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Mortal pestilence.. I $
cigners were not susceptible of the contagion. Richard Vines and crew, on a voyage of discovery, travelled into the country and lodged in their wigwams, but were not in the least degree affe&ed, though the natives were dyingin such numbers, that they could not be buried. It is known that sometimes strangers do not take the yellow fever where it is most malignant. Had it been the small pox, as some have supposed, these Europeans would certainly have taken it, unless they had had it before; if they had, they doubtless would have recognized the visible marks of the disease. On the spot first occupied by the fathers of New England, now the town of Plymouth, though before very populous, "every human being died of the pestilence."*' This account was easily credited from the extent of the uncultivated fields, and the number of graves and human bones, which appeared. ^ An extraordinary occurrence relative to this pestilence has been mentioned, fC A French ship had been wrecked on Cape Cod; the men were saved with their provisions and goods. The natives kept their eyes on them till they found an opportunity to kill all but 3 or 4, and divide their goods. The captives were sent from one tribe to another as slaves. One of them learned so mucft of their language as to tell them, that " God was angry with them for their cruelty, and would destroy them and give their country to another people." They answered that " they were too many for God to 'kill." He replied that "if they were ever so numerous, God had many ways to kill them of which they were then -ignorant." After
20 Rise of the Puritans.
wards when this new and extraordinary pestilence came among them, they remembered the man's words, and when the Plymouth settlers arrived at Cape Cod, the few survivors imagined, that the other part of his prediction would soon be accomplished."*
Rise of the Puritans, their sufferings, flight t<*
Holland^ inconveniences there, resolution
to remove. .
EVENTS in Europe, under the dire6lion of divine providence, had for a long time been preparing the way for a colony of christians in the wilds of America. The vine had been planted, which has long enriched her vallies and adorned her hills.
The first permanent settlement of New England, by a civilized and christian people, was the effe£t of religious persecution. Soon after the commencement of the reformation in England, in the year 1534, the protestants were divided into two par* ties, one the followers of Luther, and the other of Calvin. The former had chosen gradually, and almost imperceptibly, to recede from the church of Rome; while the latter, more zealous, and convinced of the importance of a thorough reformation, and at the same time possessing much firmness, and high notions of religious liberty, were for effe&ing a thorough change at once. What the others had Origin of their name. 21
done in the work of reformation, fell far short of their wishes. They still saw surplices, printed prayers, organs, bishops, andaltars, with most of the pomp, which had belonged to the papal church, and wer;e but little impressed with the alterations of doctrines and creeds. Their plainness of dress, their gravity of deportment, the names of their children, borrowed from the scriptures, their daily religious conversation, their endeavours to expunge from the church all the inventions of men, and to introduce the "Scripture purity," acquired for them the name of Puritans. From these the inhabitants of New England descended. The reasons assigned for leaving their own country, and settling a wilderness were, "that the ancient faith and true worship, might be found inseparable companions in their pra&ice, and that their posterity might be undefiled in religion."* ^ In the year 1602, a number of people in thecounties of Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, and- Yorkshire ,by the preaching of the gospel became savingly acquainted with the truth. Their ignorance, prejudices, and errors, were so far removed, that they saw the vanity of their former superstitions ; they sought more evangelical instructions, and a purer church. A separation from the established church was the natural consequence. Shaking off their ant-ichristian chains, they resolved, "whatever it should cost them," to enjoy liberty of conscience. On account of their distance from each other, they formed themselves into two churches. Of one, Mr. John Smith, a man of
* Letter of the Minifters of N. E. to Mr. Duey.
22 Emigration of the Puritans,
able gifts and a good preacher, became pastor; but these, adopting some errors, in the low countries'* became neglefited, and their history is unknown. Of the other, the history of which will constitute a considerable part of the following pages, the Rev. Richard Clifton, a man of grave deportment and a successful preacher, had the pastoral care. Many were hopefully converted under his ministrations. Mr. John Robinson, was a member of this church, and afterwards their Pastor. Mr WilLiam Brewster was an elder and preacher.
After they had separated from the establishment, on account of its retaining so much of popery, and were organized churches, having covenanted " to walk in all the ways of God made known, or to be made known to them, according to their best endeavours," the spirit of persecution rose like aflood with new fury. Beside the trial of cruel mockings, they were watched by officers; they were often imprisoned or obliged to fly from their houses and means of subsistence.
In this deplorable situation, with "joint consent," . they resolved to go into the low countries, where they heard, was freedom of religion for all men. Hard was their lot, to leave their dwellings, their lands, and relatives, to go they knew not whither, to obtain a living they knew not how. Havingbeen employed only in agriculture, they were ignorant of the trades and business of the country, which they had selected as the place of their exile. Though persecuted, they were not destroyed ; though distressed, their zeal and courage did not forsake them; though N their sufferings, &fc. 23
in trouble, trusting in God, they were not dismayed. Still another affliction, more unreasonable, ifpossible, than any former one, stare^i them in the face. They could not stay in peace, nor where they allowed to depart. The strong arm of law had barred; every harbour and vessel against them. They could effect their escape only by secret means, or by bribing the mariners, and then were they often betrayed, their property siezed, and themselves punished. The following fa£ts will show how distressing and forlorn was their situation.
A large company, intending to embark at Boston, in Lincolnshire, hired a ship, agreed with the master to take them on board at a certain day, at an appointed place. They were punctual; he kept not the day, but finally came and received them on board in the night; then, having agreed beforehand with the searchers and other officers, he delivered the passengers and goods to them, who put them in boats, rifled and searched them "to their shirts," treating the women-with indelicacy and rudeness, carried them back to the town, where they were spe&acles of scorn to the multitude, who came to gaze. They were carried before the magistrates, they were imprisoned for a month; the greater part were then sent to the place whence they came; still some of the principal characters were kept in confinement, or bound over to the next assizes.
Distressed, but still persevering, the next spring a number of these, with some others, agreed with a Dutch captain to carry them to Holland. He was to take them from a large common between Grims