One Small Candle

The day after Christmas is just pleasant. Leisurely morning. Finished my first sermon for tomorrow and thought I would do a quick review of a book I read for Thanksgiving. It was “One Small Candle” by Thomas Flemming published in 1963, just before everything good he would say about “the pilgrims’ first year in America” would become unspeakable. It would serve as a readable text book for 6th to 8th graders. So here are a few notes:

Describing the exiled church in Holland: “The hours were long and the pay modest but the majority managed to make an acceptable living, and a few of the more gifted and industrious, such as thirty-year old William Bradfort, became almost comfortable.”

Speaking of Bradfort’s discipleship: “Between the genial man of the world and the lonely uncertain country youth, there had flamed something unique: a recognition of spiritual kinship that was to endure until death. Brewster gave Bradford books to read, and talked freely to him about his religious beliefs. Already he had gathered around him a small group of thoughtful men and women who felt the need of a purer, more personal religion.”

“They modeled their church and their lives on the example of the first Christians. Robert Cushman and John Carver were deacons. William Brewster was the ruling elder. All were united under the solemn vow or “covenant” which bound them to share their love and prayers and if necessary their money and property. Edward Winslow, a young printer from Droitwich, England, who joined the church not long after it was formed, later said: “I persuade myself never people on earth lived more lovingly together…than we the Church at Leyden did.””

A note about their pastor, John Robinson: “Instead of castigating bishops and canons, the way many other reformers did, Robinson wrote: “I esteem so many in that Church,…for my Christian brethren, and myself a fellow member with them of that one mystical body of Christ scattered for and wide throughout the world that I have always, in spirit and affection, all Christian fellowship and communion with them.” In contrast to the quarrels that tore several of the reformed churches in Amsterdam and made them the laughingstock of England, the Church of Leyden was a model of peace and harmony under Robinson’s gentle guidance.”

“Finally there was the problem of money. A fortune had been spent to settle Virginia. Where would they get money to “fit them with necessaries,” not to mention the expense of shipping? Moreover, “many precedents of ill success and lamentable miseries befallen others in the like designs were easy to be found, and not forgotten to be alleged.” Probably the example that made the deepest impression on the exiles was the fate of 180 fellow Separatists who had left Amsterdam in 1618 under the leadership of Francis Blackwell. They had been arrested in England, and Blackwell had denied his Separatist principles under oath, betraying a number of fellow believers in order to escape the clutches of the bishops. But the ship in which his 180 disciples were “packed like herrings” had been driven far off its course by storms, the water had run low, and disease had broken out killing the captain, Blackwell, and many of the crew. Only fifty starved skeletons had staggered ashore at Jamestown, where, no doubt, more than half of these soon expired.”

“Thus in Bradford’s memorable words, the prophets of doom were told that “all great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages.” No one denied the dangers; they were “great, but not desperate.” The difficulties were many “but not invincible.” It was true that such attempts were not to be made “without good ground and reason, not rashly or lightly as many have done for curiosity or hope of gain.” But “their ends were good and honourable, their calling lawful and urgent; and therefore they might expect the blessing of God in their proceeding.” They had taken a vote at the end of this debate, and a majority of the congregation decide to stay in Holland. This meant that Pastor Robinson would have to stay with them. But the “cheefest” were still determined to move, and they decided to send their youngest and best men as advance guards to found a plantation.”

“Yet, Bradford betrayed his own doubts about the voyage by refusing to take his son John with him…These sixteen men, eleven women, and their nineteen children—less than a sixth of the Church of Leyden—were harly the warrior band one might recruit to challenge a wilderness. The first settlers in Virginia had all been men. Almost every other colony had followed a similar policy. Never before had any English expedition attempted the New World with so many families and children.”

“Staying carefully belowdeck was “Mr. Williamson,” better known to the Leyden travelers as their beloved elder William Brewster. He had crept aboard the ship at Southampton, still heavily disguised, and he was not to show his head abovedeck until they were well at sea. For William Bradford, seeing his old friend and mentor again after almost two years was a joyous occasion, and his personal pleasure was shared by all.”

As to the money and schemes of Weston: “Then they sat down and wrote a pleading letter to Weston and his associates in London. It began with a long and involved explanation of why they could not accept the amended articles of agreement which Robert Cushman had had no authority to sign. Then came an honest attempt to make a settlement: “Since you conceive yourselves wronged as well as we, we thought meet to add a branch to the end of our ninth article as will almost heal that wound of itself, which you conceive to be in it. But that it may appear to all men that we are not lovers of ourselves only, but desire also the good and enriching of our friends who have adventured your moneys with our persons, we have added our last article to the rest, promising you again by letters in the behalf of the whole company that if large profits should not arise within the seven years, that we will continue together longer with; you if the Lord give a blessing. This we hope is sufficient to satisfy any in this case, especially friends.””

From Pastor Robinson as they sailed: “Finally came his most significant words: “Whereas you are to become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminency above the rest to be chosen by you into office of government, let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good, but also yielding unto them all due honour and obedience in their lawfully administrations…”

Two ships were to sail but: “…it would have to be on the Mayflower alone. Visions of the disastrous Blackwell voyage of the previous year instantly rose before everyone’s eyes. Was God trying to warn them, with these mishaps, that an equally horrible doom was waiting for them out there on the Atlantic, or in the New World? For people who tried to find in everyday events the finger of God’s guidance, it was no small question.”

“Along Holland’s borders, Spain was readying more legions for another assault on the Dutch Republic. With Europe about to go up in flames, who could stop to notice a handful of tattered exiles sailing west in a weather-beaten freighter, under the absurd delusion that God would somehow protect them in their amateur assault on a wilderness that had already defeated thousands of tougher, better equipped pioneers?”

“One sailor, described by William Bradford as a “proud and very profane young man, of a lusty able body, which made him the more haughty,” was particularly nasty. “He would always be condemning the poor people in their sickness, and cursing them daily with grievous execrations , and did not let to tell them that he hoped to help to cast half of them overboard before they came to their journey’s end, and make merry with what they had. “ The mild, peace-loving exiles simply did not know how to cope with such a character. The leaders, such as John Carver and William Brewster, “gently” reproached him. But this only made him curse and swear and taunt the passengers even more “bitterly.” They were at sea a little more than two weeks, –“before they came half seas over.” In William Bradford’s phrase—when this proud and profane young man was inexplicably stricken with a sudden disease…The other seamen were more than a little appalled by the sudden demise of their champion. Superstitious to a man, they could not help wondering if these humble singers of psalms had some special powers of favored position with God. “It was an astonishment to all his fellows,” Bradford notes with quiet satisfaction, and for the rest of the voyage on one in the crew was inclined to taunt or torment the passengers with such uninhibited malice.”

“All this was washed down with quantities of beer. The crew’s daily ration was a quart per man, and the voyagers probably drank that much too. No one in 1620 would drink water except as a last desperate recourse.”

“As charming as he was gentle, with a disposition William Bradford describes as always “cheerful,” Brewster was the perfect man for the job. He had brought along a library of almost two hundred books. Which he no doubt doled out to all comers. But every family had at least one book of its own—the Geneva translation of the Holy Bible—and it was this that Brewster sued for a schoolbook.”

“Not if Christopher Jones could help it. He had done all these things, and more. But it was as bad a storm as he had ever seen. Every inch of sail had to be furled. There was nothing to do but hull—run before the wind with bare poles—even though they were being driven hundreds of miles off their course.”

A nice David, bear and Goliath illustration: “At such times even sailors prayed, and William Brewster must have reminded the passengers of the voyage some of them had made from England to Holland in 1609. Their ship had been driven almost to the coast of Norway by fantastic storm, and “when the water ran into their mouths and ears,” the captain and crew had given up in despair, crying: “We sink, we sink.” But the exiles had cried out: “Yet Lord thou canst save, Yet Lord thou canst save,” and miraculously, so it had seemed to them—and to the awed sailors—the wind had soon slackened and they were able to limp into Holland, weary but alive. Elder Brewster urged his damp and frightened friends to call on God again with the same faith.”

They began to sing a psalm: “Then, as their quaking voices began the next verse, another monstrous wave boomed down, and with the crash of a cannon shot, a main beam amidship cracked and buckled.”

“This death would be the first of many if they did not get off the Mayflower soon. Belowdeck there were ominous signs of trouble. Men were complaining of swollen legs; one or two women were in their bunks with William Butten’s chills and torpor. The male servants, both the young men and boys, were particularly bad. Like Butten, they had probably been careless of their diets, and they also lacked the sense of purpose that sustained the family men.” (that last phrase couldn’t be written today)

They land in early November at Provincetown. The harbor is on the west side of the northward pointing tip of Cape Cod. Plymouth is due east from their across Cape Cod Bay.

“Nearby they found about fifty acres of what was obviously cleared ground “fit for the plow.” There were signs that this was an Indian farm. But once more the Indians remained invisible.”

“He rightly guessed that the Indians were awed by the white men’s muskets, and now it was light enough to see their enemies flitting back and forth through the trees.”

“They collected eighteen of their arrows.”

“Though neither spoke of it, both men almost certainly knew the dreaded word that lay between them. After six weeks of contemplating the melancholy winter face of the New World, Dorothy Bradford had lost her faith in her husband and her god and had killed herself.”

“His friends crowded around to comfort him. They had been inclined to lean on him. Now he needed help. It was the first of many moments when they would demonstrate the meaning of their covenant to love and cherish one another with the unhesitating charity urged by St. Paul.”

“So they spent three more days in debate and deliberation before finally voting to settle in Plymouth. On December 15, the Mayflower weighed anchor and stood across the bay for their new home.”

“Aboard the Mayflower there was doleful news. The passengers had drunk the last of their beer. There was nothing left now except the brackish ship’s water, but because it was Christmas Day, Christopher Jones donated some of the ship’s beer, and sailors and passengers enjoyed a small party together.”

“While toiling on the Common House, sickness struck down one of their strongest and best, William Bradford. He simply collapsed, doubled up with terrific pain, and for a few moments his friends thought he was going to die on the spot.”

“The Common House was on fire!”

“By the end of January…the General Sickness had come…At times there were only six or seven out of a hundred people on their feet, and men and women died at the rate of two and three a day.”

“It was the time of supreme crisis. Lesser men might have given up, left the sick to their doom in the wilderness and sailed for home. But the special spirit that animated these people thrived on challenge. Those who were well worked unceasingly for the sick. “With abundance of toil and hazard of their own health, “ William Bradford says…”and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren; a rare example and worthy to be remembered.” William Brewster and Miles Standish were among the most indefatigable nurses. It is easy enough to see Brewster in the role of the good Samaritan, but that Standish, the tough veteran of the wars, should also play the part was remarkable proof of how deep the spirit of brotherhood ran.”

“The Mayflower’s crew soon found that they were not immune to the epidemic…The colonists who were still aboard did what they could to help the sick sailors, and their charity made a profound impression on them…The boastswain said he did not deserve help from the passengers. He had abused them in word and deed. “You, I now see,” he said, “show your love like Christians indeed one to another but we let one another lie and die like dogs.”

“February was Plymouth’s worst month. Seventeen persons died. Work came to a complete standstill.”

“Convinced that the Indians were watching them constantly, the colonists were afraid that if their mysterious hosts saw how fearfully death was decimating them, it would be an invitation to attack. If only they could somehow communicate with these red men and let them know they wanted peace! But how can you talk to a will-o-the-wisp, a face on the hill, a fleeting shape in the forest, a haunting cry by night. For the time being they could only bury their dead and endure.”

“But when John Billington’s turn came he damned the captain and swore he was not going to lose his sleep looking for invisible Indians. Standish instantly put Billington under arrest…Carver ordered him punished by having his neck and heels tied together—a relatively mild sentence compared to what Standish was undoubtedly recommending…he humbly promised to obey…commuted his sentence. It might have been better for Billington if he had been treated with Standish’s severity. This was the first of many offenses for this quarrelsome man…Finally, in 1630, he had a bitter quarrel with a recent arrival, one John Newcomen, waylaid him in a lonely part of the forest and shot him dead. Billington was tried by a jury of his peers for Newcomen’s murder, and became the first American to die at the end of a hangman’s rope.”

“Now they questioned him about Plymouth. Where were the Indians who lived here and had cleared these cornfields but failed to plant them in recent years? Gravely Samoset explained that in the Indian language this place was called Patuxet, and here there had lived a tribe that were numerous and strong. They had been hostile to white men and barbarously murdered everyone that landed on their shores. But four years ago an extraordinary plague had broken out among them. Every man, woman, and child had died. The entire tribe had been wiped out, and nearby tribes, certain that the place was haunted by evil spirits, had shunned the land, so there was on one to contest their possession or lay claim to it.”

“The long death toll included thirteen of eighteen wives. Several families were totally wiped out, including Christopher Martin, his wife, and stepson Solomon Prower, and Edward and John Tilley, courageous volunteers for the third exploration and their wives. Priscilla Mullins lost father, mother, and brother. Among the single men, hired hands, and servants, the mortality was terrible. Nineteen of twenty-nine died, including the young wanderer and bridegroom John Goddman. The children proved sturdier than the adults. Of seven girls, none died, and of thirteen boys, only three. One of the few families that escaped unscathed was the Billingtons—the most irreligious members of the little colony. After such remarkably good health on the long voyage, death had now reduced their numbers by half. The unmarked graves on the seaside hill had swelled to almost fifty.”

“March 22…Samoset…bringing…Squanto.”

“The chief and his most important warriors sat down on these, and then Governor Carver appeared, preceded by a drum and a trumpet and another guard of honor. Miles Standish was the stage manager for this performance. He was determined to impress the Indians with all the military pomp and bravado that his handful of soldiers could muster.”

“With no difficulty, they worked out a mutual-assistance pact that remains a model of its kind.”

“From the talkative Squanto they also learned that Massasoit needed them as much as they needed him. He was frequently at war with the powerful Narragansetts and hoped that the white men with their guns of thunder would be strong allies. In the next few weeks, as Indians and white men met in the woods, singly and in pairs, without the least sign of hostility, the spirit of mutual trust and confidence between the two peoples grew steadily.”

“Squanto announced that he was going to fish for eels. He went down to a nearby river at low tide and came back at nightfall with all the eels he could carry. The colonists found them delightful eating—“fat and sweet.”…It soon became apparent to the colonists that he was, in Bradford’s words, “a special instrument of God for their good.” Early in April when the colonists began to prepare for spring planting, Squanto gave them the crucial warning that unless they fertilized their corn ground with fish the whole crop would come to nothing…Where were they going to get the fish to do the fertilizing?…Exactly on schedule the fish came and were caught under Squanto’s expert direction…showed them how to set the fish in the ground…unless they set a guard…fourteen nights…the wolves would creep…So the guard was set and the wolves were frustrated and the corn crop began to prosper.”

“One thing is certain: Christopher Jones sailed with the best wishes of these men and women whom he had carried to America, wishes that he wholeheartedly reciprocated. The longer he knew them, the better he liked them, and the history of their friendship was a continuous growth of mutual respect.”

“Strangers and saintly brethren from Leyden were now bound by common suffering, common courage into a unique solidarity.”

“Each Sunday, at the beat of a drum, the entire town assembled in the main street, and with every man carrying his musket, they followed Governor Carver to the Common House where they attended church services. For the occasion, Carver probably wore his fine red cloak, and everyone else had on good if not their best clothes. Their colors were b no means the drab black and browns they supposedly favored. These people were Elizabethans and loved color in their dress.”

“In Church, Elder Brewster served as pastor. Since he was not ordained, he was unable to give communion, but he was an excellent preacher. William Bradford says that, “in teaching he was stirring, and moving the affections; also very plain and distinct in what he taught; by which means he became the more profitable to the hearers.””

“Brewster preferred to dwell on God’s love and mercy rather than on His wrath. The Ruling Elder’s influence reached deep into Plymouth’s life, making the colony famous for the mildness of its laws. Like his disciple Bradford, he was of the opinion that no church had a monopoly on religious truth, and he despised the religious contentions that were ripping Europe apart.”

“In later years they invariably pursued this live and let live policy both with the easygoing Dutch in New York and the stern Puritans around Boston, with whom modern Americans have unfortuanately confused them. At a time when harboring a Catholic priest was a death sentence in England, some French Jesuits visited Plymouth and were received with every courtesy. Although Brewster and his congregation ate meat on Friday to underscore their Protestantism, the Ruling Elder even saw to it that the Reverend Fathers were served fish.”

Governor Garver dies after taking his turn working in the fields followed by his wife 5 weeks later: “They generously left their entire estate to their servant, John Howland, who promptly bought his freedom and began a long life as one of Plymouth’s leaders”

“Now came a crucial choice for the fifty surviving members of the colony. They must elect a new governor…William Brewster was automatically eliminated by his position as ruling elder of the church. One of these people’s deepest convictions was the necessity for maintaining careful separation between church and state. They had experienced at cruelly close range the disastrous effects of its union in England…Unanimously, the choice fell on William Bradford…From 1621 until his death in 1656, he was reelected governor or assistant governor more than thirty times, serving without salary for most of his terms.”

“Perhaps Bradford’s greatest achievement was his revision of the colony’s economic organization in 1623. Spurred by hunger, the colonists had worked hard in the fields during their first year, but in succeeding years it became more and more difficult to get them to put their best efforts into this essential task. Bradford decided that the reason was the stipulation in their contract with the London merchants that everything in the colony, including the crops, was to be held in common for seven years. This crude communism was crippling individual enterprise. Boldly, on his own authority, Bradford abandoned the arrangement and announced that henceforth every family would raise its own corn. Plymouth never went hungry again. To Bradford this proved “the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property and bringing in community into commonwealth would make men happy and flourishing.”

“The month of May began auspiciously with Plymouth’s first marriage…One of the most misleading myths about these early American is their supposed indifference to enjoying life. They took their religion seriously, to be sure. But they also relished good food, good liquor, and good conversation. Like all Elizabethans they loved music, and the Psalms were by no means the only songs they sang…William Bradford would marry again in 1623, choosing as his wife the widow of a friend from the Leyden church.”

Winslow: “They conceive of many Divine Powers,” he wrote. “so of one, who they called Kiehtan, to be the principal; and maker of all the rest; and to be made by none. He, say they, created the heavens, earth, sea and all creatures contained therein. Also that he made one man and one woman; of whom they and we and all mankind came; but how they became so far dispersed, tat know they not.”

“Governor Bradford promptly decided that this was an excellent opportunity to make peace with the Nausets. He chose ten armed men and in July they set out in the shallop for a return cruise up the coast of cape Cod…The sachem, or local chief, a young man named Iyanough, was a gracious host and an entirely delightful person. Bradford describes him as “gentle, courteous and fair conditioned; indded not like a savage save for his attire. His entertainment was answerable to his parts and his cheer plentiful and various.”

“Squanto then told Bradford some disquieting news. According to Aspinet, the powerful Narragansetts who had been untouched by the plague that had weakened all the other tribes had launched war on Massasoit. They had reportedly killed a number of his men and had captured the chief himself. Plymouth might well be in danger. Bradford reacted with alarm. There were only twenty-two adult males left in Plymouth. He had taken the ten best men with him in the shallop.”

“Massoit was in the hands of the Narragansetts, though it would be stretching it a bit to call him a prisoner. He had apparently gone as a suppliant, endeavoring to continue the precarious truce between them and his own tribe. Meanwhile at Namasket, the sachem Corbitant, supposedly loyal to Massasoit but long suspected of being too friendly with the Narragansetts, decided to alter the balance of power. He began making speeches to the braves of his village, denouncing Massasoit’s peaceful policy with Plymouth and sneering at the recent treaties of peace which the white men had negotiated between the Nausets and Iyanough’s tribe. Corbitant’s rage soon focused on Squanto, whom he accused of being the chief architect of this treacherous policy of peace.”

“He then dragged Squanto out of the house, shouting that if he were dead the English would “lose their tongue.” When Corbitant began brandishing a knife at Gobomok’s throat, the pinese had fought his way past the guards and had raced to Plymouth with the bad news that Squanto was probably dead.”

“They wanted peace. But they wisely recognized that sometimes the best way to achieve it is through strength. On August 14, ten men under the command of Miles Standish set out for Namasket…Stephen Hopkins, who had made the trip before brought them to the edge of the village…But Squanto was not in the hut, or was Corbitant…up strode Plymouth’s best friend, not dead, not even wounded…in the uproar Corbitant and his faction had fled…Standish then made a grim speech. Although Corbitant had escaped for the moment, he said, there was no place in the land where he would be safe if he continued to threaten Plymouth and mock Massasoit’s great treaty of peace…It was a daring speech for a man with only thirty-two soldiers, but Standish was a shrewd judge of human nature. He knew that the crucial factor in the relations between two Peoples was power and that the Indians were still deeply afraid of his muskets. For Plymouth’s salvation, he was determined to press the advantage as long as it lasted. Never, while Miles Standish was alive, did this new commonwealth react to insult with weakness. Perhaps the highest compliment Standish earned for his exploit was the lifelong admiration of Hobomok, something not easily won from a pinese. It was the beginning of a deep friendship between the white warrior and the red warrior. In his extreme old age when Hobomok became quite feeble, Standish took him into his home and cared for him until his death.”

“Within a few days after the expedition to Namasket, the wisdom of Plymouth’s policy of strength became apparent. Congratulations and promises of peace from sachems as far away as Martha’s Vineyard poured into the little settlement. Massasoit returned unharmed from the Narragansetts, and a humbled Corbitant went to the great chief and asked him if he would help the rabble-rouser make peace with Plymouth.”

“Besides, Governor Bradford pointed out, they had much to be thankful for. They had twenty acres of corn almost ready to harvest and a firm friendship with the Indians in their vicinity. The woods and rivers teemed with game and fish. They were no longer threatened by either starvation or annihilation. Instead of wondering about the advantages of Massachusetts Bay, perhaps they should all offer thanks to God for the blessings he had given them here at Plymouth…Preparations for the first Thanksgiving Day were soon under way. They twenty acres of Indian corn yielded an excellent harvest, but the six acres of English barley and peas came to nothing. This emphasized in everyone’s mind how deeply dependent they were on their Indian allies. Without the corn they would face a winter of certain starvation. No doubt this was a major reason why Governor Bradford decided that their Indian Friends should also come to the festival.”

“A messenger was sent to Massasoit inviting him. Governor Bradford then sent four men out fowling, and in one day they killed enough wild turkeys to feed the whole company for almost a week. There were also eels, lobsters, and shellfish gathered from the bountiful shores of the bay. But not even this abundance seemed enough when the great Chief Massasoit arrived with no less than ninety hungry men…They promptly sent hunters into the woods, who came back with five “fine deer.” These they presented ceremoniously to the leaders of the little colony.”

“The household gardens had produced a great variety of vegetables—“sallets,” as the citizens of 1621 called them: parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, cucumbers, radishes, beets, cabbages. The wild fruits of the summer—gooseberries, strawberries, plums, and cherries—had been died under Squanto’s expert instructions, and were cooked in “dough cases” to become forerunners of New England’s famous pies.”

“The Indians also grew pumpkins among their corn—and Squanto undoubtedly obtained some sees for the colonists—but in this first year there is no evidence that this formidable vegetable found its way onto Plymouth’s tables.”

“One joy to the palate which they did have in abundance was wine. Since their beer had run short, they wasted no time in brewing both white and red from the wild grapes that grew “very sweet and strong” throughout the countryside.”

“It is also highly probable that everyone enjoyed this “grain that built a continent” in another New World way—cooked over the coals in earthen jars until the kernels burst into fluffy whiteness—popcorn! The Indians had been eating it this way for decades, and they also knew how to add the final touch by pouring maple syrup over it to turn it into sweet crunchy balls of goo.”

“Proof of how well Governor Bradford succeeded as master of ceremonies is in the duration of the celebration—three long full days of marathon enjoyment. During the nights, Massasoit and his braves slept in the fields around Plymouth. Gone were the fears that once made a worried Standish post extra guards against a treacherous attack. By the time this first Thanksgiving was over, the formal alliance between Plymouth and the men of Massasoit had been cemented by strong ties of genuine friendship. Red men and white men parted, vowing to repeat the fest the following year and for many years to come.”

“The mysterious visitor was visible off the entrance to the harbor…If he was a privateer, a foreign flag would run up his masthead. But no, there riding up the mast was the red and white cross of St. George. …The citizens of Plymouth crowded down to the beach to welcome them. Who was that standing up in the prow of the lead boat? Could it be—yes, their old friend Robert Cushman! It was help from home, not a stray fisherman in search of fresh water or a curious trader on the way to Virginia, but their friends who had not forgotten them.”

“The basic treaty with Massasoit would endure for the lifetime of that good and great chief—another forty years.”

“But none would contain the essentials of the American experience, that unique combination of courage and faith, in such pure and dramatic form as little Plymouth. Her story, told by William Bradford in his “History of Plymouth Plantation,” would be the touchstone toward which a great nation would look for values and ideals, in its years of maturity.”

“Perhaps already William Bradford felt the quiet pride evident in the words he would later write, words that are both the summary and the reason for this book. “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation…We have noted these things so that you might see their worth and not negligently lose what your fathers have obtained with so much hardship.”


Not a bad way to spend a rainy day after Christmas thinking good thoughts.



About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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