“Our fathers were Englishmen…”

There was no established ‘Thanksgiving Day’ when the first Puritans colonists came here in 1620 — after many hardships, as alluded to below, but the ‘Pilgrims’, as these first Puritan settlers came to be called — realized that they had much to be thankful for, despite the bleakness of their situation in 1620. They succeeded in founding a lasting colony, as our presence here shows, but it might have turned out much differently. Below is an excerpt from William Bradford’s account of the beginning of what became ‘Plimoth Plantation:

“Being thus arrived in a good harbour, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element. And no marvel if they were thus joyful, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on the coast of his own Italy, as he affirmed, that he had rather remain twenty years on his way by land than pass by sea to any place in a short time, so tedious and dreadful was the same unto him.

But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people’s present condition; and so I think will the reader, too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembered by that which went before), they had now no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies; no houses or much less town to repair to, to seek for succour. It is recorded in Scripture as a mercy to the Apostle and his shipwrecked company, that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them (as after will appear) were readier to fill their sides full of arrows than otherwise. And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent, and subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, fall of wild beasts and wild men — and what multitudes there might be of them they knew not. Neither could they, as it were, go up to the top of Pisgah to view from this wilderness a more goodly country to feed their hopes; for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to the heavens) they could have little solace or content in respect of any outward objects. For summer being done, all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hue. If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. If it be said they had a ship to succour them, it is true; but what heard they daily from the master and company? But that with speed they should look out a place (with their shallop) where they would be, at some near distance; for the season was such as he would not stir from thence till a safe harbor was discovered by them, where they would be, and he might go without danger; and that victuals consumed apace but he must and would keep sufficient for themselves and their return. Yea, it was muttered by some that if they got not a place in time, they would turn them and their goods ashore and leave them. Let it also be considered what weak hopes of supply and succour they left behind them, that might bear up their minds in this sad condition and trials they were under; and they could not but be very small. It is true, indeed, the affections and love of their brethren at Leyden was cordial and entire towards them, but they had little power to help them or themselves; and how the case stood between them and the merchants at their coming away hath already been declared.

What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity,” etc. “Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and His mercies endure forever.” “Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men.”

Quoted from ‘OF THEIR VOYAGE, AND HOW THEY PASSED THE SEA; AND OF THEIR SAFE ARRIVAL AT CAPE COD – – Chapter IX of William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation

13 thoughts on ““Our fathers were Englishmen…”

    1. I feel the same; it’s hard to imagine what they must have had to endure. It took so much determination, dedication, and grit. Sometimes when I feel I ”can’t” do something I think about our forebears and think, if they could do what they did, I should be able to handle the difficulties I come up against.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Exactly, I suffer pretty bad depression, but dear Lord, imagine being in their shoes? I heard a song by Shirley Collins, called Sweet England and it’s about a young woman, who is overwhelmed by home-sickness, and how her family had got on, in America, really proud of these people.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. The mother country sent convicts to the Great South Land, and they too built civilization where there had been none. Australia’s native inhabitants had opted to take the previous 10,000 years off. They hadn’t managed to construct so much as a crude dam.

      The first settlers, despite their criminal histories, which, in most cases, entailed a single instance of minor theft, were a rugged, industrious lot who endured harsh weather and life-threatening sickness to make a great country out of a parched island continent.

      How did they do it?

      They had civilization-building genetics, but more importantly, God’s law written on their hearts, which, for the most part, they obeyed. Plus the majority of the country’s white leaders at the time were devout Christian men who ensured that the Ten Commandments were the foundation of Australian law. This adherence to God’s Word resulted in His blessing the country according to the promises set down in the early verses of Deuteronomy 28.

      But now the curses of that chapter are in effect here, as they are in the US, because of our people’s disobedience.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Oh yes, corporal punishment — the ‘belt’ was not unknown when I was growing up, and the wooden paddle at school for misbehaving youngsters. I don’t see that it did any harm and may have done good in many cases. It wasn’t excessive or cruel contrary to what some people think.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Merry Christmas Artwork

      The more people are forced to conform to values they detest over the long term leads to fake people.
      When there are so many the values become subverted. We really have to focus on developing the genuine people.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Fate can be cruel.
    I think in many ways our situation is worse than theirs. We have become so subverted.
    Who can trust their neighbors when it really counts these days.

    I am unsure about the religious justification of “Thanksgivings”.
    The Puritans had a tendency to glamorize wretchedness sometimes.

    Good day all

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, depression is hard. I suppose the colonists in New England had plenty of reason to feel disheartened: arriving in this wilderness with no place to lay their heads, and the harsh New England winter coming on, etc. Cold, hunger, thirst, then illnesses, etc,
    Speaking of the colonists, some of my ancestors of the Kimball family (Richard Kimball) apparently had the tendency to depression, or so some of the present-day members of the Kimball Family association said; they refer to it as the “Kimball Blues.” it does seem to run in families, a hereditary thing. Really though everybody must have low moods at times, but sometimes it does make life very hard.


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