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retirement into the country
master, Brewster's connection with politics and the Court was at an end, and we have only to view him as remaining for some time with Davison to comfort, and, if possible, to assist him.
We now resume Bradford's narrative, which contains the only materials we have for the next seven years of Bradford's life.
“ Afterwards he went and lived in the country, in good esteem among his friends, and the good gentlemen of those parts, especially Brewster's the godly and religious. He did much
son's fall. good in the country where he lived, in promoting and furthering religion : and not only by his practice, and example, and provoking, and encouraging of others, but by procuring of good preachers in all places thereabouts, and drawing on of others to assist and help to forward in such a work ; he himself most commonly deepest in the charge, and sometimes above his ability. And in this state he continued many years, doing the best good he could, and walking according to the light he saw, untill the Lord revealed further unto him. And in the end, by the tyranny of the bishops against godly preachers and people, in silencing the one and persecuting the other,
was a means
he and many more of those times began to look further into particulars, and to see into the unlawfulness of their callings, and the burden of many antichristian corruptions, which both he and they endeavoured to cast off, as they also did.”38
Here is a remarkable instance of the want of specialty which runs through all the writings of Bradford. He does not even inform us to what place Brewster retired; who were the clergymen whom he was a means of introducing into the churches around him; who were the good gentlemen with whom he associated; whence came the resources from which he was able to maintain hospitality, and to do so much good. But the want of greater particularity leads the reader into error. I would not say of Bradford, who appears to have been a very honest man, that there is suppressio veri ; but he leaves us with the impression that Brewster had an independent fortune, and led a life without occupation, and that his whole time was devoted to the study of sacred things, and to acts of benevolence and devotion, when in reality the fact was much otherwise.
That Scrooby was the place to which he removed,
38 Young, p. 465.
has been already shown; it is also shown who were some of the clergy with whom he must have associated : and I have now to add what has not before been surmised, that his life in this the active period was not one of meditation only, and acts of voluntary exertion, but that he held an important office at Scrooby, which must have made large demands upon his thoughts and time for things which were purely secular : and which brought to him a certain annual income, perhaps the best part of his revenues. This Bradford has not told us.
I have already stated that Scrooby was a post-town on the great road from London to Berwick. It communicated with Tuxford on the south, and Doncaster on the north. It occurred to me when casting about for any possible source of information respecting this principal person in the movement, that this being the case, if any accounts of the Post-mastergeneral of the time when Brewster lived were in existence, something might be found in
Receives the them respecting him. Such accounts do appointment
of Post-mas. exist: and in them I found not a few terey casual notices of Brewster as an inhabitant of Scrooby, but that he himself held for many years the office of
Post-master, or Post, as the term then was, at Scrooby
The earliest accounts of the Post-master-general now known to exist are those of Thomas Randolph, which begin in 1566, and after him of Sir John Stanhope, who was appointed to the office by letters patent bearing date at Westminster, June 20th, in the thirtysecond year of Elizabeth, 1590. Unfortunately, Randolph's accounts do not present us with the names of the Post-masters on the road, nor do those of Sir John Stanhope for the first four years of his tenure of the office. But in his account declared before Lord Burghley, the Lord High Treasurer, and Sir John Fortescue, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the last day of March, 1597, for the three preceding years, the names of the Post-masters at the different stages on the great roads are all set forth, and so continued to be for all the time that Sir John Stanhope held the office.
In this account, from April, 1594, to April, 1597, occurs the following entry :
“ William Brewster, Post of Scrooby, for his ordinary wages serving her Majesty all the time aforesaid at 20d. per diem, £91. 6s. 8d.”
Sir John Stanhope next accounts for the two years
h the same entry of the
April 1st, 1597, to March 31st, 1599. Here we have the same entry of the payment to Brewster of £60. 16s. 8d.
Again he accounts for the three years from April 1st, 1599, to March 31st, 1602, with the same entry of the payment to Brewster of £91. 68. 8d.
Sir John Stanhope accounts again, being then Lord Stanhope, from April 1st, 1602, to March 31st, 1605. Here we find that the daily wages of Brewster had been advanced from 20d. to 28. a day, from the 1st of July, 1603, as expressed in the following entry :
“ William Brewster, Post of Scrooby, for his wages as well at 20d. per diem for 456 days, begun the 1st of April, 1602, and ended the last of June, 1603, £38.: as also at 2s. per diem for 640 days, begun the 1st of July, 1603, and ended the last of March, 1605, £102.”
The next account is for two years, viz. from April 1st, 1605, to March 31st, 1607. Brewster receives £73.
The latest account in which Brewster's name occurs is that from April 1st, 1607, to March 31st, 1609:
“William Brewster, Post of Scrooby, for his wages at 2s. per diem for 183 days, begun the 1st of April,