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. 5. What persons may be fit to be employed in this worke of planting a Colony.

IT seemes to bee a common and grosse errour that Co∣lonies ought to be Emunc∣tories or sinckes of States; to drayne away their filth: whence arise often murmu∣rings at the removall of any men of State or worth, with some wonder and admira∣tion, that men of sufficiency and discretion should preferre any thing before a quiet life at home. An opinion that favours strongly of selfe-love, alwaies opposite and enemy to any publike good. This fundamentall errour hath beene the occasion of the miscariage of most of our Colonies, and the chargeable destruction of many of our Country∣men, whom when we have once issued out from Page  34 us we cast off as we say to the wide world, leaving them to themselves either to sinke or swimme.

Contrary to this common custome, a State that intends to draw out a Colony for the inha∣biting of another Country, must looke at the mo∣ther and the daughter with an equall and indiffe∣rent eye; remembring that a Colony is a part and member of her owne body; and such in whose good her selfe hath a peculiar interest, which therfore she should labour to further and cherish by all fit and convenient meanes; and consequently must allow to her such a proportion of able men as may bee sufficient to make the frame of that new formed body: As good Governours, able Ministers, Physitians, Souldiers, Schoolemasters, Mariners, and Mechanicks of all sorts; who had therefore need to bee of the more sufficiency, be∣cause the first fashioning of a politicke body is a harder taske then the ordering of that which is al∣ready framed; as the first erecting of a house is ever more difficult then the future keeping of it in repaire; or as the breaking of a Colt requires more skill then the riding of a managed horse. When the frame of the body is thus formed and furnished with vitall parts, and knit together with firme bands & sinewes, the bulke may be filled up with flesh, that is with persons of lesse use and activity, so they bee plyable and apt to bee kept in life.

Page  35 The disposition of these persons must bee re∣spected as much or more then their abilities; men nourished up in idlenesse, unconstant, and affect∣ing novelties, unwilling, stubborne, enclined to faction, covetous, luxurious, prodigall, and gene∣rally men habituated to any grosse evill, are no fit members of a Colony. Ill humours soone over∣throw a weake body; and false stones in a founda∣tion ruine the whole building: the persons ther∣fore chosen out for this employment, ought to be willing, constant, industrious, obedient, frugall, lovers of the common good, or at least such as may be easily wroght to this temper; considering that workes of this nature try the undertakers with many difficulties, and easily discourage minds of base and weake temper. It cannot, I con∣fesse, be hoped that all should be such; care must be had that the principalls be so inclined, and as many of the Vulgar as may bee, at least that they bee willing to submit to authority; mutinies, which many times are kindled by one person, are well nigh as dangerous in a Colony, as in an Armie.

These are rules concerning electing of fit per∣sons for Colonies in generall, unto which must be adjoyned the consideration of the principall scope whereat the Colonie aimes; which must be Religion, whether it bee directed to the good of others for their conversion; or of the Planters themselves for their preservation and continuance Page  36 in a good condition, in which they cannot long subsist without Religion. To this purpose must be allotted to every Colony, for Governours and Ministers especially, men of piety and blamelesse life, especially in such a Plantation as this in New-England, where their lives must be the patternes to the Heathen, and the especiall, effectuall meanes of winning them to the love of the truth. Nay it would beè indeavoured, that all Gover∣nours offamilies, either may be men truly Godly or at least such as consent and agree to a forme of morall honestie and sobrietie. As for other ends lesse principall, which are especially Mer∣chandise & defence, common sense teacheth eve∣rie man that the Colonie must be furnished with the greatest store of such persons as are most ser∣viceable to the maine end at which it aimes.


But able and godly persons being in some degree supporters of the State that sends them out, by sparing them she seemes to plucke away her owne props, and so to weaken her owne standing, which is against the rule of charitie, that allowes and perswades every man to have the first care of his owne good and pre∣servation.

Page  37


The first, indeed but not the onely care: so I must provide for mine owne family, but not for that alone; But to answer this ob∣jection more fully, which troubles many, and distracts their thoughts, and strikes indeede at the foundation of this worke (for either wee must allow some able men for Civill and Ecclesiasticall affaires for peace and warre, or no Colonie at all: ) First I deny that such as are gone out from the State, are cut off from the State; the rootes that issue out from the Truncke of the Tree, though they be disper∣sed, yet they are not severed, but doe good offices, by drawing nourishment to the maine body, and the tree is not weakned but streng∣thened the more they spread, of which wee have a cleere instance in the Romane State: that Citie by the second Punicke warre had erected thirtie Colonies in severall parts of Italie; and by their strength especially suppor∣ted her selfe against her most potent enemies. I confesse that in places so farre distances New-England from this Land, the case is somewhat different; the intercourse is not so speedy, but it must needs be granted yet, that even those so far remote may be of use and seruice to this State still, as hath beene shewed.

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Page  40 vels, improved not so much by sight as experi∣ence, after the affaires of the Colony were set∣led; what losse were it in lieu of so great a gaine?

Lastly, if we spare men for the advancing of Gods honour, men that doe us service that they may attend Gods service, we have as much reason to expect the supply of our losse, as the repayring of our estates, out of which we spare a portion for our brethrens necessities, or the advancing of Gods worship; by the blessing of God according to his promise.