Signs of the Times

[Editorial in the Boston Transcript, Massachusetts]

Thanksgiving, 1621! What a triumph of faith that festival connoted! To be sure, as John Robinson wrote, the Pilgrim Fathers after their sojourn in Holland were "well weaned from the delicate milk of the mother country;" but after their landing at Plymouth they had to face a winter new to them —long, harsh, and cold, with sickness and famine in constant evidence. They had to learn from the Indians how to plant and grow their corn, which with fish and wild game afforded the staples of their diet. Death thinned their ranks, and for months it must have seemed like a gamble whether or not the little settlement could survive at all. Yet the same faith which drove them to take such risks abided with them and prompted them after their first harvest to set apart a day for thanksgiving. Their material victory over ruthless odds was but a token of their conception of divine Providence, for their ideals emphasized the standard of life rather than any material standard of living. Indeed, their struggle with the wilderness continued hazardous for many years, yet neither their faith nor their gratitude wavered, though a decade passed before the little colony numbered eight hundred.

November 24, 1934

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