Full text: Religion, colonising & trade

Yet, if allowance be made for the immense growth in 
population in more modern times, it seems safe to say 
that in the story of the Empire no outgoing, no effort 
at British colonisation ever was so determined, so 
effective and so prolific of history as the movement or 
movements—for the Puritan movement did not cover 
the whole transplantation—which came to pass in the 
first sixty years of the seventeenth century. Never 
was the will to make new homes oversea so strong in 
England as in these years, among not the poorest only 
or mainly—and after all even the pilgrims of the 
Mayflower were not of the poorest—but among middle- 
class citizens of position and substance. It must be 
remembered that going into the wilderness was then 
a far more complete and terrifying reality than in after 
years, when there was less of the unknown ; the will 
to cross the ocean must, therefore, have been more 
determined than, probably, either before or since. 
Neither before nor since were political and religious 
causes ever combined in favour of colonisation in such 
strength as when the Puritans settled in New England, 
but the supreme driving force was religion. The 
temper of the founders of Massachusetts was expressed 
in the words of the younger Winthrop. * For myself 
I have seen so much of the vanity of the world that I 
esteem no more of the diversities of countries than as 
so many inns, whereof the traveller that hath lodged 
in the best or in the worst findeth no difference when 
he cometh to his journey’s end.’ 
! Under date August 21, 1629, Life and Letters of Jobn Winthrop, 
Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, at their Emigration to New 
England, 1630, by Robert C. Winthrop (1864), chap. i, Pp. 307.

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