◆   Anno Domini 1642   ◆

Marvelous it may be to see, and consider, how some ^kind of^ wickedness did grow, & break forth, here, in a land, where the same was so much witnessed against, and so narrowly looked unto, & severely punished when it was known; As in no place more, or so much; that I have known, or heard of; Insomuch as they have been somewhat censured, even by moderate and good men, for their severity in punishments. And yet all this could not suppress the breaking ^out^ of sundry notorious sins (as this year, besides other, gives us too many sad precedents, and Instances), especially drunkenness, and uncleanness; not only Incontinency, between persons unmarried, for which many both men & women have ^been^ punished sharply enough, but some married persons also. But that which is worse, even sodomy, and buggery (things fear^full^ to name) have broke forth in this land, oftener than once. I say it may Justly ^be^ marveled at; and cause ^us^ to fear, & tremble, at the consideration of our Corrupt natures, which are so hardly1 bridled, subdued, & mortified; nay cannot by any other means, but the 1.powerful work, & grace of God’s spirit. But (besides this) one reason may be, that the Devil may carry a greater spite, against the churches of Christ, and the gospel here; by how ^much^ the more they Endeavour to preserve holiness, and purity amongst them; and strictly punisheth the same ^contrary^ when it ariseth either in church or commonwealth; that he might cast a [242] blemish, & stain upon them in the eyes of world, who use to be rash in Judgement; I would rather think thus, than that Satan hath more ^power^ in these Heathen lands, ^as some have thought,^2 than in more Christian Nations, especially over God’s servants in them.

2.Another reason may be, that it may be in this case, as it is with waters when their streams are stopped, or dammed up, when they get passage they flow with more violence, and make more noise, and disturbance; than when they are suffered to run quietly in their own channels; so wickedness being here more stopped by strict laws, and the same more nearly looked unto, so as it cannot run in a common road of liberty as it would, and is Inclined; it Searches every^where^ and at last breaks out where it gets vent.

3.A third reason may be; here (as I am verily persuaded), is not more evils in this kind, nor nothing near so many, by proportion as in other places; but they are here more discovered, and seen, and made public by due search, Inquisition, and due punishment; for the churches look narrowly to their members, and the magistrates over all; more strictly than in other places. Besides here the people are but few in comparison, of other places, which are full, & populous; and lie hid, as ^it^ were in a wood, or thicket, and many horrible evils, by that means are never seen, nor known; whereas here, they are as ^it^ were brought into the light, and set in the plain field, or rather on a hill, made conspicuous to the view of all.

But to proceed, there came a letter from the Governour in the Bay to them here, touching matters of the forementioned nature which because it may be useful I shall here relate it, and ^the^ passages thereabout.

Sir, having an opportunity to signify the desires of our General Court, in two things, of special Importance; I willingly take this occasion, to impart them to you, that you may Impart them to the rest of your astants magistrates, and also to your Elders, for counsel; and give us your advice in them. The first is concerning heinous offences in point of uncleanness; the particular cases, with the circumstances, and the questions thereupon, you have here Enclosed. The 2[nd] thing is concerning the Islanders at Aquidneck,3 that seeing the chiefest of them, are gone from us, in offences either to churches, or commonwealth, or both; others are dependents on them, and the best sort are such as close with them in all their rejections of us; neither is it only in a faction that they are divided from us, but in very deed they rend themselves, from all the true churches of Christ, and many of them from all the powers of Magistracy; we have had some experience hereof by some of their underworkers, or Emissaries, who have lately come amongst us, and ^have^ made public defiance, against magistracy, ministry, churches, & church covenants, &c., as antichristian; secretly also sowing the seeds, of Familism, and Anabaptistry, to the Infection of some, and danger of others; so that we are not willing to Join with them in any League, or confederacy at all; but rather that you would consider, & advise with us how we may avoid them, and keep ours from being Infected by them. Another thing I should mention to you, for the maintenance of the trade of beaver; If there be not a company to order it in every Jurisdiction, among the English, which companies should agree in general of their way in trade, I suppose that the trade will be overthrown, and the Indians will abuse us; for this cause we have lately put it into order amongst us, hoping of Encouragement from you (as we have had) that we may continue the same. Thus not further to trouble you, I rest, with my loving remembrance to yourself, &c.

Boston, 28 (1) 1642.

Your loving friend,

Richard Bellingham

The note Enclosed follows on the other side. [244]4 [ . . . ]

[William Bradford to Richard Bellingham, 17 May 1642]

Worthy & beloved Sir,

Your letter (with the questions Enclosed) I have Communicated with our Assistants; and we have referred the answer of them, to such Reverend Elders as are amongst us; some of whose answers thereto, we have here sent you Enclosed, under their own hands; from the rest we have not yet received any; our far distance, hath been the reason of this long delay; as also that they could not confer their counsels together.

For ourselves (you know our breedings, & abilities), we rather desire light from yourselves, & others, whom God hath better Enabled; than to presume to give our Judgements in cases so difficult, and of so high a nature. Yet under Correction, and Submission to better Judgements; we propose this one thing, to your prudent Considerations. As it seems to us in the case even of willful murder, that though a man did smite, or wound another, with ^a^ full purpose, or desire to kill him (which is murder in a high degree, before God), yet if he did ^not^ x Exod. 21:22, Deut. 19:11, Numb. 35:16, 18.die, x5 the magistrate was not to take away the other’s life. So by proportion in other gross, & foul sins, though high attempts, & near approaches, to the same be made, and such as in the sight ^& account^ of God, may be as Ill, as the accomplishment of the foulest acts of that Sin; yet we doubt whether the magistrate it may be safe for the magistrate to proceed to death; we think upon the former grounds, rather he may not; As for Instance in the case of Adultery (if it be admitted, that it is to be punished with death, which to some of us is not clear), If the body be not actually defiled, then death is not to be Inflicted. So In sodomy, & bestiality, If there be not penetration; yet we confess foulness of circumstances, and frequency in the same; doth make us remain in the dark, and desire further light, from you, or any as God shall give.

As for the 2[nd] thing, concerning the Islanders? We have no conversing with them, nor desire to have; furder than necessity, or humanity may require.

And as for trade? We have as far as we could, ever therein held an orderly course & have been sorry to see the spoil thereof by others; and fear it will hardly be recovered. But in these, or any other things, which may concern the Common good, we shall be willing to advise, & concur with you in what we may. Thus with my love remembered to yourself, and the rest of our worthy friends, your Assistants, I take leave, & rest,

Plimoth, 17, 3[rd] month, 1642.6}

Your Loving friend,

W. B.

Now follows the ministers’ Answers;

And first, Mr. Raynor’s • 〜 •  〜 •  〜 •

Manuscript page 246, containing Revs. Partridge’s and Chauncy’s views on “Sodomitical acts”

(Courtesy of the State Library of Massachusetts, Boston, Mass.)

Mr. Partridge his writing, in Answer to the questions

The Answer        An contactus et fricatio usque ad seminis effusione

of Mr. Charles        sine penetratione Corporis sit sodomia

Chauncy        Morte plectenda?27〜 • 〜 • 〜 •

Besides the occasion before mentioned in these writings concerning the abuse of those 2 children; they had about the same time a Case of buggery,84 fell out amongst them, which occasioned these questions; to which these answers have been made.

And after the time of the writing of these things; befell a very sad accident of the like foul nature in this government. This very year; which I shall now relate. There was a youth whose name was Thomas Granger, he was servant to an honest man of Duxbury,85 being about 16 or 17 years of age (his father, & mother lived at the same time, at Scituate); he was this year detected of buggery (and Indicted for the same), with a mare, a Cow, two goats, five sheep, 2 calves, and a turkey. Horrible [249] It is to mention; but the truth of the history requires it. He was first discovered by one that accidentally saw his lewd practise towards the mare (I forbear particulars), being upon it examined, and committed. In the end he not only confessed the fact with that Beast at that time, but sundry times before; and at several times with all the rest of the forenamed in his Indictment, and this his free confession was not only in private to the magistrates (though at first he strived to deny it) but to sundry both ministers, & others; And afterwards upon his Indictment, to the whole court & Jury; and confirmed it at his execution, and whereas some of the sheep could not so well be known by his description of them, others with them were brought before him, and he declared which were they, and which were not. And accordingly he was cast by the Jury, and Condemned, and after executed about the 8[th] of September 1642. A very sad spectacle it was, for first the mare, and then the cow, and the rest of the lesser cattle were killed before his face, according to the law, Levit. 20:15. And then he himself was executed. The cattle were all cast into a great, & large pit that was digged of purpose for them, and no use made of any part of them.

Upon the examination of this person, and also of a former that had made some Sodomitical attempts upon another;86 It being demanded of them, how they came first to the knowledge and practice of such wickedness; the one confessed he had long used it in old England; and this youth last spoken of, said he was taught it, by another that had heard of such things from some in England, when he was there, and ^they^ kept cattle together. By which it appears how one wicked person may Infect many; and what care all ought to have what servants they bring into their families.

But it may be demanded how came it to pass, that so many wicked persons, and profane people, should so quickly come over into this land, and mix themselves amongst them? seeing It was religious men that began the work, and they came for Religion’s sake? I confess this may be marveled at, at least in time to come, when the reasons thereof should not be known; and the more because here was so many hardships, and wants met withal. I shall therefore Endeavour to give some answer hereunto; And first according to that in the gospel, It is ever to be remembered, that where the Lord begins to sow good seed, there the envious man will begin endeavor to sow tares. Men being to come over Into a wilderness, In which much labour & service was to be done about building & planting, &c., such as wanted help in that respect, when they could not have such as they would, were glad to take such as they could; and so many untoward servants, sundry of them proud, that were thus brought over, both men & womenkind; who when their times were expired, became families of themselves, which gave Increase hereunto; Another, and a main reason hereof, was; that men finding so many godly disposed persons willing to come into these parts; some began to make a trade of It, to transport passengers, & their goods; and hired ships for that end; and then to make up their freight, and advance their profit; cared not who the persons were, so they had money to pay them. And by this means the country became pestered with many unworthy persons, who being come over, crept into one place or other. Again the Lord’s blessing usually following his people, as well in outward, as spiritual things (though afflictions be mixed withal), do make many to adhere to the people of God, as many followed Christ for the loaves’ sake, John 6:26;87 and a mixed multitude came into the wilderness, with the people of God out of Egypt of old, Exod. 12:38.88 So also many were sent by their friends, some under hope that they would be made better, others that they might be eased of such burthens, and they kept from shame at home, that would necessarily follow their dissolute Courses. And thus by one means or other, in 20 years’ times, It is a question whether the greater part, be not grown the worser? [250]

I am now come to the conclusion of that long & tedious business between the partners here, & them In England; the which I shall manifest by their own letters, as followeth, in such parts of them as are pertinent to the same.

Mr. Sherley’s to Mr. Atwood

Mr. Atwood, my approved loving friend, your letter of the 18[th] of October last I have received, wherein I find you have taken a great deal of pains, and care about that troublesome business, betwixt our Plimoth partners, & friends, & us here; and have deeply Engaged yourself; for which compliments, & words, are no real satisfaction, &c., for the agreement you have made with Mr. Bradford, Mr. Winslow, & the rest of the partners there; considering how honestly, and Justly, I am persuaded they have brought in an account of the remaining stock; for my own part, I am well satisfied, and so I think is Mr. Andrews, and I suppose ^will^ be Mr. Beauchamp, If most of it might accrue to him, to whom the least is due, &c. And now for peace[’s] sake, and to conclude as we began lovingly, and friendly, and to pass by all failings, of all. The conclude is accepted of; I say this agreement that you have made is condescended unto; and Mr. Andrews hath sent his release to Mr. Winthrop, with such directions as he conceives fit; And I have made bold to trouble you with mine, and we have both sealed in the presence of Mr. Weld, and Mr. Peters,89 and some others, and I have also sent you another, for the partners there, to seal to me; for you must not deliver mine to them, except they seal, & deliver one to me; this is fit and equal, &c.

June 14, 1642.

Yours to command in what I may or can,

James Sherley

His to the partners

as followeth.

Loving friends,

Mr. Bradford, Mr. Winslow, Mr. Prence, Captain Standish, Mr. Brewster, Mr. Alden, & Mr. Howland, give me leave to join you all in one letter, concerning the final end & conclude of that tedious, & troublesome business, & I think I may truly say uncomfortable, & unprofitable to all, &c. It hath pleased God ^now^ to put us upon a way to cease all suits, and disquieting of our spirits, and to conclude with peace, and love, as we began; I am contented to yield, & make good what Mr. Atwood, and you, have agreed upon. And for that end have sent to my loving friend Mr. Atwood, an absolute, and general release unto you all, and if there want anything to make it more full, write it yourselves, & it shall be done; provided that all you, either Jointly, or severally, seal the like discharge to me, and for that end I have drawn one jointly, and sent it to Mr. Atwood, with that I have sealed to you; Mr. Andrews hath sealed an acquittance also, & sent it to Mr. Winthrop, with such directions as he conceived fit, and as I hear, hath given his debt, which he makes £544, unto the gentlemen of the Bay; Indeed Mr. Weld, Mr. Peters, & Mr. Hibbens,90 have taken a great deal of pains with Mr. Andrews, Mr. Beauchamp, & myself to bring us to agree, and to that end we have had many meetings and spent much time about it. But as they are very Religious, & honest gentlemen, yet they had an end, that they drove at, & laboured to accomplish (I mean not any private end, but for the general good of their patent). It had been very well you had sent one over; Mr. Andrews wished you might have one 3[rd] part of the £1200 & the Bay 2 thirds, but then we 3 must have agreed together, which were a hard matter now. But Mr. Weld, Mr. Peters, & Mr. Hibbens, & I have agreed, they giving you bond (so to compose with Mr. Beauchamp, as) to procure his general release, & free you from all trouble & charge that he may put you to; which Indeed is nothing, for I am persuaded Mr. Weld, will in time gain him, to give them all that is due [251] To him which is in some sort ^is^ granted already, for though his demands be great, yet Mr. Andrews hath taken some pains in it, and makes it appear to be less, than I think he will consent to give them for so good an use; so you need not fear, that for taking bond there to save you harmless, you be safe and well. Now our accord is, that you must pay to the gentlemen of the Bay £900; they are to bear all charges that ^may^ any way arise; the other £300 concerning the free, & absolute clearing of you, from us three. And you to have the other £300, &c.

Upon the receiving of my release from you, I will send you your bonds for the purchase money. I would have sent them now, but I would have Mr. Beauchamp release as well as I, because you are bound to him in them; now I know if a man be bound to 10 men, if one release it is, as if all released, and my discharge doth cut them off, wherefore doubt you not but you shall have them, & your Commission, or anything else that is fit; now you know there is two years of the purchase money, that I would not own, for I have formerly certified you that I would but pay 7 years, but now you are discharged of all, &c.

June 14, 1642.

Your loving and kind friend in what I may or can,

James Sherley

The copy of his release is as followeth.〜 • 〜 • 〜 • 〜 •

Whereas diverse questions, differences, & demands have arisen, & depended between William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Miles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden, and John Howland gentleman now, or lately Inhabitants, or resident at New Plimoth, in New England, on the one party; And James Sherley of London Merchant and others on th’other part, for & concerning a stock & partable trade of beaver & other commodities, and freighting of ships, as the White Angel, Friendship, or others, And the goods of Isaac Allerton which were siezed upon by vertue of a letter of Attorney made by the same James Sherley, and John Beauchamp, and Richard Andrews; or any other matters concerning the said trade either here in Old England, or there in New England or elsewhere, all which differences are since by mediation of friends composed, Compromised, and all the said parties agreed. Now know all men by these presents, that I the said James Sherley in performance of the said compromise & agreement, have remissed, released, and quit-claimed, & do by these presents, remiss, release, and for me, mine heirs, executors, & Administrators, and for every of us for ever quit-claim, unto the said William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Miles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden, & John Howland, and every of them, their, & every of their heirs, Executors, and administrators, all and all manner of actions, suits, debts, accounts, reckonings, commissions, bonds, bills, specialties, Judgements, executions, claims, challenges, differences, and demands whatsoever with, ^or^ against the said William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Miles Standish, Willliam Brewster, John Alden, and John Howland or any of them, ever I had, now have, or in time ^to^ come, can, shall, or may have, for any matter, cause, or thing whatsoever from the beginning of the world, until the day of the date of these presents. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand, & seal, given the Second day of June 1642. And in the eighteenth year of the reign of our sovereign Lord King Charles, &c.

James Sherley

Sealed and delivered in the presence of

Thomas Weld

Hugh Peters

William Hibbens

Arthur Tirrey, Scr[ibe]

Thomas Sturges, his servant

Mr. Andrews his discharge was to the same effect; he was by agreement to have £500 of the money, the which he gave to them in the Bay; who brought his discharge and demanded the money; And they took in his release, and paid the money according to agreement, viz. one third of the £500 they paid down ^in hand^ and the rest in 4 equal payments, to be paid yearly, for which they gave their bonds; and whereas £44 was more demanded, they conceived they could take ^it off^ with Mr. Andrews, and therefore it was not in the bond. [252] But Mr. Beauchamp would not part with any of his, but demanded £400 of the partners here, & sent a release to a friend to deliver it to them, upon the receipt of the money; but his release was not perfect, for he had left out, some of the partners’ names, with some other defects, and besides the other gave them to understand he had not near so much due. So no end was made with him till 4 years after, of which in its place. And in that regard, that themselves did not agree, I shall Insert some part of Mr. Andrew’s letter, by which he conceives the partners here were wronged as followeth. This letter of his was writ to Mr. Edmund Freeman, Brother-in-law, to Mr. Beauchamp.91

Mr. Freeman,

My love remembered unto you, &c. I then certified the partners how I found Mr. Beauchamp, & Mr. Sherley, in their particular demands, which was according to men’s principles, of getting what they could; although the one will not shew any account, and the other a very unfair, one and unjust one, And both of them discouraged me from sending the partners my account, Mr. Beauchamp especially, their reason I have cause to conceive was, that although I do not, nor ever Intended to wrong the partners, or the business; yet if I have no account, I might be esteemed as guilty as they, in some degree at least; and they might seem to be the more free from taxation in not delivering their accounts, &c.92 (who have both of them charged the account, with much Interest they have paid forth, and one of them would likewise for much Interest he hath not paid forth as appeareth by his account, &c.). And seeing the partners have now made it appear that there is £1200 remaining due between us all, and that it may appear by my account I have not charged the business, with any Interest, but do forgive it unto the partners above £200. If Mr. Sherley, & Mr. Beauchamp who have between them wronged the business, so many 100 pounds both in principal, & Interest likewise, and have therein wronged ^me^ as well, and as much as any of the partners, yet if they will not make, & deliver fair ^& true^ accounts of the same; nor be content to take what by computation is more than can be justly due to either; that is to Mr. Beauchamp £150 as by Mr. Allerton’s account, and Mr. Sherley’s account on oath in Chancery; and though there might be nothing due to Mr. Sherley, yet he requires £100, &c. I conceive, seeing the partners have delivered on their oaths, the sum remaining in their hands; that they may Justly detain the £650 which may remain in their hands, after I am satisfied, until Mr. Sherley, & Mr. Beauchamp will be more fair, & Just in their ending, &c. And as I intend, if the partners fairly end with me, in satisfying in part, and Engaging themselves for the rest of my said £544 to return back for the poor my part of the land at Scituate;93 so likewise I Intend to relinquish my right, & Interest in their dear patent, on which much of our money was laid forth, and also my right & Interest in this cheap purchase, the which may have cost me first & last £350. But I doubt whether other men have not charged or taken on account, what they have disbursed in the like case, which I have not charged, neither did I conceive any other durst so do; until I saw the account of the one, and heard the words of the other; the which gives me Just cause to suspect both their accounts to be unfair; for it seemeth they consulted one with another about some particulars therein; therefore I conceive the partners ought the rather to require Just accounts from each of them, before they part with any money, to either of them. For merchants understand how to give an account; if they mean fairly they will ^not^ deny to give an account, for they keep memorials to help them to give exact accounts, in all particulars, and memorial cannot forget his charge, if the man will remember.

I desire not to wrong Mr. Beauchamp, or Mr. Sherley, nor may be silent,This he means of the first adventures, all which were lost, as hath before been shown; and what he here writes is probable at least. in such apparent probabilities of their wronging the partners, and me likewise, either in denying to deliver or shew any account; or in delivering one very unjust in some particulars, and very suspicious in many more; either of which being from understanding merchants, cannot be from weakness, or simplicity, and therefore ^the^ more unfair. So commending you, & yours, and all the Lord’s people unto the gracious protection, and blessing of the Lord; and rest your loving friend,

April 7, 1643.

Richard Andrews

This letter was writ the year after the agreement,

as doth appear; And what his Judgement was

herein the contents doth manifest, and so I leave

it, to the equal judgement of any to consider, as

they see cause.

Only I shall add what Mr. Sherley furder writ in a letter of his, about the same time, and so Leave this business. His is as followeth on the other side. [253]

Loving friends, Mr. Bradford, Mr. Winslow, Captain Standish, Mr. Prence, and the rest of the partners with you; I shall write this general letter to you all, hoping it will be a good conclude of a general, but a costly, & tedious business I think to all, I am sure to me, &c.

This was a mystery to them, for they heard nothing hereof, from any side the last year, till now; the conclusion was past, and bonds given.I received from Mr. Winslow a letter of the 28[th] of September last, and so much as concerns the general business, I shall answer in this, not knowing whether I shall have opportunity to write particular letters, &c. I expected more letters from you all, as some particular writes, but it seemeth no fit opportunity was offered. And now though the business for the main may stand, yet some particulars is altered; I say my former agreement with Mr. Weld, & Mr. Peters, before they could Conclude, or get any grant of Mr. Andrews, they sought to have my release; and thereupon they sealed me a bond for a £110. So I sent my acquittance, for they said without mine, there would be no end made (& there was good reason for it). Now they hoped if they ended with me, to gain Mr. Andrews’s part, as they did wholly to a pound (at which I should wonder, but that I observe some passages), and they also hoped to have gotten Mr. Beauchamp’s part, and I did think he would have given it them; But if he did well understand himself, & that account he would give it, for his demands make a great sound; but it seemeth he would not part with it, supposing it too great a sum, and that he might easily gain it from you; once he would have given them £40 but now they say he will not do that, or rather I suppose they will not take it, for if they do, & have Mr. Andrews’s, then they must pay me their bond of £110 ^3^ months hence. Now it will fall out far better for you, that they deal not with Mr. Beauchamp, and also for me, If you be as kind to me, as I have been, & will be to you; And that thus, if you pay Mr. Andrews, or the Bay men by his order £544 which is his full demand; But if looked into, perhaps might be less; the man is honest, & in my conscience would not wittingly do wrong, yet he may forget as well, as other men; and Mr. Winslow may call to mind, wherein he forgets (but sometimes it is good to buy peace); the gentlemen of the Bay, may abate £100, and so both sides have more right, & Justice, than if they Exact all, &c. Now if you send me a £150, then pay94 Mr. Andrews’s full sum, & this, it is near £700. Mr. Beauchamp he demands £400, and we all know that if a man demands money, he must shew wherefore, and make proof of his debt; which I know he can never do make good proof of one hundred pound due unto him as principal money; so till he can, you have good reason to keep the £500, &c. This I protest I write not in malice against Mr. Beauchamp, for it is a real truth; you may partly see it by Mr. Andrews making up his account; and I think you are all persuaded, I can say more than Mr. Andrews, concerning that account; I wish I could make up my own as plain, & easily, but because of former discontents, I will be sparing till I be called; & you may Enjoy the £500 quietly till he begin, for let him take his course here, or there, It shall be all one, I will do him no wrong; and if he have not one penny more, he is less loser than either Mr. Andrews, or I; this I conceive to be Just, & honest; the having or not having of his release matters not; let him make such proof of his debt, as you cannot disprove, and according to your first agreement you will pay it, &c.

London, April 27, 1643.

Your truly affectioned friend,

James Sherley