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repairs. Once more, as soon as the mischief had been remedied, they weighed anchor with renewed hope. This time they were out of sight of land before any complaint was heard; but the smaller vessel was overmasted, and the leak was soon as bad as ever. With heavy hearts they put back to Plymouth, where it was resolved to leave the 'Speedwell' behind, and to get rid of those of their fellowpassengers who were already growing sick of the hardships of the voyage.

The 'Speedwell' left behind.

of the May

On September 6, just as the couriers were speeding to England with the news of Spinola's attack upon the Palatinate, September. the emigrants bade farewell to that lovely harbour The voyage from which, three years before, Raleigh had started flower.' in pursuit of his phantom of the golden mine. Rame Head, and the Lizard, and the Land's End, the cold grey bulwarks of unsympathizing England, one after another dropped out of sight. At last they were alone upon the Atlantic. Behind them, save in a few distant Leyden garrets, there were none to whom their failure or their success would furnish more than a few hours' scornful gossip. Before them was the stormy sea, and in the Far West lay that wilderness which was only waiting for their approach to stiffen under its winter frosts. Yet there was no sign of blenching. If God were on their side, what mattered the coldness of the world, the jeers of the sailors, or the howling of the Atlantic storms ?1

The voyage was chequered with few incidents; but there is one passage in the narrative in which Bradford has embalmed the story of those days of trial, too characteristic of the writer and his companions to be passed over in silence. "I may not," he wrote, "omit here a special work of God's providence. There was a proud and very profane young man, one of the seamen. He would alway be contemning the poor people in their sickness, or cursing them daily with grievous execrations, and did not let to tell them that he hoped to cast half of them overboard before they came to their scene should have been neglected for an imaginary parting on a beach which never existed.


Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, 68-74.




journey's end, and to make merry with what they had; and, if he were by any quietly reproved, he would curse and swear most bitterly. But it pleased God before they came half seas over to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was thrown overboard. Thus his curses lighted on his own head, and it was an astonishment to all his fellows, for they noted it to be the hand of God upon him."

On November 9 the emigrants caught sight of land. The low shore of Cape Cod stretched away for miles in front of them. From the spot at which they had Nov. 9. Arrival at struck the coast, a short voyage of less than seventy Cape Cod. miles would bring them to the place which they had marked out for their settlement. The ship's course was accordingly altered in a southerly direction, and an attempt was made to reach the mouth of the Hudson. They had not gone far before they found themselves off Sandy Point, amongst shoals and breakers white with foam. The captain declared that the danger was too great to be faced, and altering the ship's course once more he steered to the northward along the coast. On the 11th, the 'Mayflower' rounded the extreme point of the peninsula of Cape Cod, and dropped anchor in the smooth water inside. Of the emigrants, one had died during the passage, but their numbers were still the same as when they left Plymouth harbour, a child, Oceanus Hopkins, having been born on board. One hundred and two persons, of whom about fifty only were full-grown men, looked out under the bleak November sky upon the desolate shore, on which they were, with as little loss of time as possible, to search for a home. Before anyone was allowed to leave the ship, a meeting was called, to take steps for the prevention of a danger which threatened to sap the foundations of the infant Agreement colony. In one respect the breakers off Sandy Point Government. had made a great alteration in their position. At the mouth of the Hudson they would have been within the limits of the Virginia Company's authority. At Cape Cod those limits were passed, and the patent which had been obtained with so much difficulty had suddenly been rendered

Nov. 11.


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useless. For many months it would be impossible to communicate with the northern company in whose territories they now were, and it would be hazardous to establish a colony without any recognised government to preserve order in its ranks; for already it had been discovered that among the recruits who had joined them at Southampton, there were some who were muttering that they might do as they pleased, since there was no longer any legal authority which could call them to account for their actions. It was to meet this difficulty that a document framed in the following terms was laid before the meeting for signature:

The instrument of government.

"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign, King James . . . having undertaken, for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, in honour of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant to combine ourselves into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof, to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices from time to time as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony ; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience." To this declaration not one of the emigrants refused to set his hand. The meeting next proceeded to choose chosen as their first governor, John Carver, who had taken an active part in the negotiations with the Company in England.1



1 "After this," writes Bradford, " they chose, or rather confirmed, Mr. John Carver for that year."-History of Plymouth Plantation, 90. Mr. Deane, the editor of Bradford's History, suggests that "or rather confirmed," was written inadvertently. This is very unlikely. I have no doubt that Carver was named to the office in the lost patent from the Virginia Company. It will be remembered, that the first Council of Virginia was nominated in England. That it was intended that the New England colonists should elect their governor after the first year, appears from Robinson's letter in Bradford's History, 66.





In all this there was nothing new. The election of administrative functionaries took place in every borough town in England. What was really new was that whilst in England each corporation was exposed to the action of the other forces of the social system, in America the new corporation was practically left to itself. It was as if Exeter or York had drifted away from the rest of England, and had been left to its own resources on the other side of the Atlantic. The accident which had deprived the colony for a time of all legal connexion with the Home Government, was only a foreshadowing of its future fortunes. Sooner or later the colonies would have a social and political history of their own, which would not be a repetition of the social and political history of England. When once the first difficulties were at an end, there would be a society in which no one was very poor, and no one was very rich, and it was evident that to such a society many of the provisions of the English constitution would be altogether inapplicable.

Nov. 12.

Nov. 13.

For the present, however, there was work before the emigrants which left no time for the discussion of political prinExploration ciples. Immediately after Carver's election, fifteen of Cape Cod. or sixteen of their number, who had been sent on shore for wood, returned with a report that they had found soil of rich black earth behind the sandhills. The next day they kept their Sabbath, the first Sabbath in the new world which was opening before them. On Monday morning they were anxious to commence the exploration of the country, but the shallop which they had brought with them for that purpose, was found to have been injured on the voyage. Whilst it was being repaired, a party, under the command of Standish, was sent on shore to explore the immediate neighbourhood. They returned on Friday, bringing with them some Indian corn, which they had found in a deserted native village. This little stock was invaluable to the settlers, as, by some extraordinary mismanagement, they had left all their seed corn behind them in England.

Nov. 17.

Standish had hoped to find the shallop ready on his return;

Nov. 27.

but the carpenter was lazy or careless, and contrived to consume fourteen days upon what should have been at most the work of six. It was not till the 27th that the exploring party was able to start. The weather had now become very bad. Winter had come down upon them in all its rigour. The cold blasts pierced to the skin, and the snow fell thick upon the houseless wanderers. The water near the shore was so shallow that it was impossible to land, except by wading. Time and means to dry their dripping garments were alike wanting. Not a few owed their deaths to diseases the seeds of which were implanted in the constitution during these melancholy days. Yet they struggled on bravely. They made their way to the southward along the inner shore of the peninsula, sometimes in an open boat, sometimes on foot, over hills and valleys, wrapped in a deep covering of snow. On the evening of the 30th they returned on board, footsore and weary, and reported in favour of a spot near the mouth of the Pamet River, not far from the place where the Indian corn had been found.

Nov. 30.


Long and earnest was the consultation that evening on board the 'Mayflower.' Many reasons concurred in recommending the spot which had been selected by the December. pioneers; but the coast was shallow, and there was Exploration of the main no running stream of fresh water in the immediate neighbourhood. In the midst of the discussion, they were told by the pilot of the ship that he remembered that, when he was last on the coast, he had seen a good harbour on the mainland opposite. Upon this, they resolved not to come to a final resolution till a fresh exploring party had visited the spot.

Accordingly, on December 6, ten of the emigrants, accompanied by six of the crew, set out to face the hardships of another search. The weather had not improved. Their clothes stiffened under the freezing spray, till they were like coats of iron. Here and there as they coasted along, they stopped to examine the nature of the soil. On the morning of the third day, as they were rising from their bivouac, they were attacked by Indians. With difficulty they regained their boat; but they

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