William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America


Bradford's Letterbook - 10


Kind salutations, &c. I have thought good to write to you, concerning the cause
as it standeth both with you and us; we see, alas I what frustrations and
disappointments it pleaseth the Lord to send in this our course, good in itself
and according to godliness taken in hand and for good and lawful ends, who yet
pleaseth not to prosper us we see, for reasons best known to himself: And which
also nearly concerns us to consider of, whether we have sought the Lord in it,
as we ought' or not; that the Lord hath singularly preserved life in the
business to great admiration, giveth me good hope that he will (if our sins
hinder not) in his appointed time, give a happy end unto it. On the contrary
when I consider how it pleaseth the Lord to cross those means that should bring
us together, being now as far off or farther than ever, in our apprehension; as
also to take that means away, which would have been so comfortable unto us in
that course, both for wisdom of council as also for our singular help in our
course of godliness, whom the Lord (as it were) took away even as fruit falleth
before it was ripe, (he means Mr. Robinson) when neither length of days, nor
infirmity of body, did seem to call for his end. The Lord even then took him
away, as it were in his anger, whom if tears would have held, he had remained to
this day. The loss of his ministry was very great unto me, for I ever counted
myself happy in the enjoyment of it, notwithstanding all the crosses and losses
otherwise I sustained. Yet indeed the manner of his taking away hath more
troubled me, as fearing the Lord's anger in it, that, as I said, in the ordinary
course of things might still have remained, as also, the singular service he
might have yet done in the church of God. Alas, dear friends, our state and
cause in religion I by his death being wholly destitute of any that may defend
our cause as it should against our adversaries. That we may take up that doleful
complaint in the Psalm, that there is no prophet left among us, nor any that
knoweth how long.

Alas I you would fain have had him with you, and he would as fain have come to
you; many letters and much speech hath been about his coming to you, but never
any solid course propounded for his going; if the course propounded the last
year had appeared to have been certain, he would have gone though with two or
three families. I know no man amongst us knew his mind better than I did, about
those things; he was loath to leave the church, yet I know also, that he would
have accepted the worst conditions which in the largest extent of a good
conscience could be taken, to have come to you. For myself and all such others
as have formerly minded coming, it is much what the same, if the Lord afford
means. We only know how things are with you by your letters, but how things
stand in England we have received no letters of any thing, and it was November
before we received yours. If we come at all unto you, the means to enable us so
to do must come from you. For the state of our church, and how it is with us and
of our people, it is wrote of by Mr. White. Thus praying you to pardon my
boldness with you in writing as I do, I commend you to the keeping of the Lord,
desiring, if he see it good, and that I might be serviceable unto the business,
that I were with you. God hath taken away my son, that was with me in the ship,
when I went back again; I have only two children which were born since I left
you: Fare you well.

Yours to his power,

Leyden, December 15, Anno 1625.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas