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[351] persecutions might lead their posterity to abjure the
Chap. IX.} 1629.
truth. The certain misery of their wives and children was the most gloomy of their forebodings; but a stern sense of duty hushed the alarms of affection, and set aside all consideration of physical evils as the fears of too carnal minds. Respect for the rights of the natives offered an impediment more easily removed; much of their land had been desolated by the plague, and their good leave might be purchased. The ill success of other plantations could not chill the rising enthusiasm; former enterprises had aimed at profit; the present object was purity of religion; the earlier settlements had been filled with a lawless multitude; it was now proposed to form a ‘peculiar government,’ and to colonize ‘the best.’ Such were the ‘Conclusions’ which were privately circulated among the Puritans of England.

At a general court, held on the twenty-eighth of July, 1629, Matthew Cradock, governor of the company, who had engaged himself beyond all expectation in the business, following out what seems to have been the early design, proposed ‘the transfer of the government of the plantation to those that should inhabit there.’ At the offer of freedom from subordination to the company in England, several ‘persons of worth and quality,’ wealthy commoners, zealous Puritans, were confirmed in the desire of founding a new and a better commonwealth beyond the Atlantic, even though it might require the sale of their hereditary estates, and hazard the inheritance of their children. To his father, who was the most earnest of them all, the younger Winthrop, then about four and twenty, wrote cheeringly: ‘I shall call that my country where I may most glorify God, and enjoy the ’

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