brightest lightnings are kindled in the darkest clouds,
the general distress did but augment the piety and confirm the fortitude of the colonists.
Their earnestness was softened by the mildest sympathy; while trust in Providence
kept guard against weakness and despair.
Not a trace of repining appears in their records; the congregations always assembled at the stated times, whether in the open fields or under the shade of an ancient oak; in the midst of want they abounded in hope; in the solitudes of the wilderness they believed themselves watched over by an Omnipresent Father.
Honor is due not less to those who perished than to those who survived: to the martyrs the hour of death was an hour of triumph; such as is never witnessed in more tranquil seasons.
For that placid resignation, which diffuses grace round the bed of sickness, and makes death too serene for sorrow and too beautiful for fear, no one was more remarkable than the daughter of Thomas Sharpe
, whose youth, and sex, and unequalled virtues, won the eulogies of the austere Dudley
Even children caught the spirit of the place; awaited the impending change in the tranquil confidence of faith, and went to the grave full of immortality.
The survivors bore all things meekly, ‘remembering the end of their coming hither.’
‘We here enjoy God and Jesus Christ
,’ wrote Winthrop
to his wife, whom pregnancy had detained in England
, ‘and is not this enough?
I thank God I like so well to be here, as I do not repent my coming.
I would not have altered my course, though I had foreseen all these afflictions.
I never had more content of mind.’
Such were the scenes in the infant settlements of Massachusetts
. The supply of bread was nearly exhausted, when on the fifth of February, after a long