Settlement in New England

SOURCE: John Winthrop, "Reasons to be considered for iustifieing the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England, & for incouraging such whose bartes God shall move to ioyne with them in it," in Robert C. Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop (Boston: Treknor and Fields, 1864), 1, 309-10.

1. IT will be a service to the Church of great consequence to carry the Gospell into those parts, of the world, to helpe on the comming of the fullnesse of the Gentiles, and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of AnteChrist which the jesuites labour to reare up in those parts.

2. All other churches of Europe are brought to desolation, and our sins, for which the Lord begins already to frown upon us and to cut us short, do threaten evil times to be coming upon us, and wbo knows, but that God hath provided this place to be a refuge for many whom he means to save out of the generall calamity, and seeing the Church hath no place left to fly into but the wilderness, what better work can there be, then to go and provide tabernacles and food for her against she comes thether:

3. This, Land grows weary of her Inhabitants, so as man, who is the most pretious of all creatures, is here more vile and base then the earth we tread upon, and of less prize among us then an horse or a sheep; masters are forced by authority to entertain servants, parents to maintain there own ebildren, all towns complain of the burden of theire poor, though we have takn up many unnessary, yea unlawfull, trades to maintain them, and we use the authority of the Law to hinder the increase of our people, as by urging the Statute against Cottages, and inmates, and thus it is come to pass, that children, servants and neighbores, especially if they be poor, are counted the greatest burdens, which if things were right would be the cheifest earthly blessings.

4. The whole earth is the Lord's garden and He hath given it to the Sons of men with a general Comission: Gen. 1:28: increase and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it, which was again renewed to Noah: the end is double and natural, that man might enjoy the fruits of the earth, and God might have his due glory from the creature. Why then should we stand striving here for places of habitation, etc, (many men spending as much labor and cost to recover or keep sometimes an acre or two of Land, as would procure them many and as good or better in another country) and in the meantime suffer a whole continent as fruitful and convenient for the use of man to lie waste without any improvement?

5. We are grown to that height of intemperance in all excess of Riott, as no mans estate almost will suffice to keep sail with his equals: and he who fails herein, must live in scorn and contempt. Hence it comes that all arts and trades are carried in that deceitfull and unrighteous course, as it is almost impossible for a good and upright man to maintain his charge and live comfortably in any of them.

7. What can be a better work, and more honorable and worthy a Christian than to help raise and supporte a particular Church while it is in the Infancy, and to join his forces with such a company of faithful people, as by a timely assistance may grow strong and prosper, and for want of it may be put to great hazard, if not wholly ruined . . . ?