The 8[th] Chapter

Of the troubles that befell them on the coast

And at sea, being forced, after much

trouble to leave one of their ships, &

some of their company behind them. [42]

Being thus put to sea they had not gone far, but Mr. Reynolds the master of the lesser ship complained that he found his ship so leak as he durst not put ^further^1 to sea till she was mended; so the master of the bigger ship (called Mr. Jones)2 being consulted with, they both resolved to put into Dartmouth & have her there searched & mended which accordingly was done, to their great charge, & loss of time and a fair wind; she was here thoroughly searched from stem, to stern, some leaks were found & mended, and now it was conceived by the workmen & all, that she was sufficient, & they might proceed without either fear, or danger. So with good hopes from hence, they put to sea again, conceiving they should go comfortably on, not looking for any more lets of this kind; but it fell out otherwise, for after they were gone to sea again above 100 leagues3 without the land’s end, holding company together all this while; the master of the small ship Complained his ship was so leak as he must bear up or sink at sea, for they Could scarce free her with much pumping. So they came to consultation again, and resolved both ships to bear up back again, & put into Plymouth, which accordingly was done. But no special leak could be found, but it was Judged to be the general weakness of the ship, and that she would not prove sufficient for the voyage. Upon which it was resolved, to dismiss her, & part of the company, and proceed with the other ship. The which (though it was grievous, & caused great discouragement) was put in execution. So after they had took out such provision as the other ship could well stow; and concluded both what number, and what persons to send back, they made another sad parting, the one ship going back for London; and the other was to proceed on her voyage. Those that went back were for the most part such as were willing so to do; either out of some discontent, or fear they conceived of the Ill Success of the voyage; seeing so many crosses befall, & the year time so far spent; but others in regard of their own weakness, and charge of many young children, were thought least useful, and most unfit to bear the brunt of this hard adventure; unto which work of God, and Judgement of their brethren, they were contented to submit. And thus like Gideon’s army this small number was divided; as if the Lord by this work of his providence, thought these few, too many, for the great work he had to do.4 But here by the way let me show, how afterward it was found, that the leakiness of this ship, was partly, by being overmasted, and too much pressed with sails; for after she was sold, & put into her old trim, she made many voyages, & performed her service very sufficiently, to the great profit of her owners. But more Especially, by the cunning & deceit of the master, & his company (who were hired to stay a whole year in the Country) and now fancying dislike, & fearing want of victuals, they plotted this strategem to free themselves; as afterwards was known, & by some of them confessed. For they apprehended that the greater ship (being of force, & in whom most of the provisions were stowed) she would retain enough for herself, whatsoever became of them or the passengers, & Indeed such speeches had been cast out by some of them; and yet besides other Encouragements, the chief of them that came from Leiden, went in this ship to give the master content, but so strong was self-love, & his fears, as he forgot all duty, and [43] former kindnesses, & dealt thus falsely with them, though he pretended otherwise. Amongst those that returned, was Mr. Cushman & his family, whose heart ^& courage^5 was gone from them before (as it seems, though to ^his^ body was with them till now he departed), as may appear by ^a^ passionate letter he writ to a friend in London from Dartmouth whilst the ship lay there a-mending; the which besides the expressions of his own fears, It shows much of the providence of God working for their good beyond man’s expectation; & other things concerning their condition in these straits; I will here relate it. And though it discover some Infirmities in him (as who under temptation is free) yet after this, he continued to be a special Instrument for their good, and to do the offices of a loving friend, & faithful brother unto them, and partaker of much Comfort with them.

The letter is as followeth.

Dartmouth, August 17     To his loving friend     Anno 1620.}

Edward S.6 at Heneage House in the Duke’s Place,

these, &c.

Loving friend my most kind remembrance to you, & your wife; with loving G. M.,7 &c., whom in this world I never look to see again. For besides the Eminent dangers of this voyage, which are no less than deadly; An Infirmity of body hath seized me, which will not in all likelihood, leave me till death; what to call it I know not, but it is a bundle of lead, as it were crushing my heart more, & more, these 14 days, as that although I do the actions of a living man, yet I am but as dead, but the will of God be done. Our pinnace will not cease leaking, else I think we had been half way at Virginia; our voyage hither hath been as full of crosses, as ourselves have been of crookedness. We put in here to trim her, & I think, as others also, If we had stayed at sea, but 3 or 4 hours more, she would have sunk right down. And though she was twice trimmed at Hampton, yet now she is as open, and leaks as a sieve; and there was a board a man might have pulled off with his fingers 2 foot long, where the water came in, as at a mole hole; we lay at Hampton 7 days in fair weather waiting for her, and now we lie here waiting for her in as fair a wind as can blow, and so have done these 4 days, and are like to lie 4 more, and by that time the wind will happily turn as it did at Hampton. Our victuals will be half eaten up I think before ^we^ go from the Coast of England, and if our voyage last long, we shall not have a month’s victuals when we come in the country. Near £700 hath been bestowed at Hampton, upon what I know not; Mr. Martin saith he neither can, nor will give any account of it; and if he be called upon for accounts, he crieth out of unthankfulness for his pains & care, that we are suspicious of him, and flings away, & will end nothing. Also he so Insulteth over our poor people, with such scorn & contempt as if they were not good enough to wipe his shoes. It would break your heart to see his dealing, andHe was governour in the bigger ship, & Mr. Cushman’s assistant. the mourning of our people; they complain to me & alas I can do nothing for them; If I speak to him, he flies in my face, as mutinous, and saith no complaints shall be heard, or received but by himself, and saith they are froward, & waspish discontented people, & I do ill to hear them. There are others that would lose all they have put in, or make satisfaction for what they have had, that they might depart, but he will not hear them, nor suffer them to go ashore, lest they should run away. The sailors also are so offended at his Ignorant boldness, in meddling & controlling, in things he knows not what belongs to [him]; as that some threaten to mischief him, others say they will leave the ship, & go their way; But at the best this cometh of it, that he makes himself a scorn & laughingstock unto them. As for Mr. Weston, except Grace do greatly sway with him, he will hate us, ten times more than ever he loved us, for not confirming the Conditions; but now since some pinches have taken them, they begin to revile the truth, & say Mr. Robinson was in the fault who charged them never to consent to thoseI think he was deceived in these things. conditions, nor choose me into office, but Indeed appointed them to choose them they did choose. But he & they will rue too late; they may [44] now see, & all be ashamed when it is too late; that they were so Ignorant, yea & so Inordinate in their courses. I am sure as they were resolved not to seal those conditions, I was not so resolute at Hampton to have left the whole business, except they would seal them; & better the voyage to have been broken off then, than to have brought such misery to ourselves, dishonour to God, & detriment to our loving friends, as now it is like to do. Four or 5 of the chief of them which came from Leiden, came resolved never to go on those conditions. And Mr. Martin, he said he never received no money on those conditions, he was not beholden to the merchants for a pin, they were bloodsuckers, & I know not what; simple man, he indeed never made any conditions with the merchants, nor ever spake with them; but did all that money fly to Hampton or was it his own? who will go & lay out money so rashly, & lavishly as he did, and never know how he comes by it, or on what conditions. 2ly, I told him of the alteration long ago, & he was content; but now he domineers, & said I had betrayed them Into the hands of shaves;8 he is not beholden to them, he can set out 2 ships himself to a voyage; This was found true afterward.when, good man? He hath but £50 in, & if he should give up his accounts he would not have a penny left him, as I am persuaded, &c. Friend if ever we make a plantation God works a miracle; especially considering how scant we shall be of victuals, and most of all ununited amongst ourselves, & devoid of good tutors & regiment. Violence will break all; where is the meek & humble spirit, of Moses? & of Nehemiah who re-edified the walls of Jerusalem, & the state of Israel; is not the sound of Rehoboam’s brags daily here amongst us.9 Have not the philosophers and all wise men observed that even in settled commonwealths, violent Governours, bring either themselves, or people, or both to ruin; how much more in the raising of Commonwealths, when the mortar is yet scarce tempered that should bind the walls.

If I should write to you of all things which promiscuously forerun our ruin, I should overcharge my weak head, and grieve your tender heart; only this I pray you prepare for evil tidings of us every day; but pray for us Instantly, it may be the Lord will be yet entreated one way or other to make for us. I see not in reason how we shall escape, even the gasping of hunger-starved persons, but God Can do much, & his will be done. It is better for me to die, than now for me to bear it, which I do daily, & expect it hourly; having received the sentence of death, both within me & without me. Poor William Ring,10 & myself do strive daily who shall be meat first for the fishes; but we look for a glorious resurrection, knowing Christ Jesus after the flesh no more, but looking unto the Joy that is before us, we will endure all these things,11 and account them light, in comparison of that Joy we hope for. Remember me in all love to our friends, as if I named them, whose prayers I desire earnestly, & wish again to see, but not till I can with more comfort look them in the face; The Lord give us that true Comfort which none can take from us. I had a desire to make a brief relation of our estate to some friend; I doubt not but your wisdom will teach you seasonably to utter things, as hereafter you shall be called to it. That which I have written is true, & many things more which I have forborne; I write it as upon my life, and last Confession in England; what is of use to be spoken [45] of presently, you may speak of it, and what is fit to conceal, conceal. Pass by my weak manner, for my head is weak, & my body feeble; the Lord make me strong in him; & keep both you & yours.

Dartmouth, August 17, 1620.

Your loving friend,

Robert Cushman

These being his conceptions & fears at Dartmouth,

they must needs be much stronger, now at Plimoth.