◆   Anno Domini 1641   ◆

Mr. Sherley being weary of this controversy, and desirous of an end (as well as themselves) writ to Mr. John Atwood, and Mr. William Collier, 2 of the Inhabitants of this place, and of his special acquaintance; and desired them to be a means to bring this business to an end; by advising, & counseling the partners here, by some way to bring it to a composition, by mutual agreement. And he writ to themselves also to that end. As by his letter may appear, so much thereof as concerns the same I shall here relate.

Sir, my love remembered, &c. I have writ so much concerning the ending of our accounts betwixt us, as I profess I know not what more to write, &c. If you desire an end, as you seem to do; there is (as I conceive) but 2 ways, that is to perfect all accounts, from the first to the last, ^&c.^; Now if we find this difficult, andThis was but to pretend advantage, for it could not be done, neither did it need. tedious, having not been so strict, & careful, as we should, and ought to have done; as for my own part I do confess I have been somewhat too remiss; and do verily think so are you, &c. If all your I fear you can never make a perfect account of all your petty voyages, out, & home, to1 & again, &c. So then the Second way must be, by biding, or [237] Compounding; and this way first, or last we must fall upon, ^&c.^ If we must war at law for it, do not you expect from me, neither will I from you, but to cleave the hair,2 and then I daresay the lawyers will be most gainers, &c. Thus let us set to the work, one way or other and end, that I may not always suffer in my name, & estate; and you are not free, nay the gospel suffers by your delaying and causeth the professors of it, to be hardly spoken of,3 that you being many, & now all, should combine & Join together to oppress & burden me, &c. Fear not to make offers a fair, & reasonable offer, believe me I will never take any advantage to plead it against you, or to wrong you; or else let Mr. Winslow come over, and let him have such full power, & authority as we may end by compounding; or else the accounts so well, and fully made up, as we may end by reckoning. Now blessed be God the times be much changed here; I hope to see many of you return to your Native country again, and have such freedom, & liberty as the word of God prescribes.4 Our Bishops were never so near a downfall as now; God hath miraculously confounded them, and turned all their popish, & Machiavellian5 plots, & projects on their own heads, &c. Thus you see what is fit to be done concerning our particular grievances; I pray you take it seriously into consideration, let each give way a little that we may meet, &c. Be you and all yours kindly saluted, &c. So I ever rest,

Clapham, May 18, 1641.

Your loving friend,

James Sherley

Being thus by this letter, and also by Mr. Atwood’s,6 & Mr. Collier’s mediation urged to bring things to an end (and the continual clamors from the rest), and by none more urged than by their own desires. They took this course (because many scandals had been raised upon them); they appointed these 2 men before mentioned to meet on a certain day, and called some other friends on both sides, and Mr. Freeman Brother-in-law to Mr. Beauchamp;7 and having drawn up a Collection of all the remains of the stock, in whatsoever it was, as housing, boats, bark, and all Implements belonging to the same, as they were used in the time of the trade were they better or worse, with the remains of all commodities, as beads, knives, hatchets, cloth, or anything else, as well the refuse as the more vendible, with all debts as well, those that were desperate as others more hopeful. And having spent diverse days to bring this to pass, having the help of all books, and papers, which either any of themselves had, or Josias Winslow who was their accountant. And they found the sum in all to arise (as the things were valued) to about £1400. And they all of ^them^ took a voluntary, but a solemn oath in the presence one of another, and of all their friends, the persons abovesaid that were now present; that this was all, that any of them knew of, or could remember, and Josias Winslow did the like for his part. But the truth is they wronged themselves much in the valuation; for they reckoned some Cattle as they were taken of Mr. Allerton, as for Instance a cow in the hands of one, cost £25, and so she was valued in this account, but when she came to be passed away in part of payment, after the agreement she would be accepted but at £4 15s. [238]

Also being tender of their oaths, they brought in all they knew owing to the stock, but they had ^not^ made the like diligent search what the stock might owe to any; so as many scattering debts fell upon [them] afterwards, more than now they knew of. Upon this they drew certain Articles of agreement between Mr. Atwood, on Mr. Sherley’s behalf, and themselves. The effect is as followeth.

Articles of agreement, made and concluded upon

the 15[th] day of October 1641, &c.

Imprimis. Whereas there was a partnership for diverse years agreed upon between James Sherley, John Beauchamp, and Richard Andrews of London, merchants; And William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Miles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden, & John Howland, with Isaac Allerton, in a trade of Beaver skins, & other furs arising in New England; the term of which said partnership being expired, and diverse sums of money in goods adventured into New England by the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp, ^&^ Richard Andrews. And many large returns made from New England by the said William Bradford, Edward Winslow, &c. And difference arising about the charge of 2 ships the one called the White Angel of Bristol,8 and the other the Friendship of Barnstaple,9 and a voyage Intended in her, &c.; which said ships, & their voyages, the said William Bradford, Edward Winslow, &c.; conceive do not at all appertain to their accounts of partnership. And whereas the accounts of the said partnership, are found to be confused, and cannot orderly appear (through the default of Josias ^Winslow^10 the book-keeper). And Whereas the said W. B., &c., have received all their goods for the said trade, from the foresaid James Sherley, and have made most of their returns to him, by consent of the said John Beauchamp, & Richard Andrews; And whereas also the said James Sherley hath given power & authority, to Mr. John Atwood, with the the advice, & consent of William Collier of Duxbury, for, and on his behalf to put such an absolute end to the said partnership, with all and every accounts, reckonings, dues, claims, demands whatsoever to the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp & Richard Andrews, from the said W. B., &c., for and concerning the said beaver trade, & also the charge [of] the said 2 ships, and their voyages made or pretended whether just or unjust, from the world’s beginning to this present, as also for the payment of a purchase of £1800 made by Isaac Allerton for, and on the behalf of the said W. B., Ed. W., &c., and of the Joint stock, Shares, lands, and adventures, whatsoever in New England aforesaid, as appeareth by a deed bearing date the 6 November 1627. And also for, and from such sum, and sums of money, or goods as are received by William Bradford, Thomas Prence, & Miles Standish for the recovery of dues, by accounts betwixt them the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp, & Richard Andrews, and Isaac Allerton for the ship called the White Angel. Now the said John Atwood with advice & counsel of the said William Collier, having had much communication & spent diverse ^days^11 in agitation of all the said differences, & accounts, with the said W. B., E. W., &c. And the said W. B., E. W., &c., have also with the said book-keeper spent much time in collecting, & gathering together the remainder of the stock of partnership for the said trade, and whatsoever hath been received, or is due by the said Attorneyship before expressed, and all, and all manner of goods, debts, and dues thereunto belonging, as well those debts that are weak, and doubtful, [239] and desperate as those that are more secure; which in all do amount to the sum of £1400 or thereabout; And for more full satisfaction of the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp, & Richard Andrews, the said W. B. and all the rest of the abovesaid partners, together with Josias Winslow the book-keeper have taken a voluntary Oath that within the said sum of £1400 or thereabout, is contained all ye d whatsoever they know to the utmost of their remembrance.

In consideration of all which matters, & things before expressed, and to the end, that a full, absolute, and final end may be now made, and all suits in law may be avoided, and love, & peace continued. It is therefore agreed, and concluded between the said John Atwood, with the advice, & consent of the said William Collier, for & on the behalf of the said James Sherley, to and with the said W. B., &c., In manner, and form following. Viz. that the said John Atwood shall procure a sufficient release, and discharge under the hands, & seals of the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp, & Richard Andrews, to be delivered fair, & unconcealed unto the said William Bradford, &c., at or before the last day of August next Ensuing the date hereof; whereby the ^said^ William Bradford, &c., their heirs, Executors, & administrators, & every of them shall be fully, and absolutely acquitted, & discharged of all actions, suits, reckonings, accounts, claims, and demands whatsoever concerning the general stock of beaver trade, payment of the said £1800 for the purchase, and all demands, reckonings, and accounts, Just, or unjust, concerning the two ships, White Angel, and Friendship aforesaid, together with whatsoever hath been received by the said William Bradford, of the goods, or estate of Isaac Allertion for satisfaction of the accounts of the said ship called the White Angel by vertue of a letter of attorney to him, Thomas Prence & Miles Standish, directed from the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp, & Richard Andrews, for that purpose as aforesaid.

It is also agreed, & concluded upon between the said parties to these presents that the said W. B., E. W., &c., shall now be bound in £2400 for payment of £1200 In full satisfaction of all demands as aforesaid; to be paid in manner & form following, that is to say £400 within 2 months next after the receipt of the aforesaid releases, and discharges, one hundred and ten pounds whereof, is already in the hands of John Winthrop Senior of Boston Esquire, by the means of Mr. Richard Andrews aforesaid; And 80 lbs. weight of beaver now deposited into the hands of the said John Atwood to be both in part of payment of the said £400 and ^the^ other £800 to be paid by £200 per Annum to such assigns as shall be appointed, Inhabiting either in Plimoth, or Massachusetts Bay, in such goods, & commodities, and at such rates, as the Country shall afford, at the time of delivery, & payment; and in the meantime, the said bond of £2400 to be deposited into the hands of the said John Atwood. And it is agreed upon by, & between the said parties to these presents, that if the said John Atwood shall not, or cannot, procure such said releases, & discharges as aforesaid, from the said James Sherley, John Beauchamp, & Richard Andrews, at, or before the last day of August next Ensuing the date hereof, that then the said John Atwood shall at the said day precisely, redeliver, or cause to [240] be delivered unto the said W. B., E. W., &c., their said bond of £2400 And the said 80 lbs. weight of beaver, or the due value thereof without any fraud, or further delay. And for performance of all, & singular the Covenants, and agreements ^here^in contained, and expressed, which on the one part and behalf of the said James Sherley are to be observed, & performed shall become bound in the sum of £2400 to them the said William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Miles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden, and John Howland. And it is lastly agreed upon between the said parties, that these presents shall be left in trust, to be kept for both parties, in the hands of Mr. John Raynor teacher, of Plimoth.12 In witness whereof, all the said parties, to these presents, that have hereunto severally set their hands, the day, and year first above written.

John Atwood, William13 Bradford, Edward Winslow, &c.

In the presence of

Edmond Freeman

William Thomas

William Paddy

Nathaniel Souther

The next year this long, and tedious business, came to some Issue, as will then appear, though not to a final end, with all the parties, but thus much for the present.

I had forgotten to Insert in its place, how the church here had Invited, and sent for Mr. Charles Chauncy,14 A reverend, godly, and very learned man, Intending upon trial, to choose him pastor of the church here, for the more Comfortable performance of the ministry, with Mr. John Raynor, the teacher of the same. But there fell out some difference about baptising, heMr. Chauncy came to them in the year 1638, and stayed till the later part of this year, 1641. holding it ought only to be by dipping, and putting the whole body under water, and that sprinkling was unlawful; the church yielded that Immersion, or dipping was lawful, but in this cold country, not so convenient. But they could not, nor durst not yield to him in this, that sprinkling (which all the churches of Christ do for the most part use at this day) was unlawful, & an humane Invention, as the same was pressed; but they were willing to yield to him as far as they could, & to the utmost; and were contented to suffer him to practise as he was persuaded, and when he came to minister that ordinance he might so do it, to any that did desire it in that way; provided he Could peaceably suffer Mr. Raynor, and such as desired to have theirs, otherwise baptised by him, by sprinkling or pouring on of water upon them; so as there might be no disturbance in the church hereabout. But he said he could not yield thereunto. Upon which The church procured some other ministers to dispute the point with him publicly, As Mr. Ralph Partridge of Duxbury,15 who did it sundry times, very ably, and sufficiently, as also some other ministers within this Government; but he was not satisfied; so the church, sent to many other churches to crave their help, and advice [241] In this matter, and with his will, & consent, sent them his Arguments written under his own hand; they sent them to the church at Boston in the Bay of Massachusetts, to be communicated with other churches there; Also they sent the same to the churches of Connecticut, and New Haven, with sundry others. And received very able, & sufficient answers ^as they conceived^ from them, and their learned ministers, who all concluded against him. But himself was not satisfied therewith; their answers are too large here to relate; they conceived the church had done what was meet in the thing; so Mr. Chauncy having been the most part of 3 years here removed himself to Scituate,16 where he now remains a minister to the church there.17 Also about these times now that Cattle, & other things began greatly to fall from their former rates, and persons began to fall into more straits; and many being already gone from them (as is noted before) both to Duxbury, Marshfield, and other places, & those of ^the^ chief sort, as Mr. Winslow, Captain Standish, Mr. Alden, and many other, & still some dropping away daily, and some at this time, and many more unsettled, It did greatly weaken the place. And by reason of the straitness, and barrenness of the place, it set the thoughts of many upon removal; As will appear more hereafter.