תמונות בעמוד


by his merciful providence prevented the danger, which by that false, underhand dealing they were exposed unto. For, meeting with sundry difficulties and obstruc, tions, which is usual in things of that nature, it was long before they could all be removed ; - besides which they met with bad weather at first setting out to sea, which forced them to turn into harbours twice before they could clear the land's end, and at last were forced to dismiss one of the ships designed for the voyage, insomuch that it was the 6th of September before they last put to sea, which made it near the middle of November before they made any land; which after they had discovered, they were altogether ignorant where it was, or whether there was any commodious place near by, where to begin a plantation: but in all these changes, whatever were the malice or fraudulency of instruments, the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence was to be acknowledged that at the last found out a resting place for them, by sending the Angel of his presence to go before them, and safely conduct them through so many dangers and deaths. It is also very remarkable and worthy of consideration, that if they had, according to their intention and desire, been carried to Hudson's River, the Indians in those parts were so numerous and sturdy in their disposition, and if they landed, so many ways enfeebled, that they could never have defended themselves against them; whereas, in the place where they were now landed, a convenient situation was prepared for their reception, by the removal of the former inbabitants, who were late!y swept away by a strange kind of mortality, which happened the year before. After the disappearing of the blazing star in the west, in the year 1619, the observation of which towards the west, made Mr. Brigges, that famous mathematician, conclude that some notable event was like to ensue, betokening the death of the natives in those parts. Whateverwere in his presage or in the ground thereof, the matter so came to pass, not one in ten of the Indians in those parts surviving, so that they were unable, though they had never so much resolved to have made resistance. Our Saviour Christ, foretelling the destruction of the Jews, yet out of humane or natural compassion, wished them to pray their flight might not be in the winter ; yet such was the dispensation of the Almighty towards this poor despised company, that having hardly escaped the dangers of many violent and furi. ous storms at sea, they were no sooner set on shore, but they were immediately called to encounter with hard and rough weather, in a desert and barren land, upon the very edge of winter. The sun had now by his late declination, withdrawn his delightful beams, giving them but short visits, after tedious long and cold nights, many times brought in with boisterous storms of snow or rain. The earth was also dismantled of all its comely and pleasant ornaments, observed by the first discoverers, in the summer time, by the early approach of hard and sharp frosts presenting them with no other aspect than the ruthful and weather beaten face of winter. The bar. barians the Apostle Paul fell amongst after long storms and dangerous shipwrecks, as it is said in the Acts, shew. ed them no small kindness, kindling them a fire, and suffered them to gather bundles of sticks themselves for that end; whereas these barbarous savages were at the first not willing to spare them any bundle or stick, but such as were turned into arrows, and improved not to warm, but to wound their new come guests; the remembrance of which consideration remains yet in some of their minds; who, after a long passage over the vast and wide ocean, were at their first landing entertained with no other sight than that of the withered grass on the surface of the cold earth; and the grim looks of the savage enemies. Surely such passengers or pilgrims, had need of some other more inward support and comfort the world is not acquainted with. They had need of a good conscience with. in, to administer matter for a continual feast to feed upon, that are thus bereft of all other outward supplies where. with to sustain their hearts, Habak. iii. 17, 18. It would have tried the faith of Abraham, when sent from Ur of the Chaldees (a region bordering upon the confines of Paradise as some conceive) if he had been directed to the Arabian wilderness, and not into the land flowing with milk and honey. But they that had the same faith which Abraham had, were, when put upon the trial, not unwilling to follow the conduct of Divine Providence into a land not sown, not knowing indeed, as it might truly be said, whither they went, yet hoping that God, [who] by his especial guidance, had brought them into a wilderness, would not be a wilderness unto them therein, as since they have found.

Mr. Robinson, their faithful pastor, at their last parting in Holland, wrote a letter to the whole company, wherein he gave them much seasonable advice,and many wholesome directions, needful to be observed by such as undertook a work which now they had in hand, which is as followeth in page 6 of Mr. Morton's Memorial.* Accordingly, as soon as they came to an anchor in the harbour of Cape Cod, which was on November the 9th, 1620-considering how necessary government would be, and to prevent any inconveniency that might arise for want thereof, and finding their patent was made void and useless to them, now they were landed in another place,they resolved by mutual consent, for the better carrying on their affairs, to enter into a solemn combination, as a body politic, to submit to such government, laws and ordinances, as should, by general consent from time to time, be agreed upon; which was accordingly put in practice on the (Morton, page 15,) foresaid day, before any of them went ashore, by signing the Instrument here following, * with all their hands that were of any note in the company, bearing date the 10th November, 1620. And soon after, Mr. John Carver was chosen Governour, for the following year; a gentleman not only well approved for his piety and religion, but well qualified also with civil prudence, for the managing of the place of rule and government amongst them. Their own necessity also, as well as the master and mariners importunity, did in the next place put them upon a speedy looking out for a place where to take up their habitations. To that end, while the carpenters were fitting up their shallop, 16 of them that were most hearty and strong after so long and tedious a voyage

These papers are not in the MS. copy. Ed.

the winter drawing on apace, it put them upon an anxious dispute whether to tarry where they were, a place fit on. ly for anchoring ships, or to remove to this branch of a Creek, which though farther 'up into the country, upon the present experiment they made, called Cornhill, yet could harbour nothing but boats. In fine, they resolved to make a third discovery on December the 6th, wherein they met with much difficulty upon sundry accounts, both of wind and weather, together with a dangerous assault from the Indians, one of whom was so resolute as to stand three shots of a musket, after the rest fled; until one taking a full aim, made the splinters fly about his ears, off the tree, behind which he sheltered himself. Some report he was wounded on the arm, as he was drawing an arrow out of his quiver, which made him sensible that a tree that could keep off a hundred arrows, was a slender defence against the English artillery; thus being mercifully delivered, in remembrance thereof they called that place ever after, the First Encounter,leaving of which they coasted along in their shallop, divers leagues, till by a storm that arose, they were in danger of all being cast away, by a mistake of the pilot, who could not distinguish between the Gurnet's Nose, and the mouth of Sagaguabe harbour. But he that sits at the helm of all his people's affairs, guided them into the right harbour, when all other help failed; for when the pilot and the master's mate, saying his eyes never saw the place before, would have run the boat ashore before the wind, in a cove full of breakers, in a rainy season, to the hazard, if not the loss of all their lives, a stout hearted seaman that steered, cried out to them that rowed, if they were men, about with her, else they were all cast away ; the which they did with all speed; so then he bid them be of good cheer, and row hard, for there was a fair sound before them, which he doubted not but it would afford them one place or other wherein to ride safely; whose words they found soon after, to their great comfort, very true, for they presently got under the lee of a small island, where they rode quietly all night. In the morning, they found it to be an island which they understood rot before; from thence forward they called it Clark's Island, from the name of the mate, so called, that first stepped ashore thereon ; where with much ado they kindled a fire to relieve themselves against the extremity of the cold. This being the last day of the week, they rested there the Lord's day : but on the next day, sounding the harbour, they found it convenient for shipping, as they did the land round about commodious for silua. tion, in meeting there with many cornfields, severed with pleasant brooks of running and wholesome water—the fittest place which yet they had seen, where to make a place of habitation ; at least the season of the year, together with their own necessity, made them so to judge; and the news of it was no small comfort to the rest of their people, insomuch that immediately after their return they weighed anchor, and the next day, viz. December 16, they arrived in the said harbour, newly discovered the week before; which having viewed well the second time, they resolved for the future not only there to winter, but to pitch their dwelling; and on the 25th of the same month were as cheerfully employed in building their first house for common use, as their friends were elsewhere about their cheer, according to the custom of the day. After some little time spent in unlading their goods, which at that time of the year was very difficult, for want of boats and other helps, they began to erect every one some small habitation for themselvessicknesses and diseases increasing very much amongst them, by reason of the hard weather and many uncomfortable voyages in searching after a place wherein to settle, occasioning them to be much in the cold, with the inconveniency of the former harbours, that compelled them to wade much in the water upon every turn, by reason whereof many were seized with desperate coughs, as others with scurvy and such like diseases; that in the three next months after their landing, they lost one half if not two thirds of their company, both passengers and seamen.

Such were the solemn trials that God was pleased to acquaint them with in their first adventure, the more to exercise their faith and patience, and daily to re

« הקודםהמשך »