If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath                                                                                                                                                                     Psalm 34:18 (The Message)

On the surface, attitude is the way we transmit our mood to others. If we are feeling good, we likely will show that to others by the way we interact, both verbally and non-verbally. So too is the fact that if we are feeling angry or depressed, that also will come across in our attitude. Now, what attitude do you think people are drawn to?

Of course, people who are upbeat, smiling and friendly are natural magnets for others. On the other hand, there are many people who struggle with depression who are NOT feeling upbeat and positive. They struggle to put on a smile, engage others, or maybe to even offer a few words to others. They are feeling depressed, and find that it is an effort to just get out of the house, much less engage other people.

People who are depressed tend to isolate from others. Unfortunately, this can bring on a spiral of social isolation which just adds to the depression. Further, if a person who is depressed tries to keep “faking it” to fit in, this becomes not only wearisome, but disingenuous. Putting on a mask to be with other people is a burden that does not get easier with time. It is just that- a burden.

It is not a simple matter of merely advising a person with depression to “just shake it off”. If it were that easy, no one would be depressed. Rather, people who are depressed need understanding and connection from safe and caring others.

Tomorrow, more on this.

Prayer: Lord, give us sensitivity for those around us who suffer, Amen

Joseph Shepherd Chs. 48-51

Part II  – 20 Years Later, 1646

Chapter 48

Much had transpired over the years as my family grew. Anna was now over 19 years old and her older step-brother, Jacob, was now a fine young man of 25. He learned to love the sea, and he was sailing under the tutelage of his “uncle” Edwin. Edwin, now just over 60 years old, was still venerated as a sailing man. He had captained numerous trips between England and America, and was the most trusted captain on those routes.

Captain Braden had died over 15 years ago when another bout of smallpox swept into our area, now known as Boston. Albert Adams was still living with Henry Adams and his family, having actually shown some progress in his seizure problems. Shepherd was keeping us apprised of medical advances on the Continent, and I suspected that these advances were actually his own ideas which he attributed to the “growing medical and scientific community” in Europe at the time.  Shepherd had instructed Albert to get plenty of rest, and to take the powdered Bacopa Leaf which he had sent to us many years ago. Albert showed enough improvement that he was able to help take care of some of the children in the community while parents worked in the fields, fished, hunted, etc. In fact, it was in the care of Albert Adams that his nephew John met my little Anna. Lifelong childhood friends, they married in 1645, and made Margaret and me grandparents in 1646 with a son named John.

Chepi and Kelley had no more children, having lost 2 in childbirth. Chepi nearly succumbed with the last child she lost, but survived by clearly the grace of God. Kimi ran off with a French trapper when she was just over 15 years old. Kelley, worried for her safety, tracked them down over a period of almost 6 months, almost losing his health over the ordeal. When he caught up with the trader, he saw that Kimi had been abused by him, and had miscarried a child herself. Beside himself with rage, Kelley engaged the much younger man in a fight. The details of this encounter have changed somewhat over the years, with the account of Kimi and Kelley differing just a little as to how the fight played out. There was no disagreement over the final result, which ended with the trader, Lehane they called him, bleeding badly and with a bone protruding from his forearm, running as best he could into the woods. He was found some weeks later by some Algonquin warriors who finished the encounter that Kelley had started. Chepi had kept her contacts in the Algonquin community, and justice seemed to happen somehow when Chepi was in need.


  Shepherd was a faithful writer, and we exchanged letters very regularly. His writings in fact were voluminous and detailed- the reason that I am able to convey his adventures. His journeys and his work always seemed to involve the leaders in Europe’s scientific and political communities.

Upon his return in 1626, Shepherd had taken up Harvey’s offer to live with him and also to assist him in his position as physician to the King, now Charles I. There Shepherd was in a position to mix with men like the Irishman Robert Boyle, whom Shepherd tutored for a while when Boyle and his father visited London. Shepherd discussed with Boyle the ideas about expansion properties of gasses and how temperature and pressure affected the process. Shepherd wrote about our experiment with smallpox vaccination and it was included in a publication of the Royal Society in 1639, although it was met with much criticism, it was a topic which stayed in the discussion of the scientific community.

As part of the arrangement that Harvey had proposed, Shepherd helped Harvey write De Motu Cordis which fully explained Harvey’s theory of the circulation of blood in the human body.

Shepherd visited Galileo in Italy when Galileo was under house arrest for his controversial theories about the earth’s orbit of the sun. Shepherd, while on the Continent, visited Blaise Pascal, with whom he had kept a lively conversation about religious as well as scientific matters.  Pascal, a devout Jansenist, was insistent on the strictest definition of God’s wrath toward those who do not follow the rigid, albeit confusing paths outlined by a God who was not easily pleased. Indeed, Pascal took to wearing an iron girdle with small spikes under his cloak so that he could, on occasion, press the girdle and produce pain which reminded him of his sinful nature which needed to be suppressed and punished. Shepherd had explained that Jesus had taken care of such punishment, but Pascal was unmoved, preferring not to trust entirely in such provision, but trusting only that his own nature was almost beyond redemption.

Pascal believed that the Jesuits were almost heretical in their beliefs that man had great freedom in pursuing scientific knowledge, even if it may refute traditional church teachings. He saw Jesuits as libertine and pope pleasers, having lost the rigid discipline he admired. Shepherd felt compassion toward Pascal, the tortured genius who had come up with mathematical theories which seemed to open a new door for predicting certain outcomes. Ironically, his work on producing a true vacuum was a puzzle and an enigma for traditional thinking, which held that vacuum states were antithetical to God’s design. Shepherd merely took this as part of God’s grand design which man could work at, but never completely explain. This was part of Shepherd’s genius. He felt comfortable in ambiguity which led to more research on truth. He did not believe that God was so easily displaced by science, and he saw no inherent problems in both scientific knowledge, and God’s grand design. As long as one remembered who they were relative to God, one could pursue a life of exploration and questioning, which, of course, was no threat to almighty God.

He arrived in England just before his friend Francis Bacon died, and Shepherd told me that he was at his bedside as he passed into the next world.

He re-established a hospital in London which served the poor, and he was able to engage William Harvey in this occasionally. Imagine having the best medical minds of the times (in my opinion) serving the poorest, most hopeless people in the realm. Shepherd had reminded me that such a thing should be the norm in a world which does not judge the worth of a person by their personal fortune.

As physician to King Charles with Harvey, Shepherd had access to great power. Yet Shepherd always believed that power only defined character. “What does one do with power?” he said. “A man of character will help to give power to others, not save it for one’s personal benefit”. Thus began a period of tension, and finally alienation from King Charles. Charles’ belief that his position was directly given from God did not seem to bother Shepherd. As long as that power was used to benefit those he governed, Shepherd was satisfied and supportive. But Charles, arrogant, entitled and lazy, seemed to only impose hardships on people and his motive was to maintain his power as King. He failed to convene Parliament and took his own counsel. Shepherd had taken the brazen step to confront the king, in private to be sure, but in direct terms. Charles, taken aback by Shepherd, was indignant, but he also did not take the step Shepherd expected- to remove him from the court.

The growing rift between Shepherd and King Charles led Harvey to advise Shepherd that his behavior toward the king was disrespectful and dangerous. Harvey, ever the political genius, knew how to curry favor as well as how to avoid trouble. It seemed that Shepherd had the disconcerting tendency to speak the truth, no matter who it was directed toward.

“You are such a masterful physician” said Harvey, “must you waste that gift by alienating others?” “Have I alienated you?” asked Shepherd. “No my dear Shepherd you have not. We have done great work together, and I am most appreciative of your contributions to my research and writing. But I fear for your well-being! Please be more discreet in your dealings with King Charles, especially in this perilous time. Men you are consorting with would bring down the crown, then how could we have the stability and peace we need to continue our work?”

Shepherd was silent, then looked at Harvey. “My friend”, he said, “we have done good things together, and I do not want to hurt you. However, I am bound by my conscience to speak out against tyranny and injustice. Such behavior often causes discomfort to people, and while I have no argument or disagreement with you, I fear that you too have been hurt by my actions. I ask your forgiveness for that. However, I find that I cannot much longer serve this king who has caused so much pain for so many in England.”

“Just consider what I have said Joseph”, said Harvey, seeing that he would not convince Shepherd of anything that might go against his convictions. “Do not make any decisions in haste”. “William”, said Shepherd, “I would like you to consider joining me in trying to move the heart of this king. We have influence as royal physicians, I am certain of that, especially you. Are you willing to consider that?” asked Shepherd. Harvey, silent himself now said, “Perhaps”. 

 The adventure that caused Shepherd to end his tenure in London began when he befriended Thomas Rainsborough. Rainsborough and Oliver Cromwell had seen in Shepherd a man who was strong in character, and who saw that people were suffering under the reign of King Charles. Along with Rainsborough, Shepherd helped start a group called the Levellers. Shepherd believed that through the use of pamphlets and petitions to reach the minds of people, they would be able to secure some share of power over their own lives. Indeed, Shepherd had seen the misery of poverty in London for many years. His hospital met the needs of people in the midst of poverty, but if he could help to prevent poverty wouldn’t that be a higher calling?

The Levellers met at the Garter Inn, wearing their distinctive symbol of a sprig of rosemary in their hats and a sea-green ribbon. The aims of this group appealed to Shepherd. They valued religious tolerance, popular sovereignty, and equality before the law. Shepherd saw in this how they valued the dignity of a man, and trust that he was capable of reasonable rule, not needing the dominance of a king who claimed his only accountability was to God. Indeed, Shepherd believed that rulers were under the authority of God, and were placed in that position for the good of people. If this were to be abused, he believed that people had the right to remove an unjust ruler. He did not go as far as some who believed that the king should be tried and possibly executed. That viewpoint was growing dangerously prevalent he felt.

After one of their meetings at the Garter Inn, Shepherd was walking home in the dark London evening. There was a bit of chill in the evening and he bundled his coat around him as he walked the few blocks toward home that he knew well. He was suddenly accosted from a dark alley by three men carrying torches. “Dr. Shepherd?” one asked gruffly. “Yes, who asks?” replied Shepherd. “You don’t need to know who asks!” replied the stranger. “Looks like a sprig of rosemary in his hat” said another. “The physician to the King has a sprig of rosemary in his hat! Can you imagine that!?” “That is high treason said the third, let’s take him!”   

Chapter 49

Shepherd was whisked away down the alley from where the men had appeared. The men ducked into a stairwell that ran into a cellar. The cellar was connected to a tunnel which led into a maze under several buildings. The torches burned with soot that became choking in the confined spaces of the tunnel. The men had blindfolded Shepherd and he was led gruffly by a rope which also bound his hands. The three men were moving quickly through the confusing tunnel, guided by the instinct developed over years of use, and perfected through repetition, often in flight for their lives.

They finally reached a shabby door and they pushed through it into a room lit just barely better than the tunnel. Shepherd, still blindfolded was struck by the smell which offended his nose- burning flesh. Shepherd could hear muffled screams coming from the other side of the room, apparently from someone who was being tortured, but whose screams were almost silenced by a gag.

The men removed Shepherd’s blindfold, ensuring that Shepherd could see what was happening to the poor devil in the corner of the room. “That’s what’ll happen to you if you don’t do what we tell you, and answer our questions!” one of them threatened.

“This is what you brigands do to people?” asked Shepherd.  Immediately a hand came across Shepherd’s face, knocking him off balance. “Yes, we do this if we need to”, said another. “You are one of the King’s physicians and you take care of that filthy robber. Yet you call us brigands! Don’t you know that he is the biggest robber in the land? He treats us like we have no rights or no power. He will soon find out!”

“And why are you telling this to me?” asked Shepherd. “We want you to tell us who in the royal court is still professing loyalty to Charles Stuart, but might really be of a mind with us. We know that many in the court fear Charles and his soldiers, but have loyalty only through fear. We need to know who they are!” said the third member of the team.

“I do not know who that might be”, said Shepherd, “but even if I did, I would certainly never tell you” he answered. Another hand came across Shepherd’s face, this time drawing blood from his nose. “What about Harvey?’ asked the third member. Is he loyal to the King?”

“I can tell you this” said Shepherd, “If William Harvey professes loyalty to someone, he remains loyal”. “So he is on the Stuart side” said the third member. “Well of course” said Shepherd, “he is the King’s physician”.

“You are a King’s physician said the questioner, are you loyal to him?” “Yes, I am” said Shepherd, “Even when I disagree with him”. “So you disagree with him?” asked the questioner, now surprised.  “Yes, I do disagree with him, often in fact.”

“But you remain loyal to him”, countered the interrogator. “Yes”, replied Shepherd. “Does he remain loyal to you?”  “I suppose he does”, said Shepherd, “I have never asked him” he smiled.

“Well, I wonder if he would pay a ransom for you?” mused the third member. “I would think not”, said Shepherd. “Kings do not bend to such rogue antics”. Once again the hand came across Shepherd’s face, cutting his cheek.

“Be easy on this fellow, he may be worth some money” said a man from across the room. “He just said the King will not pay for his ransom you fool!” barked the rough handed second member of the group. “The king may not pay, but his friend Harvey might”, said the third member, now warming to the idea of getting some money for his prize sitting before him.

Once they decided to keep Shepherd as a ransom prize, they agreed that they should try to keep him reasonably healthy and unharmed. “Wash his wounds, take off his blindfold and give him some rum”, said the third member whom they called “Whiteman”.

With the blindfold off, Shepherd could see the wretched man being tortured far across the dimly lit room. His screams were still muffled by the gag, but he was weakening by now, and seemed to have little strength left. As the torturer was ready to apply the red hot poker to the man’s already seared arm, Shepherd screamed out, “If you continue to harm that man, you will never see a half-pence of ransom for me!” Whiteman stopped the torture, incredulous at Shepherd’s insolence. He then laughed, “Now how can you have any say in that?” Shepherd quickly responded, “If you hope to get any money for me, the payer will need to know that I am alive and cared for reasonably. If you harm that man any further, I will surely tell the payer, whether it be Harvey, or anyone else to not pay you a thing!”

“So, you would sign your own death warrant for that miserable wretch that you do not even know?” asked Whiteman. “I suspect that you do not know him either, yet you torture him. People have dignity, and you have no reason nor right to torture him or anyone else” said Shepherd.

“We need information from him and he is unwilling to give it to us. So, we torture him until he does. Some men just have more tolerance than others, but he will eventually give in”, Whiteman said smugly. “Why do you care about him?”

“I see that I am talking with a fool” said Shepherd, “and what I say you could not understand no matter if I talked all night. Simply understand that if he is tortured, you will never even get a farthing for my release”. One of the men came over to slap Shepherd again but Whiteman stopped him. “Let him be” said Whiteman. “Let Craft go for a bit. Maybe he will be more talkative if we take his gag off” laughed Whiteman, trying to ease the humiliation of giving in to Shepherd’s request. Others laughed uneasily also, wondering what was happening. Somehow this new prisoner seemed to be in charge, and it was quite confusing and disturbing.

The torture victim was Oliver Craft. He had a sordid history, and had not been heard from for many years, until he was caught helping a Royalist group in Scotland. He had been essentially running since the days of the Mission fire. King Charles had been gathering support in Ireland, Scotland, and even in Holland as his support in Parliament eroded. He was getting increasingly desperate in trying to find arms, men and money. To do this, he reached out to traditional foes and other royalist sympathizers wherever he could. Oliver Craft, having no particular allegiance, simply followed schemes where he could get paid. Aging now, he was a pathetic sight. His arm was terribly inflamed and oozing blood and serum. He had lost his hair and his teeth over years of neglect and hard living. He wore rags and was gaunt from hunger. Truth be known, the band of brigands who were torturing him may have done better to simply offer him rum or gin for information. He likely had no real information for them anyway, but he was a convenient target of their bloodlust and revenge.

Shepherd heard the name Craft, and it brought back memories of twenty some years ago. Was this Oliver Craft? Craft was a known thug at that time, and Shepherd had heard of Edwin Carr’s discussion of “Red” Locker and his suspicion about Craft having some involvement in the Mission fire.

While Shepherd was thinking of that distant past, Craft called over to Shepherd. “Why did you do that?” he asked. “No one should be treated as you were” said Shepherd simply. “Are you Oliver Craft?” asked Shepherd. “Aye, that’s me”, said Craft.”You know me?” he asked. “Yes, from many years ago when I was first in London”, said Shepherd. “Then you know about me and my past” Craft said. “I know stories of you, but I do not know you” said Shepherd. “Well, them stories are probly true. I done some bad things in my life. That’s why I wonder why you done that to save me”, he said.

“As I said, no one deserves such treatment”, said Shepherd. “You are Joseph Shepherd ain’t you?” “Yes, you know me?” asked Shepherd. “You and William Harvey are the king’s physicians, royalists I reckon. I don’t care myself, but there are a lot of people who hate you and I know that Charles Stuart is in trouble. How I get paid is by working for people who want trouble. That’s what I done all my life”, Craft said.

“Some people says that you and William Harvey are geniuses, but some says you two are insane”, he laughed. Which are ya Shepherd?” “What do you say I am?” asked Shepherd. “I say I don’t care which, I just know you saved my sorry arse, and that’s all I know!” Craft laughed at this despite the obvious suffering he was undergoing from his burn pains.

Whiteman walked over to Craft and kicked him in the leg. “I can’t get you to talk even when I burn you, and now you won’t stop talking. You got something to say about who is paying you?”

“If I tell you who is paying me, I get killed by them. If I don’t tell you, you probly kill me. I reckon I lose either way”, said Craft. “Well, you might be right about that” said Whiteman. “Truth is, I got you here, and I can kill you right now. If you tell me who pays you, that man may not catch you- at least not right away. You got a better chance telling me now, because I am losing my patience with you, no matter what Shepherd says”, finished Whiteman.

“Look” said Craft, “my life is about done anyhow. Give me a good meal, a bottle of gin, and I will tell you who is paying me”. “Why didn’t you do this two hours ago?” asked Whiteman. “Like you says to Shepherd here, you get what you want sooner or later from a man. I give up. All I want is what I said- food and gin and a way out of here.”

Whiteman smiled. “Raymond, get this man some food and a bottle as soon as he tells us what we want to know.” “Now, Craft, who is the man paying you?”

“Who says it’s a man?” he winked, “could be a woman!” “Well, is it a woman?” asked Whiteman, now getting irritated. “Yes, it is a woman. Anne Kensington’s her name. Meanest witch in London. Probly kill me, but I reckon that’s my problem not yours.”

“Where is she now?” asked Whiteman. “I don’t know. I meet a man at the “Boar’s Head” and he pays me. He tells me what I need to do and I do it. I can’t do it no more anyhow. I’m too old and too sick now. I’m half dead already, I just want to get away now and live out what I got left in peace”.

Whiteman left and went over to talk with Raymond in private, leaving Shepherd and Craft alone. Shepherd leaned over to Craft and said, “Do you mean it that you want to live the rest of your life in peace?” “Yes”, said Craft, “I just want to be left in peace now with what time I got left” Craft said. “If you want peace, speak the truth” said Shepherd. “Tell me if you had anything to do with the Mission fire twenty years ago”, said Shepherd. Craft lowered his head, “I did” he said. “Me and Jim Bidwell done that. We didn’t mean for it to happen like it did, but we did it. Worst thing I ever done, and I done some bad things. Probly ruined a life that was already bad. I think about that all the time. Preachers tell me I’m going to Hell for that. I reckon if there is a Hell, I’ll find it even without that fire. But that fire haunts me. That is one thing I am really sorry for. Too late for that I reckon…” Craft trailed off.

“It is never too late Craft. God can forgive you for that”, said Shepherd confidently. “Who put you up to that?” asked Shepherd. “Red” Locker was who paid us, but I’m sure that it was Andrew Kensington. Locker was just Kensington’s man- least till he got killed. I don’t know who killed him, but I got some ideas.”

“I’m glad you think God can forgive me Shepherd, but even if God does, other people don’t”, Craft said. “Some do not, you’re right, but I forgive you.”, said Shepherd. Craft was taken aback by this quick response. “You know what I done. It was the place you built up, and your friend Jacob Carr died in that fire. You lost so much in that fire. How can you forgive me?” asked Craft. “I have been thinking about that fire for years also”, said Shepherd. “I have had time to be angry and hurt, but I need to forgive to be free myself. I forgave the people who started that fire a long time ago. I just now had the chance to tell you.”

Craft looked away from Shepherd as he heard his name called. Raymond had fetched a plate for Craft and he carried with him a bottle of gin. “We are going to follow you to the Boar’s Head tomorrow, but it will be at a distance. You meet with the person who pays you, and then walk away from the tavern. That’s all you need to do, and we are done with you. Now, if you want to tell us about other people who pay you, we can give you a bottle of gin every week, maybe food too. If we find that you are not dealing right with us, we’ll just kill you. Do you understand?”    

“I understand” said Craft, “but after I lead you to the Boar’s Head, I am done with you and with all of this.” “You are never done in the work you do Craft, too many people want to kill you”, laughed Whiteman.

“Shepherd, as for you, we want to contact William Harvey about some money to let you go. We are reasonable men so £500 should be a good start,” Whiteman said. “No, you are most certainly not reasonable men”, said Shepherd, “but that notwithstanding, Harvey will be unable to pay such a ransom.” “You are the king’s physician. Charles Stuart should pay the money if he wants to keep his royal physician”, said Whiteman. “Sir”, said Shepherd, “I am of no value to you if no one will pay for my ransom, and I refuse to ask my friends and colleagues or even the King of England for money for my release. If you plan to kill me, then do it and be done, but you will not profit from my capture”, Shepherd concluded. “Perhaps I will do just that Shepherd”, said Whiteman.

Shepherd was held for several days, unwilling to contact Harvey or anyone else about ransom. Whiteman took it upon himself to send a message to William Harvey that he held Shepherd and expected £500 for his release.

Raymond had followed Craft to the Boar’s Head and the meeting seemed to go as planned. Craft met his contact while Raymond and his men waited outside in an alley. Craft lingered for just a while with the contact, then left the tavern. When the contact, a man named Crouch, left the tavern, he was confronted by Raymond and a small band of rebels. As they moved to grab Crouch, a mob of a dozen armed men converged upon Raymond and his group and overwhelmed them. One was shot in the face and perished immediately. Two others were clubbed down, and Raymond was thrown to the ground and bound. Oliver Craft appeared from the shadows and promptly kicked the downed Raymond square in his back, eliciting a scream from the stricken victim.

“You’re a fool to trust a crook like me!” laughed Craft. “Now lead us back to your lair or I will kill you where you lie!” he screamed, the pent up rage of his torture now exploding from him. Raymond stood, shaking. He led them through the maze of buildings to the tunnel, and finally the rebel base.

Crouch took over with several of his vicious band ready for a fight. Raymond led them to the door and Crouch quickly kicked it in as his band overwhelmed those inside. Whiteman grabbed for his pistol, but he was clubbed to the ground before he could aim it. Shepherd watched in amazement as Craft came over to him. “I figured that I owe this to you” he smiled as he got ready to slip out the door, glad to be away from the mess he had been in.

Shepherd still had on his sprig of rosemary which identified him as a Leveller. Crouch looked at Shepherd and said nothing. Then he said to Craft, “Take him with you. I am not going to travel with a Leveller. Just get him away from here like we talked about.”

Chapter 50

Shepherd headed back to the King’s court and found Harvey. He related his experiences and told Harvey that he had no interest in further royal intrigues, and it was time to do what he really wanted- he felt called to rebuild the Mission. This is something that Harvey had alluded to in his letter to Shepherd that had been an enticement for Shepherd’s return. The idea that the king may help to re-establish the Mission was really more Harvey’s hope than likely reality. Charles Stuart was more concerned with finding money for his own ventures than spending for the good of his people.

Shepherd was determined to establish a place for the wretched poor that he increasingly encountered. While he had made a great many friends in the scientific and philosophy communities, he was unable to persuade them to support his efforts among the poor. Robert Boyle, the young man whom Shepherd had mentored, showed interest in the effort, and he was able to persuade his father, Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, to contribute funds toward the building of a new Mission. Shepherd also prevailed upon the Levellers to help in the cause since it fit their belief in the dignity of the individual. However, the notion that poor people were simply living out the consequences of their sin and depravity was a strongly held belief. After all, people reasoned, Jesus himself had said that the “poor will always be with us”. They were to be tolerated at best as one of those unfortunate inconveniences of life.

Shepherd found some friendly support from Amos Wesley who shared the belief that one’s faith should be displayed by how well we care for the needs of others. He shared Shepherd’s belief that one could best love God by loving other people.

The Mission began in a converted stable which had been involved in a fire over twenty years prior- one started by Jacob Carr. Shepherd thought this to be great redemption of Jacob Carr’s name, and, in fact, named the Mission the Jacob Carr Memorial Mission. With some work, the stable turned out to be suitable for the need. Thomas Browne was a willing partner of Shepherd who shared the belief that humanitarian interests were interests of God himself.

Once again, the genius of Shepherd was applied to medical science. He was curious and innovative in his approach, and consequently, he was willing to try out methods and medicines which the general public would not tolerate. His patients, poor and desperate, accepted anything he tried. He began his practice of smallpox inoculations on a larger scale. He did surgeries with the use of diethyl ether, a distilled byproduct of ethanol and oil of vitriol. This put patients to sleep during the surgery- a major boon for both patient and surgeon. He used opium as a pain relief, harkening back to the days on the Intrepid when we medicated Mr. North after his injuries. He used his tourniquet to reduce the terrible bleeding which accompanied surgeries. He was fastidious about cleanliness and he required that the area of surgery be cleaned after each surgery, a practice unheard of and ridiculed by others. He required that each patient be treated with care and dignity, believing that such treatment in itself was curative. He incorporated many of the herbs we had seen in America into treatment, relying on the shipments that I would regularly send to him.

People began to talk about the rate at which people were recovering in the Jacob Carr Memorial Mission. The established physicians of the time were quick to criticize the Mission, stating that such claims were outrageous, and that Shepherd was boasting of things he did not know. Yet, as casualties of the sporadic skirmishes of a civil war began to be treated at the Jacob Carr Mission, there was clearly a high rate of success, despite the fact that now, only the most serious cases were being sent there.

Oliver Cromwell decided to visit the Carr Mission to see for himself whether this place was a real place of healing, or a hokum of some kind. Cromwell had a very clear and narrow view of how God could work. Anything that fell outside his Old Testament viewpoint was likely to be condemned.

Cromwell asked to speak with Shepherd about the methods he used. As he was speaking, a young man and his father came in. They stated that they had come from Rome a few years ago. The father appeared to be in his late fifties, and he was weeping from time to time, speaking in a broken accent. They had been in England several years, but both struggled with the language. The young man was suffering from seizures, and they were crippling to him to the point that he could not work. His father, a cobbler, was desperate for a cure for his son. No other physicians could give any relief or even hope.  

The young man’s father looked at Shepherd with a long gaze. He squinted through his wrinkled eyes at Shepherd, trying to place where he might have seen this man before. As Shepherd examined the young man he asked if the man, Mario, had ever had a head injury. The father, Julius, said no, not that he had recalled. Mario was unsure, but allowed that everyone has hit their head at some time. Shepherd laughed, “Indeed they have” he stated.

Shepherd began to busy himself preparing a mug of water which he produced from a barrel of water brought in from nearby Epsom. The mineralized water seemed to have beneficial effects on seizures and some other maladies. Indeed, many people simply soaked in the natural springs found in Epsom, and claimed benefits to their health.

Then Julius cried out “Joseph Shepherd!” “I am Julius Rosello. I met you in Rome many years ago”. Shepherd did not recall ever meeting the man. “Yes!” said Julius, “you talked with me and my friend Marco. We were poor beggars in rags, sick and destitute. You told us that we needed not money, but healing for our souls, and you directed us to go to the priest after you prayed with us. The sores on my feet eventually went away, and later we were taken in by the priests. They taught me the trade of being a cobbler and I was able to work. I married, had a son, and my wife died in childbirth with my second child, who also died. Mario and I came to England several years ago and I found work as a cobbler. We are poor, but we survive. I thank God for you and how you healed me!”

 “I am so pleased that you were healed Julius”, Shepherd said, “but it was not I that healed you. God does his work in you. I cannot heal, but I can help to connect you with the One who can!”

Cromwell watched this exchange and seemed taken aback. Cromwell already had deep suspicions about Shepherd, knowing that he had been physician to King Charles. Now he wondered if Shepherd might be using the powers of the Devil to heal. So many people had claimed that Shepherd spent much time alone and that his methods were, at best, unorthodox. Cromwell was suspicious as well as frightened a bit by Shepherd.

“I understand that your methods of treatment are somewhat unusual Dr. Shepherd”, said Cromwell. “Perhaps by the standards of our current understanding”, said Shepherd, but I believe that in future years, the things I do will be common practice”.

“What arrogance!” said Cromwell. “You put yourself above the great minds of the age, and you say that years from now people will look upon you as the great mind and innovator?” said Cromwell. “I certainly did not say that sir”, said Shepherd. “I simply stated that these things will be commonplace, not that I am the innovator. Whatever I have, God has given me. My ideas are only because they are inspired by God, my Father and Lord.”

“So”, Cromwell proceeded, “you say that God has inspired you, given you special knowledge?”   “I don’t know that it is special knowledge for me. I believe that God has given this to me to share with the world”, replied Shepherd.

“You seem to speak about God in a very intimate way, like you have some special relationship with the Almighty”, said Cromwell. “It is the one we can all have with God, what he desires of us”, said Shepherd.

“Are you with the Parliament, with the Royalists, the Levellers- to whom do you swear allegiance?” asked Cromwell. “I have no particular allegiance to any of those groups, seeing both flaws and virtues in all of them”, replied Shepherd. “The day will come, and soon, when you must take a stand Dr. Shepherd. You have influence, perhaps more than you realize, and you will need to lend that influence to a cause. I pray that you choose wisely”, ended Cromwell. He bid Shepherd good day and left the Mission.

Shepherd pondered this uncomfortable conversation with Cromwell. People may expect him to choose sides, and he was not inclined to do so.  

Chapter 51

Anne Kensington had continued to age well. She still had an air- a veneer- of grace and beauty. Her actions however, belied such grace. She had been responsible for numerous rebel deaths as she clung to her royal backing. She had long been separated from Andrew Kensington, yet she maintained a business relationship with him after some years in London making friends the way she knew how.

Anne had been remarkably successful after finding herself alone in London some twenty years prior. She did what she did best- entertaining people of wealth and influence. She connected people to the trade in America, and soon persuaded Andrew that while they were no longer lovers, she could be of value to him in London securing contacts and trade partners. She counted as friends Cardinal Richlieu of France, and his protégé, Cardinal Mazarin. Mazarin, in fact, had a brief but torrid romance with Anne some years earlier, and Mazarin never completely let go of his passion for Anne. Mazarin was useful to Anne, and he gave her access to French trade companies, and exclusive rights to the fur trade which brought in unimagined wealth to the crown. The French people would never see the benefit of these profits, but the Kensingtons were deft in arranging alliances with French traders in America. Andrew had known that governmental allegiances were far overshadowed by economic ones.

Anne’s mix of coquetry, charm and lust for power and money allowed her to charm men, manipulate them, and often simply cheat them for her own means. Andrew had grown extremely wealthy in the slave and tobacco trade, and he made periodic trips back to London to ensure his royalist connections. Anne had become a business partner, while no longer a lover of his. Kensington’s health was now quite compromised, and many people believed that he was nearing his death. Speculation grew as to where his wealth may end up. Anne believed that she could still find a way to make much of it accrue to her. Since they had never been divorced, she had a claim to his estate. While Andrew had likely changed his will and excluded her, Anne was up for the fight in court. Indeed, her access to attorneys and the court system were now every bit as good as Andrew’s, if not better. She was generally more feared than respected, and the fact that she was a woman with power made her even more of a target for her enemies.

Anne decided that she would meet with Andrew when he came to London. His latest trip back to Europe included a visit to France where Anne had arranged for him to meet with Cardinal Mazarin to discuss an arms trade. The French, winding down their involvement in the war which had consumed the Continent for nearly 30 years, were in need of weapons of quality. English gunsmiths were proficient in making musketry, but the French had trouble procuring these arms due to the distrust that existed between the governments. Anne Kensington was able to persuade Mazarin that she could arrange for shipments of muskets to the French through Gibraltar. Andrew Kensington had arranged to purchase 1000 fine flintlock muskets from Gibson & Sons Firearms. These newer weapons were shorter, lighter, and faster to load than previous models, and they were much sought after. Indeed, the English Crown forbade their export due to the superior design, and the fear of the potential that they would be used against England. The Kensingtons were not saddled with such concerns, and they found ready buyers in France. Upon Andrew’s return from Versailles, and his finalizing the arms trade, Anne planned to meet with him to discuss his estate.

Andrew met Anne at her lavish home just outside of London. “My, I have put you up in fine style all these years have I not?” greeted Andrew as he saw Anne rise to meet him.” Anne managed a gracious smile even as she nearly bit her tongue through. Andrew’s “support” paled in comparison to her own business earnings which allowed this estate. She had supported herself quite handsomely without Andrew’s help. However, she had never declined the money he sent to her over the years either.

“Andrew, how wonderful to see you after all this time”, she gushed. “Has it been two years since I have seen you?” she said. “I don’t know” he said gruffly. Andrew had seen Anne lay on the charm, and she was at it now with him. He knew her too well.

Anne was struggling to maintain her charm. This was partly due to how shocked she was to see the ghostly Andrew. He looked old, thin and frail. His gray hair had mostly given way to baldness, and he had not bothered to wear his wig. He apparently did not care anymore how he appeared. His teeth were rotting, and he was difficult to look at now. Anne, only 11 years his junior, now looked young enough to be his granddaughter.

“Let’s get to the business at hand” said Andrew. “You wanted to talk with me about the gun deal with Cardinal Mazarin. I suppose you want to know how much money you will make”, he said matter-of-factly. Anne, now no longer able or willing to keep up her façade answered him directly. “Yes Andrew, I want to know how much money I will get on this deal. I also want to know the contents of your will. I expect that you have tried to cut me out of your inheritance.”

Andrew smiled. He saw that he had gotten to her and that she gave up trying to charm him. The conversation would now be brutally direct. “That is better” he said. “I have no intention of leaving you a farthing in my will, but I suspected, as you now tell me, that you already knew that,” he said.

Anne did not blink. She knew that he would respond this way. “Well then Andrew, I see that we have a bit of a problem. Do you really want people to know of your involvement in burning down the Franciscan Mission? Or about how you arranged the murder of Red Locker?”

“I did not have Red Locker murdered and you know that!” he screamed. “In fact, I understand that your old lover, Edwin Carr did that deed, without any help from me!” 

“Very well”, said Anne, “I suppose the murder of Jacob Carr and the destruction of a mission to help the poor will suffice to bring down enough public scorn on you”, she said.

Andrew peered at Anne with disdain. “And if I get blamed for these things, do you think that you will come away unharmed?” he asked. “You lose the money from the deal with Mazarin, and some of our other ventures. You would also be implicated in these things as my wife”, he said.

“Andrew”, said Anne in an innocent air, “women are delicate and do not get involved in such tawdry things. People will no more see me as part of your heinous crimes than they can see me as a woman capable of success. You yourself said that I live this way because of your largesse. Indeed, I have let it be known that you are the successful business man who keeps me as his younger London toy. People have no idea of how I do things or even what I do. I am just the Lady Kensington, kept woman of Lord Kensington, who treats his wife like a mistress. I am so mistreated!” she smiled coyly.

Lord Kensington replied, “You are clever, everyone knows that. However, there are people like Oliver Craft who know better, and they will be quick to tell their stories about you!” he sniffed. Anne laughed. “Yes Andrew, Oliver Craft can tell stories about both of us, and who believes such a fool? Those who can tell stories on us are not believable, but people will believe me. I have been making friends in high places for many years while you were in America making your fortune. Who are your friends here in London?” she asked.

Andrew answered, “Your ‘friends’ do not care for you, they fear you”, he said. “So be it”, said Anne. “In fact, so much the better. They should fear me, but because they do, they will protect me if I need it”, she said.

Andrew pondered for a moment. Anne was not really serious he reasoned. She was just negotiating. He almost kicked himself for getting caught up again in her games. “So, Lady Kensington, kept woman and helpless princess”, Andrew mocked, what is your offer?”

Anne smiled at this. “Just like old times for a little while” she said. “We play the games and spar with one another. When we were a lot younger it was exciting to do this and we often ended up in bed after the battle. Those days are long gone, but it can still be fun matching wits with you!” she said lightly. Then the smile vanished, and she said, “My offer is this- one-half of the estate, and I be named as a director in the London & Western Company”.

Kensington was a canny negotiator himself and he did not make any reply or reaction to this offer at first. “Too much”, he said. “If you want to be named as a Director in London and Western, you must become a financial partner, risking some capital in the venture”, he said. “No one plays for free”, he said calmly.

Anne raised her eyebrow at this. “I know very well that no one can benefit without risk”, she said. “But as your wife, I will have your estate when you die and you know that. Changing your will does not stop me from taking it to the court”, she replied. “Yes, you do that Anne, you do that. By the time the barristers take their cut of your fortune, you will have nothing left,” replied Kensington.

At this point, Anne became weary of the argument which had at first been invigorating. “Very well”, she said. “We can discuss this tomorrow.” “If you want to keep discussing this tomorrow, I will do that”, said Kensington, but the answer will be the same. Try to blackmail me or steal my fortune in the courts when I die, I do not care. Your insolence and badgering have made up my mind. You will get none of my inheritance. We may negotiate your share of the arms deal, but that is money you have earned. So, do what you will, but I will not change my will back, nor will I give you a settlement.” With that, he left the room and returned to his carriage outside. He instructed the driver to take him back to his lodgings.

Anne was furious at the imperious old Kensington.  Perhaps there was another way to deal with this old crook…

Agreeing with God

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool                                                                                                                                                                   Isaiah 1:18

I have several clients who struggle with various things regarding their own self-esteem, being able to accept love, feeling forgiven, feeling worthy, etc. Many of us struggle with those very issues. Sometimes, we begin to believe that God has those same issues with us- that HE doesn’t love us, that HE does not forgive us, etc. It is easy for us to project our own attitudes onto others because it seems to satisfy and condone our own personal world-view.

I talk with clients about the need to be consistent with our views and to check out what the truth is about God’s view toward us. There are plenty of places in the Bible where God is explained as loving us right where we are; that he forgives our sins; that he will never leave us or forsake us, but sometimes, we are just not feeling that.

I ask people to just take the stance of agreeing with God. We can agree that we are sinners, and flawed human beings. We can also agree that we cannot save ourselves by our own best efforts. We can agree that he is sovereign and can, and will, do as he pleases, because we do not make up the rules.

 But if we agree to those things, we must also agree that he loves us like his children, that he will never leave us, even if it feels that he has. We must agree that God’s nature and character is not one of punishment, but of redemption and restoration.

Agreeing with God is a lot more peaceful than trying to maintain that our situation is irredeemable. The above passage explains that God wants us to reason together. Let’s just agree that God has our best interest at stake, and he will do anything to take care of his children.

Prayer: Lord, give us the means to be able to agree with you more, Amen

Living Out Our Faith

“I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.”

Mahatma Ghandi

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.                                                            James 2:14-17

I am to say a few words today at the retirement of one of our counselors at my Christian Counseling Center. I have been deeply involved with this Center since 1993 when I was one of the incorporating founders, and then the chairman of the board of directors, and finally, the first executive director. I am to speak about one of our staff who is retiring after 20 years of service to the agency.

I will say that our staff is dedicated, and this staff member is an example of the culture of the agency. Longevity comes from both staff and administration having high regard and trust for one another. Shared values of character, caring, competence, and adherence to Christian principles are the pillars of the agency.

I placed character and caring on the list before competence for a reason. While all of those values are absolutely essential for the culture we wish to maintain, (and this staff member has them in abundance), competence is one that we can grow and nurture. Character and caring are essential personal qualities which we look for in a person that are already a core part of the individual. We cannot teach those qualities- we can only encourage and affirm them.

Our Christian principles tell us that we are here for the benefit of those whom we serve. That is a character trait of Jesus that we must emulate. It is manifested by our stance that we are here to serve the community, and to do that regardless of a person’s ability to pay the full cost of services. Our agency will, and has, found ways to maintain this important community service in unique and creative ways. It, I tell the staff, is what we do.

I am so blessed to have been a part of this agency and its mission.  I hearken to Ghandi’s words spoken in 1927 when he was asked about Christianity. He saw that Christians did not live out the Christ that they espoused. I am so glad that my agency, New Creation Counseling Center, has found a way to consistently live out its mission, and it is measured by staff and administration who keep their eye on the prize- serving others like Jesus did.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your plans to have us serve our community to show people your love for them, Amen


to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.                                                                                                                                  Luke 1:77-79

I am not a neurobiologist, but I do understand that serotonin is a “feel good chemical” produced by our brain. There are several things that help us to produce serotonin, including diet, exercise, sunlight, food, and medications. The typical prescription antidepressant medications do not necessarily produce serotonin as much as they just help keep it around in our brain.

Carbohydrates, for example, are precursors for serotonin. In the Fall and Winter we tend to eat more carbohydrates to replace the amount of serotonin that is being lost with the decreasing amount of sunlight available in the northern hemisphere. Hence the emphasis at Thanksgiving and Christmas on the heavy load of carbs, and tryptophan-producing turkey- another serotonin precursor. Those foods help us to replenish decreasing serotonin levels lost during our journey away from longer periods of sunlight during those months.

In the northern hemisphere, we are now in the month of May, where sunlight hours are continuing to increase. What a mental health blessing that is! So, for the next several months, we are being treated to free serotonin stimulants!

Exercising in the sunlight is absolutely the best serotonin therapy you can find, and you don’t even need to eat a bunch of carbohydrates to achieve it. So, for my fellow northern hemisphere friends, enjoy the serotonin boost you can get by being in the sun and exercising. You will have a better mood, sleep better, and have a better outlook the more you avail yourself of the free serotonin lift that nature is providing.


Prayer: Lord, you have given us all the means to have a full and joyous life, just in the nature of your creation. Thank you for that plan, Amen

Tribal Elders

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.  Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.                                                         Titus 2:1-2

Yesterday I talked about the need to periodically reinvent ourselves. Life stages are one of those natural opportunities to do just that- reinvent ourselves. Adjustment to different life stages can be quite challenging. The stage of becoming a “senior”, and retirement, are perfect examples of this.

I remember our pastor years ago talked about turning 60 and he reframed that well saying that this makes us “tribal elders”. I liked that. Being a tribal elder brings on certain freedoms and certain responsibilities.  

I think it is all about how we view our advancing years. The idea of becoming a tribal elder is appealing. We are now at the stage of some wisdom and experience which we can share with our younger members. We worry less at this stage about our career, and more about pouring into the careers of others. We now revel in the success of those whom we have mentored, and are less concerned about increasing personal achievements.

There is real freedom in this, as long as we can truly embrace our new status. We can get real satisfaction out of the achievements of others, and we celebrate the fact that the future is increasingly becoming theirs.  

The plan for this life is the need to give it away in order to have it truly become a blessing for us.

Prayer: Lord, help us to finish our race well, Amen

Reinventing Ourselves

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well                                                                                                                                                        Psalm 139:14

I have found over my working career that I would periodically need to reinvent myself. What do I mean by that? We human beings can get restless and bored actually pretty quickly. Did you ever notice, for example, that it is hard to just sit and do nothing? That is one reason why that hand-held gadget gets so much use. We almost unconsciously pick up that device and flip through it when we are bored. Now little boredom times like that actually show that we have a near constant need for some type of stimulation. Not a bad thing if we can channel that into constructive activities.

In a larger sense, I found that after a few years in a job, I would start to get restless, maybe a little bored. I needed a change. The answer, especially early in my career was not to just change jobs. I had a family to support, and job hopping was not a great idea. Further, in the late 70’s and early 80’s jobs were hard to find, and the economy was not stable.

So, I found ways to change some things around in my current job. I might initiate a new program, network with others in my field to get ideas about improving service, and eventually, I went back to graduate school in the evening while working during the day.

The point of this is, we always must be in the business of reinventing ourselves so that we do not become complacent and stale, no matter what our situation might be. Maybe just changing our attitude about a current situation suffices to reinvent ourself and stay fresh.

We are made to be curious beings, and that is quite a blessing. Tomorrow I will talk about the transition into, let’s just call it “later adulthood” 😊

Prayer: Lord thank you for making us curious and in need of stimulation. Help us to redeem it well, Amen

Name Your Demons

Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. Luke 8:30

Yesterday I talked about the effects of stress on our bodies, and I pictured President Abraham Lincoln in side-by-side pictures dated 1860 and 1865. The change was dramatic. Stress does some horrible things to our body as well as to our mind.

In talking to a client recently, I told him that carrying stress in an undermine cave somewhere in our mind does not get rid of it- it merely hides it. Underlying fears that play in the background of our mind are insidious and damaging. Bringing those fears to light, and naming them, takes the power away from them. Sometimes we do not like to look at our fears because it is…scary.

Just as Jesus named the demons that he cast out, we need to name our own fears. By naming our demons we can take power over them. Fears derive their power over us by secrecy. We can take control of our fears by naming them.

It can be anything. Lingering fears over being accepted; fear of losing a job; fear of losing a love or relationship; fear of the future. There is no end of things that we can be afraid of. However, by honestly naming our fears, we can take the power of secrecy away. Then we can begin to share those fears with trusted others, and ultimately, seeing that often the fears are not as big or as imminent as they might appear, we can begin to deal with them.

Prayer: Lord, give us the courage and the wisdom to be able to name our fears, Amen

Joseph Shepherd Chs. 44-47

                       Chapter 44

The first case of smallpox in the Algonquin camp was a very disturbing sight. Kitchi was a young hunter who was known to be reckless and violent. He hated the white people who were invading his land, and he did not distinguish between French and English. All of them were a threat to his life and that of his people, and he took it upon himself to be an avenging force. He was not joined in this hate by most of the Algonquin, who had come to enjoy the gifts that the French trappers gave them. Guns, knives, metal tools, and glass ornaments were valued by the Algonquin. The guns were useful in the wars that the Algonquin periodically waged with neighboring tribes.

Kitchi would head out at night on his own and use his superior stalking skills to sneak up on unsuspecting French trappers. Once near the camp, he would wait to pick off the poor soul who had to leave the campfire to go into the woods to relieve himself. Kitchi would wrap his hand over the mouth of the victim as he was standing to urinate, or squatting. He would then quickly slice his throat, severing the vocal chords so quickly that the dying man could not even let out a squeal. The man would bleed to death in silence in the woods. It would not be until morning that the rest of the camp would find the corpse of their countryman covered in blood. This had a chilling effect on the trappers, needless to say.

One day Kitchi broke out in small bumps all over his body. Within two weeks Kitchi was covered with the bumps and had a fever. Days later he was dead. Several of those who ministered to him also developed the bumps, and most also died. Smallpox had visited the Algonquin camp, and it began its devastation. It had been unknown to these people until we came from Europe. It would prove to be devastating to them.

Unbeknownst to the Gloucester settlement, Shepherd had made periodic visits to the Algonquin camp. He told the Algonquin that he wanted to continue to learn their language and to give them medical help. His original intent in coming to America was for medical and scientific research, and, despite the setback of Cape Ann, he was determined to fulfill his mission. He had not included me in these trips because he felt that he might be exposing me to danger, so he began these trips shortly after we moved to Gloucester. He only told me after he discovered that smallpox had been visited upon the Algonquin. Now he felt he needed help to minister to them. He also theorized that both he and I, and likely many others in the Gloucester camp, had an immunity to smallpox due to prior exposure. Certainly Leviticus Martin, he believed, was immune, since his two children had died of the disease, and he and his wife had survived.

One day, Shepherd came to me with a look of grief on his face.

“Luke,” he said, “I need to ask you a favor.”

“Of course, Joseph, how can I help?” I asked.

“The Algonquin camp is stricken with smallpox. I need to help them, and I need another physician to help me. Will you come with me?” he asked.

I was taken aback by the question.

“Joseph, aren’t you afraid of getting smallpox?” I asked.

“I have been exposed in the past, as I suppose you have been also as a physician,” he said calmly.

“Yes, I suppose so,” I said, “but there is always a chance of getting the disease.”

“I don’t really think that there is a great chance of that, Luke,” he said. “Yes, it could happen, but we are physicians, committed to care for the health of people. Those are some of the risks we face in our service. Besides, remember my theory that exposure to smallpox can result in future immunity. In fact, that is what I want to try. I had seen once, while I was in Byzantium, a man who had deliberately infected people with a dose of small pox by scratching their arms with some of the powdered dried scabs from healed smallpox pustules. These people got somewhat ill, but when they recovered, they did not get smallpox. Recall also that those milk maidens who were stricken with cowpox, a close relative, I believe, of smallpox, never came down with smallpox. I believe that this helps to confirm my theory,” Shepherd concluded.

I had to agree that risks are part of our profession, and this was, partly at least, a scientific journey. I hesitantly agreed to accompany him to the Algonquin camp. Shepherd had been going to the camp more than anyone knew. He had originally risked the journey soon after we arrived at Gloucester. He had thought it best to keep this mission quiet, and perhaps his goodwill was part of the reason that there had never been any reprisals from the Algonquin after the massacre months ago.

We arrived at the Algonquin camp to find much illness and disarray. The oldest and youngest in the camp had succumbed most quickly to the disease. There were a fair number who had survived the illness, but whose faces showed the disfiguring pockmarks of this dreaded plague. Shepherd went to work discussing his plan with the elders about trying the procedure he had seen used in Byzantium. He had become reasonably proficient in Algonquian, and the elders seemed to have some understanding of what he planned to do.

We proceeded to prepare the odd concoction of smallpox scabs – we dried them and ground them to a fine powder. We mixed this with the lard rendered from wild pigs that had been slaughtered for meat. With this “paste,” we planned to make small scratches on the upper arm and apply the paste. We did not know what the outcome might be, but Shepherd believed that this would prove his theory of what he called “inoculation.”

There was just one more problem. Shepherd believed that we could not ask the Algonquin to undergo this procedure unless we were first willing to have it performed on ourselves. They could not be expected to trust that we were acting in their best interest unless we would be willing to expose ourselves to it.

At first I was stunned that he would expose himself to this possible death sentence. When I realized he meant that both of us should submit to it, I was outraged that he would ask me to do this. Quickly I realized that such a gesture was consistent with Shepherd’s character, but not mine. The fact that he asked me to do this meant that he believed that it was in my character, and I just did not see it yet.

While I had no idea about this odd procedure, I knew Shepherd and I trusted him. I agreed to have this done to me. We would “inoculate” one another in front of several of the elders. We would stay in the Algonquin camp several days after we had done this so that they could see what was happening with our health. Further, if we were to somehow develop the full disease, we could not risk exposing the people at Gloucester. We told the elders of our plan, and that we would return in several days to actually start the inoculation process.

Upon our return to Gloucester we told Chepi and Kelley of our plan. Chepi by now was nearly ready to deliver her baby. Shepherd had decided not to take Chepi with him on his visits to the Algonquin camp, since he did not want to expose her to smallpox. I included Margaret in this secret discussion also. I wanted her to be aware of my intentions. I was not certain that we would return from the Algonquin camp, and I needed to have her with me at this time.

Sean Kelley asked us how we planned to explain our week-long, perhaps longer, absence from Gloucester. Before we could answer, Kelley said, “I will tell people that you two are doing some scientific experiments on plants to find medicinal remedies.”

“That sounds good, Kelley,” I said. “You are always the quick-thinking one!”

Stocked with a supply of provisions, we headed off again to the Algonquin camp to begin a scientific experiment. I wished it were as simple as gathering plants! Upon reaching the Algonquin camp, Shepherd explained what we were going to do. We prepared the dried, powdered scabs, mixed them in with some fresh lard and made a fine paste with it. Shepherd prepared my arm with his usual meticulous care. I had learned that he believed very strongly in what he called a “clean field.” He washed my upper arm, then he applied rum to a cloth and wiped a spot on my arm where he intended to make some scratches with his scalpel. He let it dry, made a few scratches just on the surface, and applied the paste. He covered it with a cloth, then asked me to do the same with him.

The Algonquin leaders watched in amazement at this experiment. They knew that we were taking a risk, and that we were doing this in an effort to help save people at the Algonquin camp. It took only a few minutes to do this, but now the waiting began. What would happen with us?

                       Chapter 45

Back at Gloucester, Chepi went into labor about two weeks before her due date. Kelley fetched the midwives to help with the delivery. He was very worried about this turn of events. Her pregnancy had been very uneventful, and she had been healthy. Shepherd and I had hoped to be available to tend to Chepi if we were needed, but the midwives typically took care of all the births and the women who delivered. Margaret helped in the delivery, having gained experience at the Franciscan mission.

Chepi delivered a healthy baby girl, and she was named Kimi. Chepi had chosen this name because in Algonquin it means “secret.” Indeed, this little girl’s life had been born of secrets.

During that week also, Edwin Carr, Anne Kensington, and a cargo of salted fish, medicinal herbs, beaver pelts, and some fine timber, headed toward London on the Conquest, now repaired. Andrew Kensington was pleased that this voyage was taking place. It represented his freedom from Anne, his power over Edwin Carr, the start of trade of specialty goods from Gloucester to London, and an example of how his new shipbuilding plans could refit a ship. If he could not yet fully implement his tobacco-for-slaves trade plan, this would do until he could make that work. He had also sent Edwin Carr to transact some business with the King’s ministers regarding trade with America. He hoped that this successful voyage would pay dividends with the King.

Two weeks passed in the Algonquin camp, and we waited for symptoms. Shepherd was meticulous in taking notes of anything that we experienced. I noticed that glands under my inoculated arm swelled, which produced some minor pain. I had a slight fever for about two days, and I felt tired. By the end of the two weeks, I felt quite normal. Shepherd had not experienced any symptoms, yet he was not surprised by this. He had believed that he had been exposed to cowpox in the past, and he decided that he already had immunity. My minor symptoms were good news to him as well. He believed that I had developed a slight reaction, as he had hoped, which would make me immune from smallpox in the future.

Shepherd approached the elders about inoculating the Algonquin camp, and they agreed. Any Algonquin willing to have the procedure done would come to Shepherd and me, and we would inoculate them.

Despite our success, only seven men and three women came forward. We prepared the ingredients of our paste to be applied, and we followed the exact procedure we had used upon ourselves. We were very deliberate and obvious in making sure that the elders saw us prepare the paste and apply it exactly as we had done to ourselves.

We told the elders that we needed to get back to Gloucester, but that we would return later the next week to check on our inoculated group. We left early the next morning, confident that we had averted a disaster in the Algonquin camp. Upon our return to Gloucester, we were greeted with the news of Kimi’s birth. Chepi still did not benefit from the acceptance of other women, but the presence of a newborn baby did make for a bit of a truce. I was delighted to connect with Margaret again, and I told her of the adventure at the Algonquin camp and the apparent success of Shepherd’s inoculations.

Margaret told me of the birth of Kimi, and the miracle of birth that she was blessed to see again. Little Jacob was growing, Margaret believed, to look like his namesake, even though Jacob Carr was not his father. As Margaret described how little Jacob would grow to be a wonderful man like Jacob, I was somewhat uneasy.

“What troubles you, Luke?” Margaret asked.

“I see how little Jacob pleases you,” I began. “I am certain that he will become a fine man under your care,” I continued.

“Then why are you troubled?” she asked.

“I think that no man may ever be able to take Jacob Carr’s place in your heart,” I said, “but I have hoped that perhaps I could be a part of your life also. I think I may have loved you ever since I met you at the pub that evening years ago. Since then, I have come to admire your loving concern for others, your tender care of little Jacob, your understanding and kindness to Chepi, your amazing faith which seems to sustain you…”

Margaret had tears on her cheeks as she stopped me.

“Luke, don’t you know I love you also?” she asked. “I have seen your desire to pursue good, to use your gifts to help others, and mostly, I have seen that you love me. A woman like me who has such a past…” She trailed off. We embraced, and I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

Upon our return to the Algonquin camp, we were shocked to see that nine of our ten “patients” were showing significant symptoms of smallpox. We were, of course, deeply concerned and fearful that some may be indeed dying. We had told the elders to isolate the ten volunteers from the rest of the camp, but they had failed to enforce this. Consequently, when people became sick, family members took them in to tend to them. Once again, we were now looking at the potential of another round of smallpox ravaging the camp.

We met with the elders to discuss this latest crisis. The group of elders was divided in the way that they saw us. Some were pragmatic, and thought that the illness was being visited upon them by the gods for some reason. They did not seem to hold us responsible for the illness. Others, however, had a much darker view. They believed that we had made an elaborate show of our inoculation, but that it had been a trick to spread the illness in their camp. They had heard of stories about other people from “across the water” who had deliberately spread disease in native camps to decimate the population in order to steal the land. Some contended that we knew what the outcome would be from the start. This was refuted by those who held us blameless by the fact that we had returned to the camp. Had we known that the smallpox would be caused by our actions, why would we return?

They argued among themselves for some time. Shepherd asked if we could try to treat the victims of smallpox. He pleaded with them that we only wanted to help those who were sick. Matwau, the spokesman for the elders, made it clear to us that we were to leave as soon as possible. He could not ensure our safety if we stayed. It was only because we had some defenders in that council that we were not taken prisoner or killed outright.

We left quickly after hearing this from Matwau. It would be disrespectful to try to argue his directive to us. We were defeated, and we suspected that one or two of our “patients” were going to die. Our largest fear was that smallpox might indeed devastate the Algonquin camp. We really did not know what other devastation could happen, but we would soon find out.

                       Chapter 46

We returned to Gloucester, where life was picking up after a long, hard winter. Spring brought some crisp mornings, but milder afternoons made planting almost a joy. A new food was brought back to our camp by Chepi. Chepi told us of a tuber that had been grown by her people since it was brought to them perhaps twenty years earlier by some travelers who claimed to have been in the far western area of the land. At that time, the Algonquin had been experiencing one of the frequent famines that would be brought on by changes in animal migration, weather, illness, and wars. The tuber, which they began to plant, was called “patata.” The tuber grew well, seemed to be a hardy plant, and it had no insect predators. It was versatile, and could be prepared in many ways. It even seemed to keep well if stored in cool, dry places. This food was filling as well, and after the initial success they decided to try to continue to grow it. They also decided to keep it as secret as possible, believing that the Great Spirit had sent those travelers to them to avert starvation in the camp. Knowledge like this was a great survival advantage, and it was kept highly secret. The fact that Chepi had smuggled out some patata and shared the information with strangers (if that were to be discovered) would probably seal her fate. She could then no longer return to her native family. She would now be part of the English world. She and her daughter, Kimi, indeed had shown the name to be well conferred.

One secret that was not kept was the fact that Shepherd and I had visited the Algonquin camp. I suppose that such a thing can never be kept secret; few things of significance can. Perhaps aging and ailing Captain Braden had become aware and in his confusion had let it slip. Perhaps Albert Adams, never one to miss a chance to gossip, had put together the facts about our extended absences from the settlement. I could not imagine that Margaret would divulge this secret, certainly not intentionally. Had we mentioned something to Leviticus Martin as we inquired of him about the death of his children and his likely smallpox immunity according to Shepherd’s theory? Had he inferred something? We do not know to this day, but it became generally known that we had gone to the Algonquin camp. The fact that there had been some possible benefits from our visits, such as the acquisition of the patata, allowed people to simply ignore the trips and enjoy some benefit. We never knew.

It had been nearly three weeks since we had left the Algonquin camp. Two of the nine “patients” had indeed died of smallpox, causing a great deal of fear and anger among the camp. Some of the younger warriors took it upon themselves to seek revenge upon the English who had brought death to their camp, now twice. A group of probably ten to fifteen warriors made their way into our camp at night. Sneaking up on the guards, who had built a small fire to ward off the evening chill, they seized the watchmen and slit their throats before they could yell out a warning. They then grabbed torches from near the fire, lit them, and began to throw them into whatever dwellings they could reach. As soon as people were roused by the shout of “Fire!” the warriors cut them down with a hail of arrows. Chaos ruled the camp as men found their muskets and began to return fire toward the nearly invisible warriors. The night began to glow as fires started to rage out of control. People could not risk getting to the well to get enough water to quench the fires. The warriors gradually began to be silhouetted by the very fires they started, and musket fire began to have some effect, with at least three warriors felled by lead shot. Having done the damage they had hoped to produce, the Algonquin raiding party melted into the night, gone for good. What they left behind was devastation. Fires raged as women screamed for their children, and men organized an effort to put out the fires. By dawn, we could see the remains of our settlement. Stores of food had been destroyed, and dwellings were reduced to ash. Six men were killed by arrows, and the two watchmen had died from slit throats. One woman died protecting her two young children, huddling over them in a burning log building.

Rage and fear ruled the settlement. We had lost several dwellings and much of the town meeting hall, as it had come to be known. The Governor’s Council met later in the day to determine our course of action. Andrew Kensington was beside himself with rage. He demanded that Joseph Shepherd and I be hauled up for charges and a trial. He was convinced that our trips to the Algonquin camp was the cause of the disaster. He was, in fact, correct in that thinking. His intentions were not justice, however. They were revenge. He had resented us for a long time, and this was a chance for him to get rid of us as well as exercise his power. Others on the Council were inclined to agree with him about our culpability. However, all this became a moot point when Shepherd, upon hearing of the clamor, simply came forward and took full responsibility for the venture.

“I believe that you are correct in your assessment, Lord Kensington,” Shepherd said. “I went to the Algonquin camp to help them overcome the smallpox outbreak there. I believed that it was the right thing to do. In fact, I still do, even though the results were so unfortunate. I failed them, and I have exposed Gloucester to this danger.”

Kensington raged at him, “You decided to help these savages at the risk of bringing smallpox to Gloucester? You risked yourself and us for those animals, those killers?”

Shepherd stood silent before Kensington, interrupting only to contest Kensington’s contention that the Algonquin were less than human beings.

Kensington finally finished, having done what he intended to do – to cast Shepherd in the light of a madman who was dangerous to Gloucester.

“I say that we burn him at the stake, just like Anna Moore died protecting her children – burned to death!”

“Greene also ought to die. He was every bit as guilty as Shepherd,” added Marcus Turner.

I froze at that statement. I had never had any ill dealings with Turner, but he seemed to want equal justice, if justice were to be the intent here.

Shepherd spoke up clearly and firmly at this point and said, “If you decide that my death is warranted for this tragedy, then so be it, and I will go to the stake. Do not take the life of Dr. Greene, who went with me only because I begged him to do so as a physician. As you know, we have sworn an oath to help patients regardless of circumstances, even at our own personal risk. Dr. Greene was simply following a sacred oath he had sworn. How can you penalize him for upholding his sworn duty?”

“That applies to civilized human beings, Shepherd,” said Kensington, “not these brutal savages!”

“Were we not also brutal to the Algonquin?” asked Shepherd.

This aroused a loud stir in the Council.

“We simply responded to the Algonquin attack on us!” several shouted.

“Yes, and the means which we used were not done with proper motives nor means. You were deceived into that attack, and many of you know that to be true,” Shepherd said. Before they could answer, Shepherd posed a question to them. “The child Kimi, daughter of Chepi and Sean Kelley, is she human, or is she a wild beast?”

There was a moment of silence, then Kensington responded, “Bastard child that she is, perhaps she is half human because of her English father.”

“Have you ever seen an instance where a human being was bred with an animal and produced offspring?” Shepherd asked.

“Such talk is crude, vulgar, and pointless,” ventured Kensington. “Shepherd is guilty, and so is Greene. I submit to this Council that we quickly execute them for the sake of justice, and as a message to the Algonquin that we tolerate no murderous attacks!”

Feeling emboldened, and also that I had nothing to lose, I stated, “The murder of innocent men sends no message, but simply proves the point that we are indeed the real savages here. If we mete out punishment for merciful acts, may God help our souls!”

Word quickly spread through Gloucester about the deliberations of the Governor’s Council. They had not followed the standard English law procedure of finding a bill of indictment before convening a hearing. Henry Adams quickly remedied this by asking for such a bill from a hastily called and empaneled grand jury. However, as members of the community were called upon to serve, great dissension shook Gloucester. There seemed to be a tremendous divide among the people about the whole matter. The divide was becoming clearer, and there was talk of a group of people who were willing to leave the settlement and either relocate or even return to England. Life was hard in America, and the idea of putting up with the danger of Indian attack, on top of hunger and disease was becoming too much for some. It had been an adventure of a lifetime, but people wanted that lifetime to last longer than what America seemed to promise.

Others believed that moving away from the Algonquin, perhaps to a new area of the land, was preferable to trying to stay in this hostile place. Much had already been lost at Gloucester. Was there enough to stay for? There were no guarantees anywhere in America, but the people attracted to come to America were those who wanted a new start. They were restless, and they wanted challenges in a new place. Perhaps another part of Massachusetts would prove satisfying for that need of new challenges.

 There rose a clamor, not for a grand jury, but for a town meeting . This practice was becoming popular, and people liked the idea of a voice in governance. The Council agreed to a full Town Meeting on the matter, Kensington being unable to stop that approach. Perhaps a Town Meeting would serve his purposes just as well.

 Henry Adams was presiding for the Governor’s Council and called the meeting to order. Broader topics were to be discussed at the meeting, not just a decision for a bill of indictment. Adams called upon people to speak their mind on the matter, and he reserved the right to keep them on topic and to monitor their time for speaking. This somewhat broad range of powers had been conferred upon him by the Council, partly to maintain good order and partly due to the respect he had gained in the past months in leading the Council.

A line of people took turns standing to say their piece about the situation at hand. To my surprise, there were a fair number of people who were not willing to cast all the blame for our problems upon Shepherd and me. However, the presence of Chepi and Kelley and their infant daughter Kimi seemed to evoke some outrage that had always simmered. Now people gave vent to those feelings, and many saw a solution of sending them to the Algonquin camp as banishment – as if somehow that would undo the tensions boiling up.

People’s reactions to Shepherd were typically strong and divided. There seemed to be anger toward the very core of his character – his sense of justice and compassion. I had always puzzled over this. I was drawn to his desire for the welfare of others, even at his own expense, yet others seemed to feel themselves judged in comparison to his strong beliefs and intolerance of wrongdoing. They saw him as arrogant, perhaps. I knew him and knew that there could be nothing farther from the truth. People often do not want truth, however; they want their own views supported.

Nearly at the end of the line of people, and as tensions seemed to be mounting to consider a bill of indictment simply to have a way to come to a just solution, aging Captain Braden came forward on the arm of his friend Albert Adams. They slowly moved forward to be heard. Albert, ever since his injuries, rarely spoke before a group of people. His command of language was not what it once was, and he believed that he could hardly express himself well any longer. Braden, now nearly feeble in all respects, had very little strength to spare.

“May I address the group?” asked Braden softly.

“Yes, of course, Captain Braden,” said Adams.

“I have known Joseph Shepherd and Luke Greene since our voyage on the Intrepid some five years ago. I do not know what transpired at the Algonquin camp, nor really do any one of you here who try to sit in judgment of them. What I do know is that I was dying on the Intrepid,and because of the efforts of these men, and the grace of God, I am still alive today. Perhaps the result of their efforts did not turn out as they or anyone wanted, but their efforts were right. Just like on the Intrepid, their efforts saved me from plague, even though the actions of others nearly resulted in my death. Can we judge them simply because other people misunderstood their efforts, just like on the Intrepid?”

Albert then haltingly spoke.

“I was taken in by the Franciscan mission in London. They helped me. Jacob Carr, the man who beat me, later took care of me, and he died saving me. I forgave him. A lot of people helped me because Joseph Shepherd helped them…”

Albert began to cry and could not continue. Braden helped Albert to a seat, and silence ruled the meeting. Margaret silently wept as she buried her head in her hands, likely recalling that awful night of the fire. Then I saw Henry Adams with a tear running down his face. He could not speak for a brief moment, then finally he asked that we take a recess.

Kensington watched the Town Meeting turn to a place he did not expect. He could no longer hope for a bill of indictment. There was still division in the Gloucester settlement, and now he had an inspiration. He could use this moment to offer a solution and get his business needs met at the same time. He had been considering the idea for a little while, but now was the time to offer it to an emotional and vulnerable community.

After a short recess, Kensington asked if he could speak. Adams acknowledged Kensington, and he began calmly and almost reverently, “People of Gloucester, I think we have seen today that we are divided on this and several matters. I would like to withdraw my request for a bill of indictment on Shepherd and Greene. I still find that their reckless actions have put us into a very vulnerable position – a place we can no longer sustain. I propose that we each make a decision where we will go. Some may want to stay here in Gloucester and face the risks of that. Others have discussed a return to England, while others have talked of moving to a different place here in Massachusetts.

“I have an offer of another opportunity, in Virginia, which was my original plan. I have a company which now has not only funding but a promise of a royal charter from the Crown in Virginia. I will begin our shipping and exporting business there with the charter and protection of the King. Those who follow me there may truly find the wealth that America offers!”

In fact, just the year before, the King had indeed revoked the charter of the Virginia Company and made Virginia a Crown colony, under royal direction. Edwin Carr’s mission had been at least two-fold. His successful return voyage to England had been the proof of what Kensington had been promising the King – potential profits from enterprises that were not tobacco-driven alone. Shipbuilding and ship repair, lumber, pelts, medicines, and a variety of goods could bring wealth to England, like Spain had been able to do. Kensington likely downplayed that slavery, tobacco, and perhaps rum were to be the profit leaders of the enterprise. However, Kensington showed amazing flexibility and a genius for making money. King James was desperate for money, and Kensington could be a moneymaker. That seemed to transcend the King’s distaste for the tobacco trade. Kensington knew how to make things work.

The crowd stirred at this turn of events. Many found relief – they no longer had to decide on punishment, they had to decide on their future! We could not know the next level of danger we faced from the Algonquin, but it seemed very real and imminent to some. Already we had faced near devastation at their hands. People were restless and ready for a change. Kensington gave some people that opportunity with his offer.

Henry Adams concluded the Town Meeting with the charge that people decide what they wanted to do. The question would be how the settlement would divide. There were some clear lines of division, with some wanting to continue at Gloucester, a group seeming ready to move with Kensington to Jamestown, and another group ready to move on simply to start anew.

I knew that Kensington’s offer did not include Shepherd and me, and we, of course, would not choose that anyway. Shepherd and I needed to discuss what our next steps might be, but first I wanted to speak with Margaret to see her reaction. I was relieved, excited, and fearful all at the same time. Margaret had been thinking about what this meant for both of us. We had decided to marry, so whatever decision we made, it would be as one. Little Jacob, now nearly four years old, would once again be facing a new world, as would we all.

                       Chapter 47

Margaret and I seemed to be of the same mind almost immediately. We wanted to start fresh. Her thoughts immediately turned to Chepi, Kimi, and Kelley. Where might they turn now? Chepi would not be able to return to her people, and Margaret felt that they would need help with little Kimi. If we could gather a good-sized group, we could venture to the place of our choosing in this exciting yet formidable land. We needed people with certain skills also – fishing, farming, hunting, building – all critical for survival. We also needed men who could bear arms to defend a new settlement. There would be competition for such people if there were the splits in thinking that we believed existed. Kensington could offer the prospect of wealth with his Crown connections and business plans. Some would be swayed by this enticement, but Shepherd pointed out that if we were to meet with people about coming to a new venture with us, we would only want people who shared a commitment to the same goals. If wealth were the only inducement, they would become disaffected when wealth did not come as quickly as they hoped. He quoted from Ecclesiastes, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” We would look for people who valued independence, self-reliance, freedom of faith, and a desire to build a community that could be good for future generations. We would need people committed to vision for the future, not immediate wealth.

We met and listed those we believed would join us in these beliefs. Certainly Kelley, Chepi, and Kimi; Leviticus Martin and his family; Albert Adams and Captain Braden, knowing that they brought limited skills and would require some care; Henry Adams and his family; Herbert Wesley; Thomas Hancock and his family; Thomas Gerry and his family. These were people we believed were of the same mind. Surely there were others, and we decided to meet with these people, propose our ideas, and ask for help in direction.

Our meeting went well with this group as we explained our desire for a new community not ruled by greed and power but with shared determination of governance, faith as a cornerstone of that governance, and a desire to build for future generations. We left with a plan to find those who shared our beliefs and to invite them to join us.

It was now nearly August, and we decided that we could wait for the crops to be harvested before we left. The patata plants that Chepi had brought seemed to be doing exceedingly well, and we looked for a large harvest. Chepi told us that the patata might well be ready to harvest in about two weeks, so we decided to gather our share of the harvest and depart within two weeks. Chepi also said that she did not believe that the Algonquin were likely to attack. She did not give specific reasons for this, but we surmised that she still had some type of contact with her people. She had not shared her belief very widely, because she thought that if people sensed that she still had some contact with her people, her life and that of Kelley and Kimi might be in trouble.

Kensington was gathering his own group to head for Jamestown, and he was promising both wealth and power for those who followed him. Indeed, the prospects for his group seemed favored financially, and we could offer no such promises. By the first week of August, we could determine who would be going where. Kensington had nearly one hundred people, many of them the most able soldiers and men without families.

There was a group, of perhaps seventy people, who decided to stay at Gloucester. These were fishermen and their families who saw that Gloucester could sustain them with fish, even if crops were to fail. The cod catch was amazing at times, and there seemed to be a real future for exporting salt cod to not only England, but to the West Indies, where it was used to feed the growing slave population who worked in the sugar cane fields. They either discounted the Algonquin threat, or, willing to fight the Algonquin, disregarded it completely.

Finally, our group numbered around sixty people. What we lacked in military strength, we believed we made up in strength of will and principle. Shepherd spent a great deal of time with Henry Adams, Thomas Hancock, and Thomas Gerry – men who showed passion and ability to shape a new type of government in America. Excitement was building in that group as time grew closer to make the move to another part of the New World. Shepherd seemed confident that this group, led by principle, was going to impact the New World in a significant way. He shared that he had some personal stirrings that he needed to pray about, and we all assumed that this was just part of Shepherd’s character and that he was excited to make a new journey.

 Kensington and his group were preparing a ship to head south toward Jamestown. Henry Adams had negotiated an arrangement whereby his group could take passage on the ship to a point where Reverend William Blackstone had settled with his family in an area named “New England” by Captain John Smith some years earlier as he was exploring the area. Blackstone had corresponded with both Herbert Wesley and Adams since they had met at John Ward’s meetings years before. Blackstone was an independent man, rugged and fierce in his desire to have religion untainted by the King, and by his desire for having liberty of thought as “ordained by God.”

This seemed to be just the type of environment Adams and Shepherd were seeking. Blackstone spoke of the beauty of the area, “a hilly peninsula with a natural harbor.” This is where our group would depart from the Kensington group and begin a new life.

Just before we were to depart, a ship arrived at Gloucester, the return of Edwin Carr on the Conquest from his trip on behalf of the London & Western Company. He carried another small group of people seeking relief from London’s poverty, as well as some fresh provisions. There was also salt used as ballast for the voyage, then to be used for the fishermen to salt the cod catch, wine, beer, weapons, lead for ammunition, and other goods welcomed by the settlement. There was one more crate, which carried a valuable cargo – mail. Correspondence with England was difficult, but when letters arrived they were as precious as gold to us. Shepherd received letters from Galileo, Francis Bacon, William Bradford, and William Harvey.

Shepherd was delighted to hear from his friends and colleagues. He read of Galileo’s increasing frustration with Rome and his need to conceal his truest scientific beliefs. He read about Bacon’s legal troubles and his disgrace from Parliament and dismissal from public service. However, his letter from Harvey was most prized. Harvey wrote about his newest publication, which would define his studies on physiology and the circulation of the blood. In the letter, he begged Shepherd to return to England and work with him to finalize his book, De Motu Cordis. He related also that conditions in London were increasingly intolerable for the poor. Since the Franciscan mission burned down, there were few options for the poor, the sick, and the orphans, which it had served. Harvey indicated that he might be able to secure some support from the King for a new hospital and mission. Harvey, I knew, recognized that such an appeal might move Shepherd, even more than the thought of helping to advance medical science. Harvey also noted that some of the herbs and roots that we had sent back showed promise in helping to treat illness. Sassafras root, he noted, was becoming popular in teas and medical compounds.

Harvey concluded with an offer to provide housing and funds for Shepherd and me to return to England under a royal grant. Shepherd was clearly torn in how he now wanted to proceed. A return to England to work with Harvey, and the potential of having royal support for starting another mission, were very strong allures. I saw Shepherd’s anguish the next day, and I approached him with an idea.

“Joseph,” I began, “we have been through many things together, but perhaps it is time for you to part ways with me. Margaret and little Jacob and I have decided to stay in America. However, you have gifts and talents that need to be shared with men like Harvey, Galileo, and Descartes. Margaret and I will return to England to visit once we are established here. Please do not stay in America for my sake.”

I realized at once how arrogant that may have sounded. Who was I to presume that I was the reason he wanted to stay in America. I immediately flushed with embarrassment.

“My dear Luke,” smiled Shepherd, “you are a close and trusted friend, and my affection for you indeed is strong reason to stay in America, but I must follow my heavenly Father’s wishes. I will go where He desires me to go.

“What is your decision, then, Joseph?” I asked.

He sighed and said, “I will pray about it, my friend, and I will let you know in a day or two. As you know, I have been feeling some unease about the move, and perhaps this is my answer to prayer.”

 I left feeling both relieved and sad at this discussion. Shepherd had influenced my life much more than I affected him, I reasoned, yet he gives me the grace of believing that I had been important in his life. I did however leave feeling resolved in my decision to make a new start in America with Margaret. I also believed that despite my promises to Shepherd, I might never see him again.

 [t3] Preparations for leaving were now picking up. Shepherd had informed me a few days after our discussion that he planned to return to England. I somehow knew that he must do this, and I also knew that it was a very difficult decision for him. He promised to write regularly, which I knew he would do, as would I. I had also convinced myself that someday Margaret, little Jacob, and I would return to visit him in England.

 Margaret and I decided that we were now married, and we declared this to our traveling group. We had asked Herbert Wesley to act as a church official to bless our marriage, and he had graciously done so, even though he said that he was not an ordained elder. Several other men and women made such a declaration before our departure, as we had decided that stable marriages would be an important part of the new community we hoped to establish.

Our departure in the fall of 1626 was filled with tension. I never did trust Andrew Kensington. It was not until the ship filled with travelers, headed to both Virginia and lower New England, harbored at a quaint little port. This port, which had been described by Reverend Blackstone, was to be our new home. Only after we successfully disembarked did I breathe a little easier.

An advance party had gone before us to set up some dwellings and to lay in a stock of salt fish so that we could winter over. The first order of business for the hunters was to hunt and trap enough game to last the winter, supplementing our supply of salt fish. Our blessing was that fish abounded, especially large cod. Oyster beds were so massive that we truly believed that they could never be exhausted. We could forage for wild berries and fruits, and we were convinced that we would not need to starve as long as we could live off this plentiful land. Chepi was a godsend in helping us to know the land, finding edible plants, lending her knowledge of game patterns, and methods of preserving food. Our lives settled into a routine of sorts. I continued to look for medicinal plants in this new territory, and I became more proficient dealing with the medical needs of our small group, which actually began to flourish as the months went on.

It was not long before Margaret became pregnant with our first child together. We were excited beyond words when little Anna was born. Life is both precious and fragile, especially in a primitive land where disease and violence seemed to abound. Yet we found delight in our growing community. The founding principles which we espoused seemed to be taking root. Adams, Hancock, and Gerry rose up as natural leaders, and we formed a governing body that reflected the will of the governed, and seemed to provide us with the peace to be able to go about our lives with freedom from want and freedom from oppression, both political and religious. This contrasted with what was happening in Kensington’s new settlement just outside of Jamestown in Virginia. We had heard reports of growing violence as Kensington imposed his financial will on people. Tobacco did indeed grow well in Virginia, and his plan of slave routes as part of a trading triangle with England, Africa, and Virginia took root. I rejoiced that we had made the decision to start our new life where we did.

The Effects of Stress

A sound mind makes for a robust body,
    but runaway emotions corrode the bones. Proverbs 14:30

I saw this picture on a site when I did a search about the effects of stress on aging. This stunning photo shows President Abraham Lincoln in the short 5-year span of his Presidency during the Civil War. I am not sure that we can attribute all of this dramatic change to stress alone. Many believe that Lincoln suffered from a hormonal imbalance caused by a pituitary problem. I do not know that for sure of course, however, this picture shows a man under tremendous stress.

We have all seen “before and after” pictures of recent American Presidents who appear to have aged disproportionately during their tenures in office. Almost all of our Presidents show rather clear aging changes which might well be attributed to the incredible stress they carried.

Indeed, this is not only for American Presidents. Any world leader, or someone with terribly burdensome stress shows it in their face. The body reacts to the pressure in the mind and soul. The interconnection of mind and body seems to be clearly demonstrated in pictures like this.

The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Stress theory came into the popular parlance in the 1960’s and 1970’s as we came to better understand the relationship between stress and general health.

All of us encounter stress in our life, and the critical question is, “What do we do with it?”

More tomorrow…

Prayer: Lord, you know our frame and our frailty, but also the strength that you can give. Help us to understand that better, Amen