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other churches, but he did well in not opening his commission, till there appeared a subject matter to work upon. By this means the design of a royal state, that so many honourable persons had been long travailing with proved abortive: and the persons concerned therein not long after were in danger to have fallen into a contrary extreme, by as great an errour ; viz. in cantoning the whole country into so many petty lordships, and smaller divisions, that little or nothing for the future, could for a long time be effectually carried on, amongst so many pretenders to grants of lands, charters, and patents, for want of establishing an orderly government under which all the planters might have been united for the publick and general good. For after the Parliament in the year 1621 was broken up into some discontent, the king not being well pleased with the speeches of some particular persons, that seemed to trench further on his honour and safety, than he saw meet to give way unto; and all hope of alteration in the government of the church, expected by many, being thereby taken away, several of the discreeter sort, to avoid what they saw themselves obnoxious unto at home, made use of their friends to procure liberty from the council of Plymouth to settle some colony within their limits, which was granted ; besides those of Mr. Robinson's church, which was first obtained in the west of England. And so far was the matter proceeded in, that within a short time after king James' death, a great number of people began to flock thither, insomuch that notice was so far taken thereof by the king's council, that Sir Ferdinando Gorges, (as himself relates,) who had been instrumental to draw over those that began the colonies of New Plymouth and the Massachusetts, was ordered to coufer with such as were chiefly interested in the plantation of New England, to know whether they would wholly resign to his majesty and his council their patent, leaving the sole management of their publick affairs to them, with reservation of every man's right formerly granted, or whether they would stand to the said patent, and execute the business among themselves; and to have the said patent renewed, with the reformation or addition of such things as should be found expedient. The gentlemen, to whom this proposition was made, were willing to submit all to his majesty's pleasure, yet desired that upon the resignation of their patent the whole might be divided among the patentees. This, as was said, happening about the year 1635, sundry parcels thereof that had been granted by mutual consent, were confirmed anew. By this occasion Sir William Alexander, (since earl of Sterling,) had a tract of land assigned him to the eastward from St. Croix to Pemaquid, on his account called Nova Scotia, to whom was added on some such account, Long Island, then called Mattanwake; or else he obtained it from the earl of Carlisle as is by many affirmed. Captain Mason obtained a grant for Naumkeag, about the year 1621, and the land between Naumkeag and Pascataqua, which he had confirmed in the year 1635, as is said. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, in like manner, obtained afterwards a grant for all the land from Pascataqua to Saga de Hock, which was confirmed to him by a distinct charter about the year 1639, &c. But the other divisions not being perfected in king James' days, were never looked after, and new ones were made in the beginning of king Charles' reign ; by whom were patents granted to several adventurers, which at that time presented themselves. And as some particular persons put in for their several grants, so did the merchants and other gentlemen belonging to some cities and towns, as of Shrewsbury, Dorchester, Plymouth, who obtained several grants for themselves, about the mouth and upper branches of Pascataqua river, who employed as their agent Mr. Thomson, Capt. Neale, Capt. Wiggon, and one Mr. Williams, with Mr. Samuel Maverick and others. And among the rest some knights, gentlemen, and merchants about Dorchester, by the advice of one Mr. White, an eminent preacher there, obtained a patent for all that part of New England that lies between three miles to the northward of Merrimack river, and three miles to the southward of Charles river, the seat of the Massachusetts colony; the affairs of which, principally intended for the subject of the following discourse, shall in what follows be more particularly and distinctly spoken unto in their place, after the affairs of Plymouth and the planting thereof are a little further

laid open.

CHAP. XVI. The addition of more assistants to the government of Ply,

mouth colony, with some passages most remarkable there in the years 1624, 1625.

Of the people that came along with Capt. Robert Gorges, in hope of raising their fortunes by some new colony or plantation in New England, some returned back with their captain that brought them; others went on to Virginia, either out of discontent and dislike of the country, or out of necessity for want of means to subsist longer therein: Plymouth people were not able to supply them, (having not enough for themselves.) After their own provisions were burnt up by a fire accidentally kindled by some roystering seamen, that were entertained in the common house, that belonged to the inhab. itants, where their goods were lodged. It was strongly suspected, by a long firebrand, which was found in a shed at the end of the storehouse, by some that put out the fire, that it was done on purpose. However, those of Plymouth accounted themselves bound to acknowl. edge the goodness of God in preserving their own store of ammunition and provision from a dangerous fire, (whether casually or wilfully kindled.) With such difficulties as have been forementioned was the third year concluded, after the first settling of that plantation. That which happened as most remarkable in the following year, 1624, was, first, the addition of five assistants to their governor, Mr. Bradford, upon whose motion it was donc. His judgment and prudence had now for the three years past, commended him to the highest place of rule amongst them, by the unanimous consent of all the people. But now he solemnly desired them to change the person, when they renewed their election, and to add more for help and counsel, and the better carrying on of publick affairs, using this plausible reason, that if it were any honour or benefit, it was fit that others should be made partakers thereof, and if it were a burden, (as it was judged in Jotham's parable by all the trees, save the ambitious bramble,) it was but equal that others should help to bear it. This reason was found more cogent in the succeeding colonies, when several persons were ready at hand equally fitted for the goverment, where the governor was often changed, at least in two of them, till of latter times, in which the choice of the people hath always run in the same channel, pitching upon the same person so long, if not longer, than he was well able to stand under the weight and burden thereof. And indeed, though it is safe when there is a liberty reserved for a change in case, yet too frequent making use thereof, was never found advantageous to the subjects.

But as to the people of New Plymouth in their General Court of this year, they dealt very honourably with their governour, in that having yoked five men besides himself in the government, they gave him the advantage of the yoke, by a double voice, on the casting vote. And with that number of assistants they rested contented till the year 1633, when two more were added, which number since that time, was never exceeded in any of their elections.

That which, in the second place, was looked upon as remarkable, was the safe return of their agent Mr. Edward Winslow, who being employed for the colony in occasions of great weight, now arrived there in the beginning of this year, bringing with him considerable supplies for their spiritual good, as was thought at first, as well as for their temporal. For he brought over with with him one Mr. Lyford, a minister of the gospel, upon the account of the adventurers at London, approved by them as an able minister, and willing to run the hazard of a wilderness life, to enjoy the liberty of his own judgment in matters of religion. When he came first over he was received with great joy and applause, making a [profession] of more respect and humility than the people knew well how to understand. But upon a little further experience, finding his principles in matter of church

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discipline not to suit so well with theirs, they took up a great displeasure against him, and could not be contented till they had shut their hands of him, alleging things against him of another nature, than difference of his judgment. For some that kept the records of their principal affairs, have left a very bad character of him, as of one that was not only very fickle and inconstant in his judgment about the things of religion, but as one that wanted soundness and uprightness in his practice and conversation. For at his first receiving into the church, they say he blessed God for such an opportunity of liberty and freedom from his former disorderly walking, and sundry corruptions he had been entangled with, yet in short time after fell into acquaintance with Mr. Oldham, and was partner with him in all his (as those of Plymouth accounted them) seditious after-practices, growing both of them very perverse, and drawing as many as they could into the same faction with them, though of the viler and looser sort, (a thing too common where faction, either in church or state doth much prevail, witness the experience of the perilous times in these latter as well as in former days,) feeding themselves and others with vain hopes of what they should bring to pass in England by means of the adventurers, who since, as they of that place account, have proved adversaries to the plantation. It is said also, that they who were of the faction writ many private letters to England full of complaints against the colony and church of Plymouth, using great endeavors to turn things about to another form of government, at least to some considerable alteration therein. But the governnour outwitted them, finding a handsome way to get either their letters or copies of them, before the return of the ship in which they were to be sent; whereby both the principal actors, and all their confederates were easily convicted, as soon as ever they were called to an account. Whereupon sentence was passed upon them, more favourably as some report, than their fact deserved, yet such as required their departures out of the colony within a short time after, and not to return without leave. Yet at the next court of election, in the year 1625, Mr. Oldham returned without license, set on by others as was thought,

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