"Our Military Strength is, under God, the appointed means for our preservation, therefore it is a duty to encourage Souldiers," spoke Samuel Nowell in an election sermon to the Massachusetts General Court in 1678. "God can work miracles, but when ordinary means may be had, he will not.... There is such a thing as Liberty and Property given to us, both by the Laws of God and Men, when these are invaded, we may defend our selves."1 God would not have given men arms could they not be used for the working of His Providence.
Military preparedness was a constant fact of life in Plymouth. The Pilgrims had been led to the promised land, and God expected that they clear it of enemies; they had to be on guard and ready to strike out against any one who might threaten their existence. Throughout the history of the colony, the Pilgrims faced war emergency: three Dutch wars, two Indian uprisings, war with France, and always an uneasy Indian truce. It would be expected, therefore, that a degree of militarism would pervade Plymouth life. In the sense that the war crises tempo-