H105, American History I

John Winthrop, “Reasons to be considered for justifying the undertakers of the intended Plantation in New England, and for encouraging such whose hearts God shall move to join with them in it” (ca. 1629).

Diverse objections which have beene made against this Plantation, with theire answears and Resolutions:

Objection I:  We have noe warrant to enter upon that Land which hath been soe long possessed by others.

Answer 1:  That which lies common, and hath never beene replenished or subdued[,] is free to any that possesse and improve it:  For God hath given to the sonnes of men a double right to the earth; theire is a naturall right, and a Civill right[.] The first right was naturall when men held the earth in common every man sowing and feeding where he pleased:  then as men and theire Cattell encreased[,] they appropriated certaine parcells of Grownde by inclosinge and peculiar manuerance, and this in time gatte them a Civill right .... As for the Natives in New England, they inclose noe Land, neither have any setled habytation, nor any tame Cattle to improve the Land by, and so have noe other but a Naturall Right to those Countries.  soe as if we leave them sufficient for their use, we may lawfully take the rest, there being more then enough for them and for us.

Answer 2:  We shall come in with the good leave of the natives who find benifight allreaddy by our Neighbourhood, and learne from us to improve a parte to more use then before they could doe the whole:  and by this meanes we come in by valuable purchase, for they have of us that, which will yeeld them more benifight, than all that Land which we have from them.

Answer 3:  God hath consumed the Natives with a great Plauge in those partes, soe as there be few Inhabitants lefte.


Objection IV:  The ill success of the other Plantations may tell us what will become of this.

Answer 1:  None of the former sustained any great damage but Virginia which happ[e]ned through there owne slouth and [poor] security.


Answer 4:  There weare great and fundamentall errors in the former which are like to be avoided in this:  For: 1:  their mayne end was Carnall and not Religious:  2:  They used unfitt instrumentes, a multitude of rude and misgovernd persons[,] the very scumme of the Land:  3:  They did not establish a right forme of government.