Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

spite of all his endeavours for Providence, detained in New England another season.

But the next year, news was brought to New England that a church being gathered at Providence the pastor, one Mr. Sherwood, with another minister, were sent home prisoners into England, by one Carter, the deputy governour, (a merciful providence of God to them, whereby they escaped being made prisoners by the Spanjards, soon after ;) and letters came also from the rest of the church to New England, complaining of the perse. cution of their magistrates and others, and desiring help from them. Many that were before resolved, and pre. paring for the island, were the more encouraged, and drew on others, that did not so well approve of the de. sign before, to hasten away thither, which might caution others, (considering the issue,) not to build too much upon Providences, without a surer rule from the word or revealed will of God; for, immediately after, Mr. Wil. liam Peirse, (that had been very serviceable in transporting passengers to New England,) with two vessels, (wherein were much goods, and some families,) bound for the island of Providence, were unhappily disappointed of their entertainments, by the Spaniards, that had newly retaken the place ; so as the said Mr. Peirse, pass. ing towards the island, was shut in within command of the fort, before he discerned the danger; but then sud. Jenly was slain, with another active man, (that was forward in carrying on the business,) before they could tack about; being then forced to return to the despised country of New England, with shame and sorrow; having some encouragement left in their minds from the last chapter in Genesis, which the master read in the morn. ing, “ Behold I die, but God will surely visit you,” &c. for it is said, that as they touched at Christopher's, and hearing that there was some probability the island might be taken by the Spanish fleet, (which was then abroad,) he would have persuaded the passengers to return back, but they would not hearken in time to good advice, and that then Mr. Peirse should reply, Then I ain a dead

in the wart be overruined at that wing 400 pa

man; as if he had received the sentence of death in him. self, as ofttimes cometh to pass..

This solemn accident brought some of them at last to see their errour, and acknowledge it to their friends at their return, Sept. 3, 1641. They were very loath to return back, and would have been set ashore any where in the warm country of the West Indies, but the seamen would not be overruled so to do.

A vessel that returned at that time from the isle of Sa. bles made a better voyage, bringing 400 pair of seahorse teeth, with divers tun of oil, besides much other goods of like sort, which they left behind, worth 1500 pounds. And others also, in those times, did with more advan. tage improve the islands of the West Indies in a way of traffick, still keeping their residence in New England.

But now the plantation at the Spanish island being laid aside, those that were disaffected to New England, not discerning at the present a way of subsistence, nor having patience and confidence in the Almighty to wait upon him, till a door of hope were opened by his wisdom and goodness, took their flight elsewhere. Whether they have thereby mended themselves, considering the hazards they have run, in making out their way, themselves are best able to judge. The affairs of the world are carried in a moveable wheel, wherein it is oft found that what is highest in one season is laid quite underneath soon af. ter.

The gentleman forementioned (so strongly bent to remove) did at last himself go over into England, leaving his children behind, without taking due care for their governing and education, whereby there were divers of them (being under age) shamefully abused and defiled by wicked persons, to such an high degree as the wisest in the country were at a loss to design any punishment, short of death, suitable to the nature of their offences. For, as was observed of old, children left to themselves, bring her that bare them to shame. Thus was this family strangely, though secretly polluted, though it brake not out till he had left the country, which he had been

contriving to do divers years before, against the advice of his best friends.

But besides these afflictive dispensations about their subsistence; as in the former lustre, the people of New England were exercised with ecclesiastical troubles, so in this, with many difficulties in their civil affairs.

The general court, held in the 10th month, 1641, was not without uncomfortable agitations, and contentions, principally occasioned in a case wherein the deputy gov. ernour was concerned about a mortgage of land ; there. by was all business retarded, and an occasion of grief to godly minds, and of reproach to the court. There are dead flies in the apothecary's best ointment. But such infirinities, like dark shades in portraitures, and acupict embroideries, do not take away from the beauty of the whole piece in the issue. However, according to the old observation, that good laws take their original from bad manners, on that condition an wholesome law was made for recording all deeds of conveyance, whether absolute or conditional, that so neither creditors might be defraud. ed, nor courts troubled with vexatious suits, and endless contentions, about sales and mortgages. Righteousness exalteth a nation, and maketh them honourable, even in the sight of very heathen, as was manifest at this time amongst the Indians, in their observation of the proceed. ings of the English. For in the year 1642, thusė of New Haven, intending a plantation at Delaware, sent some to purchase a large portion of land from the Indians there. But when they refused to deal with them, it so fell out that a Pequot sachem, who had fled his country in the time of the wars with them, and seated himself there up. on that river, was accidentally present at that time, and taking notice of the English, and their desire, persuaded the other sachem to deal with them, and told him that howsoever they had killed his countrymen, and driven him out, yet they were honest men, and had just cause to do what they did, for the Pequots he owned had done them wrong, and refused to give them reasonable satisfaction, which was demanded. Whereupon the sachem

he ongedien He unction

entertained them, and let them have what land they desired.

In the year 1642, the isles of Shoals being found to fall within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts, and hav. ing submitted to the government thereof, were provoked to revolt from them, by one Mr. Gibson, a scholar, whom they had entertained in the nature of a minister, and he exercised that function after the manner of the church of England. He had been sent to Richmond island, that belonged to Mr. Trelany, but not liking to abide there he removed to Pascataqua, Strawberry Bank, and so at last came to an employment amongst the fishermen at the Shoals. While he officiated there he was incensed by some speeches in a sermon of Mr. Larkham's, the min. ister of Dover, wherein he inveighed against such hirelings. Mr. Gibson, in way of retaliation, or rather revenge, sent him an open letter, wherein he scandalized the government of the Massachusetts, and opposed their title to those parts; but being called in question by them, whose authority he had contemned at a distance, he submitted himself to an acknowledgement of his offence, and was discharged, (in regard he was a stranger,) without either fee or fine.

In the same year, 1642, one Darby field, an Irishman, with some others, travelled to an high mountain, called the White Hills, an hundred miles, or near upon, to the west of Saco. It is the highest hill in these parts of America. They passed through many of the lower and rainy clouds as they ascended up to the top thereof, but some that were there afterwards, saw clouds above them. There is a plain of sixty feet square on the top, a very steep precipice on the west side, and all the country round about them seemed like a level, and much beneath them. There was a great expectation of some precious things to be found, either on the top or in the ascent, by the glistering of some white stones. Something was found like crystal, but nothing of value. It appeared to them that made the most diligent observation of the country round about, that many great rivers of New Eng.

of sixty fuards, saw che top the

round precipice

land rise out of that mountain, as Saco, Kennebeck, to the north and east, Connecticut, to the south, as they conceived; as cosmographers observe that four great rivers arise out of the mountains of Helvetia, accounted the highest land in Europe. In each of those rivers they report, at the first issue, there is water enough to drive a mill.

In the same year fell out a new occasion of starting the old question about the negative vote in the magistrates; for the country, and all the courts thereof, (general and particular,) in a manner, were filled with much trouble, about something that strayed from a poor man's posses. sion in the year 1636 ; but in this year were revived so many controversies, about the true title thereof, as engaged all the wisdom and religion in the country to put an end thereunto. The poor man's cause is like to en. gage the multitude with a kind of compassion, against which, as well as against the bribes of the rich, the law of God doth caution judges. It proved almost as long and chargeable as Arrestum Parliamenti Tholosanni, in the case of Martin Guerra, to find who was the right owner of the thing in controversy. It is much to see the restless and unreasonable striving in the spirit of man, that a lesser court, that hath power to determine an action of an hundred or a thousand pounds, could not put an issue to a matter of so small a value. It proceeded so far at the last, (through some prejudice taken up against the defendant,) that the very foundations of the whole authority of the country were in danger to be blown up thereby; a report being taken up by the common people of the country that the negative vote of the magistrates (who did in that, as they should in all cases, look more to the nature of the evidence than any preoccupating notion or prejudice to or against the plaintiff or defendant) had hindered the course of justice. On that occasion it was strongly moved that the said negative vote might be taken away ; for by the patent no matter should pass in the general court without the concurrence of six of the magistrates at the least, with the governour

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »