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have things, both more serviceable and at better rates, we shall never be able to rub through. Our people will never agree any way, again to unite with the Company, who have cast them off with such reproach and contempt, and also returned their, bills and all debts upon their heads. But as for those our loving friends, who have and still do stick to us, and are deeply engaged for us, and are most careful of our goods, for our parts we will ever be ready to do anything that shall be thought equal and meet.
“But I think it will be best to press a clearance with the Company, either by coming to a dividend, or some other indifferent course of composition ; for the longer we hang and continue in this confused and lingering condition, the worse it will be, for it takes away all heart and courage from men to do anything. For notwithstanding any persuasion to the contrary, many protest they will never build houses or plant fruit for those, who not only forsake them, but use them as enemies, loading them with reproach and contumely. Nay, they will rather ruin that which is done, than they should possess it. Whereas, if they knew what they should trust to, the place would quickly grow and flourish with plenty, for they never felt the sweetness of the country till this year; and now not only we, but all planters in the land begin to do it. The Lord hath so graciously disposed, that when our opposites thought that måny would have followed their faction, they so distasted their palpable dishonest dealings, that they stuck more firmly unto us, and joined themselves to the Church.”
The next thing Governor Bradford did in this business, was to write a letter to the Council of New England, supplicating their help in compelling the Adventurers to come to some just composition. For the carrying and pursuit of this application in London, the Colony chose Captain Miles Standish, who, as we have seen, arrived on his business in the midst of a fervent pestilence, by reason of which he could accomplish little or nothing.
In this letter to the Council, Governor Bradford speaks of the many necessities the Pilgrims have undergone, “incident to the raw and immature beginnings of such great exertions, and the more to which they are still subject."
“We are many people consisting of all sorts, as well women and children, as men ; and are now left and forsaken of our Adventurers, who will neither supply us with necessaries for our subsistence, nor suffer others that would be willing; neither can we be at liberty to deal with others, or provide for ourselves, but they keep us tied to them, and yet they will be loose from us. They have not only cast us off, but entered into particular courses of trading, and have by violence and force taken at their pleasure our possessions at Cape Ann. Traducing us with unjust and dishonest clamors abroad, disturbing our peace at home, and some of them threatening that if ever we grow to any good estate, they will nip us in the head. Which discouragements do cause us to slack our diligence and our care to build and plant, not knowing for whom we work, whether friends or enemies. Our humble suit therefore to your good lordships and honors is, that seeing they have so unjustly forsaken us, that you would vouchsafe to convene them before
and ke such order; as we may be free from them, and they come to a division with us, that we and ours may be delivered from their evil intents against us."
The visit of Captain Standish, though in the midst of the plague, was doubtless of some benefit towards inclining the Adventurers to come to some agreement with the Colony ; and the next year, 1626, Mr. Allerton was sent to England to see what could be done. The documents are set down in Governor Bradford's Letter Book; first the bond of the Colonists, by which Mr. Allerton succeeded in getting a loan of 200 pounds, at thirty per cent. interest, as is stated in Governor Bradford's own words, as follows:
this order he got two hundred pounds, but it was at thirty in the hundred interest, by which it appears in what straits we were.
better terms than the goods which were sent to us the year before, being at forty-five per cent., so that it was God's marvellous providence that we were ever able to wade through things; as will better appear, if God give me life and opportunity to handle them more particularly, in another treatise more at large, as I desire and purpose, if God permit, with many other things, in a better order."
Besides getting this supply of money at such usurious and destructive interest, Mr. Allerton succeeded in bringing the Adventurers to a composition and agreement, the deed of which is recorded in full in the Letter Book, with the signatures of the Adventurers thereto, in number fortytwo. By this deed the Adventurers sold to Isaac Allerton, in behalf of the planters at New Plymouth, in consideration of the sum of eighteen hundred pounds sterling, all their property and right in the stocks, shares, lands, merchandise, and chattels of the Colony. The money to be paid 200 pounds yearly, beginning on the feast day of St. Michael, 1628.
“ Thus all now is become our own,” adds Governor Bradford, “and doubtless this was a great mercy of God with us, and a great means of our peace and better subsistence, and wholly dashed all the plots and devices of our enemies both there and here, who daily expected our ruin, dispersion, and utter subversion by the same ; but their hopes were thus far prevented, though with great care and labor we were left to struggle with the payment of the money."
The next letter in Governor Bradford's Letter Book is from Mr. Sherley to his friend the Governor, dated London, Dec. 27, 1627, concerning the conclusion of this same agreement. He says, we cannot but all take notice how the Lord hath been pleased to cross our proceedings, and caused many disasters to befall us therein ; and sure I conceive the only cause to be that we, or many of us here, aimed at other ends than God's glory; but now I hope that cause is taken away, the bargain being fully completed." He speaks of the malice of some against himself on account of his unshaken friendship for the Pilgrims and the colony; and he says, that now, if they do but have content and peace among themselves and with the natives, doubtless “the God of peace will bless your going out and returning in, and cause all to which you set your hand to prosper ; the which I shall ever pray the Lord to grant, if it be his most blessed will, and that for Jesus Christ's sake."
Governor Bradford, out of the fulness of his heart, sets a star to this prophecy of God's blessing, and says in a note, “ He hath hitherto done it, blessed be his name !"
In a letter of Mr. Sherley's to Governor Bradford, in November, 1628, he says, “It is true, as you write, your engagements are great, not only the purchase, but you are yet necessitated to take up the stock you work upon, and that not at six or eight per cent., as it is here let out, but at thirty, forty, yea and some fifty per cent., which were not your gains great, and God's blessing on your honest endeavors more than ordinary, it could not be that you should long subsist, in the maintaining and upholding of your worldly affairs.”
After this letter follows a copy of the agreement made, as noted in Chapter III., between eight of the principal Pilgrims and the rest of the colony, for an exclusive pursuit of the trade of the colony for six years, in consideration of which they, the eight aforesaid, and four others, whom they procured to join them in London in this bargain, took upon themselves the payment of all the debts of the colony ; the trade to return to the colony as before at the expiration of the six years. The Governor gives the reasons for this engagement, particularly their desire to transport as many of their Leyden brethren to the colony as possible, they being unable to come of themselves. The whole arrange
ment was one of admirable wisdom, and issued in complete success. The four friendly Adventurers of London, who were helpers in it, were, Sherley, Beauchamp, Andrews, and Hatherly. Mr. Sherley wrote in 1629, as follows: "In all respects I do not see but you have done marvellously discreetly and advisedly, and no doubt it gives all parties good content.” Mingled with these business letters are ever and anon interspersed pleasant and homely memorials of love. “My wife desires to be remembered to you and yours, and I think she has put up a small token, as a pair of stockings, for you.”
“Mr. Bradford,” adds Mr. Sherley in a postscript, “ give me leave to put you in mind of one thing. Mr. Allerton hath been a trusty, honest friend to you all, either there or here ; and if any do speak ill of him, believe them not. Indeed, they have been unreasonably chargeable, yet grudge, and are not contented. Verily, their indiscreet carriage here hath so abated my affection towards them, as, were Mrs. Robinson well over, I would not disburse one penny for the rest."
The Governor then explains this, saying that the offence was given by some of their Leyden friends, whom they had undertaken to transport to the colony, but redounded to the prejudice of the whole. He says that this company were fewer in number than the one previous, though their expenses came to a hundred pounds more. “And notwithstanding this indiscretion, yet they were such as feared God, and were to us both welcome and useful for the most part; they were also kept at our charge eighteen months, and all new apparelled, and all other charges defrayed.”
The next letter is from Mr. Sherley to the Governor and the Pilgrims, giving an account of the immense labor, turmoil, and expense, which it had cost Mr. Allerton to get a new patent of incorporation, for which they were suing; how he was put off and referred from one to another, and from place to place, day after day, from Lord Keeper to