From Of Plimouth Plantation (1630-1650), From BOOK TWO, CHAPTER 23 (1632 – Prosperity Leads to Weakness)



… [Y]e people of ye plantation begane to grow in their owtward estats, by reason of ye flowing of many people into ye cuntrie, espetially into ye Bay of ye Massachusets; by which means corne & catle rose to a great prise, by wch many were much inriched, and comodities grue plentifull; and, yet in other regards this benefite turned to their hurte, and this accession of strength to their weaknes.  For now as their stocks increased, and ye increse vendible, ther was no longer any holding them togeather, but now they must of necessitie goe to their great lots; they could not other wise keep their katle; and having oxen growne, they must have land for

plowing & tillage.  And no man now thought he could live, except he had catle and a great deale of ground to keep them; all striving to increase their stocks. By which means they were scatered all over ye bay, quickly, and ye towne, in which they lived compactly till now, was left very thine, and in a short time allmost desolate.  And if this had been all, it had been less, thoug to much; but ye church must also be devided, and those yt had lived so long togeather in Christian & comfortable fellowship must now part and suffer many divissions.  First, those that lived on their

lots on ye other side of ye bay (called Duxberie) they could not long bring their wives & children to ye publick worship & church meetings here, but with such burthen, as, growing to some competente number, they sued to be dismissed and become a body of them selves; and so they were dismiste (about this time), though very unwillingly.  But to touch this sadd matter, and handle things together that fell out afterward.  To prevent any further scatering from this place, and weakning of ye same, it was thought best to give out some good farms to spetiall persons, yt would promise to live at Plimoth, and lickly to be helpfull to ye church or comonewelth, and so tye ye lands to Plimoth as farmes for the same; and ther they might keepe their catle & tillage by some servants, and retaine their dwellings here.  And so some spetiall lands were granted at a place generall, called Greens Harbor, wher no al1otments had been in ye former divission, a  plase very weell meadowed, and fitt to keep & rear catle, good store.  But alass! this remedy proved worse then ye disease; for wthin a few years those that had thus gott footing ther rente them selves away, partly by force, and partly wearing ye rest with importunitie and pleas of necessitie, so as they must either suffer them to goe, or live in continuall opposition and contention.  And others still, as yey conceived them selves straitened, or to want accomodation, break away under one pretence or other, thinking their owne conceived necessitie, and the example of others, a warrente sufficente for them.  And this, I fear, will be ye ruine of New-England, at least of ye churches of God ther, & will provock ye Lords displeasure against them.


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