Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pilgrim Profile: Edward Winslow - "The Diplomat of Plymouth Colony"

posts in this series: 
part 1: Myles Standish
part 2: William Brewster
part 3: William Bradford
part 4: Edward Winslow

We continue our series of Pilgrim profiles by discussing Edward Winslow (1595 - 1655) - "The Diplomat of Plymouth Colony."

From Americana magazine:

Edward Winslow, born in Worcestershire, England, October 18, 1595, had charge of the commercial transactions of the colony. He negotiated the first treaty with the Indians and won their respect and affection, curing Massasoit of an illness. The treaty then made remained intact until it was broken by King Philip in 1675. Winslow conducted the first embassy to the Indians, which was also the first attempt of the English to explore the interior. He sailed for England in September, 1623, and prepared for publication his “Good Newes from New England,” which was the means of drawing attention to the colony. On his return to Plymouth in the spring of 1624, he imported the first neat-cattle into New England. At the election in that year he was chosen assistant governor, in which office he was continued until 1647, excepting 1633, 1636 and 1644, when he was chosen governor. The Adventurers in London sent John Lyford, a preacher, to Plymouth, who wrote letters full of slander and falsehoods to the people in England. Winslow in the summer of 1624 again sailed for England to refute these charges, and with evidence that banished Lyford from the colony.

While Winslow was governor, the Court of Associates enacted the elaborate code of laws and statutes that placed the government on a stable foundation. In the establishment of the United Colonies of New England he was a commissioner from his colony. His book, “Hypocrisie Unmasked,” was a complete vindication of the accusations of religious intolerance that was brought against the colonists by Samuel Gorton and others of England.

Winslow advocated the civilization and conversion of the Indians. 

Winslow advocated the civilization and conversion of the Indians, and published an address to Parliament upon the subject; and by his influence an act was passed incorporating the Society for Propagating the Gospel in New England. The society was under the direction of the Church of England, and still exists. Governor Winslow in the middle of the seventeenth century returned to England. He was appointed by the government, in 1654, to adjust the claims against Denmark for losses to English shipping. When [Oliver] Cromwell planned an expedition against the Spaniards in the West Indies, he appointed Winslow head commissioner.The army was defeated at San Domingo, and the fleet sailed for Jamaica, but on the passage Governor Winslow died on May 8, 1655, and was buried at sea. The only authentic portrait of any of the Pilgrim fathers is the one of Governor Winslow painted in London in 1651, and now preserved at Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

"Beginnings of New England," Americana (American Historical Magazine): Volume 13 (New York: The American Historical Society,  January, 1919 - December, 1919), 222, 223.

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