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abuse his allegiance and loyalty to him, no more should you; the evil of us here cannot justify any evil in you, but you must still do your duty, though we neglect ours. 2dly, Indeed we are persuaded, it is in the most of the adventurers, rather want of power, than will, that maketh them break off, they having gone as far as they can in the business, and are as sorry that they cannot go forward, as you are offended that they do not go forward; yea and the pretences of those which have the most colours, we are persuaded, proceed more from weakness of the purse, than fear of any thing else; and the want of money is such a grievous sickness now a-days, as that it makes men rave and cry out, they cannot tell for what. 3dly, And in a word, we think it but reason, that all such things as these, are appertaining to the general, be kept and preserved together, and rather increased daily, than any way dispersed or embezzled away, for any private ends or intents whatsoever. 4thly, That after your necessities are served, you gather together such commodities as the country yields, and send them over to pay debts and clear engagements here, which are not less than £1400. All which debts, besides adventures, have been made about general commodities and implements, and for which divers of us stand more or less engaged. And we dare say of you, that you will do the best you can to free us and unburden us, that for your sakes and help, are so much hazarded in our estates and names. 5thly, If there be any that will withdraw himself from the general, as he must not have, nor use any of the general's goods, so it is but reason that he give sufficient security for payment of so much of the debts as his part cometh to; which how much it will come to upon a person or family, is quickly counted; and since we require but men's faithful endeavours, and cannot obtain them, let none think much if we require other security than fair words and promises, of such men as make no more conscience of their words and ways.
If any amongst you shall object against us, either our long delays in our supplies heretofore, or our too much jollity in spending sometimes at our meetings more than perhaps needed, that will prove but trifling; for we could also find fault with the idleness and sloth of many amongst you, which have made all the rest go forward slowly, as also we could find fault with your liberality, and largeness also, when it might have been otherwise; but all such matters must still be left to the discretion and conscience of either side, knowing that where many may have a hand in such business, there will not want some, that are too timorous and slack; as also that in matters of note, something must be done for form and credit. And for ourselves, we think there hath hardly in our days, been a business of this note and fame carried by Londoners, with twice the expence in by matters that this hath been; and therefore let each man rather seek to mend himself, than hastily to cast in objections against others.
In a word, since it thus still falleth out, that all things between us are as you see, let us all endeavour to keep a fair and honest course, and see what time will bring forth, and how God in his providence will work for us. We still are persuaded, you are the people, that must make a plantation, and erect a city in those remote places, when all others fail and return; and your experience of God's providence and preservation of you is such, that we hope your hearts will not now fail you, though your friends should forsake you (which we ourselves shall not do, whilst we live, so long as your honesty so well appeareth) yet surely help would arise from some other place, whilst you wait on God with uprightness, though we should leave you also.
To conclude, as you are especially now to renew your love one to another; so we advise you, as your friends, to these particulars. First, let all sharpness, reprehensions, and corrections, of opposite persons, be still used sparingly, and take no advantage against any, for any by respects; but rather wait for their mending amongst you, than to mend them yourselves by thrusting them away, of whom there is any hope of good to be had. 2. Make your corporation as formal as you can, under the name of the Society of Plymouth in New England, allowing some peculiar privileges, to all the members thereof, according to the tenure of the patents. 3d. Let your practices and course in religion, in the church, be made complete and full; let all that fear God amongst you, join themselves thereunto without delay; and let all the ordinances of God be used completely in the church, without longer waiting upon uncertainties, or keeping the gap open for opposites. 4ly. Let the worship and service of God be strictly kept on the Sabbath, and both together, and asunder let the day be sanctified; and let your care be seen on the working days, every where and upon all occasions, to set forward the service of God. And lastly, be you all entreated to walk so circumspectly and carry yourselves so uprightly in all your ways, as that no man may make just exceptions against you; and more especially that the favour and countenance of God may be so towards you, as that you may find abundant joy and peace even amidst tribulations, that you may say with David, though my father and my mother should forsake me, yet the Lord will take me up.
We have sent you some cattle, cloth, hose, shoes, leather, &c. but in another nature than formerly, as it stood us in hand to do: we have committed them to the custody and charge of, as our factors, Mr. Allerton and Mr. Winslow, at whose discretion they are to be sold, and commodities taken for them, as is fitting. And it standeth you in need the more carefully to look to, and make much of all your commodities, by how much the more they are chargeable to you, and though we hope you shall not want things necessary, so we think the harder they are got, the more carefully they will be husbanded. Good friends, as you buy them, keep a decorum in distributing them, and let none have varieties and things for delight, when others want VOL. III.
for their mere necessities, and have an eye rather on your ill deservings at God's hand, than upon the failings of your friends towards you; and wait on him with patience and good conscience; rather admiring his mercies, than repining at his crosses, with the assurance of faith, that what is wanting here shall be made up in glory a thousand fold. Go on, good friends, comfortably pluck up your hearts cheerfully, and quit yourselves like men in all your difficulties, that notwithstanding all displeasure and threats of men, yet the work may go on which you are about, and not be neglected, which is so much for the glory of God, and the furtherance of our Countrymen, as that a man may with more comfort spend his life in it, than live the life of Methuselah in wasting the plenty of a tilled land, or eating the fruit of a grown tree.
Thus having not time to write further unto you, leaving other things to the relation of our friends; with all hearty salutations to you all, and hearty prayers, for you all, we lovingly take our leave this 18th of December, 1624.
Your assured friends to our power,
JAMES SHERLEY, (sick)
[This letter was wrote with Mr. Cushman's hand; and it is likely was penned by him at the other's request.]
Mr. CUSHMAN to Gov. BRADFORD.
December 22, 1624.
Y hearty love remembered unto you, and unto your wife, with trust of your healths and contentment amidst so many difficulties. I am now to write unto you, from my friend, and from myself, my friend and your friend. Mr. Sherley, who lieth even at the point of death, entreated me, even with tears, to write to excuse him, and signify how it was with him; he remembers his hearty, and as he thinks his last, salutations to you, and all the rest, who love our common cause. And if God does again raise him up, he will be more for you (I am persuaded) than ever he was. His unfeigned love towards us hath been such, as I cannot indeed express; and though he be a man not swayed with passion, or led by uninformed affections, yet hath he cloven to us still amidst all persuasions of opposites; and could not be moved to have an evil thought of us, for all their clamours. His patience and contentment in being oppressed hath been much; he hath sometimes lent £800 at one time, for other men to adventure in this business, all to draw them on; and hath indeed by his free heartedness been the only glue of the company. now away, I scarce think much more quire at the dividend, what is to be had.
And if God should take him would be done, save as to in
He saith he hath received the tokens you sent, and thanks you for them he hath sent you a cheese, &c. Also he hath sent an heifer to the plantation, to begin a stock for the poor. There is also a bull and three or four jades to be sold unto you, with many other things, for apparel and other uses; which are committed to Mr. Alerton and Mr. Winslow, who as factors are to sell them to you; and it was fitter for many reasons, to make them factors than yourself, as I hope you will easily conceive.
And I hope, though the first project cease, yet it shall be never the worse for you, neither will any man be discouraged, but wait on God, using the good means you can. I have no time to write many things unto you; I doubt not, but upon the hearing of this alteration, some discontent may arise, but the Lord I hope will teach you the way which you shall choose. For myself, as I have laboured by all means to hold things here together, so I have patiently suffered this alteration; and do yet hope it shall be good for you all, if you be not too rash and hasty; which if any be, let them take heed that they reap not the fruit of their own vanities.
But for you, good Sir, I hope you will do nothing rashly, neither will you be swayed by misreports, beside your ordinary course, but will persuade who may be, to patience and peace, and to the bearing of labours and crosses in love together.
I hope the failings of your friends here will make you the more friendly one to another, that so all our hopes may not be dashed. Labour to settle things both in your civil and religious courses, as firm, and as full as you can. Lastly, I must intreat you still, to have a care of my son, as of your own; and I shall rest bound unto you: I pray you let him sometime practise writing. I hope the next ships to come to you; in the mean space and ever, the Lord be all your direction, and turn all our crosses and troubles to his own glory, and our comforts, and give you to walk so wisely, and holily, as none may justly say, but they have always found you honestly minded, though never so poor. Salute all our friends, and supply, I pray you, what is failing in my letters. From London, December 22, A. D. 1624.
[Thus were his last letters. And now we lost the help of a wise and faithful friend: he wrote of the sickness and probability of the death of another; but knew not that his own was so near; what cause have we therefore ever to be ready! He purposed to be with us the next ships, but the Lord did otherwise dispose; and had appointed him a greater journey, to a better place. He was now taken from these troubles into which (by this division) we were so deeply plunged. And here I must leave him to rest with the Lord. And will proceed to other letters, which will further shew our proceedings, and how things went on.]
Gov. BRADFORD to Mr. CUSHMAN.
OVING and kind friend, I most heartily thank you; and would
here, of and
frids, that we might strengthen and comfort one another, after our many troubles, travels, and hardships. I long greatly for friends of Leyden, but I fear, I shall now scarce ever see them, save in heaven; but the will of the Lord be done. We have rid ourselves of the company of many of those, who have been so troublesome unto us; though I fear we are not yet rid of the troubles themselves. I hear Culdom comes himself into England; the which if he do, beware of him, for he is very malicious, and much threatens you; thinking he hath some advantage by some words you have spoken. Touching his factious doings here, and our proceedings with him, I refer you for it, and many other things to the relations of Captain Standish, whom we have thought most meet for sundry reasons, to send at this time. I pray you be as helpful to him as you can; especially in making our provisions, for therein he hath the least skill.
We have sent by this first ship, a good parcel of commodities, to wit: As much beaver and other furs, as will amount to upwards of £277 sterling, at the rates they were sold the last year, in part of payment of those goods, they and you sent to be sold to us. But except we may have things, both more serviceable, and at better rates, we shall never be able to rub through; therefore if we could have some ready money disbursed to buy things at the best hand, it would be greatly in our way. Special care is to be had of procuring us good trucking stuff, for without it we can do nothing; the reason, why heretofore we have got so little is, because we never had any that was good till Mr. Winslow brought some over.
Our people will never agree, any way again to unite with the Company, who have cast them off with such reproach and contempt, and also returned their bills, and all debts upon their heads. But as for those our loving friends, who have, and still do stick to us, and are deeply engaged for us, and are most careful of our goods, for our parts we will ever be ready to do any thing, that shall be thought equal and mete.
But I think it will be best to press a clearance with the company; either by coming to a dividend, or some other indifferent course or composition; for the longer we hang and continue in this confused and lingering condition, the worse it will be, for it takes away all heart and courage, from men, to do any thing. For notwithstanding any persuasion to the contrary, many protest they will never build houses, fence grounds, or plant fruits for those, who not only forsake them, but use them as enemies, lading them with reproach and contumely. Nay they will rather ruin that, which is done, than they should possess it. Whereas if they knew what they should trust to, the place would quickly grow and flourish with plenty; for they never felt the sweet