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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

Captain Miles Standish His Temper

By William Hubbard (1621/2–1704)

[Born in Essex, England. Died at Ipswich, Mass., 1704. History of New England. Completed 1680.]

DURING this whole lustre of years, from 1625, there was little matter of moment acted in the Massachusetts, till the year 1629, after the obtaining the patent; the former years being spent in fishing and trading by the agents of the Dorchester merchants and some others of the west country.

In one of the fishing voyages about the year 1625, under the charge and command of one Mr. Hewes, employed by some of the west country merchants, there arose a sharp contest between the said Hewes and the people of New Plymouth, about a fishing-stage, built the year before about Cape Anne by Plymouth men, but was now, in the absence of the builders made use of by Mr. Hewes his company; which the other, under the conduct of Capt. Standish, very eagerly and peremptorily demanded. For the Company of New Plymouth, having themselves obtained a useless patent for Cape Anne about the year 1623, sent some of the ships, which their Adventurers employed to transport passengers over to them, to make fish there; for which end they built a stage there in the year 1624. The dispute grew to be very hot, and high words passed between them; which might have ended in blows, if not in blood and slaughter, had not the prudence and moderation of Mr. Roger Conant, at that time there present, and Mr. Peirce’s interposition, that lay just by with his ship, timely prevented. For Mr. Hewes had barricadoed his company with hogsheads on the stage-head, while the demandants stood upon the land, and might easily have been cut off. But the ship’s crew, by advice, promising to help them build another, the difference was thereby ended. Capt. Standish had been bred a soldier in the Low Countries, and never entered the school of our Saviour Christ, or of John Baptist, his harbinger; or, if he was ever there, had forgot his first lessons, to offer violence to no man, and to part with the cloak rather than needlessly contend for the coat, though taken away without order. A little chimney is soon fired; so was the Plymouth captain, a man of very little stature, yet of a very hot and angry temper. The fire of his passion soon kindled, and blown up into a flame by hot words, might easily have consumed all, had it not been seasonably quenched.