Bradford, as the historian Samuel Eliot Morrison wrote, then "organized a little F.B.I. of his own. Observing secret meetings and whispering among the malcontents, who were writing long letters to be sent home in the Charity. Bradford and his friends went on board that ship the day she sailed, opened and read a batch of Lyford's letters, and kept some of the more damaging. They found plenty of evidence that the conspirators were about to pull off a revolution at Plymouth and were preparing the London Adventurers to accept it by telling a pack of lies about the Pilgrims."
Bradford wrote about this episode: "The Governor and some other of his friends, knowing how things stood in England and what hurt these things might do, took a shallop and went out with the ship a league or two to sea, and called for all Lyford's and Oldham's letters. Mr. William Peirce being master of the ship (and knew well their evil dealing both in England and here) afforded him all the assistance he could. He found above twenty of Lyford's letters, many of them large and full of slanders and false accusations, tending not only to their prejudice, but to their ruin and utter subversion. Most of the letters they let pass, only took copies of them;" but Bradford sent copies of some of the letters and "kept the originals lest he should deny them."
When it was dark Bradford writes that he returned and watched to see if he had been caught, but he wasn't. Then he says they waited "some weeks" to let things "ripen": "This ship went out towards evening, and in the night the Governor returned. They were somewhat blank at it, but after some weeks when they heard nothing, they then were as brisk as ever, thinking nothing had been known but all was gone current, and that the Governor went but to dispatch his own letters. The reason why the Governor and rest concealed these things the longer was to let things ripen that they might better discover their intents and see who were their adherents."
Bradford then made his move. He and five other Pilgrims brought them to trial. They denied everything. Bradford then began to read Lyfords letters. Oldham started "to rage furiously" and tried to get his confederates to "show their courage" and help him overthrow the government right there but "not a man answered." Lyford then broke down and confessed everything. They were sentenced to leave the colony. Lyford then put on an act. He sobbed and wailed and promised to be loyal. Bradford and the others were softened by this performance and forgave him and revoked his sentence.
"As was Cain"
Acknowledging "That he had done very evil, and slanderously abused them; and, thinking most of the people would take part with him, he thought to carry all by violence and strong hand against them. And that God might justly lay innocent blood to his charge, for he knew not what hurt might have come of these his writings, and blessed God they were stayed. And that he spared not to take knowledge from any, of any evil that was spoken, but shut his eyes and ears against all the good; and if God should make him a vagabond in the earth, as was Cain, it was but just for he had sinned in envy and malice against his brethren as he did. And he confessed three things to be the ground and causes of these his doings: pride, vain-glory, and self-love. Amplifying these heads with many other sad expressions, in the particulars of them. So as they began again to conceive good thoughts of him upon this his repentance, and admitted him to teach amongst them as before; and Samuel Fuller (a deacon amongst them) and some other tenderhearted men amongst them, were so taken with his signs of sorrow and repentance, as they professed they would fall upon their knees to have his censure released."
But soon Lyford wrote another slanderous letter which Bradford's F.B.I. intercepted. Lyford's wife was so ashamed by this time she came forward and explained in detail all of her husband's evil doings. After this he was forced to leave.
Lessons to learn
There are lessons here for us today. We must not be naïve to evil. The Pilgrims would never have made it if they did not act decisively with those who would destroy them. Also they were extremely fair in their dealings. When they were wronged they returned firm action but were never vengeful.
Kate Caffrey wrote, "Bradford now acted in a cloak-and-dagger manner uncommon in his nature ..." when he boarded the ship to read their letters. She is wrong. Perhaps she is speaking as a woman. Women understand least the need for fighting and intelligence gathering. Too many men don't understand this either, especially in the 20th century. Her view shows how we have become weakened since the days of the Pilgrims. Good men are supposed to protect their families and their country from evil men. The rise of evil often comes when good men act weak. The reason there has been so much bloodshed in the 20th century is because good men did not learn the lesson of the Pilgrims and be fearless against evil. Bradford and Standish would have stopped Hitler at the very beginning. That America let England be bombed by the Nazis and did nothing is unconscionable. Our weakness emboldened the Japanese to attack. Now we have degenerated to having women cops and women fighter pilots. America and the world need to learn from our ancestors.
It was not "uncommon in his nature" for Bradford to do as he did. It is an aspect of God that must be understood. It is God's will that his champions defend themselves even if it requires a cloak-and-dagger manner. The liberal criticism of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. are misplaced. We must have a sense of good and evil and see that America and the free world are dealing with liars who work ceaselessly to overthrow us. The proportion of evil the CIA may do is nothing in comparison with the former KGB and our current enemies. We must not dwell on our shortcomings but the terror of evil dictators who still believe in Communism and totalitarianism.
Catholicism is Cain
Plymouth was the first permanent settlement begun by families. Protestantism had secured a foothold. Queen Elizabeth wanted to establish the Anglican version of Protestantism in England. The Puritans wanted to purify Anglicanism of its remaining traces of Catholicism. The most extreme of these decided that they could not remain with it and separated completely. This is the group God chose to lay the foundation for America a pure Protestantism.
Rev. Moon - 1920
Rev. Moon was converted to Protestantism as a boy in Korea. Then he went beyond it. The Messiah was born in 1920, exactly 300 years after the Pilgrims landed.
Pilgrims are Abel, Puritans are Cain
The Pilgrims were much more respectful of other's different views, unlike their neighbors, the Puritans who came 10 years after the Pilgrims and based themselves in Boston. Donovan writes that "The Pilgrims had been Puritans before they left England. They again became Puritans when their colony was absorbed [70 years later] by the larger body and they lost their identity as a distinct group. But at the time they made their pilgrimage to the New World the Pilgrims were completely separate from the English Puritans, who reviled them and considered them dangerous radicals."
Most people mistakenly think the Pilgrims and Puritans were the same. The Pilgrims (Separatists) and the Puritans were Abel to the Cain Church of England. And the Pilgrims were Abel to the Puritans. The Pilgrims were the true pioneers. They showed extraordinary courage and faith and their story of how they overcame all their obstacles is inspiring. We should emulate them even go beyond them. Our foes are far more deadly than Indians. The Soviet Union was the greatest evil ever seen on the face of the earth as Solzhenitzin has said. Today we still have deadly enemies. God is with us as much as He was with the Pilgrims. They built the foundation for America. We are laying the foundation for the ideal world. They never complained. God wants us to never complain, and to be always alert, always working and always serving.