by William Bradford


Book One / Ch. 1 to 4

Of Plimoth Plantation.

    AND first of ye occasion and indusments ther unto;

the which that I may truly unfould, I must begine at

ye very roote & rise of ye same.  The which I shall

endevor to manefest in a plaine stile, with singuler

regard unto ye simple trueth in all things, at least as

near as my slender judgmente can attaine the same.

1. Chapter.

     IT is well knowne unto ye godly and judicious, how

ever since ye first breaking out of ye lighte of ye gospell

in our Honourable Nation of England, (which was ye

first of nations whom ye Lord adorned ther with, affter

yt grosse darknes of popery which had covered & over-

spred ye Christian worled,) what warrs & opposissions

ever since, Satan hath raised, maintained, and continued

against the Saincts, from time to time, in one sorte or

other.   Some times by bloody death and cruell tor-

ments; other whiles imprisonments, banishments, &

other hard usages; as being loath his kingdom should

goe downe, the trueth prevaile, and ye churches of God

reverte to their anciente puritie, and recover their prima-

tive order, libertie, & bewtie.  But when he could not

4                             HISTORY OF            [ CHAP. I.

prevaile by these means, against the maine trueths of

ye gospell, but that they began to take rootting in many

places, being watered with ye blooud of ye martires, and

blessed from heaven with a gracious encrease; He then

begane to take him to his anciente strategemes, used

of old against the first Christians.  That when by ye

bloody & barbarous persecutions of ye Heathen Em-

perours, he could not stoppe & subuerte the course

of ye gospell, but that it speedily overspred with a

wounderfull celeritie the then best known parts of ye

world, He then begane to sow errours, heresies, and

wounderfull dissentions amongst ye professours them

selves, (working upon their pride & ambition, with

other corrupte passions incidente to all mortall men,

yea to ye saints them selves in some measure,) by

which wofull effects followed; as not only bitter con-

tentions, & hartburnings, schismes, with other horrible

confusions, but Satan tooke occasion & advantage therby

to foyst in a number of vile ceremoneys, with many

unproffitable cannons & decrees, which have since been

as snares to many poore & peaceable souls even to this

day.  So as in ye anciente times, the persecutions [2]

by ye heathen & their Emperours, was not greater then

of the Christians one against other; the Arians & other

their complices against ye orthodoxe & true Christians.

As witneseth Socrates in his 2. booke.  His words are

these;*  The violence truly (saith he) was no less than

*Lib. 2.  Chap. 22.

CHAP. I.]            PLYMOUTH PLANTATION.                 5

that of ould practised towards ye Christians when they

were compelled & drawne to sacrifice to idoles; for many

indured sundrie kinds of tormente, often rackings, & dis-

membering of their joynts; confiscating of ther goods

some bereaved of their native soyle; others departed this

life under ye hands of ye tormentor; and some died in

banishmete, & never saw ther cuntrie againe, &c.

     The like methode Satan hath seemed to hold in these

later times, since ye trueth begane to springe & spread

after ye great defection made by Antichrist, yt man of


     For to let pass ye infinite examples in sundrie na-

tions and severall places of ye world, and instance in

our owne, when as yt old serpente could not prevaile

by those firie flames & other his cruell tragedies, which

he * by his instruments put in ure every wher in ye

days of queene Mary & before, he then begane an

other kind of warre, & went more closly to worke;

not only to oppuggen, but even to ruinate & destroy

ye kingdom of Christ, by more secrete & subtile means,

by kindling ye flames of contention and sowing ye

seeds of discorde & bitter enmitie amongst ye proffes-

sors & seeming reformed them selves.  For when he

could not prevaile by ye former means against ye prin-

cipall doctrins of faith, he bente his force against ye

holy discipline & outward regimente of ye kingdom of

   *In the text, parentheses are used frequently, apparently in place of commas. 

For this reason, many are omitted in the reprint.

6                           HISTORY  OF                       [CHAP. I.

Christ, by which those holy doctrines should be con-

served, & true pietie maintained amongest the saints

& people of God.

    Mr. Foxe recordeth how yt besids those worthy

martires & confessors which were burned in queene

Marys days & otherwise tormented,* many (both stu-

dients re others) fled out of ye land, to ye number of

800.  And became severall congregations.  At Wesell,

Frankford, Bassill, Emden, Markpurge, Strausborugh,

& Geneva, &c.  Amongst whom (but especialy those

at Frankford) begane yt bitter warr of contention &

persecutio aboute ye ceremonies, & servise-booke, and

other popish and antichristian stuffe, the plague of

England to this day, which are like ye highplases in

Israell, wch the prophets cried out against, & were

their ruine; [3] which ye better parte sought, accord-

ing to ye puritie of ye gospell, to roote out and

utterly to abandon.  And the other parte (under

veiled pretences) for their ouwn ends & advancments,

sought as stifly to continue, maintaine, & defend.  As

appeareth by ye  discourse therof published in printe,

Ano:  1575; a booke yt deserves better to be knowne

and considred.

     The one side laboured to have ye right worship of

God & discipline of Christ established in ye church,

according to ye simplicitie of ye gospell, without the

mixture of mens inventions, and to have & to be

*Acts & Mon: pag. 1587. editi: 2.

CHAP. I. ] PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                7

ruled by ye laws of Gods word, dispensed in those

offices, & by those officers of Pastors, Teachers, &

Elders, &c. according to ye Scripturs.  The other par-

tie, though under many colours & pretences, endev-

ored to have ye episcopall dignitie (affter ye popish

maner) with their large power & jurisdiction still re-

tained; with all those courts, cannons, & ceremonies,

togeather with all such livings, revenues, & subordi-

nate officers, with other such means as formerly up-

held their antichristian greatnes, and enabled them

with lordly & tyranous power to persecute ye poore

servants of God.  This contention was so great, as

neither ye honour of God, the commone persecution,

nor ye mediation of Mr. Calvin & other worthies of

ye Lord in those places, could prevaile with those

thus episcopally minded, but they proceeded by all

means to disturbe ye peace of this poor persecuted

church, even so farr as to charge (very unjustly, &

ungodlily, yet prelatelike) some of their cheefe op-

posers, with rebellion & hightreason against ye Em-

perour, & other such crimes.

     And this contetion dyed not with queene Mary, nor

was left beyonde ye seas, but at her death these peo-

ple returning into England under gracious queene

Elizabeth, many of them being preferred to bish-

opricks & other promotions, according to their aimes

and desires, that inveterate hatered against ye holy

discipline of Christ in his church hath continued to

8                 HISTORY OF                        [ CHAP. I.

this day.  In somuch that for fear [4] it should pre-

veile, all plotts & devices have been used to keepe it

out, incensing ye queene & state against it as dan-

gerous for ye comon wealth; and that it was most

needfull yt ye fundamentall poynts of Religion should

be preached in those ignorante & superstitious times;

and to wine ye weake & ignorante, they might retaine

diverse harmles ceremoneis; and though it were to be

wished yt diverse things were reformed, yet this was

not a season for it.  And many the like, to stop ye

mouthes of ye more godly, to bring them over to

yeeld to one ceremoney after another, and one cor-

ruption after another; by these wyles begyleing some

& corrupting others till at length they begane to per-

secute all ye zealous professors in ye land (though

they knew little what this discipline mente) both by

word & deed, if they would not submitte to their

ceremonies, & become slaves to them & their popish

trash, which have no ground in ye word of God, but

are relikes of yt man of sine.  And the more ye light

of ye gospell grew, ye more yey urged their subscrip-

tions to these corruptions.  So as (notwithstanding all

their former pretences & fair colures) they whose

eyes God had not justly blinded might easily see

wherto these things tended.  And to cast contempte

the more upon ye sincere servants of God, they oppro-

briously & most injuriously gave unto, & imposed

upon them, that name of Puritans, which [it] is said

CHAP. I.]            PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                9

the Novatians out of prid did assume & take unto

themselves.*  And lamentable it is to see ye effects

which have followed.  Religion hath been disgraced,

the godly greeved, afflicted, persecuted, and many

exiled, sundrie have lost their lives in prisones &

otherways.  On the other hand, sin hath been coun-

tenanced, ignorance, profannes, & atheisme increased,

& the papists encouraged to hope againe for a day.

     This made that holy man Mr. Perkins! crie out in

his exhortation to repentance, upon Zeph. 2.  Religion

(saith he) hath been amongst us this 35. years; but

the more it is published, the more it is contemned &

reproached of many, &c.  Thus not prophanes nor

wickednes, but Religion it selfe is a byword, a moking-

stock, &:, a matter of reproach; so that in England at

this day the man or woman yt begines to profes Religion,

&:, to serve God, must resolve with him selfe to sustaine

[5] mocks & injueries even as though he lived amongst

ye enimies of Religion.  And this comone experience

hath confirmed & made too apparente.

     A late observation, as it were by the way, worthy to be


Full litle did I thinke, yt the downfall of ye Bishops, with

their courts, cannons, & ceremonies, &c. had been so neare,

when I first begane these scribled writings (which was aboute

ye year 1630, and so peeced up at times of leasure after-

  *Ens: lib: 6. Chap. 42.                                                !Page 421.

   !!A note of the author at this place, written subsequent to this portion of

the narrative, on the reverse pages of his History.

10                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. I.

ward), or that I should have lived to have seene or heard

of ye same; but it is ye Lords doing, and ought to be

marvelous in our eyes!  Every plante which mine heavenly

father hath not planted (saith our Saviour) shall be rooted

up.  Mat: 15. 13.*  I have snared the, and thou art taken,

0 Babell (Bishops), and thou wast not aware; thou art

found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against

the Lord.  Jer. 50. 24.  But will they needs strive against ye

truth, against ye servants of God; what, & against the Lord

him selfe?  Doe they provoke the Lord to anger?  Are they

stronger than he?  1. Cor: 10. 22.  No, no, they have mete

with their match.  Behold, I come unto ye, O proud man,

saith the Lord God of hosts; for thy day is come, even the

time that I will visite the.  Jer: 50. 31.  May not the

people of God now say (and these pore people among ye

rest), The Lord hath brought forth our righteousnes; come,

let us declare in Sion the work of the Lord our God.  Jer:

51. 10.  Let all flesh be still before the Lord; for he is

raised up out of his holy place. Zach: 2. 13.

     In this case, these poore people may say (among ye

thousands of Israll),  When the Lord brougt againe the cap-

tivite of Zion, we were like them that dreame.  Psa: 126. 1.

The Lord hath done greate things for us, wherof we rejoyce.

v. 3.  They that sow in teares, shall reap in joye.  They

wente weeping, and carried precious seede, but they shall

returne with joye, and bring their sheaves. v. 5, 6.

     Doe you not now see ye fruits of your labours, 0 all yee

servants of ye Lord that have suffered for his truth, and

have been faithfull witneses of ye same, and yee litle hand-

fall amongst ye rest, ye least amongest ye thoasands of Israll?

You have not only had a seede time, but many of you have

seene ye joyefull harvest; shoald you not then rejoyse, yea,

   *All these and subsequent passages are quoted from the Geneva version

of the Bible.

CHAP. I.]            PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                11

and againe rejoyce, and say Hallelu-iah, salvation, and glorie,

and honour, and power, be to ye Lord our God; for true

and righteous are his judgments. Rev. 19. 1, 2.

     But thou wilte aske what is ye mater?  What is done?

Why, art thou a stranger in Israll, that thou shouldest not

know what is done?  Are not those Jebusites overcome that

have vexed the people of Israll so long, even holding Jeru-

salem till Davids days, and been as thorns in their sids, so

many ages; and now begane to scorne that any David

should meadle with them; they begane to fortifie their tower,

as that of the old Babelonians; but those proud Anakimes

are throwne downe, and their glory laid in ye dust.  The

tiranous bishops are ejected, their courts dissolved, their can-

nons forceless, their servise casheired, their ceremonies useles

and despised; their plots for popery prevented, and all their

superstitions discarded & returned to Roome from whence

they came, and ye monuments of idolatrie rooted out of ye land.

And the proud and profane suporters, and cruel I defenders of

these (as bloody papists & wicked athists, and their malignante

consorts) marvelously over throwne.  And are not these greate

things? Who can deney it?

     But who hath done it?  Who, even he that siteth on ye white

horse, who is caled faithfull, & true, and judgeth and fighteth

righteously, Rev: 19. 11.  whose garments are dipte in blood,

and his name was caled the word of God, v. 13. for he shall

rule them with a rode of iron; for it is he that treadeth the

winepress of the feircenes and wrath of God almighty.  And

he hath upon his garmente, and upon his thigh, a name writen,

The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. v. 15, 16.


Anno Dom:  1646.

     But that I may come more near my intendmente;

when as by the travell & diligence of some godly &

zealous preachers, & Gods blessing on their labours, as

12                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. I.

in other places of ye land, so in ye North parts, many

became inlightened by ye word of God, and had their

ignorance & sins discovered unto them, and begane by

his grace to reforme their lives, and make conscience

of their wayes, the worke of God was no sooner mani-

fest in them, but presently they were both scoffed and

scorned by ye prophane multitude, and ye ministers

urged with ye yoak of subscription, or els must be

silenced; and ye poore people were so vexed with

apparators, & pursuants, & ye comissarie courts, as

truly their affliction was not smale; which, notwith-

standing, they bore sundrie years with much patience,

till they were occasioned (by ye continuance & encrease

of these troubls, and other means which ye Lord raised

up in those days) to see further into things by the

light of ye word of God.  How not only these base

and beggerly ceremonies were unlawfull, but also that

ye lordly & tiranous power of ye prelats ought not to

be submitted unto; which thus, contrary to the free-

dome of the gospell, would load & burden mens con-

sciences, and by their compulsive power make a prophane

mixture of persons & things in ye worship of God.  And

that their offices & calings, courts & cannons, &c. were

unlawfull and antichrist!an; being such as have no war-

rante in ye word of God; but the same yt were used in

poperie, & still retained.  Of which a famous author

thus writeth in his Dutch comtaries.  At ye coming of

*Em: meter: lib: 25. col. 119.

1602-1606?]      PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                13

king James into England; The new king (saith he) found

their established ye reformed religion, according to ye re-

formed religion of king Edward ye 6.  Retaining, or

keeping still ye spirituall state of ye Bishops, &c. after

ye ould maner, much varying re differing from ye reformed

churches in Scotland, France, & ye Neatherlands, Embden,

Geneva, &c. whose reformation is cut, or shapen much

nerer ye first Christian churches, as it was used in ye

Apostles times.*

     [6] SO many therfore of these proffessors as saw ye

evill of these things, in thes parts, and whose harts ye

Lord had touched wth heavenJy zeale for his trueth, they

shooke of this yoake of antichristian bondage, and as

ye Lords free people, joyned them selves (by a covenant

of the Lord) into a church estate, in ye felowship of ye

gospell, to walke in all his wayes, made known, or to

be made known unto them, according to their best en-

deavours, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assist-

ing them.  And that it cost them something this ensewing

historie will declare.

      These people became 2.  distincte bodys or churches,

& in regarde of distance of place did congregate sev-

erally; for they were of sundrie townes & vilages, some

in Notingamshire, some of Lincollinshire, and some of

Yorkshire, wher they border- nearest togeather.  In one

     *The reformed churches shapen much neerer ye primitive patterne then

England, for they cashered ye Bishops with al their courts, cannons, and cere-

moneis, at the first; and left them amongst ye popish tr, .to Ch wch they per-

tained. (The last word in the note is uncertain in the MS.)

14                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. I.

of these churches (besids others of note) was Mr. John

Smith, a man of able gifts,  a good preacher, who

afterwards was chosen their pastor.  But these after-

wards falling into some errours in ye Low Countries,

ther (for ye most part) buried them selves, & their


     But in this other church (wch must be ye subjecte of

our discourse) besids other worthy men, was Mr. Richard

Clifton, a grave & revered preacher, who by his paines

and dilligens had done much good, and under God had

ben a means of ye conversion of many.  And also that

famous and worthy man Mr. John Robinson, who after-

wards was their pastor for many years, till ye Lord

tooke him away by death.  Also Mr. William Brewster a

reverent man, who afterwards was chosen an elder

of ye church and lived with them till old age.

     But after these things they could not long continue

in any peaceable condition, but were hunted & perse-

cuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were

but as flea-bitings in comparison of these which now

came upon them.  For some were taken & clapt up in

prison, others had their houses besett & watcht night

and day, & hardly escaped their hands; and ye most

were faine to flie & leave their howses & habitations,

and the means of their livelehood.  Yet these & many

other sharper things which affterward befell them,

were no other then they looked for, and therfore were ye

better prepared to bear them by ye assistance of Gods

1608.]            PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                    15

grace & spirite.  Yet seeing, them selves thus molested,

[7] and that ther was no hope of their continuance ther,

by a joynte consente they resolved to goe into ye Low-

Countries, wher they heard was freedome of Relioion

for all men; as also how sundrie from London, & other

parts of ye land, had been exiled and persecuted for

ye same cause, & were gone thither, and lived at Am-

sterdam, & in other places of ye land.  So affter they

had continued togeither aboute a year, and kept their

meetings every Saboth in one place or other, exercising

the worship of God amongst them selves, notwithstand-

ing, all ye dilligence & malice of their adverssaries, they

seeing they could no longer continue in yt condition,

they resolved to get over into Hollad as they could;

which was in ye year 1607.  & 1608.; of which more at

large in ye next chap.

2. Chap. 

Of their departure into Holland and their trouble ther

       aboute, with some of ye many difficulties they found

        and mete withall.

Ano. 1608.

     BEING thus constrained to leave their native soyle

and countries their lands & livings, and all their

freinds & famillier acquaintance, it was much, and

thought marvelous by many.  But to goe into a coun-

trie they knew not (but by hearsay), wher they must

learne a new language, and get their livings they

16                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. II.

knew not how, it being a dear place, & subjecte to

ye misseries of warr, it was by many thought an ad-

venture almost desperate, a case intolerable, & a mis-

serie worse then death.  Espetially seeing they were

not aquainted with trads nor traffique, (by which yt

countrie doth subsiste,) but had only been used to a

plaine countrie life, & ye inocente trade of husbandrey.

But these things did not dismay them (though they

did some times trouble them) for their desires were

sett on ye ways of God, & to injoye his ordinances;

but they rested on his providence, & knew whom they

had beleeved.  Yet [8] this was not all, for though

they could not stay, yet were ye not suffered to goe,

but ye ports & havens were shut against them, so as

they were faine to seeke secrete means of conveance,

& to bribe & fee ye mariners, & give exterordinarie

rates for their passages.  And yet were they often

times betrayed (many of them), and both they &

their goods intercepted & surprised, and therby put

to great trouble & charge, of which I will give an in-

stance or tow, & omitte the rest.

     Ther was a large companie of them purposed to get

passage at Boston in Lincoln-shire, and for that end

had hired a shipe wholy to them selves, & made

agreement with the maister to be ready at a certaine

day, and take them and their goods in, at a con-

veniente place, wher they accordingly would all at-

tende in readines.  So after long waiting, & large

1608.]           PLYMOUTH PLANTATION.                   1 7

expences, though he kepte not day with them, yet he

came at length & tooke them in, in ye night.  But

when he had them & their goods abord, he betrayed

them, haveing before hand complotted with ye serchers

& other officers so to doe; who tooke them, and put

them into open boats, & ther rifled & ransaked them,

searching them to their shirts for money, yea even ye

women furder then became modestie; and then caried

them back into ye towne, & made them a spectackle

& wonder to ye multitude, which came flocking on all

sids to behould them.  Being thus first, by the chatch-

poule officers, rifled, & stripte of their money, books,

and much other goods, they were presented to ye

magestrates, and messengers sente to informe ye lords

of ye Counsell of them; and so they were comited to

ward.  Indeed ye magestrats used them courteously,

and shewed them what favour they could; but could

not deliver them, till order came from ye Counsell-

table.  But ye issue was that after a months impris-

onmente, ye greatest parte were dismiste, & sent to

ye places from whence they came; but 7. of ye prin-

cipall were still kept in prison, and bound over to

ye Assises.

   The nexte spring after, ther was another attempte

made by some of these & others, to get over at an

other place.  And it so fell out, that they light of a

Dutchman at Hull, having a ship of his owne belong-

ing to Zealand; they made agreemente with him, and

18                        HISTORY OF                                  [CHAP. II.

acquainted [9] him with their condition, hoping to

find more faithfullnes in him, then in ye former of

their owne nation.  He bad them not fear, for he

would doe well enough.  He was by appointment to

take them in betweene Grimsbe & Hull, wher was a

large comone a good way distante from any towne. 

Now aganst the prefixed time, the women & children,

with ye goods, were sent to ye place in a small barke,

which they had hired for yt end; and ye men were to

meete them by land.  But it so fell out, that they

were ther a day before ye shipe came, & ye sea being

rough, and ye women very sicke, prevailed with ye

seamen to put into a creeke hardby, wher they lay on

ground at lowwater.  The nexte morning ye shipe

came, but they were fast, & could not stir till aboute

noone.  In ye mean time, ye shipe maister, perceive-

ing how ye matter was, sente his boate to be getting

ye men abord whom he saw ready, walking aboute ye

shore.  But after ye first boat full was gott abord, &

she was ready to goe for more, the mr espied a greate

company, both horse & foote, with bills, & gunes, &

other weapons; for ye countrie was raised to take

them.  Ye Dutch-man seeing yt, swore his countries

oath, "sacremente," and having ye wind faire, waiged

his Ancor, hoysed sayles, & away.  But ye poore men

which were gott abord, were in great distress for

their wives and children, which they saw thus to be

taken, and were left destitute of their helps; and

1608.]                  PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                19

them selves also, not having a cloath to shifte them

with, more then they had on their baks, & some

scarce a peney aboute them, all they had being abord

ye barke.  It drew tears from their eyes, and any thing

they had they would have given to have been

a shore againe; but all in vaine, ther was no remedy,

they must thus sadly part.  And afterward endured

a fearfull storme at sea, being 14. days or more be-

fore yey arived at their porte, in 7. wherof they

neither saw son, moone, nor stars, & were driven

near ye coast of Norway; the mariners them selves

often despairing of life; and once with shriks & cries

gave over all, as if ye ship had been foundred in ye

sea, & they sinking without recoverie.  But when

mans hope & helpe wholy failed, ye Lords power &

mercie appeared in ther recoverie; for ye ship rose

againe, & gave ye mariners courage againe to manage

her.  And if modestie woud suffer me, I might de-

clare with what fervente [10] prayres they cried unto

ye Lord in this great distres, (espetialy some of

them,) even without any great distraction, when ye

water rane into their mouthes & ears; & the mariners

cried out, We sinke, we sinke; they cried (if not

with mirakelous, yet with a great hight or degree of

devine faith), Yet Lord thou canst save, yet Lord

thou canst save; with shuch other expressions as I

will forbeare.  Upon which ye ship did not only re-

cover, but shortly after ye violence of ye storme be-

20                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. II.

gane to abate, and ye Lord filed their afllicted minds

with shuch comforts as everyone canot understand,

and in ye end brought them to their desired Haven,

wher ye people came flockeing admiring their deliver-

ance, the storme having been so longe & sore, in

which much hurt had been don, as ye masters freinds

related unto him in their congrattulations.

     But to returne to ye others wher we left.  The rest

of ye men yt were in greatest danger, made shift to

escape away before ye troope could surprise them;

those only staying yt best might, to be assistante unto

ye women.  But pitifull it was to see ye heavie case

of these poore women in this distress; what weeping

& crying on every side, some for their husbands, that

were caried away in ye ship as is before related;

others not knowing what should become of them, &

their litle ones; others againe melted in teares, see-

ing their poore litle ones hanging aboute them, crying

for feare, and quaking with could.  Being thus apre-

hended, they were hurried from one place to another,

and from one justice to another, till in ye ende they

knew not what to doe with them; for to imprison so

many women & innocent children for no other cause

(many of them) but that they must goe with their hus-

bands, semed to be unreasonable and all would crie

out of them; and to send them home againe was as

difficult, for they aledged, as ye trueth was, they had

no homes to goe to, for they had either sould, or other-

1608.]                  PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                21

wise disposed of their houses & livings. To be shorte,

after they had been thus turmolyed a good while, and

]conveyed from one constable to another, they were glad

to be ridd of them in ye end upon any termes; for all

were wearied & tired with them.  Though in ye mean

time they (poore soules) indured miserie enough; and

thus in ye end necessitie forste a way for them.

    But yt I be not tedious in these things, I will omitte

ye rest, though I might relate many other notable pas-

sages and troubles which they endured & underwente

in these their wanderings & travells both at land & sea;

but I hast to [11] other things.  Yet I may not omitte

ye fruite that came hearby, for by these so publick

troubls, in so many eminente places, their cause became

famouss, & occasioned many to looke into ye same; and

their godly cariage & Christian behaviour was such as

left a deep impression in the minds of many.  And

though some few shrunk at these first conflicts & sharp

beginings, (as it was no marvell,) yet many more came

on with fresh courage, & greatly animated others.  And

in ye end, notwithstanding all these stormes of oppossi-

tion, they all gatt over at length, some at one time &

some at an other, and some in one place & some in an

other, and mette togeather againe according to their

desires, with no small rejoycing. .

22                        HISTORY OF              [CHAP. III.

The 3. Chap. 

Of their setling in Holand, & their maner of living, &

entertainmente ther.

    BEING now come into ye Low Countries, they saw

many goodly & fortified cities, strongly walled and

garded with troopes of armed men.  Also they heard

a strange & uncouth language, and beheld ye differente

maners & customes of ye people, with their strange

fashons and attires; all so farre differing from yt of

their plaine countrie villages (wherin they were bred,

& had so longe lived) as it seemed they were come into

a new world.  But these were not ye things they much

looked on, or long tooke up their thoughts; for they

had other work in hand, & an other kind of warr

to wage & maintaine.  For though they saw faire &

bewtifull cities, flowing with abundance of all sorts of

welth & riches, yet it was not longe before they saw

the grime & grisly face of povertie coming upon them

like an armed man, with whom they must bukle &

incounter, and from whom they could not flye; but

they were armed with faith & patience against him, and

all his encounters; and though they were sometimes

foyled, yet by Gods assistance they prevailed and got

ye victorie.

      Now when Mr. Robinson, Mr. Brewster, & other prin-

cipall members were come over, (for they were of ye

1609.]          PLYMOUTH PLANTATION.                    23

last, & stayed to help ye weakest over before them,)

such things were [12] thought on as were necessarie

for their setting and best ordering of ye church affairs.

And when they had lived at Amsterdam aboute a year,

Mr. Robinson, their pastor, and some others of best

discerning, seeing how Mr. John Smith and his com-

panie was allready fallen in to contention with ye church

yt was ther before them, & no means they could use

would doe any good to cure ye same, and also that

ye flames of contention were like to breake out in yt

anciente church it selfe (as affterwards lamentably

came to pass); which things they prudently foresee-

ing, thought it was best to remove, before they were

any way engaged with ye same; though they well knew

it would be much to ye prejudice of their outward

estats, both at presente & in licklyhood in ye future;

as indeed it proved to be.

Their remoovall to Leyden.

    For these &, some other reasons they removed to Ley-

den, a fair & bewtifull citie, and of a sweete situation,

but made more famous by ye universitie wherwith it is

adorned, in which of late had been so many learned

men.  But wanting that traffike by sea which Amster-

dam injoyes, it was not so beneficiall for their outward

means of living & estats.  But being now hear pitchet

they fell to such trads & employments as they best

could; valewing peace & their spirituall comforte above

24                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. III.

any other riches whatsoever.  And at lenght they came

to raise a competente & comforteable living, but with

hard and continuall labor.

     Being thus setled (after many difficulties) they con-

tinued many years in a comfortable condition, injoying

much sweete & delightefull societie & spirituall com-

forte togeather in ye wayes of God, under ye able minis-

trie, and prudente governmente of Mr. John Robinson,

& Mr. William Brewster, who was an assistante unto

him in ye place of an Elder, unto which he was now

called & chosen by the church.  So as they grew in

knowledge & other gifts & graces of ye spirite of God,

& lived togeather in peace, & love, and holines; and

many came unto them from diverse parts of England,

so as they grew a great congregation.  And if at any

time any differences arose, or offences broak [13] out

(as it cannot be, but some time ther will, even amongst

ye best of men) they were ever so mete with, and nipt

in ye head betims, or otherwise so well composed, as

still love, peace, and communion was continued; or els

ye church purged of those that were incurable & incor-

rigible, when, after much patience used, no other means

would serve, which seldom came to pass.  Yea such

was ye mutuall love, & reciprocall respecte that this

worthy man had to his flocke, and his flocke to him,

that it might be said of them as it once was of yt

famouse Emperour Marcus Aurelious,* and ye people of

* Goulden booke, &c.

1609-1620.]       PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.               25

Rome, that it was hard to judge wheather he delighted

more in haveing shuch a people, or they in haveing

such a pastor.  His love was greate towards them, and

his care was all ways bente for their best good, both

for soule and body; for besids his singuler abilities in

devine things (wherin he excelled), he was also very

able to give directions in civill affaires, and to foresee

dangers & inconveniences; by wch means he was very

helpfull to their outward estats, & so was every way

as a commone father unto them.  And none did more

offend him then those that were close and cleaving to

them selves, and retired from ye commoe good; as also

such as would be stiffe & riged in matters of outward

order, and invey against ye evills of others, and yet be

remisse in them selves, and not so carefull to express

a vertuous conversation.  They in like maner had ever

a reverente regard unto him, & had him in precious

estimation, as his worth & wisdom did deserve; and

though they esteemed him highly whilst he lived &

laboured amongst them, yet much more after his death,

when they came to feele ye wante of his help, and saw

(by woefull experience) what a treasure they had lost,

to ye greefe of their harts, and wounding of their sowls;

yea such a loss as they saw could not be repaired; for

it was as hard for them to find such another leader

and feeder in all respects, as for ye Taborits to find

another Ziska.  And though they did not call them-

selves orphans, as the other did, after his death, yet

26                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. III.

they had cause as much to lamente, in another regard,

their present condition, and. after usage.  But to re-

turne; I know not but it may be spoken to ye honour

of God, & without prejudice [14] to any, that such

was ye true pietie, ye humble zeale, & fervent love, of

this people (whilst they thus lived together) towards

God and his waies, and ye single hartednes & sinceir

affection one towards another, that they came as near

ye primative patterne of ye first churches, as any other

church of these later times have done, according to

their ranke & qualitie.

      But seeing it is not my purpose to treat of ye sev-

erall passages that befell this people whilst they thus

lived in ye Low Countries, (which might worthily re-

quire a large treatise of it selfe,) but to make way to

shew ye begining of this plantation, which is that I

aime at; yet because some of their adversaries did,

upon ye rumore of their removall, cast out slanders

against them, as if that state had been wearie of them,

& had rather driven them out (as ye heathen histo-

rians did faine of Moyses & ye Isralits when they

went out of Egipte), then yt it was their owne free

choyse & motion, I will therfore mention a perticuler

or too to shew ye contrary, and ye good acceptation

they had in ye place wher they lived.  And first

though many of them weer poore, yet ther was none

so poore, but if they were known to be of yt con-

gregation, the Dutch (either bakers or others) would

1609-1620]        PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                27

trust them in any reasonable matter when yey wanted

money.  Because they had found by experience how

carfull they were to keep their word, and saw them so

painfull & dilligente in their callings; yea, they would

strive to gett their custome, and to imploy them above

others, in their worke, for their honestie & diligence.

    Againe; ye magistrats of ye citie, aboute ye time of

their coming away, or a litle before, in ye publick

place of justice, gave this comendable testemoney of

them, in ye reproofe of the Wallons, who were of ye

French church in yt citie.  These English, said they,

have lived amongst us now this 12. years, and yet we

never had any sute or accusation came against any of

them; but your strifs & quarels are continuall, &c.

In these times allso were ye great troubls raised by

ye Arminians, who, as they greatly mollested ye whole

state, so this citie in particuler, in which was ye

cheefe universitie; so as ther were dayly & hote dis-

puts in ye schooles ther aboute; and as ye studients &

other lerned were devided in their oppinions hearin,

so were ye 2.  proffessors or devinitie readers them

selves; the one daly teaching for it, ye other against

it.  Which grew to that pass, that few of the discipls

of ye one would hear ye other teach.  But Mr. Rob-

inson, though he taught thrise a weeke him selfe, &

write sundrie books, besids his manyfould pains other-

wise, yet he went constantly [15] to hear ther read-

ings, and heard ye one as well as ye other; by which

28                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. III.

means he was so well grounded in ye controversie,

and saw ye force of all their arguments, and knew ye

shifts of ye adversarie, and being him selfe very able,

none was fitter to buckle with them then him selfe, as

appered by sundrie disputs; so as he begane to be

terrible to ye Arminians; which made Episcopius (ye

Arminian professor) to put forth his best stringth, and

set forth sundrie Theses, which by publick dispute he

would defend against all men.  Now Poliander ye

other proffessor, and ye cheefe preachers of ye citie,

desired Mr. Robinson to dispute against him; but he

was loath, being a stranger; yet the other did impor-

tune him, and tould him yt such was ye abilitie and

nimblnes of ye adversarie, that ye truth would suffer

if he did not help them.  So as he condescended, &

prepared him selfe against the time; and when ye day

came, the Lord did so help him to defend ye truth &

foyle this adversarie, as he put him to an apparent

nonplus, in this great & publike audience. And ye

like he did a 2. or 3. time, upon such like occasions.

The which as it caused many to praise God yt the

trueth had so famous victory, so it procured him

much honour & respecte from those lerned men &

others which loved ye trueth.  Yea, so farr were they

from being weary of him & his people, or desiring

their absence, as it was said by some, of no mean

note, that were it not for giveing offence to ye state

of England, they would have preferd him otherwise if

1620.]                  PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                29

he would, and alowd them some publike favour. Yea

when ther was speech of their remoovall into these

parts, sundrie of note & eminencie of yt nation would

have had them come under them, and for yt end made

them large offers.  Now though I might aledg many

other perticulers & examples of ye like kinde, to shew

ye untruth & unlicklyhode of this slander, yet these

shall suffice, seeing it was beleeved of few, being only

raised by ye malice of some, who laboured their


The 4. Chap. 

Showing ye reasons & causes of their remoovall.

    AFTER they had lived in this citie about some 11.

or 12. years, (which is ye more observable being ye

whole time of yt famose truce between that state &

ye Spaniards,) and sundrie of them were taken away

by death, & many others begane to be well striken in

years, the grave mistris Experience haveing taught

them many things, [16] those prudent governours with

sundrie of ye sagest members begane both deeply to

apprehend their present dangers, & wisely to foresee

ye future, & thinke of timly remedy.  In ye agitation

of their thoughts, and much discours of things hear

aboute, at length they began to incline to this conclu-

sion, of remoovall to some other place.  Not out of

any newfanglednes, or other such like giddie humor,

by which men are oftentimes transported to their

great hurt & danger, but for sundrie weightie & solid

30                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. IV.

reasons; some of ye cheefe of which I will hear breefly

touch.  And first, they saw & found by experience the

hardnes of ye place & countrie to be such, as few in

comparison would come to them, and fewer that would

bide it out, and continew with them.  For many yt

came to them, and many more yt desired to be with

them, could not endure yt great labor and hard fare,

with other inconveniences which they underwent &

were contented with.  But though they loved their

persons, approved their cause, and honoured their suf-

ferings, yet they left them as it weer weeping, as

Orpah did her mother in law Naomie, or as those

Romans did Cato in Utica, who desired to be excused

& borne with, though they could not all be Catoes.

For many, though they desired to injoye ye ordinances

of God in their puritie, and ye libertie of the gospell

with them, yet, alass, they admitted of bondage, with

danger of conscience, rather then to indure these hard-

ships; yea, some preferred & chose ye prisons in Eng-

land, rather then this libertie in Holland, with these

afflictions.  But it was thought that if a better and

easier place of living could be had, it would draw many,

& take away these discouragments.  Yea, their pastor

would often say, that many of those wo both wrate &

preached now against them, if they were in a place

wher they might have libertie and live comfortably,

they would then practise as they did.

    21y.  They saw that though ye people generally bore

1620.]        PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                31

all these difficulties very cherfully, & with a resolute

courage, being in ye best & strength of their years, yet

old age began to steale on many of them, (and their

great & continuall labours, with other crosses and sor-

rows, hastened it before ye time,) so as it was not only

probably thought, but apparently seen, that within a

few years more they would be in danger to scatter, by

necessities pressing them, or sinke under their burdens,

or both.  And therfore according to ye devine proverb,

yt a wise man seeth ye plague when it cometh, & hideth

him selfe, Pro. 22. 3., so they like skillfull & beaten

souldiers were fearfull either to be intrapped or sur-

rounded by their enimies, so as they should neither be

able to fight nor flie; and therfor thought it better to

dislodge betimes to some place of better advantage &

less danger, if any such could be found. [16] Thirdly;

as necessitie was a taskmaster over them, so they were

forced to be such, not only to their servants, but in a

sorte, to their dearest chilldren; the which as it did not

a title wound ye tender harts of many a loving father &

mother, so it produced likwise sundrie sad & sorowful

effects.  For many of their children, that were of best

dispositions and gracious inclinations, haveing lernde

to bear ye yoake in their youth, and willing to bear

parte of their parents burden, were, often times, so

oppressed with their hevie labours, that though their

minds were free and willing, yet their bodies bowed

under ye weight of ye same, and became decreped in

32                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. IV.

their early youth; the vigor of nature being consumed

in ye very budd as it were.  But that which was more

lamentable, and of all sorowes most heavie to be borne,

was that many of their children, by these occasions,

and ye great licentiousnes of youth in yt countrie, and

ye manifold temptations of the place, were drawne away

by evill examples into extravagante & dangerous courses,

getting ye raines off their neks, & departing from their

parents.  Some became souldiers, others tooke upon

them farr viages by sea, and other some worse courses,

tending to dissolutnes & the danger of their soules, to

ye great greefe of their parents and dishonour of God.

So that they saw their posteritie would be in danger

to degenerate & be corrupted. 

     Lastly, (and which was not least,) a great hope &

inward zeall they had of laying some good foundation,

or at least to make some way therunto, for ye propagat-

ing & advancing ye gospell of ye kingdom of Christ in

those remote parts of ye world; yea, though they should

be but even as stepping-stones unto others for ye per-

forming of so great a work. 

     These, & some other like reasons, moved them to

undertake this resolution of their removall; the which

they afterward prosecuted with so great difficulties, as

by the sequell will appeare.

     The place they had thoughts on was some of those

vast & unpeopled countries of America, which are frut-

full & fitt for habitation, being devoyd of all civill

1620.]                  PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                33

inhabitants, wher ther are only salvage & brutish men,

which range up and downe, litle otherwise then ye wild

beasts of the same.  This proposition being made pub-

like and coming to ye scaning of all, it raised many

variable opinions amongst men, and caused many fears

& doubts amongst them selves.  Some, from their

reasons & hops conceived, laboured to stirr up & in-

courage the rest to undertake & prosecute ye same;

others, againe, out of their fears, objected against it,

& sought to diverte from it, aledging many things, and

those neither unreasonable nor unprobable; as that it,

was a great designe, and subjecte to many unconceivable

perills & dangers; as, besids the casulties of ye seas

(which none can be freed from) the length of ye vioage

was such, as ye weake bodys of women and other

persons worne out with age & traville (as many

of them were) could never be able to endure.  And yet

if they should, the miseries of ye land which they

should be [17] exposed unto, would be to hard to be

borne; and lickly, some or all of them togeither, to

consume & utterly to ruinate them.  For ther they

should be liable to famine, and nakednes, & ye wante,

in a maner, of all things.  The chang of aire, diate, &

drinking of water, would, infecte their bodies with sore

sickneses, and greevous diseases.  And also those which

should escape or overcome these difficulties, should yett

be in continuall danger of ye salvage people, who are

cruell, barbarous, & most trecherous, being most furious

34                        HISTORY OF                        [CHAP. IV.

in their rage, and merciles wher they overcome; not

being contente only to kill, & take away life, but delight

to tormente men in ye most bloodie maner that may be ;

fleaing some alive with ye shells of fishes, cutting of ye

members & joynts of others by peesmeale, and broiling

on ye coles, eate ye collops of their flesh in their sight

whilst they live; with other cruelties horrible to be

related.  And surely it could not be thought but ye

very hearing of these things could not but move ye

very bowels of men to grate within them, and make ye

weake to quake & tremble.  It was furder objected,

that it would require greater sumes of money to furnish

such a voiage, and to fitt them with necessaries, then

their consumed estats would amounte too; and yett

they must as well looke to be seconded with supplies,

as presently to be trasported.  Also many presidents

of ill success, & lamentable misseries befalne others in

the like designes, were easie to be found, and not for-

gotten to be aledged; besids their owne experience,

in their former troubles & hardships in their removall

into Holand, and how hard a thing it was for them to

live in that strange place, though it was a neighbour

countrie, & a civill and rich comone wealth.

     It was answered, that all great & honourable actions

are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be

both enterprised and overcome with answerable cour-

ages.  It was granted ye dangers were great, but not

desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible.

1620.]                  PLYMOUTH  PLANTATION.                35

For though their were many of them likly, yet they

were not cartaine; it might be sundrie of ye things

feared might never befale; others by providente care

& ye use of good means, might in a great measure

be prevented; and all of them, through ye help of God,

by fortitude and patience, might either be borne, or

overcome.  True it was, that such atempts were not

to be made and undertaken without good ground &

reason; not rashly or lightly as many have done for

curiositie or hope of gaine, &c.  But their condition

was not ordinarie; their ends were good & honourable;

their calling lawfull, & urgente; and therfore they might

expecte ye blessing of God in their proceding.  Yea,

though they should loose their lives in this action, yet

might they have comforte in the same, and their en-

deavors would be honourable.  They lived hear but

as men in exile, & in a poore condition; and as great

miseries might possibly befale them in this place, for

ye 12. years of truce were now out, & ther was nothing

but beating of drumes, and preparing for warr, the

events wherof are all way uncertaine.   Ye Spaniard

might prove as cruell as [18] the salvages of America,

and ye famine and pestelence as sore hear as ther, &

their libertie less to looke out for remedie.  After

many other perticuler things answered & aledged on

both sids, it was fully concluded by ye major parte,

to put this designe in execution, and to prosecute it

by the best means they could.

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