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III

ST. BOTOLPH'S TOWN IN OLD ENGLAND AND NEW

NOWADAYS embarking from old England for the new seems no great matter, But in that spring of 1630 when Winthrop's little fleet sailed from Cowes travelling was quite a different proposition. For it was certain that the voyage would be very long and usually it was dangerous also. On this particular occasion it took seventy-six days and was attended by all those “perils of the deep " against which some of us still have the good sense to pray. Winthrop's vessel was called the Arbella in compliment to Lady Arbella Johnson, who was one of its passengers, and among the other ships which brought over this Company of some eight hundred souls was the Mayflower, consecrated in every New England heart as the carrier, a decade earlier, of the Pilgrims of Plymouth. During the voyage Governor Winthrop wrote the simple beginnings of what is known as his “ History of New England," a journal from which we glean the most that we know of the early days of the colonists.

Being rather impatient, however, just as its compiler probably was, actually to land in the New World we will quote here only that paragraph which describes the end of the voyage: “ Saturday 12. About four in the morning we were near our port. We shot off two pieces of ordnance and sent our skiff to Mr. Peirce his ship. . . . Afterwards Mr. Peirce came aboard us, and returned to fetch Mr. Endecott, who came to us about two of the clock and with him Mr. Skelton and Captain Levett. We that were of the assistants and some other gentlemen and some of the women and our captain returned with them to Nahumkeck, where we supped with a good venison pasty and good beer, and at night we returned to 'our ship but some of the women stayed behind. In the mean time most of our people went on shore upon the land of Cape Ann, which lay very near us and gathered store of fine strawberries."

The initial landing, this makes clear, was not at Boston at all but at Salem where Endicott's band had already settled. Things were not very rosy in this colony just then, however, as we see from the following passage in Dudley's letter to the Countess of Lincoln: “ We found the colony in a sad and unexpected condition, about eighty of them being dead the winter before, and many of those alive weak and sick; all the corn and bread amongst them all hardly sufficient to feed them for a fortnight, insomuch that the remainder of a hundred and eighty servants we had the two years before sent over, coming to us for victuals to sustain them, we found ourselves wholly unable to feed them by reason that the provisions shipped for them were taken out of the ship they were put in; and they who were trusted to ship them in another failed us and left them behind whereupon necessity forced us, to our extreme loss, to give them all liberty, who had cost us about £16 or £20 a person furnishing and sending over.” So, far from being able to take in more people, Salem had to relinquish almost two hundred of those already there! Small wonder that Dudley comments dryly, “ Salem, where we landed, pleased us not."

Accordingly, Winthrop and his friends moved farther south along the coast until they came to the spot now dear to our country as the town which shelters Bunker Hill Monument. Here they established their settlement. And here, on the thirtieth of July, 1630, Winthrop, Dudley, Johnson and the pastor John Wilson adopted and signed a simple church covenant which was the foundation of the independent churches of New England. Before leaving England this band of colonists had made it clear that they were not“ Separatists from the Church of England ” though they admitted that they could but separate themselves from the corruptions in it in order that they might practise the positive part of Church reformation and propagate the Gospel in America. We must remember this in order to justify the stand taken by Winthrop, a little later, in dealing with Roger Williams. But it is necessary also to bear clearly in mind the fact of this established church at Charlestown. To set up a state in which there should be no established church was as far from the minds of these men as to set up a state in which there should be no established government. None the less they esteemed it their honour, as Winthrop expressly said, “ to call the church of England our dear mother."

By August the little company was apparently settled for good in Charlestown, for the first Court of Assistants had now been held and recommendations as to “how the minister should be maintained ” adopted. As a further step towards permanency Governor Winthrop, as we are told in the town-records,“ ordered his house to be cut and framed there."

Then sickness came upon them, the Lady Arbella and her husband being among the first to pass away in the land from which they had hoped so much. Of the lady Cotton Mather has said quaintly that “ she took New England in her way to Heaven.” She was only one of the many who died. Johnson in his “ WonderWorking Providence” records that“ in almost every family lamentation, mourning and woe were heard, and no fresh food to be had to cherish them. It would assuredly have moved the most lockt up affections to tears, had they past from one hut to another, and beheld the piteous case these people were in; and that which added to their present distress was the want of fresh water. For, although the place did afford plenty, yet for present they could find but one spring, and that not to be come at, but when the tide was down."

Enter, thereupon, Mr. William Blackstone, as the saviour of the enterprise! Blackstone was one of those who had come over with Sir Robert Gorges and had remained in spite of untoward conditions. On Shawmut (afterwards Boston) he possessed large holdings by virtue of a title Winthrop and his men later

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