could have, both in Amsterdam and Kent, beer inough to serve
our turn : but now we cannot accept it without prejudice [».«.
having already made other arrangements].
You fear, We have begun to build ; and shall not be able to
make an end.
Indeed our courses were never established by
counsel ; we may therefore justly fear their standing. Yea, there
was a schism amongst us fniree], at the first
You wrote to Master Martin to prevent the making of the
provisions in Kent : which he did, and set down his resolution.
How much he would have of everything ; without respect to any
coimsel, or exception. Surely, he that is in a society, and yet
regards not counsell, may better be a King than a consort
To be short, if there be not some other disposition settled unto,
than yet is : we, that should be partners of humility and peace,
shall be examples of jangling and insulting.
Yet your money which you there [f SotUhampton] must have ;
we will get provided for you instantly. £500, you say, will serve.
For the rest which here and in Holland is to be used ; we may go
scratch for it
For Master Crabb,^ of whom you write, he hath promised to go
with us : yet I tell you, I shall not be without fear •HewMaifin.
till I see him shipped ; for he [t.«. his going] is »»*»• [W. Rj
much opposed. Yet I hope he will not fail.
Think the best of all, and bear with patience what is wanting :
and the Lord guide us all 1
Your loving friend,
London, June 10th
Negottattans with the Adventurers. 311
A UBTTBB OF ROBERT CUSHMAN'S TO THBM [aT LXTDSN].
[L02n>0H ; ? SATURDAY, 10/20 JUNK 1620.]
Brethren. I understand by letters and passages that have
come to me, that there are great duicontents and dislikes of my
proceedings amongst you. Sorry I am to hear it, yet content to
bear it : as not doubting but that, partly by writing, and more
principally by word when we shall come together, I shall satisfy
any reasonable man.
I have been persuaded by some, especially this bearer [the
hearer of thit : ? John I'xminat intendedy see pp. 315, 316] to come and
clear things unto you : but, as things now stand, I cannot be
absent one day, except I should hazard all the Voyage. Neither
conceive I any great good would come of it. Take then, Brethren,
this as a step to give you content.
First, for your dislike of the alteration of one clause in the
Conditions ; if you conceive it. right, there can be no blame lie on
me at alL For the Articles first brought over by John Carver were
never seen of any of the Adventurers here, except Master Weston :
neither did any of them like them, because of that clause ; nor
Master Weston himself, after he had well considered it. But as at
the first there was £IK)0 withdrawn by Sir George Farrer and his
brother, upon that dislike ; so all the rest would have withdrawn.
Master WssTON^xcepted, if we had not altered that clause. Now
whilst we at Leyden conclude[d] upon points, as we did ; we reckoned
without our host : which was not my fault.
Besides, I shewed you, by a letter, the equity of that Condition
and our inconveniences : which might be set against all Master
Robinson's inconveniences :
That without the alteration of that clause, we could
neither have means to get thither; nor Supply
[reinforcements] whereby to subsist, when we were there.
Yet notwithstanding all those reasons ; which were not mine,
but other men's wiser than myself : without answer to any one of
them ; here cometh over many querimonies and complaints against
me : of lording it over my bretheren ; and making conditions fitter
for thieves and bondslaves than honest men ; and that, of my own
head, I did what I list.
And, at last a Paper of Beasons, framed against that clause in
the Conditions: which as they were delivered me open, so my
Answer b open to you all. And first, as they are no other bnt
3 1 2 Negotiations with the Adventurers.
inconyeniences ; sach as a man might frame twenty as great on the
other side, and yet prove, n(»r disprove, nothing by them : so they
miss and mistake both the very ground of the Article^ and nature
of the project.
1. For, first, it is said, That if there had been no division of
houses and lands, it had been better for the poor.
[Annper.] l^e, and that showeth the inequality of the
Conditions, We should more respect him that ventureth both his
money and his person, than him that ventureth but his person only.
2. [Annoer,'] Consider whereabout we are. Not giving alms,
but furnishing a Store House. No one shall be poorer than another
for Seven Years ; and if any be rich, none can be poor. At the
least) we must not, in such business, cry " Poor ! Poor 1 Mercy I
Mercy ! " Charity hath its life in Wrecks, not in Ventures. You
are by this most in a hopeful pity of making. Therefore complain
not before you have need !
3. This will hinder the building of good and faix houses ;
contrary to the advice of Politics [Political Economists],
Anstoer. So we would have it. Our purpose is to build for the
present such houses as, if need be, we may, with little grief, set
afire, and run away by the light [thereof]. Our riches shall not be
in pomp, but in strength. If GrOD send us riches, we will imploy
them to provide more men, ships, munition, dbc. You may see it
amongst the best Politics [Politiocd Economists\ that a Common
Weal is readier to ebb, than to flow, when once fine houses and gay
clothes come up.
4 The Government [there] may prevent excess in building.
Answer. But if it be on all men beforehand resolved on, to build
mean houses ; the €k)vernment's labour is spared.
5. All men are not of one condition.
Answer. If by condition, you mean wealth ; you are mistaken.
If you mean, by condition, qualities ; then I say :
He that is not content his neighbour shall have as good a house,
fare, means, &c., as himself, is not of a good quality.
Secondly. Such retired [selJUh] persons as have an eye only to
themselves, are fitter to come where catching is^ than closing : and
are fitter to live alone ; than in any society, either civil or religious.
6. It will be of little value, scarce worth £5 [a house, &c.].
Answer. True, it may be not worth half £5. If then so small
a thing will content them [the Adventurers] ; why strive we thus
Negotiations with the Adventurers. 313
about it, and give them occasion to suspect us to be worldly and
covetous ? I will not say what I have heiurd, since these Complaints
came first over [from Holland].
7. Our friends with us that adventure, mind not their own
profit, as did the old Adventurers.
Answer, Then they are better than we, who for [want of] a .
little matter of profit are ready to draw back. And it is more
apparent, (Brethren^ look to it !) that [ye] make profit your main
end ! Bepent of this, else go not ! lest you be like a Jonas to
Seccmdly. ' Though some of them mind not their profit ; yet
others do mind it : and why not, as well as we ? Ventures are
made by all sorts of men ; and we must labour to give them all
content, if we can.
8. It will break the course of Community, as may be showed by
Anvwer. That is but said : and I say again, It will best foster
Communion [? tha common tnteresty or 1 the community of goods] as
may be showed by many reasons.
9. Qreat profit is like[ly] to be made by trucking, fishing, <&c.
Amwer. As it is better for them, so for us : for half is ours,
besides our living still upon it. And if such profit in that way
come, our labour shall be the less on the land : and our houses and
lands must, and will be, of less value.
10. Our hazard is greater than theirs.
AfisiDcr. True ; but do they put us upon it ? Do they urge
and egg us [on] ? Hath not the motion and resolution been always
in ourselves ? Do they any more than, in seeing us resolute if we
had the means, help us to means upon equal terms and conditions ?
If we will not go, they are content to keep their monies.
Thus, I have pointed at a way to [un]lose those knots : which I
hope you will consider seriously ; and let me have no more stir
Now, further, I hear a noise of slavish conditions by me made :
but, surely, this is all that I have altered ; and [the] reasons [for
it], I have sent you.
If you mean it [in respect] of the two days in a week for
particular \jprivate jmrposes], as some insinuate ; you are deceived.
You may have three days in a week, for me, if you wilL And
when I have spoken to the Adventurers of times of working,
314 Negotiations with the Adventurers.
they have said, They hope we are men of discretion and conscience ;
and so fit to be trusted ourselves with that.
And, indeed, the ground of our proceedings at Leyden was
mistaken ; and so here is nothing but tottering every day, dtc
As for them of Amsterdam \yt, the memhen of the Rev, Hsnbt
AiNswoRT^s Church there\^ I had thought they would as soon have
gone to Borne as with us : for our liberty \i,e, moderate viem dbc]
is to them as ratsbane ; and their rigour [i.e. rigid uHecu] as bad
to us as the Spanish Inquisition. If any practice [performance'] of
mine discourage them ; let them yet draw back 1 I will imdertake
they shall have their money again presently [instantly] paid
here : or if the Company think me to be the Jonas, let them cast
me off before we go. I shall be content to stay [in England] with
good will ; having but the clothes on my back.
Only let us have quietness, and no more of these clamours.
Full little did I expect these things which are now come to
[? 10/20 June 1620.] Robert Cushmaw.
But whether this letter of his ever came to their
hands at Leyden I well know not. I rather think
it was stayed by Itfaster Cakver; and kept by him,
for f efiu: of offence.
But this which follows was there received. Both
[of] which, I thought pertinent to recite.
[The date of this letter is 11th June, which, in 1620, fell on a
Sunday. But the date must be an error for two reasons :
(1) "and have took [a] liking of one till Monday,'' could hardly
have been written on the previous dsky : but might have been
written on the day before that, viz., Saturday, 10th June 1620 ;
which is the date of the previous letter to John Carver, at pp.
309-310. Both letters would seem to have been dated the same day.
(2) It is unlikely that one of the Pilgrim Fathers would have
written a business letter on a Sunday, unless under some
Negotiations with the Adventurers. 3 1 5
ROBERT GXTSHMAN'S RBPLT TO TBI LBTTBR OF THX FOUR AT LXTOEN.
LONDON ; SATURDAY, 10/20 JUNE 1620.
Salutations, &c., I received your letter [of 31 May /lO June]
yesterday [9/19 June] by John Turner : with another, the same
day, from Amsterdam, by Master W., savouring of the place
whence it came.
And indeed the many discouragements I find here [in London]^
together with the demurs and retirings there [at Leyden]y had made
me to say, " I would give up my accounts to John Carver ; and,
at his coming [ue. from SovihampUm to London\ acquaint him
•fully with all courses [proceedings] : and so leave it quite, with
only the poor clothes on my back,"
But, gathering up myself, by further consideration ; I resolved
yet to make one trial more : and to acquaint Master Weston with
the [ ? ] fainted [prostrate] state of our business.
And though he hath been much discontented at some thing
amongst us of late ; which hath made him often say. That, save
for his promise, he would not meddle at all with the business any
more. Yet (considering how far we were plunged into matters ;
and how it stood both on our credits and undoing), at the last, he
gathered up himself a little more : and coming to me, two hours
after, he told me, He would not yet leave it.
And so, advising together, we resolved to hire a ship; and
have took [a] liking of one till Monday [12th June], [of] about
sixty last* [ r 120 tons] : for a greater we cannot get, except it be
too great. But a fine ship it is. And seeing our near [stingy or
ehort'Sig/Ued] friends there [at Leyden\ are so straitlaced ; we hope
to assure [make sure of het^ without troubling them any further :
and if the ship fall too small ; it fitteth well, that such as stumble
at straws already, may rest them there [at Leyden] awhile, lest
worse blocks come in the way, ere the Seven Years be ended.
If you had beaten this business so thoroughly a month ago [%.e.
in April/May 1620] and writ to us as you now do ; we could thus
have done [it] much more conveniently. But it is, as it is.
* A Last - 2 Tons « 12 Barrels of 82 gallons each » 384 gallons.. [See
£. Abber, An English Qwmer, iil pp. 626, 682, Ed. 1880, 8.] This vessel
then, of 120 tons, was therefore not the MayjUnntry of 180 tons ; which, up
to this date, 12/22 June 1620, had apparently not been either considered,
or looked at.r— E. A.
3 1 6 Negotiations with the Adventurers.
I hope our friends there \at Leyden], if they bo quitted
of the ship hire [of this ship], will be induced to venture the
All that I now require is, that salt and nets may there [tn
ffolkmdf the great centre of the European JUhing trade], be bought :
and for all the rest, we will here provide it. Yet if that will
not be [itf. if the Leyden Venturers would not pay for the salt and
nets] : let them but stand for it a month or two, and we will take
order to pay it alL
Let Master Betnolds tarry there, and bring the ship [the
Speedwell] to Southampton.
We have hired another Pilot here, one Master [John,
see page 254] Clarke : who went last year, to Virginia, with a
ship of kine [cattle}.
You shall hear distinctly [more ex^dicitly] by Johk Turner :
who, I think, shall come hence on Tuesday night [13th June].
I had thought to have come with him, to have answered to
my complaints [the complaints of rn^e] ; but I shall learn to pass
little for their censures: and if I had more jnind to go and
dispute and expostulate with them, than I have care of this
weighty business ; I were like them who live by clamours and
jangling. But neither my mind nor my body is at liberty to do
much : for I am fettered with business ; and had rather study to
be quiet, than to make answer to their Exceptions. If men be set
on it, let them beat the air 1
I hope such as are my sincere friends will not think but I can
give some reason of my actions. But of your mistaking about the
matter, and other things tending to this business; I shall next
inform you more distinctly [explicitly]. Mean space, entreat our
friends not to be too busy in answering matters, before they know
them. If I do such things as I cannot give reasons for, it is
likepy] you have set a fool about your business : and so turn the
reproof to yourselves, and send another ; and let me come again
to my combs [wool combs^ see page 165].
But, setting aside my natural infirmities, I refuse not to
have my cause judged, both of QOD and all indifferent men :
and when we come together, I shall give account of my actions
The Lord, who judgeth justly without respect of persons, see
unto the equity of my cause ! and give us quiet, peaceable, and
Negotiations with the Adventurers. 3 1 7
patient minds in all these turmoils ! and sanctify unto us all crosses
And so I take mj leave of you all, in all love and affection,
Your poor Brother,
June 11th [? 10th] 1620.
I hope we shall get all here \in London] ready in fourteen days.
[The following was written while the last Letter was on its
way to Leyden.]
A LBTTBR OP MASTER ROBINSON'S TO JOHN CARVER.
LETDKN ; WEDNESDAY, 14/24 JUNE 1620.
My dear friend and brother, whom with yours, I always
remember in my beat affection ; and whose welfakre I shall never
cease to commend to QOD by my best and most earnest prayers.
You do thoroughly understand, by our general letters, the estate
of things here : which indeed is very pitiful ; especiaUy by want of
shipping, and not seeing means likely, much less certain, of having
it provided. Though withal, there be great want of money, and
means to do needful things.
Master [Edward] Pickering, you know before this, will not
defray a penny here ; though Bobert Cushkan presumed, of I
know not how many £100 from him, and I know not whom : yet it
seems strange that we should be put to him to receive both his, and
his partner's Adventure ; and yet Master Weston writ unto him
that, in regard of it, he hath drawn upon him [?by Bill of
Exchange, for] a £100 more. But there is in this some mystery,
as indeed it seems there is in the whole course.
Besides, whereas divers are to pay in some parts of their money
yet behind : they refuse to do it, till they see shipping provided ;
or a course taken for it Neither, do I think, is there a man
here [who] would pay ainything, if he had again his money in
You know right well, we depended on Master Weston alone ;
and upon such means as he would procure for this common
business : and when we had in hand another course with the
Dutchmen, [we] broke it o% at his motion ; and upon the Conditions
by him shortly after propounded. He did this, in his love, I know :
but things appear not answerable from him hitherto. That he
should have first put in his monies [? £500,] is thought by
3 1 8 Negotiations with the Adventurers.
many to have been but fit ; but that I can well excuse, he being
a Merchant and having use [tnterest] of it to his benefit ; whereas
others; if it had been in their hands, would have consumed it But
that he should not but have had either shipping ready before this
time ; or at least certain means and course, and the same known to
us for it : or have taken other order otherwise, cannot in my
conscience be excused.
I have heard. That when he liath been moved in the business,
he hath put it off from himself, and referred it to the others : and
would come [t,e, in London] to Qboros Morton, and inquire news
of him about things ; as if he had scarce been some accessory unto
it Whether he hath failed of some helps from others which he
[hath] expected, and so be not well able to go through with things ;
or whether he hath feared lest you siiould be ready too soon,
and so increase the charge [for the hire] of shipping above that
[which] is meet ; or whether he hath thought by withholding to
put us upon straits, thinking that thereby Master Brewstkr
and Master [Edward] Pickering would be drawn, by importunity,
to do more ; or what other mystery is in it, we know now : but
sure we are, that things are not answerable to such an occasion.
Master Weston makes himself merry with our endeavours
about buying a ship [the Speedwe^ : but we have done nothing in
this but with good reason, as I am persuaded ; nor yet^ that I know
[of], in anything else, save in those two :
The one, that we imployed Robert Cushman, who is known,
though a good man and of special abilities in his kind, yet most
unfit to deal for other men by reason of his singularity [oddity or
particularity] and too great indifferency for any conditions, and
for, to spei^ truly, that we have had nothing from him but terms
The other that we have so much relied, by implicit faith as it
were, upon generalities [a general promise] ; without seeing the
particular course or means for so weighty an afiieur, set down
For shipping, Master Weston it should seem, is set upon
hiring ; which yet I wish he may presently effect : but I see little
hope of help from hence, if so it be. Of Master [Thomas] Brewer,
you know what to expect I do not think Master Pickering will
ingage; except in the course of buying [? ships, as] in former letters
Negotiations with the Adventurers. 3 1 9
About the Conditians, jou have our reasons for our Judgements
of [as to] what Is agreed. And let this specially be borne in mind,
That the greatest part of the Colony is likePy] to be imployed
constantly, not upon dressing their particular [ovm] land and
building houses ; but upon fishing, trading, &c. : so as the " land
and house " will be but a trifle for advantage to The Adventurers ;
and yet the division of it, a great discouragement to the Planters ;
who would with singular [especial] care make it comfortable,
with borrowed hours from their sleep.
The same consideration of common imployment constantly, by
the most, is a good reason not to have the two days in a week
denied the few Planters for private use : which yet is subordinate
to common good. Consider also how much unfit that you, and
your likes, must serve a new [ap]prenticeship of Seven Years ; and
not a day's freedom from task 1
Send me word what persons are to go ; who, of useful faculties
[trades]^ and how many ; and particularly of everything.
I know you want not a mind. I am sorry you have not been
at London all this while : but the provisions [preparatiom] could
not want you. [Carver wag apparently at Southampton,]
Time will suffer me to write no more. Fare you, and yours,
well always in the Lord : in whom I rest
Yours to use,
I have been the larger in these things, and so shall
crave leave in some like passages following, though in
other things I shall labour to be more contract, that
their children may see with what difficulties their
fathers wrestled, in going through these things, in their
first beginnings: and how GOD brought them along,
notwithstanding all their weaknesses and infirmities.
As also that some use may be made hereof, in after
times, by others in such like weighty imployments.
And herewith I will end this Chapter. Bradford MS.,
Who were the Adventurers?
^APTAIN JOHN SMITH in his General History
oj Virginia, Sc.^ published in July 1624, writes
as follows :
The Adventurers, which raised the Stock
to begin and supply [reinforce] this Plantation, were
about seventy: some, Gentlemen; some, Merchants;
some, handicraftsmen; some adventuring great sums;
some, small; as their estates and affection served.
The General Stock already employed [expended] is
about £7,000. By reason of which charge, and many
crosses ; many of them would adventure no more : but
others (that know so great a design cannot be effected
without both charge, loss, and crosses) are resolved to
go forward with it to their powers ; which deserve no
small commendations and encouragement.
These [the Adventurers generally] dwell mostpy]
about London. They are not a Corporation : but [are]
knit together, by a voluntary combination, in a Society,
without constraint or penalty ; aiming to do good, and
to plant Religion.
They have a President and a Treasurer, every year
newly chosen by tiie most voices [the majority present],
who ordereth the affairs of their Courts and Meetings :
and, with the assent of the most of tiiem, undertaketh
all ordinary businesses; but, in more weighty a&irs,
the assent of the whole Company is required Lib YI.,
WAo were the Adventurers ? 321
In his AdwTtiwmenU (tc^ [written in October 1630;
but printed in] 1631, Captain Smith adds the following
These disasters, losses, and uncertainties made such
disagreement among the Adventurers in England, who
began to repent; and [would] rather lose all, than
longer continue the charge : being out of purse £6,000
or £7,000 ; accounting my Books and their Relations as
But the Planters, rather than leave the country,
concluded absolutely to supply themselves ; and to all
their Adventurers, [to] pay them, for nine years, £200
yearly, without any other account : where, more than
600 Adventurers for Virginia, for more than £200,000,
had not sixpence, p. 19.
The following forty-two Adventurers signed the Composition
with the Plymouth Colony, on 15/25 November 1626, to
receive £200 a year, for nine years. Apparently these were
all the Adventurers in England who had any stake in the
Plantation at that time.
Robert Allden. Timothy Hathebley.
Emanuel Alltham. Thomas Heath.
Richard Andrews. William Hobson.
Thomas Andrews. Robert Holland.
Laurence Anthony. Thomas Hudson.
Edward Bass, Robert Kean.
John Beauchamp. Eliza Knight.
Thomas Brewer. John Knight.
Henry Browning. Milks Knowles.
William Collier. John Ling.