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24 Mr. Robmsorts Letter.
In addressing his church he says, 4' I am present in my best affections and most earnest longings after you. God knows how willingly and much rather than otherwise, I would have born my first part with you in this first brunt, were I'not held back by strong necessity. Make account of me in the mean time, as a man divided in himself with great pain, having my better part with you. And though I doubt not your godly wisdom, I think it my duty to add some words of advice; if not because you need it ; yet because I owe it in love and duty." He proceeds to give them the most affe&ionate and salutary advice. He urges them to repentance for all known sins, and generally for all that are unknown, lest God should swallow them up in his judgments. He then exhorts them to peace with one another, and with all men; to be careful not to give or receive offence, warning them that none were more apt to give offence, than those, who were easily offended themselves, that such never proved to be good members of society. He exhorts them to have a proper regard for the general good, to avoid as "a deadly plague, all private respe6l for themselves," and to show a due respe£i and obedience to the magistrates they should ele£t to rule over them. He concludes by observing, that he would "not so far wrong their godly minds as to think them heedless of other things, which he could say.*" * Hazard.
New and discouraging calamities. 35
This letter of Mr, Robinson's was read to the company before they left Southampton, and very gratefully received; afterward it produced the most happy effects. A governor and 2 or 3 assistants being chosen for each ship, they sailed from the old for the new world, Aug. 5, 1620. New calamities nowbefel them; one of their vessels sprung a leak, and they were obliged to return, and make repairs; again they sailed, and again were they beaten back, and obliged to leave their small vessel. Being all crowded into one ship, they put to sea again, Sept. 6; but a dreadful storm opposed their passage, and they seriously contemplated relinquishing the voyage, and returning home again.
These repeated disasters gave them full opportunity of deliberately " counting the cost" of their designs, of estimating and feeling their dangers and distresses, of comparing them with the value of those religious privileges, which were the ob* je£t of all these darirrg enterprises, of all these overwhelming sufferings. Never did martyrs dying for their religion and their Saviour, have such ample time for cool reflexion, to form a deliberate judgment, and to examine the rock on which they built their hopes of eternal felicity.
In their native country their sufferings had been great, and of long duration, not less than 5 or 6 years, full time to refleft and recant. In Holland, for 12 or 13 years, they had endured trials and labours, which had exhausted their strength and pro36 Arrival at Cape Cod*
duced a premature old age. Their disasters would have justified them in relinquishing their object. Still, however, they persevered, still they pursued their design with unappalled resolution. Every time they turned their course toward the American coast, it was a new demonstration of the reality, the infinite value, and the invincible energy of the Christian Religion, when it reigns in thehearts of good men. Was there ever an objeft presented to mankind, which was calculated more powerfully to persuade them to believe the gospel, than this company of holy puritans, sailing the. stormy ocean in search of a place to worship Qod in peace and purity of conscience ? Must not that religion be from heaven which could sooth, and support, and comfort, and animate people in circumstances so painful and hazardous? Nor were these daring efforts prompted by the passion of the moment; they had been repeated and continued for eighteen years. They were not the meteors, which blaze, dazzle, and expire, but the sun shining in his strength to enlighten the world.
After being tossed more than two months on the stormy ocean, they descried, Nov. 9th, the bleak, and barren shores of Cape Cod. Two days after they anchored in Cape Cod harbour.
It was their intention to have settled at the mouth of Hudson's river; but the Dutch, intending to plant a colony of their own, privately hired the master of the ship to contrive delays in England, Form of government established. 3 7
and then to condu£l them to these northern coasts, and there, under the pretence of shoals and winter, to discourage them from venturing to the place of destination. This is confidently asserted by the historians of that time. Although Cape Cod harbour, in which they first anchored, was good, the country around was sandy and barren. These were discouraging circumstances; but the season being far advanced/they prudently determined to make the best of their present situation. As they were not within the limits of the patent, and consequently not under the jurisdiction of the Virginia company, and having some factious persons among them, in the capacity of servants, who possessed a portion of the modern spirit of liberty and equality, and who had intimated that when on shore they should be under no government, and that one man would then be as good as another, the more judicious thought it necessary to establish a separate government for themselves.
Accordingly, before they landed, having devoutly given thanks to God for their safe arrival, they formed themselves into a body-politic, under the following covenant or contract, which they all subscribed, and made the basis of their government, "In the name of God, amen. We whose names are under written, the loyal subje&s of our Dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, &c. Having undertaken for theglory of God, and the advancement of the 38 Governor elected.
christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage, to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents solemnly, and mutually, in the presence of God, and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body-politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to ena£l, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience: In witness whereof, we have here under subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November; in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James, of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftyfourth: Anno Domini, 1620."
This instrument was signed by 24 heads of families, with the number in their respe&ive families annexed, and 17 single men, making in the whole 101 souls.
Afterwards by an unanimous vote, they chose John Carver their governor for one year.
Having thus established and organized their government, in its form truly republican, their next objeft was to fix on a convenient place for settlement. In doing this, they were obliged to encounter numerous difficulties, and to suffer incredible hardships. Many of them were sick in