« הקודםהמשך »
day the hopefullest company of christian Indians do live within the bounds of Plymouth Colony.
But to return to the state of the civil affairs of this our new plantation: the first part of this lustre being thus run out without any considerable matter acted in the plantation, the following or second year put thern upon some further attempts for setting things in a way of better subsistence. For in the first place Mr. Isaac Allerton was sent to England to make a final issue, by composition or otherwise, of the matter depending there between the adventurers and the plantation, according to what had been the year before begun by Capt. Standish : accordingly the said Allerton returned in the usual season of the following year, when he dispatched the affair he was imployed in according to expectation. But for matters at home among themselves, in the said year 1627, in the first place they apprehended a necessity of granting a larger distribution of land, than ever yet they had done : for it seems hitherto they had allowed to each person but one acre for his propriety, besides his homestead, or garden plot, that they might the better keep together, for more safety and defence, and better improvement of the general stock, therein following the prudent example of the conquering Romans in their first beginings, when every man contented himself with two acres of land, or as much ground as he could till in one day ; thence it came to pass with them, that the word Jugerum was used to signify the quantity of an acre with us, i.e. so much as a yoke of oxendid usually eare (from the Latin arare) in one day. And amongst them he was looked at, as a dangerous person, that did aspire to more than seven such acres : the reason of which division among the Romans seems rather to be taken from the good quality of the soil, than the greatness or quantity of the portion, it being more than probable that seven acres of their land well inprov. ed would bring forth more good grain, than four times that number in or about Patuxet, now called Plymouth. But to be short, our friends in this their second distribution did arise but to twenty acres a man, i. e. five, acres in breadth at the water side, and four in breadth upwards toward the main land. Resolving to keep such a mean in the division of their lands, as should not hinder the growth of the plantation by the accession of others, to be added to their number, which example and practice it had been well for New England it had been longer followed; for then probably, though they had had fewer plantations, those which they had would have more easily been defended against the barbarous assaults of their savage and cruel enemies.
During this time the painful and diligent labour of this poor people is not to be forgotten, who all this while were forced to pound their corn in mortars, not having ability in their hands to erect other engines to grind, by the help either of the winds or water, as since hath been commonly obtained.
This year also happened a memorable accident (recorded by the inhabitants themselves) of a ship with many passengers bound for Virginia, who having lost themselves at sea, (either through the insufficiency, or bodily inability of the master and his men, or numbers of the passengers, the scurvy having strangely infected the bodies or minds of the whole company,) did in the night stumble over the shoals of Cape Cod, and the next day were forced over a sandy bar
that lay at the mouth of a small harbour in Merrimack Bay, by which means their ? lives were all preserved. For news thereof being brought to the governour of Plymouth, he afforded them assistance to repair their vessel, but for want of good mooring, she was forced ashore, where at last she laid her bones; the company being all courteously entertained by the inhabitants, till they could get themselves transported to their intended
all but some that remained as monuments of special mercy in the country, where they had been so eminently delivered.
This year (1627) likewise began an intercourse of trade between our friends of New Plymouth, and a plantation of the Dutch, that had a little before settled them. selves upon Hudson's river, Mr. Isaac De Rosier, the Dutch Secretary, being sent to congratulate the English at Plymouth in their enterprise, desiring a mutual cor
respondency, in way of traffick and good neighbourhood, upon account of the propinquity of their native soil and long continued friendship between the two nations, This overture was courteously accepted, by the govern, our and people of New Plymouth, and was the foun, dation of an advantageous trade that in following years was carried on between the English in these parts, and the said plantation of the Dutch, to their mutual benefit, But whatever were the honey in the mouth of that beast of trade, there was a deadly sting in the tail. For it is said, they first brougiit our people to the knowledge of Wampampeag; and the acquaintance therewith occasioned the Indians of these parts to learn the skill to make it, by which, as by the exchange of money, they purchased store of artillery, both from the English, Dutch, and French, wbich hath proved a fatal business to those that were concerned in it. It seems the trade thereof was at first by strict proclamation prohibited by the king. “Sed quid non mortalia pectora cogis ? Auri sacra fames !" “The love of money is the root of all evil.” No banks will keep out the swelling sea of their exorbitant desire, that make haste to be rich, which is ready to drown men's bodies as well as souls in perdition, that are resolved so to be, right or wrong. For the remaining years of this second lustre, little else is kept in mind, by any of the inhabitants, worth the communicating to posterity, savę the death of some principal men that had borne a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of first settliug the plantation ; such as Mr. Richard Warren and others, who ended their pilgrimage here on earth; and after much labour and anxiety, both of body and mind, quietly fell asleep in the Lord. Foundation and corner stones, though buried, and lying low under ground, and so out of sight, ought not to be out of mind ; seeing they sup. port and bear up the weight of the whole building. “The memory of the just shall be blessed.”
During all this lustre also the people of Plymouth held the same course in their elections; nor did they make any alteration till the year 1633, when Mr. Edward Winslow was first chosen governour,
But for as much, as about the beginning of this lustre, at least before it was half run out, the Massachusetts bay was begun to be planted ; so that after 1628 the history of the affairs of New England is to be turned into that channel ; we must in what follows look a little back, till we come to the springhead of that stream, and take notice of every turn of Providence that heiped to raise or increase that broad river with streams; of which more in the next and following chapters.
About September, 1630, was one Billington executed at Plymouth for murther. When the world was first peopled, and but one family to do that, there was yet too many to live peaceably together; so when this wilderness be. gan first to be peopled by the English, when there was but one poor town, another Cain was found therein, who maliciously slew his neighbour in the field, as he accidentally met him, as himself was going to shoot deer. The poor fellow perceiving the intent of this Billington, his mortal enemy, sheltered himself behind trees as well as he could for a while ; but the other not being so ill a marksman as to miss his aim, made a shot at him, and struck him on the shoulder, with which he died soon after. The murtherer expected that either for want of power to execute for capital offences, or for want of people to increase the plantation, he should have his life spared; but justice otherwise determined, and rewarded him, the first murtherer of his neighbour there, with the deserved pun. ishment of death, for a warning to others.
CHAP. XVIII. The discovery and first planting of the Massachusetts.
SEVERAL mariners, and several persons skilled in navigation, (whether employed by others in a way of fishing and trading, or to satisfy their own humours, in making further and more exact discoveries of the coun. try, is not material,) had some years before looked down into the Massachusetts Bay. The inhabitants of New Plymouth had heard the iame thereof, and in the first
year after their arrival there, took an occasion to visit it, guining some acquaintance with the natives of the place, in order to future traffick with them ; for which purpose something like an habitation was set up at Nantaskit, a place judged then most commodious for such an end. There Mr. Roger Conant, with some few others, after Mr. Lyford and Mr. Oldham, were (for some offence, real or supposed) discharged for having any thing more to do at Plymouth, found a place of retirement and reception for themselves and families, for the space of a year and some few months, till a door was opened for them at Cape Anne, a place on the other side of the bay, (more convenient for those that belong to the tribe of Zebulon, than for those that chose to dwell in the tents of Issachar,) whither they removed about the year 1625. After they had made another short trial there, of about a year's continuance, they removed a third time a little lower towards the bottom of the bay, being invited by the accommodations which they either saw or hoped to find on the other side of a creck near by, called Naumkeag, which afforded a considerable quantity of planting land near adjoining thereto. Here they took up their station upon a pleasant and fruitful neck of land, invironed with an arm of the sea on each side, in either of which vessels and ships of good burthen might safely anchor. In this place, (soon after by a minister that came with a company of honest planters,) called Salem, from that in Psal. lxxvi. 2. was laid the first foundation on which the next colonies were built. The occasion which led them to plant here, shall be mentioned afterwards. For the better carrying on the story of which, mention must in the first place be made of what was doing on the other side of the bay, towards Plymouth, by a company of rude people there, left by one Capt. Wollaston, called Mount Wollaston, from his name that first possessed it; but since, it is by the inhabitants, after it arose to the perfection of a township or village, called Braintree. This captain, not taking notice of the great estate and whole stock of credit which Mr. Weston had not long before shipwrecked at a place near by, called Wessagus