The 5[th] Chapter

Shewing what means they used for preparation

to this weighty voyage.

And first after their humble prayers unto God, for his direction & assistance; & a general conference held hereabout, they consulted what particular place to pitch upon, & prepare for. Some (& none of the meanest) had thoughts, & were earnest ^for^ Guiana,1 or some of those fertile places in those hot climates; others were for some parts of Virginia, where the English had already made entrance, & beginning.2 Those for Guiana alleged that the country was rich, fruitful, & blessed with a perpetual spring; and fruitful a flourishing greenness, where vigorous nature brought forth all things in abundance, & plenty without any great labour, or art of man. So as it must needs make the Inhabitants rich; seeing less provisions of clothing, and other things, would serve, than in ^more^ colder, & less fruitful countries must be had. As also that the Spaniards (having much more than they could possess) had not yet planted there, nor anywhere, very near the same.

But to this it was answered, that out of question, the country was both fruitful, and pleasant; and might yield riches, & maintenance to the possessors, more easily than the other; yet other things considered, it would not be so fit for them. And first that such hot countries, are subject to grievous diseases, and many noisome Impediments, which other more temperate places, are freer from, and would not so well agree with our English bodies. Again if they should there live, & do well, the Jealous Spaniard would never suffer them long; but would displant, or overthrow them. As he did the French in Florida;3 who were seated furder from his richest countries; and the sooner because they should have none to protect them; & their own strength, would be too small to resist so potent an Enemy, & so near a neighbor.

On the other hand for Virginia, it was objected, that If they lived among the English which were there planted, or so near them, as to be under their government; they should be in as great danger to be troubled, and persecuted for the Cause of religion, as if they lived in England, and it might be worse. And if they lived too far off, they should neither have succour, nor defence from them.

But at length the conclusion was, to live as a distinct body by themselves, under the general Goverment of Virginia;4 and by their friends to Sue to his Majesty that he would be pleased to grant them freedom of Religion; and that this might be put in good hoop obtained, they were put in good hope (by some great persons, of good rank, & quality) that were made their friends.5 Whereupon 2 were chosen [19] & sent into England (at the charge of the rest) to Solicit this matter;6 who found the Virginia company very desirous to have them go thither.7 And willing to grant them a patent, with as ample privileges, as they had, or could grant to any; and to give them the best furderance they could. And some of the chief of that company doubted not to obtain their suit of the King for liberty in Religion; and to have it confirmed under the King’s broad seal, according to their desires. But it proved a harder piece of work than they took it for; for though many means were used to bring it about, yet it could not be effected; for there were diverse of good worth laboured with the King to obtain it (amongst whom was one of Sir Robert Naunton.his chief Secretaries),8 and some other wrought with the Archbishop9 to give way thereunto, but it proved all in vain. Yet thus far they prevailed in sounding his Majesty’s mind, that he would connive at10 them, & not molest them (provided they carried themselves peaceably). But to allow, or tolerate them by his public authority, under his seal, they found it would not be. And this was all (the chief of the Virginia Company) or any other of their best friends could do in the case. Yet they persuaded them to go on, for they presumed they should not be troubled. And with this answer the messengers returned; and signified what diligence had been used, and to what Issue things were come.

But this made a damp in the business, and caused some distraction, for many were afraid that ^if^ they should unsettle themselves, & put off their Estates, and go upon these hopes, it might prove dangerous, and prove but a sandy foundation. Yea it was thought they might better have presumed hereupon, without making any suit at all, than having made it, to be thus rejected. But enow11 some of the chiefest thought otherwise; and that they might well proceed hereupon, & that the King’s Majesty was willing enough to Suffer them without molestation; though for other reasons he would not confirm it by any public act. And furdermore if there was no security in this promise Intimated; there would be no great certainty, in a furder confirmation of the same; for if afterwards there should be a purpose, or desire to wrong them, though they had a seal as broad as the house floor, it would not serve the turn; for there would be means enew12 found to recall, or reverse it. And Seeing therefore the means course was probable, they must rest therein on God’s providence, as they had done in other things.

Upon this resolution, other messengers were dispatched,13 to end with the Virginia Company as well as they could. And to procure [20] a patent with as good, and ample conditions as they ^might^14 by any good means obtain. As also to treat and conclude with such merchants, and other friends, as had manifested their forwardness to provoke to, and adventure in this voyage. For which end they had Instructions given them, upon what conditions they should procceed with them; or else to conclude nothing without further advice. And here it will be requisite to Insert a letter, or two that may give light to these proceedings.

A copy of [a] letter from Sir Edwin Sandys

directed to Mr. John Robinson, &

Mr. William Brewster.

After my hearty salutations. The agents of your congregation, Robert Cushman, & John Carver,15 have been in communication, with diverse select Gentlemen of his Majesty’s Council for Virginia. And by the writing of 7 Articles Subscribed with your names;16 have given them that good degree of Satisfaction, which hath carried them on with a resolution to Set forward your desire, in the best sort that may be, for your own, & the public good. Diverse particulars whereof we leave to their faithful report, having carried themselves here, with that good discretion; as is both to their own, and their credit, from whence they came. And whereas being to treat for a multitude of people, they have requested further time, to confer with them that are to be Interested in this action about the several particularities which in the prosecution thereof will fall out Considerable; It hath been very willingly assented to. And so they do now return unto you; If therefore it may please God so to direct your desires, as that on your parts there fall out no Just Impediments, I trust by the same direction, it shall likewise appear, that on our part, all forwardness, to set you forward shall be found, In the best sort, which with reason may be Expected. And so I betake you, with this design (which I hope verily is the work of God) to the gracious protection, and blessing of the highest.

London, November 12, Anno 1617.

Your very loving friend,

Edwin Sandys

Their answer was as followeth.

Right worshipful,

Our humble duties remembered, in our own, our messengers’, and our church’s name; with all thankful acknowledgement of your singular love, [21] Expressing itself as otherwise, so more specially in your great care, and earnest endeavor as our good in this weighty business about Virginia. Which the less able we are to requite, we shall think ourselves the more bound to commend in our prayers unto God, for recompence. Whom as for the present you rightly behold in our Endeavors, so shall we not be wanting on our parts (the same God assisting us) to return all answerable fruit, and respect unto the labour of your love, bestowed upon us. We have (with the best speed, and consideration withal, that we could) Set down our requests in writing, subscribed (as you willed) with the hands of the greatest part of our congregation, and have sent the same unto the Council, by our agent, & a deacon of our church John Carver, unto whom we have also requested a gentleman of our Company to adjoin himself,17 to the care, & discretion of which ^two^, we do refer the prosecuting of the business. Now we persuade ourselves Right Worshipful that we need not provoke your godly, & loving mind to any further, or more tender care of us; since you have pleased so far to Interest us in yourself; that under God above all persons, and things in the world, we rely upon you, expecting the care of your love, counsel of your wisdom, & the help & countenance of your authority. Notwithstanding for your encouragement in the work, so far as proba^bi^lities may lead, we will not forbear to mention these Instances of Inducement.

1. We verily believe, & trust the Lord is with us, unto whom, & whose service we have given ourselves in many trials; and that he will graciously prosper our Endeavours, according to the Simplicity of our hearts therein.

2. 2dly, We are well weaned from the delicate milk of our mother Country, and inured to the difficulties of a strange and hard land; which yet in ^a^ great part we have by patience overcome.

3. 3ly, The people, are for the body of them, Industrious and frugal (we think we may safely say) as any Company of people in the world.

4. 4ly, We are knit together, as a body, in a most strict, & sacred bond, and Note *covenant of the Lord; of the *violation whereof we make great Conscience, and by vertue whereof, we do hold ourselves straitly tied, to all care of each others’ good, and of the whole by every one and so mutually.

5. Lastly, it is not with us, as with other men, whom small things, can discourage, or small discontents, cause to wish themselves at home again; we know our Entertainment in England, and in Holland we shall much prejudice, both our arts, & means by removal; who (if we should be driven to return) we should not hope to recover our present helps, and comforts. Neither Indeed look ever (for ourselves) to attain unto the like in any other place, during our lives, which are now drawing towards their periods. [20v]

These motives we have been bold, to tender unto you, which you in your wisdom may also Impart to any other our Worshipful friends of the Council with you; of all whose godly disposition in it selfe, and loving towards our despised persons, we are most glad, and shall not fail by all good means to continue, & increase the same. We will not be further troublesome, but do with the renewed remembrance of our humble duties to your Worship and (so far as in modesty we may be bold) to any other of our well-willers of the Council with you. We take our ^leaves^, commending committing your persons, and counsels, to the guidance, and direction of the Almighty.

Leiden, December 15, Anno 1617.

Yours much bounden in all duty,

John Robinson

William Brewster

For further light in these proceedings, see some other

letters & notes as followeth.

The copy of a letter sent to

Sir John Wolstenholme.20

Right worshipful, with due acknowledgement of our thankfulness for your singular care, & pains, in the business of Virginia, for our, & (we hope) the common good. We do remember our humble duties unto you, and have sent enclosed (as is required) a further explanation of our Judgements in the 3 points specified by some of his Majesty’s Honourable Privy Council; and though it be grievous unto us, that such unjust Insinuations are made against us, yet we are most glad of the occasion of making our Just purgation, unto so honourable personages. The declarations we have sent Enclosed, the one more brief, & general, which we think the fitter to be presented; the other something more large, and in which we Express some small accidental differences, which if it seem good unto you, and other of our Worshipful friends, you may send instead of the former. Our prayers unto God is, that your Worship may see the fruit of your worthy endeavours, which on our parts we shall not fail to furder, by all good means in us. And so praying that you would please with the convenientest speed that may be; to give us knowledge of the Success of the business with his Majesty’s Privy Council; and accordingly what your further pleasure is, either for our direction or furtherance in the same; so we rest,

Leiden, January 27, Anno 1617, Old Style.

Your Worship’s in all duty,

John Robinson

William Brewster

The first brief note was this. Touching the Ecclesiastical ministry; namely of pastors for teaching, Elders for Ruling, & deacons for distributing the church’s contribution; as also for the two Sacraments, Baptism, and the ^Lord’s^ Supper, we do wholly, and in all points agree [23] with the French reformed churches, according to their public confession of faith.21 The Oath of Supremacy22 we shall willingly take if it be required of us; and that convenient satisfaction be not given, by our taking the oath of Allegiance.

John Robinson

William Brewster

The 2[nd] was this, Touching the Ecclesiastical ministry, &c., ^ as in

the former^.

We agree in all things with the French reformed churches, according to their public confession of faith. Though some small differences be to be found in our practises, not at all in the substance of the things; but only in some accidental Circumstances.

1. As first, their ministers do pray with their heads covered; ours uncovered.

2. We choose none for Governing Elders, but such as are able to teach; which ability, they do not require.

3. Their Elders, & deacons are annual, are at most for 2 or 3 years; ours perpetual.

4. Our Elders do administer their office, in admonitions & Excommunications for public scandals, publicly and before the congregation; theirs more privately, & in their consistories.

5. They We do administer baptism only to such Infants as whereof the one parent at the least, is of some church; which some of their churches do not observe; though in it our practise accords with their public confession, and the Judgement of the most learned amongst them.

Other differences worthy mentioning, we know none in these points. Then about the oath, as in the former.


John R[obinson]

W[illiam] B[rewster]

Part of another letter from him

that delivered these.23

London, February 14, 1617.

Your letter to Sir John Wolstenholme, I delivered almost as soon as I had it, to his own hands; and stayed with him the opening & reading; there were 2 papers enclosed; he read them to himself, as also the letter, and in the reading he spake to me (& said), “Who shall make ^them^?” viz. the ministers; I answered his worship that the power of making was in the church, to be ordained by the Imposition of hands, by the fittest Instruments they had. It must either be in the church, or from the pope, & the pope is Antichrist. “Ho,” said Sir John, “what the pope holds good (as in the Trinity) that we do well to assent to”; but said he we will not enter into dispute now. And as for your letters he would not show them at any hand, lest he should spoil all; he expected you should have been of the Archbishop’s mind for the calling of ministers, but it seems you differed. I could have wished to have known the contents of your two Enclosed, at which he stuck so much, Especially the larger. I asked his Worship what good news he had for me to write tomorrow. He told me, “Very Good news, for both the King’s Majesty, and the Bishops have consented.” He said he would go to Mr. Chancellor, Sir Fulke Greville,24 as this day, & next week I should know more. I met Sir Edwin Sandys on Wednesday night; he wished me to be at the Virginia court the next Wednesday, where I purpose to be. Thus loath to be troublesome at present, I hope to have somewhat next week of certainty concerning you. I commit you to the Lord.


S. B.25 [24]

These things being long in agitation, & messengers passing to and again about them; after all their hopes they were long delayed, by many rubs that fell in the way. For at the return of these messengers into England, they found things far otherwise than they expected. For the Virginia Council was now so disturbed with factions, and quarrels amongst themselves, as no business could well go forward. The which may the better appear in one of the messenger’s letters as followeth.

To his loving friends, &c.

I had thought long since to have writ unto ^you^ but could not effect that which I aimed at; neither can yet set things as I wished; yet notwithstanding I doubt not but Mr. B.26 hath written to Mr. Robinson. But I think myself bound also to do something, lest I be thought to neglect you. The main hindrance of our proceedings in the Virginia business, is the dissensions, and factions (as they term it) amongst the Council, & Company of Virginia; which are such, as that ever since we came up, no business could by them be dispatched. The occasion of this trouble amongst them is, for that a while since Sir Thomas Smith27 repining at his many offices, & troubles; wished the Company of Virginia to ease him of his office in being Treasurer, & Governor of the Virginia Company. Whereupon the Company took occasion to dismiss him; and Chose Sir Edwin Sandys Treasurer, & Governour of the Company. He having 60 voices, Sir John Worstenholme 16 voices, and Alderman Johnson 24.28 But Sir Thomas Smith when he saw some part of his honour lost; was very angry, & raised a faction, to cavil, & contend about the election; and sought to tax Sir Edwin with many things; that might both disgrace him, and also put him by his Office of Governour. In which contentions they yet stick, and are not fit, nor ready to Intermeddle in any business; and what Issue things will come to, we are not yet Certain. It is most like Sir Edwin will carry it away, and if he do things will go well in Virginia, if otherwise they will go ill enough. Always we hope in some 2 or 3 court days things will settle. Meanspace29 I think to go down into Kent,30 & come up again about 14 days, or 3 weeks hence; except either by these aforesaid contentions; or by the ill tidings from Virginia we be wholly discouraged, of which tidings I am now to speak.

Captain Argall31 is come home this week (he upon notice of the Intent of the Council, came away before Sir George Yeardley32 came there; and so there is no small dissension). But his tidings are ill, though his person be welcome. He saith Mr. Blackwell’s33 ship came not there till March, but going towards winter, they had still norwest winds, which carried them to the southward beyond their course. And the master of the ship, & some 6 of the mariners dying, it seemed they could not find the bay, till after long seeking, & beating about. Mr. Blackwell is dead, & Mr. Maggner the Captain; yea there are dead he saith 130 persons one, & other in that ship; it is said there was in all an 180 persons in the ship, so as they were packed together like Herrings; they had amongst them the flux,34 and also want of fresh water; so as it is here rather wondered at that so many are alive, than that so many are dead. The merchants here, say it was Mr. Blackwell’s fault to pack so many in the ship; yea & there were great mutterings, & repinings amongst them, and upbraiding of Mr. Blackwell, for his dealing, & disposing of them, when they saw how he had disposed of them, & how he Insulted over them. Yea the streets at Gravesend rung of their Extreme quarrelings, crying out one of another, “Thou hast brought me to this,” and “I may thank thee for this.” Heavy news it is, and I would be glad to hear, how far it will discourage; I see none here discouraged much, [25] but rather desire to learn to beware, by other men’s harms, and to amend that wherein they have failed. As we desire to serve one another in love, so take heed of being enthralled, by any Imperious person, Especially if they be discerned to have an eye to themselves. It doth often trouble me to think that in this business, we are all to learn, and none to teach; but better so, than to depend upon such teachers, as Mr. Blackwell was. Such a stratagem, he once made for Mr. Johnson,35 & his people at Emden which was their subversion. But though he then cleanlily (yet unhonestly) plucked his neck out of the collar;36 yet at last his foot is caught. Here are no letters come; the ship Captain Argall came in, is yet in the west parts; all that we hear is but his reports, it seemeth he came away secretly; the ship that Mr. Blackwell went in will be here shortly. It is as Mr. Robinson once said; he thought we should hear no good of them.

Mr. B.37 is not well at this time; whether he will come back to you or go into the north, I yet know not; for myself I hope to see an end of this business, ere I come, though I am sorry to be thus from you; If things had gone roundly forward I should have been with you within this 14 days. I pray God direct us, and give us that spirit, which is fitting for such a business. Thus having Summarily pointed at things, which Mr. Brewster (I think) hath more largely writ of to Mr. Robinson, I leave you to the Lord’s protection.

London, May 8, Anno 1619.

Yours in all readiness, &c.,

Robert Cushman

A word or two by way of digression touching this Mr. Blackwell; he was an Elder of the Church at Amsterdam, a man well known of most of them. He declined from the truth with Mr. Johnson & the rest; and went with him when they parted asunder, in that woeful maner which brought so great dishonour to God, scandal to the truth; & outward ruin to themselves in this world. But I hope notwithstanding (through the mercies of the Lord) their souls are now at rest with him in the heavens; and that they are arrived in the Haven of happiness; though some of their bodies were thus buried in the terrible seas; and others sunk under the burthen of bitter afflictions. He with some others had prepared for to go to Virginia. And he (with sundry godly citizens) being at a private meeting (I take it a fast) in London; being discovered many of them were apprehended, whereof Mr. Blackwell was one; but he so glozed38 with the bishops and either dissembled, or flatly denied the truth which formerly he had maintained. And not only so, but very unworthily betrayed, and accused another godly man39 (who had escaped) that so he might slip his own neck out of the collar; & to obtain his own freedom, brought others into bonds. Whereupon he so won the bishops’ favour (but lost the Lord’s) as he was not only dismissed, but in open Court, the Archbishop gave him great applause, and his Solemn blessing to proceed in his voyage. But if such events follow the bishops’ blessing, happy are they that miss the same; It is much better to keep a good conscience, and have the Lord’s blessing, whether in life or death.

But see how the man thus apprehended by Mr.

Blackwell’s means, writes to a friend of his.

Right dear friend, & Christian brother, Mr. Carver,40 I Salute you & yours in the Lord, &c.

As for my own present condition, I doubt not but you well understand it ere this, by our brother Masterson;41 who should have tasted of the same cup, had his place of residence, & his person, been as well known as myself; somewhat I have written to Mr. Cushman how the matter still continues. I have petitioned twice to Mr. Sheriff’s,42 and once to my Lord Coke;43 and have used such reasons to move them to pity, that if they were not overruled by some others, I suppose I should soon gain my liberty; as that I was a young man living by my [26] Credit, indebted to diverse in our city, living at more than ordinary charges, in a close, & tedious prison, besides great rents abroad; all my business lying still, my only servant lying lame in the country, my wife being also great with child. And yet no answer till the lords of his Majesty’s Council gave consent. Howbeit Mr. Blackwell a man as deep in this action as I, was delivered at a cheaper rate, with a great deal less ado; yea with an addition of the Archbishop’s blessing. I am sorry for Mr. Blackwell’s weakness, I wish it may prove no worse. But yet he, & some others of them, before their going, were not sorry; but thought It was for the best, that I was nominated, not because the Lord sanctifies evil, to good; but that the action was good, yea for the best. One reason I well remember he used was, because this trouble would increase the Virginia plantation, in that now people began to be more generally Inclined to go; and If he had not nominated some such as I, he had not been free; being it was known, that diverse Citizens, besides themselves were there. I Expect an answer shortly, what they intend concerning me; I purpose to write to some others of you, by whom you ^shall know^ the certainty. Thus not having further at present to acquaint you withal, commending myself to your prayers, I cease, & commit you, and us all to the Lord.

From my chamber in Wood Street Compter.44

September 4, Anno 1618.

Your friend, & brother in bonds,

Sabin Staresmore.

But thus much by the way, which

may be of instruction & good use.

But at last, after all these things (and their long attendance), they had a patent granted them, and confirmed under the Company’s seal; but those divisions and distractions, had shaken off many of their pretended friends, and disappointed them of much of their hoped for, and proffered means. By the advice of ^some^ friends this patent was not taken in the name of any of their own; but in the name of Mr. John Wincop (a religious gentleman then belonging to the Countess of Lincoln) who Intended to go with them.45 But God so disposed as he never went, nor they ever made use of this patent, which had cost them so much labour, and charge; as by the sequel will appear. This patent being sent over for them to view, & consider; as also the passages about the propositions, between them, & such merchants, & friends as should either go, or adventure with them; and especially with thosex on whom they did chiefly depend for shipping and means, whosex Mr. Thomas Weston, &c. proffers had been large.46 They were requested to fit and prepare themselves with all speed. A right emblem it may be of the uncertain things of this world; that when men have toiled themselves for them, they vanish into smoke.47