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FOR CONSCIENCE' SAKE
P in the loft of a large barn, John Robinson
was teaching his people. He held his Bible in his hand,
but he could not see to read it, for only the pale moon
lighted the loft. They knew many chapters of the Bible,
however, and repeated one softly.
Suddenly they heard voices outside. "I saw two men go into this barn,"
said one soldier.
"And I saw a woman and two children," said another. "I
believe they are meeting for worship. Let us find out. Come,
Up in the loft the people heard and trembled. The men tried
to hide the women and children in safe places, then turned
to face the soldiers.
Up the old stairs they came. "We have found you at
last," they cried. "Come
So the men were taken away to prison and their
families returned to their lonely homes.
After a few weeks the prisoners were set free; but still
they would not attend the king's church.
Many times they were put in prison, and some
of their homes were burned. They were very,
One day the men of the little church met to
talk about their troubles and plan some way to
 "It will never be safe to worship God in our own way here.
Even now three of our friends are in prison, and the rest of
us may be there by night," said one.
"I fear we must leave England," said their pastor, "yet I do
not know where we could go to be free. We should be in just
as great danger in many other countries."
"You know I spent several years in Holland, when I was a
young man," said Elder Brewster. "There every one is free to
worship as he likes, and so many people come from France,
England, and Spain. The Dutch are glad to have honest people
from any land make homes in their country."
Then he told them about the fine free schools in Holland,
where they could send their children; and about the fishing
fleets, the beautiful cities, and the great silk and woolen
mills where they could all find work.
Holland was not very far from England, so it would not cost
as much to go there as to some other places. After thinking
about it for some time, it was decided that all who could
would go to Holland in the autumn.
All summer they quietly planned how to leave England. They
dared not speak of it openly for fear the king's men might
hear and put them in prison again, for King James was not
willing they should find homes in another country.
 When autumn came, the crops had been gathered and sold. The
men had sold their horses and cattle, their homes and nearly
all of their furniture. Their clothing and a few other
things were packed in boxes, and at last they were ready to
start on their journey.
It made them very sad to leave England. They loved their
country. They loved their green fields and pleasant village
and the homes where they had once been so happy.
"We are Pilgrims now," they said, "and we will wander on
until we find a home where we can be free and happy."