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Of Plimoth Plantation, Librivox audio book
PGA Weblog ^ | 11/25/23

Posted on 11/25/2023 8:04:22 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica

I hope that everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving this week. My plan for this week had been to go ahead and begin a new collaborative audiobook about Governor William Bradford's chronicle of the early years at Plymouth Plantation. But little did I know, it's been complete since 2010! It just had a different name because someone "translated" it into a more common vernacular. There really are already some great works at Librivox to help contribute to a more educated populace. This work is a solo work, and it's fantastically read. This would be well worth paying for, but the fact that it is free is even better.

Why is this book important? There are many reasons, but one stands out.

Nearly a dozen years ago, I wrote about how the early Pilgrims attempted an experiment into progressivism and a scheme of land and wealth redistribution. Progressives share this similarity with communists and socialists, in that they do not confirm that what you earn is yours. They think government should have a say and dispensate as needed. Needless to say, this experiement among the Pilgrims failed miserably, bred a ton of confusion and discontent, and cost many people their lives. This book is a large chronicle, and it is worth consuming for any true American. However, for the purposes of this highlight let's take a moment to focus. In this audiobook, the section dealing with the failed redistributionist policies appear in the audio file pertaining to book 2 chapter 4, and start around 7:20 of the audio.

Now, knowing that this has been completed I'm going to go and fulfill a different promise I made some time ago and start an audio book project about Patrick Henry.

TOPICS: Education; History
KEYWORDS: freeperbookclub; history; pages; plymouth
Here is the excerpt from the written text: (page 116)

"The failure of this experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times, — that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For in this instance, community of property (so far as it went) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort. For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men's wives and children, without any recompense. The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This w^as thought injustice. The aged and graver men, who were ranked and equalized in labour, food, clothes, etc., with the humbler and younger ones, thought it some indignity and disrespect to them. As for men's wives who were obliged to do service for other men, such as cooking, washing their clothes, etc., they considered it a kind of slavery, and many husbands would not brook it. This feature of it would have been worse still, if they had been men of an inferior class. If (it was thought) all were to share alike, and all were to do alike, then all were on an equality throughout, and one was as good as another; and so, if it did not actually abolish those very relations which God himself has set among men, it did at least greatly diminish the mutual respect that is so important should be preserved amongst them. Let none argue that this is due to human failing, rather than to this communistic plan of life in itself. I answer, seeing that all men have this failing in them, that God in His wisdom saw that another plan of life was fitter for them."

1 posted on 11/25/2023 8:04:22 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica
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To: ProgressingAmerica

Rush Limbaugh told this story quite well

2 posted on 11/25/2023 8:17:48 AM PST by silverleaf (“Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out” —David Horowitz)
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To: silverleaf

He did! I really miss Rush.

3 posted on 11/25/2023 8:19:10 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (The historians must be stopped. They're destroying everything.)
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To: ebshumidors; nicollo; Kalam; IYAS9YAS; laplata; mvonfr; Southside_Chicago_Republican; celmak; ...


4 posted on 11/25/2023 8:23:27 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (The historians must be stopped. They're destroying everything.)
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To: ProgressingAmerica
Thanks and I'll assert what our Pilgrim forefathers understood, that the only kind of progress or greatness that matters is progress and greatfulness in glorifying our Providential God!

1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

5 posted on 11/25/2023 2:10:29 PM PST by Theophilus (It's far easier to rig a jury than an election)
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To: ProgressingAmerica

Stephen Hopkins/Jamestown and Mayflower 1581-1644
Stephen Hopkins was my 9th great-grandfather!

From the moment Stephen Hopkins first set foot in Plymouth, this has been—in some ineluctable if infinitesimal way—my country. The first of my ancestors arrived in my hometown four full centuries ago. Even in Europe, how many people can say the same today? A century and a half after their arrival my ancestors fought the forces of Parliament to defend their rights as Englishmen; another century later they fought to preserve the independent Union they had established when their countrymen turned arms on them. For better or worse, this—not Hungary, not Poland, not the resurrected Papal States—is the country my forefathers built. This is what tradition means; this is what has been handed down to me.

For the first decade of the 17th century, the twenty-something Stephen Hopkins was a barman in England, the proprietor of a little tavern kept with his wife Mary (née Kent) and Mary’s mother Joan. Sometime early in 1609, the restless 28-year-old took a new job as a minister’s clerk adjacent to the Virginia Company, and in June left the women in charge of the pub to set sail aboard the Sea Venture for the young settlement of Jamestown.

In a five-day storm at the end of July, nearly two months into the transatlantic voyage, the Sea Venture came just short of sinking before she ran aground a mile offshore of the haven of Bermuda. Her passengers made their way to the island, where Sir Thomas Gates—who was on his way to assume the governorship of Jamestown—established a kind of provisional authority. By September, the Sea Venture‘s longboat had been readied to carry a small crew to the mainland; eight men set sail and never returned. When the rescue mission’s failure became evident, Gates ordered the construction of ships to carry the entire body to Virginia.

It was slow work, starting as they were nearly from scratch (albeit with abundant natural resources). Hopkins’ patience had worn thin by the new year, and he began to speak out against Gates’ island regime. He was quickly charged with mutiny and sentenced to execution. The dissident had made some friends, though, in Bermuda, and a few entreaties to the governor found the minister’s clerk spared death.

(It is alleged, by those who believe in that sort of thing, that a man named William Shakespeare read an account of the Sea Venture ordeal and was inspired to write The Tempest, a subplot of which sees a drunken jester named Stefano stage an abortive mutiny after shipwrecking on an island.)

The boats were finished in the spring and Gates’ cohort, Hopkins included, made the 11-day journey to Virginia in May, nearly a full year after their departure. There the striver Hopkins set to work, a portion of his wages supporting Mary and the children back in England. For more than three years he labored in the near-wilderness of Jamestown—which, upon the Gates group’s providential arrival, had been teetering on the brink of starvation. A letter informing of Mary’s death called Hopkins back to the Old World in 1614, where he resumed the care of his children and married again, to one Elizabeth Fisher.

The London life, it seems, did not suit his constitution. In 1620, the Hopkins family learned of another expedition to Virginia, this one to set up a new colony in the region’s northern reaches. Stephen and Elizabeth took Constance (14), Giles (13), and Damaris (2) aboard a little ship setting sail from Plymouth, near the southwestern tip of England. It was a hard journey; Oceanus Hopkins was born en route but would only live to six years old.

In November the sea-weary pilgrims caught sight of land at last, but it would be another month before they disembarked. After difficult weeks spent scouting along the coast, the passengers of the Mayflower finally stepped down onto what had been, a few years prior, the Wampanoag village of Patuxet. They renamed it in honor of the port where their journey began.

That winter of 1620-1621 would be harder than anything Hopkins had yet faced; but shipwreck, a near miss with the executioner, four years of colonial labor, the loss of his beloved wife, and every other brutality of the Old World and the New had prepared him well for what was to come. All through winter, the women and children stayed aboard ship at anchor in Plymouth Harbor. In the morning, Stephen and the other men would crowd into the longboats, row ashore, and work through the still-frigid sunlight hours at the construction of modest houses. Forty-five of the Mayflower’s 102 passengers were dead by winter’s end.

But the houses were built eventually, and the survivors set to farming once the ground had thawed in spring. They did so with the help of natives who had worked the land for generations, including men enshrined in our national myths like the translator Squanto, the sagamore Samoset, and the sachem Massassoit. In fact, it was through Hopkins that many of these relationships were built. The only man at Plymouth with past experience in America, he was thus the only one with any firsthand knowledge of its peoples. He learned their language quickly, and became a crucial conduit between the Wampanoag and Pilgrim leaders. It was at Hopkins’ newly built Plymouth house that the first official summit between the Old World colonists and their New World allies was convened.

It is a more festive convention, though, that we commemorate today. In the fall the Pilgrims, with native aid, saw a modestly fruitful first harvest. Elizabeth Hopkins and the three other women who survived the brutal winter—Mary Brewster, Susannah White, and Eleanor Billington—prepared a feast in celebration. Beer was the Pilgrims’ staple drink, and as the day grew long and the men grew boisterous, muskets were fired into the air as an odd but explosive signal of their joy.

This attracted the attention of the natives. Fearing an attack from the newcomers—whose intentions they had not yet figured out—Wampanoag men hastened to Plymouth ready for a fight. What they found was quite the opposite: The (slightly drunken) Pilgrims welcomed them with open arms. Too proud to come to the party empty-handed, the Wampanoag men went out to the woods, killed five deer, and presented them to Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish. The simple harvest meal then turned into a three day feast, at which Wampanoag outnumbered Pilgrims by more than two to one.

My 9th great gr

Given late attempts to revise this history, the most remarkable thing about the first Thanksgiving may be just how close the truth is to the storybook version that was taught to us growing up. A year of terror and ruin was coming to a close. The Pilgrims’ fortunes were finally turning after their numbers had been cut in half by weather and disease. A tenuous alliance with a foreign people was solidified in a happy and spontaneous international celebration. Stephen Hopkins really did break bread his wife had baked with men whose language he barely knew and whose land he had just more or less invaded. The natives even brought the corn with which the bread was made.

Though the road ahead would not be without troubles—Damaris, Oceanus, and Elizabeth all would predecease him; alliance with the Wampanoag would not mean total peace, nor would it last two generations—that harvest feast 400 years ago was a turning point for Stephen Hopkins and all of his companions. After a decade wandering and months spent toiling, the man who had first left London a dozen years before had finally found a place to rest. Here, at last, he could put down roots that might take hold.

When Hopkins turns up in the colony’s records at all in his later years, it is always for minor infractions against the law at the tavern he set up on Leiden Street: serving beer on Sundays, letting things get rowdy. None of them brought him back to the gallows, though; he was buried next to Elizabeth in 1644, a remarkable 35 years after his death sentence in Bermuda.

* * *

6 posted on 11/25/2023 2:59:02 PM PST by Grampa Dave ( Any one, who can make you believe in absurdities, can make you commit atrocities!!" ~ (Voltaire)!, )
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