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Cole's Hill Memorial
Thursday, September 8, 1921
Report of tke
Committee on tke Tercentenary Celebration
and Permanent Memorial
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Cole's Hill Memorial
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1921
Former Governor General HOWLAND DAVIS, CWrrnan of tke
Committee on tne Tercentenary Celebration
and Permanent Memorial
"INSCRIPTIONS ON MONUMENT
THIS MONUMENT MARKS THE FIRST BURYING GROUND
IN PLYMOUTH OF THE PASSENGERS OF THE MAYFLOWER
HERE, UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS, THE FAST DWINDLING COMPANY
LAID THEIR DEAD, LEVELING THE EARTH ABOVE THEM LEST THE
INDIANS SHOULD LEARN HOW MANY WERE THE GRAVES.
READER! HISTORY RECORDS NO NOBLER VENTURE FOR FAITH
AND FREEDOM THAN THAT OF THIS PILGRIM BAND. IN WEARINESS
AND PAINFULNESS, IN WATCHINGS OFTEN, IN HUNGER AND COLD
THEY LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STATE WHEREIN EVERY MAN,
THROUGH COUNTLESS AGES, SHOULD HAVE LIBERTY TO WORSHIP
GOD IN HIS OWN WAY. MAY THEIR EXAMPLE INSPIRE THEE TO DO
THY PART IN PERPETUATING AND SPREADING THE LOFTY IDEALS
OF OUR REPUBLIC THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR PASSENGERS
THESE DIED IN PLYMOUTH DURING THE FIRST YEAR
Thomas English Ellen More and
Edward Tilley and
Mary, First Wife of
Moses Fletcher a Brother (children) Ann His Wife
Edward Fuller and William Mullins
John Tilley and
His Wife Alice His Wife and
John Goodman Joseph Their Son
John Carver and
William Holbeck Solomon Prower
His Wife and Son
Katharine His Wife
John Hooke John Rigdale and
James Chilton's Wife John Langmore Alice His Wife
and Two Sons
Edmund Margeson Thomas Rogers
John Crakston Sr.
Christopher Martin Rose, First Wife of
Sarah, First Wife of
and His Wife Myles Standish
Elizabeth, First Wife of
Degory Priest Elias Story
By Professor Wilfred H. Munro, of the Rhode Island Society
INSCRIPTIONS ON MONUMENT
THE BONES OF THE PILGRIMS
FOUND AT VARIOUS TIMES IN
AND NEAR THIS INCLOSURE
AND PRESERVED FOR MANY
YEARS IN THE CANOPY OVER
THE ROCK WERE RETURNED AT
THE TIME OF THE TERCENTENARY
CELEBRATION AND ARE DEPOSITED
WITHIN THIS MONUMENT.
ERECTED BY THE GENERAL SOCIETY
OF MAYFLOWER DESCENDANTS
A. D. 1920
"ABOUTE A HUNDRED SOWLS
CAME OVER IN THIS FIRST
SHIP AND BEGAN THIS WORK
WHICH GOD OF HIS GOODNESS
HATH HITHERTOO BLESED: LET
HIS HOLY NAME HAVE YE PRAISE"
*By Professor Wilfred H. Munro, of the Rhode Island Society
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Organ Selection — Fantasy in G minor . . . Bach
Mr. Albert W. Snow
Prayer by Elder General
Rev. John Coleman Adams, D. D.
God of our fathers, whose arm failed them not,
neither has failed their children, we gather here with
grateful hearts that Thou hast been a sun and a shield
to them and to us, through all the years that are past.
We come in reverence and loyalty to this shrine of the
spirit to reconsecrate ourselves to the things here begun
and the ideals here set up. We thank Thee for our
lineage and for our inheritance. We thank Thee for
the names we bear, which our fathers established in
honor for all time; for the laws and covenants and
constitutions which they handed down to us; for as
much of their spirit as still survives in us and in the
land they helped to found; for their imperishable vir-
tues, their indomitable faith, their unfailing courage,
their patience, fortitude, and loyalty to conscience. We
thank Thee for the witness they bore to the truth of
God and to the duty of man. We thank Thee for their
brave persistence, through frost and famine, through
peril and pestilence, through loneliness and bereave-
ment, in treading the way of the Fore-runner and
making straight a highway for Thee in the wilderness
of a new land. Help us, God, renew their work in
a day of trial and distress.
Help us to trust in Thy guidance and care; to give
ourselves to Thy service, to the upbuilding of Thy
Kingdom, to obedience to Thy law, to prayerful lives,
to unselfish sacrifice, to fervent and sincere worship.
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Save our land and all lands from the horror and the
sacrilege of war. Promote the fellowship of the nations
and the maintenance of universal peace. Make our
land a leader in brotherhood and goodwill. And help
us, who come here to consecrate a memorial to our
fathers, to fashion one more enduring and worthy than
this emblem of our reverence out of loyal, devout, self-
sacrificing lives, entering into their rewards by sharing
in their work.
So make us to be fellow-citizens with the saints
and fellow workmen with Thee, in the spirit of the
Master Soul, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Former Governor General Davis.
Three years ago in this church the Eighth General
Congress of the Society took the first step to formulate
a plan for the preservation and marking of the Pilgrim
Burying Ground on Cole's Hill. This work was even-
tually undertaken as the most appropriate permanent
contribution by it to the Tercentenary Celebration of
the Landing of the Pilgrims. It was unquestionably
the one which would appeal most keenly to the senti-
ment and to the interest of all the descendants of the
Pilgrims, one that is clear and definite in its purpose,
and would stand apart by itself as a memorial by the
Society of Mayflower Descendants.
The meeting here to-day is held to mark the suc-
cessful completion of this work so undertaken, and in
reverent memory of those of the passengers of the
Mayflower who died during the fatal first winter, and
whose names are now inscribed on the monument which
stands on the spot where they were buried.
The exercises will now continue, and I shall call
upon Deputy Governor General Asa P. French to make
the first address. He needs no introduction to this
audience I am very sure.
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION V
Address by Deputy Governor General
Hon. Asa P. French.
Mr. Chairman, Descendants of the Pilgrims, Ladies
and Gentlemen: It is uppermost in my thoughts that
I must not encroach upon the time, nor invade the
province, of the principal speaker of the day, my very
dear friend and classmate, the Bishop of Maine.
The task which I have undertaken is merely to say
a few words in behalf of the General Society of May-
flower Descendants which, owing to the regrettable and
unavoidable absence of General Wood whose term of
office as its Governor-General ended yesterday, I have
the honor to represent.
These exercises, as you have been told, are held
under the auspices of that Society for the purpose of
dedicating the monument erected by its members on
Cole's Hill as their contribution to the permanent
memorials which have marked the advent of the three
hundredth anniversary of the landing of their first
ancestors in America.
Plymouth soil is dear, and will ever remain dear,
to all true Americans; but to us, through the accident
of birth, it is fertile with peculiarly tender associa-
tions. Here, men and women from whom we are sprung
have lived, toiled, suffered and died, and many have
been laid to rest within its borders or in its neighbor-
ing towns. To repeat what I said, a day or two
ago, upon another occasion, we are attached to it by
all that has gone before us and by all that shall come
after us; by those who gave us life and those to whom
we have transmitted it; by the past and by the future;
by the immovability of graves and by the rocking of
And so, upon the approach of this anniversary,
when the State and the Nation have vied with one
another in honoring the Pilgrims; when countless multi-
tudes have paid pious visit to the spots rendered sa-
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cred by their lives and deeds, eager to testify their
respect and gratitude, our anxious thought and desire
has been to commemorate the event in a manner
which, though in slight and inadequate measure, would
serve as a token of our filial reverence and love.
It will be remembered that of the one hundred and
three passengers of the Mayflower who saw Cape Cod,
two, Oceanus Hopkins and Peregrine White were in-
fants in arms. Four, including James Chilton, one of
the signers of the Compact, and Dorothy, wife of
Governor Bradford, died before the arrival at Plymouth.
An inscrutable Providence ordained that this little
band should be divided into two groups equal in num-
ber but unequal in fate; one destined to survive and
prosper, and to see, in the alliance with the Massachu-
setts Colony, the dawn of a great Commonwealth
founded by them, — how great, their wildest prophecies
could have but feebly portrayed; the other, over-
whelmed and debilitated by the privations and hard-
ships of a two months' voyage in a crowded ship upon
a tempestuous sea and beneath inclement skies, doomed
barely to prolong their existence until they reached
their journey's end, and to give up their lives upon
the threshold of their supreme undertaking. Insuf-
ficiently supplied with remedies, and without effective
medical care, there was little to combat the dread
disease contracted on shipboard and aggravated by
exposure to the rigors of an unaccustomed winter.
What must have been their doubts and fears, as
they felt the shadows of death closing about them,
for the fate of their surviving companions and the
success of the enterprise for which they had sacrificed
How they were buried on Cole's Hill yonder in
leveled and unmarked graves the location of which
was revealed to posterity, more than a century later,
only by the accident of a freshet which displaced
parts of the hill and brought some of the bones to the
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 11
surface; how a highway was constructed through and
over the hallowed spot, subsequently marked by a
simple and inconspicuous tablet at the roadside, — are
all matters within the knowledge of every student of
Pilgrim history and need not be recited here in detail.
At one of the recent Congresses of this Society,
the attention of the delegates having been called to
this deplorable situation, unanimous action and prompt
measures were taken to remedy it. A committee was
appointed and a plan was outlined and ultimately
carried into effect, to reclaim the spot from the high-
way and to place there a monument which should be
in some degree appropiate to commemorate the ap-
palling tragedy of that first winter and spring, and to
record for posterity the names, so far as known, of
these martyrs in the cause of liberty and humanity.
Truly, the ashes of those who have died for the world's
advancement are precious seeds!
It is that monument which, reared in loving grati-
tude, we dedicate today.
History records that no one was more active in
ministering to the sick than Brewster, their ruling
elder, and that it was he who conducted the simple
and frequent services for the dead.
Mr. Choate in an oration delivered before the New
England Society of New York in 1843, with that
wealth of imagery and beauty of diction of which he
was a consummate master, has drawn a picture of the
melancholy scene and of Brewster's part in it which
is so vivid and so beautiful that it cannot be surpassed,
and should not be forgotten on this day of dedication,
for which it seems almost to have been expressly
"In a late undesigned visit to Plymouth," he said, "I sought
the spot where their earliest dead were buried. It was a bank, you
remember, somewhat elevated, below the town and between it
and the water, near and looking forth upon the waves, symbol of
what life had been to them; ... On that spot have laid to rest
together, the earth carefully smoothed down, that the Indian might
not count the number, the true, the pious, the beautiful, and the
12 ORDER OF EXERCISES
brave, till the heavens be no more. There, certainly, was buried
the first governor, 'with three volleys of shot fired over him;' and
there was buried Rose, the wife of Miles Standish. . . .
I can seem to see, on a day quite towards the close of their
first month of March, a diminished procession of the Pilgrims,
following another dearly beloved and newly dead to that brink
of graves; and pausing sadly there before they shall turn away to
see that face no more. In full view from that spot is the Mayflower,
still riding at her anchor, but to sail in a few days more for England,
leaving them alone, the living and the dead, to the weal or woe of
their new home. I cannot say what was the entire emotion of that
moment and that scene, but the tones of the venerated elder's
voice, as they gathered round him, were full of cheerful trust; and
they went to hearts as noble as his own! 'This spot', he might
say, 'this line of shore, yea, this whole land grows dearer, daily,
were it only for the precious dust which we have committed to
its bosom. I would sleep here, when my own hour comes, rather
than elsewhere, with those who have shared with us in our ex-
ceeding labors, and whose burdens are now unloosed forever. I
would be near them in the last day, and have a part in their resur-
rection. And now,' he proceeded, 'let us go from the side of the
grave, to work with all our might what we have to do. It is in
my mind that our night of sorrow is well-nigh ended, and that
the joy of our morning is at hand. The breath of the pleasant
south-west is here, and the singing of birds. The sore sickness
is stayed, somewhat more than half our number remain, and among
them some of our best and wisest, though others have fallen asleep.
Matter of joy and thanksgiving to God it is, that among you all,
the living and the dead, I know not one, — even when disease had
touched him, and sharp grief had made his heart as a little child's
— who desired, yea, who could have been entreated to go back to
England by yonder ship. Plainly it is his will that we stand or
fall here. If he prospers us, we shall found a church, against which
the gates of hell shall not prevail; and a colony, — a nation, — by
which all the nations shall be healed, and shall be saved. Millions
shall spring from our loins, and trace back, with lineal love, their
blood to ours. Centuries hereafter, in great cities, the capitals of
mighty states, and from the tribes of a common and happy Israel,
shall come together, the good, the distinguished, the wise, to re-
member our dark day of small things; yea, generations shall call
Without a sign, calmly, with triumph, they turned away from
the grave. They sent the Mayflower away, and went back, those
stern, strong men, to their imperial labors."
Could anything be more fitting than that a lineal
descendant of the great elder, himself an eminent New
England divine, should have been invited to deliver
the principal address in 1921, in consecration of a
monument to those who were committed to their
graves by his ancestor in 1621, or could anything be
more fortunate than that he has undertaken the task
with the fullest realization of its significance?
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 13
And as we consecrate this monument, shall we not
cry out, across the infinite gulf to those whose graves
little band of brave and steadfast Christians,
first of the English race to be committed to New
England earth, we, your descendants and successors,
the beneficiaries of those blessings which have sprung
from your ashes as from precious seeds, stand here
to-day, with inexpressible gratitude, reverence, and love
for your memories, which we pledge ourselves shall be
transmitted from generation to generation, even unto
the end of time! [Applause.]
Organ Selection — Cantabile . . Cesar Franck
Mr. Albert W. Snow
Chairman Davis. — At the time of the celebration
on the 21st of December of last year, under the aus-
pices of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the
Tercentenary Commission, one of the delightful events
of that day was an original poem prepared by Dean
LeBaron Russell Briggs. Dean Briggs has kindly con-
sented to repeat the poem for us today. I know you
will be especially grateful to him, as I am for his
kindness to us to-day. I have therefore great pleasure
in presenting to you Dean Briggs, a descendant of
By LeBaron Russell Briggs
Professor in Harvard University
Before him rolls the dark, relentless ocean;
Behind him stretch the cold and barren sands;
Wrapt in the mantle of his deep devotion,
The Pilgrim kneels, and clasps his lifted hands:
"God of our fathers, who has safely brought us
Through seas and sorrows, famine, fire, and sword;
Who, in Thy mercies manifold hast taught us
To trust in Thee, our leader and our Lord;
14 ORDER OF EXERCISES
"God, who has sent Thy truth to shine before us,
A fiery pillar, beaconing on the sea;
God, who hast spread Thy wings of mercy o'er us;
God, who hast set our children's children free,
"Freedom Thy new-born nation here shall cherish;
Grant us Thy covenant, unchanging, sure:
Earth shall decay; the firmament shall perish;
Freedom and Truth, immortal shall endure."
Face to the Indian arrows,
Face to the Prussian guns,
From then till now the Pilgrim's vow
Has held the Pilgrim's sons.
He braved the red man's ambush;
He loosed the black man's chain;
His spirit broke King George's yoke
And the battleships of Spain.
He crossed the seething ocean;
He dared the death-strewn track;
He charged in the hell of Saint Mihiel
And hurled the tyrant back.
For the voice of the lonely Pilgrim
Who knelt upon the strand
A people hears three hundred years
In the conscience of the land.
Daughter of Truth and mother of Courage,
Conscience, all hail!
Heart of New England, strength of the Pilgrim,
Thou shalt prevail.
Look how the empires rise and fall!
Athens robed in her learning and beauty,
Rome in her royal lust of power —
Each has flourished her little hour,
Risen and fallen and ceased to be.
What of her by the western sea,
Born and bred as the child of Duty,
Sternest of them all?
She it is, and she alone
W T ho built on faith as her corner stone;
Of all the nations none but she
Knew that the truth shall make us free.
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 15
Daughter of Courage, mother of Heroes,
Light of New England, star of the Pilgrim,
Still shalt thou shine.
Yet even as we in our pride rejoice,
Hark to the prophet's warning voice:
"The Pilgrim's thrift is vanished,
And the Pilgrim's faith is dead,
And the Pilgrim's God is banished,
And Mammon reigns in his stead;
And work is damned as an evil,
And men and women cry,
In their restless haste, 'Let us spend and waste,
And live; for tomorrow we die.'
"And law is trampled under;
And the nations stand aghast,
As they hear the distant thunder
Of the storm that marches fast;
And we, — whose ocean borders
Shut off the sound and the sight, —
We will wait for marching orders;
The world has seen us fight;
We have earned our days of revel;
'On with the dance! we cry.
'It is pain to think; we will eat and drink,
And live — for tomorrow we die.
" 'We have laughed in the eyes of danger;
We have given our bravest and best;
We have succored the starving stranger;
Others shall heed the rest.'
And the revel never ceases;
And the nations hold their breath;
And our laughter peals, and the mad world reels
To a carnival of death.
"Slaves of sloth and the senses,
Clippers of Freedom's wings,
Come back to the Pilgrim's army
And fight for the King of Kings;
Come back to the Pilgrim's conscience;
Be born in the nation's birth;
And strive again as simple men
For the freedom of the earth.
16 ORDER OF EXERCISES
"Freedom a free-born nation still shall cherish;
Be this our covenant, unchanging, sure:
Earth shall decay; the firmament shall perish;
Freedom and Truth immortal shall endure."
Land of our fathers, when the tempest rages,
When the wide earth is racked with war and crime,
Founded forever on the Rock of Ages,
Beaten in vain by surging seas of time,
Even as the shallop on the breakers riding,
Even as the Pilgrim kneeling on the shore,
Firm in thy faith and fortitude abiding,
Hold thou thy children free for ever more.
And when we sail as Pilgrim's sons and daughers
The spirit's Mayflower into seas unknown,
Driving across the waste of wintry waters
The voyage every soul shall make alone,
The Pilgrim's faith, the Pilgrim's courage grant us;
Still shines the truth that for the Pilgrim shone.
We are his seed; nor life nor death shall daunt us.
The port is Freedom! Pilgrim heart, sail on!
Rt. Rev. Benjamin Brewster, Bishop of Maine.
I. The monument we dedicate to-day commemorates
one of those stories of sacrifice which mean to human
society not loss but gain.
As we honor those few hundred Greeks under Leon-
idas, giving up their lives in the Pass at Thermopylae,
if they might at least delay the advance of the mighty
Persian host; as we glory in those Belgians of own our
day who counted not their lives dear, in blocking the
way of the overpowering violators of their little nation's
neutrality; — So we do well to place this memorial here,
for those "Mayflower" Pilgrims who, in that first win-
ter faced their "rendezvous with death."
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 17
Though we may know well the facts, yet the vivid
story of William Bradford so graphically pictures the
situation, that we may listen to his record once more:
"That which was most sadd and lamentable was that in two
or three months' time halfe of their company dyed, espetialy in
January, and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting
houses and other comforts; being infected with the scurvie and
other diseases, when this long voyage and their inacomodate con-
dition had brought upon them; so as ther dyed sometimes two
three of a day, in the foresaid time; that of one hundred and odd
persons, scarce fifty remained. And of these in the time of most
distress, ther was but six or seven sound persons, who to their
great commendations, be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day,
but with abundance of toyle and hazard of their owne health,
fetched them woode, made them fires, drest them meat, made
their beads, washed their lothsome cloaths, cloathed and uncloathed
When Bradford wrote this, there was no reason to
draw a veil over the fact that half of the passengers
who had landed from the "Mayflower" laid down their
lives so soon as martyrs in this high adventure. But
in the earliest Journal, written in 1621, and published
in England the following year (usually called "Mourt's
Relations") a stern reticence is maintained, probably
to avoid discouragement among the supporters of the
enterprise in the homeland. 2 Yet even here a sugges-
tion of the sore trials is given (though with no hint
of unmanly complaining) when, in the entry of this
Journal for December 28th, mention is made of the
limited number of houses which the settlers undertook
to build, and the contracted area of the allotments:
"We thought this preparation was large enough at the first,
for houses and gardens, to impale them round, considering the
weakness of our people, many of them growing ill with colds, for
our former Discoveries in the frost and storms, and the wading
at Cape Cod, had brought much weakness amongst us, which
increased so every day more and more, and after was the cause
of many of their deaths." 3
1- Wm. Bradford: "History of Plymouth Plantation." p. 108.
2 See the remarks of Geo. B. Cheever, D. D. in Chapter XV
of his "Historical and Local Illustrations," published in connection
with the reprinting of "The Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth."
(2d Ed. p. 260.)
3 Journal (Cheever's reprint.) p. 50.
18 ORDER OF EXERCISES
One of the last of the victims of this devastating
sickness was their first Governor, John Carver. Of his
burial alone is particular mention made in the early
chronicle, with the note that "Some vollies of shotte"
were fired "by all that bore arms." But among the
families of the most conspicuous leaders a heavy toll
was taken. Even before the landing at Plymouth,
while William Bradford was away exploring with a
squad of picked men, his wife was drowned. And in
the great sickness, the register kept by this careful
chronicler early notes the deaths of Edward Winslow's
wife, and of Isaac Allerton's wife. The entry in this
register for January 29th, 1621,— "Rose, the wife of
Captain Standish" — suggests to the imagination a part-
ing, touched with memories of youthful love and
pledged loyalty, such as make brave men still more
We judge of the quality of these men and women
by the dauntless demeanour of the survivors. What
farewell words of comfort were breathed by these pil-
grims to the life beyond we know not. For the records
of that time of trial find no place for such things.
But, that they departed not as defeated souls, but
rather, "greeting the unseen with a cheer," we may
believe not only from the general consideration of their
faith, but from the brave spirit of those they left
Undemonstrative indeed was this steady courage,
affording room for precaution against unknown dan-
gers, evinced in the tradition that lived among their
descendants, that the graves on Cole's hill, after the
great mortality in the first stage of the settlement,
were levelled and sown over by the settlers to conceal
the extent of their loss from the natives, "lest the
Indians, counting the number of the dead, should know
the weakness of the living." 1
'Thatcher: "History of Plymouth," p. 28.
Cheever, op. cit., p. 266.
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 19
But their determination held them on this forbidding
shore, of which Captain John Smith had declared that
he was not so simple as to suppose that any motive
other than riches would "ever erect there a common-
wealth or draw company from their ease and humors
at home to stay in New England." 2
The early spring of 1621, when the fury of the
epidemic was not yet spent, saw "The Mayflower"
with its crew sail back to old England. But not one
of the Pilgrims turned back. Nay even, as a recent
writer has observed, "In March, in spite of the terrors
which encompassed them, in spite of the graves of the
dead which far outnumbered the homes of the living,
Winslow could yet note that 'the birds sang in the
woods most pleasantly.' " 3
Truly these forefathers of ours "lived dangerously,"
in a very real and definite sense, quite beyond the
spiritual horizon of the modern philosopher who coined
In concrete experience, they could live up to that
proud claim in the letter from Holland, three years
before, written to London by two of their leaders: "It
is not with us as with other men, whom small things
can discourage, or small discontentments cause to wish
themselves home again." 4
Whatever may have been the limitations of their
theology, in their attitude towards the hard things that
a soldier of Christ must learn to face with bravery,
they have bequeathed to us a rich heritage, whereof
we should strive to be worthy.
II. This occasion, however, invites a consideration
of their adventure in its relation to the broad currents
of thought which affect powerfully the course of history.
2 Fiske, "Beginnings of New Eng.," p. 79.
3 J. Truslow Adams, in "The founding of New England," p. 100.
^Letter from John Robinson and William Brewster, in Brad-
ford's History, p. 55.
20 ORDER OF EXERCISES
That group of "Mayflower" Pilgrims belonged to
the general movement which we call Puritanism, yet
with a difference. The great revolution, known as the
Protestant Reformation, was determined by intellec-
tual, political and economic conditions, as well as by
the revolt of great religious leaders against the ecclesi-
astical institutions of the earlier age. Such things as
the revival of classical learning, the discovery of new
lands, and the rise of nationalism contributed their
influence in varying measure, in different countries.
In England, the new national consciousness strongly
reacted upon the spirit of individualism which stands
out as the distinctive feature of the Reformation era
A congenial soil, indeed, had been prepared there for
the growth of individualism by the hard-won achieve-
ments of civil liberty and the experience of local self-
government. A ready response was given, among our
sturdy forefathers in the sea-girt isle, to the doctrines
of Luther and Calvin stressing the responsibility of the
individual soul, and English Puritanism, in one aspect
of it, stands as the embodiment of this principle of
But the newly awakened nationalism coinciding
with the reigns of the Tudors, and fostered by the
dominating personalities of that dynasty, made for the
entrenchment of the Church as an institution, at once
protected and exploited by the royal authority. We see
this in the official statement of William Cecil, the first
Lord Burghley, on the expelling of certain Puritan
clergy from their livings:
"For the religion which they profess, I reverence them and
their calling; but for their unconformity, I acknowledge myself
no way warranted to deal for them, because the course they take
is no way safe in such a monarchy as this; where Mis Majesty
aimeth at no other end than where there is but one true faith and
doctrine preached, there to eatablish one form, so as a perpetual
peace may be settled in the Church of God." 1
*S. R. Gardiner, "History of England," I, p. 200.
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 21
The historian, Gardiner's, comment on the above
"The view thus taken was that of the man of business in all
ages and in all parts of the world. To such natures the strength
which freedom gives is entirely inconceivable." 2
The problem for those whose hearts and consciences
were especially responsive to the more individualistic
manifestations of Protestantism was, how to be loyal
as Englishmen to the nation of which they were justly
proud, and yet not to surrender that "patriotism of
the soul" (to borrow the phrase of James Russell
Lowell in connection with a situation not dis-
similar) by which they felt themselves "citizens of an
invisible and holier fatherland" with a supreme "duty
and privilege as liegemen of truth." 3 This, I think, is
the key to the religious controversies in England, es-
pecially throughout the reigns of Elizabeth and of
James First. The difficulty was on the institutional side,
as the statement just quoted from Lord Burghley shows.
Law and Order had to be upheld. Men had yet to
learn that diverse systems of ecclesiastical government,
and varying forms of public worship could be tolerated
in an orderly state. That way, they thought then, lay
anarchy. The great mass of the Puritanical party were
as firm supporters of the Church establishment as the
most ardent lovers of the forms and settled institu-
tions that emphasized the dignity and the reverence
of outward worship. As Dr Leonard Bacon has written:
"The Puritan was a Nationalist, believing that a
Christian nation is a Christian Church."
It was seen afterwards, in the parliamentary tri-
umph in the Civil Wars, what rigorous use the Puritans
could make of the power of repression when it was in
'Ibid, p. 201.
3 I borrow the phrases of James Russell Lowell in reference to
a situation not dissimilar, confronting the New England descen-
dants of these Puritans ("Bigelow Papers").
22 ORDER OF EXERCISES
Men had strong convictions in those days. And,
while one may lament the tragedy which arrayed the
quest for personal rights so often against much that
was hallowed and beautiful and true, and while we
rightly blame the principle of Church establishment as
contributing to this unhappy strife, it is hardly pro-
fitable to condemn the intolerance of that time. It is
better to inquire whether intolerance in other spheres
has taken the place today of intolerance in religion.
And it is but fair to take account of that devotion to
principle, not confined to one party in the contest,
which in the end worked out the measure of liberty
and toleration which we now enjoy.
III. But it is time to consider particularly that
special offshoot of the great Puritan movement to
which the travellers in "The Mayflower" belonged, —
that rather obscure eddy, as it were, in the main
current of the movement, which ultimately influenced
so profoundly the stream of progress. It is necessary
to make plain distinctions here.
While the great body of the Puritan party believed
in the establishment of Religion by the authority of
the State, there were a few early witnesses for a
different conception, some of whom sealed their devo-
tion to the doctrine of Separatism or Independance on
the gallows. Separatist congregations arose from time
to time, often going to anarchical extremes, — as always
will happen under a policy of indiscriminate repression. 1
The accession of James I in 1603 and his disappoint-
ing attitude provoked the rising spirit of liberty among
men of more sober mind and more stable character.
His familiarity with the Presbyterian polity in Scotland,
it was hoped by the Puritans, would make him ready
to receive their complaints against the bishops. But
that familiarity seemed to work the other way, and
cause him to welcome and cultivate episcopal sub-
^ee J. Truslow Adams, "Founding of New England" pp. 67-68.
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 23
serviency. Though at first giving hopes of some meas-
ure of tolerance, he snubbed the Puritan divines with
the famous dictum (so fraught with evil for the Church
as well as the State): "No bishop no king;" 2 and
dismissed them with the truculent threat, "I will make
them conform or I will harry them out of the land."
The rise of the Separatist congregation of Scrooby,
which was the nucleus of the ultimate "Mayflower"
company, dates from 1606, hardly two years after the
Hampton Court Conference, at which the impolitic
king so defiantly proclaimed his absolutist theory of
rule, and cemented the ill-omened alliance between
autocracy in the state and episcopacy in the Church.
It is reasonable to assume a connection of cause and
William Brewster, the tenant of Scrooby Manor,
doubtless had imbibed Puritan principles through his
connection with the Elizabethan statesman, William
Davison, — though even so, his early sojourn in the
Netherlands as a member of Davison's embassy had
probably tempered the hardness of Puritan doctrine.
But, holding as he did since 1587 the important ap-
pointment of "Post," or master of the court mails and
government messages, 1 he would have been constantly
under observation, and any unlawful religious meetings
in his house would have been known. It is only after
the Hampton Court Conference that we begin to hear
of these meetings at Scrooby Manor, and in 1607,
Brewster ceased to hold office.
For upwards of two years, however, the illegal
religious assemblages gathered for their simple worship
on Sunday afternoons at Scrooby Manor, imbibing the
teaching and the spirit of a remarkable man, Rev.
2 Frere, "Hist of Eng. Church in Reigns of Elizabeth and
James I," p. 297.
1 Morton Dexter, "The England and Holland of the Pilgrims,"
pp. 237; 320.
24 ORDER OF EXERCISES
IV. It was to Robinson, in the providence of God,
that this Scrooby group owed much of its distinctive
quality. His was no stationary mind. At this period,
no doubt, the negative principle of independence was
emphasized by him and his flock. They followed the
logic of their individualistic creed to its conclusion. To
their thinking, the Mother Church had become cor-
rupted by worldly influences and human inventions.
In this respect they held common ground with the
other stout Calvinists known as Puritans. But in their
endeavors to realize their ideal of a Church they were
more single-minded than the bulk of the Puritan party.
Convinced by hard experience that the ruling powers
of the Church were bound to repress that "liberty of
prophesying" to which they believed the Spirit of God
was leading them, they resolutely — even if, as we may
believe, reluctantly — sacrificed the lesser loyalty to
authority to the higher loyalty to the Spirit, and
separated from that Church, which they had come to
think was hopelessly fettered by its connection with
the State. This step of Separatism was repugnant, as
has been said, to the Puritan party no less than to
Anglicans in full sympathy with the ritual of the
Prayer Book and the rule of Bishops. Compelled to
choose between imprisonment and exile, they became
Pilgrims, and the land of William the Silent gave them
Not the first group of Separatists to take refuge in
Holland were these Pilgrims from Scrooby. More than
one congregation had already settled in Amsterdam,
the port of their initial sojourn. And here soon comes
to light the quality which distinguished the follwers
of John Robinson from the other Separatists. For in
Amsterdam there had already developed those objec-
tionable tendencies which are the dangers of such a
position — a narrow censoriousness, uncharitableness,
petty divisions, what we today would call "crankiness"
— in short the perils of individualism without the per-
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 25
spective which the sense of wide corporate fellowship
gives. This atmosphere of fractional strife was uncon-
genial to Robinson and his flock, and therefore, after
due negotiation with the truly liberal-minded burghers
of Leyden, 1 that hospitable city became their abiding
place for eleven years; and the university there, already
famous though still young, welcomed Robinson, a
Cambridge graduate, to its membership. 2
Thrice a week, as Bradford tells us, this man of
light and leading taught these simple but thoughtful
English exiles in the old Dutch town. We have not
his sermons. But from other writings of his we may
infer the sort of teaching on which the future
"Mayflower" voyagers were nourished. It was an era
of religious controversy, and Robinson himself had
positive convictions. But here is a characteristic pas-
sage from one of his essays:
"Disputations in religion are sometimes necessary, but always
dangerous; drawing the best spirits into the head from the heart,
and leaving it either empty of all, or too full of fleshly zeal and
passion if extraordinary care be not taken still to supply and fill
it anew with pious affections towards God and loving towards
Again, we find him arguing for civil tolerance of
alleged religious errors: "considering that neither God
is pleased with unwilling worshippers, nor Christian
Societies bettered, nor the persons themselves either
. and being at first constrained to practice
against conscience (many) lose all conscience after-
x See "Leyden Documents Relating to the Pilgrim Fathers,"
pub. by Netherlands-American Institute, 1920, with preface by
Dr. J. R. Harris, and Dr. I. J. Plooij.
2 See art. by F. J. Powicke, "John Robinson and Pilgrim
Movement," in Harv. Theol. Rev., July, 1920, pp. 269-280, a
valuable correction to R. G. Usher.
3 F. J. Powicke, "J. Robinson & Beginnings of the Pilgrim
Movement." in Harv. Theol. Rev. for July, 1920, p. 270.
26 ORDER OF EXERCISES
wards. Bags and vessels overstrained break, and will
never after hold anything." 1
Now it is the simple truth, that in the temper of
the Plymouth Colony — by contrast particularly with
the strong neighboring colony of Massachusetts Bay —
we see plainly the fruit of this "Christian Wisdom" of
their pastor whom they had left behind. This distinc-
tion has not always been recognized, and historical
justice demands that we recognize it. And, though
certain investigators have questioned the genuineness
of the famous "Farewell Address" which Edward
Winslow records, comparison with John Robinson's
unquestioned writings, that reveal the forward move-
ment of his mind, ever aspiring to regions of freedom
and light, confirms belief in Winslow's fidelity to the
spirit of his parting injunctions. "He charged us" —
so runs the summary of the noble address — "before
God and his blessed angels, to follow him no further
than he followed Christ; and if God should reveal
anything to us by any other Instrument of his, to be
as ready to receive it, as ever we were to receive any
truth by his Ministry. For he was very confident the
Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth out
of his Holy Word." 2
The Pilgrims, then, were dedicated by their wise
and godly teacher to the principle of progress in
thought, held true by loyalty to Christ. And we honor
them for their general fidelity to that principle. They
had moved, in sympathy with the spirit of their open-
minded pastor, from a position of negative revolt, to
a positive stage, not of course tolerant of all religious
vagaries, but giving room for a generous measure of
iPowicke, op. cit. "Harv. Theol. Rev.," p. 286.
2 Wm. W. Fenn, "John Robinson's Farewell Address," in Harv.
Theol. Rev., July, 1920. p. 236.
J Cf. Powicke, op. cit. "Harv. Theol. Rev.," p. 280-1. Note
also, an article in same no. of the "Review" by W. W. Fenn, on
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 27
V. Moreover, no less noteworthy than this quality
of forward-looking idealism, was the political sagacity
of the Plymouth leaders. Witness the well-known
"Compact" in the cabin of "The Mayflower," when
confronted with the impending dangers of lawlessness
on the part of certain fellow-adventurers who had
joined them in England before their embarkation on
their west-bound journey. 2
Surely no unpractical, wild-eyed fanatics were these
Pilgrim Fathers. Deeper than their Puritan eccentricity
was their English sanity. They came of a stock imbued
with principles of law-abidingness, trained for social
action. Though first of all citizens of a heavenly coun-
try, they never forgot that they were Englishmen; and
to this was due their refusal of their Dutch hosts'
invitation to plant a colony in the island of Zealand,
or even to join with the settlers at New Amsterdam.
They would remain English. And so New England was
born of this marriage of spiritual devotion with racial
The President of the United States, in the striking
address given in this place this summer, sugges-
tively pointed out how the ideals of English self
government, which found expression in this Plymouth
Settlement, are "the basis of social conduct, of com-
munity relations, throughout the world." Indeed we
touch but one element in the character and power of
these Pilgrim Fathers, when we speak, of their indivi-
dualism. That was the more superficial element, forced
into temporary prominence by the political and religious
ferment of their age. More fundemental was their
innate social consciousness. And here, once more, John
Robinson's wise interpretation of life is manifest, in a
letter to the voyagers which Bradford has preserved:
"John Robinson's Farewell Address," wherein Prof. Fenn as-
cribes great influence in developing the Catholic spirit of the
Pilgrims to Wm. Brewster, p, 250-1.
Bradford "Hist, of Plymouth," p. 106.
28 ORDER OF EXERCISES
"A fourth thing there is carefully to be provided for, to witte,
that with your commone employments you joyne commone affec-
tions truly bent upon the generall good, avoyding as a deadly
plague of your both commone and spetiall comfort all retirednes
of mind for proper advantage, and all singularly affected any
manner of way; let every man represse in him selfe and the whol
body in each person, as so many rebels against the commone
good, all private respects of mens selves, not sorting with the
generall convenience." 1
To such principles, applicable alike in religion and
in the body politic, — yes, and in the relations of nations
to one another, — our Pilgrim fathers gave their ad-
herence. In such a spirit, rising far above a merely
negative conception of liberty, those whom we com-
memorate today, yeilded up their lives on this shore.
To that spirit of fine idealism, looking beyond self-
centered satisfaction, and tempered too with sane prac-
ticality, may we be faithful, as we strive towards the
consummation (devoutly to be wished) of genuine
freedom, and peace among men!
For, though the 16th century emphasis upon indi-
vidualism was no doubt a necessary phase in the
evolution of society, and though we derive from it
valuable elements, not lightly to be abandoned,
individualism is by no means the last word in human
It is the value of interdependence, not mere inde-
pendence, that our age is bringing home to us, —
the truth that we are members one of another — the
call to fellowship, and the sharing in a common
life. In this our day, let us heed the divine voice, as
our forefathers listened, and, at cost of exile, suffering
and sacrifice of life itself faithfully, humbly, yet daunt-
Organ Selection — Andante Religioso Horatio W. Parker
Mr. Albert W. Snow
Chairman Davis. I will now ask our new Elder
General to pronounce the benediction.
'Bradford, "Hist, of Plymouth Plantation"pp. 85-86.
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 29
Rev. Harry St. Clair Hathaway, D. D.
While we ask God's divine blessing upon our memo-
rial and upon this gathering, let us be mindful of those
whom we memorialize.
Almighty and everliving God, we yield unto Thee
most high praise and hearty thanks, for the wonderful
grace and virtue declared in all thy saints, who have
been the choice vessels of thy grace, and the lights of
the world in their several generations; most humbly
beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow the ex-
ample of their stedfastness in thy faith, and obedience
to thy holy commandments, that at the day of the
general Resurrection, we, with all those who are of the
mystical body of thy Son, may be set on his right
hand, and hear that his most joyful voice: Come, ye
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
for you from the foundation of the world.
Grant this, Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our
only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
Unto God's gracious Mercy we commit ourselves.
May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord
make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious to us.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and
give us peace, both now and forevermore, Amen.
Following the exercises at the First Church, the
delegates and friends in attendance were marshaled
under Acting General Murray and his aides, and
marched to the Permanent Memorial on Cole's Hill,
where the proceedings were resumed, as follows:
Chairman Howland Davis: Ladies and gentle-
men, and friends, it is now my duty as Chairman of
the Committee entrusted with the work already ac-
complished here, to announce that we have completed
our labors and having so completed our labors, it is
30 ORDER OF EXERCISES
our duty and our pleasure to hand over to the repre-
sentative of the Society, Deputy Governor and Acting
Governor General French, the memorial which has
been prepared and carried out by this Society. Mr.
French, we turn over the monument to you.
Acting Governor General French
Mr. President [addressing President Arthur Lord,
of the Pilgrim Society], in the name and behalf of the
General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and in
response to the generous and gracious offer of the
Pilgrim Society, I now confide to that kindred organi-
zation, through you as its head, the pious and perpetual
care of this monument, erected by the General Society
to commemorate those of the Mayflower passengers
who died earliest in Plymouth.
Hon. Arthur Lord, President of the Pilgrim Society.
Mr. Governor General, in this grateful task of
commemoration, the Commonwealth has joined with
your Society, has turned aside the highway which for
so many years passed over the line of graves, has
enclosed and protected the original burial place of those
of the Pilgrim company who died the first winter, and
now all that is mortal which remains of those who
were buried here has been placed beneath this stone,
never again to be disturbed.
In behalf of the Pilgrim Society and in compliance
with your request, I accept the important trust and
high responsibility which you have imposed. There is
no spot, Sir, where the associations are more tender
and inspiring and persuasive than this on which we
stand today. Fitly there crowns it this beautiful sar-
cophagus, a memorial at once simple and appro-
priate, reverential and dignified, and here, Sir, may it
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION 31
"So let it live unfading,
The memory of the dead,
Long as the pale anemone
Springs where their tears were shed,
Or raining in the summer's wind,
In flakes of burning red,
The wild rose sprinkles with its leaves
The turf where once they bled!"
Chairman Davis: This wreath has been placed on
the monument by the General Society. An opportunity
will now be given by the Captain General for the
delegates and members to step up and deposit their
individual flower on the monument as we resume the
As the delegates and members marched past, each
deposited a flower on the Memorial, after which the
procession moved to the Plymouth Tavern, where a
lunch was served.
COMMITTEE ON THE TERCENTENARY
AND PERMANENT MEMORIAL
Former Governor General Howland Davis, New York,
Deputy Governor General Asa P. French, Massa-
Secretary General Addison P. Munroe, Rhode Island
Former Governor General Thomas S. Hopkins, Dis-
trict of Columbia
Deputy Governor General Arthur H. Bennett,