This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 the year 1621. Four years later his account had come to the year 1646, but here his efforts ceased. His work is known as The history of Plymouth plantation. Neither Bradford nor his immediate successors made an effort to publish the history. They seem to have considered it a document to be kept for the use of future historians. It was, in fact, freely used for this purpose by his nephew, Nathaniel Morton, in a book called New England's memorial, published in 1669. It remained in the hands of the family of the author for a hundred years and finally came into the possession of the Rev. Thomas Prince, who used it in writing his Chronological history, published in 1736. Hutchinson also used it in preparing his History. When Prince died he left the manuscript, with many other valuable writings, in the tower of the Old South Church, in Boston. During the Revolution the British troops used this church for a riding school, and Prince's carefully collected library was dispersed. The British gone, such books as could be found were gathered together, but no trace of Bradford's manuscript was discovered. It was long believed to be lost, but it found its way to London, where it came at last to the library of the Bishop of London, and for many years lay unnoticed at Fulham Palace. In 1844 Wilberforce published a book on the Protestant Church in America, in which he referred to the manuscript. Four years later appeared Anderson's History of the colonial Church, an English work, and in it also was a reference to the manuscript. Seven years later two gentlemen of Boston came across the reference in Anderson's book. An investigation was made, and the identity of the Fulham manuscript with Bradford's was completely established. The Bishop of London held that only an act of Parliament could restore it to the place whence it had been taken. He made, however, no objection to a request that the Massachusetts Historical Society be allowed to publish the manuscript, and in 1856 that society gave the world the first complete publication of Bradford's book. It was enriched with annotations by the learned Charles Deane. In 1867 another request was made that the bishop should surrender the manuscript, but the reply was the same as in the first instance. In 1896 the then Bishop of London relented, and Bradford's manuscript was given up without an act
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.