Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
37
ANNE BRADSTREET.

one. That the Virginian colonies had suffered incredibly they knew, but it had no power to dissuade them. "We are well weaned," John Robinson wrote, "from the delicate milk of the mother-country, and inured to the difficulties of a strange land; the people are industrious and frugal. We are knit together as a body in a most sacred covenant of the Lord, of the violation whereof we make great conscience, and by virtue whereof, we hold ourselves strictly tied to all care of each other s good and of the whole. It is not with us, as with men whom small things can discourage."

By 1629, the worst difficulties had been overcome, and the struggle for mere existence had ended. The little colony, made up chiefly of hard working men, had passed through every phase of suffering. Sickness and famine had done their worst. The settlers were thoroughly acclimated, and as they prospered, more and more the eyes of Puritan England turned toward them, with a longing for the same freedom. Laud's hand was heavy and growing heavier, and as privileges lessened, and one after another found fine, or pillory, or banishment awaiting every expression of thought, the eagerness grew and intensified. As yet there had been no separation from the Mother Church. It had simply "divided into two great parties, the Prelatical or Hierarchical, headed by Laud, and the Nonconformist or Puritan." For the latter, Calvin had become the sole authority, and even as early as 1603, their preachers made up more than a ninth of the clergy. The points of disagreement increased steadily, each fresh severity from the Prelatical party being met by determined resistance, and