Upon My Dear and Loving Husband His Going into England, Jan. 16, 1661.
O Thou most high who rulest all,
And hear’st the prayers of thine;
O harken Lord, unto my suit,
And my petition sign.
Into thy everlasting arms,
Of mercy I commend
They servant, Lord. Keep and preserve
My husband, my dear friend.
At thy command, O Lord, he went,
Nor ought could keep him back;
Then let thy promise joy his heart:
O help, and be not slack.
Uphold my heart in Thee, O God,
Thou art my strength and stay;
Thou see’st how weak and frail I am,
Hide not thy face away.
I, in obedience to thy will,
Thou knowest, did submit;
It was my duty so to do,
O Lord, accept of it.
Unthankfulness for mercies past,
Impute Thou not to me;
O Lord, thou know’st my weak desire
Was to sing praise to Thee.
Lord, be Thou pilot of the ship,
And send them prosperous gales;
In storms and sickness, Lord, preserve.
Thy goodness never fails.
Unto thy work he hath in hand,
Lord grant Thou good success
And favor in their eyes, to who
He shall make his address.
Remember, Lord, thy folk who thou
To wilderness hast brought;
Let not thine own inheritance
Be sold away for nought.
But tokens of thy favor give –
With joy send back my dear,
That I, and all thy servants may
Rejoice with heavenly cheer.
Lord, let my eyes see once again
Him whom thou gavest me,
That we may together sing praise
Forever unto Thee.
And the remainder of our days
Shall consecrated be,
With an engaged heart to sing
All praises unto Thee.
The voyage actually set out in 1662. Mr. Bradstreet and the Rev. John Norton traveled to England to seek the protection of the Massachusetts colony following the restoration of Charless II to the throne of England. They were successful in their trip. However, the king did act to re-assert royal authority over the colony: a result which was not wholly popular when they returned home:
December 24, 1661 – John Norton and Simon Bradstreet were selected by a group of magistrates, deputies and church elders on December 24th to be sent to the court of King Charles in London as advocates for the Commonwealth’s interests and liberties. Bradstreet was one of the Governor’s nine Assistants and was one of two Commissioners for the Commonwealth to the United Colonies of New England, while Norton was the Minister of the First Church of Christ in Boston. [The printed edition of Hull’s diary, as well as the edition of the records of the Essex County Court and many entries in the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, edited by Sainsbury use the name Broadstreet whereas several contemporary sources and modern usage are consistent as Bradstreet]. (Hutchinson, History, edited by Mayo, vol. 1, p. 188; Hull, Public Diary, p. 204 and Clarke, Hull, p. 99)
December 31, 1661 – At a special session of the General Court the selections of Bradstreet and Norton as the agents for Massachusetts Bay were confirmed. Also, it was ordered that a letter be drafted to the congregation of the First Church of Christ in Boston imploring them to allow their minster a leave of absence. (Shurtleff, vol. 4, pt. 2, pp. 37-40)
January 11, 1662 – The First Church of Boston consented that their minister the Reverend John Norton should undertake the voyage to England on behalf of the Commonwealth. (Hull, Public Diary, p. 205)
February 1, 1662 – Hull included several details in his diary concerning preparations and events relative to the departure of the delegation. He stated a committee chosen by the General Court spent several days at the end of January:
“preparing, propounding, and concluding the going of the said messengers, during which time the weather hindered the ships sailing. Feb. 1. The said committee went home. The same day or night, Mr. Norton was taken sick, full of pain… Feb.5 … The ship was stopped for five days to see whether Mr. Norton might, in that time, be fit to expose his body to the seas,…”(Hull, Public Diary, p. 205)
February 10, 1662 – Hull stated, “Mr.Norton, Mr. Broadstreet, Mr. Davis, and myself, went on shipboard” in Boston. The next morning they set sail for England. Mr. Davis was Captain William Davis who had been mentioned in Hull’s public diary under 1652 as one of two commissioners (the other being John Leveret) sent to Manhattan to negotiate with the Dutch and whose death was later recorded by Hull in 1676. In the December 31, 1661 special session of the General Court, Captain William Davis had been selected to be part of a four person committee authorized make agreements to procure money for the Commonwealth with the authorization of the General Court. (Hull, Private Diary, p. 153 and Public Diary, p. 205, on Davis see Hull’s Public Diary, pp. 174 and 242; also Clarke, Hull, p. 97, and Shurtleff, vol. 4, pt. 2, pp 39-40)
They were successful in their trip. However, the king did act to re-assert royal authority over the colony: a result which was not wholly popular when they returned home:
June 28, 1662 – King Charles II sent a letter to the Massachusetts Bay delegation of Norton and Bradstreet confirming the Commonwealth’s patent and charter and, “all the privileges and liberties granted unto them in and by the same,” along with an offer to renew the charter whenever the Commonwealth desired it. The letter also pardoned subjects for treasons committed during the interregnum but required the Commonwealth’s laws be reviewed and anything against the King’s authority or government should be annulled and repealed. He also required an oath of allegiance be administered and that freedom and liberty should be allowed to any individuals wishing to follow the practices of the Church of England. This letter was unfavorably received by the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts Bay. The settlers understood their rights to govern and create laws for the colony were being questioned; further they had little toleration for the Church of England or any other non-Puritan sect. The citizens of Massachusetts Bay generally considered the mission to have been a failure. (Hutchinson, History, edited by Mayo, vol. 1, pp. 187-188; the full letter is in Hutchinson Papers, vol. 2, pp. 100-104; Sainsbury, Calendar 1661-1668, pp. 93-94, items 314-315; Crosby, p. 86, quotes a faulty transcription of a document by Edward Randolph from May 28, 1682 that dates this letter to February, see the entry under May 28, 1682 below; all other sources, including the transcription of the letter, give June as the month.)
 Psalm 5:1–2 (AV)
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. 2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
 In light of her husband’s mission, the language of ‘suit’ and ‘petition’ are especially appropriate.
 2 Peter 3:9 (AV) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
 Psalm 54:4 (AV)
4 Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
 Exodus 15:2 (AV)
2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
 There is a level of irony here, in light of her husband’s trip to seek reconciliation with the king of whom the colonist had not been fond.
 Gales, does not mean storm – just winds.
 Psalm 92:1 (AV)
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
See, also, Psalm 98:4, 104:33, 108:3, 125:3, et cetera.