tv William Bradford Plymouth Colony CSPAN November 25, 2021 9:30pm-10:31pm EST
on edge. after the election they began in the same as other totalitarian leaders. i often talk to my students abouty this that it's become a revered person in history mostly because of world war ii americans don't realize how much of those who hated roosevelt in the 30s truly despised him, just couldn't stand him. please join me in welcoming from the society i am honored to be here and to welcome members and friends to this program. we are excited to be partnering
with the boston public library once again and as mentioned, i'm the director of education and online programs at american ancestors and new england historic genealogical society, american ancestors is the oldest and largest nonprofit genealogical society of its kind in the world. we were founded in 1845 and helped people of all backgrounds explore their past and understand with their families unique place in history. you can learn more about the resources, experts, education programs and our aid story research center in boston at our award-winning website american ancestors.org. as one of the publishers of this 400 anniversary edition of william bradford's work of plymouth plantation we are excited to hear from two of the editors today. this new edition offers a
transcription of the original manuscript with annotations that incorporate a recently discovered information, and it also includes a very special introduction by the historian. to learn more about this story of the pilgrims and the mayflower and to purchase a copy of this newly published addition, i encourage you to visit. it's now my pleasure to introduce the moderator for today's event executive editor of the works of jonathan edwards and of the center and online archive at yale university. also a member of the research faculty and reese's associate at the university of the free state south africa he offers seminars and early religious history as well as reading courses in all periods of history he is also
edited or co-edited several works too many to name here on the sermons of jonathan edwards and other colonials. please join me in welcoming. >> thankou you very much. it's my pleasure to introduce frank bremmer. you can remember i was a young graduate school and these conferences offered the opportunity for up-and-coming people like myself to rub shoulders with the giants like
yourselves and others.he i remember one in particular where we tried to define puritanism and while we cannot put various things in the end, we decided that we knew a puritan when we saw one and that was about as close as we could get. at the puritans considered it the height to praise someone to their face but where he's concerned i can't help but do that because one of the countries and one of the world's most distinguished historians of early religious history he has a lengthy list of service which is
important as a part of the scholar's life given to the teaching and men touring into in-service on the various boards and committees on the wide range of topics, monographs, biographies including one of the papers he's edited at the mass historical society which we will hear about in the course of the presentation. and of course with the newly upcoming observations on the 400th anniversary of the founding of massachusetts
colonies it seemed appropriate to begin with plymouth and this new edition of the plantation that frankie and i and others thatha incurred mentioned and teamed up and did this very enjoyable and significant and hopeful project i hope you all check that out when it comes ou in two months. and on these projects, the professor will talk to us today on william bradford and plymouth, the view from 400 years. so, please. >> thank you very much everyone who was out there joining us for this. i hope we have enough time to answer questions but if there
are some that do not get answered, please feel free to e-mail me, francis bremmer. in the fall of 2016, a group of individuals representing historical organizations in the commonwealth and other new england states met in the reading room to form a partnership while new england beginnings. this was a group coming together to make plans for the anniversary. the goal was to educate americans about the cultures. we were and are determined to find ways to commemorate those
cultures. european, native, african rather than to follow tradition and merely celebrate one culture. the focus on education how the haveunanticipated benefits while more celebratory events with the large gatherings had proven impossible in this time of the pandemic and many educational programs have been able to be held. the publication of books has continued on pace and lectures such as this one and conferences have gone on. our determination to focus on multiple cultures is the result of the shift of the understanding that was given impetus at theen time the 350th anniversary of the settlement of plymouth. in preparation for that event, the commonwealth of massachusetts and descendents of the mayflower passengers decided to invite a member of the tribe, the people that assisted through
the struggles to address the crowd that would gather for the event. at the invitation was extended to frank james, a member of the tribe who at the age of 14 had taken the name. james had to serve in the united states coast guard axillary in world war ii and was a musician, brilliant trumpet player who was the first native graduate for music and a music teacher on cape cod. he was considered, presumably, a safe choice to speak of the celebrations.pe but when the organizing committee reviewed the text of the address, they insisted on changes, which he rightly declined to make. the invitation was withdrawn. instead on thanksgiving day in 1970, james addressed a separate gathering with fellow natives and others on the hill
overlooking the harbor and a replica of the mayflower. in the text that he had prepared for a very different audience, james admitted, as hees put it,t is with mixed emotion that i stand here ready to share my thoughts. this is a time of celebration for you, celebrating an anniversary of the beginning with an white man in america. a time of looking back on reflection. it is with a heavy heart that i look back at what happened to my people even before the pilgrims landed,, he continued. it was common practice to take them to europe and sell them as slaves with 220 shillings a piece. they had hardly explored the shores before they robbed the graves of my ancestors and had
stolen their corn and beans. with the various atrocities into broken promises and ended by saying you, thete white man are celebrating an anniversary. it was at the beginning of the for the pilgrims. now 350 years later it is the beginning of a new determination for the original america, the american indian. now he wasn't the first native new englander to remind the public of the history and the continued presence of the population of the region. in 1838, not too far from the boston public library where this event was originally scheduled for, atle the theater the methodist preacher on which he
reversed the traditional story to transform. but while they address a greater significance because it became the first of annt annual event called the day of mourning which had devolved over the years of its demands and tactics but at its heart remains an assertion of the importance of the first people of the region thaton the natives called. the troops at the 1970 organizing committee found two uncomfortable remained to this day important troops to be addressed by all that were interested in the shaping of 17th century new england. and that was something that the
organizers had in mind as we looked about what we were to do about the commemoration of 1620. early in the process of thinking about the events of that year the quality and of the new england genealogical society agreed to sponsor a new addition of governor william bradford's plantation. at the most significant contemporary account of the progress from england to plymouth massachusetts. the editorial team, paula peters and myself, the three of us here, along with jeremy banks of the american pilgrim museum, because the bradford manuscript included a list of hebrew vocabulary and described as the efforts to teach himself that biblical language, we engaged to
transcribe and introduce that material. as the inclusion of the msa by a member of the nation is the most striking departure of this addition from previous ones, but not the only departure. i'd like to discuss some of the things that make this unique and then move on to talk about how it's helped me revise my understanding of bradford and his writings. william bradford began to compile his history in 1630, ten years after his arrival in the mayflower and in the same year that he arrived in massachusetts, to take charge of the colony that would become the dominant presence in new england. while bradford composed of the work in a way that suggested he was preparing a publication, it wasn't published inc his
lifetime. later in the century puritans increased and drew on it for its own account of the region's history. in the 18th century, thomas prince consulted the manuscript with his chronological history of new england published in 1738. he maintained the manuscript and with his collection of books and manuscripts in the third church of boston popularly known as old south. it was there it was found by the british troops in the american revolution, one whom presumably brought it to england where it
ended up in the library and the bishop of london. having been discovered there in the mid-19th century, the manuscript was eventually after four decades of negotiations brought back to new england. the first publication of the work was in the collections of the massachusetts historical society in 1856 while the manuscript was still in england. a commonwealth edition was published in 1898 following the repatriation of the volume and since then, there've been a number of other additions. when ours came out in may, someone asked on facebook why she should buy it because she already had five other additions. let me try to add to that. this is both in its printed form and the soon to appear online version the most accurate transcript that is available.
a high resolution color scan of the original to detect additions made by bradford at various points of its composition and to establish that some of the assertions and marks on the pages were made most likely by thomas prince. as pointed out in the introductory essay, we can judge withud some degree of certainty that he made at least two passings and likely more through the text, stretching into the 1650s. he didn't abandon his history as some have said but to clarify. early on we decided to include into the text itself letters that bradford had inserted into the narrative but previous editors relegated. similarly, while bradford wrote
on the right side pages of the manuscript book he placed some later editions on the pages such as this one. we also incorporated these into the text as bradford intended. the result was to produce the material that the author had planned. another feature of the new addition is how we approached the annotation. the last major addition to have significant annotations was that produced in 1952. our understanding of puritan religion and economics and native histories substantially changed in the decades since and there've been substantial advances in chronicling the lives of the first colonies. to incorporate this new addition
including putting the greatest sensitivity to the native perspectivesi in the note as wel as in the introductory essay. robert charles anderson was particularly helpful dealing with the details while brought to bear his expertise on all aspects of the story. the most notable account of the story at the plymouth colony, the history is not the only source. edward winslow, one of the leaders of the colony that oserved for a time as governor and is and as an agent to the english government is generally considered the principal author of the journal of the beginnings and proceedings of the plantation settled at plymouth published in 1622 and generally known as the relation. winslow also published a number of other works dealing with the colonies early history including good news from new england,
hypocrisy and new england's salamander. thomas morton and other enemies of o the colony published their own attempts, the task much more critical. early sympathetic historians including nathaniel morton and william hubbard had the advantagee of speaking to men ad women who themselves played a part in the story and incorporated those into their own narratives. drawing on all these we made an effort to include in the annotation the material that issometimes supplemented but occasionally contradicted bradford's narrative. equally significant, our notes draw on the other writings. during the last decade of his life, he composed three dialogues as they are known, accounts of the religious dimensions of the story,
organized as exchanges between the ancient colony and members of theco younger generations. two of the three survived. in many ways they were unfiltered and in them, he dealt far more with the religion of the pilgrims than he did in his history. bradford also composed poems, something relatively common among educated men at the time. dealing primarily with history and religion, the venue which he also expressed feelings that he tempered in his history. finally, he compiled a lighter abook in which he copied correspondence that told the colonies story and he drew on and wished to insert into the text letters that he considered important. only a portion of the manuscript survived, but it indicates the scope of the original. the first contains a letter from the colonies investors written
in 1624. that page is numbered 339, suggesting a vast number of items from the early years that we would love to know about. but in drawing on the letter book, he sometimes omitted the portions of the letter that he was including in the history. where those are significant, we've printed them in the annotations. as all this might suggest, the task of producing this plantation was much more complex tonight than originally i had imagined and working on it i learned more about the colony than i had previously known. that is what i wish to reflect upon in the time remaining. in the writing in general including the history of new england that i focus on it is important to guard against accepting without question
drawing distinctions at the expense of ignoring commonality and achieving clarity at the expense of neglecting nuances. there's a variety of subjects i've previously dealt with and asked myself if i've been guilty of any of these. i found that i had succumbed to the fallacy of presenting new england as boston writ large overlooking the significant n differences between the colonies and within each of them. i didn't alwaysi spend enough time examining the differences between the various representatives of the so-called orthodox puritanism, such as the differences between the leaders such as john winthrop and thomas. i accepted without question that membershipn and colonial churchs requiredn a conversion narrative rather than recognizing the primary value of those relations
was in evangelical tool to help others. recently as i suggestedua in my lecture last evening i had been questioning the assumption that the only stories of puritan women were telling were those of dissidents, like anna hutchison. it was with this background of questioning the standard interpretations that i began work on the bradford addition of simultaneously on the study of new religion of the puritans that is do to be published by oxford university press in a few months. one of the things the evidence led me to questione is the term pilgrims as if it was intended to distinguish the plymouth settlers from puritans. there were two elements to this. one centered on the way the story was told by the generations after the revolution who sought to identify the essence of the new nation. for the most part these
historians and politicians with the puritan settlers in new england and as founders of american democracy and exemplars on the search for the religious toleration. accomplishments were enumerated at plymouth by a national natios such as john quincy adams. the descendents of the mayflower held annual parades and dinners to celebrate their forefathers. but by the early 20th century, the story was being revised. those that felt constrained by the moral codes of the victorian age blamed the puritans and in the process mischaracterized them in many ways. this attack is perhaps best encapsulated in the writings of the 20th century commentator hl mencken as a haunting fear that
someone somewhere may be happy. scholars such as van wick brooks argued that it suppressed the intellectual growth. scholars that solve the economic drive side of the essence of history argued that the search for wealth was the driving force behind the settlement and growth of new england. popular culture tended to misunderstand puritans as theocratic misogynistic repressive with bad fashion sense who executed those who disagreed with them. in essence, historical fashion went from praise that ignored those that were part of puritanism to concentrating only on those blemishes. for those we connected it became desirable to distinguish from the puritans and then there was
some evidence that seemed to point in this direction or at least support it. during the late 16th and early 17th century, english church authorities had attacked puritans who were struggling to reform the church from within by saying that their views and equitably led to separation and is thus destroyed the unity of the church in order to maintain the credibilitys as reformers rather than revolutionaries. most denied any connection with separatists such as the church in amsterdam and the congregation in light. scholars who bought into this ignored many things that the puritans had in common with the separatists and emphasized the one issue that did divide them, focusing on the debate between
the separatists and other puritans on whether it was necessary to leave the church of england one could easily findd evidence that the two groups were hostile to each other. further evidence of distancing could be found in the religious debates that accompanied the english civil war of the puritan end of the 1640s and 1650s. advocates of presbyterianism such as scott robert bailey sought to discredit as offshoots of separatism by way of new england. to free themselves, colonial authors denied that their church policy was derived from the pilgrims or any other separatists. many historians bought this argument with a number of scholars denying the significance of the pilgrim colony in the shaping of new
england religion. harry miller who did much to legitimize the study of the new england puritanism argued that the churches of massachusetts would have been no different if plymouth had never existed. similarly dismissed the pilgrims as an insignificant group with no grand design that contributed to shaping american history. and theodore went further arguing that plymouth was pathetically unimportant. i would suggest such scholars were misled by other contemporariesmp who protested o much. recently some historians had been willing to reopen the question of the influence on the colony. i examined the subject in depth in my forthcoming book but this afternoon i only want to
highlight a few pieces of evidence. first are the statements provided at the time. when the first settlers sent by the massachusetts state company. if they were wracked by disease much as the pilgrims had abandoned their first winter. this is a first of trips taken over the next few years to the colony. the ability a to impact the disease was likely minimal, but he spent many hours in consultation with the puritan leaders of salem who had no fortune at the time, and then on leader visits, he engaged in similar discussions with john winthrop and other leaders of
zeal and remain one of the same heart. guarded by one of the same spirit of truth. with this there could be no discord there must be sweet harmony. also significant in the letter book from charles one of those who arrived in salem. he not only engaged in discussions that he himself traveled to where he was entertained by bradford and brewster. by 1629 following the example of the initiative and the car got another sailor lehman to form a congregation to subscribe to a church covenant women chose as pastor and teacher to recently arrived puritans the delegation
traveled to salem to extend to the t new church the right hand of fellowship. a similar process involving discussions with leaders of the bay preceded the formation of congregation boston —- boston in watertown in 1630 in most interesting, one of the new arrivals in massachusetts was a member of the lincolnshire church said that prior to the sailing of winthrop, it was mr. cotton's charge that they should take it nice and do nothing to offend them. the essence of the story is found in my bradford recorded in the plymouth plantation was some additional detail. but that is not all.
and in his dialogue bradford repeatedly emphasized identification with the broader congregation movement as found elsewhere in new among the english congregational independents. and only the insertion of a plymouth plantation with the downfall of the bishops and the ceremonies that came about with the onset of the period revolution. clearly, a case can be made in shaping new england's congregational puritanism. the other major o way that my understanding has changed by immersing myself in bradford and other sources, his understanding of the pilgrim relations with the native population. has made clear in the yesterday —- essay of the new edition the natives had ample
reason to be suspicious of the arrivals on the mayflower. earlier voyages of europeans had brought diseases to which the indigenous people have w no defense. as we witnessed the hard effects of the pandemic sweeping the world today we can perhaps better understand the horror of an unknown disease cutting down thousands of victims with a normal human instinct to coddle the sick and care for the dying. in the region around cape cod where the pilgrims would settle some communities suffered losses of over 90 percent. in one village site that became but those were not in those communities.
but then in champlain impacted here, was deserted in 1620. in addition to the ravages of disease the native suffered from the aggressive intentions of some traders who kidnapped individuals brought them to europe. but then that was a fate that they spent time in london to make his way back to new england and his devastated homeland. given this history that the natives with the exception of a brief clash that first encounter beach observed them but made no attempt to make
contact the english found deserted villages ands desecrated graves and seized for their own use for their own spring planting. there are two accounts of these explorations by bradford and the plantation and for the first time we receive is a significant difference when winslow with much more curiosity with that expedition came across when bradford mentioned abandoned villages in graves. recording the nature of those inin the first encounter with what they assume they left them untouched because we
thought it would be odious to ransack. and then it a did not examine them from which was recorded. recording a story from one of the expeditions he wrote it we came to a tree where young appling was bowed down over a oh. with acorn strewn underneath so as we start looking at william bradford as he went about gave a sudden jerk cap and immediately caught and wasted into the air. winslow went on to admire made with the rope of their own making and artfully made
bradford did not mention the episode at all and did nothing to improve his view of the natives. it's important to remind ourselves that not all of the colonists held to the same beliefs and principles while sharing many european attitudes winslow only seemed interested in the native inhabited to develop ael close relationship with his views of the natives that were far more critical in the early captives of history as savage barbarians to describe the landscape as they first encountered it as a hideous full of wild beast admitted but the harshest views were confined to the poetry to castigate the natives and then to marvel that they have lived
so long among those that were so brutish andti savage without tasting. and then to make the hole in the ground and at one point and those that are without religion or knowledge of any god and later acknowledged where they conceive of many divine powers. so there are two incidents that seem to have made a difference in how they presented the plan the story. both bradford and winslow saw this as a significant event
but their accounts differed. winslow's account, the more complete this is part of the agreement that when their men came to us they should leave their bows and arrows behind as we should do with our pieces when we came to them. which makes the treaty to seem less one-sided than bradford's account which eliminates the necessity for the pilgrims to leave their weapons behind. >> in addition to this difference there is another significant one which many of you are probably familiar with which is the discrepancy of the accounts of bradford and winslow of what we called the first thanksgiving bradford
simply talks about the gathering and the harvest. he does not mention anything about the native presence it is winslow who gives the folder account so that we may rejoice together after we gather the fruit of our labors. many of thend indians amongst us and then to entertain and then they wentch out and killed five deer. the application of the special event on this account so the questions surrounding both of these cases prompted me to think more closely about the
native role of the colony and the overall colonial response to that native presence these are not the only questions that bear consideration in the early history of plymouth and the editors of the new addition that help other scholars to investigate other questions will have time for questions. thank you. >> thank you very much. now we have a question from robert. i am wondering about bradford's education because seneca at one point and another place bradford writes
with the fast ocean in the sea of troubles this is similar to shakespeare that is to take against a sea of troubles. is there any possibility or was this a common metaphor at the time? >> the bradford is an interesting person because he did not have any education beyond the home and presumably local grammar school. he iss not one of the puritans who went to oxford or cambridge university but he was always very interested in what we call self-education and read extensively and we can tell from the inventory with a very large collection of books and then as robert
mentioned there is frequent mentions in his writings that indicated the familiarity of a great number of works i would suggest two things that david roofer has written a use —- a book on classical evidences and then he talks about the passage specifically as well as other indications along those of classical literature and also another book is one of the coeditors recently published an inventory of all of the private libraries of
those who died in plymouth in the 17th century and left evidence of ownership. and the large number of volumes is impressive. i don't want to go on too long but what struck me is we don't recognize enough the intellectual baggage so when we go to plymouth plantation which is a marvelous three creation they give you a sense of the livestock and then with over 400 volumes. >> i have no idea where he put them in there is no evidence
other than a few books here. and the clergyman. >> and we have a question from stephen who asks why is it only bradford's history remains when the other person if you are referring to winslow has more detailed accounts of their experiences. >> rightee that winslow and feel free to add anything to this other 1622 and 1624 they are more detailed with a more compressed period of time.
some of his later works with his attack addresses specific issues. so winslow never set out to write an entire history of the experience of the pilgrims. he could go into more detail where bradford was trying to give us a much broader picture. >> going to the issue of's shakespeare there is an interesting point relayed by jeremy shakespeare was believed toie have performed that bradford attended. does that mean shakespeare himself or his plays were performed? and that he thinks maybe they have seen each other and that implies that shakespeare was at that point? he was alive?
>> i don't know. i will have to talk to doctor banks about that. and in general that i found with the puritans there is some familiarity with shakespeare's works. and while there is an opposition, with most if not all of those various aspects, they didn't have any problem with the place as but i cannot say anything more than that. >> and harvard college had shakespeare folio in the library. so all that they denounced
plays with cicero and cato with the classic playwrights they were all. in the libraries. thomas asked what is your take on stephen hawking the non- separatist u-shaped with the indigenous people and the colonial government as a member ofhe council? >> you don't have a council and plymouth in the same sense of massachusetts. >> and their is a book sitting
on my table upstairs it is an interesting character because he was on an expedition to virginia and was almost executed there. and then told his fellow passengers on the mayflower and to be in a place with no legal authority that can lead to problems and therefore we should do something to contribute to the mayflower compact. he does a history in the role the colony.
>> and the question from kyle. can you both speak about the condition of the manuscript and what it was like working with it and how much have we ever worked with the original? i'm interested in the process of creating this new addition. >> i will let you take that entirely. you have physical contact with the actual manuscript. >> it's in the state library of massachusetts. so it is one of their prized possession so when they had a completely preserved it goes back in 2014 and part of that process, they have the manuscriptus with that
supplemental version and those previously unavailable technology to create a transcription of this. and then to be quite limited are understandably limited access to the original in order to look at passages that were particularly difficult. for some later on to do a lot of heavy of a to i sure wish i can get at that text there's something juicy underneath those but it is very difficult to do that. so working with the manuscript
enormously happy and then to talk governor bradford how to write to play proper attentionto to his penmanship. and it is a beast. william bradford has very elegible handwriting. in terms of using and what is nice is that you can blow up the image on your screen which helps in terms of deciphering of what is there. to be published online with verbatim transcription with
>> this has been a fascinating conversation i appreciate a your time and all of those who have been here with us for the past hour and stay well. take care. intellectual feast here every saturday american history tv documents america's stories, and on sundays booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 come from these television companies and more including mediacom. >> the world of change in an instant but mediacom was ready. internet traffic soared and we
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