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SOME years ago, about the time of the publication of Dr. Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, and before I had seen that work, the original volume of the Journal of the Pilgrims came into my possession, and I resolved to publish it with annotations. I supposed then that there was but one other copy of the work in this country. I was prevented by various causes at that time from the accomplishment of my intention, until a recent visit to Plymouth revived my purpose, and this volume became the fruit of it.
I am greatly indebted, as every one who attempts to write concerning the Plymouth Pilgrims must find himself to be, to Dr. Young's invaluable publications of the Chronicles of the Pilgrims and the Chronicles of Massachusetts. The notes to those works contain an immense amount of information, perfectly to be relied upon, and also of accurate references to the sources of knowledge at command. The Library of the New York Historical Society, to which I have had the freest access, is rich and abundant in its material concerning the early history of the Plymouth Pilgrims, and of New England.
This work, begun in the way of Historical Notes, has grown into twenty-four chapters; and I have been led, incidentally, to adopt a classification of my materials of illustration, which is important in itself, and will certainly impart to the work something of the merit of novelty; that is, to arrange in separate subjects and sketches, as far as possible, the
germs, or beginnings, or first appearances of our native New England customs and institutions. I have endeavored to trace the wonderful providential discipline of God with the colony of Plymouth, and to some extent with that of Massachusetts, and to show the constant action of those principles of piety for which they suffered, under the supremacy of which they labored, and by which, through the grace of Christ, they were successful.
Doubtless, the great lesson of God's teachings in the first years of the conflict of our Pilgrim Fathers, and as Mr. Choate called it, “ the days of their human agony of glory," is the lesson of the atonement itself, and of that wondrous passage respecting Christ, that he was made perfect through suffering ;-the necessity of a baptism of suffering, in some way, and of its holy endurance beneath the hand of God, at the foundation of every great enterprise in our fallen world, for the good of man and for God's glory. Never was there in the history of the world, out of the Divine records, a more signal and affecting display of this principle, and of God's disciplinary and covenant mercy in it to mankind, than in the story of the trials and endurances of our Pilgrim and Puritan Fathers.
The picture, if drawn by the hand of a master, would be surpassingly beautiful; and there certainly will get emanate from some devout mind and heart in New England, from some individual prepared and gifted of God for the duty (as D’Aubigné was disciplined and guided in his great work on the Reformation), a book of unrivalled interest and lasting power, on the History of the Pilgrims and Puritans in America. Such a work would, in its foundations and introductory material, run back to the days of Hooper, and the opening and progress of the Reformation in England, and the persecuting instrumentality of Elizabeth, James, and the Hierarchical Despotism. Then the stream of history divides, and there are two great works to be accomplished, concentrating the interest and progress of the world upon the principles developed and illustrated, namely, the History of the Puritans in Great Britain, and the History of the Puritans in America. Here are two of the grandest subjects in the world for genius and piety. All things done as yet are mere materials collected,