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myself and many others, well-wishers and adventurers in this our plantation, to yourself and the rest of your good company, of whose safe arrival being now thoroughly informed by your letters, bearing date the 13th Sept. last, which came to my hands the 13 this instant February, we do not a little rejoice; and to hear that my good cousin, your wife, were perfectly recovered of her health would be an acceptable news to us all; which God grant in his good time that we may. Meanwhile, I am, in the behalf of our whole company (which are much enlarged since your departure out of England), to give you hearty thanks for your large advice contained in this your letter, which I have fully imparted unto them, and, farther, to give proof that they intend not to be wanting by all good means to further the plantation ; to which purpose (God willing) you shall hear more at another time, and that speedily; there being one ship bought for the company of — tons, and two others hired of two hundred tons each of them, one of nineteen, and one of — pieces of ordnance, besides not unlike but one other vessel shall come in company with these; in all which ships, for the general stock and property of the adventurers, there is likely to be sent thither twixt two and three hundred persons (we hope to reside there), and about one hundred head of cattle. Wherefore, as I wrote you in full, and sent by Mr. Allerton, of New Plymouth, in November last, so the desire of them is, that you would endeavor to get convenient housing, fit to lodge as many as you can, against they do come; and, withal, what beaver, or other commodities, or fish, if the means to preserve it can be gotten ready, to return in the aforesaid ships. And likewise wood, if no better lading be to be had; that you would endeavor to get in a readiness what you can, whereby our ships, whereof two are to return back directly hither, may not come wholly empty. There hath not been a better time for sale of timber these two seven years than at present; and, therefore, pity these ships should come back empty, if it might be made ready, that they need not stop one day for it: otherwise, men's wages and victuals, together with the ships, will quickly rise too high, if to be reladen with wood, and that the same be not ready to put aboard as soon as the ships are discharged of their outward lading. I wish also that there be some sassafras and sassaparilla sent us, as also good store of sumac, if there to be had, as we are informed there is. The like do I wish for a ton weight at least of silk-grass, and of aught else that may be useful for dyeing or in physic; to have some of each sent, and advice given withal what store of each to be had there, if vent may be found here for it. Also, I hope you will have some good sturgeon in a readiness to send us; and, if it be well cured, two or three hundred thereof would help well towards our charge. We are very confident of your best endeavors for the general good; and we doubt not but God will in mercy give a blessing upon our labors; and we trust you will not be unmindful of the main end of our plantation, by endeavoring to bring the Indians to the knowledge of the gospel, which that it may be speedier and better effected, the earnest desire of our whole company is, that you have diligent and watchful eye over our own people; that they live unblameable and without reproof, and demean themselves justly and courteous towards the Indians, thereby to draw them to affect our persons, and consequently our religion; as also to endeavor to get some of their children to train up to reading, and consequently to religion, while they are young: herein, to young or old, to omit no good opportunity that may tend to bring them out of that woful state and condition they now are in; in which case our predecessors in this our land sometimes were, and but for the mercy and goodness of our good God might have continued to this day; but God, who, out of the boundless ocean of his mercy, hath showed pity and compassion to our land, he is all-sufficient and can bring this to pass which we now desire in that country likewise. Only let us not be wanting on our parts, now we are called to this work of the Lord; neither, having put our hands to the plough, let us look back, but go on cheerfully, and depend upon God for a blessing upon our labors, who, by weak instruments, is able (if he see it good) to bring glorious things to pass.
“Be of good courage, go on, and do worthily, and the Lord prosper your endeavor.
" It is fully resolved, by God's assistance, to send over two ministers, at the least, with the ships now intended to be sent thither; but, for Mr. Peters, he is now in IIolland, from whence his return hither I hold to be uncertain. Those we send shall all be by the approbation of Mr. White, of Dorchester, and Mr. Davenport. For whatsoever else you have given advice, care shall be taken, God willing, to perform the needful, as near as we can, and the times will permit; whereof, also, you may expect more ample advertisement in their general letter, when God shall send our ships thither. The course you have taken in giving our countrymen their content of planting tobacco there for the present their necessity considered) is not disallowed; but we trust in God other means will be found to employ their time more comfortable, and profitable also in the end; and we cannot but generally approve and commend their good resolution to desist from the planting thereof, when as they shall descern how to employ their labors otherwise, which we hope they will be speedily induced unto, by such precepts and examples as we shall give them. And now, minding to conclude this, I may not omit to put you in mind, however you seem to fear no enemies there, yet that you have a watchful eye for your own safety, and the safety of all those of our nation with you, and not to be too confident of the fidelity of the savages. It is an old proverb, yet as true, the burnt child dreads the fire. Our countrymen have suffered by their too much confidence in Virginia. Let us by their harms learn to beware; and as we are commanded to be innocent as doves, so withal we are enjoined to be wise as serpents.
The God of heaven and earth preserve and keep you from all foreign and inland enemies, and bless and prosper this plantation to the enlargement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, to whose merciful protection I commend you and all your associates there, known or unknown. And so, till my next, which shall be (God willing) by our ships, who I make account will be ready to set sail from hence about the 20th of this next month of March, I end, and rest, Your assured loving friend and cousin,
MATHEW CRADOCK. From my house in Swithin's Lane, near London Stone, this 16th
February, 1628, stilo Anglicæ.
The confidence felt by the “Court” in Mr. Cradock's judgment was evinced by putting him first on that Committee which was to divide and apportion the lands in New England, thus deciding how and where the first settlements should take place. He did all he could to get the fleet in readiness to sail. On the morning of the 29th March, 1630, when the vessels were lying at Cowes, he made a visit to his friends, and consulted with them on the expediency of sailing on Easter Monday. Hubbard says: “ They were advised so to do by Mr. Cradock (who was that morning on board the ‘Arbella'), the late Governor, and owner of the two last ships.” Gov. Winthrop says: “ Mr. Cradock was aboard the ‘Arbella.' We came to council. Mr. Cradock presently went back, our captain giving him three shots out of the steerage for a farewell.” This gentleman, wise, good, zealous, honored, and rich, may be regarded, before any other individual, as the FOUNDER OF MEDFORD. There is no record of settlements earlier than those connected with him.
He was singularly cautious in selecting his workmen ; and such an extensive establishment for fishing as he designed, supposes many collateral branches of trade. In 1631, his agent, Mr. Davison, had become so settled as to build a ship on the bank of the Mystick. The place probably was where Mr. Calvin Turner built his first ship, or at Rock Hill. Providing his fishermen with vessels as fast as possible must have made Medford a place of brisk trade and commercial consequence. These first movements of Mr. Cradock here were in keeping with his expansive mind and great wealth. We have proof of his wide enterprise in the following record : “Feb. 1, 1634: Mr. Cradock's house at Marblehead was burnt down about midnight before, there being in it Mr. Allerton and many fishermen, whom he employed that season.
He wasstensive Jlateral brome so Stace probat. Ro
er men with vet brisk tradela. Cradock Providing. Med ford first move
Mr. Allerton fished with eight boats.” Jossylyn speaks of Mr. Cradock's plantation, in 1638, “on the west of Mystick River, where he has impaled a park ;” unquestionably the first park for deer impaled in this country.
In 1630, Mr. Cradock provides a man (Richard Waterman), “whose chief employment,” he says to his men at Medford, “ will be to get you good venison.” The Company in England say (April 17, 1629), “William Ryall and Thomas Brude, coopers and cleavers of timber, are entertained by us in halves with Mr. Cradock, our Governor.”
To express their sense of the value of Mr. Cradock's services for the Colony, the General Court, held at Newton, March 4, 1634, make him a grant of land in the following words: “All the ground, as well upland as meadow, lying and being betwixt the land of Mr. Nowell and Mr. Wilson on the east, and the partition betwixt Mistick bounds on the west, bounded with Mistick River on the south, and the Rocks on the north, is granted to Mr. Mathew Cradock, merchant, to enjoy to him and his heirs for ever.”
Some of the earliest grants of land were made before any boundary lines of towns were fixed.
“March 3, 1635: Ordered that the land formerly granted to Mr. Cradock, merchant, shall extend one mile into the country from the river-side in all places.” This tract is supposed to have embraced three thousand five hundred acres.
In proof of this gentleman's profound attachment to the Puritan enterprise, we will here quote a few sentences from the “ First Letter of the Governor and Deputy of the New England Company for a Plantation in Massachusetts Bay, to the Governor and Council for London's Plantation in the Massachusetts Bay, in New England.” April 17, 1629 : Many men and various articles for trade and use having been sent from London, the letter says:
“We pray you give all good accommodation to our present Governor, Mr. Mathew Cradock, who, with some particular brethren of the company, have deeply engaged themselves in their private adventures in these ships, and those to come; and as we hold these men, that thus deeply adventure in their private, to be (under God) special instruments for the advancing and strengthening of the plantation, wbich is done by them without any charge to the company's general stock, wherein, notwithstanding, they are as deep or deeper engaged than any other.
“We have sent six shipwrights, of whom Robert Moulton is
chief. These men's entertainment is very chargeable to us; and by agreement it is to be borne two-thirds at the charge of the general company, and the other one-third is to be borne by Mr. Cradock, our Governor, and his associates interested in a private stock. We hope you will be careful to see them so employed as may countervail the charge, desiring you to agree with Mr. Sharp that their labor may be employed two-thirds for the general company, and onethird for Mr. Cradock and his associates; praying you to accommodate said Mr. Cradock's people in all fitting manner, as he doth well deserve.
“Our Governor, Mr. Cradock, hath entertained (paid the expenses of) two gardeners, one of which he is content the company shall have use of, if need be."
In a second letter, from the same source, directed to the same persons, under date of May 28, 1629, we find the following statements : —
“ The cattle now and formerly sent have been all provided by the Governor, Mr. Cradock, except the three mares that came out of Leicestershire.
“ The provisions for building of ships, as pitch, tar, rosin, oakum, old ropes for oakum, cordage, and sail-cloth, in all these ships, with nine firkins and five half-barrels of nails in the · Two Sisters,' are two-thirds for the company in general, and one-third for the Governor, Mr. Cradock, and his partners; as is also the charge of one George Farr, now sent over to the six shipwrights formerly sent."
These extracts show the deep enthusiasm of Mr. Cradock in the New England enterprise. He went into it heart and purse. He adopted Medford as his head-quarters; and here he made his first settlement, here opened his business of ship-building and fishing, and here placed an agent to execute his plans. The most sagacious and wealthy merchant of the company could not have made a wiser choice. To Medford he directed his thoughts, in Medford he expended his money, and for the prosperity of Medford he devoutly prayed. Our infant town could not have had a better father.
He may have first stopped opposite Winthrop's farm, at Ten Hills, and there done something in the fishing business ; but we very soon find him, by his agent, engaged in building a bridge across Mistick River, at the place where “the great bridge” now stands. There could have been no motive for his building such a bridge, at such a time, and at his own expense, unless his men and business were in that neighborhood. That his operations were not confined to one spot