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Full text of "Brief sketch of the character and sufferings of the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth"

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THE settlement at Plymouth, in Dec. 1620, by a com- 
pany of Englishmen, a civilized and christian people, not 
only displayed the most resolute and disinterested quali- 
ties in the characters of the individuals who effected it ; 
but has produced the most extensive and salutary benefits 
to the present generation, and the great family of man. 
They were zealous advocates for religious and civil 
liberty. For their adherance to those unalienable 
rights, they suffered every thing which human nature 
could endure ; and for the furtherance of their holy pur- 
pose, they left their native land, and planted themselves 
in a soUtary and unexplored wilderness. They were not 
a set of adventurers, seeking sordid gain — they were not 
political levellers, opposed to social order, or the legiti- 
mate authority of government. Nor were they ignorant 
fanatics, boasting of needless mortification, or hostile to 
human learning. They had studied the great subject of 
religious freedom, and were ready to endure all things, 
and to lose all things else, to secure, and to extend this 
great blessing. Their history is well known. They 
were first persecuted in their own country, they were 

pilgrims and sojourners for ten or twelve years in a 
strange land. They dared the dangers of the ocean, and 
of the wilderness to make way for their children and 
their posterity to enjoy unmolested the right of thinking 
for themselves, and of worshiping God solely according 
to his own most holy word. 

The place to which they came, at the beginning of a 
long inclement season, was much less pleasant and fertile 
than the banks of the Hudson, for which they intended. 
But the treachery of man followed them on the ocean — 
and they were obliged to make their residence on a bleak 
and boisterous coast, in an exposed harbour, and where 
no friendly help was nigh to protect and comfort them. 

But trusting in God, this little band of pious heroes 
was sustained ; they increased and prospered. Among 
them were many characters of great experience, prudence 
and virtue. Some of them were men of good education, 
and the most were far above the common class of Euro- 
peans of that period. They knew the necessity of order 
in society ; they early enacted laws to encourage and re- 
ward industry and temperance ; they established schools 
for the education of youth — and above all, they were 
most solicitous to maintain the gospel ministry, and to 
provide for the religious instruction and improvement of 
the great body of the people by a learned and pious 

The good effects of these institutions and principles 
have been felt through every succeeding generation — 

and to them indeed, must wc refer for the general intelU- 
gence, virtue and republican sentiments which have since 
pervaded our happy country. 

Mr. Carver was their first Governor — he was a man oi 
great prudence and sound judgment ; and enjoyed the 
confidence and affection of the company in an eminent 
degree. Before they left Holland, on several occasions, 
he had been their agent to Britain, and proved himself 
an able and faithful advocate of their cause. He died in 
May following their settlement. 

Gov. Bradford who succeeded Carver, was of a good 
family in the North of England — he had a knowledge of 
the ancient, learned languages, and was well acquainted 
with general history, and the polemic divinity of that day. 
He is also said to have been a very discreet, judicious, 
firm and prudent Magistrate. He was Governor from 
1621 to 1657, the time of his death, excepting four years, 
when he declined the office ; two of which Prince, and 
two, WiNSLOW was Governor. His descendants are very 
numerous, and are spread over most parts of the United 

William Brewster, whom they called " the Elder," was 
educated at the University in England ; and had sustained 
several important public offices under the British govern- 
ment. He is said to have been very learned, especially 
on theological subjects and in philology. But his great 
praise was, piety to God, and a corresponding desire to 
promote the cause of genuine religion. He was the old- 

est of the company, being nearly 60 when they first set- 
tled at Plymouth. When they were without an ordain- 
ed minister, he regularly and ably performed religious 
service — and his instructions were blessed to the spiritual 
good of many. He died in 164-^, aged 83 years, greatly 
lamented and respected. For several generations, his 
descendants remained in Plymouth Colony — afterwards, 
some of them moved to Lebanon and Preston, in Connec- 
ticut. Since the days of the apostles, perhaps there has 
not been an individual more pious, more disinterested, or 
more esteemed. He was worthy to be the disciple and 
colleague of the celebrated Robinson. 

Edward Winsloav was one of the most respectable and 
influential of the company of the Pilgrims, as well on ac- 
count of his intelligence and virtue, as for his propert}', 
which was greater than any of the first settlers. Hop- 
kins and Allerton were next, in point of property. — 
Gov. Winslow's family connexions in England were very 
respectable — he had been well educated, and was possess- 
ed of abilities sufficient not only to govern this infant 
Colony of puritans, but to assist in manageing the con- 
cerns of a great people or nation. He was twice elected 
Governor, and had he survived Mr. Bradford, no doubt 
would have been chosen first Magistrate for many years. 
In 1648 or 9, he went to England as agent for the Colony 
— entered into the service of the Commonwealth under 
Cromwell, who sent him a Commission with the fleet to 
Jamaica, where he died in 1654. His descendants of 
every generation have been heroes and statesmen. 

Miles Standish, one of this worthy band, was a milita- 
ry character, a man of great enterprize and bravery. — 
He had been a soldier in Flanders. Under Providence, 
he was their shield and their defence. The hostile sava- 
ges bled beneath his sword, and the European adventurer 
was subdued by his mighty prowess. He was son of a 
younger brother of a noble family — and on the death of 
the elder, without issue, he was rightful heir to a great 
estate — but he never inherited it. There are but few of 
his descendants, who bear his name now, in N. England. 

Gov. Prince was a man of great influence from the first 
settlement of the place, and his character much respected. 
His whole life was devoted to the service of the planta- 
tion — In the lifetime of Mr. Bradford, he was twice 
chosen Governor ; and after his death in 165,7, he was 
elected many years, and was Chief Magistrate of the 
Colony when he died in 1673. 

John Alden, Samuel Fuller, John Howland, William 
White, Stephen Hopkins, and Richard Warren, were also 
among those who assisted in building up the settlement 
at Plymouth, and were the advisers of the Governor, or 
the companions of Standish in regulating and defending 
the plantation. J. Alden was an assistant from 1638 to 
1636, the time of his death, when he was 88 years old. 
S. Fuller was a dea.con of the Church, and an eminent 
Physician. The descendants of Warren have been men 
of influence and respectability in the County of Ply- 
mouth : and some of those of S. Hopkins have held im* 
portant public offices in the State of R. Island. 

The names ot those who signed the civil compact, in 
Cape-Cod Harbour, Nov. 1G20, were as follows, viz. : — 

John Carver, 
William Bradford, 
Edward VViuslow, 
William Brewster, 
Isaac AUerton, 
Miles Standish, 
John Alden, 
John Turner, 
Francis Eaton, 
James Chilton, 
John Craxtun, 
John Billington, 
Joses Fletcher, 
John Goodman, 
Samuel Fuller, 
Christopher Martin, 
William Mullins, 
William White, 
Richard Warren, 
John Howland, 
Stephen Hopkins, 

Digory Priest, 
Thomas Williams, 
Gilbert Winslow, 
Peter Brown, 
Edmund IMargesson, 
G<v rge Scule, 
Richard Bitteridge, 
Edward Tilly, 
John Tilly, 
Francis Cooke, 
Thomas Rogers, 
Thomas Tinker, 
John Rin<;dale, 
Edward Fuller, 
Richard Clark, 
Richard Gardiner, 
John Allerton, 
Thomas English, 
E.I ward Doten, 
Edward Leister.