FROM "OF PLYMOUTH PLANTATION"
Book II, Chapter XXXVI.
About the middle of May this year came in three ships into this harbor, in warlike order. They were found to be men of war. The captain's name was Cromwell, who had taken sundry prizes from the Spaniards in the West Indies; he had a commission from the Earl of Warwick. He had aboard his vessels about 80 lusty men, but very unruly, who after they came ashore, did so distemper themselves with drink as they became like madmen, and though some of them were punished and imprisoned, yet could they hardly be restrained. Yet in the end they became more moderate and orderly. They continued here about a month or six weeks, and then went to the Massachusetts, in which time they spent and scattered a great deal of money among the people, and yet more sin I fear than money, notwithstanding all the care and watchfulness that was used toward them to prevent what might be.
In which time one sad accident fell out. A desperate fellow of the company fell a-quarreling with some of his company. His captain commanded him to be quiet and surcease his quarreling, but he would not, but reviled his captain with base language and in the end half drew his rapier and intended to run at his captain; but he closed with him and wrested his rapier from him and gave him a box on the ear. But he would not give over, but still assaulted his captain; whereupon he took the same rapier as it was in the scabbard and gave him a blow with the hilt, but it lit on his head and the small end of the bar of the rapier hilt pierced his skull, and he died a few days after. But the captain was cleared by a council of war. This fellow was so desperate a quarreler, as the captain was fain many times to chain him under hatches from hurting his fellows, as the company did testify. And this was his end.
This Captain Thomas Cromwell set forth another voyage to the West Indies from the Bay of the Massachusetts, well manned and victualed, and was out three years, and took sundry prizes and returned rich unto the Massachusetts. And there died the same summer, having got a fall from his horse, in which fall he fell on his rapier hilt and so bruised his body as he shortly after died thereof, with some other distempers which brought him into a fever. Some observed that there might be something of the hand of God therein; that as the forenamed man died of the blow he gave him with the rapier hilt, so his own death was occasioned by a like means.
This year Mr. Edward Winslow went into England, upon this occasion: some discontented persons under the government of the Massachusetts sought to trouble their peace and disturb, if not innovate, their government by laying many scandals upon them, and intended to prosecute against them in England by petitioning and complaining to the Parliament. Also, Samuel Gorton and his company made complaints against them. So as they made choice of Mr. Winslow to be their agent to make their defense, and gave him commission and instructions for that end. In which he so carried himself as did well answer their ends and cleared them from any blame or dishonor, to the shame of their adversaries. But by reason of the great alterations in the State, he was detained longer than was expected, and afterwards fell into other employments there; so as he hath now been absent this four years, which hath been much to the weakening of this government, without whose consent he took these employments upon him.
© William Bradford