William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plan

William Bradford's "Of Plymouth Plantation" This paper uses Bradford's work to explore Puritan philosophy. The study includes how Puritan beliefs affect Bradford's interpretation of events, the representation of Puritan theology in the above mentioned text, and how Puritanism forms the basis for Br 2012, 1740 words, 0 source(s). More Free Term Papers: William Christopher Handy A paper discussing the life and works of William Christopher Handy, African-American composer and compiler of Blues music. William E. B. Du Bois A discussion of William E. B. Du Bois, a black editor, historian, sociologist, and a leader of the civil rights movement in the United States. William Faulkner A paper which explores the life and works of American writer William Faulkner. Term Papers on "William Bradford's "Of Plymouth Plantation" Examination of Puritan Philosophy in Bradford's "On Plymouth Plantation" 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 text, and how Puritanism forms the basis for Bradford's motivation in writing. In Bradford's text, there are numerous instances in which his beliefs affect his interpretation of what happens.

In Chapter IX (nine) of "Of Plymouth Plantation", entitled "Of Their Voyage..." , he tells of a sailor "..of a lusty, able body.." who "would always be condemning the poor people in their sickness and cursing them daily....he didn't let to tell them that he hoped to help cast half of them overboard before they came to their journey's end".

But, "it pleased God before they came half-seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was thrown overboard". Bradford believes that the sailor died because God was punishing him. According to Bradford, the sailor's cursing, and mistreatment of the other passengers displeased God, so God punished him accordingly. In the same chapter, Bradford tells of another ship passenger named John Howland. At one point in the trip, the Mayflower came upon a violent storm.

The winds of the storm were so fierce, and the seas were so high, that all the sailors and passengers had to "hull for divers days together". 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 question, "thrust Lieutenant Fitcher out o' doors....

" Bradford continues the story, furthering his assault on Thomas Morton's character. He continues, "After this, they fell into great licentiousness, and led a dissolute life, pouring out themselves into all profaneness. And Morton became the Lord of Misrule, and maintained a School of Atheism." Morton and his fellows also resorted to trading with Indians, and as Bradford puts it, "(They) got much...they spent it as vainly in quaffing and drinking, both wine and strong waters in great excess...." They also "set up a maypole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, inviting Indian women for consorts, dancing and frisking together like so many fairies, or furies, rather; and worse practices." Later, Bradford tells us that Morton "to show his poetry, composed sundry rhymes and verses, some tending to lasciviousness, and others to the distraction and scandal of some persons, which he affixed to this idle, or idol maypole.

" The fact that Bradford sees Morton as the antithesis of all of his Puritan beliefs lead him to partially misappropriate at least some of his representation of Thomas Morton's character. He represents Morton as dishonest, and crafty. According to Bradford, Morton got all of the servants drunk, then while they were inebriated, preceded to convince them to throw out Lieutenant Fitcher, and take over the plantation. It is highly doubtful that Morton had to drug the servants to convince them to take over the plantation, as the servants probably didn't want to be sold in Virginia. Bradford also implies Morton is a pagan. He calls Morton "the Lord of Misrule", and said Morton maintained a "School of Atheism". He views Morton as worshipping the maypole, as Morton and his fellows danced around it endlessly, and posted poetry to it.

To Bradford, the drunken, hedonistic lifestyle that Morton maintained stood against everything the hard-working Puritans believed in. Some of Morton's "crimes" that Bradford told about in his story directly affected Bradford, which could've resulted in some of his prejudice towards Morton. For one, Morton was taking away some of the Puritan workforce, by housing indentured servants at his plantation. Also, Morton's relationship with the Indians most definitely bothered Bradford. Morton traded with them, and later sold muskets to them, even showing the "natives" how to use the muskets.

Morton was also "guilty" of consorting with Indian women. Throughout the whole section, Bradford's Puritan Beliefs at least partially altered his representation of actual events. Representation of Puritan theology is also heavily prevalent in Bradford's "Of Plymouth Plantation". Included in Bradford's writing are numerous Bible quotes, and praises to God for anything going right during the Puritans voyage. In the chapter called "On Their Voyage...", Bradford tells of the condition of their ship.

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