William Brewster 


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William Brewster Signing Mayflower Compact

Brewster, WILLIAM, a Pilgrim Father; born in Scrooby, England, in 1560. Educated at Cambridge, he entered the service of William Davidson, ambassador of Queen Elizabeth in Holland. He withdrew from the Church of England and established a society of Separatists. This new society worshipped on Sabbath days at Mr. Brewster's house until persecution began to interrupt them. He, with Mr. Bradford and others, was among those who attempted to fly to Holland in 1607. (See ROBINSON, JOHN.) They were arrested and imprisoned at Boston in Lincolnshire. As Mr. Brewster had the most property, he was the greater sufferer. At much expense he gained his liberty, and then he assisted the poorer members of the church to escape, following them himself soon afterwards. At Leyden he opened a school for teaching the English language, to replenish his exhausted funds, He had then been an elder and teacher for some time. By the assistance of some friends he procured a printing-press, and published several books against the English hierarchy. In Mr. Robinson's church in Leyden Brewster was a ruling elder, and was so highly esteemed that he was chosen the spiritual guide of the "Pilgrims" who emigrated to America. He took with him to the wilderness his wife and numerous children. It was upon the lid of his chest that the political compact was signed on board the Mayflower. At New Plymouth he supplied the vacant pulpit most of the time for nine years, preaching very impressive sermons; but he could never be persuaded to administer the Lord's supper, though he had the care of the church. He died at Plymouth, Mass., April 10, 1644.




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