William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

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Bradford's Letterbook - 4


SIR, December 22, 1624.

My hearty love remembered unto you, and unto your wife, with trust of your
healths, and contentment amidst so many difficulties. I am now to write unto
you, from my friend, and from myself, my friend and your friend. Mr. Sherley,
who lieth even at the point of death, intreated me, even with tears, to write to
excuse him, and signify how it was with him; he remembers his hearty, and as he
thinks his last, salutations to you, and all the rest, who love our common
cause. And if God does again raise him up, he will be more for you (I am
persuaded) than ever he was. His unfeigned love towards us, hath been such, as I
cannot indeed express; and though he be a man not swayed with passion, or led by
uninformed affections, yet hath he cloven to us still amidst all persuasions of
opposites; and could not be moved to have an evil thought of us, for all their
clamours. His patience and contentment in being oppressed hath been much; he
hath sometimes lent 800 at one time, for other men to adventure in this
business, all to draw them on; and hath indeed by his free heartedness been the
only glue of the company And if God should take him now away, I scarce think
much more would be done, save as to enquire at the dividend what is to be had.
He saith he hath received the tokens you sent, and thanks you for them: he hath
sent you a cheese, &c. Also he hath sent an heifer to the plantation, to begin a
stock for the poor. There is also a bull and three or four jades, to be sold
unto you, with many other things, for apparel and other uses; which are
committed to Mr. Alerton and Mr. Winslow, who as factors are to sell them to
you; and it was fitter for many reasons, to make them factors than yourself, as
I hope you will easily conceive.

And I hope though the first project cease, yet it shall be never the worse for
you, neither will any man be discouraged, but wait on God, using the good means
you can. I have no time to write many things unto you; I doubt not but upon the
hearing of this alteration some discontent may arise, but the Lord I hope will
teach you the way which you shall choose. For myself as I have laboured by all
means, to hold things here together, so I have patiently suffered this
alteration; and do yet hope it shall be good for you all, if you be not too
rash, and hasty; which if any be, let them take heed they reap not the fruit of
their own vanities. But for you, good Sir, I hope you will do nothing rashly,
neither will you be swayed, by misreports, beside your ordinary course, but will
persuade who may be, to patience, and peace.; and to the bearing of labours, and
crosses in love together.

I hope the failings of your friends here, will make you the more friendly one to
another, that so all our hopes may not be dashed. Labour to settle things, both
in your civil, and religious courses, as firm, and as full as you can. Lastly, I
must intreat you still, to have a care of my son, as of your own; and I shall
rest bound unto you, I pray you let him sometime practice writing. I hope the
next ships to come to you; in the mean space and ever, the Lord be all your
direction, and turn all our crosses and troubles to his own glory, and our
comforts, and give you to walk so wisely, and holily, as none may justly say,
but they have always found you honestly minded, though never so poor. Salute all
our friends, and supply, I pray you, what, if failing in my letters.

From London, December 22, A.D. 1624.

[BRADFORD: Thus were his last letters. And now we lost the help of a wise and
faithful friend, he wrote of the sickness, and probability of the death of
another; but knew not that his own was so near, what cause have we therefore
ever to be ready! He purposed to be with us the next ships, but the Lord did
otherwise dispose; and had appointed him a greater journey, to a better place.
He was now taken from these troubles intowhich (by this division) we were so
deeply plunged. And here I must leave him to rest with the Lord. And will
proceed to other letters which will further shew our proceedings and how things
went on.]

 

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