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parts of his correspondence to those with whom he was intimate, who made little secret of his communications, but boasted openly that they should have a change in the colony before long. The suspicions of the Governor being thus excited, and at length arising in his mind to a complete conviction, he deemed it his duty to act as he did for the safety of the colony.
The Governor returned on shore during the night, bringing some of the letters back with him for proof, but kept everything as yet private, till the conspirators should open their plot plainly. This they speedily did, so soon as Lyford and the few accomplices whom the factious part of the Adventurers had sent out, judged their party strong enough. They rose up, opposed the government and the church, drew a company apart, and set up for themselves, Lyford declaring that he would administer the sacrament to them by his Episcopal calling.
Upon this proceeding, Governor Bradford called a court and summoned the whole company to appear, and charged Lyford and Oldham with plotting and writing against them, all which they denied, not having the least suspicion of what was in reserve.' Governor Bradford then produced their own letters, so that they were utterly confounded and convicted. Oldham became so outrageous that he would have raised a mutiny, but his party abandoned him, and the court expelled them from the colony. Lyford confessed his villany before the Court, acknowledging the falsehood of all that he had written, and afterwards did the same before the Church, begging their forgiveness with many tears, so that they even restored him to his office of teaching. This was a very hasty and inexpedient kindness, for in less than two months he was at his old work of slander, and wrote another letter to England, which came into the hands of the Governor. But his wickedness was not fully exposed till the coming of Messrs. Winslow and Pierce from England in the spring, with an account of all the evil
of Lyford's calumniating letters there, and of the development of previously unknown crimes while he was a minister in Ireland, on account of which he had been compelled to leave that kingdom. Upon this new discovery he was immediately deposed from the ministry.*
Lyford is said to have discovered the malignity of a demon, who was sent to mar the happiness of the settlement, and disturb the peace of the church. “ The air was tainted with the slanders he wrote and spread, for the service of men who were enemies of the plantation. He was employed by those who, being inimical to all dissenters from the Established Church, and every species of Republican Government, wished to destroy this rising Commonwealth. The spies of Charles's court would search the uttermost part of the earth, for the sake of destroying men's liberty.”+
Oldham returned to Plymouth, and there behaved again so outrageously that he was publicly sentenced“ to pass through a guard of soldiers, receiving from each a blow on his hinder part with their muskets,” after which he was shipped away. A year afterwards, being in extreme danger of death, he made a free and full confession of all the wrongs he had done the church and people.
Thus ended this affair, and with it all present effort after any other minister than Elder Brewster. About two years afterwards Mr. Allerton brought over from England for the colony “one Mr. Rodgers, a young man, for minister;" but within a year, “proving crazied in his brain, they were forced to be at further charge in sending him back, after losing all the cost expended in bringing him over, which was not small." I
In the year 1629, Mr. Smith, one of the four ministers who came over with the Salem colonists, went with his family to some straggling people at Natasco; and we find the following rather curious record from Governor Bradford's Journal in regard to his final settlement for some years at Plymouth: “Some Plymouth people,” he says, “ putting in with a boat at Natasco (the old name for Nantasket, a peninsula near the entrance of Boston Harbor, now called Hull), find Mr. Smith in a poor house that would not keep him dry. He desires them to carry him to Plymouth; and seeing him to be a grave man, and understanding he had been a minister, they bring him hither; where we kindly entertain him, send for his goods and servants, desire him to exercise his gifts among us; afterwards choose him into the ministry, wherein he remains for sundry years."
* Prince, pp. 149, 153. † Collections of Mass. Historical Society, for the year 1800, p. 274. | Bradford in Prince, p. 193.
Alden Bradford, in his history of Massachusetts, says of Smith, that he was of an odd temperament, and supposed sometimes to be partly insane.*
He was not in all respects fitted for his station, and indeed it was many years before the church at Plymouth enjoyed anything like the power and beauty of the ministrations of their first beloved Pastor.
* Bradford's History of Mass., p. 21.
TIE FIRST CIVIL OFFENCE AND PUNISHMENT. -MILDNESS, FOR
BEAR ANCE, SELF-RESPECT, AND KINDNESS OF THE PILGRIMS. -THE FIRST MURDERER AND HIS END. THEIR VIEWS OF
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER.-THE GREATNESS AND
WISDOM OF THEIR LEGAL REFORMS.
All the transactions of the colony described in the earliest and most authentic records show the Plymouth Pilgrims to have been as kind, patient, persevering, and judicious a set of men as the Providence of God ever collected in one community. They manifested great qualities both of mind and heart, of natural temperament and piety. They maintained a very natural superiority over all the successive settlements of New England, not merely because theirs was the great honor of pioneers in suffering, but because, though in some after emigrations there was greater dignity of circumstance, yet there was never better stuff, nor equal endurance. They were upright, generous, manly in character and sentiment. There was a stamp of natural nobleness, openness, and courage, as well as constant reliance upon God. They were above every meanness and had a pure and high morality, and though in an obscure, unthought of theatre, so acted in all things, that now, when their whole stage with all the scenery and persons is lifted into light with a world critically gazing at it, there is nothing seen but what is as noble and truly dignified as if it had been acted for the world. The reason is, because it was not acted for the world, but irrespective of the world, for conscience and for God. The total absence of the fear of man has produced the noblest epic in action of all secular ages.
The very first instances of crime among them being imitations in low life of English court bravery and gentility, were such as stamped disgrace and ridicule upon it for all coming time. It was good to have examples of fashionable wickedness put in so low and contemptible a setting as that to which the Pilgrims shut it up, when the foundations of many generations were building. It was better than the device of the Spartans to make their slaves drunk that their children might abhor the beastly vice of intemperance. Neck and heels of a serving man tied together is a good posture for the perpetual effigy of a New England duellist. If the Pilgrims had set their ingenuity to manufacture a caricature of affairs of honor for immortal opprobrium and ridicule, they could not have done better. It was only the second offence in the whole year's history of the colony. Prince takes the account from Governor Bradford's Register thus :
“ June 18, 1621. The second offence is the first duel fought in New England upon a challenge at single combat with sword and dagger, between Edward Doty and Edward Leister, servants of Mr. Hopkins. Both being wounded, the one in the hand, the other in the thigh, they are adjudged by the whole company to have their head and feet tied together, and so to lie for twenty-four hours, without meat or drink: which is begun to be inflicted, but within an hour, because of their great pains, at their own and their master's humble request, upon promise of better carriage, they are released by the Governor."
We should like to see all the duellists in the world tied