The planters plea· Or The grounds of plantations examined, and vsuall objections answered Together with a manifestation of the causes mooving such as have lately vndertaken a plantation in Nevv-England: for the satisfaction of those that question the lawfulnesse of the action.
White, John, 1575-1648.

CHAP. I. By a Colony we meane a societie of men drawne out of one state or people, and transplanted into another Countrey.

COLONIES (as other conditions * and states in humane society) have their warrant from Gods direction and command; who * as soone as men were, set them their taske, to replenish the earth, and to subdue it, Gen. 1. 28. Those words, I grant, expresse a promise, as the title of a benedi∣ction prefixed unto them here, & in the repetition of them to Noah, implies. Gen. 9. 1. But that withal they include a direction or command was never, as I conceive, doubted by any. Iunius upon them: Page  2Prout vim intus indiderat, sic palam mandatum dedit eurandae propagationis & dominationis exercendae. And Paraeus, Iubet igitur replere terram, non solum generatione & habitatione, sed cum primis potestate eultu & usu: Etsi vero nonnullae orbis partes manent inhabitabiles; habemus nihilominus totius dominium iure Divino, lic et non habeamus totius orbis usum cul∣pâ & defectu nostro. And before them, Calvin; Iubet eos crescere & simul benedictionem suam destinat, &c. and divers other's.

It will be granted then that the words include and have the force of a Precept, which perhaps some may conceive was to continue during the worlds Infancy, and no longer; but such a limitati∣on wants ground. It is true that some comman∣dements founded upon, and having respect unto some present state and condition of men, received end or alteration when the condition was ended, or changed. But Precepts given to the body of mankind, as these to Adam & Noah, receive neither alteration in the substantials, nor determinati∣on while men, and any void places of the earth continue, so that allowing this Commandement to bind Adam, it must binde his posterity, and con∣sequently our selves in this age, and our issue af∣ter us, as long as the earth yeelds empty places to be replenished.

Besides, the gift of the earth to the sonnes of * men, Psal. 115. 16. necessarily inforceth their du∣ty to people it: It were a great wrong to God to conceive that hee doth ought in vaine, or ten∣ders Page  3 a gift that he never meant should be enjoyed: now how men should make benefit of the earth, but by habitation and culture cannot bee ima∣gined.

Neither is this sufficient to conceive that Gods intention is satisfied if some part of the earth be replenished, and used, though the rest be wast; be∣cause the same difficulty urgeth us still, that the rest of which we receive no fruit, was never inten∣ded to us, because it was never Gods minde wee should possesse it. If it were then the minde of God, that man should possesse all parts of the earth, it must be enforced that we neglect our du∣ty, and crosse his will, if we doe it not, when wee have occasion and opportunitie: and withall doe little lesse then despise his blessing.

Withall, that order that God annexed to mar∣riage * in his first institution, viz. that married per∣sons should leave father and mother, and cleave each to other, is a good warrant of this practice. For sometime there will be a necessitie, that yong married persons should remove out of their fa∣thers house, and live apart by themselves, and so erect new families. Now what are new families, but pettie Colonies: and so at last removing fur∣ther and further they overflow the whole earth. Therefore, so long as there shall be use of marri∣age, the warrant of deducing Colonies will con∣tinue. *

It is true, that all Gods directions have a dou∣ble scope, mans good, and Gods honour. Now Page  4 that this commandement of God is directed vnto mans good temporall and spirituall, is as cleere as the light. It cannot be denyed but the life of man is every way made more comfortable, and afforded a more plentiful supply in a large scope of ground, which moves men to bee so insatiable in their desires to joyne house to house, and land to land, till there be no more place; exceeding, I grant, therein the measure and bounds of Iustice; and yet building upon a principle that nature sug∣gests, that a large place best assures sufficiency: as we see; by nature, trees flourish faire, and pros∣per well, and waxe fruitfull in a large Orchard, which would otherwise wither and decay, if they were penned up in a little nursery: either all, or at best, a few that are stronger plants and better rooted, would encrease and over-top, and at last, starve the weaker: which falls out in our civill State; where a few men flourish that are best grounded in their estates, or best furnished with abilities, or best fitted with opportunities, and the rest waxe weake and languish, as wanting roome and meanes to nourish them.

Now, that the spirits and hearts of men are kept in better temper by spreading wide, and by * pouring, as it were, from vessell to vessell (the want whereof is alleaged by the Prophet Ieremy as the cause that Moab setled vpon his lees, and got so harsh a relish Ier. 48. 11.) will bee euident to any man, that shall consider, that the husban∣ding of unmanured grounds, and shifting into Page  5 empty Lands, enforceth men to frugalitie, and quickneth invention: and the setling of new States requireth justice and affection to the com∣mon good: and the taking in of large Countreys presents a naturall remedy against couetousnesse, fraud, and violence; when euery man may enjoy enough without wrong or injury to his neigh∣bour. Whence it was, that the first ages, by these helpes, were renowned for golden times, wherein men, being newly entred into their possessions, and entertained into a naked soile, and enforced thereby to labour, frugality, simplicity, and justice, had neither leisure, nor occasion, to decline to idlenesse, riot, wantonnesse, fraud, and violence, the fruits of well-peopled Countryes, and of the abundance and superfluities of long setled States.

But that which should most sway our hearts, * is the respect unto Gods honor, which is much ad∣vanced by this worke of replenishing the earth. First, when the largeness of his bounty is tasted by setling of men in al parts of the world, wherby the extent of his munificence to the sonnes of men is discovered; The Psalmist tells us that God is much magnified by this, that the whole earth is full of his riches, yea and the wide sea too, Psal. 104. 24. 25. And God, when hee would have Abraham know what he had bestowed on him when he gave him Canaan, wills him to walke through it in the length of it, and in the breadth of it, Gen. 13. 17.

Secondly, Gods honour must needs bee much Page  6 advanced, when, together with mens persons, re∣ligion is conveyed into the severall parts of the world, and all quarters of the earth sound with his praise; and Christ Iesus takes in the Nations for his inhenitance, and the ends of the earth for his possession, according to Gods decree and promise. Psal. 2. 8.

Besides all that hath beene said, seeing Gods command, and abilities to performe it, usually * goe together, we may guesse at his intention and will, to have the earth replenished, by the extra∣ordinarie fruitfulnesse that hee gave to mankinde in those first times, when men manifested their greatest forwardnesse for the undertaking of this taske; which seemes to bee denyed to the latter ages, and peradventure for this reason among o∣thers, because the love of ease and pleasure fixing men to the places and Countreyes which they finde ready furnished to their hand, by their pre∣decessors labours and industry, takes from them a desire and will of undertaking such a laborious and unpleasant taske as is the subduing of unma∣nured Countreyes.


But, it may be objected, if God intended now the issuing out of Colonies, as in former ages, hee would withall quicken men with the same heroicall spirits which were found in those times: Which wee finde to be farre otherwise. Although the strong impression up∣on mens spirits that have beene and are stirred up inPage  7this age to this and other Plantations, might be a suffi∣cient answer to this objection, yet we answer further.


Its one thing to guesse what God will bring to passe, and another thing to conclude what hee re∣quires us to undertake. Shall we say that because God gives not men the zeale of Moses and Phi∣neas, therefore hee hath discharged men of the duty of executing judgement. It is true indeed, that God hath hitherto suffered the neglect of many parts of the world, and hidden them from the eyes of former ages; for ends best knowne to himselfe: but that disproves not that the duty of peopling voyd places lyes upon us still, especially since they are discovered and made knowne to us. And, although I dare not enter so farre into Gods secrets, as to affirme, that hee avengeth the neglect of this duty by Warres, Pestilences and Fa∣mines, which unlesse they had wasted the people of these parts of the world, wee should ere this, have devoured one another; Yet it cannot be de∣nyed, but the neare thronging of people together in these full Countreyes, have often occasioned amongst us ciuill Warres, Famines, and Plagues. And it is as true that God hath made advantage of some of these Warres, especially which have laid many fruitfull Countreyes wast, to exercise men in these very labours which employ new Planters; by which he hath reduced them to some degrees of that frugality, industry, and justice,

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Page  10 full states of unnecessary multitudes, or of reple∣nishing wast and voyd Countries; they have a cleare and sufficient warrant from the mouth of God, as immediately concurring with one speci∣all end that God aimed at in the first institution thereof.

But, seeing Gods honour, and glory; and next mens Salvation, is his owne principall scope in this and all his wayes; it must withall bee necessarily acknowledged that the desire & respect unto the publishing of his name where it is not knowne, and reducing men, that live without God in this present world, unto a forme of Piety and godli∣nesse, by how much the more immediately it suites with the mind of God, and is furthest caried from private respects, by so much the more it ad∣vanceth this worke of planting Colonies above all civill and humane ends, and deserves honour, and approbation, above the most glorious Con∣quests, or successefull enterprizes that ever were undertaken by the most renowned men that the Sunne hath seene, and that by how much the sub∣duing of Satan is a more glorious act, then a victory over men: and the enlargement of Christs Kingdome, then the adding unto mens domini∣ons: and the saving of mens soules, then the pro∣vision for their lives and bodies.

It seemes, this end, in plantation, hath beene specially reserved for this later end of the world: Page  11 seeing; before Christ, the Decree of God, that suffered all Nations to walke in their own waies, Acts 14. 16. shut up the Church within the nar∣row bounds of the Promised Land, and so exclu∣ded men from the propagation of Religion to o∣ther Countries. And in the Apostles time, God afforded an easier and more speedy course of con∣verting men to the truth by the gift of tongues, se∣conded by the power of Miracles, to winne the greater credit to their doctrine, which most espe∣cially, and first prevailed upon Countries civili∣zed, as the History of the Apostles Acts makes manifest. As for the rest, I make no question, but God used the same way to other barbarous Na∣tions, which hee held with us, whom hee first Civilized by the Romane Conquests, and mix∣ture of their Colonies with us, that hee might bring in Religion afterwards: seeing no man can imagine how Religion should prevaile upon those, who are not subdued to the rule of Nature and Reason.

Nay, I conceive, God especially directs this worke of erecting Colonies unto the planting and propagating of Religion in the West Indies, (although I will not confine it to those alone) and that for divers Reasons, which ought to be taken into serious consideration, as affording the stron∣gest Motives that can be proposed to draw on the hearts and affections of men to this worke now in hand, for this purpose; which gives occasion unto the publishing of this Treatise.

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Page  14 men in the times appointed by the Law of Mo∣ses, counting them and all they touch uncleane during that time appointed by the Law: whether upon any other ground, or by a tradition recei∣ved from the Iewes, it is uncertaine. Some con∣ceive, their Predecessors might have had some commerce with the Iewes in times past, by what meanes I know not: Howsoever it bee, it fals out that the name of the place, which our late Colony hath chosen for their seat, prooves to bee perfect Hebrew, being called Nahum Keike, by interpre∣tation, The bosome of consolation: which it were pit∣ty that those which observed it not, should change into the name of Salem, though upon a faire ground, in remembrance of a peace setled upon a conference at a generall meeting betweene them and their neighbours, after expectance of some dangerous jarre. Now then, if all nations must have Christ tendred unto them, and the In∣dies have never yet heard of his name, it must fol∣low, that that worke of conveighing that know∣ledge to them, remaines to bee undertaken and performed by this last age.

Againe, what shall we conceive of that almost * miraculous opening the passage unto, and disco∣very of these formerly unknowne nations, which must needs have proved impossible unto former ages for want of the knowledge of the use of the Loadstone, as wounderfully found out as these unknowne Countries by it. It were little lesse Page  15 then impietie to conceive that GOD, (whose Will concurres with the lighting of a Sparrow upon the ground) had no hand in directing one of the most difficult and observeable workes of this age; and as great folly to imagine, that hee who made all things, and consequently orders and directs them to his owne glory, had no o∣ther scope but the satisfying of mens greedy ap∣petites, that thirsted after the riches of that new found world, and to tender unto them the ob∣jects of such barbarous cruelties as the world ne∣ver heard of. Wee cannot then probably con∣ceive that GOD, in that strange discovery, ay∣med at any other thing but this, that, after hee had punished the Atheisme, and Idolatry of those heathen and bruitish Nations, by the Conquerors cruelty, and acquainted them, by mixture of some other people, with civility, to cause at length the glorious Gospell of Iesus Christ to shine out unto them, as it did to our forefathers, after those sharpe times of the bitter desolations of our Nation, betweene the Romanes and the Picts.

A fourth reason, to prove that God hath left * this great, and glorious worke to this age of the world, is the nearnesse of the Iewes conversion; before which, it is conceived by the most, that the fulnesse of the Gentiles must come in, accor∣ding to the Apostles prophesie, Rom. 11. 25. That this day cannot be farre off appeares by the fulfil∣ling of the prophesies, precedent to that great and Page  16 glorious worke, and the generall expectation thereof by all men, such as was found among the Iewes both in Iudea and in some other parts of the world before the comming of Christ in the flesh, now then let it bee granted that the Iewes con∣version is neare, and that the Gentiles, and con∣sequently the Indians must needs bee gathered in before that day; and any man may make the con∣clusion, that this is the houre for the worke, and consequently of our duty to endeavour the effe∣cting that which God hath determined; the ope∣ning of the eyes of those poore ignorant soules, and discovering unto them the glorious mystery of Iesus Christ.