To pick up where we left off the previous Thanksgiving post...
"But to return to the others where we left. The rest of the men that were in greatest danger were able to escape before the troop could surprise them; those only staying that bet might, to be assistant unto the women. But pitiful it was to see the heavy case of these poor women in this distress; what weeping and crying on every side, some for their husbands, that were carried away in the ship as is before related; others not knowing what should become of them, and the little ones; others again melted in tears, seeing their poor little ones hanging about them, crying for fear, and quaking with cold. Being thus apprehended, they were hurried from once place to another, and from one justice to another, till in the end they knew not what to do with them; for to imprison so many women and innocent children for no other cause but that they must go with their husbands, seemed to be unreasonable and all would cry out of them; and to send them home eagain was as difficult, for the alleged. as the truth was they had no home to go to. for they had either sold or otherwise disposed of their houses and livings. To be short, after they had been thus turmoiled a good while, and conveyed from one constable to another, they were glad to be rid of them in the end upon any terms; for all were wearied and tired with them. Though in the mean time they endured misery enough; and thus in the end necessity forced a way for them."
So it was that as news traveled about what had transpired, many had compassion on them, and helped them by getting them on a boat and sailing to Holland. In the end, they all eventually got to Holland, because of the help of other people. When they arrived, of course they were in a different culture completely, had a new language to learn and had to find a means for providing for their families, which was difficult in the beginning. They had problems with the church already established- there were some differences in doctrine, and so they eventually had to break away and form their own church. They all moved to the town of Leyden, and there established their church. However, it was much harder to make a living there, it being a smaller place than Amsteradam. They were known by the Dutch for their honesty, diligence and keeping their word, and were greatly valued in the country.
After 12 years of prosperity an uprising began to take place between the Dutch and the Spaniards, and life became much harder. A time of war was coming and religious freedom would be over. Many were killed and imprisoned, the children became older earlier because of the workload they carried to help their parents, many children left the faith completely because of the hardships, and they felt it was time to move on.
"Lastly, (and which was not least), a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping stones unto oters for the performing of so great a work. These and some other like reason moved them to undertake this resolution of their removal; the which they afterward prosecuted with so great difficulties..."
They came together and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of coming to America. At the time Virginia was established as British colony, and they were seeking to go there. Their fear was that if they went there, then they would be required to worship as those in England, which is what they had fled from. Here were some of their other concerns:
" The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast and unpeopled countries of America, which are fruitful and fit for habitation being devoid of all civil inhabitants, where there are only savage and brutish men, which range up and down, little otherwise then the wild beast of the same...For there they should be liable to famine, and nakedness, and the lack in a manner, of all things. The change of air, diet and drinking of water would infect their bodies sore sicknesses, and grievous diseases. And alas those which should escape or overcome these difficulties, should yet be in continual danger of the savage people, who are cruel, barbarous and most treacherous, being most furious in their rage, and merciless where they overcome; not being content only to kill and take away life, but delight to torment men in the most bloody manner..."
Also there were the lack of funds and supplies needed for such a trip to deal with. As it turned out, they were granted the more northern part of America, which they named New England, and would have complete and total freedom of religion. Then they created a plan for when they arrived. Most people don't know this, but the Pilgrims attempted a from of socialism when they first landed in America. The agreement was that everyone age 16 years and up had a 'share' in the common provision.
" The persons transported and the adventurers shall continue their joint stock and partnership together the space of seven years, during which time, all profits and benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remain still in the common stock until the division."
We''ll learn how this turns out later.
So, they finally got everything worked out, got a boat and the provisions and supplies they needed and set out for America. The had good weather in the beginning, but then lots of storms and bad weather broke a beam and it was thought they wouldn't make it. However, the mariners were able to repair it and they finally landed ashore, which they called Cape Cod on the 11th of November.
" But here I cannot bust stay and make a pause, and stand half amused at this poor people's present condition; and so I think will the reader too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation they had now now friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair too, to seek for succor.It is recored in scripture as a mercy to the apostle and his shipwrecked company that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them were readier to fill their sides full o arrows then otherwise. And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent., and subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they see but hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beast and wild men? And what multitudes there might of them they knew not. Neither could they, as it were, go upt to the top of Pisgah, to view from this wilderness a more goodly country to feed their hopes; for which way soever they urned their eyes they could have little solace or content in respect of any outward objects. For summer being done, all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hue. If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a min bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world...What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rihtly say: Our fatheres were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His lovingkindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men. "