Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving: The Result of Free Enterprise and Prayer

Here is a lesson in free-market capitalism and dependence on God, learned almost 400 years ago, on our very shores. from the book: “The Landing of the Pilgrims” by James Daugherty, published by Landmark Press, 1950.

“1623 – Spring had come. It was March and the frost had come out of the hard ground, leaving soft and wet mud. The last handfuls of corm were being given out in equal rations from the common store. Only the precious seed corn for planting was left. On it depended the settlers’ survival from starvation. The time for third planting was at hand. Each year the Governor divided the common land equally among the families. The sounder church members usually got the best lots. 

Last year this had caused discontent and there had been some grumbling. Some were workers and some were shirkers, but all received equal amounts of food from the common supply. This was taken up at the town meeting. It was decided that each family should keep the crop it raised on its allotted land. Each little farm would be a free enterprise. There would be no common store. Each would work for himself.

The result was wonderful. Each family, even the women and the children, worked in the fields daily from dawn until dark. Every inch of each field was planted and tended. There never had been such a planting. They had no plows, horses, or oxen. With spades and mattocks they loosened the earth, planted two fish in each hill, and dropped in the hard kernels. At night they took turns watching to keep the wolves from digging up the fish. The lean and ragged colonists tended their greening fields with a new pride and energy. The laziness and indifference of “communitie” had vanished like the sea mist before the sun.” 

The story goes on to describe how spring turned to summer. Six weeks went by with no rain. Finally, the pilgrims gathered at the meeting house and prayed for eight hours, non-stop as the sun shone brightly in the “brassy July sky.” That night the rain came “without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degreese in that abundance, as that ye earth was thorowly wete and soaked therwith…the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of faire warm weather, as through His blessing caused a fruitful and liberall harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoyceing. For which mercie (in time conveniente) they also sett aparte a day of thanksgiving.”

Can you believe that this book was common reading material in the public schools?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My husband came to the USA from Canada in 1972 to study. He stayed on a Permanent Visa, we married and this year after almost 40 years in the USA he proudly became a citizen. On Thanksgiving Day I told him this very story and he was surprised that he hadn't heard it before. Our children didn't learn this version in school as I did.