From Of Plimouth Plantation (1630-1650), From BOOK TWO, CHAPTER 11 (The Remainder of Anno 1620)



I SHALL a litle returne backe and begine with a combination made by them before they came ashore, being ye first foundation of their govermente in this place; occasioned partly by ye discontented & mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them had let fall from them in ye ship –That when they came a shore they would use their owne libertie; for none had power to comand them, the patente they had being for Virginia, and not for New-england, which

belonged to an other Goverment, with which ye Virginia Company had nothing to doe.  And partly that shuch an acte by them done (this their condition considered) might be as firme as any patent, and in some respects more sure.

The forme was as followeth.


In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland king, defender of ye faith, &c., haveing undertaken, for ye glorie of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering & preservation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just & equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.  In witnes wherof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd ye 11. of November, in ye year of ye raigne of our soveraigne lord, King James, of England, France, & Ireland ye eighteenth, and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth.  Ano: Dom. 1620.


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, foulnes of winter weather, and sicknes of diverce,) and begune some small cottages for their habitation, as time would admitte, they mette and consulted of lawes & orders, both for their civill & military Govermente, ye necessitie of their condition did require, still adding therunto as urgent occasion in severall times, and as cases did require.

In these hard & difficulte beginings they found some discontents & murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches & carriags in other; but they were soone quelled & overcome by ye wisdome, patience, and just & equall carrage of things by ye Govr and better part, wch clave faithfully togeather in ye maine.  But that which was most sadd & lamentable was, that in 2. or 3. moneths time halfe of their company dyed, espetialy in Jan: & February, being ye depth of winter, and wanting houses & other comforts; being infected with ye scurvie & other diseases, which this long vioage & their inacomodate condition had brought upon them; so as ther dyed some times 2. or 3. of a day, in ye foresaid time; that of 100. & odd persons, scarce 50. remained.  And of these in ye time of most distres, ther was but 6.  or 7. sound persons, who, to their great comendations be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of toyle and hazard of their owne health, fetched them woode, made them fires, drest them meat, made their beads, washed their lothsome cloaths, cloathed & uncloathed them; in a word, did all ye homly & necessarie offices for them wch dainty & quesie stomacks cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly & cherfully, without any grudging in ye least, shewing herein their true love unto their freinds & bretheren.  A rare example & worthy to be remembred.  Tow of these 7. were Mr. William Brewster, ther reverend Elder, & Myles Standish, ther Captein & military comander, unto whom my selfe, & many others, were much beholden in our low & sicke condition.  And yet the Lord so upheld these persons, as in this generall calamity they were not at all infected either with sicknes, or lamnes.  And what I have said of these, I may say of many others who dyed in this generall vissitation, & 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 doute not but their recompence is with ye Lord.

But I may not hear pass by an other remarkable passage not to be forgotten.  As this calamitie fell among ye passengers that were to be left here to plant, and were hasted a shore and made to drinke water, that ye sea-men might have ye more bear, and one in his sicknes desiring but a small cann of beere, it was answered, that if he were their owne father he should have none; the disease begane to fall amongst them also, so as allmost halfe of their company dyed before they went away, and many of their officers and lustyest men, as ye boatson, gunner, 3. quarter-maisters, the cooke, & others.  At wch ye mr. was something strucken and sent to ye sick a shore and tould ye Govr he should send for beer for them that had need of it, though he drunke water homward bound.  But now amongst his company ther was farr another kind of carriage in this miserie then amongst ye passengers; for they that before had been bootie companions in drinking, & joyllity in ye time of their health & wellfare, beoane now to deserte one another in this calamities saing, they would not hasard ther lives for them, they should be infected by coming to help them in their cabins, and so, after they came to dye by it, would doe litle or nothing for them, but if they dyed let them dye.  But shuch of ye passengers as were et abord shewed them what mercy they could, wch made some of their harts relente, as ye boatson (& some others), who was a prowd yonge man, and would often curse & scofe at ye 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, shew your love like Christians indeed one to another, but we let one another lye & dye like doggs.  Another lay cursing, his wife, saing, if it had not ben for her he had never come this unlucky viage, and anone cursing his felows, saing he had done this & that, for some of them, he had spente 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 weaknes; he went and got a litle spise & made him a mess of meat once or twise, and be-

cause he dyed not so soone as he expected, he went amongst his fellows, & swore ye rogue would cousen him, he would see him choaked before he made him any more meate; and yet ye pore fellow dyed before morning.

All this while ye Indians came skulking about them, and would sometimes show them selves aloofe of, but when any aproached near them, they would rune away.  And once they stoale away their tools wher they had been at worke, & were gone to diner.  But about ye 16. of March a certaine Indian came bouldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marvelled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to ye eastrene parts, wher some English-ships came to fhish, with whom he was aquainted, & could name sundrie of them by their names, amongst whom he had gott hislanguage.  He became proftable to them in

aquainting them with many things concerning ye state of ye cuntry in ye east-parts wher he lived, which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of ye people hear, of their names, number, & strength; of their situation & distance from this place, and who was cheefe amongst them.  His name was Samaset; he tould them also of another Indian whos name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England & could speake better English then him selfe.  Being, after some time of entertainments & gifts, dismist, a while after he came againe, & 5. more with him, & they brought againe all ye tooles that were stolen away before, and made way for ye coming of their great Sachem, called Massasoyt; who, about 4.or 5. days after, came with the cheefe of his freinds & other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto.  With whom, after frendly entertainment, & some gifts given him, they made a peace with him (which hath now continued this 24. years) in these terms.


  1. That neither he nor any of his, should injurie or doe hurte to any of their peopl.
  2.   That if any of his did any hurte to any of theirs, he should send ye offender, that they might punish him.
  3.   That if any thing, were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should doe ye like to his.
  4.   If any did unjustly warr against him, they would aide him; if any did warr against them, he should aide them.
  5.   He should send to his neighbours confederats, to certifie them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in ye conditions of peace.
  6.   That when ther men came to them, they should leave their bows & arrows behind them.


After these things he returned to his place caled Sowams, some 40. mile from this place, but Squanto contiued with them, and was their interpreter, and was a spetiall instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.  He directed them how to set their corne, wher to take fish, and to procure other comodities, and was also their pilott to bring them to unknowne places for their profitt, and never left them till he dyed.  He was a native of the place, &  scarce any left alive besids him selfe.  He was caried away with diverce others by one Hunt, a mr. of a

ship, who thought to sell them for slaves in Spaine;  but he got away for England, and was entertained by a marchante in London, & imployed to New-foundland & other parts, & lastly brought hither into these parts by one Mr.Dermer, a gentle-man imployed by Sr. Ferdinando Gorges & others, for discovery, & other designes in these parts.  Of whom I shall say some  thing, because it is mentioned in a booke set forth Ano: 1622. by ye Presidente & Counsell for New-England,  that he made ye peace betweene ye salvages of these parts & ye English; of which this plantation, as it is intimated, had ye benefite.  But what a peace it was, may apeare by what befell him & his men.

This Mr. Dermer was hear the same year that these people came, as apears by a relation written by him, & given me by a freind, bearing date June 30. Ano: 1620.  And they came in Novembr: following, so ther was but 4. months differance.  In which relation to his honored freind, he hath these passages of this very place.


I will first begine (saith he) wth that place from whence Squanto, or Tisquantem, was taken away; wch in Cap:Smiths mape is called Plimoth: and I would that Plimoth had ye like comodities.  I would that the first plantation might hear be seated, if ther come to the number of 50. persons, or upward.  Otherwise at Charlton, because ther ye savages are lese to be feared.  The Pocanawkits, which live to ye west of Plimoth, bear an inveterate malice to ye English, and are of more streingth then all ye savags from thence to Penobscote.  Their desire of revenge was occasioned by an English man, who having many of them on bord, made a great slaughter with their murderers & smale shot, when as (they say) they offered no injurie on their parts. Whether they were English or no, it may be douted; yet they beleeve they were, for ye Frenche have so possest them; for which cause Squanto canot deney but they would have kiled me when I was at Namasket, had he not entreated hard for me.  The soyle of ye borders of this great bay, may be compared to most of ye plantations which I have seene in Virginia.  The land is of diverce sorts; for Patuxite is a hardy but strong soyle, Nawsel & Saughtughtett are for ye most part a blakish & deep mould, much like that wher groweth ye best Tobaco in Virginia.  In ye botume of yt great bay is store of Codd & basse, or mulett, &c.


But above all he comends Pacanawkite for ye richest soyle, and much open ground fitt for English graine, &c.


Massachussets is about 9. leagues from Plimoth, & situate in ye mids betweene both, is full of ilands & peninsules very fertill for ye most parte.


With sundrie shuch relations which I forbear to transcribe, being now better knowne then they were to him.

He was taken prisoner by ye Indeans at Manamoiak (a place not farr from hence, now well knowne).  He gave them what they demanded for his liberty, but when they had gott what they desired, they kept him still & indevored to kill his men; but he was freed by seasing on some of them, and kept them bound till they gave him a cannows load of corne.  Of which, see Purch: lib. 9. fol. 1778.  But this was An°: 1619.

After ye writing of ye former relation he came to ye Ile of Chapawack (which lyes south of this place in ye way to Virginia), and ye foresaid Squanto wth him, wher he going a shore amongst ye Indans to trad, as he used to doe, was betrayed & assaulted by them, & all his men slaine, but one that kept the boat; but him selfe gott abord very sore wounded, & they had cut of his head upon ye cndy of his boat, had not ye man reskned him with a sword.  And so they got away, & made shift to gett into Virginia, wher he dyed; whether of his wounds or ye diseases of ye cuntrie, or both togeather, is uncertaine.  By all which it may appeare how farr these people were from peace, and with what danger this plantation was begune, save as ye powerfull hand of the Lord did protect them.  These things* were partly the reason why they kept aloofe & were so long before they came to the English.  An other reason (as after them selvs made know) was how aboute 3. years before, a  French-ship was cast away at Cap-Codd, but ye men gott ashore, & saved their lives, and much of their victails, & other goods; but after ye lndeans heard of it, they geathered togeather from these parts, and never left watching & dogging them till they got advantage, and kild them all but 3.or 4. which they kept, & sent from one Sachem to another, to make sporte with, and used them worse then slaves; (of which ye foresaid Mr. Dermer redeemed 2. of them;) and they conceived this ship was now come to revenge it.

Also, (as after was made knowne,) before they came to ye English to make freindship, they gott all the Powachs of ye cuntrie, for 3. days togeather, in a horid and divellish maner to curse & execrate them with their cunjurations, which asembly & service they held in a darke & dismale swampe.

But to returnee.  The spring now approaching, it pleased God the mortalitie begane to cease amongst them, and ye sick and lame recovered apace, which put as it were new life into them; though they had borne their sadd affliction with much patience & contentednes, as I thinke any people could doe.  But it was ye Lord which upheld them, and had beforehand prepared them; many having long borne ye yoake, yea from their youth.  Many other smaler maters omite,

sundrie of them having been allready published in a Jurnall made by one of ye company; and some other passages of jurneys and relations allredy published, to which I referr those that are willing to know them more perticulerly.


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