The world has nothing more worthy of our regard than its unconscious heroes. Though many can discern their own true importance, a peculiar charm invests such as do not realize it, even if they are told. They seem to think others would have done better in their place, and they lightly estimate their services, at less than their fellow-men accredit them. His ideal of duty captivates the doer more than his own agency therein. The noblest men are made by the contemplation of their models. Like the great Apostle, they are not disobedient unto the heavenly vision. Among earth's worthies, modest and unconscious of greatness, there stands the figure of William Bradford. We find him first as a native of Austerfield, England, on the south border of Yorkshire. There is no official record of his birth. But in addition to his own declaration of age when first married, the clearly legible record of his baptism, March 19, 1589, would indicate that by the modern calendar he was born in 1590. The garments worn by him at the chapel March 19–29, being a short white linen covering and mitts which came for exhibition to Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts, are the apparel of a small babe. The affirmation of Bradford, as a man thoroughly established in his integrity and his accuracy of statement, this declaration in the important matter of his marriage contract when he was required to subscribe his own signature, must be accepted as more weighty than the opinions given by others regarding his age in later years of his life, and the posthumous inscription placed long afterward on his monument.
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