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OUR FOREFATHER'S SONG.
[Composed about the year 1630, author unknown; taken memoriter, in 1785, from the lips of an old Lady, at the advanced period of 96. There is visibly a break in the sense, commencing at the 5th line of the 5th verse : and, through the failure of memory, four lines have been lost at the latter part of the 5th stanza.]
New England's annoyances you that would know them,
The place where we live is a wilderness wood,
But when the spring opens we then take the hoe,
And now our garments begin to grow thin,
* Clout signifies patching.
Our Forefather's Song.
Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
If barley be wanting to make into malt,
Now while some are going let others be coming,
MODEL OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY.
BY JOHN WINTHROP ESQ.
FIRST GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
[We introduce this interesting Paper by the following letter to the Corr. Sec. of Mass. Hist. Society.]
Agreeably to your request, I forward to you a copy of the WinTHROP Ms. belonging to the New York Historical Society, as transcribed by the Assistant Librarian, under the direction of the Society, in accordance with a resolution I had the honor to submit at a late meeting. A member of your Publishing Committee, whom I had informed of the existence of this document, communicated to me the desire of the Committee to have it inserted in their forthcoming volume of Collections, and as it is the production of a man whose fame is inseparably connected with the history of Massachusetts, there seemed to be a manifest propriety in acceding to the request. The Society, therefore, readily consented that it should be communicated to the public, through that medium.
I am satisfied, by comparing it with the original, that the copy has been accurately made ; occasionally, however, a word was illegible, rendering it necessary to leave blanks. The ms. is evidently in the obscure handwriting prevalent at the period to which it is referred, though probably not in that of the author. It is supposed to have been presented to the Society by the late Francis B. Winthrop, Esq., of this city, (the oldest brother of the Hon. Thomas L. Winthrop, late Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts,) a lineal descendant of the author, into whose possession I am informed most of the old family papers came, nearly all of which have since perished. Among these was an original letter from Charles II. to Governor Winthrop of Connecticut, which was in existence a few years ago in this city.
Although aided in my inquiries by B. R. Winthrop, Esq., Recording Secretary of this Society, and of the same family, (who, by the way, is also
, on his mother's side, a lineal descendant from Governor Stuyvesant, of the Rival Colony of New Netherlands, afterwards New York.) í regret to be unable to furnish any additional information relative to this interesting relic of the “ brave leader and famous Governor" of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay.
GEORGE FOLSOM. New York, April 19, 1838.
Prefatory Remarks by a Member of the Massachusetts Historical
It is not easy for any of us, in modern times, to form a perfect estimate of that devotion to the general good, which characterised the fathers of New England. Some glorious, though inadequate, ideas are excited, indeed, in a generous breast, when the story is first heard of the noble company of pilgrims, who, having lived seven years exiles from their native land, among the Hollanders, but not of them, came in mid-14 winter to the desolate coast of Plymouth, to bury half their number in three months. Well might a colony of half a hundred souls, including women and children, be compacted together by common principles, as by common perils; and we can readily believe, that, in all their acts, they should make reference to the will of the Most High, from whom alone their hourly preservation was expected.
But that politic and accomplished gentlemen, well supplied with means of present enjoyment, and entitled to expect future advancement at home, should have been exalted to a spirit of stern patriotism and equal self denial in founding deeply and broadly the edifice of such an empire, whose whole and true glory was all within their prophetic vision, is a marvel which students of romance alone had ever contemplated. Tantum religio potuit.
Readers of the following homily of Governor Winthrop must, however, naturally have anticipated the success of the Massachusetts settlement, if his principes of action were diffused among his companions, and taught to their descendants
. The name of that man is always sure to bring up to remembrance the virtues of our fathers, which will never find a better representative. That he practised what in this essay is inculcated, the record of his life for nineteen years fully discloses; and the failure of others to fill out the whole character, when they yielded to temptation in returning to their native land, or in emigrating to happier fields and more benignant skies, grieved him, like the ingratitude of a child to his parent. His reflections on the subject, after twelve years of service in the cause, make one of the most striking passages of his History, II. 87, and may appropriately be here introduced :
“For such as come together into a wilderness, where are nothing but wild beasts and beastlike men, and there confederate together in civil and church estate, whereby they do, implicitly at least, bind themselves to support each other, and all of them that Society, whether civil or sacred, whereof they are members,--how they can break from this without free consent, is hard to find, so as may satisfy a tender or good conscience in time of trial. Ask thy conscience, if thou wouldst have plucked up thy stakes, and brought thy family three thousand miles, if thou hadst expected that all, or most, would have forsaken thee there. Ask again, what liberty thou hast towards others, which thou likest not to allow others towards thyself; for if one may go, another may, the greater part, and so church and commonwealth may be left destitute in a wilderness, exposed to misery and reproach, and all for thy ease and pleasure ; whereas these all, being now thy brethren, as near to thee as the Israelites were to Moses, it were much safer for thee, after his example, to choose rather to suffer affliction with thy brethren, than to enlarge thy ease and pleasure by furthering the occasion of their ruin."
ON BOARD THE ARBELLA, ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.
By the Hon. John Winthrop Esqr. In his passage (with a great company of Religious people, of which Christian tribes he was the Brave Leader and famous Governor;) from the Island of Great Brittaine to New-England in the North America. Anno 1630.
A Modell hereof.
pier of a
God Almighty in his most holy and wise providence, hath soe disposed of the condition of mankind, as in all times some must be rich, some poore, some high and eminent in power and dignitie; others mean and in submission.
The Reason hereof. 1 Reas. First to hold conformity with the rest of his world, being delighted to show forth the glory of his wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures, and the glory of his power in ordering all these differences for the preservation and good of the whole ; and the glory of his greatness, that as it is the glory of princes to have many officers, soe this great king will haue many stewards, counting himself more honoured in dispensing his gifts to man by man, than if he did it by his owne immediate
2 Reas. Secondly that he might haue the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in