« PreviousContinue »
[I now will come to the year 1629.
THIS year we had divers of our friends of Leyden come to us, as had long been desired, both of them and us, and by the good providence of God and the willing mindedness of our friends, was now in part effected, as will appear by this letter following.]
To my worthy and well beloved friend, Mr. WILLIAM BRADFORD, &c.
OST loving and most respected Sir, having but two days past parted from my dear and only daughter, by reason whereof ma ture forceth me to be full of grief and heaviness (though otherwise, I bless God, I have cause to rejoice) be entreated therefore, to accept these few lines: First I acknowledge myself much engaged unto you for your love and care over my kinsman; be entreated to enlarge my score by the continuance thereof and as you for your particular have occasion, make use of me, and I hope the Lord will direct my heart not to be unthankful, nor unmindful of your love. Here are now many
of your friends from Leyden coming over, which though for the most part they be but a weak company, yet herein is a good part of that end obtained which was first aimed at, and which hath been so strongly opposed by some of our former adventurers; but God hath his working in these things, which man cannot frustrate: With them also we have sent some servants, or in the ship that went lately (I think called the Talbot) and this that these come in, is the May-flower. Now Mr. Andrews, Mr. Beauchamp, and myself, are with your love and liking, joined partners with you; the like is Mr. Collier, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Hatherly, but they no doubt will write unto you: but Mr. Andrews and Mr. Beauchamp rely wholly on me; they are such as Mr. Hatherly could take up, for whose care and pains you and we are much beholden unto him; we have disbursed the charges of setting them out and transporting them over, and what allowance or agreement you and your assistants please to make with us, we will accept of; nay, if you think meet, we should make them up two a piece, because our persons are absent, we will consent to what you do, and, upon your letter and answer, make good what we are too short, or what you desire herein; Mr. Hatherly hath bound them, some upon one condition, and some upon another, as they could agree. I doubt not but beaver will continue a good price still, at 15 or 16 shillings per pound; it is daily more and more worn here; besides we have now peace with France, so as now much will be carried thither; and there is some likelihood for a peace with Spain; I pray God it may be for our good, which is much to be feared: Thus not being fit to write at this time, I shall cease with my love, and my wife's, most kindly remembered to you and yours, &c.
Your loving friend to command,
[THESE persons were in all thirty-five, which came at this time unto us from Leyden, whose charge out of Holland into England, and in England till the ship was ready, and then their transportation hither, came to a great deal of money; for besides victuals and other expenses they were all newly appareled, for there was bought for them
Of Kersey, and other cloth,
Besides hats and other necessaries needful for them; and after their coming here, it was 16 months before they could reap any harvest, all which time they were kept at our charge, which was not small. As the Lord sent these unto us, both to their and our comfort, so at the same time he sent many other godly persons into the land, as the beginning of a plentiful harvest, as will appear more fully hereafter: So as the delay of our friends was now recompensed with a large increase, to the honour of God and joy of all good men; these began to pitch at Naumkeak, since called by them Salem, to which place was come, in the latter end of summer before, a worthy gentleman Mr. John Endicott by name, and some others with him, to make some preparation for the rest; to whom (by some that came hither from thence) I had occasion to write unto him, though unknown by face, or any other way, but as I had heard of his worth, from whom I received this letter following.]
To the worshipful and my right worthy friend, WILLIAM BRADFORD, Esq. Governour of New Plymouth, these.
Right Worthy Sir,
T is a thing not usual, that servants to one master and of the same household should be strangers; I assure you I desire it not, nay to speak more plainly, I cannot be so to you: God's people are marked with one and the same mark, and sealed with one and the same seal, and have for the main one and the same heart, guided by one and the same spirit of truth; and where this is, there can be no discord, nay, here must needs be sweet harmony; and the same request (with you) I make unto the Lord, that we may, as christian brethren, be united by an heavenly and unfeigned love, bending all our hearts and forces in furthering a work beyond our strength with reverence and fear, fastening our eyes always on him that only is able to direct and prosper all our ways. I acknowledge myself much bound to you, for your kind love and care, în sending Mr. Fuller amongst us, and rejoice much that I am by him satisfied, touching your judgments, of the outward form of God's worship; it is (as far as I can yet gather) no other than is warranted by the evidence of truth, and the same which I have professed and maintained, ever since the Lord in mercy revealed himself unto me, being far differing from the common report that hath been spread of you touching that particular; but God's children must not look for less here below, and it is the great mercy of God that he strengthens them, to go through with it. I
shall not need at this time to be tedious unto you, for, God willing, I purpose to see your face shortly: In the mean time I humbly take my leave of you, committing you to the Lord's blessed protection, and rest, Your assured loving friend and servant,
Naumkeak, May 11, Anno 1629.
[NOW shortly after the writing of this letter came these people before mentioned, and quickly grew into church order, and set themselves roundly to walk in all the ways of God as will appear by this letter following.]
To the Worshipful, his worthy and much respected friend, Mr. BRADFORD, Governour of Plymouth, these.
[OST worthy and much respected friend, Mr. Bradford; I with my wife remember our service unto you and yours, thanking you most humbly for your great kindness, when we were at Plymouth with you Sir, I make bold to trouble you with a few lines, for to certify you, how it hath pleased God to deal with us, since you heard from us; how notwithstanding all opposition, that hath been here and elsewhere, it hath pleased God to lay a foundation, the which I hope is agreeable to his word, in every thing: The 20th of July, it pleased God to move the heart of our governour, to set it apart for a solemn day of humiliation for the choice of a pastor and teacher; the former part of the day being spent in praise and teaching; the latter part was spent about the election, which was after this manner; the persons thought on (who had been ministers in England) were demanded concerning their callings; they acknowledged there was a two-fold calling, the one an inward calling, when the Lord moved the heart of a man to take that calling upon him, and fitted him with gifts for the same; the second (the outward calling) was from the people, when a company of believers are joined together in covenant, to walk together in all the ways of God, every member (being men) are to have a free voice in the choice of their officers, &c. Now we being persuaded that these two were so qualified as the apostle speaks of to Timothy, where he saith a bishop must be blameless, sober, apt to teach, &c. I think I may say as the eunuch said unto Philip, what should let him from being baptised, seeing there was water, and he believed; so these two servants of God clearing all things by their answers (and being thus fitted) we saw no reason but that we might freely give our voices for their election after this trial: Their choice was after this manner, every fit member wrote, in a note, his name whom the Lord moved him to think was fit for a pastor, and so likewise, whom they would have for teacher; so the most voice was for Mr. Skelton to be pastor, and Mr. Higginson to be teacher; and they accepting the choice, Mr. Higginson, with three or four more of the gravest members of the church, laid their hands on Mr. Skelton, using prayers therewith. This being done, then there was imposition
of hands on Mr. Higginson: Then there was proceeding in election of elders and deacons, but they were only named, and laying on of hands deferred, to see if it pleased God to send us more able men over; but since Thursday, (being, as I take it, the 5th of August) is appointed for another solemn day of humiliation, for the full choice of elders and deacons and ordaining them; now, good Sir, I hope, that you and the rest of God's people (who are acquainted with the ways of God) with you, will say that here was a right foundation laid, and that these two blessed servants of the Lord came in at the door, and not at the window : And thus I have made bold to trouble you with these few lines, desiring you to remember us to Mr. Brewster, Mr. Smith, Mr. Fuller, and the rest of the church; so I rest, at your service in what I may till death, CHARLES GOTT. Salem, July 30, Anno 1629.
[BUT now I will return again to Mr. Shirley's letters, and see what he saith to our last agreement.]
To his worthy and approved loving friend, Mr. WILLIAM BRADFORD, governour of Plymouth in New England, these,
Most worthy Sir, and my continual loving friend, Mr. BRAdford,
OUR letters of the 21st of May, from Plymouth, and of the 6th of
your health and welfare, and all your friends, for which great mercies and blessings the Lord make us thankful. For answer of your loving letter and the many thanks for small courtesies, I say, in a word, I would I had power and ability to do for you and all honest men with you, according to my will and desire; but though I came short in the former, I hope the Lord will continue my love in affection, and that you will accept of what I can do: Your deputation we have received, and the goods have been taken up and sold by your faithful agent, Mr. Allerton, myself having been in Holland near three months this summer, at Amsterdam and other places, about my affairs: I see further the agreement you have made with the generality, in which I cannot understand but you have done very well, both for them and you, and also for your friends at Leyden ; Mr. Beauchamp, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Hatherly, and myself, do so like it and approve of it, as we are willing to join with you in it, and, as it shall please God to direct and enable us, will be assisting and helpful to you the best that possibly we can: Nay, had you not taken this course, I do not see how you should have accomplished the end you first aimed at, and some others endeavoured these years past: We know it must keep us from the profit, which otherwise, by the blessing of God and
your endeavours, might be gained; for most of those which came in May last unto you, as also these now sent, though I hope honest and good people, yet not like to be helpful to raise profit; but rather, nay certain, must, a good while, be chargeable to you and us; at which it is likely, had not this wise and discreet course been taken, many of your generality would have grudged: Again you say well in your letter (and I make no doubt but you will perform it) that now being but few on whom the burden must be, you will both manage it the tytter and set to it more cheerfully, having no discontents nor contradic)ion, but so lovingly joined together in affection and counsel, as God no doubt but will bless and prosper your honest labours and endeavours: and therefore in all respects I do not see but you have done marvellously, Discreetly, and advisedly, and no doubt but it gives all parties good content, I mean that are reasonable and honest men, such as make conscience in. giving the best satisfaction they are able for their debt, and that regard not their own particular, so much as the accomplishing of that good end for which this business was first intended.
Sir, for our business I shall refer you to our general letter, which way of advice I would entreat you to use, and write a general letter, naming therein Mr. Beauchamp, Mr. Andrews, and Mr. Hatherly, with myself, though, this time, they did not, nay, Mr. Hatherly would, but could not, write to you. Sir, I must of force break off. My wife desires to be remembered to you and yours, and I think she hath put up a small token (as a pair of stockings) for you; thus desiring the Lord to bless and prosper you, and all your, and our honest endeavours, I ever rest Your unfeigned and ever loving friend, JAMES SHIRLEY.
March 8, Anno 1629. P. S. Mr. Bradford, give me leave to put you in mind of one thing; here are many of your Leyden people now come over, and though I have ever had good thoughts of them, yet believe not every one, what they shall report of Mr. Allerton; he hath been a trusty honest friend to you all, either there or here: And if any do (as I know some of them are apt to) speak ill of him, believe them not. Indeed they have been unreasonably chargeable, yet grudge and are not contented: Verily their indiscreet carriage here hath so abated my affection towards them, as were Mrs. Robinson well over, I would not disburse one penny for the
[This offence was given by some of them, which redounded to the prejudice of the whole; and indeed our friends which sent this latter company were to blame; for they now sent all the weakest and poorest, without any of note and better discretion and government amongst them, contrary to our minds and advice; for they thought, if these were got over, the other might come when they would; but partly this distaste, but especially the great charge, which both these companies came to, coming so near together, put a bar in the way for though this