [. . .] wages claimeth.
Oh pierceing words more sharp then Swords!
what, to depart from Thee,
Whose face before for evermore
the best of Pleasures be!
What! to depart (unto our smart)
from thee Eternally!
To be for ay banish’t away
with Devils company!
What! to be sent to Punishment,
and flames of Burning Fire!
To be surrounded, and eke confounded
with God’s Revengeful Ire!
What! to abide, not for a tide,
these Torments, but for Ever!
To be released, or to be eased,
not after years, but Never!
Oh, fearful Doom! now there’s no room
for hope, or help at all:
Sentence is past which ay shall last,
Christ will not it recall.
There might you hear them rent and tear
the Air with their out-c [. . .] ies:
The hideous noise of their sad voice
ascendeth to the skies.
They wring their hands, their caitiff-hands,
and gnash their teeth for terrour:
They cry, they rore for anguish sore,
and gnaw their tongues for horrour.
But get away without delay;
Christ pities not your cry:
Depart to Hell [. . .] there may you yell
and roar Eternally.
That word Depart, maugre their heart;
drives every wicked one,
With mighty pow’r, the self-same hour
far from the Judges throne.
Away they’re cast by the strong blast
of his Death-threatning mouth:
They [. . .] lee full fast, as if in hast;
although they be full loath.
As chaff that’s dry, and dust doth fly
before the Northern wind:
Right so are they chased away,
and can no Refuge find.
They hasten to the Pit of wo,
guarded by Angels stout:
Who to fulfil Christ’s holy will
attend this wicked Rout.
Whom having brought, as they are taught
unto the brink of Hell
(That dismal place far from Christ’s face,
where Death and Darkness dwell:
Where God’s fierce ire kindleth the fire,
and Vengeance feeds the flame
With piles of wood, and brimstone flood,
that none can quench the same.)
With Iron bands they bind their hands
and cursed feet together,
And cast them all, both great and small,
into that Lake for ever.
Where day and night, without respite,
they wail, and cry, and howl
For tor’ [. . .] ring pain, which they sustain
in Body and in Soul.
For day and night, in their despight,
their torments smoak ascendeth:
Their pain and grief have no relief,
their anguish never endeth.
There must they lye, and never dye;
though dying every day:
There must they dying ever lye;
and not consume away.
Dye fain they would, if dye they cou [. . .]
but death will not be had [. . .]
Gods dire [. . .] ul wrath their bodies hath
for ev’r Immortal made.
They live to lie in misery.
and bear eternal wo:
And live they must whil’st God is just,
that he may plague them so.
But who can tell the plagues of Hell,
and torments exquisite?
Who can relate their dismal state,
and terrours infinite?
Who fare the best, and feel the least,
yet feel that Punishment
Whereby to nought they should be brought,
if God did not prevent.
The least degree of misery
there felt’s incomparable,
The lightest pain they there sustain
more then intollerable.
But Gods great pow’r from hour to hour
upholds them in the fire,
That they shall not consume a jot,
nor by its force expire.
But ah, the wo they u [. . .] dergo
(they more then all beside)
Who had the light, and knew the right,
yet would not it abide!
The sev’ [. . .] -fold smart, which to their part
and portion doth fall,
Who Christ his Grace would not embrace,
nor hearken to his call!
The Amorites and Sodomites,
although their plagues be sore,
Yet find some ease, compar’d to these,
who feel a great deal more.
Almighty God, whose Iron Rod
to smite them never [. . .] ins,
Doth most declare his Justice rare
in plaguing these mens [. . .] ins.
The pain of loss their souls doth toss
[. . .] nd wond’rously distress,
To think what they have cast away
by wilful wickedness.
We might have been redeem’d from si [. . .],
think they, and liv’d above,
Being possest of heav’nly rest,
and joying in Gods love.
But wo, wo, wo our souls unto!
we would not happy be;
And therefore bear Gods vengeance here
to all Eternitee.
Experience and woful sence
must be our painful teachers,
Who [. . .] ‘ ould believe, nor credit give
unto our faithful Preachers.
Thus shall they lie, and wail, and cry,
tormented, and tormenting
Their galled hearts with poyson’d darts;
but now too late repenting.
There let them dwell i’ th’ flames of hell,
there leave we them to burn,
And back agen unto the men
whom Christ acquits return.
The Saints behold with courage bold,
and tha [. . .] kful wonderment,
To see all those that were their foes
thus sent to punishment:
Then do they sing unto their King
a song of endless praise [. . .]
They praise his Name, and do proclaim,
that just are all his ways.
Thus with great joy and melody
to Heav’n they all ascend,
Him there to praise with sweetest layes,
And Hymns that never end.
Where with long Rest they shall be blest,
and nought shall them annoy:
Where they shall see as seen they be,
and whom they love, enjoy.
O glorious Place! where face to face
Jehovah may be seen,
By such as were sinners whilere,
and no dark vail between.
Where the Sun-shine, and Light divine,
of Gods bright Countenance
Doth rest upon them every one
with sweetest influence.
O blessed state of the Renate!
O Wond’rous Happiness
To which they’r brought, beyond what thought
can reach, or words express!
Grief’s water-course, and Sorrow’s sourse
are turn’d to joyful streams.
Their old distress and heaviness
a [. . .] e vanished like dreams.
For God above in arms of love
doth dearly them embrace,
And fills their sprights with such delights
and pleasures in his grace;
As shall not fail, nor yet grow stale
through frequency of use:
Nor do they fear Gods Favour there
to forfeit by abuse.
For there the Saints are perfect Saints,
and holy ones indeed,
From [. . .] ll the sin, that dwelt within
their mortal bodies, freed:
Made Kings and Priests to God, through Christs
dear loves transcendency,
There to remain, and there to reign
with him Eternally.
2.8.2 Reading and Review Questions
- Who are the sinners whom Wigglesworth identifies in The Day of Doom? How do you know?
- How does Wigglesworth characterize God’s approaching judgment of the sinner? Why?
- What knowledge of the Puritan faith and the Elect does this poem offer? How? To what effect? How, if at all, does he make his “message” palatable to his readers?
- Against what possible failures in Puritan’s faith does Wigglesworth caution? Why?
- Who does Wigglesworth believe can hope for God’s mercy? Why?
2.9 MARY ROWLANDSON
Mary Rowlandson (née White) was born in Somersetshire, England around 1637. Two years later, her family joined the Puritan migration to America and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They then lived in Salem, Massachusetts, before moving to Lancaster, a frontier settlement comprising of fifty families and six garrisons. In 1656, she married Joseph Rowlandson (1631–1678) who became an ordained minister. They had four children, one of whom died in infancy.
Image 2.9 | Illustration of Mary Rowlandson from A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
Artist | Coverly/Rowlandson
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
In 1676, Lancaster was attacked in the ongoing conflict now known as King Philip’s War (1675–1678). Metacomet (1638–1676), called King Philip by the Puritans, was chief of the Wampanoags. His father, Massasoit (1580–1661), signed a treaty with the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621. By 1675, white settlers were pushing Native Americans from their land to such a degree that Algonquian tribes formed a coalition and raided white settlements. Among these was Lancaster, where Rowlandson’s garrison was attacked and burned. She, along with twenty-three other survivors, was taken prisoner by the Native Americans.
Her captivity lasted eleven weeks and five days, during which time the Algonquians walked up to Chesterfield, New Hampshire and back to Princeton, Massachusetts. There, Rowlandson was ransomed for twenty pounds in goods. In 1677, her family— including the surviving children taken captive along with Rowlandson—moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut where Joseph Rowlandson had acquired a position as minister. He died in 1678; one year later, Rowlandson married Captain Samuel Talcott. She remained in Connecticut, where she died in 1711.
Image 2.10 | King Phillip or Metacom
Artist | S. G. Drake
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
Soon after her release from captivity and before her first husband died, Rowlandson began to write of her experiences with the Native Americans. Published in 1682, her memoir became immensely popular as a captivity narrative, a popular genre in the seventeenth century. These captivity narratives record stories of individuals who are captured by people considered as uncivilized enemies, opposed to a Puritan way of life. Much of their popularity stemmed from their testimony of the Puritan God’s providence. Rowlandson’s narrative adheres to Puritan covenantal obligations, alludes to pertinent Biblical exemplum, and finds God’s chastising and loving hand in her suffering and ultimate redemption. Her suffering includes fear, hunger, and witnessing the deaths of other captives. She describes the Native Americans as savage and hellish scourges of God. She acclaims the wonder of God’s power when these same Native Americans offer her food, help her find shelter, and provide her with a Bible. Her rhetorical strategies and the ambivalences and ambiguities in her account—particularly in regards to cultural assimilation, cross-cultural contact, and gender issues of social construction of identity, voice, and authority—contribute to its continuing popularity to this day.
2.9.1 From The Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson
The sovereignty and goodness of God, together with the faithfulness of his promises displayed, being a narrative of the captivity and restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, commended by her, to all that desires to know the Lord’s doings to, and dealings with her. Especially to her dear children and relations. The second Addition [sic] Corrected and amended. Written by her own hand for her private use, and now made public at the earnest desire of some friends, and for the benefit of the afflicted. Deut. 32.39. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me, I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, neither is there any can deliver out of my hand.
On the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven. There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive. There were two others, who being out of their garrison upon some occasion were set upon; one was knocked on the head, the other escaped; another there was who running along was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money (as they told me) but they would not hearken to him but knocked him in head, and stripped him naked, and split open his bowels. Another, seeing many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their fortification. Thus these murderous wretches went on, burning, and destroying before them.
At length they came and beset our own house, and quickly it was the dolefulest day that ever mine eyes saw. The house stood upon the edge of a hill; some of the Indians got behind the hill, others into the barn, and others behind anything that could shelter them; from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to fly like hail; and quickly they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third. About two hours (according to my observation, in that amazing time) they had been about the house before they prevailed to fire it (which they did with flax and hemp, which they brought out of the barn, and there being no defense about the house, only two flankers at two opposite corners and one of them not finished); they fired it once and one ventured out and quenched it, but they quickly fired it again, and that took. Now is the dreadful hour come, that I have often heard of (in time of war, as it was the case of others), but now mine eyes see it. Some in our house were fighting for their lives, others wallowing in their blood, the house on fire over our heads, and the bloody heathen ready to knock us on the head, if we stirred out. Now might we hear mothers and children crying out for themselves, and one another, “Lord, what shall we do?” Then I took my children (and one of my sisters’, hers) to go forth and leave the house: but as soon as we came to the door and appeared, the Indians shot so thick that the bullets rattled against the house, as if one had taken an handful of stones and threw them, so that we were fain to give back. We had six stout dogs belonging to our garrison, but none of them would stir, though another time, if any Indian had come to the door, they were ready to fly upon him and tear him down. The Lord hereby would make us the more acknowledge His hand, and to see that our help is always in Him. But out we must go, the fire increasing, and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. No sooner were we out of the house, but my brother-in-law (being before wounded, in defending the house, in or near the throat) fell down dead, whereat the Indians scornfully shouted, and hallowed, and were presently upon him, stripping off his clothes, the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as would seem) through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms. One of my elder sisters’ children, named William, had then his leg broken, which the Indians perceiving, they knocked him on [his] head. Thus were we butchered by those merciless heathen, standing amazed, with the blood running down to our heels. My eldest sister being yet in the house, and seeing those woeful sights, the infidels hauling mothers one way, and children another, and some wallowing in their blood: and her elder son telling her that her son William was dead, and myself was wounded, she said, “And Lord, let me die with them,” which was no sooner said, but she was struck with a bullet, and fell down dead over the threshold. I hope she is reaping the fruit of her good labors, being faithful to the service of God in her place. In her younger years she lay under much trouble upon spiritual accounts, till it pleased God to make that precious scripture take hold of her heart, “And he said unto me, my Grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12.9). More than twenty years after, I have heard her tell how sweet and comfortable that place was to her. But to return: the Indians laid hold of us, pulling me one way, and the children another, and said, “Come go along with us”; I told them they would kill me: they answered, if I were willing to go along with them, they would not hurt me.
Oh the doleful sight that now was to behold at this house! “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he has made in the earth.” Of thirty-seven persons who were in this one house, none escaped either present death, or a bitter captivity, save only one, who might say as he, “And I only am escaped alone to tell the News” (Job 1.15). There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, some knocked down with their hatchets. When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadful sights, and to see our dear friends, and relations lie bleeding out their heart-blood upon the ground. There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down. It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a company of hell-hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive.
I had often before this said that if the Indians should come, I should choose rather to be killed by them than taken alive, but when it came to the trial my mind changed; their glittering weapons so daunted my spirit, that I chose rather to go along with those (as I may say) ravenous beasts, than that moment to end my days; and that I may the better declare what happened to me during that grievous captivity, I shall particularly speak of the several removes we had up and down the wilderness.
The First Remove
Now away we must go with those barbarous creatures, with our bodies wounded and bleeding, and our hearts no less than our bodies. About a mile we went that night, up upon a hill within sight of the town, where they intended to lodge. There was hard by a vacant house (deserted by the English before, for fear of the Indians). I asked them whether I might not lodge in the house that night, to which they answered, “What, will you love English men still?” This was the dolefulest night that ever my eyes saw. Oh the roaring, and singing and dancing, and yelling of those black creatures in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell. And as miserable was the waste that was there made of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, calves, lambs, roasting pigs, and fowl (which they had plundered in the town), some roasting, some lying and burning, and some boiling to feed our merciless enemies; who were joyful enough, though we were disconsolate. To add to the dolefulness of the former day, and the dismalness of the present night, my thoughts ran upon my losses and sad bereaved condition. All was gone, my husband gone (at least separated from me, he being in the Bay; and to add to my grief, the Indians told me they would kill him as he came homeward), my children gone, my relations and friends gone, our house and home and all our comforts—within door and without—all was gone (except my life), and I knew not but the next moment that might go too. There remained nothing to me but one poor wounded babe, and it seemed at present worse than death that it was in such a pitiful condition, bespeaking compassion, and I had no refreshing for it, nor suitable things to revive it. Little do many think what is the savageness and brutishness of this barbarous enemy, Ay, even those that seem to profess more than others among them, when the English have fallen into their hands.
Those seven that were killed at Lancaster the summer before upon a Sabbath day, and the one that was afterward killed upon a weekday, were slain and mangled in a barbarous manner, by one-eyed John, and Marlborough’s Praying Indians, which Capt. Mosely brought to Boston, as the Indians told me.
The Second Remove
But now, the next morning, I must turn my back upon the town, and travel with them into the vast and desolate wilderness, I knew not whither. It is not my tongue, or pen, can express the sorrows of my heart, and bitterness of my spirit that I had at this departure: but God was with me in a wonderful manner, carrying me along, and bearing up my spirit, that it did not quite fail. One of the Indians carried my poor wounded babe upon a horse; it went moaning all along, “I shall die, I shall die.” I went on foot after it, with sorrow that cannot be expressed. At length I took it off the horse, and carried it in my arms till my strength failed, and I fell down with it. Then they set me upon a horse with my wounded child in my lap, and there being no furniture upon the horse’s back, as we were going down a steep hill we both fell over the horse’s head, at which they, like inhumane creatures, laughed, and rejoiced to see it, though I thought we should there have ended our days, as overcome with so many difficulties. But the Lord renewed my strength still, and carried me along, that I might see more of His power; yea, so much that I could never have thought of, had I not experienced it.
After this it quickly began to snow, and when night came on, they stopped, and now down I must sit in the snow, by a little fire, and a few boughs behind me, with my sick child in my lap; and calling much for water, being now (through the wound) fallen into a violent fever. My own wound also growing so stiff that I could scarce sit down or rise up; yet so it must be, that I must sit all this cold winter night upon the cold snowy ground, with my sick child in my arms, looking that every hour would be the last of its life; and having no Christian friend near me, either to comfort or help me. Oh, I may see the wonderful power of God, that my Spirit did not utterly sink under my affliction: still the Lord upheld me with His gracious and merciful spirit, and we were both alive to see the light of the next morning.
The Third Remove
The morning being come, they prepared to go on their way. One of the Indians got up upon a horse, and they set me up behind him, with my poor sick babe in my lap. A very wearisome and tedious day I had of it; what with my own wound, and my child’s being so exceeding sick, and in a lamentable condition with her wound. It may be easily judged what a poor feeble condition we were in, there being not the least crumb of refreshing that came within either of our mouths from Wednesday night to Saturday night, except only a little cold water. This day in the afternoon, about an hour by sun, we came to the place where they intended, viz. an Indian town, called Wenimesset, northward of Quabaug. When we were come, Oh the number of pagans (now merciless enemies) that there came about me, that I may say as David, “I had fainted, unless I had believed, etc” (Psalm 27.13). The next day was the Sabbath. I then remembered how careless I had been of God’s holy time; how many Sabbaths I had lost and misspent, and how evilly I had walked in God’s sight; which lay so close unto my spirit, that it was easy for me to see how righteous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life and cast me out of His presence forever. Yet the Lord still showed mercy to me, and upheld me; and as He wounded me with one hand, so he healed me with the other. This day there came to me one Robert Pepper (a man belonging to Roxbury) who was taken in Captain Beers’s fight, and had been now a considerable time with the Indians; and up with them almost as far as Albany, to see King Philip, as he told me, and was now very lately come into these parts. Hearing, I say, that I was in this Indian town, he obtained leave to come and see me. He told me he himself was wounded in the leg at Captain Beer’s fight; and was not able some time to go, but as they carried him, and as he took oaken leaves and laid to his wound, and through the blessing of God he was able to travel again. Then I took oaken leaves and laid to my side, and with the blessing of God it cured me also; yet before the cure was wrought, I may say, as it is in Psalm 38.5-6 “My wounds stink and are corrupt, I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long.” I sat much alone with a poor wounded child in my lap, which moaned night and day, having nothing to revive the body, or cheer the spirits of her, but instead of that, sometimes one Indian would come and tell me one hour that “your master will knock your child in the head,” and then a second, and then a third, “your master will quickly knock your child in the head.”
This was the comfort I had from them, miserable comforters are ye all, as he said. Thus nine days I sat upon my knees, with my babe in my lap, till my flesh was raw again; my child being even ready to depart this sorrowful world, they bade me carry it out to another wigwam (I suppose because they would not be troubled with such spectacles) whither I went with a very heavy heart, and down I sat with the picture of death in my lap. About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life on Feb. 18, 1675. It being about six years, and five months old. It was nine days from the first wounding, in this miserable condition, without any refreshing of one nature or other, except a little cold water. I cannot but take notice how at another time I could not bear to be in the room where any dead person was, but now the case is changed; I must and could lie down by my dead babe, side by side all the night after. I have thought since of the wonderful goodness of God to me in preserving me in the use of my reason and senses in that distressed time, that I did not use wicked and violent means to end my own miserable life. In the morning, when they understood that my child was dead they sent for me home to my master’s wigwam (by my master in this writing, must be understood Quinnapin, who was a Sagamore, and married King Philip’s wife’s sister; not that he first took me, but I was sold to him by another Narragansett Indian, who took me when first I came out of the garrison). I went to take up my dead child in my arms to carry it with me, but they bid me let it alone; there was no resisting, but go I must and leave it. When I had been at my master’s wigwam, I took the first opportunity I could get to go look after my dead child. When I came I asked them what they had done with it; then they told me it was upon the hill. Then they went and showed me where it was, where I saw the ground was newly digged, and there they told me they had buried it. There I left that child in the wilderness, and must commit it, and myself also in this wilderness condition, to Him who is above all. God having taken away this dear child, I went to see my daughter Mary, who was at this same Indian town, at a wigwam not very far off, though we had little liberty or opportunity to see one another. She was about ten years old, and taken from the door at first by a Praying Ind. and afterward sold for a gun. When I came in sight, she would fall aweeping; at which they were provoked, and would not let me come near her, but bade me be gone; which was a heart-cutting word to me. I had one child dead, another in the wilderness, I knew not where, the third they would not let me come near to: “Me (as he said) have ye bereaved of my Children, Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin also, all these things are against me.” I could not sit still in this condition, but kept walking from one place to another. And as I was going along, my heart was even overwhelmed with the thoughts of my condition, and that I should have children, and a nation which I knew not, ruled over them. Whereupon I earnestly entreated the Lord, that He would consider my low estate, and show me a token for good, and if it were His blessed will, some sign and hope of some relief. And indeed quickly the Lord answered, in some measure, my poor prayers; for as I was going up and down mourning and lamenting my condition, my son came to me, and asked me how I did. I had not seen him before, since the destruction of the town, and I knew not where he was, till I was informed by himself, that he was amongst a smaller parcel of Indians, whose place was about six miles off. With tears in his eyes, he asked me whether his sister Sarah was dead; and told me he had seen his sister Mary; and prayed me, that I would not be troubled in reference to himself. The occasion of his coming to see me at this time, was this: there was, as I said, about six miles from us, a small plantation of Indians, where it seems he had been during his captivity; and at this time, there were some forces of the Ind. gathered out of our company, and some also from them (among whom was my son’s master) to go to assault and burn Medfield. In this time of the absence of his master, his dame brought him to see me. I took this to be some gracious answer to my earnest and unfeigned desire. The next day, viz. to this, the Indians returned from Medfield, all the company, for those that belonged to the other small company, came through the town that now we were at. But before they came to us, Oh! the outrageous roaring and hooping that there was. They began their din about a mile before they came to us. By their noise and hooping they signified how many they had destroyed (which was at that time twenty-three). Those that were with us at home were gathered together as soon as they heard the hooping, and every time that the other went over their number, these at home gave a shout, that the very earth rung again. And thus they continued till those that had been upon the expedition were come up to the Sagamore’s wigwam; and then, Oh, the hideous insulting and triumphing that there was over some Englishmen’s scalps that they had taken (as their manner is) and brought with them. I cannot but take notice of the wonderful mercy of God to me in those afflictions, in sending me a Bible. One of the Indians that came from Medfield fight, had brought some plunder, came to me, and asked me, if I would have a Bible, he had got one in his basket. I was glad of it, and asked him, whether he thought the Indians would let me read? He answered, yes. So I took the Bible, and in that melancholy time, it came into my mind to read first the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, which I did, and when I had read it, my dark heart wrought on this manner: that there was no mercy for me, that the blessings were gone, and the curses come in their room, and that I had lost my opportunity. But the Lord helped me still to go on reading till I came to Chap. 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance; and though we were scattered from one end of the earth to the other, yet the Lord would gather us together, and turn all those curses upon our enemies. I do not desire to live to forget this Scripture, and what comfort it was to me.
Now the Ind. began to talk of removing from this place, some one way, and some another. There were now besides myself nine English captives in this place (all of them children, except one woman). I got an opportunity to go and take my leave of them. They being to go one way, and I another, I asked them whether they were earnest with God for deliverance. They told me they did as they were able, and it was some comfort to me, that the Lord stirred up children to look to Him. The woman, viz. goodwife Joslin, told me she should never see me again, and that she could find in her heart to run away. I wished her not to run away by any means, for we were near thirty miles from any English town, and she very big with child, and had but one week to reckon, and another child in her arms, two years old, and bad rivers there were to go over, and we were feeble, with our poor and coarse entertainment. I had my Bible with me, I pulled it out, and asked her whether she would read. We opened the Bible and lighted on Psalm 27, in which Psalm we especially took notice of that, ver. ult., “Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine Heart, wait I say on the Lord.”
The Fourth Remove
And now I must part with that little company I had. Here I parted from my daughter Mary (whom I never saw again till I saw her in Dorchester, returned from captivity), and from four little cousins and neighbors, some of which I never saw afterward: the Lord only knows the end of them. Amongst them also was that poor woman before mentioned, who came to a sad end, as some of the company told me in my travel: she having much grief upon her spirit about her miserable condition, being so near her time, she would be often asking the Indians to let her go home; they not being willing to that, and yet vexed with her importunity, gathered a great company together about her and stripped her naked, and set her in the midst of them, and when they had sung and danced about her (in their hellish manner) as long as they pleased they knocked her on head, and the child in her arms with her. When they had done that they made a fire and put them both into it, and told the other children that were with them that if they attempted to go home, they would serve them in like manner. The children said she did not shed one tear, but prayed all the while. But to return to my own journey, we traveled about half a day or little more, and came to a desolate place in the wilderness, where there were no wigwams or inhabitants before; we came about the middle of the afternoon to this place, cold and wet, and snowy, and hungry, and weary, and no refreshing for man but the cold ground to sit on, and our poor Indian cheer.
Heart-aching thoughts here I had about my poor children, who were scattered up and down among the wild beasts of the forest. My head was light and dizzy (either through hunger or hard lodging, or trouble or all together), my knees feeble, my body raw by sitting double night and day, that I cannot express to man the affliction that lay upon my spirit, but the Lord helped me at that time to express it to Himself. I opened my Bible to read, and the Lord brought that precious Scripture to me. “Thus saith the Lord, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jeremiah 31.16). This was a sweet cordial to me when I was ready to faint; many and many a time have I sat down and wept sweetly over this Scripture. At this place we continued about four days.
The Fifth Remove
The occasion (as I thought) of their moving at this time was the English army, it being near and following them. For they went as if they had gone for their lives, for some considerable way, and then they made a stop, and chose some of their stoutest men, and sent them back to hold the English army in play whilst the rest escaped. And then, like Jehu, they marched on furiously, with their old and with their young: some carried their old decrepit mothers, some carried one, and some another. Four of them carried a great Indian upon a bier; but going through a thick wood with him, they were hindered, and could make no haste, whereupon they took him upon their backs, and carried him, one at a time, till they came to Banquaug river. Upon a Friday, a little after noon, we came to this river. When all the company was come up, and were gathered together, I thought to count the number of them, but they were so many, and being somewhat in motion, it was beyond my skill. In this travel, because of my wound, I was somewhat favored in my load; I carried only my knitting work and two quarts of parched meal. Being very faint I asked my mistress to give me one spoonful of the meal, but she would not give me a taste. They quickly fell to cutting dry trees, to make rafts to carry them over the river: and soon my turn came to go over. By the advantage of some brush which they had laid upon the raft to sit upon, I did not wet my foot (which many of themselves at the other end were mid-leg deep) which cannot but be acknowledged as a favor of God to my weakened body, it being a very cold time. I was not before acquainted with such kind of doings or dangers. “When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee” (Isaiah 43.2). A certain number of us got over the river that night, but it was the night after the Sabbath before all the company was got over. On the Saturday they boiled an old horse’s leg which they had got, and so we drank of the broth, as soon as they thought it was ready, and when it was almost all gone, they filled it up again.
The first week of my being among them I hardly ate any thing; the second week I found my stomach grow very faint for want of something; and yet it was very hard to get down their filthy trash; but the third week, though I could think how formerly my stomach would turn against this or that, and I could starve and die before I could eat such things, yet they were sweet and savory to my taste. I was at this time knitting a pair of white cotton stockings for my mistress; and had not yet wrought upon a Sabbath day. When the Sabbath came they bade me go to work. I told them it was the Sabbath day, and desired them to let me rest, and told them I would do as much more tomorrow; to which they answered me they would break my face. And here I cannot but take notice of the strange providence of God in preserving the heathen. They were many hundreds, old and young, some sick, and some lame; many had papooses at their backs. The greatest number at this time with us were squaws, and they traveled with all they had, bag and baggage, and yet they got over this river aforesaid; and on Monday they set their wigwams on fire, and away they went. On that very day came the English army after them to this river, and saw the smoke of their wigwams, and yet this river put a stop to them. God did not give them courage or activity to go over after us. We were not ready for so great a mercy as victory and deliverance. If we had been God would have found out a way for the English to have passed this river, as well as for the Indians with their squaws and children, and all their luggage. “Oh that my people had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries” (Psalm 81.13-14).
The Eighth Remove
On the morrow morning we must go over the river, i.e. Connecticut, to meet with King Philip. Two canoes full they had carried over; the next turn I myself was to go. But as my foot was upon the canoe to step in there was a sudden outcry among them, and I must step back, and instead of going over the river, I must go four or five miles up the river farther northward. Some of the Indians ran one way, and some another. The cause of this rout was, as I thought, their espying some English scouts, who were thereabout. In this travel up the river about noon the company made a stop, and sat down; some to eat, and others to rest them. As I sat amongst them, musing of things past, my son Joseph unexpectedly came to me. We asked of each other’s welfare, bemoaning our doleful condition, and the change that had come upon us. We had husband and father, and children, and sisters, and friends, and relations, and house, and home, and many comforts of this life: but now we may say, as Job, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return: the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I asked him whether he would read. He told me he earnestly desired it, I gave him my Bible, and he lighted upon that comfortable Scripture “I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord: the Lord hath chastened me sore yet he hath not given me over to death” (Psalm 118.17-18). “Look here, mother,” says he, “did you read this?” And here I may take occasion to mention one principal ground of my setting forth these lines: even as the psalmist says, to declare the works of the Lord, and His wonderful power in carrying us along, preserving us in the wilderness, while under the enemy’s hand, and returning of us in safety again. And His goodness in bringing to my hand so many comfortable and suitable scriptures in my distress. But to return, we traveled on till night; and in the morning, we must go over the river to Philip’s crew. When I was in the canoe I could not but be amazed at the numerous crew of pagans that were on the bank on the other side. When I came ashore, they gathered all about me, I sitting alone in the midst. I observed they asked one another questions, and laughed, and rejoiced over their gains and victories. Then my heart began to fail: and I fell aweeping, which was the first time to my remembrance, that I wept before them. Although I had met with so much affliction, and my heart was many times ready to break, yet could I not shed one tear in their sight; but rather had been all this while in a maze, and like one astonished. But now I may say as Psalm 137.1, “By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sate down: yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.” There one of them asked me why I wept. I could hardly tell what to say: Yet I answered, they would kill me. “No,” said he, “none will hurt you.” Then came one of them and gave me two spoonfuls of meal to comfort me, and another gave me half a pint of peas; which was more worth than many bushels at another time. Then I went to see King Philip. He bade me come in and sit down, and asked me whether I would smoke it (a usual compliment nowadays amongst saints and sinners) but this no way suited me. For though I had formerly used tobacco, yet I had left it ever since I was first taken. It seems to be a bait the devil lays to make men lose their precious time. I remember with shame how formerly, when I had taken two or three pipes, I was presently ready for another, such a bewitching thing it is. But I thank God, He has now given me power over it; surely there are many who may be better employed than to lie sucking a stinking tobacco-pipe.
Now the Indians gather their forces to go against Northampton. Over night one went about yelling and hooting to give notice of the design. Whereupon they fell to boiling of ground nuts, and parching of corn (as many as had it) for their provision; and in the morning away they went. During my abode in this place, Philip spake to me to make a shirt for his boy, which I did, for which he gave me a shilling. I offered the money to my master, but he bade me keep it; and with it I bought a piece of horse flesh. Afterwards he asked me to make a cap for his boy, for which he invited me to dinner. I went, and he gave me a pancake, about as big as two fingers. It was made of parched wheat, beaten, and fried in bear’s grease, but I thought I never tasted pleasanter meat in my life. There was a squaw who spake to me to make a shirt for her sannup, for which she gave me a piece of bear. Another asked me to knit a pair of stockings, for which she gave me a quart of peas. I boiled my peas and bear together, and invited my master and mistress to dinner; but the proud gossip, because I served them both in one dish, would eat nothing, except one bit that he gave her upon the point of his knife. Hearing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and found him lying flat upon the ground. I asked him how he could sleep so? He answered me that he was not asleep, but at prayer; and lay so, that they might not observe what he was doing. I pray God he may remember these things now he is returned in safety. At this place (the sun now getting higher) what with the beams and heat of the sun, and the smoke of the wigwams, I thought I should have been blind. I could scarce discern one wigwam from another. There was here one Mary Thurston of Medfield, who seeing how it was with me, lent me a hat to wear; but as soon as I was gone, the squaw (who owned that Mary Thurston) came running after me, and got it away again. Here was the squaw that gave me one spoonful of meal. I put it in my pocket to keep it safe. Yet notwithstanding, somebody stole it, but put five Indian corns in the room of it; which corns were the greatest provisions I had in my travel for one day.
The Indians returning from Northampton, brought with them some horses, and sheep, and other things which they had taken; I desired them that they would carry me to Albany upon one of those horses, and sell me for powder: for so they had sometimes discoursed. I was utterly hopeless of getting home on foot, the way that I came. I could hardly bear to think of the many weary steps I had taken, to come to this place.
The Thirteenth Remove
Instead of going toward the Bay, which was that I desired, I must go with them five or six miles down the river into a mighty thicket of brush; where we abode almost a fortnight. Here one asked me to make a shirt for her papoose, for which she gave me a mess of broth, which was thickened with meal made of the bark of a tree, and to make it the better, she had put into it about a handful of peas, and a few roasted ground nuts. I had not seen my son a pretty while, and here was an Indian of whom I made inquiry after him, and asked him when he saw him. He answered me that such a time his master roasted him, and that himself did eat a piece of him, as big as his two fingers, and that he was very good meat. But the Lord upheld my Spirit, under this discouragement; and I considered their horrible addictedness to lying, and that there is not one of them that makes the least conscience of speaking of truth. In this place, on a cold night, as I lay by the fire, I removed a stick that kept the heat from me. A squaw moved it down again, at which I looked up, and she threw a handful of ashes in mine eyes. I thought I should have been quite blinded, and have never seen more, but lying down, the water run out of my eyes, and carried the dirt with it, that by the morning I recovered my sight again. Yet upon this, and the like occasions, I hope it is not too much to say with Job, “Have pity upon me, O ye my Friends, for the Hand of the Lord has touched me.” And here I cannot but remember how many times sitting in their wigwams, and musing on things past, I should suddenly leap up and run out, as if I had been at home, forgetting where I was, and what my condition was; but when I was without, and saw nothing but wilderness, and woods, and a company of barbarous heathens, my mind quickly returned to me, which made me think of that, spoken concerning Sampson, who said, “I will go out and shake myself as at other times, but he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” About this time I began to think that all my hopes of restoration would come to nothing. I thought of the English army, and hoped for their coming, and being taken by them, but that failed. I hoped to be carried to Albany, as the Indians had discoursed before, but that failed also. I thought of being sold to my husband, as my master spake, but instead of that, my master himself was gone, and I left behind, so that my spirit was now quite ready to sink. I asked them to let me go out and pick up some sticks, that I might get alone, and pour out my heart unto the Lord. Then also I took my Bible to read, but I found no comfort here neither, which many times I was wont to find. So easy a thing it is with God to dry up the streams of Scripture comfort from us. Yet I can say, that in all my sorrows and afflictions, God did not leave me to have my impatience work towards Himself, as if His ways were unrighteous. But I knew that He laid upon me less than I deserved. Afterward, before this doleful time ended with me, I was turning the leaves of my Bible, and the Lord brought to me some Scriptures, which did a little revive me, as that [in] Isaiah 55.8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” And also that [in] Psalm 37.5: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” About this time they came yelping from Hadley, where they had killed three Englishmen, and brought one captive with them, viz. Thomas Read. They all gathered about the poor man, asking him many questions. I desired also to go and see him; and when I came, he was crying bitterly, supposing they would quickly kill him. Whereupon I asked one of them, whether they intended to kill him; he answered me, they would not. He being a little cheered with that, I asked him about the welfare of my husband. He told me he saw him such a time in the Bay, and he was well, but very melancholy. By which I certainly understood (though I suspected it before) that whatsoever the Indians told me respecting him was vanity and lies. Some of them told me he was dead, and they had killed him; some said he was married again, and that the Governor wished him to marry; and told him he should have his choice, and that all persuaded I was dead. So like were these barbarous creatures to him who was a liar from the beginning.
As I was sitting once in the wigwam here, Philip’s maid came in with the child in her arms, and asked me to give her a piece of my apron, to make a flap for it. I told her I would not. Then my mistress bade me give it, but still I said no. The maid told me if I would not give her a piece, she would tear a piece off it. I told her I would tear her coat then. With that my mistress rises up, and take up a stick big enough to have killed me, and struck at me with it. But I stepped out, and she struck the stick into the mat of the wigwam. But while she was pulling of it out I ran to the maid and gave her all my apron, and so that storm went over.
Hearing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and told him his father was well, but melancholy. He told me he was as much grieved for his father as for himself. I wondered at his speech, for I thought I had enough upon my spirit in reference to myself, to make me mindless of my husband and everyone else; they being safe among their friends. He told me also, that awhile before, his master (together with other Indians) were going to the French for powder; but by the way the Mohawks met with them, and killed four of their company, which made the rest turn back again, for it might have been worse with him, had he been sold to the French, than it proved to be in his remaining with the Indians.
I went to see an English youth in this place, one John Gilbert of Springfield. I found him lying without doors, upon the ground. I asked him how he did? He told me he was very sick of a flux, with eating so much blood. They had turned him out of the wigwam, and with him an Indian papoose, almost dead (whose parents had been killed), in a bitter cold day, without fire or clothes. The young man himself had nothing on but his shirt and waistcoat. This sight was enough to melt a heart of flint. There they lay quivering in the cold, the youth round like a dog, the papoose stretched out with his eyes and nose and mouth full of dirt, and yet alive, and groaning. I advised John to go and get to some fire. He told me he could not stand, but I persuaded him still, lest he should lie there and die. And with much ado I got him to a fire, and went myself home. As soon as I was got home his master’s daughter came after me, to know what I had done with the Englishman. I told her I had got him to a fire in such a place. Now had I need to pray Paul’s Prayer “That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men” (2 Thessalonians 3.2). For her satisfaction I went along with her, and brought her to him; but before I got home again it was noised about that I was running away and getting the English youth, along with me; that as soon as I came in they began to rant and domineer, asking me where I had been, and what I had been doing? and saying they would knock him on the head. I told them I had been seeing the English youth, and that I would not run away. They told me I lied, and taking up a hatchet, they came to me, and said they would knock me down if I stirred out again, and so confined me to the wigwam. Now may I say with David, “I am in a great strait” (2 Samuel 24.14). If I keep in, I must die with hunger, and if I go out, I must be knocked in head. This distressed condition held that day, and half the next. And then the Lord remembered me, whose mercies are great. Then came an Indian to me with a pair of stockings that were too big for him, and he would have me ravel them out, and knit them fit for him. I showed myself willing, and bid him ask my mistress if I might go along with him a little way; she said yes, I might, but I was not a little refreshed with that news, that I had my liberty again. Then I went along with him, and he gave me some roasted ground nuts, which did again revive my feeble stomach.
Being got out of her sight, I had time and liberty again to look into my Bible; which was my guide by day, and my pillow by night. Now that comfortable Scripture presented itself to me, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isaiah 54.7). Thus the Lord carried me along from one time to another, and made good to me this precious promise, and many others. Then my son came to see me, and I asked his master to let him stay awhile with me, that I might comb his head, and look over him, for he was almost overcome with lice. He told me, when I had done, that he was very hungry, but I had nothing to relieve him, but bid him go into the wigwams as he went along, and see if he could get any thing among them. Which he did, and it seems tarried a little too long; for his master was angry with him, and beat him, and then sold him. Then he came running to tell me he had a new master, and that he had given him some ground nuts already. Then I went along with him to his new master who told me he loved him, and he should not want. So his master carried him away, and I never saw him afterward, till I saw him at Piscataqua in Portsmouth.
That night they bade me go out of the wigwam again. My mistress’s papoose was sick, and it died that night, and there was one benefit in it—that there was more room. I went to a wigwam, and they bade me come in, and gave me a skin to lie upon, and a mess of venison and ground nuts, which was a choice dish among them. On the morrow they buried the papoose, and afterward, both morning and evening, there came a company to mourn and howl with her; though I confess I could not much condole with them. Many sorrowful days I had in this place, often getting alone. “Like a crane, or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove, mine eyes ail with looking upward. Oh, Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me” (Isaiah 38.14). I could tell the Lord, as Hezekiah, “Remember now O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth.” Now had I time to examine all my ways: my conscience did not accuse me of unrighteousness toward one or other; yet I saw how in my walk with God, I had been a careless creature. As David said, “Against thee, thee only have I sinned”: and I might say with the poor publican, “God be merciful unto me a sinner.” On the Sabbath days, I could look upon the sun and think how people were going to the house of God, to have their souls refreshed; and then home, and their bodies also; but I was destitute of both; and might say as the poor prodigal, “He would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him” (Luke 15.16). For I must say with him, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight.” I remembered how on the night before and after the Sabbath, when my family was about me, and relations and neighbors with us, we could pray and sing, and then refresh our bodies with the good creatures of God; and then have a comfortable bed to lie down on; but instead of all this, I had only a little swill for the body and then, like a swine, must lie down on the ground. I cannot express to man the sorrow that lay upon my spirit; the Lord knows it. Yet that comfortable Scripture would often come to mind, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.”
The Eighteenth Remove
We took up our packs and along we went, but a wearisome day I had of it. As we went along I saw an Englishman stripped naked, and lying dead upon the ground, but knew not who it was. Then we came to another Indian town, where we stayed all night. In this town there were four English children, captives; and one of them my own sister’s. I went to see how she did, and she was well, considering her captive condition. I would have tarried that night with her, but they that owned her would not suffer it. Then I went into another wigwam, where they were boiling corn and beans, which was a lovely sight to see, but I could not get a taste thereof. Then I went to another wigwam, where there were two of the English children; the squaw was boiling horses feet; then she cut me off a little piece, and gave one of the English children a piece also. Being very hungry I had quickly eat up mine, but the child could not bite it, it was so tough and sinewy, but lay sucking, gnawing, chewing and slabbering of it in the mouth and hand. Then I took it of the child, and eat it myself, and savory it was to my taste. Then I may say as Job 6.7, “The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.” Thus the Lord made that pleasant refreshing, which another time would have been an abomination. Then I went home to my mistress’s wigwam; and they told me I disgraced my master with begging, and if I did so any more, they would knock me in the head. I told them, they had as good knock me in head as starve me to death.
The Nineteenth Remove
They said, when we went out, that we must travel to Wachusett this day. But a bitter weary day I had of it, traveling now three days together, without resting any day between. At last, after many weary steps, I saw Wachusett hills, but many miles off. Then we came to a great swamp, through which we traveled, up to the knees in mud and water, which was heavy going to one tired before. Being almost spent, I thought I should have sunk down at last, and never got out; but I may say, as in Psalm 94.18, “When my foot slipped, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” Going along, having indeed my life, but little spirit, Philip, who was in the company, came up and took me by the hand, and said, two weeks more and you shall be mistress again. I asked him, if he spake true? He answered, “Yes, and quickly you shall come to your master again; who had been gone from us three weeks.” After many weary steps we came to Wachusett, where he was: and glad I was to see him. He asked me, when I washed me? I told him not this month. Then he fetched me some water himself, and bid me wash, and gave me the glass to see how I looked; and bid his squaw give me something to eat. So she gave me a mess of beans and meat, and a little ground nut cake. I was wonderfully revived with this favor showed me: “He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives” (Psalm 106.46).
My master had three squaws, living sometimes with one, and sometimes with another one, this old squaw, at whose wigwam I was, and with whom my master had been those three weeks. Another was Wattimore [Weetamoo] with whom I had lived and served all this while. A severe and proud dame she was, bestowing every day in dressing herself neat as much time as any of the gentry of the land: powdering her hair, and painting her face, going with necklaces, with jewels in her ears, and bracelets upon her hands. When she had dressed herself, her work was to make girdles of wampum and beads. The third squaw was a younger one, by whom he had two papooses. By the time I was refreshed by the old squaw, with whom my master was, Weetamoo’s maid came to call me home, at which I fell aweeping. Then the old squaw told me, to encourage me, that if I wanted victuals, I should come to her, and that I should lie there in her wigwam. Then I went with the maid, and quickly came again and lodged there. The squaw laid a mat under me, and a good rug over me; the first time I had any such kindness showed me. I understood that Weetamoo thought that if she should let me go and serve with the old squaw, she would be in danger to lose not only my service, but the redemption pay also. And I was not a little glad to hear this; being by it raised in my hopes, that in God’s due time there would be an end of this sorrowful hour. Then came an Indian, and asked me to knit him three pair of stockings, for which I had a hat, and a silk handkerchief. Then another asked me to make her a shift, for which she gave me an apron.
Then came Tom and Peter, with the second letter from the council, about the captives. Though they were Indians, I got them by the hand, and burst out into tears. My heart was so full that I could not speak to them; but recovering myself, I asked them how my husband did, and all my friends and acquaintance? They said, “They are all very well but melancholy.” They brought me two biscuits, and a pound of tobacco. The tobacco I quickly gave away. When it was all gone, one asked me to give him a pipe of tobacco. I told him it was all gone. Then began he to rant and threaten. I told him when my husband came I would give him some. Hang him rogue (says he) I will knock out his brains, if he comes here. And then again, in the same breath they would say that if there should come an hundred without guns, they would do them no hurt. So unstable and like madmen they were. So that fearing the worst, I durst not send to my husband, though there were some thoughts of his coming to redeem and fetch me, not knowing what might follow. For there was little more trust to them than to the master they served. When the letter was come, the Sagamores met to consult about the captives, and called me to them to inquire how much my husband would give to redeem me. When I came I sat down among them, as I was wont to do, as their manner is. Then they bade me stand up, and said they were the General Court. They bid me speak what I thought he would give. Now knowing that all we had was destroyed by the Indians, I was in a great strait. I thought if I should speak of but a little it would be slighted, and hinder the matter; if of a great sum, I knew not where it would be procured. Yet at a venture I said “Twenty pounds,” yet desired them to take less. But they would not hear of that, but sent that message to Boston, that for twenty pounds I should be redeemed. It was a Praying Indian that wrote their letter for them. There was another Praying Indian, who told me, that he had a brother, that would not eat horse; his conscience was so tender and scrupulous (though as large as hell, for the destruction of poor Christians). Then he said, he read that Scripture to him, “There was a famine in Samaria, and behold they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for four-score pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver” (2 Kings 6.25). He expounded this place to his brother, and showed him that it was lawful to eat that in a famine which is not at another time. And now, says he, he will eat horse with any Indian of them all. There was another Praying Indian, who when he had done all the mischief that he could, betrayed his own father into the English hands, thereby to purchase his own life. Another Praying Indian was at Sudbury fight, though, as he deserved, he was afterward hanged for it. There was another Praying Indian, so wicked and cruel, as to wear a string about his neck, strung with Christians’ fingers. Another Praying Indian, when they went to Sudbury fight, went with them, and his squaw also with him, with her papoose at her back. Before they went to that fight they got a company together to pow-wow. The manner was as followeth: there was one that kneeled upon a deerskin, with the company round him in a ring who kneeled, and striking upon the ground with their hands, and with sticks, and muttering or humming with their mouths. Besides him who kneeled in the ring, there also stood one with a gun in his hand. Then he on the deerskin made a speech, and all manifested assent to it; and so they did many times together. Then they bade him with the gun go out of the ring, which he did. But when he was out, they called him in again; but he seemed to make a stand; then they called the more earnestly, till he returned again. Then they all sang. Then they gave him two guns, in either hand one. And so he on the deerskin began again; and at the end of every sentence in his speaking, they all assented, humming or muttering with their mouths, and striking upon the ground with their hands. Then they bade him with the two guns go out of the ring again; which he did, a little way. Then they called him in again, but he made a stand. So they called him with greater earnestness; but he stood reeling and wavering as if he knew not whither he should stand or fall, or which way to go. Then they called him with exceeding great vehemency, all of them, one and another. After a little while he turned in, staggering as he went, with his arms stretched out, in either hand a gun. As soon as he came in they all sang and rejoiced exceedingly a while. And then he upon the deerskin, made another speech unto which they all assented in a rejoicing manner. And so they ended their business, and forthwith went to Sudbury fight. To my thinking they went without any scruple, but that they should prosper, and gain the victory. And they went out not so rejoicing, but they came home with as great a victory. For they said they had killed two captains and almost an hundred men. One Englishman they brought along with them: and he said, it was too true, for they had made sad work at Sudbury, as indeed it proved. Yet they came home without that rejoicing and triumphing over their victory which they were wont to show at other times; but rather like dogs (as they say) which have lost their ears. Yet I could not perceive that it was for their own loss of men. They said they had not lost above five or six; and I missed none, except in one wigwam. When they went, they acted as if the devil had told them that they should gain the victory; and now they acted as if the devil had told them they should have a fall. Whither it were so or no, I cannot tell, but so it proved, for quickly they began to fall, and so held on that summer, till they came to utter ruin. They came home on a Sabbath day, and the Powaw that kneeled upon the deer-skin came home (I may say, without abuse) as black as the devil. When my master came home, he came to me and bid me make a shirt for his papoose, of a holland-laced pillowbere. About that time there came an Indian to me and bid me come to his wigwam at night, and he would give me some pork and ground nuts. Which I did, and as I was eating, another Indian said to me, he seems to be your good friend, but he killed two Englishmen at Sudbury, and there lie their clothes behind you: I looked behind me, and there I saw bloody clothes, with bullet-holes in them. Yet the Lord suffered not this wretch to do me any hurt. Yea, instead of that, he many times refreshed me; five or six times did he and his squaw refresh my feeble carcass. If I went to their wigwam at any time, they would always give me something, and yet they were strangers that I never saw before. Another squaw gave me a piece of fresh pork, and a little salt with it, and lent me her pan to fry it in; and I cannot but remember what a sweet, pleasant and delightful relish that bit had to me, to this day. So little do we prize common mercies when we have them to the full.
The Twentieth Remove
It was their usual manner to remove, when they had done any mischief, lest they should be found out; and so they did at this time. We went about three or four miles, and there they built a great wigwam, big enough to hold an hundred Indians, which they did in preparation to a great day of dancing. They would say now amongst themselves, that the governor would be so angry for his loss at Sudbury, that he would send no more about the captives, which made me grieve and tremble. My sister being not far from the place where we now were, and hearing that I was here, desired her master to let her come and see me, and he was willing to it, and would go with her; but she being ready before him, told him she would go before, and was come within a mile or two of the place. Then he overtook her, and began to rant as if he had been mad, and made her go back again in the rain; so that I never saw her till I saw her in Charlestown. But the Lord requited many of their ill doings, for this Indian her master, was hanged afterward at Boston. The Indians now began to come from all quarters, against their merry dancing day. Among some of them came one goodwife Kettle. I told her my heart was so heavy that it was ready to break. “So is mine too,” said she, but yet said, “I hope we shall hear some good news shortly.” I could hear how earnestly my sister desired to see me, and I as earnestly desired to see her; and yet neither of us could get an opportunity. My daughter was also now about a mile off, and I had not seen her in nine or ten weeks, as I had not seen my sister since our first taking. I earnestly desired them to let me go and see them: yea, I entreated, begged, and persuaded them, but to let me see my daughter; and yet so hard-hearted were they, that they would not suffer it. They made use of their tyrannical power whilst they had it; but through the Lord’s wonderful mercy, their time was now but short.
On a Sabbath day, the sun being about an hour high in the afternoon, came Mr. John Hoar (the council permitting him, and his own foreward spirit inclining him), together with the two forementioned Indians, Tom and Peter, with their third letter from the council. When they came near, I was abroad. Though I saw them not, they presently called me in, and bade me sit down and not stir. Then they catched up their guns, and away they ran, as if an enemy had been at hand, and the guns went off apace. I manifested some great trouble, and they asked me what was the matter? I told them I thought they had killed the Englishman (for they had in the meantime informed me that an Englishman was come). They said, no. They shot over his horse and under and before his horse, and they pushed him this way and that way, at their pleasure, showing what they could do. Then they let them come to their wigwams. I begged of them to let me see the Englishman, but they would not. But there was I fain to sit their pleasure. When they had talked their fill with him, they suffered me to go to him. We asked each other of our welfare, and how my husband did, and all my friends? He told me they were all well, and would be glad to see me. Amongst other things which my husband sent me, there came a pound of tobacco, which I sold for nine shillings in money; for many of the Indians for want of tobacco, smoked hemlock, and ground ivy. It was a great mistake in any, who thought I sent for tobacco; for through the favor of God, that desire was overcome. I now asked them whether I should go home with Mr. Hoar? They answered no, one and another of them, and it being night, we lay down with that answer. In the morning Mr. Hoar invited the Sagamores to dinner; but when we went to get it ready we found that they had stolen the greatest part of the provision Mr. Hoar had brought, out of his bags, in the night. And we may see the wonderful power of God, in that one passage, in that when there was such a great number of the Indians together, and so greedy of a little good food, and no English there but Mr. Hoar and myself, that there they did not knock us in the head, and take what we had, there being not only some provision, but also trading-cloth, a part of the twenty pounds agreed upon. But instead of doing us any mischief, they seemed to be ashamed of the fact, and said, it were some matchit Indian that did it. Oh, that we could believe that there is nothing too hard for God! God showed His power over the heathen in this, as He did over the hungry lions when Daniel was cast into the den. Mr. Hoar called them betime to dinner, but they ate very little, they being so busy in dressing themselves, and getting ready for their dance, which was carried on by eight of them, four men and four squaws. My master and mistress being two. He was dressed in his holland shirt, with great laces sewed at the tail of it; he had his silver buttons, his white stockings, his garters were hung round with shillings, and he had girdles of wampum upon his head and shoulders. She had a kersey coat, and covered with girdles of wampum from the loins upward. Her arms from her elbows to her hands were covered with bracelets; there were handfuls of necklaces about her neck, and several sorts of jewels in her ears. She had fine red stockings, and white shoes, her hair powdered and face painted red, that was always before black. And all the dancers were after the same manner. There were two others singing and knocking on a kettle for their music. They kept hopping up and down one after another, with a kettle of water in the midst, standing warm upon some embers, to drink of when they were dry. They held on till it was almost night, throwing out wampum to the standers by. At night I asked them again, if I should go home? They all as one said no, except my husband would come for me. When we were lain down, my master went out of the wigwam, and by and by sent in an Indian called James the Printer, who told Mr. Hoar, that my master would let me go home tomorrow, if he would let him have one pint of liquors. Then Mr. Hoar called his own Indians, Tom and Peter, and bid them go and see whether he would promise it before them three; and if he would, he should have it; which he did, and he had it. Then Philip smelling the business called me to him, and asked me what I would give him, to tell me some good news, and speak a good word for me. I told him I could not tell what to give him. I would [give him] anything I had, and asked him what he would have? He said two coats and twenty shillings in money, and half a bushel of seed corn, and some tobacco. I thanked him for his love; but I knew the good news as well as the crafty fox. My master after he had had his drink, quickly came ranting into the wigwam again, and called for Mr. Hoar, drinking to him, and saying, he was a good man, and then again he would say, “hang him rogue.” Being almost drunk, he would drink to him, and yet presently say he should be hanged. Then he called for me. I trembled to hear him, yet I was fain to go to him, and he drank to me, showing no incivility. He was the first Indian I saw drunk all the while that I was amongst them. At last his squaw ran out, and he after her, round the wigwam, with his money jingling at his knees. But she escaped him. But having an old squaw he ran to her; and so through the Lord’s mercy, we were no more troubled that night. Yet I had not a comfortable night’s rest; for I think I can say, I did not sleep for three nights together. The night before the letter came from the council, I could not rest, I was so full of fears and troubles, God many times leaving us most in the dark, when deliverance is nearest. Yea, at this time I could not rest night nor day. The next night I was overjoyed, Mr. Hoar being come, and that with such good tidings. The third night I was even swallowed up with the thoughts of things, viz. that ever I should go home again; and that I must go, leaving my children behind me in the wilderness; so that sleep was now almost departed from mine eyes.
On Tuesday morning they called their general court (as they call it) to consult and determine, whether I should go home or no. And they all as one man did seemingly consent to it, that I should go home; except Philip, who would not come among them.
But before I go any further, I would take leave to mention a few remarkable passages of providence, which I took special notice of in my afflicted time.
- Of the fair opportunity lost in the long march, a little after the fort fight, when our English army was so numerous, and in pursuit of the enemy, and so near as to take several and destroy them, and the enemy in such distress for food that our men might track them by their rooting in the earth for ground nuts, whilst they were flying for their lives. I say, that then our army should want provision, and be forced to leave their pursuit and return homeward; and the very next week the enemy came upon our town, like bears bereft of their whelps, or so many ravenous wolves, rending us and our lambs to death. But what shall I say? God seemed to leave his People to themselves, and order all things for His own holy ends. Shall there be evil in the City and the Lord hath not done it? They are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph, therefore shall they go captive, with the first that go captive. It is the Lord’s doing, and it should be marvelous in our eyes.
- I cannot but remember how the Indians derided the slowness, and dullness of the English army, in its setting out. For after the desolations at Lancaster and Medfield, as I went along with them, they asked me when I thought the English army would come after them? I told them I could not tell. “It may be they will come in May,” said they. Thus did they scoff at us, as if the English would be a quarter of a year getting ready.
- Which also I have hinted before, when the English army with new supplies were sent forth to pursue after the enemy, and they understanding it, fled before them till they came to Banquang river, where they forthwith went over safely; that that river should be impassable to the English. I can but admire to see the wonderful providence of God in preserving the heathen for further affliction to our poor country. They could go in great numbers over, but the English must stop. God had an over-ruling hand in all those things.
- It was thought, if their corn were cut down, they would starve and die with hunger, and all their corn that could be found, was destroyed, and they driven from that little they had in store, into the woods in the midst of winter; and yet how to admiration did the Lord preserve them for His holy ends, and the destruction of many still amongst the English! strangely did the Lord provide for them; that I did not see (all the time I was among them) one man, woman, or child, die with hunger.
Though many times they would eat that, that a hog or a dog would hardly touch; yet by that God strengthened them to be a scourge to His people.
The chief and commonest food was ground nuts. They eat also nuts and acorns, artichokes, lilly roots, ground beans, and several other weeds and roots, that I know not.
They would pick up old bones, and cut them to pieces at the joints, and if they were full of worms and maggots, they would scald them over the fire to make the vermine come out, and then boil them, and drink up the liquor, and then beat the great ends of them in a mortar, and so eat them. They would eat horse’s guts, and ears, and all sorts of wild birds which they could catch; also bear, venison, beaver, tortoise, frogs, squirrels, dogs, skunks, rattlesnakes; yea, the very bark of trees; besides all sorts of creatures, and provision which they plundered from the English. I can but stand in admiration to see the wonderful power of God in providing for such a vast number of our enemies in the wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hand to mouth. Many times in a morning, the generality of them would eat up all they had, and yet have some further supply against they wanted. It is said, “Oh, that my People had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their Enemies, and turned my hand against their Adversaries” (Psalm 81.13-14). But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended Him, that instead of turning His hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole land.
- Another thing that I would observe is the strange providence of God, in turning things about when the Indians was at the highest, and the English at the lowest. I was with the enemy eleven weeks and five days, and not one week passed without the fury of the enemy, and some desolation by fire and sword upon one place or other. They mourned (with their black faces) for their own losses, yet triumphed and rejoiced in their inhumane, and many times devilish cruelty to the English. They would boast much of their victories; saying that in two hours time they had destroyed such a captain and his company at such a place; and boast how many towns they had destroyed, and then scoff, and say they had done them a good turn to send them to Heaven so soon. Again, they would say this summer that they would knock all the rogues in the head, or drive them into the sea, or make them fly the country; thinking surely, Agag-like, “The bitterness of Death is past.” Now the heathen begins to think all is their own, and the poor Christians’ hopes to fail (as to man) and now their eyes are more to God, and their hearts sigh heavenward; and to say in good earnest, “Help Lord, or we perish.” When the Lord had brought His people to this, that they saw no help in anything but Himself; then He takes the quarrel into His own hand; and though they had made a pit, in their own imaginations, as deep as hell for the Christians that summer, yet the Lord hurled themselves into it. And the Lord had not so many ways before to preserve them, but now He hath as many to destroy them.
But to return again to my going home, where we may see a remarkable change of providence. At first they were all against it, except my husband would come for me, but afterwards they assented to it, and seemed much to rejoice in it; some asked me to send them some bread, others some tobacco, others shaking me by the hand, offering me a hood and scarfe to ride in; not one moving hand or tongue against it. Thus hath the Lord answered my poor desire, and the many earnest requests of others put up unto God for me. In my travels an Indian came to me and told me, if I were willing, he and his squaw would run away, and go home along with me. I told him no: I was not willing to run away, but desired to wait God’s time, that I might go home quietly, and without fear. And now God hath granted me my desire. O the wonderful power of God that I have seen, and the experience that I have had. I have been in the midst of those roaring lions, and savage bears, that feared neither God, nor man, nor the devil, by night and day, alone and in company, sleeping all sorts together, and yet not one of them ever offered me the least abuse of unchastity to me, in word or action. Though some are ready to say I speak it for my own credit; but I speak it in the presence of God, and to His Glory. God’s power is as great now, and as sufficient to save, as when He preserved Daniel in the lion’s den; or the three children in the fiery furnace. I may well say as his Psalm 107.12 “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever.” Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy, especially that I should come away in the midst of so many hundreds of enemies quietly and peaceably, and not a dog moving his tongue. So I took my leave of them, and in coming along my heart melted into tears, more than all the while I was with them, and I was almost swallowed up with the thoughts that ever I should go home again. About the sun going down, Mr. Hoar, and myself, and the two Indians came to Lancaster, and a solemn sight it was to me. There had I lived many comfortable years amongst my relations and neighbors, and now not one Christian to be seen, nor one house left standing. We went on to a farmhouse that was yet standing, where we lay all night, and a comfortable lodging we had, though nothing but straw to lie on. The Lord preserved us in safety that night, and raised us up again in the morning, and carried us along, that before noon, we came to Concord. Now was I full of joy, and yet not without sorrow; joy to see such a lovely sight, so many Christians together, and some of them my neighbors. There I met with my brother, and my brother-in-law, who asked me, if I knew where his wife was? Poor heart! he had helped to bury her, and knew it not. She being shot down by the house was partly burnt, so that those who were at Boston at the desolation of the town, and came back afterward, and buried the dead, did not know her. Yet I was not without sorrow, to think how many were looking and longing, and my own children amongst the rest, to enjoy that deliverance that I had now received, and I did not know whether ever I should see them again. Being recruited with food and raiment we went to Boston that day, where I met with my dear husband, but the thoughts of our dear children, one being dead, and the other we could not tell where, abated our comfort each to other. I was not before so much hemmed in with the merciless and cruel heathen, but now as much with pitiful, tender-hearted and compassionate Christians. In that poor, and distressed, and beggarly condition I was received in; I was kindly entertained in several houses. So much love I received from several (some of whom I knew, and others I knew not) that I am not capable to declare it. But the Lord knows them all by name. The Lord reward them sevenfold into their bosoms of His spirituals, for their temporals. The twenty pounds, the price of my redemption, was raised by some Boston gentlemen, and Mrs. Usher, whose bounty and religious charity, I would not forget to make mention of. Then Mr. Thomas Shepard of Charlestown received us into his house, where we continued eleven weeks; and a father and mother they were to us. And many more tender-hearted friends we met with in that place. We were now in the midst of love, yet not without much and frequent heaviness of heart for our poor children, and other relations, who were still in affliction. The week following, after my coming in, the governor and council sent forth to the Indians again; and that not without success; for they brought in my sister, and goodwife Kettle. Their not knowing where our children were was a sore trial to us still, and yet we were not without secret hopes that we should see them again. That which was dead lay heavier upon my spirit, than those which were alive and amongst the heathen: thinking how it suffered with its wounds, and I was no way able to relieve it; and how it was buried by the heathen in the wilderness from among all Christians. We were hurried up and down in our thoughts, sometime we should hear a report that they were gone this way, and sometimes that; and that they were come in, in this place or that. We kept inquiring and listening to hear concerning them, but no certain news as yet. About this time the council had ordered a day of public thanksgiving. Though I thought I had still cause of mourning, and being unsettled in our minds, we thought we would ride toward the eastward, to see if we could hear anything concerning our children. And as we were riding along (God is the wise disposer of all things) between Ipswich and Rowley we met with Mr. William Hubbard, who told us that our son Joseph was come in to Major Waldron’s, and another with him, which was my sister’s son. I asked him how he knew it? He said the major himself told him so. So along we went till we came to Newbury; and their minister being absent, they desired my husband to preach the thanksgiving for them; but he was not willing to stay there that night, but would go over to Salisbury, to hear further, and come again in the morning, which he did, and preached there that day. At night, when he had done, one came and told him that his daughter was come in at Providence. Here was mercy on both hands. Now hath God fulfilled that precious Scripture which was such a comfort to me in my distressed condition. When my heart was ready to sink into the earth (my children being gone, I could not tell whither) and my knees trembling under me, and I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death; then the Lord brought, and now has fulfilled that reviving word unto me: “Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy Work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the Land of the Enemy.” Now we were between them, the one on the east, and the other on the west. Our son being nearest, we went to him first, to Portsmouth, where we met with him, and with the Major also, who told us he had done what he could, but could not redeem him under seven pounds, which the good people thereabouts were pleased to pay. The Lord reward the major, and all the rest, though unknown to me, for their labor of Love. My sister’s son was redeemed for four pounds, which the council gave order for the payment of. Having now received one of our children, we hastened toward the other. Going back through Newbury my husband preached there on the Sabbath day; for which they rewarded him many fold.
On Monday we came to Charlestown, where we heard that the governor of Rhode Island had sent over for our daughter, to take care of her, being now within his jurisdiction; which should not pass without our acknowledgments. But she being nearer Rehoboth than Rhode Island, Mr. Newman went over, and took care of her and brought her to his own house. And the goodness of God was admirable to us in our low estate, in that He raised up passionate friends on every side to us, when we had nothing to recompense any for their love. The Indians were now gone that way, that it was apprehended dangerous to go to her. But the carts which carried provision to the English army, being guarded, brought her with them to Dorchester, where we received her safe. Blessed be the Lord for it, for great is His power, and He can do whatsoever seemeth Him good. Her coming in was after this manner: she was traveling one day with the Indians, with her basket at her back; the company of Indians were got before her, and gone out of sight, all except one squaw; she followed the squaw till night, and then both of them lay down, having nothing over them but the heavens and under them but the earth. Thus she traveled three days together, not knowing whither she was going; having nothing to eat or drink but water, and green hirtle-berries. At last they came into Providence, where she was kindly entertained by several of that town. The Indians often said that I should never have her under twenty pounds. But now the Lord hath brought her in upon free-cost, and given her to me the second time. The Lord make us a blessing indeed, each to others. Now have I seen that Scripture also fulfilled, “If any of thine be driven out to the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee. And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them which hate thee, which persecuted thee” (Deuteronomy 30.4-7). Thus hath the Lord brought me and mine out of that horrible pit, and hath set us in the midst of tender-hearted and compassionate Christians. It is the desire of my soul that we may walk worthy of the mercies received, and which we are receiving.
Our family being now gathered together (those of us that were living), the South Church in Boston hired an house for us. Then we removed from Mr. Shepard’s, those cordial friends, and went to Boston, where we continued about three-quarters of a year. Still the Lord went along with us, and provided graciously for us. I thought it somewhat strange to set up house-keeping with bare walls; but as Solomon says, “Money answers all things” and that we had through the benevolence of Christian friends, some in this town, and some in that, and others; and some from England; that in a little time we might look, and see the house furnished with love. The Lord hath been exceeding good to us in our low estate, in that when we had neither house nor home, nor other necessaries, the Lord so moved the hearts of these and those towards us, that we wanted neither food, nor raiment for ourselves or ours: “There is a Friend which sticketh closer than a Brother” (Proverbs 18.24). And how many such friends have we found, and now living amongst? And truly such a friend have we found him to be unto us, in whose house we lived, viz. Mr. James Whitcomb, a friend unto us near hand, and afar off.
I can remember the time when I used to sleep quietly without workings in my thoughts, whole nights together, but now it is other ways with me. When all are fast about me, and no eye open, but His who ever waketh, my thoughts are upon things past, upon the awful dispensation of the Lord towards us, upon His wonderful power and might, in carrying of us through so many difficulties, in returning us in safety, and suffering none to hurt us. I remember in the night season, how the other day I was in the midst of thousands of enemies, and nothing but death before me. It is then hard work to persuade myself, that ever I should be satisfied with bread again. But now we are fed with the finest of the wheat, and, as I may say, with honey out of the rock. Instead of the husk, we have the fatted calf. The thoughts of these things in the particulars of them, and of the love and goodness of God towards us, make it true of me, what David said of himself, “I watered my Couch with my tears” (Psalm 6.6). Oh! the wonderful power of God that mine eyes have seen, affording matter enough for my thoughts to run in, that when others are sleeping mine eyes are weeping.
I have seen the extreme vanity of this world: One hour I have been in health, and wealthy, wanting nothing. But the next hour in sickness and wounds, and death, having nothing but sorrow and affliction.
Before I knew what affliction meant, I was ready sometimes to wish for it. When I lived in prosperity, having the comforts of the world about me, my relations by me, my heart cheerful, and taking little care for anything, and yet seeing many, whom I preferred before myself, under many trials and afflictions, in sickness, weakness, poverty, losses, crosses, and cares of the world, I should be sometimes jealous least I should have my portion in this life, and that Scripture would come to my mind, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12.6). But now I see the Lord had His time to scourge and chasten me. The portion of some is to have their afflictions by drops, now one drop and then another; but the dregs of the cup, the wine of astonishment, like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food, did the Lord prepare to be my portion. Affliction I wanted, and affliction I had, full measure (I thought), pressed down and running over. Yet I see, when God calls a person to anything, and through never so many difficulties, yet He is fully able to carry them through and make them see, and say they have been gainers thereby. And I hope I can say in some measure, as David did, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” The Lord hath showed me the vanity of these outward things. That they are the vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit, that they are but a shadow, a blast, a bubble, and things of no continuance. That we must rely on God Himself, and our whole dependance must be upon Him. If trouble from smaller matters begin to arise in me, I have something at hand to check myself with, and say, why am I troubled? It was but the other day that if I had had the world, I would have given it for my freedom, or to have been a servant to a Christian. I have learned to look beyond present and smaller troubles, and to be quieted under them. As Moses said, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14.13).
2.9.2 Reading and Review Questions
- How does Rowlandson’s view of Providence—including God’s providence in preserving Native Americans—relate to that of Bradford’s, Winthrop’s, and Bradstreet’s? Why?
- How does Rowlandson’s theodicy compare with Winthrop’s? Why?
- What interpretation does Rowlandson give to Native American’s social behavior and practices? Consider her view of their use of tobacco—which she had herself used before her captivity.
- How and why does Rowlandson distinguish her Christian virtues and behavior from the behavior of the Native Americans towards her, and from the Christianity of what she calls Praying-Indians? Why?
- How, if at all, does Rowlandson’s captivity become a sort of felix culpa (or fortunate fall) bringing her closer to an understanding and appreciation of God’s mercies?
2.10 EDWARD TAYLOR
Little is known of Edward Taylor’s early life in England. His poetry displays a Leicestershire dialect; he was probably born in Sketchly, Leicestershire County, where his father was a yeoman farmer. He may have been educated in England. He seems to have read and been influenced by seventeenth-century English literature, including John Milton’s (1608–1674) epic poetry and the Metaphysical poetry of John Donne and George Herbert (1593–1633). Epics are long, heroic poems tied to a nation’s history. Metaphysical poetry is a type of highly intellectual, complex poetry using unexpected metaphors, incongruous imagery, and such linguistic feats as puns and paradoxes.
To escape the religious controversies and persecutions of the early 1660s and to avoid signing an oath of loyalty to the Church of England, Taylor emigrated to America in 1668. He studied at Harvard for three years and eschewed the teaching profession (that he practiced for a few years) for that of the ministry. In 1671, he was called to serve as minister at Westfield, Massachusetts, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He maintained friendships with such prominent Puritans as Increase Mather (1639–1723) and Samuel Sewall (1652–1730); married twice; fathered fourteen children; upheld Puritan theocracy; and wrote poetry.
None of his poetry was published during Taylor’s lifetime. His poems were discovered by Thomas H. Johnson in the 1930s at the Yale Library. They had been deposited there by Ezra Stiles (1727–1795), Taylor’s grandson and a President of Yale. Taylor seems to have written his poems as private devotions and communions with God. They express his rejection of worldly matters and dependence on God in his own struggle against Satan and evil. In his Preparatory Meditations, for example, Taylor prepares to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and so ponders the mystery of the incarnation, of God as flesh, and the transubstantiation of God’s blood and flesh into the wine and bread of the communion. Their variety of genres–including elegies, lyrics, and meditations–attests to his education in the classics and modern languages. Their original use of the metaphysical conceits (metaphors that yoke together two apparently highly dissimilar things), paradoxes, and puns attest to the Puritan God that was Taylor’s absolute that drew together all incongruities. The poems’ domestic details of everyday life reveal not only his Puritan faith but also seventeenth-century life in America.
2.10.1 “Prologue” to Preparatory Meditations
Lord, Can a Crumb of Earth the Earth outweigh:
Outmatch all mountains, nay the Chrystall Sky?
Imbosom in’t designs that shall Display
And trace into the Boundless Deity?
Yea, hand a Pen whose moysture doth guild ore
Eternall Glory with a glorious glore.
If it its Pen had of an Angels Quill,
And sharpend on a Pretious Stone ground tite,
And dipt in Liquid Gold, and mov’de by skill
In Christall leaves should golden Letters write,
It would but blot and blur: yea, jag and jar,
Unless thou mak’st the Pen and Scribener.
I am this Crumb of Dust which is design’d
To make my Pen unto thy Praise alone,
And my dull Phancy I would gladly grinde
Unto an Edge on Zions Pretious Stone:
And Write in Liquid Gold upon thy Name
My Letters till thy glory forth doth flame.
Let not th’ attempts breake down my Dust I pray,
Nor laugh thou them to scorn, but pardon give.
Inspire this Crumb of Dust till it display
Thy Glory through ’t: and then thy dust shall live.
Its failings then thou’lt overlook I trust,
They being Slips slipt from thy Crumb of Dust.
Thy Crumb of Dust breaths two words from its breast;
That thou wilt guide its pen to write aright
To Prove thou art, and that thou art the best,
And shew thy Properties to shine most bright.
And then thy Works will shine as flowers on Stems,
Or as in Jewellary Shops, do jems.
2.10.2 “Preface” to God’s Determination
Infinity, when all things it beheld,
In Nothing, and of Nothing all did build,
Upon what Base was fixt the Lath, wherein
He turn’d this Globe, and riggalld it so trim?
Who blew the Bellows of his Furnace Vast?
Or held the Mould wherein the world was Cast?
Who laid its Corner Stone? Or whose Command?
Where stand the Pillars upon which it stands?
Who Lac’de and Fillitted the earth so fine,
With Rivers like green Ribbons Smaragdine?
Who made the Sea’s its Selvedge, and it locks
Like a Quilt Ball within a Silver Box?
Who Spread its Canopy? Or Curtains Spun?
Who in this Bowling Alley bowld the Sun?
Who made it always when it rises set:
To go at once both down, and up to get?
Who th’ Curtain rods made for this Tapistry?
Who hung the twinckling Lanthorns in the Sky?
Who? who did this? or who is he? Why, know
It’s Onely Might Almighty this did doe.
His hand hath made this noble worke which Stands
His Glorious Handywork not made by hands.
Who spake all things from nothing; and with ease
Can speake all things to nothing, if he please.
Whose Little finger at his pleasure Can
Out mete ten thousand worlds with halfe a Span:
Whose Might Almighty can by half a looks
Root up the rocks and rock the hills by th’ roots.
Can take this mighty World up in his hande,
And shake it like a Squitchen or a Wand.
Whose single Frown will make the Heavens shake
Like as an aspen leafe the Winde makes quake.
Oh! what a might is this! Whose single frown
Doth shake the world as it would shake it down?
Which All from Nothing fet, from Nothing, All:
Hath All on Nothing set, lets Nothing fall.
Gave All to nothing Man indeed, whereby
Through nothing man all might him Glorify.
In Nothing is imbosst the brightest Gem
More pretious than all pretiousness in them.
But Nothing man did throw down all by sin:
And darkened that lightsom Gem in him,
That now his Brightest Diamond is grown
Darker by far than any Coalpit Stone.
2.10.3 “Meditation 8” (First Series)
John VI: 5i: I am the living bread.
I ken[n]ing through Astronomy Divine
The Worlds bright Battlement, wherein I spy
A Golden Path my Pensill cannot line
From that bright Throne unto my Threshold ly.
And while my puzzled thoughts about it pore,
I find the Bread of Life in’t at my doore.
When that this Bird of Paradise put in
This Wicker Cage (my Corps) to tweedle praise
Had peckt the Fruite forbid: and so did fling
Away its Food, and lost its golden dayes,
It fell into Celestiall Famine sore,
And never could attain a morsell more.
Alas! alas! Poore Bird, what wilt thou doe?
This Creatures field no food for Souls e’re gave:
And if thou knock at Angells dores, they show
An Empty Barrell: they no soul bread have.
Alas! Poore Bird, the Worlds White Loafe is done,
And cannot yield thee here the smallest Crumb.
In this sad state, Gods Tender Bowells run
Out streams of Grace: And he to end all strife,
The Purest Wheate in Heaven, his deare-dear Son
Grinds, and kneads up into this Bread of Life:
Which Bread of Life from Heaven down came and stands
Disht in thy Table up by Angells Hands.
Did God mould up this Bread in Heaven, and bake,
Which from his Table came, and to thine goeth?
Doth he bespeake thee thus: This Soule Bread take;
Come, Eate thy fill of this, thy Gods White Loafe?
Its Food too fine for Angells; yet come, take
And Eate thy fill! Its Heavens Sugar Cake.
What Grace is this knead in this Loafe? This thing
Souls are but petty things it to admire.
Yee Angells, help: This fill would to the brim
Heav’ns whelm’d-down Chrystall meele Bowle, yea and higher.
This Bread of Life dropt in thy mouth doth Cry:
Eate, Eate me, Soul, and thou shalt never dy.
2.10.4 “Medication 32” (First Series)
2.10.5 “A Fig for Thee, O Death”
2.10.6 “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children”
A Curious Knot God made in Paradise,
And drew it out inamled neatly Fresh.
It was the True-Love Knot, more sweet than spice,
And set with all the flowres of Graces dress.
Its Weddens Knot, that ne’re can be unti’de:
No Alexanders Sword can it divide.
The slips here planted, gay and glorious grow:
Unless an Hellish breath do sindge their Plumes.
Here Primrose, Cowslips, Roses, Lilies blow,
With Violets and Pinkes that voide perfumes:
Whose beautious leaves are lac’d with Hony Dew,
And Chanting birds Chirp out Sweet Musick true.
When in this Knot I planted was, my Stock
Soon knotted, and a manly flower out brake.
And after it my branch again did knot:
Brought out another Flowre: its sweet breath’d mate.
One knot gave tother and tothers place;
Thence Checkling Smiles fought in each others face.
But oh! a glorious hand from glory came,
Guarded with Angells, soon did Crop this flowre,
Which almost tore the root up of the same,
At that unlookt for, Dolesome, darksome houre.
In Pray’re to Christ perfum’de it did ascend,
And Angells bright did it to heaven tend.
But pausing on’t this Sweet perfum’d my thought,
Christ would in Glory have a Flowre, Choice, Prime.
And having Choice, chose this my branch forth brought.
Lord, take! I thanke thee, thou takst ought of mine;
It is my pledg in glory; part of mee
Is now in it, Lord, glorifi’de with thee.
But praying o’re my branch, my branch did sprout,
And bore another manly flower, and gay,
And after that another, sweet brake out,
The which the former hand soon got away.
But oh I the torture, Vomit, screechings, groans:
And six weeks fever would pierce hearts like stones.
Griefe o’re doth flow: and nature fault would finde
Were not thy Will my Spell, Charm, Joy, and Gem:
That as I said, I say, take, Lord, they’re thine:
I piecemeale pass to Glory bright in them.
I joy, may I sweet Flowers for Glory breed,
Whether thou getst them green, or lets them seed.
2.10.7 Reading and Review Questions
- In “Prologue,” when referring to himself as a poet, why does Taylor describe himself as a crumb of dust? How does this self-representation compare to those of Bradstreet’s and Wigglesworth’s?
- In “Preface to God’s Determination,” why and to what effect does Taylor present God’s creation in terms of craftsmanship and domesticity?
- What metaphors, or metaphysical conceits, does Taylor use in “Meditation 32” and “Meditation 8”? How does Taylor make their dissimilar elements similar? To what end?
- In “A Fig for Thee, O Death,” why does Taylor refer to his body as a strumpet? In what other ways does he refer to his body? What do these metaphors, or metaphysical conceits, have in common?
- In “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children,” how does Taylor console himself for the loss of his child Elizabeth? How does his consolation compare with those of Bradstreet’s for her losses?
2.11 SAMUEL SEWALL
Samuel Sewall was born in England to a wealthy family that had property in Massachusetts. Upon the Restoration of the Monarchy with Charles II’s accession to the throne, the Sewall family emigrated to New England. There, Sewall continued his education and graduated from Harvard in 1674 with an MA. Soon thereafter, he married Hannah Hull (d. 1717), daughter of the wealthy John Hull (1624–1683), Master of the Mint of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sewall remained in Boston, where he took his place as one of its wealthiest citizens. Despite his wealth, Sewall devoted much of his life to public service, a life he recorded in his now famous Diary.
Image 2.11 | Samuel Sewell
Artist | John Smybert
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
Sewall managed Boston’s printing press and served as deputy of the General Court in 1683 and as member of the Council from 1684 to 1686. He helped negotiate a restoration of the Massachusetts Charter, causing him to stay in England almost a full year. A new Charter was granted in 1692; it named Sewall as member of the Council, a position he held for thirty-three years. Also in 1692, he was appointed justice of the Superior Court; he eventually rose to be chief justice of Massachusetts (1718–1728).
Sir William Phips (1651–1695), the new governor of Massachusetts, placed Sewall as one of the three judges at the Salem witch trials (1692–1693) that condemned twelve people to death, eleven by hanging and one by pressing. Four years later, Sewall became the only one of these three judges to recant his judgment.
In 1700, he published what is thought to be the first American antislavery tract: The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial. Its title derives from the Biblical account of Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers. The title speaks to Sewall’s view that God’s covenant with Adam and Eve gave all their “heirs” liberty. He countered arguments claiming blacks’ descent from Noah’s cursed son Ham— condemned to be slave to his brothers—and pointed to the Bible’s prohibition against kidnapping, an act by which most blacks were enslaved. Sewall maintained his views against slavery in the Boston News-Letter (June 12, 1706) and expanded upon them in his Diary. This Diary, which he kept from 1673 to 1729, was not published until 1787.
Image 2.12 | Slaves working in 17th-century Virginia
Artist | Unknown
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
2.11.1 “The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial”
Forasmuch as Liberty is in real value next unto Life: None ought to part with it themselves, or deprive others of it, but upon most mature Consideration.
The Numerousness of Slaves at this day in the Province, and the Uneasiness of them under their Slavery, hath put many upon thinking whether the Foundation of it be firmly and well laid; so as to sustain the Vast Weight that is built upon it. It is most certain that all Men, as they are the Sons of Adam, are Coheirs; and have equal Right unto Liberty, and all other outward Comforts of Life. GOD hath given the Earth [with all its Commodities] unto the Sons of Adam, Psal 115. 16. And hath made of One Blood, all Nations of Men, for to dwell on all the face of the Earth; and hath determined the Times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord. Forasmuch then as we are the Offspring of GOD &c. Act 17.26, 27, 29. Now although the Title given by the last ADAM, doth infinitely better Mens Estates, respecting GOD and themselves; and grants them a most beneficial and inviolable Lease under the Broad Seal of Heaven, who were before only Tenants at Will: Yet through the Indulgence of GOD to our First Parents after the Fall, the outward Estate of all and every of the Children, remains the same, as to one another. So that Originally, and Naturally, there is no such thing as Slavery. Joseph was rightfully no more a Slave to his Brethren, then they were to him: and they had no more Authority to Sell him, than they had to Slay him. And if they had nothing to do to Sell him; the Ishmaelites bargaining with them, and paying down Twenty pieces of Silver, could not make a Title. Neither could Potiphar have any better Interest in him than the Ishmaelites had. Gen. 37. 20, 27, 28. For he that shall in this case plead Alteration of