תמונות בעמוד

carrying it very badly withal, and giving too much vent to his unruly passions, which forced the court to commit him till he was tamer, and then they granted him an honourable passport through a military * * guard, toward the place where he was to take boat, yet using no worse word as he passed by, than bidding him amend his manners, which it is reported that afterwards he did, drawn thereunto by divine conviction in a sad storm; upon which he confessed his miscarriages, and was afterward permitted to come and go at his pleasure, and as his occasions led him, spending his time for the general in trading with the Indians, amongst whom afterwards he lost his life, which was one occasion of the Pequod war, as shall be declared afterwards.

As for Mr. Lyford, who was sent over for their minister, it is said, that after his dismission from Plymouth, he never returned thither again ; but took up his station first at Nantasket, whither some of his most charitable friends repaired with him, affording him the best encouragement they could for his support, during his abode with them. However, Mr. Lyford, finding the company to be but small, and unable to do much for hinn, and he unable to do any thing for himself, and seeing little hopes of the addition of more to them, removed soon after to Virginia, where he ended his days. Some that came over with him, that knew nothing of the wickedness he was guilty of in Ireland, out of too much charity judged of him much better than ever he deserved, both of him and of Mr. Oldham, and speaks in a manner quite contrary to what is recorded in New England's Memorial : and that his greatest errour, and that which made him and the rest be looked upon as so great offenders amongst them, was, their antipathy against the way of the separation, wherein those of Plymouth had been trained up under Mr. Robinson. As to other things, some of their friends yet surviving do affirm, upon their own knowledge, that both the forenamed persons were looked upon as seemingly, at least, religious: and that the first occasion of the quarrel with them was, the baptizing of Mr. Hilton's child, who was not joined

[ocr errors]

to the church at Plymouth: which, if there were any tolerable ground that it should pass for a truth, the terms of wickedness wherewith their practices are branded in the Memorial of New England seem a little, if not much too harsh, for according to the old rule, “ de mortuus nil nisi lene," speak well of the dead. The difference of men's principles and disadvantages of their natural temper (wherein they are apt much to be misled in the managing of their designs,) ought rather, when there is sin. cerity, to be imputed to the weakness of their virtues, than the wickedness of their vices. Whatever may be said this way about the present difference amongst the planters of Plymouth colony, the sad effects of that storm were not so soon over, as the story of the things said or done was told. A small tempest may hazard the loss of a weak vessel, as an inconsiderable distemper may much endanger the welfare of a crazy body. For it seems sundry of the adventurers, more studious of their profit than the advancing of the religion of the separation, were pretty stiffy engaged in the business; and from that time ever after withdrew their supplies, leaving the plantation to shift for itself, and stand or fall as it could. Yet this was their comfort, that when man forsook them, God took them up, succeeding their after endeavours with his blessing in such wise, that they were in some measure able to subsist of themselves ; especially for that, within a while after, thoy began to be furnished with neat cattle, the first brood of which was brought to Plymouth by Mr. Winslow, in the year 1624.

In the year following, viz. 1625, they fell into a way of trading with the Indians more eastward, about the parts of Kennebeck; being provided of so much corn by their own industry at home, that they were able, to their no small advantage, to lend or send rather to those in other parts, who by reason of the coldness of the country used not to plant any for themselves. For what was done this year, with reference to Kennebeck, proved an inlet to a further trade that way, which was found very beneficial to the plantation afterwards.

One other passage of Providence is here also taken

notice of, by the inhabitants of Plymouth, Anno 1625; a very remarkable one. The adventurers, having left this their new colony to subsist of itself, and trade up and down the world, before it was well able at home to stand alone, did notwithstanding send two ships upon a fishing design upon the coast that year. In the lesser of them was sent home by the plantation to the merchants, the adventurers, a good quantity of beaver and other furs, to make payment for a parcel of goods sent them before, upon extreme rates; but the said vessel, though in company of the other that was bigger, all the way over, and shot deep into the English channel, yet was then surprised by a Turk’s man of war, and carried into Sallee, where the said furs were sold for a groat a piece, which was as much too cheap, as the adventurers' goods, by which they were produced, were thought by the purchasers to be too dear; the master and his men being made slaves into the bargain, which both adventurers and planters had reason much to bewail.

In the bigger of the said ships was Capt. Miles Standish sent over as agent for the plantation, to make an end of some matters of difference yet depending betwixt them and the merchants of London, their correspondents, as also to promote some business with the hon. ourable council of New England; both which, notwithstanding the difficulty he met withal, relating to those occasions by reason of the pestilence then rife at Lon. don, were happily accomplished by him, so far as he left things in a hopeful way of composition with the one, and a promise of all helpfulness and favour from the other. By this turn of Providence the common opinion of Providence is confuted, of men's venturing their persons where they venture their estates. Had Capt. Standish so done, he had been carried to a wrong port, from which he had certainly made a bad return for their ad. vantage that sent him out, as well as his own; for his goods were sent home in the small vessel, taken by the men of Sallee, (where the beaver skins were sold but for a groat apiece,) but he wisely embarked himself for greater safety in the bigger vessel, and so arrived in safety at his desired port.

[ocr errors]


Affairs in the colony of New Plymouth, political and eccle-
siastical, during the second lustre of years, viz. from
March 26, 1626, to March 26, 1631.

The first year of this second lustre was ushered in to the church of New Plymouth with the doleful news of the death of Mr. John Robinson, their faithful and beloved pastor, about the fiftieth year of his age, who with the rest of the church was left behind at Leyden, when these transported themselves into America ; which was yet made more grievous by the report of the loss of some of their other friends and relations, swept away by the raging pestilence aforesaid : which happening together with the forementioned losses suffered by their friends, much increased the sorrow of their hearts; so that it turned their joy which the safe arrival of their agent, Capt. Standish, called for, into much heaviness. They having thereby the experience of the apostle's words verified upon them, sorrowing most of all, for that they must now conclude they should see his face no more. For before the arrival of these sad tidings, they were not without all hope of sceing his face in New England, notwithstanding the many obstructions laid in the way, by some ill affected persons as they conceived. He was, as it seemed, highly respected of his people, (now dispersed into two companies, further asunder than was Dothan and Hebron,) as they were also of him. That which was the principal remora that de. tained hiin with the rest in Holland is not mentioned by any of his friends here, yet may it easily be supposed, viz. the sad difficulties, and sore trials, that his friends in New England had hitherto been encountered withal; so as those that were here could not seriously advise him and the rest to follow them, till things were brought to some better settlement in this their new plantation, together with some back friends that did all they could to obstruct his coming over.

The temptations of a wilderness, though not invincible, yet may be very hard to overcome; witness the experience of Israel

of old, who were only to pass through it, and not first plant it, as were those here. The small hopes these had of their pastor's coming over to them, being heretofore revived by the new approach of the shipping every spring, possibly niade them more slow in seeking out for another supply, as also more difficult in their choice of any other. But these hopes being now quite extinct, they found it no easy matter to pitch upon a meet person at so great a distance: nor was it easy to have obtained him whom they might have chosen, and therefore were they constrained to live without the supply of that office, making good use of the abilities of their ruling elder, Mr. Brewster, who was qualified both to rule well, and also to labour in the word and doctrine, although he could never be persuaded to take upon him the pastoral office, for the administration of the sacraments, &c. In this way they continued till the year 1629, when one Mr. Ralph Smith, who came over into the Massachusetts, and finding no people there that stood in any need of his labours, he was easily persuaded to remove to Plymouth; him they called to exercise the office of a pastor, more induced thereunto possibly by his approving the rigid way of the separation principles, than any fitness for the office he undertook; being niuch overmatched by him that he was joined with in the presbytery, both in the pointof discretion to rule, and aptness to teach, soas through many infirmities, being found unable to discharge the trust committed to him with anycompetent satisfaction, he was forced soon af. ter to lay it down. Many times it is found thata total vacan. cy of an office is easier to be borne, than an under-perfor. mance thereof. However those of Plymouth comforted themselves, that they had the honour to set an example for others to imitate, and lay the foundation for those that came after, to build upon-scil. to raise up the tab. ernacle of David in those days of the earth, not that was fallen down, but that which was never set up there before, that this last residue of the Gentiles in America, might seek after God, at least have an opportunity to turn unto him, before their times should be fulfilled. And at this

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »