American Minute with Bill Federer SEPT. 16 - Pilgrims set sail 1620
American Minute with Bill Federer
SEPT. 16 - Pilgrims set sail 1620 -'for the propagation...of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world'
SEPTEMBER 16, 1620, according to the Gregorian Calendar, 102 passengers set sail on the Pilgrims' ship, Mayflower.
66-day journey of 2,750 miles encountered storms so rough the beam
supporting the main mast cracked and was propped back in place with "a
great iron screw."
youth, John Howland, was swept overboard by a freezing wave and
rescued. His descendants include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Humphrey Bogart,
Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush.
During the Pilgrims' voyage, a man died and a mother gave birth.
Intending to land in Virginia, they were blown off-course.
Of their landing in Massachusetts, Governor William Bradford wrote:
thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon
their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the
vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and
miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth,
their proper element."
Though half died that first bitter winter, Governor William Bradford wrote:
"Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations...for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world."
the Bicentennial Celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth
Rock, Secretary of State Daniel Webster stated December 22, 1820:
is a...sort of genius of the place, which...awes us. We feel that we
are on the spot where the first scene of our history was laid; where the
hearths and altars of New England were first placed; where
Christianity, and civilization...made their first lodgement, in a vast
extent of country...
God prosper us,' might have been the... language of our fathers, when
they landed upon this Rock, '...we shall here begin a work which shall
last for ages... We shall fill this region of the great continent...with
civilization and Christianity..."
Daniel Webster continued:
morning that beamed...saw the Pilgrims already at home...a government
and a country were to commence, with the very first foundations laid
under the divine light of the Christian religion...
established their system of government on morality and religious
sentiment...Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good
Our fathers came here to enjoy their religion free and
unmolested; and, at the end of two centuries, there is nothing upon
which we can pronounce more confidently...than of the inestimable
importance of that religion to man..."
Daniel Webster warned:
are bound...to convince the world that order and law, religion and
morality, the rights of conscience, the rights of persons, and the
rights of property, may all be preserved and secured, in the most
perfect manner, by a government entirely and purely elective.
we fail in this, our disaster will be signal, and will furnish an
argument...in support of those opinions which maintain that government
can rest safely on nothing but power and coercion..."
Continuing his 1820 speech, Daniel Webster added a rebuke:
African slave-trader is a pirate and a felon; and in the sight of
Heaven, an offender far beyond the ordinary depth of human guilt...
there be...any participation in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves
here, upon the rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and destroy it...
invoke the ministers of our religion, that they proclaim its
denunciation of these crimes, and add its solemn sanctions to the
authority of human laws.
If the pulpit be silent whenever or
wherever there may be a sinner bloody with this guilt within the hearing
of its voice, the pulpit is false to its trust..."
Daniel Webster reflected further:
shall hereafter write this part of our history...will be able to record
no...lawless and despotic acts, or any successful usurpation.
page will contain no exhibition of...civil authority habitually
trampled down by military power, or of a community crushed by the burden
He will speak...of that happy condition, in which
the restraint and coercion of government are almost invisible and
"Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin.
Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.
They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope.
sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their
society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions,
civil, political, or literary.
Let us cherish these sentiments,
and extend this influence still more widely; in the full conviction,
that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree
of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity..."