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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Farewell from the “Arbella”

By John Winthrop (1588–1649)

[Written to Mrs. Winthrop from aboard Ship, off Yarmouth, April 3, 1630.]

MY LOVE, MY JOY, MY FAITHFUL ONE, I suppose thou didst not expect to have any more letters from me till the return of our ships; but so is the good pleasure of God, that the wind should not serve yet to carry us hence. He will do all things in his own time, and that shall be for the best in the end. We acknowledge it a great mercy to us, that we went not out to sea on Monday, when the wind was fair for one day; for we had been exposed, ever since, to sore tempests and contrary winds. I praise God, we are all in good health, and want nothing. For myself, I was never at more liberty of body and mind these many years. The Lord make me thankful and wise to improve his blessings for the furtherance of his own work. I desire to resign myself wholly to his gracious disposing. Oh that I had an heart so to do, and to trust perfectly in him for his assistance in all our ways. We find him still going along with us. He hath brought in the heart of the master of our ship to afford us all good respect, and to join with us in every good action. Yesterday he caused his seamen to keep a fast with us, wherein the Lord assisted us and our minister very comfortably; and when five of the clock came, I had respite to remember thee (it being Friday), and to parley with thee, and to meet thee in spirit before the Lord….

I am uncertain whether I shall have opportunity to send these to thee; for, if the wind turn, we shall soon be gone. Therefore I will not write much. I know it will be sufficient for thy present comfort, to hear of our welfare; and this is the third letter I have written to thee, since I came to Hampton, in requital of those two I received from thee, which I do often read with much delight, apprehending so much love and sweet affection in them, as I am never satisfied with reading, nor can read them without tears; but whether they proceed from joy, sorrow, or desire, or from that consent of affection which I always hold with thee, I cannot conceive. Ah, my dear heart, I ever held thee in high esteem, as thy love and goodness hath well deserved; but (if it be possible) I shall yet prize thy virtue at a greater rate, and long more to enjoy thy sweet society than ever before. I am sure thou art not short of me in this desire. Let us pray hard, and pray in faith, and our God, in his good time, will accomplish our desire. Oh, how loath am I to bid thee farewell! but, since it must be, farewell, my sweet love, farewell. Farewell, my dear children and family. The Lord bless you all, and grant me to see your faces once again. Come, (my dear), take him and let him rest in thine arms, who will ever remain,

Thy faithful husband,

Commend my love to all our friends at Castleins, Mr. Leigh and his wife, my neighbor Cole and his wife, and all the rest of our good friends and neighbors, and our good friends at Maplested, when you see them, and those our worthy and kind friends at Assington, etc. My brother Arthur hath carried himself very soberly since he came on shipboard, and so hath Mr. Brand’s son, and my cousin Ro. Sampson. I hope their friends shall hear well of them.
To my very loving Wife, MRS. WINTHROP,
the elder, at Groton, in Suffolk, d’d.