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Originall Undertakings





Into the parts of


Especially, Shewing the beginning, progress and continuance of that of .


Written by the right Worshipfull, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Knight and Governour of the Fort and Island of Plymouth in DEVOJYS HIR E .


Printed by E. Brudenell, for Nath. Brook at the
Angell in Corn-hill. 1658.

[Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the author of the following Tract, was President of "The Council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering and governing of New England, in America." A very full account of his life is contained in the first volume of Belknap's American Biography.

The Preface, on the next page, unquestionably belonging to this Tract, was, by some strange blunder, transposed and prefixed to Johnson's "Wonder-Working Providence," which work, as well as this, makes a part of Ferdinando Gorges, Esqr's. "America Painted to the Life," and is by him, with singular ignorance or consummate fraud, ascribed to his grandfather, Sir Ferdinando. Prince, in the Preface to his Annals, says, "In the genuine title-page no author is named. Some of the books were faced with a false title-page, wherein the work is wrongly ascribed to Sir F. Gorges. But the true author was Mr. [Edward] Johnson, of Woburn, in New-England, as the late Judge Sewall assured me, as of a thing familiarly known among the fathers of the Massachusetts Colony." The remark of H. Ternaux, in his Bibliotheque Americaine, Paris, 1837, respecting the above mentioned volume, entitled "America Painted to the Life," is strictly true—" Une grande partie de ce livre n'est que la reimpression d'ouvrages que l'auteur s'e#st appropries avec une rare impudence." The first Tract in that volume, as Mr. Savage observes, is "only a meagre abstract of Johnson." Publishing Committee,]

1 THOUGHT it a part of my duty, in this my Brief Narration of our Plantations, to remember the original undertaking of those designs in the parts of America, by such noble spirits of our nation that first attempted it; as well for the justification of the right thereof, properly belonging to kings of our nation, before any other prince or state, as also the better to clear the claim made thereunto by the ambassador of France, in the behalf of his master, in the year 1624, whereto I was required to make answer (as more at large it appears in the discourse itself) ; withal to leave to posterity the particular ways by which it hath been brought to the height it is come unto, wherein the providence of our great God is especially to be observed, who by the least and weakest means, oftentimes effecteth great and wonderful things; all which I have endeavored to contract in as short a compass as the length of the time and the variety of the accidents would give leave. As for the truth thereof, I presume it is so publicly known, as malice itself dares not only question it ; though I know none, I thank my God, to whom I have given any just cause maliciously to attempt it, unless it be for the desire I had to do good to all without wronging of any, as by the course of my life to this present it may appear.

If in the conclusion of my undertaking and expense of my fortunes to advance the honor and happiness of my nation, I have settled a portion thereof to those that in nature must succeed me, you may be pleased to remember that the laborer is worthy of his hire:

That I have not exceeded others not better deserving; that I go hand in hand with the meanest in this great work, to whom the charge thereof was committed by royal authority:

That I have opened the way to greater employments, and shall be (as a hand set up in a cross way) in a desert coun48 To the Reader.

try to point all travellers in such like kind, how they may come safe to finish their journey's end, leaving an example to others, best affected to designs of such like nature, to prosecute their intents for further enlargement of those begun plantations, without trenching or intruding upon the rights and labors of others already possessed of what is justly granted them:

Especially of such, who in some sort may be termed benefactors, as secondary donors of what (by God's favor) is had, or to be had from those springs they first found and left to posterity to bathe themselves in. But if there be^ny, otherwise affected, as better delighted to reap what they have not sown, or to possess the fruit another hath labored for, let such be assured, so great injustice will never want a woful attendance to follow close at the heels, if not stayed behind to bring after a more terrible revenge. But my trust is, such impiety will not be suddenly harbored where the whole work is, I hope, still continued for the enlargement of the Christian faith, the supportation of justice, and love of peace. In assurance whereof, I will conclude, and tell you, as I have lived long, so I have done what I could. Let those that come after me cto/or their parts what they may, and I doubt not but the God that governs all, will reward their labors that continue in his service. To whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Ferdinando Gorges.

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