William Bradford, Senior was the author of Of Plymouth Plantation. His story is an apologetic and somewhat a diary/journal of sorts, etc. of the defense of the Catholic faith of the Separatists also known as the Pilgrims (and somewhat the Puritans) and the journey of the said Pilgrims from England to Plymouth in North America. However, should his book be considered a morality tale? I say yes. He may not specifically point out all the different good and bad things that we should do and not do, but I think we can take it and learn from the Pilgrims’ mistakes.
The first one I take as to not do and to do after reading Bradford’s book, has to do with King James I of England. King James I ordered England to go to church and to believe and go about in specific ways of living that belief. The Separatists and Puritans, as Calvinists, found themselves not allowed to praise God the way they believed right. However, each had their own way to deal with King James’s laws.
The Puritans fought against James; on the other hand, the Separatists praised God in private, but were eventually found out. They felt the need to Separate from the church of England and even the country itself, thus they were called Separatists. The Puritans were called as such because they wished to purify the church. The Separatists eventually left England and went to Leiden, Holland.
Bradford went with the Separatists. Doing this he shows that he believed people should not go about like the Puritans, but like the Separatists. Therefore do as the Separatists, not as the Puritans.
When they were in Holland, their children were not exactly happy. It was different than what the children were used to. Many different reasons having to do with the English children are thought to have reassured the Pilgrims to leave for America even more. Some say the children grew unhappy towards everything: the chores, the hard labor, and even their own parents; the children were not being raised up in a British way and were becoming more like Danish children; etc.
We can take this, from Bradford, as to not let our children be brainwashed by other people’s beliefs and ways of doing things. If it is not the way you want your children to be raised, get out. When they decided to go to America, the Separatists became known as the Pilgrims.
One more final to do or not to do by Bradford, but not the final one mentioned and noticed in the book, has to do with the Pilgrims in America and the Native Americans known as Indians. When landed and building their colony, the Pilgrims knew they were not the only humans on the land. They thought to b have been watched and possibly even feared. They hoped the Native Americans feared them and were scared by their numbers. However, with many of their own dying, they hid the bodies, hoping the Native Americans did not see the decline in their numbers.
I believe that Bradford was saying to hide our weakness from our enemies. Not to show our weaknesses, but to show the strengths and if those strengths fall, hide it. Stay strong but do not let them see your weaknesses. We can take one more from this. I mentioned the Pilgrims were dying. More than half died. Bradford’s wife was among one of the dead. However, he showed that even though death may hurt, you should not give up on the living and yourself. Do keep living and believing in God, and do not give up on yourself and God and others.