◆   Anno Domini 1627   ◆

At the usual season of the coming of ships, Mr. Allerton returned, and brought some useful goods with him, according to the order given him. For upon his commission he took up £200, which he now got at 30 per cent: the which goods they got safely home, and well-conditioned; which was much to the Comfort, & content of the plantation. He declared unto them also, how with much ado, and no small trouble, he had made a composition with the adventurers, by the help of sundry of their faithful friends there, who had also taken much pains thereabout. The agreement, or bargain he had brought a draught of, with a list of their names thereto annexed; drawn by the best Counsel-of-law they could get, to make it firm. The heads whereof I shall here insert.

To all Christian people ^greeting^, &c. Whereas at a meeting the 26[th] of October last past, diverse, & sundry persons, whose names to the one part of these presents, are subscribed in a schedule hereunto annexed, adventurers to New Plimoth in New England in America. Were contented and agreed, In consideration of the sum of one thousand pounds and eight hundred pounds sterling to be paid1 (In manner, and form foll[ow]ing), to sell, and make sale of all, & every the stocks, shares; lands merchandise, and chattels, whatsoever, to the said adventurers, and other their fellow adventurers, to New Plimoth aforesaid, any way accruing, or belonging to the generality of the said adventurers aforesaid; as well by reason of any sum, or sums of money, or merchandise, at any times heretofore adventured, or disbursed by them; or otherwise howsoever. For the better expression, and ^setting^ forth of which said agreement, the parties to these presents subscribing, do for [144] Themselves severally, and as much as in them is, grant, bargain, alien, sell, and transfer all, & every the said shares, goods, lands, merchandise, and chattel to them belonging as aforesaid; unto Isaac Allerton, one of the planters resident at Plimoth aforesaid, assigned, and sent over, as Agent for the rest of the planters there. And to such other planters at Plimoth aforesaid as the said Isaac, his heirs, or assigns, at his, or their arrival shall by writing, or otherwise think fit to Join, in or partake in the premises, their heirs, & assigns In as large, ample, and beneficial manner, and form to all Intents, and purposes, as the said Subscribing adventurers here, could or may do, or perform. All which stocks, shares, lands, &c., To the said advet[urers] In severality allotted, apportioned, or any ^way^ belonging, the said Adven[turers] do warrant, & defend unto the said Isaac Allerton his heirs, and assigns; against them, their heirs, and assigns by these presents. And therefore the said Isaac Allerton doth ^for him his heirs & assigns^ covenant, promise, & grant to, & with the adven[turers] whose names are hereunto subscribed, their heirs, &c., Well, & truly to pay, or cause to be paid unto the said Adven[turers] or 5 of them which were at that meeting aforesaid nominated, & deputed, viz. John Pocock, John Beauchamp, Robert Keayne, Edward Base, and James Sherley,2 merchants, their heirs, &c., To, and for the use of the generality of them; the sum of £1800 of lawfull money of England, at the place of appointed for the receipts of money, on the west side of the Royal exchange in London;3 by £200 yearly, and every year, on the feast of St. Michael, the first payment to be made Anno 1628, &c. Also the said Isaac is to Endeavor to procure & obtain from the planters of N[ew] P[limoth] aforesaid security, by several obligations, or writings obligatory, to make payment of the said sum of £1800 in form aforesaid, according to the true meaning of these presents. In testimony whereof to this part of these presents, remaining ^with^ the said Isaac Allerton, the said subscribing adven[turers] have Set to their names, &c. And to the other part remaining with the said Adven[turers] the said Isaac Allerton hath subscribed his name, the 15[th of] November, Anno 1626. In the 2[nd]year of his majesty’s reign.4

This agreement was very well liked of ^&^ approved by all the plantation, and consented unto; though they knew ^not^ well how to raise the payment, and discharge their other Engagements; and supply the yearly wants of the plantation seeing they were forced for their necessities to take up money, or goods at so high interests.5 Yet they undertook it, and 7 or 8 of the chief of the place became Jointly bound for the payment ^of this £1800^ (in the behalf of the rest) at the several days.6 In which they ran a great adventure, as their present state stood, having many other heavy burthens already upon them; and all things in an uncertain condition amongst them. So the next return it was absolutely confirmed on both sides, and the bargain fairly Engrossed in parchment and in many things put into better form, by the advice of ^the^ learnedest Counsel they could get, and lest any forfeiture should fall ^on the whole^ for non-payment at any of the days; it ran thus to forfeit 30s a week if they missed the time; and was concluded under their hands & seals; as may be seen at large by the deed itself.7 [145]

Now though they had some untoward persons, mixed amongst ^them^ from the first, which came out of England, and more afterwards by some of the adventurers, as friendship or other affections led them; though sundry were gone, some for Virginia, and some to other places, yet diverse were still mingled amongst them; about whom the Governour & Council with other of their chief friends had serious consideration, how to settle things in regard of this new bargain, or purchase made; in respect of the distribution of things both for the present, and future. For the present, except peace and union were preserved, they should be able to do nothing, but Endanger to overthrow all, now that other ties & bonds were taken away. Therefore they resolved, for sundry reasons to take in all amongst them, that were either heads of families, or single young men, that were of ability, and free (and able to govern them^selves^ with meet discretion and their affairs, so as to be helpful in the commonwealth); Into this partnership, or purchase. First they considered that they had need of men, & strength both for defence, and carrying on of businesses. 2ly, most of them had borne their parts in former miseries, & wants with them, and therefore (in some sort) but equal to partake in a better condition if the Lord be pleased to give it. But chiefly they saw not how peace would be preserved without so doing, but danger, & great disturbance might grow to their great hurt, & prejudice otherwise. Yet they resolved to keep such a mean in distribution of lands, and other courses, as should not hinder their growth in others coming to them.

So they called the company together and conferred with them; and came to this conclusion, that the trade should be managed as before to help to pay the debts; and all such persons as were above-named should be reputed and Enrolled for purchasers; single ^free^ men to have a single to have a single share, and every father of a family to be allowed to purchase so many shares as he had persons in his family, that is to say one for himself, and one for his wife, and for every child that he had living with him one. As for servants they had none, but ^what^ either their masters should give them out of theirs, or their deservings should obtain from the company afterwards; thus all were to be cast into single shares according to the order abovesaid; and so every one ^was^ were to pay his part according to his proportion towards the purchase, & all other debts, what the profit of the trade would not reach to, viz. a single man, for a single share, a master of a family for so many as he had. This gave all good content. And8 first accordingly the few cattle which they had were divided; which arose to this proportion; a cow to 6 persons or shares, & 2 goats to the same, which were first equalised for age, & goodness, and then lotted for; single persons consorting with others, as they thought good, & smaller families likewise; and swine though more [146] In number, yet by the same rule. Then they agreed that every person or share should have 20 acres ^of^ land divided unto them, besides the single acres they had already; and they appointed were to begin first, on the one side of the town, & how far to go; and then on the other side in like manner; and so to divide it by lot; ^and^ appointed sundry by name to do it, and tied them to certain rules to proceed ^by; as^ that they should only lay out settable, or tillable land, at least such of it as should ‘but9 on the waterside (as the most they were to lay out did), and pass by the rest, as refuse, and common; and what they Judged fit should so be ^so^ taken. And they were first to agree of the goodness & fitness of it before the lot was drawn, and so it might ^as^ well well prove some of their own, as another man’s; and this course they were to hold throughout. But yet seeking to keep the people together, as much as might be; they also agreed upon this order, by mutual consent, before any lots were cast; that whose lots soever should fall next the town, or most convenient for nearness, they should take to them a neighbour, or two, whom they best liked; and should suffer them to plant corn with them for 4 years; and10 afterwards they might use as much of theirs for as long time as t If they would. Also every share or 20 acres was to be laid out 5 Acres in breadth by the waterside, and 4 Acres in length (excepting nooks, & corners) which were to be measured, as they would bear to best advantage. But11 no meadows were to be laid out at all; nor were not of many years after; because they were but strait of meadow grounds; and if they had been now given out, it would have hindered all addition to them afterwards; but every season all were appointed where they should mow, according to the proportion of Cattle they had. This distribution gave generally good content, and settled men’s minds. Also they gave the Governour, & 4 or 5 of the special men amongst them the houses they lived in; the rest were valued, & equalised at an Indifferent rate, and so every ^man^ kept his own, and ^he^ that had a better, allowed something to him that ^had^ a worse, as the valuation went.12

There is one thing that fell out in the beginning of the winter before, which I have referred to this place, that I may handle the whole matter together; there was a ship,13 with many passengers in her, and sundry goods; bound for Virginia. They had lost themselves at Sea; either by the Insufficiency, of the master; or his Illness for he was sick & lame of the scurvy; ^so^ that he could but lie in the cabin door, & give direction; and it should seem was badly assisted either with mate, or mariners; or else the fear and unruliness of the passengers were such, as they made them steer ^a course^ between the southwest, & the norwest, that they might fall with some land whatsoever it was they cared not. For they had been 6 weeks at Sea, and had no water, nor beer, nor any wood left, but had burnt up all their Empty cask[s]; only one of the company had a hogshead or ^of^ wine or 2 which was also almost spent; so as they feared they should be starved at sea, or consumed with diseases, which made them run this desperate course. But it pleased God, that though they came so near the shoals of Cape Cod [147] Or else ran stumbling over them in the night they knew not how; they came right before a small blind harbor, that lies in about the middle of Manamoyick Bay to the southward of Cape Cod, with a small gale of wind, and about highwater touched upon a bar of sand that lies before it, but had no hurt the sea being smooth; so they laid out an anchor. But towards the evening the wind sprung up at sea, and was so rough, as broke their Cable, & beat them over the bar, into the harbor; where they saved their lives, & goods, though much were hurt with salt water; for with beating they had sprung the butt end of a plank or two, & beat out their oakum,14 but they were soon over, and ran on a dry flat within the harbor, close by a beach; so at low water they gat out their goods on dry shore, and dried those that were wet, and saved most of their things without any great loss, neither was the ship much hurt, but she might be mended, and made serviceable again. But though they were not a little glad that they had thus saved their lives; yet when they had a little refreshed themselves; and began to think on their Condition, not knowing where they15 were, nor what they should do, they began to be strucken with sadness. But shortly ^after^ they saw some Indians Come to them in canoes, which made them stand upon their guard; but when they heard some of the Indians speak English unto them; they were not a little revived, espetily^cially^16 when they heard them demand if they were the Governour of Plimoth’s men, or friends; and that they would bring them to the English houses, or carry their letters.

They feasted these Indians, and gave them many gifts. And sent 2 men and a letter with them to the Governour and did Entreat him to send a boat unto them; with some pitch, & oakum, and spikes with diverse other necessaries for the mending of their ship (which was recoverable); also they besought him to help them with some corn and sundry other things they wanted, to enable them to make their voyage to Virginia. And they should be much bound to him; and would make satisfaction for anything they had, in any commodities they ^had^ aboard. After the Governour was well Informed by the messengers of their condition; he caused a boat to be made ready, and such things to ^be^ provided as they writ for; and because others were abroad upon trading, and such other affairs, as had been fit to send unto ^them^; he went himself, and also carried some trading commodities, to buy them corn of the Indians. It was no season of the year to go without the Cape, but understanding where the ship lay he went into the bottom of the bay on the Inside, and put Into a creek called Namskaket,17 where it is not much above 2 mile over [148] land to ^the^ bay where they were, where he had the Indians ready to carry over anything to them. Of his arrival they were very glad, and received the things to mend their ship, & other necessaries; also he bought them as much corn as they would have; and whereas some of their seamen were run away among the Indians he procured their return to the ship; and so left them well furnished, and contented, being very thankful for the courtesies they received. But after the Governour thus left them, he went Into some other harbors thereabout and loaded his boat with corn which he traded; and so went home. But he had not been at home many days, but he had notice from them, that by the violence of a great storm, and the bad mooring of their ship (after she was mended) she was put ashore, and so beaten, and shaken as she was now wholly unfit to go to Sea. And so their request was that they might have leave to repair to them, and sojourn with them, till they could have means to convey themselves to Virginia; and that they might have means to transport their goods and they would pay for the same, or anything else wherewith the plantation should relieve them. Considering their distress, their requests were granted, and all helpfulness done unto them; their goods transported, and themselves, & goods sheltered, in ^their^ houses as well as they could.

The chief amongst these people was one, Mr. Fells, and Mr. Sibsey,18 which had many servants belonging unto them, many of them being Irish; some others there were that had a servant or 2 apiece, but the most were servants, and such as were Engaged to the former persons, who also had the most goods. After they were hither come, and some things settled; the masters desired some ground to Employ their servants upon (seeing it was like to be the latter end of the year, before they could have passage for Virginia), and they had now the winter before them, they might clear some ground, and plant a crop (seeing they had tools, & necessaries for the same), to help to bear their charge, and keep their servants in Employment; and If they ^had^ opportunity to depart before the same was ripe, they would sell it on the ground. So they ^had^ ground appointed them in convenient places; and Fells, & some other of them raised a great deal of Corn; which they sold at their departure. This19 Fells amongst his other servants, had a maid servant, which kept his house, & did his household affairs, and by the Intimation of some that belonged unto him, he was suspected to keep her, as his concubine; and both of them were examined thereupon, but nothing could be proved, and they stood upon their Justification, so with admonition they were dismissed; but afterward it appeared she was with child, so he got a small boat, & ran away with her, first for fear of punishment; first20 he went to Cape Anne, and after into the Bay of the Massachusetts, but could get no passage, and had like to have been cast away; and was forced to come again and Submit himself; but they packed him away, & those that belonged unto him, by the first opportunity; and dismissed all the rest as soon as could, being many untoward people amongst them; though there were also some that carried themselves very orderly all the time they stayed. And the plantation [149] had some benefit by them, in selling them corn, & other provisions of food, for clothing, for they had of diverse kinds, as cloth, perpetuanes,21 & other stuffs, besides hose, & shoes, and such-like commodities as the planters stood in need of. So they both did good, and received good one from another. And a couple of barks carried them away at the later end of Summer. And sundry of them have acknowledged their thankfulness since from Virginia.

That they might the better take all convenient opportunity to follow their trade, both to maintain themselves, and to disengage them of those great sums which they stood charged with, and bound for. They resolved to build a small pinnace at Manomet, a place 20 mile from the plantation;22 standing on the sea to the Southward of them, unto which by another creek on this side, they could carry their goods; within 4 or 5 miles, and then transport them over land, to their vessel. And so avoid the compassing of Cape Cod, and those dangerous shoals; and ^so^ make any voyage to the southward in much shorter time, and with far less danger. Also for the safety of their vessel, & goods, they built a house there, and kept some servants; who also planted corn, and reared some swine; and were always ready to go out with the bark when there was occasion. All which took good effect and turned to their profit.

They now sent (with the return of the ships) Mr. Allerton again Into England; giving him full power (under their hands & seal), to conclude the former bargain with the adventurers; and sent their bonds for the payment of the money.23 Also they sent what beaver they could spare to pay some of their Engagements, & to defray his charges (for those deep Interests still kept them low); Also he had order to procure a patent for a fit trading place in the river of Kennebec; for being emulated both by the planters, at Piscataqua,24 & other places to the eastward of them; and also by the fishing ships (which used to draw much profit from the Indians of those parts); They threatened, to procure a grant, & shut them out from thence; especially after they saw them so well furnished with commodities, as to carry the trade from them. They thought it but needful to prevent such a thing, at least that they might not be excluded from ^free^ trade there; where themselves had first begun, and discovered the same, and brought it to so good effect.

This year also they had letters, and messengers from the Dutch plantation, sent unto them from the Governour25 there; written, both in Dutch, & French.26 The Dutch had traded in these southern parts, diverse years before they came; but they began no plantation here; till 4 or 5 years after their coming, and here beginning. Their letters were as followeth. It being their manner to be full of complemental titles.

Eedele, Eerenfeste Wyse Voorsinnige Heeren, den Goveerneur, ende Raeden In Nieu Pliemuen residerende; onse seer Goede Vrinden. Den directeur ende Raed van Nieu-Nederlande, wensen vwe Ede: eerenfesten, ende wijse voorsinnige geluck zaligheid,27 In Christi Jesu onsen Heere; met goede Voorspoet, ende gesonthijt, naer siele, ende Lichaem, Amen.28

The rest I shall render in English, leaving out the repetition of superfluous titles. [150]

We have often before this wished for an opportunity, or an occasion, to congratulate you, and your prosperous, and praiseworthy undertakings; and Government of your Colony there. And the more, In that we also have made a good beginning to pitch the foundation of a colony here; and seeing our native country lies not far from yours; and our forefathers (diverse hundred years ago), have made, and held friendship, and alliance with your ancestours; as sufficiently appears by the old contracts, and intercourses, confirmed under the hands of kings, & princes, in the point of war, & traffic; as may be seen, and read by all the world in the old chronicles. The which are not only, by the king now reigning confirmed; but it hath pleased his Majesty, upon mature deliberation, to make a new Covenant (and to take up arms) with the States-General of our dear native country. Against our common enemy the Spaniards, who seek nothing else but to usurp, and overcome other ^Christian^ kings’, and princes’ lands; that so he might obtain, and possess his pretended monarchy, over all Christendom; and so to rule, and command, after his own pleasure; over the consciences of so many hundred thousand souls, which God forbid.

And also seeing it hath, some time since, been reported unot ^unto^ us, by some of our people, that by occasion, came so far northward with their shallop; and met with sundry of the Indians, who told them, that they were within half a day’s Journey of your plantation, and offered their service, to carry letters unto you. Therefore we could ^not^ forbear to salute you with these few lines, with presentation of our good will, and service unto you, In all friendly kindness, & neighbourhood. And if it so fall out, that any goods that comes to our hands, from our native country, may be serviceable unto you; we shall take ourselves bound to help, and accommodate you therewith; either for beaver, or any other wares, or merchandise, that you should be pleased to deal for. And if in case we have no commodity at present that may give you content; If you please to sell us any beaver, or other, or such-like Commodities as may be useful for us, for ready money; and let us understand thereof by this bearer in writing (whom we have appointed to stay 3 or 4 days for your answer); When we understand your minds therein; we shall apoynte ^depute^ one to deal with you, at such place as you shall appoint. In the meantime we pray the Lord, to take you, our honoured good friends, and neighbours, Into his holy protection.

From the Manhatas • 〜 •

In the Fort Amsterdam

March 9, Anno 1627.

By the appointment of the Governour and Council, &c.,

Isaak de Rasiere, Secretaris

To this they returned answer as

followeth, on the other side.29 [151]

To the Honoured, &c.

The Governour & Council of New Plim[oth] wisheth, &c. We have received your letters, &c., wherein appeareth your good wills, & friendship towards ^us^; but is expressed with over-high titles, more than belongs to us, or is meet for us to receive. But for your good will, and congratulations of our prosperity in these small beginnings of our poor Colony, we are much bound unto you, and with many thanks do acknowledge the same; taking it both for a great honour, done unto us, and for a certain testimony, of your love, and good neighbourhood.

Now these are further to give your Worships to understand, that it is to us no small Joy, to hear, that his Majesty hath not only, been pleased to confirm that ancient amity, alliance, and friendship; and other contracts, formerly made, & ratified, by his predecessors of famous memory. But hath himself (as you say) strengthened the same with a new union the better to resist the pride of that common enemy the Spaniard; from whose cruelty the Lord keep us both, and our native countries. Now forasmuch as this is sufficient to unite us together in love, and good Neighbourhood, In all our dealings; yet are many of us further obliged, by the good and courteous, entreaty which we have found in your country. Having lived there many years, with freedom, and good content; as also many of our friends, do to this day. For which we, and our children after us, are bound to be thankful to your Nation; and shall never forget the same, but shall heartily desire your good, & prosperity, as our own forever.

Likewise for your friendly tender, & offer to accommodate, and help us with any Commodities, or merchandise you have, or shall come to you, either for beaver, otters, or other wares; It is to us very acceptable, and we doubt not but In short time, we may have profitable commerce, & trade together.30 But for this year we are fully supplied with all necessaries, both for clothing, and other things; but hereafter it is like we shall deal with you, If your rates be reasonable. And therefore when you please to send to us again by any of yours, we desire to know how you will take beaver, by the pound, & otters by the skin; and how you will deal per cent for other commodities, and what you can furnish us with. As likewise what ^other^ commodities from us may be acceptable unto you, as Tobacco, fish, corn, or other things, and what prices you will give; &c.

Thus hoping that you will pardon, & excuse us for our rude, and Imperfect writing in your language, and take it in good part; because [152] for want of use we cannot so well express that we understand; nor happily understand every^thing^ so fully as we should. And so we humbly pray the Lord for his mercy’s sake that he will take both us, and you Into his keeping, & gracious protection.

New Plimoth, March 19, [1627].

By the Governour and Council of New Plimoth,

Your Worships’ very good friends, & neighbours, &c.

After this there was many passages, between them both by letters, and other intercourse;31 and they had some profitable commerce together for diverse years; till other occasions Interrupted the same, as may happily appear afterwards, more at large.

Before they sent Mr. Allerton away for England this year, the Governour and some of their chief friends had serious consideration, not only how they might discharge those great Engagements which lay, so heavily upon them, as is afore mentioned. But also how they might (if possibly they could) devise means to help some of their friends, and Brethren of Leiden, over unto them; who desired so much to come to them, and they desired as much their Company. To effect which, they resolved to run a high course, and of great adventure; not knowing otherwise how to bring it about. Which was to hire the trade of the Company for certain years; and in that time to undertake to pay that £1800 and all the rest of the debts that then Lay upon the plantation, which was about some £600 more; and so to Set them free, and return the trade to the generality again at the end of the term. Upon which resolution they, called the Company together, and made it clearly appear unto all, what their debts were; and upon what terms, they would undertake to pay them all, in such a time, and set them clear. But their other ends they were fain to keep Secret; having only privately acquainted them some of their trusty friends therewith; which were glad of the same; but doubted how they would be able to perform the same it.32 So after some agitation of the thing ^with the company^ it was yielded unto; and the agreement made upon the conditions following.33

Articles of agreement between the Colony of New Plimoth

of the one party; and William Bradford, Captain Miles

Standish, Isaac Allerton, &c., on the other party,

and such others as they shall think good to take

as partners, and undertakers with them.

Concerning the trade for beaver, & other

furs, & commodities, &c. Made July 1627.

Mr. Allerton carried a copy of this agreement with him Into England; and amongst other his Instructions, had order given him to deal with some of their special friends, to Join with them in this trade upon the above-recited Conditions; as also to Impart their further ends that moved them to take this course, namely the helping ^over^ of some of their friends from Leiden as they should be able; in which if any of them would Join with them they should thankfully accept ^of^ their love, and partnership herein. And withal (by their letters) gave them some grounds of their hopes of the accomplishment of these things; with some advantage.