Friday, June 28, 2013

Pilgrim pastor's signature on seditious book

© 2013 Christy K Robinson

Source: Pilgrim Hall Museum, Massachusetts
 My direct ancestor, Rev. John Robinson, 1575-1625, was senior minister to the Separatists who were known, even to themselves, as the Pilgrims. His signature appears in the center panel around the printer's logo in this image of an unauthorized 1605 edition of a book by Sir Edwin Standys. Robinson wrote many papers and books on religion, and was much more evangelical, progressive, and grace-aware than his hard-liner Calvinist colleagues and flock. In his farewell sermon to the departing Pilgrims, he was adamant about giving no offense to others, being slow to take offense, and to be careful of offending God with ungrateful attitude or speech when it seems that things go against us.

His son Isaac Robinson was born in England shortly before the Separatists fled to the Netherlands. Isaac emigrated to Plymouth Colony, Mass., in 1631, and moved around the colony several times. In the late 1650s, though he was not a Quaker, he protested their persecution to his own economic loss in heavy fines. He was assigned to root out heretical Quaker influence, and instead he became "convinced" (converted) of their principles sometime before 1665. At a time when Quakers were fined, whipped, and imprisoned for sharing their beliefs, it looks like they spared Isaac Robinson those punishments. Did they still hold Isaac in high regard because of his father's status in their hearts, even though John had been dead for 40 years?

What a journey of beliefs and principles between father and son, over 60 years' time.

Leiden's Pieterskerk, with the quadrangle of the Jean Pesijnhof
in the foreground. That almshouse replaced the house of
John Robinson in 1683.
Source: Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, Jeremy Bangs.

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