The 2[nd] Book

The rest of this history (If God give me life, & opportunity) I

shall (for brevity’s sake), handle by way of annals, noting only

the heads of principal things, and passages as they fell in

order of time; And may seem to be profitable to know, or to

make use of. And this may be as the 2[nd] Book.

◆   The remainder of Anno 1620, & Ano: 1621.   ◆

I shall a little return back, and begin with a combination made by them before they came ashore; being the first foundation of their government in this place. Occasioned partly by the discontented, & mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them, had let fall from them in the ship; That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty; for none had power to command them, the patent they had being for Virginia, and not for New England, which belonged to another Government with which the Virginia Company had nothing to do. And partly that such an [54] Act by them done (this their condition considered) might be as firm as any patent; and in some respects more sure.

The form was as followeth.

In the name of God Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, & Ireland King, defender of the faith, &c.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian ^faith^1 and honour of our king & country, a voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern parts of Virginia. Do by these presents solemnly & mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, Covenant, & Combine ourselves together into a Civil body politic; for ye ^our^ better ordering, & preservation & furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to Enact, Constitute, and frame such just & equal laws, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time as shall be thought most meet & convenient for the general good of the Colony: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have here undersubscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11[th] of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James of England, France, & Ireland the eighteen[th], and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.2

After this they chose, or rather confirmed Mr. John Carver (a man Godly & well approved amongst them) their Governour for that year. And after they had provided a place for their goods, or Common store (which were long in unlading for want of boats, foulness of the winter weather, and sickness of diverse), and begun some small Cottages for their habitation; as time would admit they met and consulted of laws; & orders, both for their Civil, & military Government, as the necessity of their condition did require, still adding thereunto as urgent occasion in several times, and ^as^ cases did require.

In these hard & difficult beginnings they found some discontents & murmurings ^arise^3 amongst some, and mutinous speeches & carriages in other; but they were soon quelled, & overcome, by the wisdom, patience, and Just & equal carriage of things, by the Governour and better part which clave faithfully together in the main. But that which was most sad, & lamentable, was, that in 2 or 3 months’ time half of their company died, Especially in January & February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses & other comforts; being Infected with the Scurvy & [55] and other diseases, which this long voyage & their Inaccommodate Condition had brought upon them; so as there died sometimes 2 or 3 of a day, in the foresaid time; that of 100 & ^odd^ persons scarce 50 remained: and of these and in the time of most distress there was but 6 or 7 sound persons; who to their great commendations, be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of pains ^toil^4 and hazard of their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed & unclothed them. In a word did all the homely, & necessary offices for them, which dainty & queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly & cheerfully, without any grudging In the least, shewing herein their true love unto their friends & brethren; A rare example ^&^ worthy to be remembered. Two of these 7 were Mr. William Brewster their reverend Elder, & Miles Standish their Captain & military commander (unto whom myself, & many ^others^ were much beholden in our low, & sick condition), and yet the Lord so upheld these persons, as in this general Calamity they were not at all Infected either with sickness, or lameness. And what I have said of these, I may say of many others who died in this general visitation ^& others yet living^; that whilst they had health, yea or any strength continuing they were not wanting to any that had need of them; And I doubt not but their recompence is with the Lord.

But I may not here pass by, another remarkable passage Not to be forgotten. As this calamity fell among the passengers that were to be left here to plant; and were hasted ashore and made to drink water, that the seamen x Which was this author himself.might have the more beer, and xone5 in his sickness desiring but a small Can of beer, It was answered that If he were their own father he should have none; the disease began to fall amongst them also, so as almost half of their company died before they went away, and many of their officers and lustiest men; as the bosun,6 gunner, 3 quartermasters, the Cook & others. At which the master was something strucken and sent to the sick ashore and told the Governour he should send for beer for them that had need of it, though he drunk water homeward bound; But now amongst his company [56] There was far another kind of carriage amongst them in this misery ^than amongst the passengers^,7 for they that before had been boon companions in drinking, & Jollity in the time of their health & welfare, began now to desert one another in this calamity, saying they would ^not^ hazard their lives for them, they should be Infected by coming to help them in their Cabins, and so after they came to lie by it; would do little or nothing for them, but If they died let them die. But such of the passengers as were yet aboard shewed them what mercy they could; which made some of their hearts relent, as the bosun (& some others) who was a proud young man, and would often curse, & scoff at the passengers; but when he grew weak they had Compassion on him and helped him, then he confessed he did not deserve It at their hands, he had abused them in word & deed; “O” (saith he) “you, I now see show your love like Christians Indeed one to another, but we let one another lie, & die like dogs.” Another lay cursing his ^wife saying^ If it ^had^ not been for her he had never come this unlucky voyage, and anon cursing his fellows ^saying^ he had done this, & that for some of them, he had spent so much, & so much, amongst them, and they were now weary of him, and did not help ^him^ having need; another gave his companion all ^he^had If he died, to help him in his weakness; he goes and gets8 a little Spice & makes him a mess of meat once, or twice; and because he died not so soon as he expected, he went amongst his fellows, & swore the rogue would cozen9 him, he would see him choked before he made him any more meat; and yet the poor fellow died before morning.

All this while the Indians came skulking about them,10 and would sometimes show themselves aloof off, but when any approached near them, they would run away; and once they stole away their tools where they had been at ^work^11 & were gone to dinner.12 But about the 16[th] of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English which they could well understand, but marvelled at it; but at length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the Eastern parts where some English ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted, & could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language.13 He became profitable to them [57] In acquainting them with many things concerning the state of the country in the East-parts where he lived which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number & strength, of their situation & distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them. His name was Samoset; he told them also of another Indian whos name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England & could speak better English than himself.14 Being after some time of Entertainment, & gifts dismissed,15 a while after he came again, & 5 more with him, & they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their great Sachem, Called Massasoit.16 Who about 4 or 5 days after came ^with^ the chief of his friends, & other attendance with the aforesaid Squanto.17 With whom after friendly entertainment, & some gifts given him, they made a peace with him (which hath now continued this 24 years)18 In these terms.

  1. 1. That neither he nor any of his, should Injure or do hurt, to any of their people.
  2. 2. That if any of his, did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
  3. 3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.
  4. 4. If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; If any did war against them, he should aid them.
  5. 5. He should send to his neighbours confederates, to certify them of this, that they might not wrong ^them^ us, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.
  6. 6. That when their men ^came^ to them, they should leave their bows & arrows behind them.19

After these things he returned to his place called Sowams20 some 40 mile from this place, but Squanto continued with them, and was their Interpreter, and was a Special Instrument, sent of God for their ^good^21 beyond their Expectation; he directed them ^how^ to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was ^also^ their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died. He was a native [58] of this place,22 & scarce any left alive besides himself; he was carried away with diverse others by one Hunt a master of a ship, who thought to sell them for slaves in Spain, but he got away for England and was entertained by a merchant in London, & Employed to Newfoundland & other parts, & lastly brought hither into these parts, by one Mr. Dermer a gentleman Employed by Sir Ferdinando Gorges & others, for discovery, & other designs in these parts. Of whom I shall say something; because it is mentioned Page a book set forth, Anno 1622, by the President & Council for New England,23 that he made the peace between the Savages of these parts; & the English; of which this plantation (as it is Intimated had the benefit); but what a peace it was, may appear by what befell him & his men.

This Mr. Dermer was here the same year that these people came, as appears by a relation written by him, & given me by a friend, Bearing date June 30, Anno 1620. And they came in November following, so there was but 4 months’ difference. In which relation to his Honourable friend, he hath these passages of this very place.

I will first begin (saith he) with that place from whence Squanto, or Tisquantum, was taken away; which in Captain Smith’s map is called Plimoth: and I would that Plimoth had the like commodities. I would that the first plantation might here be seated, if there come to the number of 5 persons, or upward. Otherwise at Charlton,24 because there the savages are less to be feared. The Pocanockets25 which live to the west of Plimoth, bear an Inveterate malice to the English, and are of more strength than all the Savages from thence to Penobscot. Their desire of revenge was occasioned by an Englishman, who having many of them on board, made a great slaughter with their murderers,26 & small shots; whenas (they say) they offered no Injury on their parts. Whether they were English or no, it may be doubted;27 yet they believe they were, for the French have so Notepossessed them; for which cause Squanto cannot deny but they would have killed me, when I was at Namasket, had he not entreated hard for me.28 The soil of the borders of [59] this great bay, may be compared to most of the plantations which I have seen in Virginia. The land is of diverse sorts, for Patuxet29 is a hardy but strong soil, Nauset, & Satucket30 are for the most part a blackish, & deep mould much like that where groweth the best Tobacco in Virginia. In the bottom of that great bay is store of Cod, & bass, or mullet, &c. But above all he commends Pocanocket31 for the richest soil, and much open ground fit for English grain, &c. Massachusetts is about 9 leagues from Plimoth, (& situate in the midst between both) is full of Islands & peninsulas very fertile for the most part.

With sundry such relations which I forbear to transcribe, being now better known than they were to him.

He was shortly after this taken prisoner by the Indians at Manamoyick32 (a place not far from hence, now well known); he gave them what they demanded for his liberty, but when they had got what they desired they kept him still, & Endeavored to kill his men, but he was freed by seizing on some of them, and kept them bound till they gave him a Canoe’s load of Corn. Of which see Purchas, lib. 9, fol. 1778.33 But this ^was^34 Anno 1619.

After the writing of the former relation he came to the Isle of Capawack35 (which lies south of this place in the way to Virginia) and the foresaid Squanto with him, where he going ashore amongst the Indians to trade as he used to do, was betrayed & assaulted by them, & all his men slain, but one that kept the boat, but himself got aboard very sore wounded, & they had cut off his head upon the cuddy36 of his boat, had not the man rescued him with a sword. And so they got away, & made shift to get into Virginia, where he died whether of his wounds or the diseases of the country, or both together is uncertain. [60]

By all which it may appear how far these people were from peace, and with what danger this plantation was begun; save as the powerful hand of the Lord did protect them. These things were partly the reason why they kept aloof & were so long before they came to the English; another reason (as after themselves made known) was how about 3 years before37 a French ship was cast away at Cape Cod but the men got ashore, & saved their lives, and much of their victuals, & other goods; but after the Indians heard of it they gathered together from these parts, and never left watching, & dogging them till they got advantage, and killed them all, but 3 or 4 which they kept, & sent from one sachem to another to make sport with, and used them worse than slaves38 (of which the foresaid Mr. Dermer redeemed 2 of them), and they conceived this ship39 was now come to revenge it.

Also (as after was made known) before they came to the English to make friendship they got all the Powachs40 of the country, for 3 days together, in (a horrid and devilish ^manner^[)]41 to curse & execrate ^them^ with their Conjurations, which assembly, & service they held in a dark & dismal swamp.

But42 to return; the spring now approaching, It pleased God the mortality ^began to^43 cease amongst them; and the sick and lame recovered apace, which put as [it] were new life into them; though they had borne their sad affliction with much patience & contentedness, as I think any people could do, but it was the Lord which upheld them, and had beforehand prepared them; many having long borne the yoke, yea, from ^their^ youth.44 Many other smaller matters I omit, sundry of them having been already published in a Journal made by one of the company;45 and some other passages of Journeys and relations already published to which I refer those, that are willing to know them more particularly. And being now come to the 25[th] of March I shall begin the year 1621.46 [61]