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with it is adorned.” There, as Bradford reports of them, "they fell to such trades and employments as they best could, valuing peace and their spiritual comfort above any other riches whatsoever; and at length they came to raise a competent and comfortable living with hard and continual labor.” Brewster became a printer. Bradford learned the art of dying silk. Others were weavers. In their native country, they had generally known only "the innocent trade of husbandry.” But in that land of their exile, the occupations by which they had subsisted at home were for the most part no longer available. It is most probable that Robinson, like the rest, was under the necessity of resorting to some sort of manual labor for the support of his family.
It has formerly been believed that the Pilgrims, while they resided at Leyden, were provided with a place of worship by the authorities of the city. As long ago as 1714, when Thomas Prince, whose contributions to our early history are so important, visited Leyden, one of the churches there was pointed out to him as that in which the English exiles had formerly worshiped. But recently the researches of Mr. George Sumner have shown that whatever kindness the Pilgrims received from the citizens of Leyden, there was no such hospitality shown to them by the public authorities. The Scotch merchants and residents at Leyden enjoyed at that time the privilege of worshiping according to their own national forms, in one of the churches belonging to the city; and that was the church which old citizens, Jess than a century afterwards, pointed out 10 Prince as having been occupied by the English Separatists. Robinson is described, in the record of his death, as having lived by the Clock-house." There is no more probable conjecture than that Robinson's " hired house,” by the Clock-house, was to the Pilgrims what Brewster's house had been at Scrooby. In some private apartments, and not in any building publicly devoted to religious uses, that little congregation enjoyed those forms of worship and of religious organization, for the sake of which they had sacrificed so much. One of their ministers, Clifton, "a grave and fatherly old man, having a great white beard,” had accompanied them in their exile; but having found a home and some method of subsistence at Amsterdam, he had remained there, and had been dismissed to the church in that city. Accordingly on their removal to Leyden, Robinson became, by the election and ordination of the church, their pastor. “Being thus settled, after many difficulties, they continued many years in a comfortable condition, enjoying much sweet and delightful society and spiritual comfort together in the ways of God, under
the able ministry and prudent government of Mr. John Robinson and Mr. William Brewster, who was an assistant unto him in the place of an elder, unto which he was now called and chosen by the church.”
A passage in Governor Bradford's Dialogue, gives a picturesque description of "those two churches that were so long in exile.”
"Truly there were in them many worthy men; and if you had seen them in their beauty and order, as we have done, you would have been much affected therewith, we dare say. At Amsterdam, before their division and breach, there were about three bundred communicants; and they had for their pastor and teacher those two eminent men before named, (Johnson and Ainsworth,) and in our time four grave men for ruling elders, and three able and godly men for deacons, one ancient widow for a deaconess, who did them service many years, though she was sixty years of age wben she was chosen. She honored her place and was an ornament to the congregation. She usually eat in a convenient place in the congregation, with a little birchen rod in her hand, and kept little children in great awe from disturbing the congregation. She did frequently visit the sick and weak, especially women, and, as there was need, called out maids and young women to watch and do them other helps as their necessity did require; and if they were poor, she would gather relief for them of those that were able, or acquaint the deacons; and she was obeyed as a mother in Israel and an officer of Christ.
“ And for the church of Leyden, they were sometimes not much fewer in number, nor at all inferior in able men, though they had not so many officers as the other; for they had but one ruling elder with their pastor, a man well approved and of great integrity; also they had three able men for deacons. And that which was a crown unto
them, they lived together in love and peace all their days, without any considerable difference or any disturbance that grew tbereby, but such as was easily bealed in love; and so they continued, until with mutual consent they removed into New England.” (Young's Chron. of the Pilgrims, pp. 455, 456.)
The pastor of the Pilgrims, with his scholastic tastes and attainments, could not but appreciate the privilege of a residence at the seat of a university so eminent in the Protestant world as that of Leyden. Mr. Sumner has ascertained that on the 5th of September, 1605, “ Joannes Robintsonus, Anglus," thirty-nine years of age, was registered by permission of the
, magistrates as a member of the academic body. Just then the Arminian controversy was at its height, particularly in that city, where the two professors of theology, Episcopius, the immediate successor of Arminius, (and, more than Arminius himself, the author of the Arminian scheme,) and Polyander, the champion of Calvinism, were every day discussing in their lectures the points of that great dispute Robinson, notwithstanding his three sermons every week, and the other labors of his pastoral care, was a constant attendant on the lectures of both champions. He seems to have thoroughly studied the controversy, and to have entered with his calm, earnest, English mind, into the debates which were agitating not only the university, but the city and the nation. Bradford and Winslow both
report, with affectionate pride, the story of his disputing with Episcopius publicly, (more academico,) at the request of Polyander and the chief preachers of the city,” and of his victory and the honor and respect which it won for him. Nor was his controversial skill a matter of university reputation merely. His published works in English and in Latin, were giving him an honorable name both in his native country and among the learned on the continent.
Thus, happily, on the whole, some ten years passed over him in his exile. Yet, doubtless, he felt, habitually, in common with his flock, something of that heart-sickness which the exile always feels; when with a foreign language in his ears, and surrounded with the forms and symbols of a government to which he has not transferred his allegiance, he remembers that native land which he may never more behold. Truly if they had been mindful of that country whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to return." It was only necessary for them to deny their religious convictions. It was only necessary for them to become Episcopalians. They need only profess a willing conformity to the ecclesiastical regulations of the realm of England ; and thenceforth they need be exiles no more. Be it that they were in an error. Be it that Episcopalianism and statechurchism are the truth; and that their scheme of independent Congregationalism was a figment of their enthusiasm. They believed, and therefore they spake and acted. They took the Bible for their rule; and there they thought they found their Congregational order. Who will not honor them that when their choice lay only between “ the renegade's curse" and "the exile's despair," they bravely chose the latter? Of such men it may be safely said, " they desire a better country, that is an heavenly.” “Having seen the promises afar off, they were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.”
It was not their only trouble that they were exiles. They had learned, indeed, to bear their burthen'; they had learned to win by toilsome industry a scanty subsistence. Yet such was " the hardness of the place and country” to them, that "few in comparison would come to them, and fewer would bide it out and continue with them.” Old age," too, “ began to come on some of them; and their great and continual labors, with other crosses and sorrows, hastened it before the time.” It was a hard lot for their children also, that constant battle with poverty in a crowded country.
Many a loving father and mother” saw their children, even those“ that were of the best disposi
tions and gracious inclinations,” bowing under the oppression of labor, and growing “decrepit in their early youth, ---the vigor of nature being consumed in the very bud as it were.”. And what was “ of all sorrows most heavy to be borne,” others of their children “were drawn away by evil examples unto extravagant and dangerous courses. Should they continue where they were, they would cease to be English; their little community would be gradually disintegrated and lost; and “ their pos. terity would be in danger to degenerate and be corrupted.”
Such were some of the motives urging them to attempt another removal. But there was another motive still, which gave a yet higher, more heroic, and more martyrlike character to their inquiries, and at last to their undertaking; and that was, "a great hope and inward zeal which they had of laying some good foundation, (or at least to make some way thereunto,) for the propagating and advancing the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ.”
After long inquiry and discussion, accompanied with many prayers, they determined on a removal beyond the Atlantic, if there they might be allowed to constitute an English colony by themselves, and to enjoy their own church-order unmolested. The utmost they could gain from the English government, on the essential point of their religious liberty, was an indefinite promise not of protection or toleration, but only of connivancea promise in which they trusted less than in the providence of God. But how should those few impoverished and friendless men, obtain the means of transporting themselves and their families three thousand miles ? 'How should they meet the great expenses incident to the enterprise of founding a colony upon a savage coast, where every similar enterprise in which countrymen of theirs had been engaged, though with ample resources, had been wholly disastrous ? After long negotiation, they succeeded in forming a partnership or joint-stock company with a few merchants in London, on terms which they could not have accepted but in the spirit of martyrdom. The Londoners contributed capital in shares of ten pounds. The Pilgrims contributed themselves; and each colonist, sixteen years old or upwards, was to be reckoned as one share. All the property employed in the undertaking was to be thrown into a common stock, from which the colonists were to be fed and clothed, and other necessary expenses paid.
This partnership was to continue seven years, and at the end of that period the capital and the profits were to be all divided among the shareholders. In a word, the Pilgrims, in order to purchase the opportunity of exposing themselves to the perils and horrors of the wilderness, were compelled to sell themselves
as slaves for the term of seven years, at the rate of about fifty dollars a head. They saw and felt the hardness of the bargain which capital was making with labor; they attempted in vain to stipulate for what is conceded to a Spanish slave, the privilege of a day or two each week in which to labor for themselves; but when that was denied, they consented to all the hardness of the bargain, rather than to miss their end. Because they were compelled to yield to these hard terms, careless historians, such as Robertson and those who have taken his statements as authority, have charged them with being fanatical Socialists. And on the other hand, because they did not come without capital, and did not attempt to live without labor, some modern Episcopalians have affected to believe that the migration of the Pilgrim Fathers was a merely secular enterprise, which received no dignity from their heroism, and which their martyr-spirit gave no sanctity.
In all the discussions and negotiations which preceded the migration, Robinson, of course, had a leading part. Nothing appears to have been done without his approval-almost nothing without some personal coöperation of his. Even the first conception of the plan was, partly at least, his own, the "private thought," of the reverend pastor and the grave elder, and by them, “upon mature deliberation,” imparted to the brethren. (Young's Chron., p. 381.) The voyage of the May Flower in 1620, that great event, from which so much of the world's subsequent history proceeds, was in a most important sense the work of Robinson, whom New England therefore, and all the states that have sprung from New England, have a right to honor as their first founder. When their removal had at last become possible, under the hard conditions above mentioned, it was concluded, after a day of prayer, 'that it was best for one part of the church, the youngest and strongest, to go at first, and the other to stay;' that they who went should freely offer themselves ;' that it the majority went at first, the pastor should go with them, if only a minority, the ruling elder should accompany them. As only a minority of the church could go at the first voyage, Robinson was required to remain at Leyden.
Yet how entirely his heart was in the heroic enterprise—how reluctantly he remained on the quay at Delft-Haven, when the sails of the treacherous Speed well were hoisted to the breezeappears in the letters which he addressed to the emigrants after their departure. "Constrained for a while to be bodily absent" from them, he calls God to witness “how willingly, and much rather than otherwise” he would have borne his part with them in the first brunt" of the great enterprise. “My heart is