The Story of Liberty
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William Bradford and Sherwood Forest
Born in 1590, William Bradford was one of the founders of Plymouth colony in 1620 and a signer of the 
Mayflower Compact. He served as the colony's governor for more than thirty years, and wrote 
"Of Plymouth Plantation," one of 
the first histories of European settlement in the New World, before his death in 1657


IT is well knowne unto the godly and judicious, how ever since the first breaking out of the lighte
 of the gospell in our Honourable Nation of England, (which was the first of nations whom the Lord 
adorned ther with, affter that grosse darknes of popery which had covered and overspred the
 Christian worled,) what warrs and opposissions ever since, Satan hath raised, maintained, and 
continued against the Saincts, from time to time, in one sorte or other. Some times by bloody death 
and cruell torments; other whiles imprisonments, banishments, and other hard usages; as being loath 
his kingdom should goe downe, the trueth prevaile, and the churches of God reverte to their anciente 
puritie, and recover their primative order, libertie, and bewtie. But when he could not prevaile by these 
means, against the maine trueths of the gospell, but that they began to take rootting in many places,
 being watered with the blooud of the martires, and blessed from heaven with a to take him to his 
anciente strategemes, used of old against the first Christians. That when by the bloody and barbarous 
persecutions of the Heathen Emperours, he could not stoppe and subuerte the course of the gospell, but that it speedily overspred with a wounderfull celeritie the then best known parts of the world, He then begane to sow errours, heresies, and wounderfull dissentions amongst the professours them selves, (working upon their pride and ambition, with other corrupte passions incidente to all mortall men, yea to the saints them selves in some measure,) by which wofull effects followed; as not only bitter contentions, and hartburnings, schismes, with other horrible confusions, but Satan tooke occasion and advantage therby to foyst in a number of vile ceremoneys, with many unproffitable cannons and decrees, which have since been as snares to many poore and peaceable souls even to this day. So as in the anciente times, the persecutions by the heathen and their Emperours, was not greater then of the Christians one against other; the Arians and other their complices against the orthodoxe and true Christians. As witneseth Socrates in his 2. booke. His words are these; The violence truly (saith he) was no less than that of ould praetised towards the Christians when they were compelled and drawne to sacri fice to idoles; f or many indured sundrie kinds o f tormente, often rackings, and dismembering oi their joynts; con fiscating o f ther goods; some bereaved of their native soyle; others departed this liie under the hands o f the tormentor; and some died in banishmente, and never saw ther cuntrie againe, etc. 1.

Of Plymouth Plantation