This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 They are, therefore, a necessary part of the history of the times. Moreover, the Puritans, ministers and godly laymen alike, wrote a solid and connected kind of history, and they wrote enough of it to furnish a good picture of the times. Two minor authors introduce the early group of New England historians. The real name of the first is not known, but his book is called, from its publisher, “Mourt's” Relation, a description of affairs at Plymouth from its settlement until the date of publication, 1622. The other book, which appeared in 1624 with the title Good news from New England, was by Edward Winslow, one of the leading colonists. They are both short accounts of the daily doings of the men who planted the first permanent New England colony; and they are comparable in style and scope to Smith's True relation, and to any of the other early narrations of Virginia or Maryland. They were written to inform friends in England of the progress of the Pilgrim settlements. After “Mourt” and Winslow we come to two historians whose excellence entitles them to first rank among the earliest writers of their kind. They wrote quite as much as Captain John Smith, and their writings are more to be esteemed. No one has cast doubts on the accuracy of William Bradford, of Plymouth, or of John Winthrop, of Massachusetts Bay. While not historical compositions as such, their books are, in vivid and sustained human interest, as well as in the power of depicting the conditions of the first settlements, a most adequate and successful kind of history. Each is a journal written by a man who stood at the head of affairs, whose life was so important in his day that we have in it a reflection of the progress of the important things of the colony in which he lived. William Bradford was one of the Mayflower passengers whose sober judgment and integrity had won for him the confidence of the Pilgrims ere they sailed for America. In 1621 he was chosen governor, and he held the office by annual re-election until his death in 1657, except for five years when, as Winthrop said, “by importunity he gat off.” He believed it his duty to write about what he had seen and known of the trial and success of the men who, under divine guidance, had made Plymouth a fact. He began to write about 1630 and proceeded at so leisurely a gait that in 1646 he had only reached
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.