Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my fellow Americans, whether they are at home or, like me, abroad.

I nearly forgot, as it is "just another day" here in Cyprus, and my mind was occupied with all the horrors of the news in this part of the world -- the biggest sectarian slaughter yet in Iraq since the end of the war, the funeral in Beirut of an assassinated cabinet minister and the Palestinians' first Granny Bomber.

There is so much that we have to be thankful for, and I trust our prayers are with those who are enduring so much suffering.

I also have a personal anecdote to share -- and I can't think of a more appropriate place to do so than on this Anglocatholic blog.

As it happens, I am a descendant of one of those Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the Plymouth Colony, and my middle name -- Winslow -- is in honor of him, Edward Winslow.

But I think if Edward knew about my churchmanship, the poor fellow would spin in his grave. You see, he was very much a Cromwell man.

Here is a potted biography of Edward Winslow, from

One of the first to step upon the shores of the new land, Edward Winslow was elected governor of Plymouth in 1633. He was called a printer of London and is believed to be the principal author of Mourt's Relation (1622) and the author of Good News From England, A Relation of Things Remarkable in That Plantation (1624), Hypocrisie Unmasked (1646) and New England's Salamander (1647).

He returned to England several times, and in 1624, his first trip, brought back the first cattle of the colony. In 1635 he was jailed in Fleet Prison, London, for seventeen weeks--persecuted for solemnizing marriages as a magistrate. Winslow was the son of Edward and Magdalene (Oliver) Winslow, and the eldest of five sons, all of whom came to Plymouth. His first wife, Elizabeth Barker "dyed in the first winter," and he remarried Susanna White, widow of William White, a fellow Mayflower passenger and who also died in 1621. Of five known children, Josiah ("Josias") and Elizabeth were the only surviving children mentioned in his will.

Edward Winslow was twenty-five years old when he arrived at Plymouth in 1620, and he was thirty-seven when he became governor some twelve years later. One of only two men to alternate as governor with Bradford (the other being Thomas Prence) during the 1630s and 1640s, he was probably the most aristocratic of the Mayflower passengers in upbringing, and certainly in outlook (his correspondence with Bay Governor Winthrop shows a thorough underlying belief that some by birth were intended to govern).

Winslow became the colony's main emissary to England, and he engaged in numerous diplomatic and trade negotiations with the other New England colonies. In 1646 he was chosen by Governor Winthrop and the Bay Colony magistrates to go to England as their representative to defend the Bay General Court from the charges being made to Parliament by William Vassall and Robert Child .

At the time Bradford ended his History, Edward Winslow was still alive in England, and the last words of the History are "So as he [Winslow] hath now bene absente this 4 years, which hath been much to the weakning of this govermente, without whose consente he tooke these imployments [that is, Parliamentarian service] upon him," a double lament.

While in England for the last time, Winslow accepted employment in Oliver Cromwell's government and in December of 1654 was appointed commissioner, along with Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables, of the ill-fated expedition to the West Indies to capture the island of Hispaniola from the Spanish. After the defeat at Santo Domingo, Edward Winslow died of a fever on the voyage from Hispaniola to Jamaica and was buried at sea. "He fell sick at sea betwixt Domingo and Jamaica and died the eighth day of May, which was about the sixty-first year of his life."


ACC Member said...

I for one am very glad you are Anglican. It's good that you saw the light!

poetreader said...

As it happens, I am descended from William and Susanna White through their son Resolved, who was born on the Mayflower, so, Albion, we would seem to be distant cousins.


Albion Land said...

Eyuh. Recken.