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The Pil.


6 Sept.


Chap. iv. below Rotterdam, by “the brethren that staid at Ley

den.” Embarking in the “ Speedwell," a small vessel of 1620.

sixty tons, they passed over to Southampton. There they found, “ lying ready with all the rest of their company, " a larger ship, the "Mayflower," of one hundred and eighty

tons, which had come round directly from London. The 5 August. two vessels, filled with passengers, soon set sail in com

pany. But the leaky Speedwell belied her name; and from South- the expedition put back into Plymouth. Dismissing here

her battered consort, which returned to London with Cushman and a part of the company, the Mayflower recommenced her lonely voyage across the Atlantic, crowded with one hundred emigrants, who, in tears and sadness, had left “ that goodly and pleasant city which had been their resting-place near twelve years. But they knew they were Pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to heaven, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits."*

The patent with which the Pilgrims sailed for America Company, was, as we have seen, the one which they had obtained which they from the Virginia Company. It authorized them to settle

themselves in the northerly parts of Virginia, which extended to the fortieth degree of latitude. North of that parallel, their grant would have availed them nothing. This they knew when they set sail; and they were also aware that the projected New England patent was yet under the advisement of the law officers of the British crown. With the proposed grantees of that patent they had not negotiated. After the government of the United Provinces had refused the prayer of the memorial, which had been presented in their behalf, they did not seem to have felt sufficiently encouraged to settle themselves, under Dutch authority, in New Netherland. Having by that memorial recognized and admitted the Dutch title to the territory, “situated between New France and Virginia," they would very justly have been considered as intruders, if they had

Patent from the Virginia


* Bradford, in Young, 77, 86-99; Winslow, 384,396 ; Morton's Memorial, 21-32; Neal's Puritans, i., 269.


deliberately undertaken to establish an independent foreign Chap. IV. colony there, without the patronage of the States General,

1620. which they had solicited. But the geography of the American coast, between Cape Cod and the Chesapeake, was, at that time, accurately known only by the Dutch, and by Dermer, whose accounts had not yet been made public. The intention of the Pilgrims, accordingly, seems to have their desbeen to sail, by the northern passage, directly to Manhattan, where they could gain the exact information which they needed respecting the precise position of their future home. And so they left Europe, “on a voyage," as they themselves described it in their famous compact on board the Mayflower, " to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia,” beyond the limits of New England, on the shores' of Delaware or Maryland, and outside the then claimed southern frontier of New Netherland.*

Historians have reiterated a tale that the Mayflower was taken to Cape Cod through the treachery of Jones, her master. The story was first broached by Nathaniel Mor- Morton's ton, secretary of the New Plymouth colony, who, in his slander. “ Memorial," alleging “late and certain intelligence," charges "some of the Dutch” with having "fraudulently hired the said Jones *** to disappoint” the Pilgrims in their intention to go to Hudson's River."

Morton was not a passenger by the Mayflower in 1620. He came to New Plymouth in 1623, when he was a boy only eleven years old. He did not publish his " Memorial" until 1669, nearly half a century after the alleged "plot," when most of the passengers in the Mayflower were dead, and when the coveted territory of New Netherland had been for five years subjected to British rule. If the secretary's “intelligence” had been early, instead of “late,” it might, perhaps, have been called "certain." The Mayflower does not appear ever to have been in Holland ; nor do Jones, her master, nor Coppin, her mate and pilot, seem to have had any communication with the Dutch. But Coppin had certainly been on the coast of New England at least once

* Bradford, in Young, 121 ; Morton's Memorial, 37 ; Bancroft, i., 309.


Chap. 1v. before ;* and in navigating the Mayflower by the northern 1620. passage, toward Cape Cod, he only followed his former track,

and adhered to the usual English practice since Gosnold's time. Neither Bradford nor Winslow, in their contemporary histories, question the fidelity of the master or the pilot of the ship, both of whom seem to have been Englishmen, in the interest of their London employers; and the silence of Bradford and Winslow ought to be conclusive on a point which, if true, must unquestionably have had a conspicuous place in every faithful account of the "old colony. No allusion is made to the story in the early correspondence between New Netherland and New Plymouth in 1627. Dudley, in his letter to Lady Lincoln in 1631, is silent. If the tale had been true, the Dutch would assuredly have been taunted with it in 1633, and afterward, when the New

Plymouth colonists quarreled with them about the title to The story the valley of the Connecticut. In short, Morton's Parthian

"calumny" seems to be a sheer falsehood, too eagerly repeated by more recent writers. After a boisterous voyage of more than two months, and “long beating at sea," says Bradford, “they fell in with the land called Cape Cod ; the which being made, and certainly known to be it, they were not a little joyful.” A consultation was held, and the ship was tacked to the southward, “to find some place about Hudson's River, according to their first intentions." But they soon fell among the “perilous shoals and breakers" of Cape Malebarre, which embarrass the navigator to this day; and they bore up again for Cape Cod. Neither Dutch intrigue nor a bribed pilot had brought the Mayflower there it was the Providence of God. i

Finding that they were now far beyond the northern

a calum


9 Nov.

10 Nov.

* Bradford and Winslow's Journal, in Young, 148, 159. " Robert Coppin, our pilot, made relation of a great navigable river and good harbor on the other headland of the bay, almost right over against Cape Cod, being in a right line not much above eight leagues distant, in which he had been once." Young supposes the "other headland” to be Manomet Point, and the “great navigable river” to be the North River, in Scituate. + Morton's Memorial, 34 ; Bradford, in Young, 100-103, 117; De Laet, iii., cap. iv., p.

Gra 80 ; Dudley, in Young's Mass., 308 ; Holmes's Annals, i., 161; Moulton, 352-357. hame, in his History of the United States (Am. ed.), i., 194 ; ii., 161, 162, records and em. bellishes the story. See, however, Dr. Young's admirable remarks at the “Old Colony": festival at Boston, December, 1844, in N. Y. H. S. Proc., 1844, App., p. 106.

Cape Cod.

parts of Virginia,” and that, consequently, their patent Chap. IV. from the Virginia Company, under which they had left

1620. Holland, expecting “to become a body politic," was made void and useless,»* the emigrants, the day before they came to harbor, observing some not well affected to unity and concord," and "some appearance of faction" among their company, signed an agreement, combining them- Compact at selves together into “a civil body politic,” for their “ better ordering and preservation.". This instrument, which 11 Nov the pressure of disaffecting circumstances made suddenly expedient, has, by degrees, become magnified into “the birth of popular constitutional liberty," and the exclusive claim is now distinctly set up that “in the cabin of the Mayflower humanity recovered its rights.”+

No class of persons in the world has, perhaps, on the one hand, been loaded with more extravagant eulogy, and, on the other, been covered with more undeserved ridicule than the English Puritans, and their descendants in America. An incessant repetition of stereotyped panegyric may, indeed, be excused on those periodical occasions when a large posterity is accustomed to commemorate, with filial pride, the many worthy attributes of a devout, active, acute, independent, and resolute ancestry. The honest reputation of that renowned ancestry no candid mind can depreciate; and the real services which the Puritans rendered to the cause of civil liberty it is grateful to applaud. But there is danger lest zeal should outrun knowl

* It may cause misapprehension to say that the passengers in the Mayflower left Europe " without any useful charter from a corporate body." The only reason why their “large patent" from the Virginia Company, with which they adventured, “ was never made use of,' as stated by Bradford, was, because they settled themselves---contrary to their intention when they sailed-out of the bounds of Virginia. Several years afterward, they obtained a charter from the New England Council, within the limits of whose patent they had accidentally established their plantation.

+ Bradford and Winslow, in Young, 95, 120, 121 ; Morton's Memorial, 28, 37; Bancroft, i., 308-310. Young, in a note to his “ Chronicles of the Pilgrims," p. 120, says, “Here, for the first time in the world's history, the philosophical fiction of a social compact was realized in practice. And yet it seems to me that a great deal more has been discerned in this document than the signers contemplated. It is evident that when they left Holland, they expected to become a body politic, using among themselves civil government, and to choose their own rulers from among themselves. Their purpose in drawing up and signing this compact, was simply, as they state, to restrain certain of their number who had manifested an unruly and factious disposition. This was the whole philosophy of the instrument, whatever may since have been discovered and deduced from it."

the Dutch

Chap. IV. edge, and lest ideal pictures, drawn by self-adulatory rhet

oric, should gradually come to be received as faithful por1620.

traits of reality. And while naught should be set down in malice, no temptation to flatter self-conceit, nor anxiety to demonstrate hypotheses; no reluctance to oppose the most eloquent ability, nor fear of provoking cherished prejudice which unwelcome candor may offend, should ever warp those, who assume the responsible task of recording the annals of their race, from the duty of clearly exposing

historical truth. Example of However ample may have been the true scope of their republic. compact on board of the Mayflower at Cape Cod, it can

not be denied, and it ought not to be concealed, that the Pilgrims, before they left their asylum in Holland, had seen, in her tolerant government, an early and illustrious assertion of the rights and the power of the people, and a noble protest against oppression and tyranny. While the fugitive Puritans, unmolested at Leyden, observed the popular principle of majorities triumphant, even in severe ecclesiastical decisions, they found that sublimest element of all in civil liberty-freedom of conscience-more fully realized in the United Netherlands than in any other country in the world. The same immunities which the Dutch had won from Spain were freely granted to the non-conforming refugees from England. In the Batavian Republic, too, they saw the happy working of that Federal system which afterward bound together the American colonies. And, in the Constitution of self-governing Holland, those refugees had before them the practical example of a representative administration, imperfect, indeed, but nevertheless a marvel of the age; founded on large principles of popular liberty; maintaining those principles with splendid success; and deserving the lasting gratitude of mankind for its earnest, consistent, and magnanimous vindication of the rights of humanity. All this was observed in the United Provinces, at a period when James I. was king of Great Britain, Louis XIII. king of France, and Philip III. king of Spain. Such lessons could not possi

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