William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America


Bradford's Letterbook - 7

Right Honourable, June 28, A.D. 1625. The assurance we have of your noble
dispositions to releave the oppressions of the innocent, cloth cause us to fly
unto you, as to a sanctuary, in this our just cause. It hath pleased the divine
Providence to bring us into this place where we inhabit under your government,
wherein we now have resided almost these five years, having put some life, into
this then dreaded, design, made way for others and to all that are here, have
been and still are their bulwark and defence.

Many necessities we have undergone, incident to the raw, and immature beginnings
of such great exertions, and yet are subject to many more. We are many people,
consisting of all sorts, as well women children, as men; and are now left, and
forsaken of our adventurers, who will neither supply us with necessaries for our
subsistence, nor suffer others that would be willing; neither can we be at
liberty to deal with others, or provide for ourselves, but they keep us tied to
them, and yet they will be loose from us; they have not only cast us off, but
entered into particular course of trading, and have by violence, and force,
taken at their pleasure, our possession at Cape Ann. Traducing us with unjust,
and dishonest clammours abroad, disturbing our peace at home; and some of them
threatening, that if ever we grow to any good estate they will then nip us in
the head. Which discouragements do cause us to slack our diligence, and care to
build and plant, and cheerfully perform our other employments, not knowing for
whom we work whether friends or enemies.

Our humble suit therefore to your good lordships and honours is, that seeing
they have so unjustly forsaken us, that you would vouchsafe to convene them
before you, and take such order, as we may be free from them; and they come to a
division with us, that we and ours may be delivered from their evil intents
against us. So shall we comfortably go forward, with the work we have in hand,
as first to God's glory, and the honour of our king; so to the good satisfaction
of your honours, and for our present, common, and after good of our posterity.
The prosecution of this, we have committed to our agent Captain Myles Standish,
who attends your Honourable pleasures.

The great God of heaven and earth, who hath put into your hearts, to travail in
this honourable action, strengthen your hearts and hands hereunto; and gave his
blessing answerable to your worthy endeavours. In all humbleness we commit
ourselves to your honourable direction and protection. And rest with the
knowledge, consent and humble request of the whole plantation ever at


[BRADFORD'S NOTE:] But by reason of the great plague which raged this year in
London, of which so many thousands died weekly, Captain Standish could do
nothing either with the Council of New England, or any other hereabout, for
there was no Courts kept or scarce any commerce held, the city being in a sort
desolate, by the fervent pestilence, and flight of so many. So as he was forced
to return; having by the help of some friends (with much ado, and great both
trouble and peril to himself) procured a convenient supply; which he brought
with him to save our greatest necessities.]


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