Anno Dom: 1642

Anno Dom: 1642

William Bradford

Marvilous it may be to see and consider how some kind of wickednes did grow & breake forth here, in a land wher the same was so much witnesed against, and so narrowly looked unto, & severly punished when it was knowne; as in no place more, or so much, that I have known or heard of; insomuch as they have been somewhat censured, even by moderate and good men, for their severitie in punishments. And yet all this could not suppress ye breaking out of sundrie notorious sins, (as this year, besids other, gives us too many sad presidents and instances,) espetially drunkennes and unclainnes; not only incontinencie betweene persons unmaried, for which many both men & women have been punished sharply enough, but some maried persons allso. But that which is worse, even sodomie and bugerie, (things fearfull to name,) have broak forth in this land, oftener then once. I say it may justly be marveled at, and cause us to fear & tremble at the consideration of our corrupte natures, which are so hardly bridled, subdued, & mortified; nay, cannot by any other means but ye powerfull worke & grace of Gods spirite. But (besids this) one reason may be, that ye Divell may carrie a greater spite against the churches of Christ and ye gospell hear, by how much ye more they indeaour to preserve holynes and puritie amongst them, and strictly punisheth the contrary [460]when it ariseth either in church or comone wealth; that he might cast a [242] blemishe & staine upon them in ye eyes of [ye] world, who use to be rash in judgmente. I would rather thinke thus, then that Satane hath more power in these heathen lands, as som have thought, then in more Christian nations, espetially over Gods servants in them.

2. An other reason may be, that it may be in this case as it is with waters when their streames are stopped or dam̅ed up, when they gett passage they flow with more violence, and make more noys and disturbance, then when they are suffered to rune quietly in their owne chanels. So wikednes being here more stopped by strict laws, and ye same more nerly looked unto, so as it cannot rune in a comone road of liberty as it would, and is inclined, it searches every wher, and at last breaks out wher it getts vente.

3. A third reason may be, hear (as I am verily perswaded) is not more evills in this kind, nor nothing nere so many by proportion, as in other places; but they are here more discoverd and seen, and made publick by due serch, inquisition, and due punishment; for ye churches looke narrowly to their members, and ye magistrats over all, more strictly then in other places. Besids, here the people are but few in comparison of other places, which are full & populous, and lye hid, as it were, in a wood or thickett, and many horrible evills by yt means are never seen nor [461]knowne; wheras hear, they are, as it were, brought into ye light, and set in ye plaine feeld, or rather on a hill, made conspicuous to ye veiw of all…

And after ye time of ye writīg of these things befell a very sadd accidente of the like foule nature in this govermente, this very year, which I shall now relate. Ther was a youth whose name was Thomas Granger; he was servant to an honest man of Duxbery, being aboute 16. or 17. years of age. (His father & mother lived at the same time at Sityate.) He was this year detected of buggery (and indicted for ye same) with a mare, a cowe, tow goats, five sheep, 2. calves, and a turkey. Horrible [249] it is to mention, but ye truth of ye historie requires it. He was first discovered by one yt accidentally [475]saw his lewd practise towards the mare. (I forbear perticulers.) Being upon it examined and com̅itted, in ye end he not only confest ye fact with that beast at that time, but sundrie times before, and at severall times with all ye rest of ye forenamed in his indictmente; and this his free-confession was not only in private to ye magistrats, (though at first he strived to deney it,) but to sundrie, both ministers & others, and afterwards, upon his indictmente, to ye whole court & jury; and confirmed it at his execution. And wheras some of ye sheep could not so well be knowne by his description of them, others with them were brought before him, and he declared which were they, and which were not. And accordingly he was cast by ye jury, and condemned, and after executed about ye 8. of Septr, 1642. A very sade spectakle it was; for first the mare, and then ye cowe, and ye rest of ye lesser catle, were kild before his face, according to ye law, Levit: 20. 15. and then he him selfe was executed. The catle were all cast into a great & large pitte that was digged of purposs for them, and no use made of any part of them.

Upon ye examenation of this person, and also of a former that had made some sodomiticall attempts upon another, it being demanded of them how they came first to ye knowledge and practice of such wickednes, the one confessed he had long used it in old England; and this youth last spoaken of said he was taught it [476]by an other that had heard of such things from some in England when he was ther, and they kept catle togeather. By which it appears how one wicked person may infecte many; and what care all ought to have what servants they bring into their families.

But it may be demanded how came it to pass that so many wicked persons and profane people should so quickly come over into this land, & mixe them selves amongst them? seeing it was religious men yt begane ye work, and they came for religions sake. I confess this may be marveilled at, at least in time to come, when the reasons therof should not be knowne…