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ning of a movement and the definite expression of a force that had much to do with the America of to-day. Forsaking, as they had, the Church of England because, to their consciences, it was no nearer tbe truth than the Church of Rome, they turned direct to the Scriptures for their rule of action, and left their homes because they could not and would not render the obedience the state church demanded. In Holland they could have a shelter but no home; remaining there, their children must become a part of that Teutonic land, and no longer Englishmen.
Many men and many classes had already found a refuge in the new lands over ocean, and toward that land their eyes and thoughts were turned. Jamestown offered no advantage over England itself, for the Church of England was the recognized ecclesiastical authority there. The New Netherlands was proposed and rejected because they would become the subjects of a trading company.
The result was the formation, among the friends in England, of a company that should send them to the northern portion of the territory under control of the Virginia company. A portion of their number were sent ahead to prepare the way. Embarking in the ship Speedweil, they sailed from the port of Delft-Haven in Holland, to Southampton in England, where they were joined by the Mayflower. But when the long voyage was entered upon it was found that the Speedwell was not safe, and the whole company were compelled to trust themselves to the little Mayflower. “And when the ship,” we find it written in the Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth,'"was ready to carry us away, the brethren that staid, having again solemnly sought the Lord with us and for us, and we further engaging ourselves mutually as before—they, I say, that staid at Leyden, feasted us that were to go, at our pastor's house, being large, where we refreshed ourselves, after tears, with singing of psalms, making joyful melody in our hearts, as well as with the voice, there being many of the congregation very expert in music; and indeed it was the sweetest melody that ever mine ears heard. After this they accompanied us to Delph's Haven, where we were to embark, and there feasted us again. And after prayer performed
by our pastor, where a flood of tears was poured out, they accompanied us to the ship, but were not able to speak one to another for the abundance of sorrow to part. But we only going aboardthe ship lying to the quay and ready to set sail, the wind being fairwe gave them a volley of small shot aná three pieces of ordnance; and so, lifting up our hands to each other, and our hearts for each other to the Lord our God, we departed, and found his presence with us in the midst of our manifold straits he carried us through.”
The Mayflower-one of the few ships that have become immortalized in history-was a vessel of one hundred and eighty tons, whose condition was such that an end was nearly put to the whole expedition. The people aboard were so crowded for room that even the shallop on the deck"was damaged by being used for a sleeping-place.” The voyage was stormy and full of peril and discomforts, seas sweeping over them so that they were “wet continuously,” while their provisions were well-nigh spoiled. They had been full sixty days away from their last English port when land was sighted-not within the limits of territory assigned to the Virginia company, but among the shoals of Cape Cod. An attempt was made to sail to the south, but they were unable to find their way through the shoals. Land of any kind was a blessing, especially to the sick and homesick women; and the "clamors to be put ashore were irresistible.” Thus the anchor of the Mayflower was dropped in the harbor of Cape Cod, and the cold and desolate Plymouth Rock received the first impress of Puritanism in America, rather than the fertile fields that had been sought to the further south.
It was soon discovered that no settlement could be formed upon the spot where they had landed, as there was no good water to be had. Parties of exploration were sent out along the coast, and their report was such that all the company returned to the Mayflower and sailed along the inside of the bay to a sheltered nook, where they cast anchor. Here was not only a brook of clear water, but fields which had been cleared by the Indians for planting. The point had been marked Plymouth by Captain John Smith in his map of the New England coast, and from that fact, and from Plymouth having been
the last place which they had touched in England, the name was bestowed upon the little settlement which they set themselves to form.
The historic compact, which was made by those aboard the Mayflower before going ashore to found their settlement, was in its essential purpose a measure of self-protection and mutual help-each agreeing to stand by the other, to obey the laws that the majority might make, and to decide all questions by vote in public meetings. John Carver was elected governor.
The first measure taken upon landing was one of defense. A platform was built upon the hill, upon which several guns were mounted. A house, twenty feet square, was erected, in which their goods were stored, and where they themselves might find shelter. A town was laid out and house lots assigned to each family. The village was enclosed with palings and gates set at proper places. The fields to be cultivated lay outside, and all the families were to have a right in common to woodland and pasture-land. All their earnings were to go into a common stock, to be paid to the company of merchants who had furnished means for their passage across the sea.
Dark and doleful times lay before the little company, who had escaped the peril of the sea only to face the many terrors and troubles of life in the bleak land that was to become their home. The men had hardly set themselves to work for the rearing of needed habitations, when sickness from exposure and bad food set in. In four months nearly one-half their number were dead; and at one time during the winter their fortunes were at so low an ebb that only half a dozen had strength sufficient to nurse the sick and bury the dead. “Destitute of every provision which the weakness and the daintiness of the invalid requires,” writes Palfrey, “the sick lay crowded in the unwholesome vessel, or in half built cabin's heaped around with snowdrifts. The rude sailors refused them even a share of those coarse sea-stores which would have given a little variety to their diet, till disease spread among the crew, and the kind ministrations of those whom they had neglected and affronted brought them to a better temper. The dead were interred in a bluff by the water-side, the
marks of burial being carefully effaced, lest the natives should discover how the colony had been weakened. The imagination fairly tasks itself to comprehend the horrors of that fearful winter. The only mitigations were that the cold was of less severity than is usual in the place, and that there was not an entire want of food and shelter. Meantime, courage and fidelity never gave out. The well carried out the dead through the cold and snow, and then hastened back from the burial to wait on the sick; and, as the sick began to recover, they took the places of those whose strength had been exhausted. There was no time and there was no inclination to despond. The lesson rehearsed at Leyden was not forgotten—that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.' The dead had died in a good service, and the fit way for survivors to honor and lament them was to be true to one another and to work together bravely for the cause to which dead and living had alike been consecrated. The devastation increased the necessity for preparations for defense; and it was at the time when the company was diminishing at the rate of one on every second day, that a military organization was formed, with Standish for captain, and the humble fortification on the hill overlooking the dwellings was mounted with five guns. ‘Warm and fair weather' came at length, and the birds sang in the woods most pleasantly.' Never was spring more welcome than when it opened on this afflicted company."
With internal affairs thus made brighter, the dangers from without grew no less. The friendship at first shown by the Indians soon gave way to enmity and open threats of war. The action of the Englishmen was prompt, and eventually proved effective. In 1622 there came to the little colony from the Narragansetts, a bundle of arrows tied with a snake's skin, which conveyed a declaration of war. Bradford, then governor, filled the snake-skin with powder and ball and returned it-a message that was so well understood that the Indians for the time desisted from their purpose. The year following, a conspiracy to murder all the whites was discovered; but Miles Standish
promptly disposed of all the ring-leaders therein, and thus enforced a peace that lasted for some years.
A certain measure of prosperity followed the founding of the colony; and such was the hopeful and determined spirit of the Puritans that when the Mayflower returned to England in the April following the winter above described, not a man of them went with her. As time went by, new accessions came, and after a time it was found necessary to give up the plan by which all the property was owned by the trading company. Each man was therefore allotted a part of the common land, to own and cultivate as best he could.
Meanwhile, events upon the English side of the sea were shaping themselves rapidly and unconsciously for the future creation of a great republic upon the American shores. King James I. was still insisting that he, and not the people, was the owner of all the soil in the great little island which had suffered so much for such portion of liberty as it yet possessed, and was urging relentless war upon the Puritans, who had vainly hoped much from the Presbyterianism, in which James, as King of Scotland, had been reared. The troubles between king and parliament were increasing, and many who loved England much, but liberty more, were debating whether the hard ships of the New England coast were not to be preferred to the tyrannies at home. In this condition of affairs, a Puritan minister of Dorchester, John White, planned a settlement at Cape Ann, in Massachusetts bay. His idea was endorsed and put in operation by various merchants of London, who formed the corporation of “The Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England." In 1629 they secured from Charles I., who sat upon the throne from which death had called his father, a charter that gave power to the members of the company to choose annually from their own number a governor, deputy governor and eighteen councilors. They could make laws for the government of the territory they owned, which laws, however, must agree with those of England. The portion of the country allotted to them was described as extending from the Atlantic to the Western ocean, and from the Merrimac river to the Charles. The difficulties that had arisen newly in England between