Of Plymouth Plantation

Of Plymouth Plantation Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

The English reformers make a great sacrifice when they migrate to Holland: many of them abandon their families and property. Furthermore, they have little experience with trade, since most of them are farmers. Life in Holland is difficult for the reformers because they’re charged exorbitant rates to travel to their adopted country. One group of reformers tries to set sail for Holland from Lincolnshire, but their captain betrays them and sends them to prison. Later, a Dutchman offers to bring some English reformers to Holland. He allows the men to board the vessel—but then, when he sees that English troops are trying to arrest his passengers, he sets sail, leaving the reformers’ wives behind.
The voyage to Holland represents the reformers’ first experiences with corrupt businesspeople, who take advantage of them in their moment of desperation. Nevertheless, Bradford tends to portray the Dutch in favorable terms throughout the book—notice that, even here, the Dutch captain sails away from the harbor, not because of ill intent but because he doesn’t want to get arrested, and wants to bring as many reformers to Holland as possible. Also note the level of persecution the reformers face in England—they can actually be arrested for their brand of Christianity.
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Bradford says he will not dwell on the details of how the English reformers made their ways into Holland. In the end all the English reformers found their way to Holland, and rejoiced at having a new, tolerant home.
Bradford doesn’t give much information about the migration to Holland, opting for a vague generalization that leaves out the many reformers who did not escape.
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