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Examination Of Puritan Philosophy In William Bradford's "On Plymouth Plantation"

1857 words - 8 pages

The Puritan people first came to the New World to escape the religious persecution that hounded Non-Anglicans in England. They established the Plymouth Colony in 1620, in what is now Massachusetts. The colony was a reflection of the Puritans' beliefs. These beliefs, along with the experience of establishing a colony in 'the middle of nowhere', affected the writings of all who were involved with the colony. In this writing, the Puritan philosophy behind William Bradford's 'Of Plymouth Plantation' will be revealed. Some factors that will be considered include: how Puritan beliefs affect William Bradford's interpretation of events, the representation of Puritan theology in the above mentioned ...view middle of the document...

During this storm, a young man named John Howland was thrown into the sea, and as Bradford tells us, 'it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards which hung overboard and ran out at length'. Howland caught hold of a rope, and 'though he was sundry fathoms under water', he held on until he was hauled up. Bradford reasons that the man was saved because he was blessed by God. He goes on to say that he 'became a profitable member in both church and state, implying that John Howland was one of the so called 'Puritan Saints'. To the Puritans, Saints were people whom God was to save, so these people received God's blessings, and therefore were profitable in Puritan society.In Chapter X (ten) of Bradford's writing, entitled 'Showing How They Sought Out a Place...', Bradford tells us about an Indian attack on his people. Some explorers went out to explore the area around Cape Cod. As they are resting, the Indians attack. 'And withal, their arrows came flying amongst them.' He continues 'Their men ran with all their speed to recover their arms, as by the good province of God they did.' Bradford belief that the Puritans are God's 'chosen' shows in his writing, and affects his narration of the story. After telling us of the attack, he adds, 'Thus it pleased God to vanquish their enemies, and give them deliverance; and by his special providence so to dispose that not any one of them were either hurt or hit, though their arrows came close by them, and on every side [of] them; and sundry of their coats, which hung up in the barricado, were shot through and through.'In nowhere else does Bradford's Puritan beliefs affect his interpretation of events in his writing as much as in Book II, Chapter XIX of 'Of Plymouth Plantation', entitled 'Thomas Morton of Merrymount'. Throughout the chapter, Bradford tells of a Thomas Morton. His disdain for Morton shows throughout the entire section.As the story of goes, there is a plantation in Massachusetts called Mount Wollaston owned and run by a Captain Wollaston. On this plantation were indentured servants. Captain Wollaston sometimes went to Virginia on trips to sell some of his indentured servants. On one particular trip, Wollaston puts a man named Fitcher to be his Lieutenant, and thus govern the Plantation until he returned.But, as Bradford puts it, '..this Morton above said, having more craft than honesty (who had been a kind of pettifogger of Furnival's Inn) in the others' absence watches an opportunity, and got some strong drink and other junkets and made them a feast; and after they were merry, he began to tell them he would give them good counsel.' Morton goes on, 'I advise you to thrust out this Lieutenant Fitcher, and I, having a part in the Plantation, will receive you as my partners and consociates; so may you be free from service, and we will converse, plant, trade, and live together as equals and support and protect one another.' The servants had no problem with Morton's suggestion, and without...

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