◆   Anno Domini 1628 • 〜 • 〜 •   

After Mr. Allerton’s arrival in England, he acquainted them with his commission and full power, to conclude the forementioned bargain, & purchase; upon [154] the view whereof, and the delivery of the bonds for the payment of the money yearly (as is before mentioned), It was fully concluded, and a deed1 fairly Engrossed in parchment was delivered him, under their hands, & seals confirming the same. Moreover he dealt with them about other things according to his Instructions, As to admit some of these their good friends into this purchase If they pleased, and to deal2 with them for monies at better rates, &c. Touching which I shall here Insert a letter of Mr. Sherley’s giving light to what followed thereof; Writ to the Governour as followeth.

Sir, I have received yours of the 26[th] of May; by Mr. Gibbs, & Mr. Goffe3 with the barrel of otter skins according to the contents; for which I got a bill of store, and so took them up, and sold them together at £78 12s sterling;4 and since Mr. Allerton hath received the money, as will appear by the account. It is true (as you write) that your Engagements are great, not only the purchase; but you are yet necessitated to take up the stock you work upon; and that not at 6 or 8 Per cent as it is here let out, but at 30, 40, yea, & some at 50 Per cent. Which were not your gains great, and God’s blessing on your honest Endeavours, more than ordinary; It could not be that you should long subsist, in the maintaining of, & upholding of your worldly affairs. And this your honest, & discrete agent Mr. Allerton hath seriously considered, & deeply laid to mind, how to ease you of it. He told me, you were contented to accept of me & some few others, to join with you in the purchase, as partners; for which I kindly thank you, and all the rest, and do willingly accept of it. And though absent, shall willingly be at such charge, as you, & the rest shall think meet; and this year am contented to forbear my former £50 and 2 years’ Increase for the venture, both which now makes it £80 without any bargain, or condition for the profit, you (I mean) the generality, stand to the adventure, outward, and homeward. I have persuaded Mr. Andrews, and Mr. Beauchamp to do the like. So as you are eased of the high rate, you were at the other 2 years, I say we leave it freely to yourselves, to allow us what you please, and as God shall bless. What course I run Mr. Beauchamp desireth to do the same, and though he have been, or seemed somewhat harsh heretofore, yet now you shall find he is new-moulded. I also see by your letter, you desire I should be your agent, or factor here; I have ever found you so faithful, honest, and upright men, as I have even resolved with myself (God assisting me) to do you all the good lieth in my power; and therefore If you please to make choice of so weak a man, both for abilities, and body, to perform your business I promise (the Lord enabling me) to do the best I can according to those abilities he hath given me; and wherein I fail, blame yourselves, that you made no better choice. Now because I am sickly, and we are all mortal I have advised Mr. Allerton, to join Mr. Beauchamp with me in your deputation, which I conceive to be very necessary, & good for you; your charge shall be no more, for it is not your salary makes me undertake your [156]5 business. Thus commending you, & yours, and all God’s people, unto the guidance and protection of the Almighty I ever rest,

London, November 17, 1628.6

Your faithful loving friend,

James Sherley

With this letter they sent a draught of a formal deputation to be here sealed and sent back unto them, to authorise them as their Agents, according to what is mentioned in the abovesaid letter, and because some Inconvenience grew thereby afterward I shall here Insert it.

To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye that we William Bradford Governour of Plimoth in N[ew] E[ngland] in America, Isaac Allerton, Miles Standish, William Brewster, & Ed[ward] Winslow of Plimoth aforesaid Merchants, do by these presents for us & in our names make, substitute & appoint James Sherley Goldsmith, & John Beauchamp Salter citizens of London, our true & lawful Agents, factors, substitutes, & assigns. As well to take, and receive, all such goods, wares, & merchandise whatsoever as to our said substitutes or either of them, or to the city of London, or other place of the Realm of Engl[and] shall be sent, transported, or come to from us or any of us, as also to vend, sell, barter, or exchange the said goods, wares, and merchandise so from time to time to be sent; to such person, or persons upon Credit, or otherwise in such manner as to our said agents & factors jointly, or to either of them severally shall seem meet. And further we do make & ordain our said sub[s]titutes & assigns jointly & severally for us, & to our uses, & accounts, to buy, and consign for and to us into New Engl[and] aforesaid, such goods and merchandise to be provided here, and to be returned hence, as by our said assigns, or either of them shall be thought fit. And to recover, receive and demand, for us, & in our names all such goods debts, & sums of money, as now are, or hereafter shall be due incident accruing, or belonging to us, or any of us, by any ways or means; and to acquit, discharge, or compound for any debt, or sum of money, which now, or hereafter shall be due, or owing by any person, or persons to us, or any of us. And generally for us, & in our names to do, perform, and execute every act, & thing which to our said assigns, or either of them shall seem meet to be done in or about the premises, as fully, & effectually to all Intents, & purposes, as if we, or any of us, were in person present. And whatsoever our said agents, & factors jointly or severally, shall do, or cause to be done, in or about the premises, we will & do, & every of us doth ratify, allow, & confirm, by these presents. In Witness whereof we have hereunto put our hands & seals. Dated 18 November 1628.

This was accordingly confirmed, by the abovenamed, and 4 more of the chief of them under their hands & seals, and delivered unto them. Also Mr. Allerton formerly had authority under their hands, & seals for the transacting of the former business, and taking up of monies, &c., which still he retained whilst he was Employed in these affairs; they mistrusting neither him, nor any of their friends’ faithfulness which made them more remiss, in looking to such Acts as had passed under their hands, as necessary for the time; but letting them run on too long unminded, or recalled, it turned to their harm afterwards, as will appear in its place. [155]7

Mr. Allerton having settled all things thus in a good, and hopeful way; he made haste to return in the first of the spring to be here, with their supply for trade (for the fishermen with whom he came used to set forth in winter, & be here betimes). He brought a reasonable supply of goods for the plantation,16 and without those great Interests as before is noted; and brought an account of the beaver sold, and how the money was disposed for goods, & the payment, of other debts; having paid all debts abroad to others, save to Mr. Sherley, Mr. Beauchamp, & Mr. Andrews; from whom likewise he brought an account which to them all amounted, ^not^17 to above £400, for which he had passed bonds; also he ^had^ paid, the first payment for the purchase, being due for this ye a year, viz. £200, and brought them the bond for the same canceled; so as they now had no more foreign debts but the abovesaid £400 and odd pounds, and the rest of the yearly purchase money; some other debts they had in the country, but they were without any Interest, & they had wherewith to discharge them, when they were due. To this pass the Lord had brought things for them, Also he brought them further notice that their friends the above-named, & some others that would Join with them in the trade, & purchase; did Intend for to send over to Leiden, for a competent number, of them, to be here the next year without fail, if the Lord pleased to bless their Journey. He also brought them a patent for Kennebec; but it was so strait, & Ill-bounded, as they were fain to renew, & Enlarge it the next year, as also that which they had at home, to their great charge as will after appear.18 Hitherto Mr. Allerton did them good and faithful service; and well had it been, if he had so continued, or else they had now ceased, for Employing him any longer thus Into England; but of this more afterwards.

Having procured a patent19 (as is abovesaid) for Kennebec; they now erected a house up above in the river in the most convenientest place for trade (as they conceived)20 and furnished the same with commodities for that end, both winter, & summer not only with corn, but ^also^ with such other commodities as the fishermen had traded with them, as coats, shirts, rugs, & blankets, biscuit, peas, prunes, &c. And what they could not have out of England, they bought of the fishing ships, and so carried on their business, as well as they could.

This year the Dutch sent again unto them from their plantation, both kind Letters, and also diverse commodities, as Sugar, linen21 cloth, holland finer, & coarser, stuffs, &c. They came up with their bark to Manomet, to their house there, in which came their Secretary Rasiere; who was accompanied with a noise of Trumpeters, and some other attendants; and desired that they would send a boat for him, for he could not travel so far over land. So they sent a boat to Manonscusset,22 and brought him to the plantation, with the chief of his Company.23 And after some few days’ entertainment, he returned to his bark; and some of them went with him, and bought sundry of his goods; after which beginning in thus made, they sent oftentimes to the same place, and had intercourse together for diverse years; and amongst other commodities, they vended [158] much Tobacco for linen cloth, ^stuffs,^ &c., which was a good benefit to the people; till the Virginians found out their plantation.24 But that which turned most to their profit, in time; was an entrance into the trade of Wampumpeag; for they now bought about £50 worth of it of them; and ^they^ told them, how vendible it was at their Fort Orania;25 and did persuade ^them^ they would find it so at Kennebec; and so it came to pass in time; though at first ^it stuck, &^ it was 2 years before they could put off this small quantity, till the Inland people knew of it; and afterwards they could scarce ever get enough for them, for many years together.26 And so thus this with their other provisions, cut off the trade quite from the fishermen; and in great part from other of the straggling planters. And strange it was to see the great alteration it made, in a few years among the Indians themselves; for all the Indians of these parts, & the Massachusetts, had none or very ^little^ of it, but27 the sachems, & some special persons, that wore a little of it for ornament. Only it was made, & kept among the Narragansetts, & Pequots, which grew rich, & potent by it, and these people were poor, and beggarly, and had no use of it. Neither did the English of this plantation, or any other in the land; till now that they had knowledge ^of it^ from the Dutch, so much as know what it was, much less that it was a commodity of that worth, & value. But after it grew thus to be a commodity in these parts, these Indians fell into it also, and to learn how to make it, for the Narragansetts do gather the shells of which they make it, from their shores. And it hath now continued [a]28 current commodity about this 20 years; ^And^ It may prove a drug in time; in the meantime it makes the Indians ^of these parts^ rich, & powerful ^and^ also proud thereby; and fills them with pieces, powder, & shot; which no laws can restrain, by reason of the baseness, of sundry unworthy persons; both English, Dutch, & French; which may turn to the ruin of many. Hitherto the Indians of these parts, had no pieces, nor other arms, but their bows, & arrows, nor of many years after; neither durst they scarce handle a gun, so much were they afraid of them, and the very sight of one (though out of kilter) was a terrour unto them. But those Indians to the east parts, which had commerce with the French, got pieces of them, and they in the end made a common trade of it. And in time our English fishermen led with the like covetousness followed their example, for their own gain; but upon complaint against them, it pleased the King’s Majesty to prohibit the same by ^a^ strict proclamation, commanding that no sort of arms, or munition, should by any of his subjects be traded with them.

About some 3 or 4 years before this time there came over one Captain Wollaston29 (a man of pretty parts) and with ^him^ 3 or 4 more of some eminency; who brought with them, a great many servants, with provisions, & other Implements for to begin a plantation. And pitched themselves in a place within the Massachusetts, which they called after their Captain’s name, Mount Wollaston. Amongst whom was one Mr. Morton,30 who it should seem, had some small adventure (of his own or other men’s) amongst them; but had little respect [159] amongst them, and was slighted by the meanest servants. Having continued there some time, and not finding things to answer their expectations, nor profit to arise as they looked for. Captain Wollaston takes a great part of the servants, and transports them to Virginia, where he puts them off at good rates, selling their time to other men;31 and writes back to one Mr. Rasdall (one of his chief partners, and accounted their merchant) to bring another part of them to Virginia likewise, Intending to put them off there as he had done the rest. And he (with the consent of the said Rasdall)32 appointed one Fitcher33 to be his lieutenant, and Govern the remains of the plantation, till he or Rasdall returned to take further order thereabout. But this Morton abovesaid having more craft, than honesty (who had been a kind of pettifogger, of Furnival’s Inn),34 In the other’s absence, watches an opportunity (commons being but hard amongst them) and got some strong drink & other Junkets,35 & made them a feast; and after they were merry, he began to tell them, he would give them good counsel; “You see” (saith he) “that many of your fellows are carried to Virginia; and If you stay till this Rasdall return, you will also be carried away and sold for slaves with the rest. Therefore I would advise you, to thrust out this Lieutenant Fitcher; and I having a part in the plantation, will receive you as my partners, and consociates; so may you be free from service, and we will converse, trade, ^plant^ & live together as equals, & support, & protect one another,” or to like effect.

This counsel was easily received, so they took opportunity, and thrust Lieutenant Fitcher out a-doors, and would suffer him to come no more amongst them; but forced him to seek bread to eat, and other relief from his Neighbours, till he could get passage for England. After this they fell to great licentiousness, and led a dissolute life, pouring out themselves into all profaneness; And Morton became Lord of misrule and maintained (as it were) a school of Atheism. And after they had got some goods into their hands, and got much by trading with the Indians; so they spent it as vainly, In quaffing, & drinking; both wine, & strong waters In great excess (and as some reported), £10 worth in a morning. They36 also set up a maypole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, Inviting the Indian women for their consorts, dancing and frisking together (Like so many fairies, or furies rather), and worse practices. As if they had anew revived ^& Celebrated^37 the feasts of the Roman Goddess Flora; or the beas[t]ly practices of the mad Bacchanalians; Morton likewise (to shew his poetry) composed sundry rhymes, & verses, some tending to Lasciviousness, and others to the detraction, & scandal of some persons, which he affixed to this Idle, or Idol maypole.38 They changed also the name of their place, and instead of calling it Mount Wollaston; they call it Merrymount, [160] as if this jollity would have lasted ever. But this lasted ^continued^39 not long, for after Morton was sent for England (as follows to be declared) shortly after came ^over^ that worthy gentleman Mr. John Endecott, who brought over a patent under the broad seal, for the Government of the Massachusetts, who visiting those parts caused that maypole to be cut down, and rebuked them for their profaneness, and admonished them, to look there should be better walking.40 So they ^or others^41 now changed the name of their place again, and called it Mount Dagon.42

Now to maintain this riotous prodigality, and profuse excess; Morton (thinking himself lawless) and hearing what gain the French, & fishermen, made by trading of pieces, powder, & shot to the Indians. He as the head of this Consortship, began the practice of the same in these parts; and first he taugh[t]43 them how to use them, to charge, & discharge, and what proportion, of powder, to give the piece, according to the size, or bigness of the same; and what shot to use for fowl, and what for deer. And having thus Instructed them, he Employed some of them, to hunt, & fowl for him; so as they became far more active, in that Employment, than any of the English; by reason of their swiftness of foot, & nimbleness of body, being also quick-sighted, and by continual exercise well knowing the haunts of all sorts of game. So as when they saw the execution that a piece would do, and the benefit that might come by the same; they became mad (as it were) after them, and would not stick to give any price (they could attain to) for them; accounting their bows, & arrows but baubles in comparison of them.

And here I may take occasion to bewail the mischief that this wicked man began in these parts; and which since base covetousness, prevailing in men that should know better; hath now at length got the upper hand, and made this thing common (notwithstanding any laws to the contrary). So as the Indians are full of pieces all over, both fowling pieces, muskets, pistols, &c.44 They have also their moulds to make shot, of all sorts, as musket bullets, pistol bullets, swan & goose shot, & of smaller sorts; yea ^some^ I have seen them have their screw-plates to make screw-pins ^themselves^ when they want them,45 with sundry other Implements, wherewith they are ordinarily better, fitted, & furnished than the English themselves. Yea it is well known that they will have powder, & shot, when the English want it, nor cannot get it; and that in a time of war, or danger; as experience hath manifested, that when lead hath been scarce, and men for their own defence; would gladly have given, a groat46 a pound, which is dear enough; yet hath it been bought up, & sent to other places, and sold to such as trade it with the Indians, at 12 pence the pound, and it is like they give 3 or 4s the pound, for they will have it at any rate. And these things have been done in the same times, when some of their neighbours, & friends, are daily killed by the Indians, or are in danger thereof, and live but at the Indians’ mercy. [161] Yea some (as they have acquainted them with all other things) have told them how gunpowder is made, and all the materials in it, and that they are to be had in their own land; and I am confident could they attain to make saltpeter, they would teach them to make powder. O the horribleness of this villany! how many both Dutch, & English have been lately slain by those Indians, thus furnished; and no remedy provided, nay the evil more Increased, and the blood of their ^brethren^ sold for gain (as is to be feared), and in what danger all these colonies ^are in^ is too well known. Ho ^Oh^47 that princes & parliaments would take some timely order to prevent this mischief, and at length to suppress it; by some exemplary punishment upon ^some of^48 these gain-thirsty murderers, for they deserve no better title; before their Colonies in these parts be overthrown by these barbarous savages, thus armed with their own weapons, by these evil Instruments; and Traitors to their Neighbors; and country. But I have forgot myself, and ^have^49 Lain50 too long in this digression; but now to return.

This Morton having thus taught them the use of pieces, he sold them all he could spare; and he, and his consorts determined to send for many out of England, and had by some of the ships sent for above a score. The which being known; and his neighbours, meeting the Indians in the woods armed with guns in this sort, it was a terrour unto them, who lived stragglingly, and were of no strength in any place. And other places (though more remote) saw this mischief would quickly spread over all, if not prevented. Besides they saw, they should keep no servants, for Morton would entertain any, how vile soever, and all the scum of the country, or any discontents would flock to him from all places, if this nest was not broken; and they should stand in more fear of their lives, & goods (in short time), from this wicked, & debased Crew than from the savages themselves.

So sundry of the chief of the straggling plantations meeting together, agreed by mutual consent, to solicit those, of Plimoth (who were then of more strength, than them all) to join with them, to prevent the further growth of this mischief, and suppress Morton, & his consorts before they grew to further head, and strength. Those that Joined in this action (and after contributed to the charge of sending him for England), were from Pascataway, Namkeag, Winnisimet, Wessagusset, and Nantasket,51 and other places where any English were seated. Those of Plimoth being thus sought to by their messengers & letters, and weighing both their reasons, and the Common danger, were willing to afford them their help; though themselves had least Cause of fear, or hurt. So to be short, they first resolved, Jointly to write to him, and in a friendly, & neighborly way to admonish him, to forbear those courses, & sent a messenger with their letters to bring his answer. But he was so high as he scorned all advice, and asked who had to do with him; he had and would trade pieces with the Indians, in despite of all, with many other scurrilous terms full of disdain. They sent to him a second time, and bade him be better advised, and more temperate in his terms, for the country could not bear the Injury he did, it was against their common safety; and against the King’s proclamation; he answered in high terms as before; and that the King’s proclamation, was no law; demanding what penalty was upon it; It was answered, more than52 he could [162], bear, his Majesty’s displeasure; but Insolently he persisted, and said the King was dead and his displeasure with him,53 & many the like things. And threatened withal that if any came to molest him, let them look to themselves for he would prepare for them. Upon which they saw there was no way but to take him by force; and having so far proceeded, now to give over would make him far more haughty, & Insolent; so they mutually resolved to proceed, and obtained of the Governour of Plimoth, to send Captain Standish, & some other ^aid^54 with him, to take Morton by force. The which accordingly was done; but they found him to stand stiffly in his defence, having made fast his doors, armed his Consorts, set diverse dishes of powder, & bullets ready on the table; and if they had not been over-armed with drink, more hurt might have been done. They summoned him to yield, but he kept his house, and they could get nothing but scoffs, & scorns from him, but at length fearing they would do some violence to the house, he and some of his Crew came out, not to yield, but to shoot; but they were so steeled with drink, as their pieces were too heavy for them; himself with a carbine (overcharged) & almost half filled, with powder & shot [(]as was after found), had thought to have shot Captain Standish; but he stepped to him, & put by his piece, & took ^him^; neither was there any hurt done, to any of either side; save that one was so drunk, that he ran his own nose, upon the point of a sword that one held before him, as he entered the house; but he lost but a little of his hot blood. Morton they brought away to Plimoth where he was kept; till a ship went from the Isle of Shoals for England with which he was sent, to the Council of New England; and letters written to give them Information of his course, & carriage;55 and also ^one^ was sent, at their Common charge,56 to Inform their Honours more particularly, & to prosecute against him. But he fooled of57 the messenger, after he was gone from hence, and though he went for England yet nothing was done to him, not so much as rebuked, for aught was heard; but returned the next year. Some of the worst of the company were dispersed, and some, of the more modest kept the house till, he should be heard from. But I have ^been^ too long about so unworthy a person, and bad a Cause.58

This year Mr. Allerton brought over a young man for a minister to the people here, whether upon his own head, or at the motion of some friends there I well know not, but it was without the church’s sending (for they had been so bitten by Mr. Lyford, as they desired to know the person well, whom they should Invite amongst them). His name was Mr. Rogers;59 but they perceived upon some trial, that he was, crazed in his brain, so60 they were fain to be at further charge to send him back again the next year, and lose all the charge that was expended in his hither bringing, which was not small by Mr. Allerton’s account, in provisions, apparel, bedding, &c. After his return he grew quite distracted; and Mr. Allerton was much blamed that he would bring such a man over, ^they^ having charge enough otherwise.

Mr. Allerton in the years before, had brought over some small quant[it]y of Goods, upon his own particular, and sold them for his own private benefit; which was more than any man had yet hitherto attempted. But because he had otherwise done them good service; and also he sold them among the people at the plantation, by which their wants were supplied, and he alleged, it was the [163] Love of Mr. Sherley, and some other friends that would needs trust him with some goods, conceiving it might do him some good, and no hurt; It was not much looked at but passed over. But this year he brought over a greater quantity, and they were so Intermixed with the goods of the general, as they knew not which were theirs, & which was his, being packed up together, so as they well saw that If any casualty had befallen at sea, he might have laid the whole on them, if he would; for there was no distinction. Also what was most vendible, and would yield present pay, usually that was his; and he now began also to sell abroad to others of foreign places. Which (consider^ing^ their common course) they began to dislike. Yet because love thinks no evil, nor is suspicious;61 they took his fair words for excuse; and resolved to send him again this year for England; considering how well he had done the former business, and what good acceptation he had with their friends there; as also seeing sundry of their friends from Leiden were sent for, which would, or might be much furthered by his means. Again seeing the patent for Kennebec must be Enlarged (by reason of the former mistakes in the bounding of it) and it was conceived (In a manner) the same charge would serve to Enlarge this at home with it. And he that had begun the former the last year, would be the fittest to effect this. So they gave him Instructions and sent him for England this year again.62 And in his Instructions bound him to bring over no goods on their account; but £50 in hose & shoes and some linen cloth (as they were bound by covenant when they took the trade); also some trading goods to such a value; and in no case to exceed his Instructions, nor run them Into any further charge; he well knowing how their state stood. Also that he should so provide that their trading goods came over betimes; and whatsoever was sent on their account should be packed up by itself, marked with their mark,63 and no other goods to be mixed with theirs. For so he pray^ed^ them to give him such Instructions as they saw good, and he would ^follow^ them; to prevent any Jealousy, or farther offence; upon the former, forementioned dislikes. And thus they conceived they had well provided for all things.64