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

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ses the discouraging fact that more already perished.


And as myself then much desired, and shortly hope
to effect, if the Lord will, the putting to of my shoul-
der in this hopeful business, and in the mean time these
Relations coming to my hand from my both known and
faithful friends, on whose writings I do much rely, I
thought it not amiss to make them more general, hoping
of a cheerful proceeding both of adventurers and plant-
ers ; entreating that the example of the honorable
Virginia and Bermudas ^ Companies, encountering with
so many disasters, and that for divers years together,
with an unwearied resolution, the good effects whereof
are now eminent, may prevail as a spur of preparation
also touching this no less hopeful ^ country, though yet
an infant, the extent and commodities whereof are as
yet not fully known : after time will unfold more.
Such as desire to take knowledge of things, may inform
themselves by this ensuing treatise, and, if they please,
also by such as have been there a first and second
time.^ My hearty prayer to God is that the event of
this and all other honorable and honest undertakings,
may be for the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ,
the enlarging of the bounds of our sovereign lord King
James, and the good and profit of those who, either by

' By the third patent of the Vir- Virginia or New England had been

ginia Company, granted in 1612, branded as " a cold, barren, moun-

the Bermudas, and all islands with- tainous, rocky desert," and had

in three hundred leagues of the been abandoned as " uninhabitable

coast, were included within the by Englishmen." See Gorges in

limits of their jurisdiction. These Mass. Hist. Coll. xxvi. 56; and

islands they sold to 120 of their Capt. John Smith in his Gen. Hist,

own members, who became a dis- ii. 174.

tinct corporation, under the name ' Cushman had just returned

of the Somer Islands Company, from Plymouth, and Clark and

See Stith's Virginia, p. 127, App. Coppin, the mates or pilots of the

24. Mayflower, had been on the coast

* After the failure of Popham's twice,
colony at Sagadahoc in 1608, North



purse or person or both, are agents in the same. So I
take leave, and rest

Thy friend,


' Who was G. Mourt? From
his Preface it appears that he was
a person interested in the success
of the Plymouth Colony, identifying
himself with it, having "much de-
sired " to emhark with the first colo-
nists, and intending soon to go over
and join them. It is also evident
that he had familiar and friendly
relations with some of them, and
that he was one in whom they re-
posed such entire confidence as to
send to him their first despatches
of letters and journals.

The only individual answering
to this description that I can ascer-
tain, is George Morton, who had
married a sister of Gov. Bradford,
and came over to Plymouth in July,
1623, in the first ship that sailed for
the Colony after this Journal was
printed. He is represented in the
Memorial, p. 101, as "very faithful
in whatsoever public employment
he was betrusted withal, and an
unfeigned well-wilier and promoter

of the common good and growth of
the plantation of New Plymouth."
Mourt may have been written de-
signedly for Morton, from a disin-
clination on his part to have his
name appear publicly in print, or it
may have been a mistake of the
printer, the final letters, from some
flourish of the pen or otherwise,
not being distinctly legible. Sev-
eral other typographical errors,
more important and palpable than
this, occur in the Journal.

Prince, p. 132, errs in saying
that this Journal was published by
Mourt ; and his editor, p. 439, in
stating that Prince had only Pur-
chas's abridgment of it. He had
the entire work, on the title-page
of which it is stated that it was
" printed for John Bellamy," who
continued for at least twenty-five
years from that time (1622,) to be
the principal publisher of books re-
lating to New England.




Good Friend,

As we cannot but account it an extraordinary bless-
ing of God in directing our course for these parts, after
we came out of our native country, — for that we had
the happiness to be possessed of the comforts we re-
ceive by the benefit of one of the most pleasant, most
healthful, and most fruitful parts of the world, — so
must we acknowledge the same blessing to be multi-
plied upon our whole company, for that we obtained
the honor to receive allowance and approbation of our
free possession and enjoying thereof, under the author-
ity of those thrice honored persons, The President and
Council for the Affairs of New England ; ^ by whose
bounty and grace, in that behalf, all of us are tied to
dedicate our best service unto them, as those, under
his Majesty, that we owe it unto ; whose noble endea-

' These are probably the initials to the President and Council of

of John Pierce, in whose name New England, for a grant of the

their second patent was taken, territory on which they had unin-

See Prince, p. 204. tentionally settled. This, it seems,

* The Pilgrims by coming so far was readily accorded. — The Presi-

north, had got beyond the limits dent and Council put forth in 1622,

of the Virginia Company, and ac- " A Brief Relation of the Discovery

cordingly their patent was of no and Plantation of New England,"

value. On the return of the May- which is reprinted in the Mass.

flower in May, 1621, the merchant Hist. Coll. xix. 1 — 25.
adventurers applied, in their behalf.



voiirs in these their actions the God of heaven and
earth multiply to his glory and their own eternal com-

As for this poor Relation, I pray you to accept it as
being writ by the several actors themselves,^ after their
plain and rude manner. Therefore doubt nothing of
the truth thereof. If it be defective in any thing, it is
their ignorance, that are better acquainted with plant-
ing than WTJting. , If it satisfy those that are well
affected to the business, it is all I care for. Sure I am
the place we are in, and the hopes that are apparent,
cannot but suffice any that will not desire more than
enough. Neither is there want of aught among us

' This constitutes its great value,
and confers on it the highest au-
thority. George Morton, in his
Preface, alludes to the same fact.
Edward Winslow, in a postscript to
his "Good News from New Eng-
land," printed in 1624, states that
this Relation was " gathered by the
inhabitants of this present planta-
tion at Plymouth, in New Eng-
land," and in the body of his work
alludes to " former letters written
by myself and others, which came
to the press against my will and
knowledge." The Journal, too, di-
rectly and by implication, repeat-
edly testifies to the same point.
Under Dec. 6, in mentioning their
third excursion, it says, "the nar-
rative of which discovery follows,
penned by one of the company."

I do not hesitate to ascribe this
Journal to Bradford and Winslow,
chiefly to the former. They were
among the most active and effi-
cient leaders of the Pilgrims ;
and'one or the other of them went
on almost every expedition here re-
corded, and were therefore cogni-
zant of the facts as eye-witnesses.
They were also the only practised
writers among them. We are not

aware that any of the other colo-
nists were accustomed to writing;
at least none of their writings have
come down to us. Standish, though
"the best linguist among them,"
in the Indian dialects, was more
expert with the sword than the
pen; and Elder Brewster, then fifty-
six years old, was prevented by his
office, if not by his age, from going
on any of the excursions, and was
therefore not competent to write
the journal of them. Carver had
the weight of government on his
shoulders, which would leave little
tipie for writing; he died too in
April, five months after their arri-
val at the Cape. Allerton, Fuller,
and Hopkins, are the only other
persons likely to have had any
hand in writing the Journal ; and
the part they contributed to it, if
any, would probably be confined to
furnishing the rough sketches of
such expeditions as those to Nau-
set, Namaschet, and Massachusetts,
in which Bradford and Winslow
may not have been personally en-
gaged. The style, too, seems to
correspond, in its plainness and
directness, with that of Bradford,
in his History.



but company to enjoy the blessings so plentifully be-
stowed upon the inhabitants that are here. While I
was a writing this, I had almost forgot that I had but
the recommendation of the Relation itself to your fur-
ther consideration, and therefore I will end without
saying more, save that I shall always rest

Yours, in the way of friendship,

R. G.*

From Plymouth, in New England.

» Who wasR. G.? At the time
this Journal was sent over from
Plymouth, in Dec. 1621, the only-
person there whose initials were
R. G. was Richard Gardiner. He
was one of the signers of the Com-
pact on board the Mayflower, as
will be seen hereafter. In that
list it is apparent that the 41 names
are, for the most part, subscribed in
the order of the reputed rank of
the signers. The two last, Dotey
and Leister, were servants ; the
two next preceding, Allerton and
English, were seamen ; then comes
Richard Gardiner. Now it is very
unlikely that such an obscure per-
son as this. No. 37, of whom no-
thing is known, whose name does
not appear in the assignment of the
lands in 1623, nor in the division
of the cattle in 1627, and occurs no
where subsequently in the records
of the Colony, should be selected
and deputed by the leading men
in it to endorse " the recommen-
dation " of their Journal. Such
a person, even had he been chosen
for this purpose, would not have
presumed to speak of his superiors
as having written their narrative
" after their plain and rude man-
ner," and apologize for " their ig-
norance," by saying they were
" better acquainted with planting

than writing." Such language
would be used only by one of their

R. G. (or R. C. as I think it
should be,) was Robert Cushman,
their active and efficient agent, who
being prevented from coming over
in the Mayflower, came in Nov.
1621, in the Fortune, and returned
in her the next month. Cushman
brought the intelligence that a char-
ter had been procured for them by
the merchant adventurers from the
President and Council of New Eng-
land, " better than their former, and
with less limitation." It was very
natural, under these circumstances,
that the leading colonists should
request him to write a letter in
their behalf, enclosing a copy of
their Journal, to Pierce, in whose
name the charter had been taken ;
and it was no less natural, that in
writing it, he should render a de-
served tribute of acknowledgment
to the Company, for their "bounty
and grace " in allowing them the
free possession and enjoyment of
the land on which they had invo-
luntarily settled. See Prince, p.

This letter of Cushman is fol-
lowed in the original by Robinson's
parting Letter of Advice, which
has already been printed on page 91.



Wednesday, the 6th of September, the wind com- chap.
ing east-north-east, a fine small gale, we loosed from .^-v-^
Plymouth, having been kindly entertained and cour- 1620.
teously used by divers friends there dwelling ; and q, '
after many difficulties in boisterous storms, at length,
by God's providence, upon the 9th of November fol- Nov.
lowing, by break of the day, we espied land, which
we deemed to be Cape Cod, and so afterward it
proved. And the appearance of it much comforted
us, especially seeing so goodly a land, and wooded to
the brink of the sea. It caused us to rejoice together,
and praise God that had given us once again to see
land. And thus we made our course south-south-
west, purposing to go to a river ten leagues to the
south of the Cape.^ But at night the wind being
contrary, we put round again for the bay of Cape Cod ;
and upon the 11th of November we came to an anchor ^j^*


' This river was the Hudson, coast. Te?i may possibly be an
Little was known at that time error of the press,
about distances on this unsurveved




CHAP, in the bay/ which is a e^ood harbour and pleasant bay,
^U^ circled round, except in the entrance, which is about
1620. four miles over from land to land,- compassed about to
the very sea with oaks, pines, juniper, sassafras, and
other sweet wood. ^ It is a harbour wherein a thousand
sail of ships may safely ride.^ There we relieved our-
selves with wood and water, and refreshed our people,
while our shallop was fitted to coast the bay, to search

' That is, in Cape Cod or Pro-
vincetown harbour.

* This is just the distance from
Long Point to the nearest land in

^ Few trees are now left round
Cape Cod harbour. That they
were once common, appears from
the name Wood End, given to a
part of the coast, and from the
stumps that are still found along
the shore, particularly at the west
end of the harbour,below the present
high water mark, just above what
is called " the rising." There is
quite a grove of pines, called
Mayo's Wood, near Snow's hill, at
the eastern end of the village.
.There are dwarf oaks, too, grow-
ing on High Hill. The young
trees would thrive if they were en-
closed and protected from the cows,
who now get part of their living by
browsing on them. There are a
few sassafras bushes, but no juni-
per. The juniper was probably
the red cedar. Josselyn, in his New
England's Rarities, published in
1672, says, page 49, " Cardan says
juniper is cedar in hot countries,
and juniper in cold countries ; it is
here very dwarfish and shrubby,
growing for the most part by the
sea-side." And Wood, in his New
England's Prospect, printed in
1639, says, p. 19, " the cedar tree
is a tree of no great growth, not
bearing above a foot and a lialf at
the most, neither is it very high.
This wood is of color red and white,
like yew, smelling as sweet as ju-
niper." In 1740 there was a num-
ber of oaks in the woods northwest
of East Harbour.

* Cape Cod harbour is formed
by the spiral bending of the land,
from Pamet river to Long Point,
nearly round every point of the
compass; it is completely land-
locked. " It is one of the finest
harbours for ships of war on the
whole of our Atlantic coast.
The width, and freedom from ob-
structions of every kind, at its en-
trance, and the extent of sea-room
upon the bay side, make it accessi-
ble to vessels of the largest class in
almost all winds. This advantage,
its capacity, depth of water, excel-
lent anchorage, and the complete
shelter it affords from all winds,
render it one of the most valuable
ship harbours upon our coast,
whether considered in a commer-
cial or m.ilitary point of view."
See Major J. D. Graham's Report,
pp. 2 and 13, No. 121 of Executive
Documents of the 25th Congress,
2d Sess. 1S37-8, vol. 5. — Major
Graham was employed by the go-
vernment of the United States, dur-
ing portions of the years 1833, 1834,
and 1835, assisted by seven engi-
neers, to survey the extremity of
Cape Cod, including the townships
of Provincetown and Truro, with
their sea-coast, and the harbour of
Cape Cod. This survey was exe-
cuted with the greatest accuracy
and precision, and a large and
beautiful map, on a scale of six
inches to a mile, was projected
from it and published by order of
Congress in 1838. It is very desir-
able that the whole Cape should be
surveyed in the same manner.



for a habitation. There was the greatest store of fowl ' chap.
that ever we saw. ^.^^

And every day we saw whales ^ playing hard by us ; 1 6 20.
of which in that place, if we had instruments and 11.'
means to take them, we might have made a very rich
return ; which, to our great grief, we wanted. Our
master and his mate, and others experienced in fish-
ing, professed we might have made three or four thou-
sand pounds' worth of oil. They preferred it before
Greenland whale-fishing, and purpose the next winter
to fish for whale here. For cod we assayed, but found
none ; there is good store, no doubt, in their season.^
Neither got we any fish all the time we lay there, but
some few little ones on the shore. We found great
muscles,^ and very fat and full of sea-pearl ; but we
could not eat them, for they made us all sick that did
eat, as well sailors as passengers. They caused to
cast and scour ; but they were soon well again.

^ Sea fowls come in late in the Cod, where it was carried on en-
autumn and remain during the tirely in boats, which put off wlien-
winter. They were formerly plen- ever a signal was given by persons
ty on the shores; but they have on tiie look out from an elevated
been so frequently molested, that station, that a whale was seen to
their numbers are much reduced. blow. In 1690 "one Ichabod Pad-

^ Whales are frequently seen in dock " went from the Cape to Nan-

Barnstable Bay and on the outside tucket to teach the inhabitants

of the Cape, and are killed by boats of that isle the art and mystery

from Provincetown. Occasionally, of catching whales. See Mass.

though more rarely of late, they Hist. Coll. iii. 157.
come into the harbour; at the begin- ^ This is a little remarkable ; for

ning of the present century, two or cod are caught at the Cape as early

three whales, producing about a as November. They probably

hundred barrels of oil, were annu- fished only in the harbour. The

ally caught ; the last that was best season is in February and

killed in the harbour was in Dec. March, when they are caught in

1840, a hump-back, that made fifty great plenty betvifeen Race Point

barrels of oil. The appearance of and Wood End. It was May when

a whale in the harbour is the sig- Gosnold found them in such abun-

nal for a general stir among the dance.

hundred graceful five-hand boats ■* Though muscles are found in

tKat line the circling shore of this Cape Cod harbour, yet the sea clam

beautiful bay. The American seems to be meant, as it frequently

whale fishery commenced at Cape produces on the stomach the effects



CHAP. The bay is so round and circling, that before we
— ^ could come to anchor, we went round all the points of
162 0. the compass.^ We could not come near the shore by
three quarters of an English mile, because of shallow
water ; ^ which was a great prejudice to us ; for our
people, going on shore, were forced to wade a bow-
shot or two in going a land, which caused many to get
colds and coughs ; for it was many times freezing cold
Nov. This day, before we came to harbour, observing
some not well affected to unity and concord, but gave
some appearance of faction, it was thought good there
should be an association and agreement, that we should
combine together in one body, and to submit to such
government and governors as we should by common
consent agree to make and choose, and set our hands
to this that follows, word for word.^

here described. F. — The notes to They also lie all along the shore in

which this letter is annexed were front of the town, but do not extend

written by the Rev. James Free- so far from the land. At low wa-

man, D.D., of Boston. His father ter it is very shallow, and it is still

being a native of Truro, Dr. Free- necessary to wade a considerable

man frequently visited the Cape, distance, to get into a boat, as the

and became strongly attached to writer knows by experience,

it. He wrote a very minute and ^ Here, for the first time in the

accurate topographical account of world's history, the philosophical

it, which may be found in the Mass. fiction of a social compact was

Hist. Coll. vol. viii. His papers realized in practice. And yet it

are signed r. s. denoting his office seems to me that a great deal more

of Recording Secretary of the Mass. has been discerned in this docu-

Hist. Society ; a Society which, in raent than the signers contemplat-

its 27 volumes, has accomplished ed. It is evident, from page 95,

more than any other literary or that when ihey left Holland, they

scientific association in America. expected " to become a body poli-

' The Mayflower anchored with- tic, using amongst themselves civil

in half a furlong of the end of government, and to choose their

Long Point, two miles from the own rulers from among thera-

presenl village of Provincetown. selves." Their purpose in drawing

The shore is here very bold, and up and signing this compact was

the water deep. simply, as they state, to restrain

* At the head of the harbour, certain of their number, who had

towards Wood End, and at East manifested an unruly and factious

Harbour, the flats extend three disposition. This was the whole

quarters of a mile from the shore, philosophy of the instrument,


In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are chap.


underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign ^-v-^-
lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Bri- 1^20.
tain, France, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, &c., ii.
having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advance-
ment of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and
country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the north-
ern parts of Virginia, do, by these presents, solemnly
and mutually, in the presence of God and one of an-
other, covenant and combine ourselves together into a
civil body politic, for our better ordering and preserva-
tion, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid ; and by
vh'tue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and
equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices,
from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and
convenient for the general good of the colony ; unto
which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our
names, at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year
of the reign of our sovereign lord. King James, of
England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of
Scotland the fifty-fourth, anno Domini 1620.

[Mr. John Carver t 8 John Alden 1

WiLLiAAi Bkadford t 2 Mr. Samuel Fuller 2

Mr. Edward Winslow t 5 * Mk. Chrii^tophf.r Martin i 4

Mr. VViLLiABi Brewster t 6 * Mk. William Mulling f 5

Mr. Isaac Allerton f 6 * Mr. William White t 5

Capt. Miles Standish t 2 Mn. Richard Warren 1

■whatevermay since have been dis- ones, seeing all had voluntnrily

covered and deduced from it by sulijected themselves to them."

astute civilians, philosophical his- The signing of the compact on

torians, and imaginative orators, board the Mayflower, has been se-

"One great reason of this cove- lected as the subject of one of ihe

nant," as Hutchinson says, ii. 458, great national pictures to be placed

"^eems to have been of a mere in the rotunda of the Capiiol at

moral nature, that they might re- Washington. Another of these

move all scruples of inflicting ne- subjects is the sad parting at Delfl-

cessary punishments, even capital Haven, described on page 88.




John Howland

Mr. Stephen Hopkins t

* Edward Tilly t
162 0. * John Tilly t
Nov. Francis Cook

11. * Tho3j^s Rogers

* Thomas Tinker t

* John Ridgdale t

* Edward Fuller f

* John Turner
Francis Eaton t

* James Chilton t

* John Crackston
John Billington t

* Moses Fletcher

* John Goodman

8 * Degory Priest

4 * Thomas Williams
3 Gilbert Winslow

2 * Edmund Margeson

2 Peter Brown

3 * Richard Britterige

2 George Soule

3 * Richard Clarke

3 Richard Gardiner

3 * John Allerton

3 * Thomas English
2 Edward Dotey

4 Edward Leister




The same day, so soon as we could, we set ashore
fifteen or sixteen men, well armed, with some to fetch
wood, for we had none left ; as also to see what the
land was, and what inhabitants they could meet with.

' I have inserted this list
from Prince, who found it at the
end of Gov. Bradford's MS. From
modesty, Bradford omits the title
of Mr. to his own name. The
figures denote the number in each
family- Those with an asterisk (*)
prefixed to their names, 2i in
number, died before the end of

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 11 of 44)