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THE PILGRIM TOWN
By ELLEN WATSON
"Glory of Virtue, to fight, to struggle, to right the wrong;—
Nay, but she aimed not at glory, no lover of glory she;
Give her the glory of going on, and still to be."
TO the stout-hearted Pilgrims who landed here in 1620 this "glory of going on, and still to be" has been meted in lavish measure. For nearly three hundred years the fire first kindled in far-away Scrooby in the hearts of John Robinson, Elder Brewster, Richard Clyfton, the youthful William Bradford and their devoted followers has burned with a clear flame; the torch of truth there lit by them has been handed on from generation to generation.
For the many latter-day pilgrims who visit the shrines of New England, the gray boulder on Clarke's Island where the weary voyagers rested after their stormy cruise in the shallop; the humble rock on our shore where they at length found shelter; our noble statue of "clear-eyed Faith" and the not far distant monument on Bunker Hill, will ever bear like testimony to the courage of that little band of independent thinkers. Meeting in secret in the Manor-House of Scrooby, these far-sighted heroes, when they "shooke of the yoake of antichristian bondage" of the Church of England, made possible for their descendants a later Declaration of Independence!
every year, with the new knowledge it brings, adds to the pathos of
that early endeavor after religious and civil liberty. Many English
scholars, generously overlooking the Separation of 1776, have traced
on the mother soil of Old England the very beginnings of the
Separatist movement, and thanks to their careful study of musty
records and yellow parchments we now have a satisfactory, though
still incomplete, record of those few eventful lives to which we
proudly owe our present freedom.
FACSIMILE OF A PAGE FROM GOVERNOR BRADFORD'S
MANUSCRIPT, "PLIMOTH PLANTATION"
The original is now in the Boston State House.
enthusiast even finds the earliest evidences of this movement in the
concerted action of certain rebellious weavers of the twelfth
century—thirty weavers of the diocese of Worcester—who were
summoned before the Council of Oxford to answer a charge of making
light of the sacraments and of priestly power. Though they answered
that they were Christians and reverenced the teachings of the
apostles, they were driven from the country as heretics, to perish of
cold. This "pious firmness" on the part of the council,
writes the short-sighted chronicler, not only cleansed the realm of
England from the pestilence which had crept in, but also prevented it
from creeping in again. But the pestilence did creep in again and
again and the weeds grew apace, for which thanks are chiefly due to
John Wyclif and his followers.
PULPIT ROCK, CLARKE'S ISLAND
Even before the Reformation Foxe tells of "secret multitudes who tasted and followed the sweetness of God's Holy Word, and whose fervent zeal may appear by their sitting up all night in reading and hearing." But we must be content to trace our ancestry and our love of liberty to the early years of the seventeenth century, at which time, as we may now all read in the clear lettering of Bradford's own pen,
"truly their affliction was not smale; which notwithstanding they bore sundrie years with much patience, till they were occasioned to see further into things by the light 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 freedome of the gospell, would load & burden mens consciences, and by their compulsive power make a prophane mixture of persons and things in the worship of God. And that their offices & calings, courts and cannons &c. were unlawfull and antichristian; being such as have no warrante in ye word of God; but the same that were used in poperie & still retained."
So these brave men, whose hearts the Lord had touched with heavenly zeal for His truth, "as ye Lords free people joined them selves 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 endeavours, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them. And that it cost them something this ensewing historie will declare."
The charming scene of these secret meetings is now well known. In the little village of Scrooby, where the three shires of Nottingham, York and Lincoln join their borders, then stood a stately manor-house, once the favorite hunting-seat of the archbishops of York. Under this hospitable but already somewhat crumbling roof William Brewster, who had been appointed "Post" of Scrooby in 1590, welcomed these sufferers for conscience sake. Hither they stole through the green country lanes, from far around to listen to the "illuminating ministry" of Richard Clyfton, "a grave & revered preacher who under God had been a means of ye conversion of many. And also that famous and worthy man, Mr. John Robinson, who afterwards was their pastor for many years till ye Lord tooke him away by death."
too, from the neighboring hamlet of Austerfield, came the lad William
Bradford, already eager for spiritual guidance. Walking under the
elm-trees of the highroad, and through the yellow gorse, across green
meadows and by the banks of the placid Idle, he stopped perhaps to
admire the mulberry-tree planted there by the world-weary Cardinal
Wolsey. That arch-enemy of the Reformation little thought that a
branch of this tree would one day cross the Atlantic, to be preserved
with Pilgrim relics by friends of that "new, pernicious sect of
Lutherans," against which he warned the king!
THE EARLY NORMAN DOORWAY AT AUSTERFIELD CHURCH
Bradford's birthplace in Austerfield now stands, completely restored,
the twelfth-century parish church where he was baptized in 1590, and
from which he "seceded" when about seventeen years old. Did
the quaint old bell-cote with the two small bells, the beautiful
Norman arch of the southern doorway with its rich zigzag ornament and
beak-headed moulding, the wicked-looking dragon on the tympanum, with
the tongue of flame—did this perfect picture of Old-World beauty
flash across his memory when, some thirty years later, he helped
build the rude fort on our Burial Hill, which served as the first
"Meeting-House" in New England?
THE OLD FORT AND FIRST MEETING-HOUSE, ON BURIAL HILL, 1621
We like to believe that Bradford belonged to the honest yeoman class, that he "was used to a plaine country life & the innocente trade of husbandrey"; we know that he had a natural love of study which led him, despite the many difficulties he met, to master the Dutch tongue as well as French, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, which latter tongue he studied the more, "that he might see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in all their native beauty."
Associated as teacher here with the venerable Richard Clyfton, "the minister with the long white beard," and succeeding him as pastor, we have found the eloquent John Robinson, that winner of all men's hearts, that helper of all men's souls. A youthful student at Cambridge, living in an age and in an atmosphere of religious questioning, he was deeply troubled with scruples concerning conformity. He tells us "had not the truth been in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, I had never broken those bonds of flesh and blood wherein I was so straitly tied, but had suffered the light of God to have been put out in mine unthankful heart by other men's darkness." Happy in finding congenial spirits in the new community at Scrooby, Bradford tells us he soon became "every way as a commone father unto them." "Yea, such was ye mutuall love and 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 that famouse Emperour, Marcus Aurelious and ye people of Rome, that it was hard to judge wheather he delighted more in haveing such 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 soul & body."
Under his inspiring guidance, and with William Brewster as their especial stay and help, they were mercifully enabled to "wade through things." Some twenty-three years older than Bradford, we learn from that modest chronicler, who wrote "in a plaine stile, with singuler regard unto ye simple trueth in all things," that Brewster had also a wider experience of the world.
"After he had attained some learning, viz., the knowledge of the Latin tongue and some insight into the Greek, and spent some small time at Cambridge, and then being first seasoned with the seeds of grace and virtue, he went to the Court, and served that religious and godly gentleman, Mr. Davison, divers years, when he was Secretary of State, who found him so discreet and faithful, as he trusted him above all others that were about him, and only employed him in matters of greatest trust and secrecy."
After the innocent Davison was committed to the Tower by the treacherous "Good Queen Bess," Brewster retired to Scrooby, where he greatly promoted and furthered their good cause: "he himself most commonly deepest in the charge, and sometimes above his ability, and in this estate he continued many years, doing the best he could, and walking according to the light he saw, until the Lord revealed further unto him."
But these assemblies, however humble and secret, could not long escape the vigilant eye of the law. They were now "hunted and persecuted 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 and clapt up in prison, others had their houses besett & watcht night and day, & hardly escaped their hands; and ye most were faine to flie and leave their howses and habitations, and the means of their livelihood." "Seeing them selves so molested, and that ther was no hope of their continuance ther, by a joynte consente they resolved to goe into the Low-Countries, wher they heard was freedome of Religion for all men."
This quitting their native soil, their dear friends and their happy homes to earn their living, they knew not how, in a foreign country, was indeed considered by many of them to be "an adventure almost desperate, a case intolerable, & a misserie worse than death." But after many betrayals, many delays, many hardships by land and sea, they finally weathered all opposing storms. At Amsterdam, that friendly city of the Netherlands Republic, whose Declaration of Independence dates from July 26, 1581, they met together again, with no small rejoicing.
But in the midst of the wealth of this fair city they soon saw "the grime and grisly face of povertie coming upon them like an armed man, with whom they must bukle and incounter, and from whom they could not flye." For this reason, and to avoid religious contentions already rife there, in a year's time they decided to remove to Leyden, "a fair and bewtifull citie, & of a sweete situation." Here the story of the long siege of Leyden, bravely sustained in 1573, must have excited their ready sympathy, and the city's choice of a university, offered by William of Orange, instead of the exemption the city could have had from certain imposts, must have won the admiration of these scholarly men.
The stay of the English exiles here of some twelve years—the period of the truce between Holland and Spain—was, though trying, no doubt a good preparation for the greater hardships they were to endure. While Bradford wove fustian and his fellow-workers carded wool, made hats and built houses, Brewster printed "heretical" books, and taught English "after ye Latin manner." The harmony of their peaceful and industrious lives attracted many friends, until some three hundred kindred spirits joined John Robinson in his prayers for "more light."
One who soon proved himself to be an invaluable member of the community was Edward Winslow, a highly educated gentleman from Worcestershire. His energy, his diplomacy and practical experience of the world, his influence with Cromwell and other powerful friends in high places, removed many difficulties in the way of the struggling colony that was to be. Four times he was their chosen agent in England, and was thrice elected governor.
Here John Carver, a trusted adviser, who later became the first governor of New Plymouth, was chosen deacon of their church.
in the troops sent over by Elizabeth to aid the Dutch in maintaining
the Protestant religion against the Spaniards was the valiant
soldier, Myles Standish, of the Dokesbury branch of the Standishes of
Lancashire, who date from the Conquest. There the beautiful Standish
church still bears on its buttresses the family shield—three
standing dishes argent on a field azure—and Standish Hall is still
hung with portraits of warriors in armor, beruffed lawyers with
pointed beards, and gay courtiers of the Queen—the Roman Catholic
ancestors of our plain fighter! Luckily for us all, he cast in his
lot with the plucky workers he met in Leyden, and his cheery presence
and courage must have been of great service in planning the perilous
voyage on which they were about to embark.
GOVERNOR EDWARD WINSLOW
For, as the truce with Spain drew to a close, and as the older among them began to consider the uncertain future that lay before their children, they longed to take refuge on some freer soil, however far away. As Bradford writes, with a courage at once humble and sublime:
"Lastly (and which was not least) a great hope and inward zeall they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for ye propagating and 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 performing of so great a work."
So, "not out of newfangledness, or other such like giddie humor, but for sundrie weightie and solid reasons," the voyage was determined upon, and the King's consent to their emigration to America sought.
Winslow tells us, in his Briefe Narrative of the True Grounds for the First Planting of New England, that when their plans were laid before King James he remarked that " it was a good and honest notion," and asking further what profits might arise, he was answered, "fishing." "So God have my soul," he said, "so God have my soul, 't is an honest trade; 't was the apostles' own calling!" And we may state here, notwithstanding Bradford's statement that in the beginning "we did lack small hooks," New England, before 1650, annually sent to Europe 100,000 worth of dried codfish.
After many weary negotiations, a patent was at length obtained, but the future colonists were refused a formal grant of freedom in religious worship under the King's broad seal. A loan was made by some seventy "Merchant Adventurers " in England, and late in July, 1620, we find our future colonists on the quay at Delfthaven, ready to embark on the Speedwell. They are surrounded by their tearful friends, for whom, Winslow says, "they felt such love as is seldom found on earth."
Many of their number are to stay at Leyden under the faithful care of John Robinson, whose touching farewell words Winslow has preserved for us:
"he charged us 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."
This sad scene must have been still vivid in Bradford's memory when he wrote some ten years later in Plymouth:
"truly dolfull was ye sight of that sade and mournfull parting; to see what sighs and sobbs and praires did sound amongst them, what tears did gush from every eye, & pithy speeches peirst each harte"; "but they knewe they were pilgrimes, and looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to ye heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits."
After a good run with a prosperous wind they found the Mayflower at Southampton, but as the Speedwell proved unseaworthy they were again delayed, and after putting in for repairs to Dartmouth and Plymouth, the Mayflower finally, on September 16th, sailed alone from Plymouth. Observe the group of brave voyagers setting forth on an unknown "sea of troubles," trustful wives and children, manly youths and blooming maidens, as they wave a last good-by to dear Old England from the deck of the Mayflower. Their leaders form a notable band: Brewster, Carver, Bradford, Winslow, Standish, the soul, the heart, the head, the good right hand, the flashing sword, well-chosen instruments to unlock the frozen heart of New England, and to found there
"Empire such as Spaniard never knew."
Perhaps George Herbert, prince of poets, referred to this sailing when he wrote in his Church Militant:
"Religion stands on tiptoe in our land,
Ready to pass to the American strand."
Of the terrible discomforts and dangers of that perilous voyage of sixty-seven days who has not read the pitiful story? Have we not, all of us, "come over in the Mayflower," and rejoiced with these patient souls when at length, one clear morning in November, the shores of Cape Cod lay fair before their expectant eyes?
Determining to put in to Cape Cod harbor, and so to land on a territory where their patent could confer no rights, the leaders of the expedition, after consulting together in the cabin of the Mayflower, there drew up and signed the historic "Compact" which was to convert the hundred voyagers into the founders of a commonwealth. There they solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and of one another, combined themselves into a civil body politic, to frame and enact such just and equal laws from time to time as should be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony, unto which they promised all due submission and obedience.
While their sloop-rigg shallop of some fifteen tons was made ready for exploration by sea, those who went at once far into the forest came back with reports of fine growths of oak, pine, sassafras, juniper, birch and holly, abundant grape-vines and red cedar, which like sandalwood
"Sheds its perfume on the axe that slays it."
They found excellent springs, many deer and wild-fowl, and what proved to be their salvation in the wilderness, "divers faire Indian baskets filled with corn, which seemed to them a goodly sight." For this precious seed-corn the Indian owners were conscientiously paid double price some six months later.
The weakness and illness natural after the discomforts of such a voyage now made themselves felt in an alarming manner, and an exploring party was hastily organized to select the spot for their final settlement. Setting forth in the frail shallop, a party of eighteen picked men, after a successful " First Encounter" with the Indians, were driven by a furious gale to take shelter in the lee of a little island lying in a friendly harbor to the west of their starting-point. After thawing out over a good cedar-wood fire and resting for a night, they explored the island and repaired their boat. Of this island, afterward named for John Clarke, mate of the Mayflower, Bradford writes:
"But though this had been a day and night of much trouble & danger unto them, yet God gave them a morning of comforte & refreshing (as usually he doth to his children), for ye next day was a faire sunshining day, and they found them sellvs to be on an iland secure from the Indeans, wher they might drie their stufe, fixe their peeces, & rest them selves, and gave God thanks for his mercies, in their manifould deliverances. And this being the last day of ye weeke, they prepared ther to keepe ye Sabath. On Munday they sounded the harbor, and founde it fitt for shipping; and marched into ye land and found diverse cornfeilds and litle runing brooks, a place (as they supposed) fitt for situation; at least it was ye best they could find, and ye season & their presente necessitie made them glad to accepte of it."
So, on the 21st day of December, 1620, was made the now world-famous landing at Plymouth, of which these few words are the humble record.
a week of anxious waiting their return must have been hailed with
delight on board the Mayflower,
and their good tidings warmly
welcomed. As with all sails set the good ship made her way into the
harbor, eager eyes doubtless watched with joy the high hills of
Manomet, the wooded bluffs, the shining, protecting beaches, the fair
island, the low friendly stretch of the mainland sloping back to the
picturesque hillsides, which make Plymouth harbor at all times and
seasons a goodly sight to look upon. And here at length lay safely at
". . . simple Mayflower of the salt-sea mead!"
now, "Courteous Reader," as writes that most faithful
secretary of the Pilgrims, Nathaniel Morton, in his New England
Memorial (1669), "that I may not hold thee too long in the
porch," even in such goodly company, I bid you welcome to the
Plymouth of to-day. For in the harbor, the sand-dunes, the green
hillsides and the fresh valleys and meadows, in the blue streams and
ponds, the past is inseparably blended with the present. A small
theatre it is, and the actors were but few who played such important
rôles in the building
up of a nation, but the few memorials in
which that early struggle for existence is recorded are here lovingly
From the Rock where they landed we may follow their weary footsteps up the steep ascent of the first street, now named for Leyden, their city of refuge, and which may well be called the Via Sacra of Plymouth. Running back from the waterside to the foot of Burial Hill, and parallel to the Town Brook, it formed the centre of their daily toil, the scene of their early joys and sorrows. Here on either hand were staked out the homesteads for the nineteen first families; here with sturdy courage and endless labor they dragged the trees felled outside the clearing, and built their rude houses, thatching them with swamp-grass.
site of their first or "Common-House" is now marked, and
near the lot assigned to Elder Brewster still we may stop to drink
from the Pilgrim Spring: the "delicate water" is fresh and
sweet now as when our thirsty forefathers delighted in it.
PLYMOUTH IN 1622
Crossing Main Street, once the King's highway, we find ourselves in Town Square, under the shade of beautiful old elm-trees, planted more than a hundred years ago. To the north was William Bradford's homestead. Here came all those who sought advice and help in their sore need, and here in 1630 were begun those "scribbled writings" which, "peeced up at times of leasure afterward," are now printed in letters of gold in many a faithful memory! Here, perhaps, or in the vicinity of the Common House, was concluded their first treaty with a foreign power for mutual aid and protection, when the noble chief Massasoit, with his sixty Indian braves, was led thither by Samoset, the friendly sachem, whose English welcome had surprised the anxious colonists. Through Samoset they learned that some four years before a pest had devastated that region, called by them Patuxet. With him came Tisquantum, who became a valued friend and interpreter, teaching them to plant their corn when the oak-leaves were the size of a mouse's ear, and to place three herring in each hill with the seed-corn, which novel practice awakened serious doubts in English minds.
In the autumn of 1621, this was the scene of the first Thanksgiving held in New England, when, their houses built, their crops garnered from some thirty fertile acres, their furs and lumber safely stored, they made merry for three days, with Massasoit and ninety Indians as guests. Even with fish, wild-fowl and deer in plenty, the good housewives must have spent a lively week of preparation for such a feast!
Farther up the slope was built, in 1637, their first meeting-house, and at the head of the Square now stands the lately completed stone church of the first parish. In the belfry hangs the old town bell, cast by Paul Revere, which for nearly a century has had a voice in the affairs of the town.
Following the now steep incline, we stop to take breath on the brow of the hill, the spot so wisely chosen by Captain Myles Standish for the building of the solid timber fort, whereon he promptly placed his cannon.
"Unable to speak for himself was he,
But his guns spoke for him right valiantly!"
And most persuasive did their voices prove, inspiring awe in the hearts of the "salvages" for many miles around!
Here in the shelter of the fort they met for worship; here their hymns of praise and prayers for guidance arose in the still air of the wilderness. In four short months one half of these brave souls had been laid to rest on Cole's Hill by the waterside. And yet, when one April morning those who were left to mourn them stood here watching the Mayflower weigh anchor, to flit with her white sails over the blue sea which parted them from Old England, not one soul faltered, not one went back!
The sad loss of their good Governor Carver, whose responsible place was taken by William Bradford, and the daily trials and hardships of that first long year, shook not their sturdy faith. Each day brought its absorbing task, and when, one morning in November, the sentry at the fort shouted, "Sail, ho!" and the Fortune came sailing in by the Gurnet Nose, bringing the first news from the other side, they were ready with a return load of lumber, furs and sassafras for the Merchant Adventurers. Of this load, valued at £500, Edward Winslow modestly writes in his letter to England: "Though it be not much, yet it will witness for us that we have not been idle, considering the smallness of our numbers this summer."
Two years later, after a trying season of drought and famine, when, their corn exhausted, "ground-nuts, clams and eels" were their only food, they still gave thanks to God that He had given them of "the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures hid in the sand." When even the strongest men among them had grown weak for want of food, and their eyes were wearied with watching for a friendly sail, the good ship Anne was sighted in the offing. Dear relatives and friends brought them timely succor and new courage; a season of rejoicing followed, and many happy weddings were celebrated.
In the Anne, perhaps, came the Old Colony record-book, in which was made the early registration of births, marriages and deaths. The first of the laws therein enacted, dating from December 27, 1623, established trial by jury, as may still be seen in the quaint handwriting of these hard-working heroes. This book, together with the Charter of 1629, curious old papers concerning the division of cattle brought over in the Charity in 1624, ancient deeds signed by the Indians, the original owners of this our goodly heritage, and many another time-stained treasure, is now carefully preserved and gladly shown in the Registry of Deeds in the Court House.
Looking to the north, beyond the town of Kingston, lying, with its sweet rose-gardens, on the pretty winding river named for that arch betrayer, Captain Jones, of the Mayflower, we see Duxbury and the green slopes of Captain's Hill, so named in honor of Myles Standish, who from the top of his gray stone monument still guards us in effigy. Lingering near the fort and the guns he loved so well, he must often have looked this way, and admired the fine position this hill offered for a homestead. And as with years the colony grew larger, as children came to him and Barbara, and when his first Company of Standish Guards were in perfect training and could be relied upon to defend the colony at need, he bought out Winslow's share in the famous red cow, and led the way to the new fields he longed to conquer. There he was soon followed by John Alden and Priscilla, the Brewsters and other families, and at Marshfield, near by, the Winslows became their neighbors. So some eleven years after the landing came the first separation, which though not a wide one was a sore grief to their tender-hearted governor.
Among the now rare gravestones of the seventeenth century on Burial Hill, we look in vain for the most familiar names: Elder Brewster died in 1644, lamented by all the colony; Edward Winslow died at sea in 1655, and in the two years following this sad loss Myles Standish and Governor Bradford ended their labors. So closed the lives of these leaders of men. Descendants, brave, wise and strong like themselves, continued worthily the work they had nobly begun.
From 1630, Plymouth held friendly intercourse with the Boston Bay Colony. The terrors of the war with Philip, treacherous son of the friendly Massasoit, had united her with the neighboring colonies against a common foe, and at length, after seventy-one years of nearly independent existence, we find her, in 1692, absorbed, with some regret, into the royal province of Massachusetts, but still ready to take her part in public affairs.
That the rôle played by her was a worthy one, the tablets about us testify. Heroes of the expedition against Louisbourg, in 1745, lie here; more than a score of Plymouth patriots who served in the Revolution, and many a brave soldier who won his laurels in the War of 1861. Under this stone, with its quaint urn and willow-branch, rests the famous naval hero of the Revolutionary war, Captain Simeon Sampson, whose cousin Deborah spun, dyed, and wove the cloth for the suit in which she left home to serve as a soldier. Their story, and that of many another hero and heroine now lying here, have been well told by Mrs. Jane Goodwin Austin.
Beneath his symbolic scallop-shell we read the name of Elder Faunce, who knew the Pilgrims, and, living for ninety-nine years, formed an important link between two centuries. The stone consecrated to the memory of the Rev. Chandler Robbins, who for nearly twoscore years toward the close of the last century gave his faithful services to the first parish, reminds us that at one time the town fathers found it advisable to request him "not to have more horses grazing on Burial Hill than shall be really necessary!"
Here, in old times, could be had a grand view of the shipping, come from the West Indies and all parts of the world; from here the news of many fatal shipwrecks had been spread through the town, to rouse willing help for suffering sailors; here, too, no doubt, men's souls were often tempted to incur the fine of twenty shillings, the cost of "telling a lie about seeing a whale," in those strict days when a plain lie, if "pernicious," was taxed at half that price!
Old Father Time with his scythe and hourglass—symbols of his power—rules here over seven generations; but lingering while the setting sun illumines the harbor and the surrounding hills with the same radiance that rejoiced the first comers, while Manomet glows with a deeper purple, and the twin lights of the Gurnet shine out, we may still feel in very deed that
"The Pilgrim spirit has not fled."
Turning from the story of Plymouth, as written on the lichen-covered headstones on Burial Hill, let us wend our way under the shady elms of Court Street to Pilgrim Hall, built in 1824 by the Pilgrim Society, instituted four years earlier. Here we may trace, in the many treasured reminders of their daily lives, the annals of those brave souls in whom
" . . . persuasion and belief
Had ripened into faith, and faith become
A passionate intuition."
On broad canvases are portrayed the tearful embarkation from Delfthaven, the landing on this cheerless, frozen shore. Here are hung charming pencil sketches of Scrooby and Austerfield, and many interesting portraits: Dr. Thatcher, the venerable secretary of the Pilgrim Society, and author of a charming history of Plymouth; the Rev. James Kendall, for nearly threescore years the beloved minister of the First Church; Gov. Edward Winslow and his son Josiah; Gen. John Winslow, who by royal command in 1755 helped to drive from their homes the French Acadians; Deacon Ephraim Spooner, whose "lining out " of the old hymns formed an impressive part of "Anniversary Day"; Daniel Webster, who lived in Marshfield, and whose glowing oration of 1820, in honor of the two hundredth anniversary 1 of the landing of the Pilgrims, was epoch-making in Plymouth annals.
Among the many priceless books and
documents here we find the lately acquired Speculum Europæ
(1605) by Sir Edwin Sandys, the active friend of our Separatists in
England; two autographs of John Robinson render this volume of
special interest. A facsimile of the Bradford manuscript also is
here, and a Confutation of the
Rhemists Translation, printed by
Brewster in Leyden, in 1618. Among the old Bibles worn by hands
seeking for guidance and comfort is one belonging to John Alden,
dated 1620. Here also are a copy of Robert Cushman's memorable sermon
on "The Danger of Self-love," delivered by him in Plymouth
in 1621; one of the seven precious original copies of Mourt's
Relation the journal written by Bradford and Winslow in 1620-21,
so promptly printed in London in 1622; one of the four copies of
Eliot's Indian Bible (1685); the Patent of 1621, granted our
colonists by the New England Company, and the oldest state paper in
the United States.
THE "MAYFLOWER" IN PLYMOUTH HARBOR
From the painting by W. F. Halsall, in Pilgrim Hall.
large copy of the seal of the colony, in handsomely carved oak,
reminds us that the original seal was stolen in the days of
Andros. Its appropriate motto, "Patrum pietate ortum, filiorum
virtute servandum," may be found used as a heading of the first
published by Nathaniel Coverly in 1785, of which
one file is preserved in the library of rare old books. Here are the
Original Records of the Old Colony Club, founded in 1769, but
dissolved four years later when party feeling ran high between the
Whigs and Tories. Its worthy members first instituted the celebration
of "Forefathers' Day," and here we may read the bill of
fare of their first dinner, "dressed in the plainest manner,"
beginning with "a large baked Indian whortleberry pudding,"
"a dish of Succotash," "Clamms," etc. The Indian
dishes, succotash and nokake, and the five parched corns which recall
the time when their last pint of corn was divided among them, still
form part of the "twenty-second" dinner of every faithful
THE OLD COLONY SEAL
THE LANDING OF THE FATHERS, PLYMOUTH, DECEMBER 22, 1620
Copied from an old painting on glass
Here the sword of the truculent Myles Standish lies at rest, and beside it, in lighter vein, a bit of the quilt that belonged to his wife Rose, and a sampler skilfully embroidered by his daughter Lora. Between the ample armchairs in which Governor Carver and Elder Brewster must have pondered over many a weighty problem of government for the people and by the people, is the closely woven little Dutch cradle in which Peregrine White, that most youthful of voyagers, was rocked to sleep. The large hole worn in the foot of the cradle suggests pleasantly that the rosy toes of the sturdy baby colonists made early for freedom! Perhaps the tiny leathern ankle-ties, hardly four inches in length, which belonged to Josiah Winslow —this was long before they thought of making him governor—had a hand, or rather a foot, in that bombardment! Near the shoes is a dainty salt-cellar of blue and white enamel, delicately painted with pink and yellow roses, suggestive of fine linen and pleasant hospitality. Here too are
"The wheels where they spun
In the pleasant light of the sun,"
those anxious, lonely housewives, waiting for their good men to return from dangerous expeditions in the forest or on the sea. Thus varied was the freight of the Mayflower.
THE FULLER CRADLE
AN OLD ENGLISH SPINNING-WHEEL
we walk through the lively main street of the town, we must stop to
admire the fine gambrel roof of the old house where lived James
Warren, that active patriot, who became president of the Provincial
Congress, and whose wife, Mercy Otis Warren, wrote the "rousing
word" which kindled many a heart in Revolutionary days. The line
of fine lindens just beyond, as they rustle in the cool sea-breeze,
could whisper many a charming tale of lovely dames and stately men,
of scarlet cloaks and powdered wigs they have watched pass by under
their shading branches, of treasures of old china and old silver, of
blue tiles and claw-footed furniture, of Copley portraits now packed
off to the great city, and of many changes come about since they came
here as young trees from Nova Scotia, in a raisin-box.
THE DOTEN HOUSE, 1660
The oldest house in Plymouth.
Overlooking the blue water stands the old Winslow house, the solid frame of which came from England in 1754. Under its spreading lindens, through the fine colonial doorway so beautifully carved, many distinguished guests have passed, and here Ralph Waldo Emerson was married to Lydia Jackson, who was born in the picturesque house just beyond, almost hidden in trees and vines.
A drive toward the south will take us by some of the oldest houses. From the one with a dyke in front, Adoniram Judson, the famous Baptist missionary, took his departure for Burmah. His devoted sister then vowed that no one should cross the threshold until his return, and the door-step was taken away. Grass grew over the pathway, and the front door remained closed, for he died at sea, in 1850.
As we pass the handsome new building of the High School, it is good to remember, in this Plymouth of eight thousand inhabitants, paying thirty-four thousand dollars for last year's "schooling," that in 1672 it was decided that Plymouth's school, supported by the rents of her southerly common-lands, was entitled to £33, the fishing excise from the Cape, offered to any town which would keep a free colonial school, classical as well as elementary. And in that free school began an early struggle of the three R's against Latin and Greek. From Plymouth went Nathaniel Brewster, a graduate of Harvard's first class of 1642, and the first of a long line of Plymouth students to enter Harvard.
Past the blue Eel River, flowing gently through shining green meadows to the sea, we may drive along quiet roads in Plymouth Woods, under sweet pines and sturdy oaks, by the shore of many a calm pond, sparkling in its setting of white beach sand. We cross old Indian trails, perhaps, and skirt acre after acre of level cranberry-bogs, pink and white, like a sheet of delicate sprig-muslin, when in bloom, and bright with the crimson fruit in early autumn. In these woods in their season bloom sweet mayflowers, the rare rhodora, the sabbatia, sundew and corema, and there many another treasure may be found by those who know how to seek!
these forests were first explored, an enterprising member of the
climbing a high tree to see how the land lay, saw
shining before him a blue sheet of water which he took to be the
ocean, and this was called after him "Billington's Sea."
Following the shore of this lake, through the leafy paths of Morton's
Park, we come upon the source of the famous Town Brook, which with
its honorable record of two centuries' supply of alewives has always
played an important part in the town's annals, helping to grind the
Pilgrims' first grists in 1636, and now lending its busy aid in
turning complicated machinery.
THE GRAVE OF DR. FRANCIS LE BARRAN, THE NAMELESS NOBLEMAN
In the fields on either side—the hunting-grounds of the banished race who once rejoiced in their possession—are still found the beautifully worked Indian arrow-heads and hatchets; here the smoke arose from their wigwams; here they often paddled past in their swift canoes, and here, perhaps, were shot the five deer that formed their offering in the first New England Thanksgiving.
the manifold charms of Plymouth and Plymouth Woods must be seen and
felt on the soil whence they sprung! So in the hope that the
"Courteous Reader" to whom they are still unfamiliar may
care to verify this truthful statement, we leave in brief and
imperfect outline this story of the Old Colony, whither "they
wente weeping and carried precious seeds; but they shall returne with
joye and bring their sheaves."
1 The illustration shown on page 335 is from a pen-and-ink copy of a quaint old painting on glass from China, probably in 1820. In that country a set of china with this design as decoration was made for this Plymouth celebration.