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main pillar of their strength, the indefeasible right of private judgment in matters spiritual, could not, experience taught them, be long dwarfed and restricted to such narrow issues as they would have imposed. Two main irreconcilable principles, in fact, and them only, were in presence of each other-authority and conscience. There was no middle course permanently possible. Either the stubborn nonconformist must again bow his neck to authority, or, however reluctantly, concede to others that which it was his aim to secure at any cost or hazard for himselfinviolability and supremacy of conscience in things spiritual. This vital principle it is—lying at the very root of Puritan dissent, but not, unhappily, for many years embodied in its practice that has breathed enduring life and vigour into the dry bones of a sour, dogmatic theology; this, the sacred flame, the beacon-light, which, borne half-unconsciously, if you will, across the Atlantic to the shelter, and for the guidance of a new world by the Pilgrim Fathers, still hallows their footsteps, and sheds a glory over their history which conceals beneath its veil of light the faults, errors, crimes—for that is the true word—which blot and darken the else bright, heroic record. As humble but faithful expositors of truth, it will be our duty to draw aside that veil, certainly with no irreverent hand, but the less unwillingly that we believe a higher moral, a greater, or, at all events, a more needed lesson, is to be derived from those stained and sorrowful leaves, than from the lustrous pages with which they so deplorably contrast; although these, we at the same time entirely agree, will be pondered over with enthusiasm and delight, as long as lofty enterprise, unswerving resolution, and unquailing self-sacrifice, have power to arouse the sympathies and command the admiration of mankind.
Next to the House of Commons, in which the Puritans had, in the latter days of Elizabeth's reign, a powerful and growing party, they looked with hope, almost with confidence, to the accession of James for relief from the vexations and persecutions to which they were exposed. They were miserably disappointed. A conference was held at Hampton Court, before the king, between the Puritan leaders and their dignified opponents, at which his majesty, after giving unusual vent to the loquacious egotism it was his delight to indulge in, plainly declared, that if nonconformists of all patterns and degrees did not submit to what he, in the plenitude of royal wisdom, deemed to be true and orthodox, it should be worse for them. I will make them conform,' were his words to Dr Reynolds, ' or harry them out of this land, or worse.' His acts redeemed his threats, and as he was enabled for some years to rule without a parliament, the only potent and ever-hated foe of absolutism, the burning, hanging, torturing of unhappy dissidents from the Establishment, soon became as common as during the reign of the imperious Elizabeth. Many bowed their heads in affected submission, till the violence of the storm should have passed away; others, of sterner purpose and hardier mould, disdained to temporise, preferring rather to seek in foreign lands the peace and safety refused to them at home. A large number had emigrated, some years previously, to Holland, Switzerland, and parts of Northern Germany; and amongst others who followed their example, were a numerous body of reputed * Brownists,' from the neighbourhood of Boston, in Lincolnshire. They were called Brownists for no other reason than that, like the Rev. Mr Brown, a beneficed and eccentric clergyman of the Establishment, they asserted the right of free churches, and refused submission to Episcopacy and state rule. Their first resting-place (1606) was Amsterdam; but a schism having broken out between two of their pastors or elders, who mutually excommunicated each other, a large portion of them removed to Leyden, under the clerical guidance of the Rev. John Robinson, a Norfolk divine, and an amiable, just man. They now assumed the more appropriate designation of Independents, and for about twelve years dwelt and worshipped in peace—in peace, that is to say, inasmuch as they were not molested from without; but their hearts yearned for the accustomed haunts, the old customs, manners, the familiar accents of their native land. The people about them were civil and helpful enough, but strangestrange as the tongue they spoke. This home-sickness grew upon them; and whilst anxiously pondering how to deal with it—for there was yet no safety in England, except on condition of conformity'- Mr Robinson bethought him of the vast new western continent, where reputedly fertile solitudes appeared to offer so inviting a refuge to fugitives from the oppressions of the Old World. The Spaniard, the Frenchman, the Hollander, were, he knew, already busy there, and the plantation of Virginia had been partially commenced in Elizabeth's time; why might they not, then, hope to found another England in the American wilderness ?-a New England, to which they would bear the language, the manners, the traditions, the self-reliant spirit, the passionate attachment to representative institutions, the indomitable hatred of despotism, the Magna Charta, the jury-trial of Old England-reproduce, in fact, in the regions of the setting sun, the England from which they were self-exiled for conscience' saké, in all but its persecution of the people of God! The reverend gentleman lost no time in imparting the idea which had so forcibly struck him to his congregation, by whom it was received with enthusiasm. It was, they said, a message from God himself, commanding them to go forth and plant His church in the wilderness; and no dread of suffering, peril, death itself, should deter them from obeying the divine injunction. These were the first PILGRIM FATHERS—the forlorn-hope of the great Puritan emigration which, commencing in 1620, and mainly concluded by the meeting of the Long Parliament, not only founded and settled the New England states of America, but has, in a wonderful degree, impressed its own political and religious policy and character, in their essential attributes, upon the institutions, ideas, tendencies, of the entire republic, one-third of whose inhabitants at this day pridefully acknowledge a Puritan origin.
Unfortunately, these founders and lawgivers of a mighty empire, eager as they were to set out on their great enterprise, had not the pecuniary means necessary for transporting themselves across the Atlantic, much less of purchasing the implements, plants, seeds, indispensable to the attempt at hewing out and founding another England in the forests of the New World. But difficulties, however great, usually vanish when grappled with by brave and earnest men. A joint-stock company was ultimately formed, in which a number of English merchants were shareholders for considerable sums. The commercial principle upon which the association was based was simple enough, though rather unfairly onerous towards the emigrant who had no capital but his labour to offer. Each of these, by virtue of that labour mortgaged for seven years, during which all were to work in community, was a shareholder to the extent of L.10; so that upon the division of profits at the end of that time, the capitalists who advanced L.100, would be entitled to just ten times as much as a working emigrant. It was at first thought that a grant or charter might be procured from the crown, but this was quickly found to be quite out of the question : a slight, contemptuous half-promise that they would not be interfered with, being all in this way their friends could, with much difficulty, obtain a disappointment of little moment, after all, to men who firmly believed themselves to be acting under the direct inspiration of the King of kings. Two vessels, the Speedwell and the Mayflower—one of 60, the other of 120 tons burden, were taken up and prepared for the emigrants' reception; and as many of the Rev. John Robinson's congregation as provision could be made for, eagerly prepared to embark. The minister himself remained behind, but was to follow with the remainder of his people as soon as the first detachment had effected such a lodgment in the American wilderness as would justify their inviting over the feebler remnant left reluctantly at Leyden. They were first to embark at Delft Haven for Southampton; and on arriving at Amsterdam, several Dutch citizens of ample means were desirous of accompanying them. Nay—nay,' said the English Pilgrims with one voice. “We go to found a New England in the Far West; and none but men of English blood, and who speak the English tongue, shall help in that great work.' Foremost amongst this band of stout-hearted, prejudiced Englishmen, were John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, William Brewster, Isaac Allerton, Thomas Prince, John Alden, Samuel Fuller, and John Howland, all pious and godly men ;' to which list of memorable names must be added that of Miles Standish, who, though not a member then or afterwards of the congregation, was a valiant soldier, whose military experience and well-tried sword
might, he and others shrewdly suspected, prove of great service in a country where it was well known salvages' existed in large numbers, and might have to be encountered with the arm of flesh,
The embarkation at Delft Haven (July 1620) must have been an affecting one. The Rev. Mr Robinson knelt upon the beach, invoking, with uplifted hands and broken voice, the blessing of the Most High God upon the faithful companions of thirteen years of exile, now departing only to prepare another and more genial home for all the brethren beyond the deep waters. These prayers and blessings were echoed back by the Pilgrims, mingled with hurrahs from the more light-hearted and youthful amongst them, and followed by a rattling 'volley of shot, and three pieces of ordnance'-a significant token that those strongly practical, as well as deeply religious men, had not left themselves without the means of self-defence, should the heathen,' amongst whom they were about to dwell, unfortunately prove insensible to the milder persuasions of peaceful words and kindly acts.
They were not long in reaching Southampton, where, on the 5th of August 1620 (0.S.), the Pilgrims, in number 101, including women and children, embarked in the Mayflower and Speedwell for their final destination. They were scarcely in the Channel, when it was discovered that the Mayflower was greatly in need of repairs, and there was nothing for it but to run into Dartmouth. At the end of eight days, they once more put to sea, only again to suffer temporary check and disappointment. This time it was the captain of the Speedwell that obstructed the voyage. He could not, at the last moment, nerve himself to encounter the perils of the Atlantic at such a season of the year, in so slight a vessel as that which he commanded. It was perforce therefore that the indignant emigrants put into Plymouth. There both the Speedwell and its captain were abandoned, and all went on board the May flower, which, on the 6th of September, took its final departure from the shores of England. The Pilgrims experienced much sympathy and kindness at Plymouth from persons of their own views and convictions, many of whom promised to follow as soon as news of the success of this first experiment should reach them. The voyage out lasted sixty-three days. The intention was to settle in the northern parts of Virginia, somewhere in the vicinity of the Hudson River; but the captain of the Mayflower ignorantly mistook his course, and effected (Nov. 8th) a landing at Cape Cod, the southern horn of the Bay of Fundy (Massachusetts), and considerably north of the intended place of settlement.
As the adventurers had, as it were, cast themselves loose from all regularly constituted authority, it was obviously necessary that some definite form of civil government should be agreed upon, especially as there were some on board not, it was feared, 'well affected to peace and concord. With this view, the following
document—the first American charter of self-government was drawn up towards the close of the voyage, and ultimately subscribed by the whole (forty-one) of the male emigrants : 'In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of King James, having undertaken, for the glory of God and the advancement of Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better enduring and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid ; and by virtue hereof, to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws and measures, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most convenient for the general good of the colony. Unto which we all promise due obedience. Under this constitution, John Carver was elected governor for one year, with five, and subsequently seven, magistrates to assist him. Carver did not live to fulfil his term of office, having died during the first spring; he was succeeded by William Bradford, who held the governorship till his death in 1651, except for three years, during two of which Edward Winslow filled the chair, and one when Thomas Prince was elected. We may also here mention, that the commons' remained so few in number till 1631, that they all met for legislative purposes. In that year, representation of the increasing commonalty was resorted to. But to return from this anticipatory digression to the forlorn band of New Englanders just arrived at Cape Cod.
The geographical blunder of the captain of the Mayflower may be esteemed å fortunate one, inasmuch as the vicinity of the Hudson was crowded at the time with warlike savages, whereas the southern shores of the Bay of Fundy had been swept by a pestilence, which had destroyed great numbers of them, and driven the survivors to a considerable distance from the fatal neighbourhood. When Standish, Bradford, and others—impatient of the delay occasioned by the repairs required for the shallop, in which it was proposed to explore the unknown and iron shores of the bay, in search of a secure harbour and a decently eligible location-attempted an excursion inland, they met with nothing in the snow-covered, frozen wilderness but deserted wigwams, Indian graves, and a few ears of maize. Finding it useless to persevere in a land exploration at that season of the year—an unusually severe one, by the by-they returned with somewhat dismal forebodings to their companions. The shallop at length being ready, Carver, Winslow, Bradford, Standish, and others—in all, twenty hands nothing daunted by a second attempt which led to no result, embarked on the 6th of December upon a third voyage of discovery. The first night they bivouacked at Namskeket, or Great Meadow Creek, and early the next morning continued their westward course along the shores of the bay. The weather was intensely cold,