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Chronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 online

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FROM 1602 TO 1625.



' Gentis cunabula i.o-Lte.
' The mother of us a'l.'




7V\ XC

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1841,
By Alexander Young,
, the Clerk's Office of the District Court of tlie District of Massachusetts.


• * •


printed by freeiman anx3 bolles,

washington street.











This volume will be found to contain an authentic
History of the Pilgrim Fathers who planted the Colony
of Plymouth, from their origin in John Robinson's con-
gregation in 1602, to his death in 1625, written by
themselves. Some account of the nature of these
Chronicles, and of the circumstances which led to their
compilation in this form, may not be unacceptable to
the reader.

It is well known to those who are familiar with the
early history of New England, that William Bradford,
the second governor of Plymouth, wrote a History of
that People and Colony from 1602 to 1647, in 270
folio pages ; which was used by Morton in compiling
his Memorial, by Hutchinson in writing his History of
Massachusetts, and by Prince in digesting his Annals
of New England. The manuscript of this valuable
work, being deposited with Prince's library in the
tower of the Old South Church in this city, disap-
peared in the War of the Revolution, when this church


was occupied by the British troops, and has long since
been given up by our historians as lost. The most
important part of this lost History I have had the good
fortune to recover. On a visit at Plymouth, a few
years since, I found in the records of the First Church
a narrative, in the hand-writing of Secretary Morton,
which, on comparing it with the large extracts in
Hutchinson ^ and Prince," 1 recognised as the identical
History of Governor Bradford ; a fact put beyond all
doubt by a marginal note of Morton at the beginning
of it, in which he says, " This was originally penned
by Mr. William Bradford, governor of New Plymouth."
This fact of the real authorship of the document seems
to have escaped the observation of all who had pre-
ceded me in examining the records, such as Judge
Davis, Mr. Bancroft, and even of Hazard, who attri-
butes it expressly to Nathaniel Morton.^ Hazard
copied and printed the larger part of it, as a work of
Morton's, in his valuable collection of State Papers,
though in a very incomplete and inaccurate form, not
being able always to decipher the cramped and abbre-
viated characters in which it is written, and being
frequently obliged to leave blank spaces in his page.

' By comparing the second chapter in this volume with the first article
in Hutchinson's Appendix, ii. 449-451, which he quotes from Bradford,
it will be found that they agree nearly word for word.

' The extracts in Prince are too numerous to be referred to ; the prin-
cipal are on pages 114, 120, 128, 130, 140-145, 147, 155, 160.

" Hazard's State Papers, i. 349.


By the favor of the Plymouth Church I was permitted
to make a new transcript of this very important paper,
the entire accuracy of which has been secured by its
careful collation with another copy made by the Rev.
William P. Lunt, of Quincy, who kindly favored me
with the loan of it. The value of this document de-
pends upon its authorship, and cannot be over-esti-
mated. It takes precedence of every thing else relat-
ing to the Pilgrims, in time, authority, and interest.
It will be found to contain a detailed history of their
rise in the north of England, their persecutions there,
their difficult and perilous escape into Holland, their
residence in that hospitable land for twelve years, the
causes which led to their emigration, and the means
which they adopted to transport themselves to Ame-

The next document is Bradford's and Winslow's
Journal of the first settlement of the Colony, containing
a minute diary of events from the arrival of the May-
flower at Cape Cod, November 9, 1620, to the return
of the Fortune, December 11, 1621. This document
joins on to the former, making a continuous narrative.
It was printed in London in 1622, with a Preface signed
by G. MouRT, and has since been usually cited as
Mourt's Relation. It will be seen from the notes on
pages 113 and 115 of this volume, that Mourt was
probably George Moiton, the father of Nathaniel, the
Secretary, then resident in England, that he had no


hand in writing the Journal, but that it was actually
written by Bradford and Winslow, a circumstance
which gives to it new value and interest, and confers
on it the highest authority. In 1625 this Relation
was abridged by Purchas, and printed in the fourth
volume of his Pilgrims. This abridgment, comprising
only about half of the original, and abounding with
errors, was reprinted in 1802 in the eighth volume of
the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Soci-
ety. In 1 822, after an interval of twenty years, the
portions omitted by Purchas were reprinted in the
nineteenth volume of the same Collections, from a
manuscript copy of the original edition, made at Phil-
adelphia. The transcriber, however, omitted some
important passages, and committed many errors in
copying. The parts of the work being thus disjointed,
and printed in separate volumes, rendered the reading
of it extremely difficult and repulsive. The present
is the only correct and legible reprint that has been
made since the appearance of the original in 1622.

The third paper is Robert Cushman's Discourse,
delivered at Plymouth in November, 1621, reprinted
from an old copy in the library of the American Anti-
quarian Society.

The fourth document is Edward Winslow's Relation,
entitled "Good News from New England," which takes
up the narrative where it was left off by the former
Journal, and brings it down to September 10, 1623.


This book was printed in London in 1624, was
abridged by Purchas in the same way as the former
Relation, was reprinted in the same fragmentary man-
ner by the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1802,
and the omissions in a separate volume in 1822. It is
now reprinted for the first time entire, and in a legible
form, from the original London edition, for which, as
well as for the original of Bradford's and Winslow's
Journal, I am indebted to the rich library of Harvard

Next in order is Edward Winslow's " Brief Narra-
tion of the true grounds or cause of the first planting
of New England," which was printed at London in
1646, at the end of his Answer to Gorton. No copy
of this rare book is known to exist in this country.
The manuscript from which I print was kindly copied
for me by the Rev. George E. Ellis, of Charlestown,
from the printed volume in the British Museum. In
this paper we have the original of Robinson's cele-
brated farewell address to the Pilgrims at Ley den, and
several facts relating to them not recorded elsewhere.

The sixth paper is a Dialogue, written by Governor
Bradford, which has never before appeared in print.
A fragment of it, written with his own hand, I found
among the manuscripts in the cabinet of the Massa-
chusetts Historical Society ; but the entire work I ob-
tained from the records of the First Church in Ply-
mouth, into which it was copied by Secretary Morton.


The next document is a Memoir of Elder Brewster,
written by Governor Bradford as part of his History,
and also copied by Morton into the Church records.

The volume closes wdth some letters of John Robin-
son, and of the Pilgrims at Leyden and Plymouth,
procured from the records of the Plymouth Church and
from Governor Bradford's Letter Book.

The value of these contemporaneous documents
cannot be overstated. They are the earliest chronicles
of New England. We have here the first book of our
history, written by the actors themselves. We should
esteem it a fortunate circumstance, a peculiar privi-
lege, that we thus have the whole story of the origin
of this earliest of our northern colonies in the very
words of the first planters.^ In authority and import-
ance nothing can exceed them ; and 1 feel that I have
been engaged in a useful as well as interesting labor
in collecting together and illustrating these scattered
memorials of the Fathers. The notes will be found to
be copious and various, touching upon all points, and
in all cases referring to authorities from which the
statements may be verified, and fuller information be
obtained. Considering myself as engaged in erecting
another monument to the memory of the Pilgrims, I
have spared neither labor nor expense in endeavouring
to render the w^ork accurate and complete. If the

' " Quis est autem, quem non moveat clarissirais moaumentis testata
consigaataque antiquitas ? " Cicero de Divinatione, lib. i. 40.


reader shall derive from its perusal the same satisfac-
tion which I have found in its compilation, I shall feel
myself abundantly remunerated for this labor of love.

Regarding these documents as the only authentic
chronicles of those times, I have considered all devia-
tions from them in subsequent writers as errors, and
when they have fallen under my notice, I have not
scrupled to point them out. In this I have no other
object in view than historical accuracy ; and accord-
ingly for whatever errors I may have fallen into, I shall
hold myself equally obnoxious to criticism.

The portrait of Governor Winslow at the beginning
of the volume, so beautifully engraved by House, is an
accurate copy of the original picture painted in Lon-
don in 1651, in his 57th year. This picture, the only
portrait that w^e have of any of the Pilgrims, has been
handed down in the family ever since it was painted,
one hundred and ninety years ago, and was kept till
within a few years at the seat of the Winslows, in
Marshfield. It is now the property of Mr. Isaac Wins-
low, of Boston, the only surviving male descendant of
the Governor, by whose kindness I have been permit-
ted to have it engraved, and who has deposited it, with
other portraits of his ancestors, in the hall of the Mas-
sachusetts Historical Society. The coat of arms was
probably painted at the same time with the picture,
and has always been an heirloom in the family. The
fac-simile of Winslow's signature w^as copied from a


letter ^vrittcn by him to Governor Winthrop, from his
scat at « Careswell, this 17th of the last month, 1639."
The original is in the archives of the Massachusetts
Historical Society, and it was printed by Hutchinson
in his Collection of Original Papers, page 110.

The map of Plymouth, on page 160, is copied by
permission, on an enlarged scale, from the accurate
map of the State, now in preparation under the direc-
tion of Simeon Borden, Esq., and the map of Cape
Cod, on page 116, is partly reduced from Major Gra-
ham's beautiful chart, and partly composed from recent
surveys made for the State map. The engraving of
the Mayflower on page 108 is copied from one of Sir
Walter Raleigh's ships in De Bure, and is a correct
representation of the vessels of that day. The chairs
of Winslow, Carver, and Brewster, are faithfully drawn
from the originals, the first of which is preserved in
the Hall of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and
the last two in the Pilgrim Hall, at Plymouth. The
seal of the Colony is taken from the title-page of the
Book of the General Laws of New Plymouth, printed
in 1685. Judge Davis says, " it originated probably
in Mr. Cushman's advice to Governor Bradford in a
letter from England, Dec. 18, 1624: 'Make your
corporation as formal as you can, under the name of the
Society in Plymouth in New England.' Of this seal
the Colony was deprived in the rapacious days of
Andros. On a return to the old paths, the Governor


was requested to procure its restoration. If this appli-
cation were successful, the seal has since been lost."

In regard to the minuteness of some of the particu-
lars recorded in the ensuing pages, no better apology
can be offered than that of the Roman annalist :
" Pleraque eorum quas referam parva forsitan et levia
memoratu videri, non nescius sum. Non tamen sine
usu fuerit introspicere ilia, primo adspectu levia, ex quis
magnarum sa^pe rerum motus oriuntur."' — " If any
tax me for wasting paper with recording these small
matters, such may consider that small commonwealths
bring forth matters of small moment ; the reading
whereof yet is not to be despised by the judicious,
because small things in the beginning of natural or
politic bodies are as remarkable as greater in bodies
full grown." ^

Boston, June 1, 1841.

' Tacitus, Ann. lib. iv. 32.

' Gov. Dudley's Letter to the Countess of Lincoln.



1. Portrait of Governor Winslow i

2. The Mayflower ....... 108

3. Map of Cape Cod 116

4. Map of Plymouth Bay . . . . . 160

5. Governor Winslow's Chair . . . . . 238

6. Governor Carver's Chair ..... 458

7. Elder Brewster's Chair 470

8. Seal of Plymouth Colony .... Back Title.


Chap Page.

Gov. Bradford's History of Plymouth Colony . 1

I. The first beginnings of this church and people . . 19

11, Their departure into Holland, and their troubles there-
about, with some of the many difficulties they found
and met withal ..... 25

ni. Their settling in Holland, and their manner of living and

entertainment there . . , . .33

IV. The reasons and causes of their removal from Holland 44
V. The means they used for preparation to this weighty

voyage . . . . . . . 52

VI. The conditions of their agreement with several merchant

adventurers towards the voyage ... 80

VII. Their departure from Leyden, and embarkation from

Delft-Haven . . . . . .86

VIII. The troubles that befell them on the coast of England,
and in their voyage in coming over into New England,

and their arrival at Cape Cod ... 97

/ -

Bradford's and Winslow's Journal . . . 109

IX. The first planters' combination by entering into a body
politic together; with their proceedings in discovery of
a place for their settlement and habitation . . 117

X. Their landing and settling at New Plymouth . . 163

XI. A Journey to Pokanoket, the habitation of the great king
Massasoit ; the message, and the answer and entertain-
ment they received from him .... 202
Xn. A Voyage to the kingdom of Nauset, to seek a boy that
had lost himself in the woods ; and the accidents that
befell them in that voyage .... 214

XIII. A Journey to the kingdom of Namaschet, in defence of
the great king Massasoit against the Narragansetts, and to
revenge the supposed death of Tisquantum . . 219


Chap. P*"e-

XIV. A Relation of their voyage to the Massachusetts, and

what happened there ..... 224

XV. A Letter from Edward Winslow to a friend in England,
setting forth a brief and true declaration of the worth
of the Plantation at Plymouth; as also certain useful
directions for such as intend a voyage into New Eng-
land ...... 230

XVI. Robert Cushman's reasons and considerations touching
the lawfulness of removing out of England into the
parts of America ..... 239

Cushman's Discourse ..... 253
XVII. The state of the Colony, and the need of public spirit in

the Colonists ..... 255

WiNSLow's Relation ..... 269
XVIII. The first planters menaced by the Narragansetts, and

their second voyage to the Massachusetts . . 280

XIX. The planting of Weston's Colony at Weymouth, and

sundry excursions after corn . . . 296

XX. Winslow's second journey to Pokanoket, to visit Massa-

soit in his sickness ..... 313
XXI. Standish's expedition against the Indians of Weymouth,

and the breaking up of Weston's Colony at that place 327
XXII. The first allotment of lands, and the distressed state of the

Colony ...... 346

XXIII. The manners, customs, religious opinions and ceremonies

of the Indians ...... 354

XXIV. The situation, climate, soil, and productions of New Eng-

land ...... 368

Winslow's Brief Narration .... 377
XXV. The true grounds or cause of the first planting of New

England ...... 379

Gov. Bradford's Dialogue .... 409

XXVI. A Dialogue, or the Sura of a Conference between some
Young Men born in New England, and sundry Ancient
Men that came out of Holland and Old England. . 414


Gov. Bradford's Memoir of Elder Brewster . 459
XXVII. Memoir of Elder William Brewster . . .461

XXVIII. Letters 471





Christian Reader,

I HAVE looked at it as a duty incumbent on me to
commit to writing the first beginnings and after pro-
gress of the Church of Christ at Plymouth in New
England ; forasmuch as I cannot understand that there
is any thing particularly extant concerning it, and al-
most all the members of the said church, both elders
and others, being deceased, by whom intelligence of
matters in that behalf might be procured.^ I dare
not charge the reverend elders of that church w ho are
gone to their rest, with any neglect on that behalf; for
when they were in Holland, they were necessitated to
defend the cause of Christ by writing against opposites
of several sorts ; so as such like employs, together
with the constant and faithful discharge of the duties
of their offices, probably took up the greatest part of
their time ; and since the church parted, and a consid-
erable part thereof came unto this going down of the
sun, it might be neglected partly on the account that
divers writings, some whereof being put forth in print,

^ In 1679, the year previous to who came over in the Mayflower,
the date of this Preface, twelve only See Hutchinson's History of Mas-
were living of the hundred and one sachusetts, ii. 456.


did point at and in a great measure discriminate the af-
fairs of the church ; forasmuch as then the small com-
monwealth, in our first beginning at New Plymouth,
consisted mostly of such as were members of the
church which was first begun and afterwards carried
on in Leyden, in Holland, for about the space of
twelve years, and continued and carried on at Ply-
mouth, in New England, a small part whereof remain-
eth until this day. If any thing was done on this kind
by those worthy leaders, I suppose the blame is rather
to be laid on those which had the first view of their
studies, and had their books and writings in custody
after their decease ; for I am persuaded that such was
their faithfulness and prudence, as that they did not
wholly neglect this matter.^

Some years since it pleased God to put an impulse
upon my spirit to do something in a historical way con-
cerning New England, more especially with respect to
the Colony of New Plymouth ; which was entitled
New EnglancVs Memorial ; ~ in which I occasionally

* The records of John Robinson's cords of Plymouth Ch. and Mass.
church at Leyden contained, no Hist. Coll. iv. 107.
doubt, some account of its origin "'' This work was printed at Cam-
and its memorable vicissitudes in bridge in 1669, in a small quarto
England and Holland. These re- volume, of 198 pages, and the ex-
cords, however, were probably lost peuse was defrayed by a contribu-
when the remnants of that church tion in the several towns in the Co-
were scattered after his death in lony. The greatest part of Mor-
1625. The church at Plymouth had ton's information was "borrowed,"
no settled pastor till 1629, and af- as he informs us, " from his much
terwards, for long intervals, was honored uncle, Mr. William Brad-
destitute of a regular ministry until ford, and such manuscripts as he
1669. when John Cotton, son of the left in his study." Prince, the New
famous John Cotton, of Boston, England annalist, whose copy of
was ordained. No records were the first edition of the Memorial is
kept by either of his three prede- now before me, enriched with his
cessors, Ralph Smith, Roger Wil- marginal notes and emendations,
liams, and John Reyner. The re- says that " Morton's History, from
cords of the church, previous to his the beginning of the Plymouth peo-
settlement, are in the handwriting pie to the end of 1646, is chiefly
of Secretary Morton. MS. Re- Gov. Bradford's manuscript, abbre-


took notice of God's great and gracious work in erect-
ing so many churches of Christ in this wilderness.
But it was Judged by some that were Judicious that I
was too sparing and short in that behalf ; the consider-
ation whereof put me on thought of recollecting some-
thing more particularly relating to the church of Ply-
mouth. But it pleased the Lord so to dispose, that
having accomplished my desires, some time after the
finishing of this work I was solicited to lend it to a re-
verend friend at Boston, where it was burned in the
first fire that was so destructive at Boston, in the year
1667.' Yet, notwithstanding, I have, through the
goodness of God, crowded through many difficulties
to achieve it the second time ; and, for that end, did
once again repair to the study of my much honored
uncle, William Bradford, Esquire, deceased,^ for whose
care and faithfulness in such like respects we stand
bound ; as firstly and mostly to the Lord, so seconda-
rily to him and his, whose labors in such respect might

viated." In fact, Morton's chief Memorial in 1669 ; and the date of
merit is that of a diligent, but not " the first fire that was so destruc-
always accurate copyist of his un- tive at Boston" was Nov. 27, 1676.
cle's documents. He would have The reverend friend to whom the
done a much greater service by manuscript had been lent, was In-
causing Gov. Bradford's History to crease Mather, whose church was
be printed entire. It is the loss of destroyed by this fire, as well as his
that work that now gives so much dwelling-house, and a part of his
value to his extracts and compila- library. Increase Mather had
tions. The fifth edition of the Me- married a daughter of John Cot-
morial, greatly enlarged by the ton, of Boston ; and her brother be-
valuable notes of the learned ed- ing at this time the minister of
itor. Judge Davis, was printed at Plymouth, this circumstance pro-
Boston in 1826, in an octavo vol- bably led to an acquaintance be-
ume of 480 pages. See Plymouth tween Mather and Secretary Mor-
Colony Laws, p. 153, Morton's IVIe- ton. See Hutchinson's Massachu-
morial, p. 10, and Prince's Annals, setts, i. 349, Snow's History of Bos-
p. XX. ton, p. 164, and Cotton Mather's

' This is unquestionably an er- Memoirs of his Father, p. 79.
ror; it should be 1676. 'For the ^ Gov. Bradford died May 9,

^writer says he began this compila- 1657, in his 69th year.
tion after the publication of the


fitly have been published to the world, had they not
been involved in and amongst particulars of other

Gentle reader, I humbly crave thy patience, and ac-
ceptance of this small treatise, so as to read it over
considerately ; wherein so doing thou wilt discern
much of the goodness, mercy, and power of God ; who
as at the first brought this fabric of the world out of
the womb of nothing, hath brought so many famous
churches of Christ out of so small beginnings ; with
many other useful considerations that thou mayest
meet with in the serious perusal thereof. So leav-
ing thee and this small work to the blessing of the
only wise God,

I remain thine in Christ Jesus,

Nathaniel Morton.^
Plymouth, in Neio England, January \3th, 1680.

• Nathaniel Morton was the son Court, and continued in this office

of George Morton, who had mar- till his death, June 28, 1685, in

ried in England a sister of Gov. his 73d year. His residence in

Bradford, and came over to Plym- Plymouth was by ihe side of Wel-

outh with his family in July, 1623, lingsly Brook, half a mile south of

in the ship Ann. His father died the village. See Judge Davis's

in June, 1624, when Nathaniel was Preface to Morton's Memorial, pp.

twelve years old. In 1645 he was iv. and 101, and Mass. Hist. Coll.

chosen Secretary of the Colony xiii. 178.

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 1 of 44)