- when things were bad they would have days of prayer;
- when things were real bad they would have days of fasting; and
- when things turned around they would have days of thanksgiving.
On NOVEMBER 21, 1620 (NS), the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact and began their Plymouth Colony.
Of the 102 Pilgrims, only 47 survived till Spring.
At one point, only a half dozen were healthy enough to care for the rest.
In the Spring of 1621, the Indian Squanto came among them, and showed them how to catch fish, plant corn, trap beaver, and was their interpreter with the other Indian tribes.
Governor William Bradford described Squanto as "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation."
"The settlers ... began to plant their corn, in which service Squanto stood them in good stead, showing them how to plant it and cultivate it.
He also told them that unless they got fish to manure this exhausted old soil, it would come to nothing ...
In the middle of April plenty of fish would come up the brook ... and (he) taught them how to catch it."
Pilgrim Edward Winslow recorded in Mourt's Relation that in the Fall of 1621:
"God be praised we had a good increase ...
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.
They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week.
... At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted,
and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others.
Bradford described the same event:
"And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc.
Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion."
Dutch historian Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs (Ph.D. Leiden, 1976), in his article "1621: A Historian Looks Anew at Thanksgiving," documented that Jan Orlers, a friend of Pilgrim elder William Brewster, wrote of Leiden's Thanksgiving for Spain being driven out:
Also in Leiden was a community of persecuted Jews who had been exiled from Spain.
Beginning in 1575, at the University of Leiden, students were taught Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac by a rabbi, just as Pilgrim elder William Brewster taught students English.
Pilgrims identified with Jews, who fled from Pharaoh across the Red Sea in search of their Promised Land, as the Pilgrims fled from the King of England across the sea in search of their Promised Land.
The Israelites had self-government, called the Hebrew Republic, for four hundred years before they asked for a king. This example of self-government inspired the Puritan Reformers and the Pilgrim separatists.
Protestant scholars who studied the Hebrew Republic were called Christian Hebraists.
Historian Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs explained how Pilgrims thanked God:
"Our knowledge of the 1621 Thanksgiving comes from Winslow and Bradford.
Winslow's choice of words, understood by his contemporaries, implies to us that the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for their preservation and for the plenty that gave hope for the future.
"When Winslow described the Pilgrims' intention, 'after a more special manner to rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors,' he was alluding to John 4: 36 and to Psalm 33.
On November 9, 1621, 37 new Pilgrims arrived from England on the ship Fortune.
The joy of greeting this second group of Pilgrims was quickly dampened when it was discovered they brought with them no food or supplies.
This resulted in the second winter having a "starving time," where at one point, each person was rationed just five kernels of corn a day.
In 1622, the friendly Indian Chief Massasoit became ill.
Pilgrim leader Edward Winslow visited and doctored him.
He thankfully regained health, which contributed to a peace which lasted over 50 years.
Two years after the Pilgrim landing, there was a drought in 1623. Edward Winslow recorded in Alexander Young’s Chronicles of the Pilgrims (Boston, 1841):
Their attitude was:
After the Pilgrims prayed and fasted, Governor Bradford wrote:
"Afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing.
For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine now God gave them plenty - for which they blessed God.
Decades later, a thanksgiving proclamation was issued by the Governing Council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, June 20, 1676:
"The Council has thought meet to appoint ... day of solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God ...
that the Lord may behold us as a people offering praise and thereby glorifying Him;
the Council doth commend it to the respective ministers, elders and people of this jurisdiction; solemnly and seriously to keep the same beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."
Ben Franklin wrote of the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving (The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin, editors Mark & Jo Ann Skousen, Regnery, 2006, p. 331):
"There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civiliz'd people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country.
Being so piously dispos'd, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer.
Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many dispos'd to return to the Egypt which persecution had induc'd them to abandon ..."
"At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remark'd that the inconveniences they suffer'd,
and concerning which they had so often weary'd heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthen'd; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence;
... He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation;
and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they ow'd to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving.
His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observ'd circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed."
On January 10, 1963, Rep. Albert S. Herlong, Jr., of Florida, read into the Congressional Record, (Vol 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, pp. A34–A35), 45 tactics communists that were being used, including:
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under communist attack ...
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV ...
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.”
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc ...
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
Socialist infiltration tactics utilized a process called "deconstruction," as in Howard Zinn's A Peoples' History of the United States, and in The New York Times' 1619 Project,
Deconstruction is a cultural gene-replacement therapy, where the old identity is removed and replaced with a new identity:
1) the younger generation of students are separated from the country's past by the negative portrayal of the country's founders.
This was explained by the Communist Party Education Workers Congress in 1918:
"We must create out of the younger generation a generation of communists. We must turn children, who can be shaped like wax, into real, good communists ... We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them."
2) Students are then moved into a neutral point of view where they are open-minded to other belief systems.
Karl Marx is attributed with the statement:
"Take away the heritage of a people and they are easily conquered."
Frederick Engels wrote in Capital, Volume II (1885):
"It was Marx who had first discovered the great law of motion of history ...
All historical struggles, whether they proceed in the political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological domain, are ... struggles of social classes ...
Commenting on Marx's socialist deconstruction, U.S. Senate Peter Marshall stated (20 Centuries of Great Preaching Vol. 12 Waco: Word, 1971 p. 11-19):
"There was a time in these United States when youth was inspired by (heroes) ... Along with the ponderous Family Bible on the Victorian table and the hymn books on the old-fashioned square piano, there looked down from the walls the likenesses of our national heroes ...
"Then there dawned the day when the pictures of Washington and Lincoln did not fit in with our concept of modern décor ... The old Family Bible looked embarrassingly out of place ... So the pictures and the Bible were often relegated to the Attic of Forgotten Things ...
Along with our higher education came a debunking contest. This debunking became a sort of national sport ... It was smarter to revile than to revere ... more fashionable to depreciate than to appreciate.
"But we failed to realize that when we were denying the existence of great men, we were also denying the desirability of great men.
So now, many of our children have grown up without the guiding star ... holding in their hands only a bunch of ... question marks, with no keys with which to open the doors of knowledge and life ...
Thus, our debunking is ... a sign of decaying foundations of character to the individual and in the national life."
Franklin Roosevelt stated in his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, October 31, 1939:
President John F. Kennedy proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day, October 28, 1961:
"More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored.
Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter.
Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.
... We give thanks ... for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children's children ...
I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England Thanksgiving,
thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man's efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God."
Another Pilgrim story often overlooked occurred in 1625.
The Pilgrims filled two ships with dried fish and beaver skins and sent them back to the "merchant adventurers" in England, to trade for more needed supplies.
Governor William Bradford recorded in his History of the Plymouth Settlement 1608-1650 (rendered in Modern English by Harold Paget, 1909, ch. 6, p. 165-7):
"The adventurers ... sent over two fishing ships ...
... The captain of the big ship ... towed the small ship at his stern all the way over.
So they went joyfully home together and had such fine weather that he never cast her off till they were well within the England channel, almost in sight of Plymouth.
... But even there she was unhapply taken by a Turkish man-of-war and carried off to Saller (Morocco), where the captain and crew were made slaves ...
Thus all their hopes were dashed and the joyful news they meant to carry home was turned to heavy tidings ..."
Governor Bradford continued:
"In the big ship Captain Myles Standish ... arrived at a very bad time ... a plague very deadly in London ...
The friendly adventurers were so reduced by their losses last year, and now by the ship taken by the Turks ... that all trade was dead."
In 1605, St. Vincent de Paul was sailing from Marseille, France, when he was captured by Muslim Barbary pirates.
Between 1606-1609, Muslim pirates from Algiers captured 466 British and Scottish ships.
Giles Milton wrote White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa's One Million European Slaves (UK: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2004).
They attacked the coast of Cornwall, captured 60 villagers at Mount's Bay and 80 at Looe. Muslims took Lundy Island in Bristol Channel and raised the standard of Islam.
In 1631, the entire village of Baltimore, Ireland, was captured by Muslim pirates, led by Murat Reis the Younger. Only two ever returned. (Des Ekin, The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates, O'Brien Press, 2006).
At the Bicentennial Celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, December 22, 1820, Daniel Webster declared:
"We have come to this Rock, to record here our homage for our Pilgrim Fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labors ...
... We feel that we are on the spot where the first scene of our history was laid; where the hearths and altars of New England were first placed; where Christianity, and civilization ... made their first lodgment, in a vast extent of country, covered with a wilderness."
Governor William Bradford wrote of the Pilgrims:
"They shook off the yoke of anti-christian bondage, and as ye Lord's free people, joined themselves (by a covenant of the Lord) into a church estate, in ye fellowship of ye Gospel, to walk in all his ways, made known or to be made known unto them, according to their best endeavors, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them."
On November 12, 1620, the first full day in the New World, Governor Bradford described the Pilgrims' thankfulness:
"Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element."
Pilgrim elder William Brewster commented:
"The church that had been brought over the ocean now saw another church, the first-born in America, holding the same faith in the same simplicity of self-government under Christ alone."
--Read as PDF ... Pilgrim Thanksgiving "God be praised we had a good increase ... Our harvest being gotten in"