On Nov. 21, 1620 (NS), the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact and began their Plymouth Colony. Five years later, in 1625, the Pilgrims filled two ships with dried fish and beaver skins and sent them back to England to trade for much needed supplies.
Governor William Bradford wrote 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 pinnace was ordered to load with corfish … to bring home to England … and besides she had some 800 lbs. of beaver, as well as other furs, to a good value from the plantation. The captain seeing so much lading wished to put aboard the bigger ship for greater safety, but Mr. Edward Winslow, their agent in the business, was bound in a bond to send it to London in the small ship. … 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 William 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.”
Muslim piracy had dominated the seas.
In 1605, St. Vincent de Paul was sailing from Marseille, France, when he was captured by Muslim Barbary pirates. He was sold into slavery in Tunis, North Africa. Fortunately, after two years St. Vincent de Paul was able to convert his owner to Christianity in 1607.He escaped to Europe where he started religious orders to care for the poor and suffering in hospitals.
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). In it, he told how in 1625, Muslim corsair pirates sailed up the Thames River and raided England. 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. By the end of 1625, over 1,000 English subjects were sent to the slave markets of Sale, Morocco.
In 1627, Algerian and Ottoman Muslim pirates, led by Murat Reis the Younger, raided Iceland, carrying into slavery an estimated 400 from the cities of Reykjavik, Austurland and Vestmannaeyjar.One captured girl, who had been made a slave concubine in Algeria, was rescued back by King Christian IV of Denmark.
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).
Thomas Osborne Davis wrote in his poem, “The Sack of Baltimore” (1895):
The yell of ‘Allah!’ breaks above the shriek and roar;
O’blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore.
By 1640, hundreds of English ships and over 1,500 British subjects were enslaved in Tunis and in 3,000 Algiers.
As centuries passed, the U.S. Navy and Marines fought the Muslim Barbary Pirate Wars, 1801-1805 and 1815, freeing hundreds of American sailors held captive.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America,” 1840, Vol. II, Book 1, Chapter V: “Mohammed brought down from heaven and put into the Koran not religious doctrines only, but political maxims, criminal and civil laws, and scientific theories. The Gospels, on the other hand, deal only with the general relations between man and God and between man and man. Beyond that, they teach nothing and do not oblige people to believe anything. That alone, among a thousand reasons, is enough to show that Islam will not be able to hold its power long in an age of enlightenment and democracy, while Christianity is destined to reign in such age, as in all others.”
Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci interviewed Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979: “Women … cannot study at the university with men, they cannot work with men, they cannot swim in the sea or in a swimming-pool with men. They have to do everything separately, wearing their ‘chador.’ By the way, how can you swim wearing a ‘chador’?”
Ayatollah Khomeini: “None of this concerns you, our customs do not concern you.”
Oriana Fallaci wrote in “The Force of Reason” (2004): “Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam. And Italy is an outpost of that province, a stronghold of that colony. In each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Quran. A stage in the Islamic expansionism.”
The United Nations adopted “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Dec. 10, 1948, recognizing such basic human rights as:
- Freedom of opinion and expression
- Freedom to change religions
- Right to education
- No slavery
- No forced marriages
- No torture
- No inhumane punishment
The leaders of 57 Islamic countries rejected the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, forming their own group called the OIC – Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The OIC passed in 1990 the “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam” affirming Shariah law as supreme, with:
- the death penalty for those leaving Islam
- punishing women who are victims of rape
- allowing men to be polygamous
- permitting wife beating
- censoring speech insulting Islam
Should nations grant freedom of speech and freedom of religion to those whose ultimate goal is to abolish freedom of speech and the freedom of religion?
At the Bicentennial Celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Dec. 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 … and our attachment to those principles of civil and religious liberty, for which they encountered the dangers of the ocean, the storms of heaven, the violence of savages, disease, exile, and famine. … 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 Nov. 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.”
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