Part 1 out of 6
Produced by David Widger
THE MAY-FLOWER AND HER LOG
July 15, 1620--May 6, 1621
Chiefly from Original Sources
By AZEL AMES, M.D.
Member of Pilgrim Society, etc.
"Next to the fugitives whom Moses led out of Egypt, the little
shipload of outcasts who landed at Plymouth are destined to
influence the future of the world."
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
O civilized humanity, world-wide, and especially to the descendants of
the Pilgrims who, in 1620, laid on New England shores the foundations of
that civil and religious freedom upon which has been built a refuge for
the oppressed of every land, the story of the Pilgrim "Exodus" has an
ever-increasing value and zest. The little we know of the inception,
development, and vicissitudes of their bold scheme of colonization in the
American wilderness only serves to sharpen the appetite for more.
Every detail and circumstance which relates to their preparations; to the
ships which carried them; to the personnel of the Merchant Adventurers
associated with them, and to that of the colonists themselves; to what
befell them; to their final embarkation on their lone ship,--the immortal
MAY-FLOWER; and to the voyage itself and to its issues, is vested to-day
with, a supreme interest, and over them all rests a glamour peculiarly
For every grain of added knowledge that can be gleaned concerning the
Pilgrim sires from any field, their children are ever grateful, and
whoever can add a well-attested line to their all-too-meagre annals is
regarded by them, indeed by all, a benefactor.
Of those all-important factors in the chronicles of the "Exodus,"--the
Pilgrim ships, of which the MAY-FLOWER alone crossed the seas,--and of
the voyage itself, there is still but far too little known. Of even this
little, the larger part has not hitherto been readily accessible, or in
form available for ready reference to the many who eagerly seize upon
every crumb of new-found data concerning these pious and intrepid
To such there can be no need to recite here the principal and familiar
facts of the organization of the English "Separatist" congregation under
John Robinson; of its emigration to Holland under persecution of the
Bishops; of its residence and unique history at Leyden; of the broad
outlook of its members upon the future, and their resultant determination
to cross the sea to secure larger life and liberty; and of their initial
labors to that end. We find these Leyden Pilgrims in the early summer of
1620, their plans fairly matured and their agreements between themselves
and with their merchant associates practically concluded, urging forward
their preparations for departure; impatient of the delays and
disappointments which befell, and anxiously seeking shipping for their
long and hazardous voyage.
It is to what concerns their ships, and especially that one which has
passed into history as "the Pilgrim bark," the MAY-FLOWER, and to her
pregnant voyage, that the succeeding chapters chiefly relate. In them the
effort has been made to bring together in sequential relation, from many
and widely scattered sources, everything germane that diligent and
faithful research could discover, or the careful study and re-analysis of
known data determine. No new and relevant item of fact discovered,
however trivial in itself, has failed of mention, if it might serve to
correct, to better interpret, or to amplify the scanty though priceless
records left us, of conditions, circumstances, and events which have
meant so much to the world.
As properly antecedent to the story of the voyage of the MAY-FLOWER as
told by her putative "Log," albeit written up long after her boned lay
bleaching on some unknown shore, some pertinent account has been given of
the ship herself and of her "consort," the SPEEDWELL; of the difficulties
attendant on securing them; of the preparations for the voyage; of the
Merchant Adventurers who had large share in sending them to sea; of their
officers and crews; of their passengers and lading; of the troubles that
assailed before they had "shaken off the land," and of the final
consolidation of the passengers and lading of both ships upon the
MAY-FLOWER, for the belated ocean passage. The wholly negative results of
careful search render it altogether probable that the original journal or
"Log" of the MAY-FLOWER (a misnomer lately applied by the British press,
and unhappily continued in that of the United States, to the recovered
original manuscript of Bradford's "History of Plimoth Plantation "), if
such journal ever existed, is now hopelessly lost.
So far as known, no previous effort has been made to bring together in
the consecutive relation of such a journal, duly attested and in their
entirety, the ascertained daily happenings of that destiny-freighted
voyage. Hence, this later volume may perhaps rightly claim to present
--and in part to be, though necessarily imperfect--the sole and a true "Log
of the MAY-FLOWER." No effort has been made, however, to reduce the
collated data to the shape and style of the ship's "Log" of recent times,
whose matter and form are largely prescribed by maritime law. While it is
not possible to give, as the original--if it existed--would have done,
the results of the navigators' observations day by day; the "Lat." and
"Long."; the variations of the wind and of the magnetic needle; the
tallies of the "lead" and "log" lines; "the daily run," etc.--in all
else the record may confidently be assumed to vary little from that
presumably kept, in some form, by Captain Jones, the competent Master of
the Pilgrim bark, and his mates, Masters Clarke and Coppin.
As the charter was for the "round voyage," all the features and incidents
of that voyage until complete, whether at sea or in port, properly find
entry in its journal, and are therefore included in this compilation,
which it is hoped may hence prove of reference value to such as take
interest in Pilgrim studies. Although the least pleasant to the author,
not the least valuable feature of the work to the reader--especially if
student or writer of Pilgrim history--will be found, it is believed, in
the numerous corrections of previously published errors which it
contains, some of which are radical and of much historical importance.
It is true that new facts and items of information which have been coming
to light, in long neglected or newly discovered documents, etc., are
correctives of earlier and natural misconceptions, and a certain
percentage of error is inevitable, but many radical and reckless errors
have been made in Pilgrim history which due study and care must have
prevented. Such errors have so great and rapidly extending power for
harm, and, when built upon, so certainly bring the superstructure
tumbling to the ground, that the competent and careful workman can render
no better service than to point out and correct them wherever found,
undeterred by the association of great names, or the consciousness of his
own liability to blunder. A sound and conscientious writer will welcome
the courteous correction of his error, in the interest of historical
accuracy; the opinion of any other need not be regarded.
Some of the new contributions (or original demonstrations), of more or
less historical importance, made to the history of the Pilgrims, as the
author believes, by this volume, are as follows:--
(a) A closely approximate list of the passengers who left Delfshaven on
the SPEEDWELL for Southampton; in other words, the names--those of Carver
and Cushman and of the latter's family being added--of the Leyden
contingent of the MAY-FLOWER Pilgrims.
(b) A closely approximate list of the passengers who left London in the
MAY-FLOWER for Southampton; in other words, the names (with the deduction
of Cushman and family, of Carver, who was at Southampton, and of an
unknown few who abandoned the voyage at Plymouth) of the English
contingent of the MAY-FLOWER Pilgrims.
(c) The establishment as correct, beyond reasonable doubt, of the date,
Sunday, June 11/21, 1620, affixed by Robert Cushman to his letter to the
Leyden leaders (announcing the "turning of the tide" in Pilgrim affairs,
the hiring of the "pilott" Clarke, etc.), contrary to the conclusions of
Prince, Arber, and others, that the letter could not have been written on
(d) The demonstration of the fact that on Saturday, June 10/20, 1620,
Cushman's efforts alone apparently turned the tide in Pilgrim affairs;
brought Weston to renewed and decisive cooperation; secured the
employment of a "pilot," and definite action toward hiring a ship,
marking it as one of the most notable and important of Pilgrim
(e) The demonstration of the fact that the ship of which Weston and
Cushman took "the refusal," on Saturday, June 10/20, 1620, was not the
MAY-FLOWER, as Young, Deane, Goodwin, and other historians allege.
(f) The demonstration of the fact (overthrowing the author's own earlier
views) that the estimates and criticisms of Robinson, Carver, Brown,
Goodwin, and others upon Robert Cushman were unwarranted, unjust, and
cruel, and that he was, in fact, second to none in efficient service to
the Pilgrims; and hence so ranks in title to grateful appreciation and
(g) The demonstration of the fact that the MAY-FLOWER was not chartered
later than June 19/29, 1620, and was probably chartered in the week of
June 12/22--June 19/29 of that year.
(h) The addition of several new names to the list of the Merchant
Adventurers, hitherto unpublished as such, with considerable new data
concerning the list in general.
(i) The demonstration of the fact that Martin and Mullens, of the
MAY-FLOWER colonists, were also Merchant Adventurers, while William
White was probably such.
(j) The demonstration of the fact that "Master Williamson," the
much-mooted incognito of Bradford's "Mourt's Relation" (whose existence
even has often been denied by Pilgrim writers), was none other than the
"ship's-merchant," or "purser" of the MAY-FLOWER,--hitherto unknown as
one of her officers, and historically wholly unidentified.
(k) The general description of; and many particulars concerning, the
MAY-FLOWER herself; her accommodations (especially as to her cabins),
her crew, etc., hitherto unknown.
(1) The demonstration of the fact that the witnesses to the nuncupative
will of William Mullens were two of the MAY-FLOWER'S crew (one being
possibly the ship's surgeon), thus furnishing the names of two more of
the ship's company, and the only names--except those of her chief
(m) The indication of the strong probability that the entire company of
the Merchant Adventurers signed, on the one part, the charter-party of
(n) An (approximate) list of the ages of the MAY-FLOWER'S passengers and
the respective occupations of the adults.
(o) The demonstration of the fact that no less than five of the Merchant
Adventurers cast in their lots and lives with the Plymouth Pilgrims as
(p) The indication of the strong probability that Thomas Goffe, Esquire,
one of the Merchant Adventurers, owned the "MAY-FLOWER" when she was
chartered for the Pilgrim voyage,--as also on her voyages to New England
in 1629 and 1630.
(q) The demonstration of the fact that the Master of the MAY-FLOWER was
Thomas Jones, and that there was an intrigue with Master Jones to land
the Pilgrims at some point north of the 41st parallel of north latitude,
the other parties to which were, not the Dutch, as heretofore claimed,
but none other than Sir Ferdinando Gorges and the Earl of Warwick, chiefs
of the "Council for New England," in furtherance of a successful scheme
of Gorges to steal the Pilgrim colony from the London Virginia Company,
for the more "northern Plantations" of the conspirators.
(r) The demonstration of the fact that a second attempt at stealing the
colony--by which John Pierce, one of the Adventurers, endeavored to
possess himself of the demesne and rights of the colonists, and to make
them his tenants--was defeated only by the intervention of the "Council"
and the Crown, the matter being finally settled by compromise and the
transfer of the patent by Pierce (hitherto questioned) to the colony.
(s) The demonstration of the actual relations of the Merchant Adventurers
and the Pilgrim colonists--their respective bodies being associated as
but two partners in an equal copartnership, the interests of the
respective partners being (probably) held upon differing bases--contrary
to the commonly published and accepted view.
(t) The demonstration of the fact that the MAY-FLOWER--contrary to the
popular impression--did not enter Plymouth harbor, as a "lone vessel,"
slowly "feeling her way" by chart and lead-line, but was undoubtedly
piloted to her anchorage--previously "sounded" for her--by the Pilgrim
shallop, which doubtless accompanied her from Cape Cod harbor, on both
her efforts to make this haven, under her own sails.
(u) The indication of the strong probability that Thomas English was
helmsman of the MAY-FLOWER'S shallop (and so savior of her sovereign
company, at the entrance of Plymouth harbor on the stormy night of the
landing on Clarke's Island), and that hence to him the salvation of the
Pilgrim colony is probably due; and
(v) Many facts not hitherto published, or generally known, as to the
antecedents, relationships, etc., of individual Pilgrims of both the
Leyden and the English contingents, and of certain of the Merchant
For convenience' sake, both the Old Style and the New Style dates of many
events are annexed to their mention, and double-dating is followed
throughout the narrative journal or "Log" of the Pilgrim ship.
As the Gregorian and other corrections of the calendar are now generally
well understood, and have been so often stated in detail in print, it is
thought sufficient to note here their concrete results as affecting dates
occurring in Pilgrim and later literature.
From 1582 to 1700 the difference between O.S. and N.S. was ten (10) days
(the leap-year being passed in 1600). From 1700 to 1800 it was eleven
(11) days, because 1700 in O.S. was leap-year. From 1800 to 1900 the
difference is twelve (12) days, and from 1900 to 2000 it will be thirteen
(13) days. All the Dutch dates were New Style, while English dates were
yet of the Old Style.
There are three editions of Bradford's "History of Plimoth Plantation"
referred to herein; each duly specified, as occasion requires. (There
is, beside, a magnificent edition in photo-facsimile.) They are:--
(a) The original manuscript itself, now in possession of the State of
Massachusetts, having been returned from England in 1897, called herein
(b) The Deane Edition (so-called) of 1856, being that edited by the late
Charles Deane for the Massachusetts Historical Society and published in
"Massachusetts Historical Collections," vol. iii.; called herein "Deane's
(c) The Edition recently published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
and designated as the "Mass. ed."
Of "Mourt's Relation" there are several editions, but the one usually
referred to herein is that edited by Rev. Henry M. Dexter, D. D., by far
the best. Where reference is made to any other edition, it is indicated,
and "Dexter's ed." is sometimes named.
March 1, 1901.
THE MAYFLOWER AND HER LOG
"Hail to thee, poor little ship MAY-FLOWER--of Delft Haven
--poor, common-looking ship, hired by common charter-party for
coined dollars,--caulked with mere oakum and tar, provisioned
with vulgarest biscuit and bacon,--yet what ship Argo or
miraculous epic ship, built by the sea gods, was other than a
foolish bumbarge in comparison!"
"Curiously enough," observes Professor Arber, "these names [MAY-FLOWER
and SPEEDWELL] do not occur either in the Bradford manuscript or in
[A Relation, or Journal, of the Beginning and Proceedings of the
English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England, etc. G.
Mourt, London, 1622. Undoubtedly the joint product of Bradford and
Winslow, and sent to George Morton at London for publication.
Bradford says (op, cit. p. 120): "Many other smaler maters I omite,
sundrie of them having been already published, in a Jurnall made by
one of ye company," etc. From this it would appear that Mourt's
Relation was his work, which it doubtless principally was, though
Winslow performed an honorable part, as "Mourt's" introduction and
other data prove.]
He might have truthfully added that they nowhere appear in any of the
letters of the "exodus" period, whether from Carver, Robinson, Cushman,
or Weston; or in the later publications of Window; or in fact of any
contemporaneous writer. It is not strange, therefore, that the Rev. Mr.
Blaxland, the able author of the "Mayflower Essays," should have asked
for the authority for the names assigned to the two Pilgrim ships of
It seems to be the fact, as noted by Arber, that the earliest authentic
evidence that the bark which bore the Pilgrims across the North Atlantic
in the late autumn of 1620 was the MAY-FLOWER, is the "heading" of the
"Allotment of Lands"--happily an "official" document--made at New
Plymouth, New England, in March, 1623--It is not a little remarkable
that, with the constantly recurring references to "the ship,"--the
all-important factor in Pilgrim history,--her name should nowhere have
found mention in the earliest Pilgrim literature. Bradford uses the
terms, the "biger ship," or the "larger ship," and Winslow, Cushman,
Captain John Smith, and others mention simply the "vessel," or the
"ship," when speaking of the MAY-FLOWER, but in no case give her a name.
It is somewhat startling to find so thorough-paced an Englishman as
Thomas Carlyle calling her the MAY-FLOWER "of Delft-Haven," as in the
quotation from him on a preceding page. That he knew better cannot be
doubted, and it must be accounted one of those 'lapsus calami' readily
forgiven to genius,--proverbially indifferent to detail.
Sir Ferdinando Gorges makes the curious misstatement that the Pilgrims
had three ships, and says of them: "Of the three ships (such as their
weak fortunes were able to provide), whereof two proved unserviceable and
so were left behind, the third with great difficulty reached the coast of
New England," etc.
THE MAY-FLOWER'S CONSORT THE SPEEDWELL
The SPEEDWELL was the first vessel procured by the Leyden Pilgrims for
the emigration, and was bought by themselves; as she was the ship of
their historic embarkation at Delfshaven, and that which carried the
originators of the enterprise to Southampton, to join the MAY-FLOWER,
--whose consort she was to be; and as she became a determining factor
in the latter's belated departure for New England, she may justly claim
mention here as indeed an inseparable "part and parcel" of the
The name of this vessel of associate historic renown with the MAY-FLOWER
was even longer in finding record in the early literature of the Pilgrim
hegira than that of the larger It first appeared, so far as discovered,
in 1669--nearly fifty years after her memorable service to the Pilgrims
on the fifth page of Nathaniel Morton's "New England's Memorial."
Davis, in his "Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth," makes a singular error for
so competent a writer, when he says: "The agents of the company in
England had hired the SPEEDWELL, of sixty tons, and sent her to
Delfthaven, to convey the colonists to Southampton." In this, however,
he but follows Mather and the "Modern Universal History," though both are
notably unreliable; but he lacks their excuse, for they were without his
access to Bradford's "Historie." That the consort-pinnace was neither
"hired" nor "sent to Delfthaven" duly appears.
Bradford states the fact,--that "a smale ship (of some 60 tune), was
bought and fitted in Holand, which was intended to serve to help to
transport them, so to stay in ye countrie and atend ye fishing and such
other affairs as might be for ye good and benefite of ye colonie when
they come ther." The statements of Bradford and others indicate that she
was bought and refitted with moneys raised in Holland, but it is not easy
to understand the transaction, in view of the understood terms of the
business compact between the Adventurers and the Planters, as hereinafter
outlined. The Merchant Adventurers--who were organized (but not
incorporated) chiefly through the activity of Thomas Weston, a merchant
of London, to "finance" the Pilgrim undertaking--were bound, as part of
their engagement, to provide the necessary shipping,' etc., for the
voyage. The "joint-stock or partnership," as it was called in the
agreement of the Adventurers and Planters, was an equal partnership
between but two parties, the Adventurers, as a body, being one of the
co-partners; the Planter colonists, as a body, the other. It was a
partnership to run for seven years, to whose capital stock the
first-named partner (the Adventurers) was bound to contribute whatever
moneys, or their equivalents,--some subscriptions were paid in goods,
--were necessary to transport, equip, and maintain the colony and provide
it the means of traffic, etc., for the term named. The second-named
partner (the Planter body) was to furnish the men, women, and children,
--the colonists themselves, and their best endeavors, essential to the
enterprise,--and such further contributions of money or provisions, on
an agreed basis, as might be practicable for them. At the expiration of
the seven years, all properties of every kind were to be divided into
two equal parts, of which the Adventurers were to take one and the
Planters the other, in full satisfaction of their respective investments
and claims. The Adventurers' half would of course be divided among
themselves, in such proportion as their individual contributions bore to
the sum total invested. The Planters would divide their half among
their number, according to their respective contributions of persons,
money, or provisions, as per the agreed basis, which was:
[Bradford's Historie, Deane's ed.; Arber, op. cit. p. 305.
The fact that Lyford (Bradford, Historie, Mass. ed. p. 217)
recommended that every "particular" (i.e. non-partnership colonist)
sent out by the Adventurers--and they had come to be mostly of that
class--"should come over as an Adventurer, even if only a ser vant,"
and the fact that he recognized that some one would have to pay in
L10 to make each one an Adventurer, would seem to indicate that any
one was eligible and that either L10 was the price of the Merchant
Adventurer's share, or that this was the smallest subscription which
would admit to membership. Such "particular," even although an
Adventurer, had no partnership share in the Planters' half-interest;
had no voice in the government, and no claim for maintenance. He
was, however, amenable to the government, subject to military duty
and to tax. The advantage of being an Adventurer without a voice in
colony affairs would be purely a moral one.]
that every person joining the enterprise, whether man, woman, youth,
maid, or servant, if sixteen years old, should count as a share; that a
share should be reckoned at L10, and hence that L10 worth of money or
provisions should also count as a share. Every man, therefore, would be
entitled to one share for each person (if sixteen years of age) he
contributed, and for each L10 of money or provisions he added thereto,
another share. Two children between ten and sixteen would count as one
and be allowed a share in the division, but children under ten were to
have only fifty acres of wild land. The scheme was admirable for its
equity, simplicity, and elasticity, and was equally so for either
capitalist or colonist.
Goodwin notes, that, "in an edition of Cushman's 'Discourse,' Judge Davis
of Boston advanced the idea that at first the Pilgrims put all their
possessions into a common stock, and until 1623 had no individual
property. In his edition of Morton's 'Memorial' he honorably admits his
error." The same mistake was made by Robertson and Chief Justice
Marshall, and is occasionally repeated in this day. "There was no
community of goods, though there was labor in common, with public
supplies of food and clothing." Neither is there warrant for the
conclusion of Goodwin, that because the holdings of the Planters' half
interest in the undertaking were divided into L10 shares, those of the
Adventurers were also. It is not impossible, but it does not necessarily
follow, and certain known facts indicate the contrary.
Rev. Edward Everett Hale, in "The Pilgrims' Life in Common," says:
"Carver, Winslow, Bradford, Brewster, Standish, Fuller, and Allerton.
were the persons of largest means in the Leyden group of the emigrants.
It seems as if their quota of subscription to the common stock were paid
in 'provisions' for the voyage and the colony, and that by 'provisions'
is meant such articles of food as could be best bought in Holland." The
good Doctor is clearly in error, in the above. Allerton was probably as
"well off" as any of the Leyden contingent, while Francis Cooke and
Degory Priest were probably "better off" than either Brewster or
Standish, who apparently had little of this world's goods. Neither is
there any evidence that any considerable amount of "provision" was bought
in Holland. Quite a large sum of money, which came, apparently, from the
pockets of the Leyden Adventurers (Pickering, Greene, etc.), and some of
the Pilgrims, was requisite to pay for the SPEEDWELL and her refitting,
etc.; but how much came from either is conjectural at best. But aside
from "Hollands cheese," "strong-waters" (schnapps), some few things that
Cushman names; and probably a few others, obtained in Holland, most of
the "provisioning," as repeatedly appears, was done at the English
Southampton. In fact, after clothing and generally "outfitting"
themselves, it is pretty certain that but few of the Leyden party had
much left. There was evidently an understanding between the partners that
there should be four principal agents charged with the preparations for,
and carrying out of, the enterprise,--Thomas Weston and Christopher
Martin representing the Adventurers and the colonists who were recruited
in England (Martin being made treasurer), while Carver and Cushman acted
for the Leyden company. John Pierce seems to have been the especial
representative of the Adventurers in the matter of the obtaining of the
Patent from the (London) Virginia Company, and later from the Council for
New England. Bradford says: "For besides these two formerly mentioned,
sent from Leyden, viz., Master Carver and Robert Cushman, there was one
chosen in England to be joyned with them, to make the provisions for the
Voyage. His name was Master Martin. He came from Billerike in Essexe;
from which parts came sundry others to go with them; as also from London
and other places, and therefore it was thought meet and convenient by
them in Holand, that these strangers that were to goe with them, should
appointe one thus to be joyned with them; not so much from any great need
of their help as to avoid all susspition, or jealosie, of any
partialitie." But neither Weston, Martin, Carver, nor Cushman seems to
have been directly concerned in the purchase of the SPEEDWELL. The most
probable conjecture concerning it is, that in furtherance of the purpose
of the Leyden leaders, stated by Bradford, that there should be a small
vessel for their service in fishing, traffic, etc., wherever they might
plant the colony, they were permitted by the Adventurers to purchase the
SPEEDWELL for that service, and as a consort, "on general account."
It is evident, however, from John Robinson's letter of June 14, 1620, to
John Carver, that Weston ridiculed the transaction, probably on selfish
grounds, but, as events proved, not without some justification.
Robinson says: "Master Weston makes himself merry with our endeavors
about buying a ship," [the SPEEDWELL] "but we have done nothing in this
but with good reason, as I am persuaded." Although bought with funds
raised in Holland,
[Arber (The Story of the Pilgrim Fathers, p. 341) arrives at the
conclusion that "The SPEEDWELL had been bought with Leyden money.
The proceeds of her sale, after her return to London, would, of
course, go to the credit of the common joint-Stock there." This
inference seems warranted by Robinson's letter of June 16/26 to
Carver, in which he clearly indicates that the Leyden brethren
collected the "Adventurers" subscriptions of Pickering and his
partner (Greene), which were evidently considerable.]
it was evidently upon "joint-account," and she was doubtless so sold, as
alleged, on her arrival in September, at London, having proved
unseaworthy. In fact, the only view of this transaction that harmonizes
with the known facts and the respective rights and relations of the
parties is, that permission was obtained (perhaps through Edward
Pickering, one of the Adventurers, a merchant of Leyden, and others) that
the Leyden leaders should buy and refit the consort, and in so doing
might expend the funds which certain of the Leyden Pilgrims were to pay
into the enterprise, which it appears they did,--and for which they would
receive, as shown, extra shares in the Planters' half-interest. It was
very possibly further permitted by the Adventurers, that Mr. Pickering's
and his partners' subscriptions to their capital stock should be applied
to the purchase of the SPEEDWELL, as they were collected by the Leyden
leaders, as Pastor Robinson's letter of June 14/24 to John Carver,
previously noted, clearly shows.
She was obviously bought some little time before May 31, 1620,--probably
in the early part of the month,--from the fact that in their letter of
May 31st to Carver and Cushman, then in London, Messrs. Fuller, Winslow,
Bradford, and Allerton state that "we received divers letters at the
coming of Master Nash and our Pilott," etc. From this it is clear that
time enough had elapsed, since their purchase of the pinnace, for their
messenger (Master Nash) to go to London,--evidently with a request to
Carver and Cushman that they would send over a competent "pilott" to
refit her, and for Nash to return with him, while the letter announcing
their arrival does not seem to have been immediately written.
The writers of the above-mentioned letter use the words "we received,"
--using the past tense, as if some days before, instead of "we have your
letters," or "we have just received your letters," which would rather
indicate present, or recent, time. Probably some days elapsed after the
"pilott's" arrival, before this letter of acknowledgment was sent. It is
hence fair to assume that the pinnace was bought early in May, and that
no time was lost by the Leyden party in preparing for the exodus, after
their negotiations with the Dutch were "broken off" and they had "struck
hands" with Weston, sometime between February 2/12, 1619/20, and April
1/11, 1620,--probably in March.
The consort was a pinnace--as vessels of her class were then and for many
years called--of sixty tons burden, as already stated, having two masts,
which were put in--as we are informed by Bradford, and are not allowed by
Professor Arber to forget--as apart of her refitting in Holland. That
she was "square-rigged," and generally of the then prevalent style of
vessels of her size and class, is altogether probable. The name pinnace
was applied to vessels having a wide range in tonnage, etc., from a craft
of hardly more than ten or fifteen tons to one of sixty or eighty. It
was a term of pretty loose and indefinite adaptation and covered most of
the smaller craft above a shallop or ketch, from such as could be
propelled by oars, and were so fitted, to a small ship of the SPEEDWELL'S
class, carrying an armament.
None of the many representations of the SPEEDWELL which appear in
historical pictures are authentic, though some doubtless give correct
ideas of her type. Weir's painting of the "Embarkation of the Pilgrims,"
in the Capitol at Washington (and Parker's copy of the same in Pilgrim
Hall, Plymouth); Lucy's painting of the "Departure of the Pilgrims," in
Pilgrim Hall; Copes great painting in the corridor of the British Houses
of Parliament, and others of lesser note, all depict the vessel on much
the same lines, but nothing can be claimed for any of them, except
fidelity to a type of vessel of that day and class. Perhaps the best
illustration now known of a craft of this type is given in the painting
by the Cuyps, father and son, of the "Departure of the Pilgrims from
Delfshaven," as reproduced by Dr. W. E. Griffis, as the frontispiece to
his little monograph, "The Pilgrims in their Three Homes." No reliable
description of the pinnace herself is known to exist, and but few facts
concerning her have been gleaned. That she was fairly "roomy" for a
small number of passengers, and had decent accommodations, is inferable
from the fact that so many as thirty were assigned to her at Southampton,
for the Atlantic voyage (while the MAY-FLOWER, three times her tonnage,
but of greater proportionate capacity, had but ninety), as also from the
fact that "the chief [i.e. principal people] of them that came from
Leyden went in this ship, to give Master Reynolds content." That she
mounted at least "three pieces of ordnance" appears by the testimony of
Edward Winslow, and they probably comprised her armament.
We have seen that Bradford notes the purchase and refitting of this
"smale ship of 60 tune" in Holland. The story of her several sailings,
her "leakiness," her final return, and her abandonment as unseaworthy,
is familiar. We find, too, that Bradford also states in his "Historie,"
that "the leakiness of this ship was partly by her being overmasted and
too much pressed with sails." It will, however, amaze the readers of
Professor Arber's generally excellent "Story of the Pilgrim Fathers," so
often referred to herein, to find him sharply arraigning "those members
of the Leyden church who were responsible for the fitting of the
SPEEDWELL," alleging that "they were the proximate causes of most of the
troubles on the voyage [of the MAY-FLOWER] out; and of many of the deaths
at Plymouth in New England in the course of the following Spring; for
they overmasted the vessel, and by so doing strained her hull while
sailing." To this straining, Arber wholly ascribes the "leakiness" of
the SPEEDWELL and the delay in the final departure of the MAYFLOWER, to
which last he attributes the disastrous results he specifies. It would
seem that the historian, unduly elated at what he thought the discovery
of another "turning-point of modern history," endeavors to establish it
by such assertions and such partial references to Bradford as would
support the imaginary "find." Briefly stated, this alleged discovery,
which he so zealously announces, is that if the SPEEDWELL had not been
overmasted, both she and the MAY-FLOWER would have arrived early in the
fall at the mouth of the Hudson River, and the whole course of New
England history would have been entirely different. Ergo, the
"overmasting" of the SPEEDWELL was a "pivotal point in modern history."
With the idea apparently of giving eclat to this announcement and of
attracting attention to it, he surprisingly charges the responsibility
for the "overmasting" and its alleged dire results upon the leaders of
the Leyden church, "who were," he repeatedly asserts, "alone
responsible." As a matter of fact, however, Bradford expressly states
(in the same paragraph as that upon which Professor Arber must wholly
base his sweeping assertions) that the "overmasting" was but "partly"
responsible for the SPEEDWELL'S leakiness, and directly shows that the
"stratagem" of her master and crew, "afterwards," he adds, "known, and by
some confessed," was the chief cause of her leakiness.
Cushman also shows, by his letter,--written after the ships had put back
into Dartmouth,--a part of which Professor Arber uses, but the most
important part suppresses, that what he evidently considers the principal
leak was caused by a very "loose board" (plank), which was clearly not
the result of the straining due to "crowding sail," or of "overmasting."
Moreover, as the Leyden chiefs were careful to employ a presumably
competent man ("pilott," afterwards "Master" Reynolds) to take charge of
refitting the consort, they were hence clearly, both legally and morally,
exempt from responsibility as to any alterations made. Even though the
"overmasting" had been the sole cause of the SPEEDWELL'S leakiness, and
the delays and vicissitudes which resulted to the MAY-FLOWER and her
company, the leaders of the Leyden church--whom Professor Arber arraigns
--(themselves chiefly the sufferers) were in no wise at fault! It is
clear, however, that the "overmasting" cut but small figure in the case;
"confessed" rascality in making a leak otherwise, being the chief
trouble, and this, as well as the "overmasting," lay at the door of
Even if the MAY-FLOWER had not been delayed by the SPEEDWELL'S condition,
and both had sailed for "Hudson's River" in midsummer, it is by no means
certain that they would have reached there, as Arber so confidently
asserts. The treachery of Captain Jones, in league with Gorges, would as
readily have landed them, by some pretext, on Cape Cod in October, as in
December. But even though they had landed at the mouth of the Hudson,
there is no good reason why the Pilgrim influence should not have worked
north and east, as well as it did west and south, and with the
Massachusetts Bay Puritans there, Roger Williams in Rhode Island, and the
younger Winthrop in Connecticut, would doubtless have made New England
history very much what it has been, and not, as Professor Arber asserts,
The cruel indictment fails, and the imaginary "turning point in modern
history," to announce which Professor Arber seems to have sacrificed so
much, falls with it.
The Rev. Dr. Griffis ("The Pilgrims in their Three Homes," p. 158) seems
to give ear to Professor Arber's untenable allegations as to the Pilgrim
leaders' responsibility for any error made in the "overmasting" of the
SPEEDWELL, although he destroys his case by saying of the "overmasting:"
"Whether it was done in England or Holland is not certain." He says,
unhappily chiming in with Arber's indictment: "In their eagerness to get
away promptly, they [the Leyden men] made the mistake of ordering for the
SPEEDWELL heavier and taller masts and larger spars than her hull had
been built to receive, thus altering most unwisely and disastrously her
trim." He adds still more unhappily: "We do not hear of these inveterate
landsmen and townsfolk [of whom he says, 'possibly there was not one man
familiar with ships or sea life'] who were about to venture on the
Atlantic, taking counsel of Dutch builders or mariners as to the
proportion of their craft." Why so discredit the capacity and
intelligence of these nation-builders? Was their sagacity ever found
unequal to the problems they met? Were the men who commanded confidence
and respect in every avenue of affairs they entered; who talked with
kings and dealt with statesmen; these diplomats, merchants, students,
artisans, and manufacturers; these men who learned law, politics, state
craft, town building, navigation, husbandry, boat-building, and medicine,
likely to deal negligently or presumptuously with matters upon which they
were not informed? Their first act, after buying the SPEEDWELL, was to
send to England for an "expert" to take charge of all technical matters
of her "outfitting," which was done, beyond all question, in Holland.
What need had they, having done this (very probably upon the advice of
those experienced ship-merchants, their own "Adventurers" and townsmen,
Edward Pickering and William Greene), to consult Dutch ship-builders or
mariners? She was to be an English ship, under the English flag, with
English owners, and an English captain; why: should they defer to Dutch
seamen or put other than an English "expert" in charge of her
alterations, especially when England rightfully boasted the best? But
not only were these Leyden leaders not guilty of any laches as indicted
by Arber and too readily convicted by Griffis, but the "overmasting" was
of small account as compared with the deliberate rascality of captain and
crew, in the disabling of the consort, as expressly certified by
Bradford, who certainly, as an eye-witness, knew whereof he affirmed.
Having bought a vessel, it was necessary to fit her for the severe
service in which she was to be employed; to provision her for the voyage,
etc.; and this could be done properly only by experienced hands. The
Pilgrim leaders at Leyden seem, therefore, as noted, to have sent to
their agents at London for a competent man to take charge of this work,
and were sent a "pilott" (or "mate"), doubtless presumed to be equal to
the task. Goodwin mistakenly says: "As Spring waned, Thomas Nash went
from Leyden to confer with the agents at London. He soon returned with a
pilot (doubtless [sic] Robert Coppin), who was to conduct the Continental
party to England." This is both wild and remarkable "guessing" for the
usually careful compiler of the "Pilgrim Republic." There is no warrant
whatever for this assumption, and everything contra-indicates it,
although two such excellent authorities as Dr. Dexter and Goodwin
coincide--the latter undoubtedly copying the former--concerning Coppin;
both being doubtless in error, as hereafter shown. Dexter says "My
impression is that Coppin was originally hired to go in the SPEEDWELL,
and that he was the 'pilott' whose coming was 'a great incouragement' to
the Leyden expectants, in the last of May, or first of June, 1620 [before
May 31, as shown]; that he sailed with them in the SPEEDWELL, but on her
final putting back was transferred to the MAY-FLOWER." All the direct
light any one has upon the matter comes from the letter of the Leyden
brethren of May 31 [O.S.], 1620, previously cited, to Carver and Cushman,
and the reply of the latter thereto, of Sunday, June 11, 1620. The
former as noted, say: "We received diverse letters at the coming of
Master Nash [probably Thomas] and our pilott, which is a great
incouragement unto us . . . and indeed had you not sente him [the
'pilott,' presumably] many would have been ready to fainte and goe
backe." Neither here nor in any other relation is there the faintest
suggestion of Coppin, except as what he was, "the second mate," or
"pilott," of the MAY-FLOWER. It is not reasonable to suppose that, for
so small a craft but just purchased, and with the expedition yet
uncertain, the Leyden leaders or their London agents had by June 11,
employed both a "Master" and a "pilott" for the SPEEDWELL, as must have
been the case if this "pilott" was, as Goodwin so confidently assumes,
"doubtless Robert Coppin." For in Robert Cushman's letter of Sunday,
June 11, as if proposing (now that the larger vessel would be at once
obtained, and would, as he thought, be "ready in fourteen days") that the
"pilott" sent over to "refit" the SPEEDWELL should be further utilized,
he says: "Let Master Reynolds tarrie there [inferentially, not return
here when his work is done, as we originally arranged] and bring the ship
[the SPEEDWELL], to Southampton." The latter service we know he
The side lights upon the matter show, beyond doubt:--
(a) That a "pilott" had been sent to Holland, with Master Nash, before
May 31, 1620;
(b) That unless two had been sent (of which there is no suggestion, and
which is entirely improbable, for obvious reasons), Master Reynolds was
the "pilott" who was thus sent;
(c) That it is clear, from Cushman's letter of June 11/21, that Reynolds
was then in Holland, for Cushman directs that "Master Reynolds tarrie
there and bring the ship to Southampton;"
(d) That Master Reynolds was not originally intended to "tarrie there,"
and "bring the ship," etc., as, if he had been, there would have been no
need of giving such an order; and
(e) That he had been sent there for some other purpose than to bring the
SPEEDWELL to Southampton. Duly considering all the facts together, there
can be no doubt that only one "pilott" was sent from England; that he was
expected to return when the work was done for which he went (apparently
the refitting of the SPEEDWELL); that he was ordered to remain for a new
duty, and that the man who performed that duty and brought the ship to
Southampton (who, we know was Master Reynolds) must have been the
"pilott", sent over.
We are told too, by Bradford,
[Bradford's Historie, as already cited; Arber, The Story of the
Pilgrim Fathers, p. 341. John Brown, in his Pilgrim Fathers of New
England, p. 198, says: "She [the SPEEDWELL] was to remain with the
colony for a year." Evidently a mistake, arising from the length of
time for which her crew were shipped. The pinnace herself was
intended, as we have seen, for the permanent use of they colonists,
and was to remain indefinitely.]
that the crew of the SPEEDWELL "were hired for a year," and we know, in a
general way, that most of them went with her to London when she abandoned
the voyage. This there is ample evidence Coppin did not do, going as he
did to New England as "second mate" or "pilott" of the MAY-FLOWER, which
there is no reason to doubt he was when she left London. Neither is
there anywhere any suggestion that there was at Southampton any change in
the second mate of the larger ship, as there must have been to make good
the suggestion of Dr. Dexter.
Where the SPEEDWELL lay while being "refitted" has not been ascertained,
though presumably at Delfshaven, whence she sailed, though possibly at
one of the neighboring larger ports, where her new masts and cordage
could be "set up" to best advantage.
We know that Reynolds--"pilott" and "Master" went from London to
superintend the "making-ready" for sea. Nothing is known, however, of
his antecedents, and nothing of his history after he left the service of
the Pilgrims in disgrace, except that he appears to have come again to
New England some years later, in command of a vessel, in the service of
the reckless adventurer Weston (a traitor to the Pilgrims), through whom,
it is probable, he was originally selected for their service in Holland.
Bradford and others entitled to judge have given their opinions of this
cowardly scoundrel (Reynolds) in unmistakable terms.
What other officers and crew the pinnace had does not appear, and we know
nothing certainly of them, except the time for which they shipped; that
some of them were fellow-conspirators with the Master (self-confessed),
in the "strategem" to compel the SPEEDWELL'S abandonment of the voyage;
and that a few were transferred to the MAYFLOWER. From the fact that the
sailors Trevore and Ely returned from New Plymouth on the FORTUNE in
1621, "their time having expired," as Bradford notes, it may be fairly
assumed that they were originally of the SPEEDWELL'S crew.
That the fears of the SPEEDWELL'S men had been worked upon, and their
cooperation thus secured by the artful Reynolds, is clearly indicated by
the statement of Bradford: "For they apprehended that the greater ship
being of force and in which most of the provisions were stored, she would
retain enough for herself, whatever became of them or the passengers, and
indeed such speeches had been cast out by some of them."
Of the list of passengers who embarked at Delfshaven, July 22, 1620,
"bound for Southampton on the English coast, and thence for the northern
parts of Virginia," we fortunately have a pretty accurate knowledge.
All of the Leyden congregation who were to emigrate, with the exception
of Robert Cushman and family, and (probably) John Carver, were doubtless
passengers upon the SPEEDWELL from Delfshaven to Southampton, though the
presence of Elder Brewster has been questioned. The evidence that he was
there is well-nigh as conclusive as that Robert Cushman sailed on the
MAY-FLOWER from London, and that Carver, who had been for some months in
England,--chiefly at Southampton, making preparations for the voyage, was
there to meet the ships on their arrival. It is possible, of course,
that Cushman's wife and son came on the SPEEDWELL from Delfshaven; but is
not probable. Among the passengers, however, were some who, like Thomas
Blossom and his son, William Ring, and others, abandoned the voyage to
America at Plymouth, and returned in the pinnace to London and thence
went back to Holland. Deducting from the passenger list of the MAYFLOWER
those known to have been of the English contingent, with Robert Cushman
and family, and John Carver, we have a very close approximate to the
SPEEDWELL'S company on her "departure from Delfshaven." It has not been
found possible to determine with absolute certainty the correct relation
of a few persons. They may have been of the Leyden contingent and so
have come with their brethren on the SPEEDWELL, or they may have been of
the English colonists, and first embarked either at London or at
Southampton, or even at Plymouth,--though none are supposed to have
joined the emigrants there or at Dartmouth.
The list of those embarking at Delfshaven on the SPEEDWELL, and so of the
participants in that historic event,--a list now published for the first
time, so far as known,--is undoubtedly accurate, within the limitations
stated, as follows, being for convenience' sake arranged by families:
The Family of Deacon John Carver (probably in charge of John Howland),
Mrs. Katherine Carver,
John Howland (perhaps kinsman of Carver), "servant" or "employee,"
Desire Minter, or Minther (probably companion of Mrs. Carver,
Roger Wilder, "servant,"
"Mrs. Carver's maid" (whose name has never transpired).
Master William Bradford and
Mrs. Dorothy (May) Bradford.
Master Edward Winslow and
Mrs. Elizabeth (Barker) Winslow,
George Soule a "servant" (or employee),
Elias Story, "servant."
Elder William Brewster and
Mrs. Mary Brewster,
Love Brewster, a son,
Wrestling Brewster, a son.
Master Isaac Allerton and
Mrs. Mary (Morris) Allerton,
Bartholomew Allerton, a son,
Remember Allerton, a daughter,
Mary Allerton, a daughter,
John Hooke, "servant-boy."
Dr. Samuel Fuller and
William Butten, "servant"-assistant.
Captain Myles Standish and
Mrs. Rose Standish.
Master William White and
Mrs. Susanna (Fuller) White,
Resolved White, a son,
William Holbeck, "servant,"
Edward Thompson, "servant."
Deacon Thomas Blossom and
----- Blossom, a son.
Master Edward Tilley and
Mrs. Ann Tilley.
Master John Tilley and
Mrs. Bridget (Van der Velde?) Tilley (2d wife),
Elizabeth Tilley, a daughter of Mr. Tilley by a former wife(?)
John Crackstone and
John Crackstone (Jr.), a son.
Francis Cooke and
John Cooke, a son.
John Turner and
---- Turner, a son,
---- Turner, a son.
Thomas Rogers and
Joseph Rogers, a son.
Thomas Tinker and
Mrs. ---- Tinker,
---- Tinker, a son.
Edward Fuller and
Mrs. ---- Fuller,
Samuel Fuller, a son.
John Rigdale and
Mrs. Alice Rigdale.
Francis Eaton and
Mrs. ---- Eaton,
Samuel Eaton, an infant son.
Mrs. Katherine Carver and her family, it is altogether probable, came
over in charge of Howland, who was probably a kinsman, both he and
Deacon Carver coming from Essex in England,--as they could hardly
have been in England with Carver during the time of his exacting
work of preparation. He, it is quite certain, was not a passenger
on the Speedwell, for Pastor Robinson would hardly have sent him
such a letter as that received by him at Southampton, previously
mentioned (Bradford's "Historie," Deane's ed. p. 63), if he had been
with him at Delfshaven at the "departure," a few days before. Nor
if he had handed it to him at Delfshaven, would he have told him in
it, "I have written a large letter to the whole company."
John Howland was clearly a "secretary" or "steward," rather than a
"servant," and a man of standing and influence from the outset.
That he was in Leyden and hence a SPEEDWELL passenger appears
altogether probable, but is not absolutely certain.
Desire Minter (or Minther) was undoubtedly the daughter of Sarah, who,
the "Troth Book" (or "marriage-in-tention" records) for 1616, at the
Stadtbuis of Leyden, shows, was probably wife or widow of one
William Minther--evidently of Pastor Robinson's congregation--when
she appeared on May 13 as a "voucher" for Elizabeth Claes, who then
pledged herself to Heraut Wilson, a pump-maker, John Carver being
one of Wilson's "vouchers." In 1618 Sarah Minther (then recorded as
the widow of William) reappeared, to plight her troth to Roger
Simons, brick-maker, from Amsterdam. These two records and the
rarity of the name warrant an inference that Desire Minter (or
Minther) was the daughter of William and Sarah (Willet) Minter (or
Minther), of Robinson's flock; that her father had died prior to
1618 (perhaps before 1616); that the Carvers were near friends,
perhaps kinsfolk; that her father being dead, her mother, a poor
widow (there were clearly no rich ones in the Leyden congregation),
placed this daughter with the Carvers, and, marrying herself, and
removing to Amsterdam the year before the exodus, was glad to leave
her daughter in so good a home and such hands as Deacon and Mistress
Carver's. The record shows that the father and mother of Mrs. Sarah
Minther, Thomas and Alice Willet, the probable grandparents of
Desire Minter, appear as "vouchers" for their daughter at her Leyden
betrothal. Of them we know nothing further, but it is a reasonable
conjecture that they may have returned to England after the
remarriage of their daughter and her removal to Amsterdam, and the
removal of the Carvers and their granddaughter to America, and that
it was to them that Desire went, when, as Bradford records, "she
returned to her friends in England, and proved not very well and
"Mrs. Carver's maid" we know but little about, but the presumption is
naturally strong that she came from; Leyden with her mistress. Her
early marriage and; death are duly recorded.
Roger Wilder, Carver's "servant;" was apparently in his service at Leyden
and accompanied the family from thence. Bradford calls him "his
[Carver's] man Roger," as if an old, familiar household servant,
which (as Wilder died soon after the arrival at Plymouth) Bradford
would not have been as likely to do--writing in 1650, thirty years
after--if he had been only a short-time English addition to Carver's
household, known to Bradford only during the voyage. The fact that
he speaks of him as a "man" also indicates something as to his age,
and renders it certain that he was not an "indentured" lad. It is
fair to presume he was a passenger on the SPEEDWELL to Southampton.
(It is probable that Carver's "servant-boy," William Latham, and
Jasper More, his "bound-boy," were obtained in England, as more
Master William Bradford and his wife were certainly of the party in the
SPEEDWELL, as shown by his own recorded account of the embarkation.
(Bradford's "Historie," etc.)
Master Edward Winslow's very full (published) account of the embarkation
("Hypocrisie Unmasked," pp. 10-13, etc.) makes it certain that
himself and family were SPEEDWELL passengers.
George Soule, who seems to have been a sort of "upper servant" or
"steward," it is not certain was with Winslow in Holland, though it
Elias Story, his "under-servant," was probably also with him in Holland,
though not surely so. Both servants might possibly have been
procured from London or at Southampton, but probably sailed from
Delfshaven with Winslow in the SPEEDWELL.
Elder William Brewster and his family, his wife and two boys, were
passengers on the SPEEDWELL, beyond reasonable doubt. He was, in
fact, the ranking man of the Leyden brethren till they reached
Southampton and the respective ships' "governors" were chosen. The
Church to that point was dominant. (The Elder's two "bound-boys,"
being from London, do not appear as SPEEDWELL passengers.) There is,
on careful study, no warrant to be found for the remarkable
statements of Goodwin ("Pilgrim Republic," p. 33), that, during the
hunt for Brewster in Holland in 1619, by the emissaries of James I.
of England (in the endeavor to apprehend and punish him for printing
and publishing certain religious works alleged to be seditious),
"William Brewster was in London . . . and there he remained until
the sailing of the MAYFLOWER, which he helped to fit out;" and that
during that time "he visited Scrooby." That he had no hand whatever
in fitting out the MAYFLOWER is certain, and the Scrooby statement
equally lacks foundation. Professor Arber, who is certainly a
better authority upon the "hidden press" of the Separatists in
Holland, and the official correspondence relating to its proprietors
and their movements, says ("The Story of the Pilgrim Fathers,"
p.196): "The Ruling Elder of the Pilgrim Church was, for more than a
year before he left Delfshaven on the SPEEDWELL, on the 22 July-
1 August, 1620, a hunted man." Again (p. 334), he says: "Here let
us consider the excellent management and strategy of this Exodus.
If the Pilgrims had gone to London to embark for America, many, if
not most of them, would have been put in prison [and this is the
opinion of a British historian, knowing the temper of those times,
especially William Brewster.] So only those embarked in London
against whom the Bishops could take no action." We can understand,
in light, why Carver--a more objectionable person than Cushman to
the prelates, because of his office in the Separatist Church--was
chiefly employed out of their sight, at Southampton, etc., while the
diplomatic and urbane Cushman did effective work at London, under
the Bishops' eyes. It is not improbable that the personal
friendship of Sir Robert Naunton (Principal Secretary of State to
King James) for Sir Edward Sandys and the Leyden brethren (though
officially seemingly active under his masters' orders in pushing Sir
Dudley Carleton, the English ambassador at the Hague, to an
unrelenting search for Brewster) may have been of material aid to
the Pilgrims in gaining their departure unmolested. The only basis
known for the positive expression of Goodwin resides in the
suggestions of several letters' of Sir Dudley Carleton to Sir Robert
Naunton, during the quest for Brewster; the later seeming clearly to
nullify the earlier.
Under date of July 22, 1619, Carleton says: "One William Brewster,
a Brownist, who has been for some years an inhabitant and printer at
Leyden, but is now within these three weeks removed from thence and
gone back to dwell in London," etc.
On August 16, 1619 (N.S.), he writes: "I am told William Brewster is
come again for Leyden," but on the 30th adds: "I have made good
enquiry after William Brewster and am well assured he is not
returned thither, neither is it likely he will; having removed from
thence both his family and goods," etc.
On September 7, 1619 (N.S.), he writes: "Touching Brewster, I am now
informed that he is on this side the seas [not in London, as before
alleged]; and that he was seen yesterday, at Leyden, but, as yet, is
not there settled," etc.
On September 13, 1619 (N.S.), he says: "I have used all diligence to
enquire after Brewster; and find he keeps most at Amsterdam; but
being 'incerti laris', he is not yet to be lighted upon. I
understand he prepares to settle himself at a village called
Leerdorp, not far from Leyden, thinking there to be able to print
prohibited books without discovery, but I shall lay wait for him,
both there and in other places, so as I doubt but either he must
leave this country; or I shall, sooner or later, find him out."
On September 20, 1619 (N.S.), he says: "I have at length found out
Brewster at Leyden," etc. It was a mistake, and Brewster's partner
(Thomas Brewer), one of the Merchant Adventurers, was arrested
On September 28, 1619 (N.S.), he states, writing from Amsterdam:
"If he lurk here for fear of apprehension, it will be hard to find
As late as February 8, 1619/20, there was still a desire and hope
for his arrest, but by June the matter had become to the King--and
all others--something of an old story. While, as appears by a
letter of Robert Cushman, written in London, in May, 1619, Brewster
was then undoubtedly there, one cannot agree, in the light of the
official correspondence just quoted, with the conclusion of Dr.
Alexander Young ("Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers," vol. i.
p. 462), that "it is probable he [Brewster] did not return to
Leyden, but kept close till the MAYFLOWER sailed."
Everything indicates that he was at Leyden long after this; that he
did not again return to London, as supposed; and that he was in
hiding with his family (after their escape from the pursuit at
Leyden), somewhere among friends in the Low Countries. Although by
July, 1620, the King had, as usual, considerably "cooled off," we
may be sure that with full knowledge of the harsh treatment meted
out to his partner (Brewer) when caught, though unusually mild (by
agreement with the authorities of the University and Province of
Holland), Brewster did not deliberately put himself "under the
lion's paw" at London, or take any chances of arrest there, even in
disguise. Dr. Griffis has lent his assent ("The Pilgrims in their
Homes," p, 167), though probably without careful analysis of all the
facts, to the untenable opinion expressed by Goodwin, that Brewster
was "hiding in England" when the SPEEDWELL sailed from Delfshaven.
There can be no doubt that, with his ever ready welcome of sound
amendment, he will, on examination, revise his opinion, as would the
clear-sighted Goodwin, if living and cognizant of the facts as
marshalled against his evident error. As the leader and guide of
the outgoing part of the Leyden church we may, with good warrant,
believe--as all would wish--that Elder Brewster was the chief figure
the departing Pilgrims gathered on the SPEEDWELL deck, as she took
her departure from Delfshaven.
Master Isaac Allerton and his family, his wife and three children, two
sons and a daughter, were of the Leyden company and passengers in
the SPEEDWELL. We know he was active there as a leader, and was
undoubtedly one of those who bought the SPEEDWELL. He was one of
the signers of the joint-letter from Leyden, to Carver and Cushman,
May 31 (O.S.) 1620.
John Hooke, Allerton's "servant-lad," may have been detained at London or
Southampton, but it is hardly probable, as Allerton was a man of
means, consulted his comfort, and would have hardly started so large
a family on such a journey without a servant.
Dr. Samuel Fuller was, as is well known, one of the Leyden chiefs,
connected by blood and marriage with many of the leading families of
Robinson's congregation. He was active in the preparations for the
voyage the first signer of the joint-letter of May 31, and doubtless
one of the negotiators for the SPEEDWELL. His wife and child were
left behind, to follow later as they did.
William Butten, the first of the Pilgrim party to die, was, in all
probability, a student-"servant" of Doctor Fuller at Leyden, and
doubtless embarked with him at Delfshaven. Bradford calls him
(writing of his death) "Wm. Butten, a youth, servant to Samuel
Fuller." Captain Myles Standish and his wife Rose, we know from
Bradford, were with the Pilgrims in Leyden and doubtless shipped
with them. Arber calls him ("The Story of the Pilgrim Fathers,"
p. 378) a "chief of the Pilgrim Fathers" in the sense of a father
and leader in their Israel; but there is no warrant for this
assumption, though he became their "sword-hand" in the New World.
By some writers, though apparently with insufficient warrant,
Standish has been declared a Roman Catholic. It does not appear
that he was ever a communicant of the Pilgrim Church. His family,
moreover, was not of the Roman Catholic faith, and all his conduct
in the colony is inconsistent with the idea that he was of that
belief. Master William White, his wife and son, were of the Leyden
congregation, both husband and wife being among its principal
people, and nearly related to several of the Pilgrim band. The
marriage of Mr. and Mrs. White is duly recorded in Leyden. William
Holbeck and Edward Thompson, Master White's two servants, he
probably took with him from Leyden, as his was a family of means and
position, though they might possibly have been procured at
Southampton. They were apparently passengers in the SPEEDWELL.
Deacon Thomas Blossom and his son were well known as of Pastor
Robinson's flock at Leyden. They returned, moreover, to Holland
from Plymouth, England (where they gave up the voyage), via London.
The father went to New Plymouth ten years later, the son dying
before that time. (See Blossom's letter to Governor Bradford.
Bradford's Letter Book, "Plymouth Church Records," i. 42.) In his
letter dated at Leyden, December 15, 1625, he says: "God hath taken
away my son that was with me in the ship MAYFLOWER when I went back
Edward Tilley (sometimes given the prefix of Master) his wife Ann are
known to have been of the Leyden company. (Bradford's "Historie,"
p. 83.) It is doubtful if their "cousins," Henry Sampson and
Humility Cooper, were of Leyden. They apparently were English
kinsfolk, taken to New England with the Tilleys, very likely joined
them at Southampton and hence were not of the SPEEDWELL'S
passengers. Humility Cooper returned to England after the death of
Tilley and his wife. That Mrs. Tilley's "given name" was Ann is not
positively established, but rests on Bradford's evidence.
John Tilley (who is also sometimes called Master) is reputed a brother of
Edward, and is known to have been--as also his wife--of the Leyden
church (Bradford, Deane's ed. p. 83.) His second wife Bridget Van
der Velde, was evidently of Holland blood, and their marriage is
recorded in Leyden. Elizabeth Tilley was clearly a daughter by an
earlier wife. He is said by Goodwin ("Pilgrim Republic," p. 32) to
have been a "silk worker" Leyden, but earlier authority for this
occupation is not found.
John Crackstone is of record as of the Leyden congregation. His daughter
remained there, and came later to America.
John Crackstone, Jr., son of above. Both were SPEEDWELL passengers.
Francis Cooke has been supposed a very early member of Robinson's flock
in England, who escaped with them to Holland, in 1608. He and his
son perhaps embarked at Delfshaven, leaving his wife and three other
children to follow later. (See Robinson's letter to Governor
Bradford, "Mass. Hist. Coll.," vol. iii. p. 45, also Appendix for
account of Cooke's marriage.)
John Cooke, the son, was supposed to have lived to be the last male
survivor of the MAY-FLOWER, but Richard More proves to have survived
him. He was a prominent man in the colony, like his father, and the
founder of Dartmouth (Mass.).
John Turner and his sons are also known to have been of the Leyden party,
as he was undoubtedly the messenger sent to London with the letter
(of May 31) of the leaders to Carver and Cushman, arriving there
June 10, 1620. They were beyond doubt of the SPEEDWELL'S list.
Degory Priest--or "Digerie," as Bradford calls him--was a prominent
member of the Leyden body. His marriage is recorded there, and he
left his family in the care of his pastor and friends, to follow him
later. He died early.
Thomas Rogers and his son are reputed of the Leyden company. He left
(according to Bradford) some of his family there--as did Cooke and
Priest--to follow later. It has been suggested that Rogers might
have been of the Essex (England) lineage, but no evidence of this
appears. The Rogers family of Essex were distinctively Puritans,
both in England and in the Massachusetts colony.
Moses Fletcher was a "smith" at Leyden, and of Robinson's church. He was
married there, in 1613, to his second wife. He was perhaps of the
English Amsterdam family of Separatists, of that name. As the only
blacksmith of the colonists, his early death was a great loss.
Thomas Williams, there seems no good reason to doubt, was the Thomas
Williams known to have been of Leyden congregation. Hon. H. C.
Murphy and Arber include him--apparently through oversight alone
--in the list of those of Leyden who did not go, unless there were
two of the name, one of whom remained in Holland.
Thomas Tinker, wife, and son are not certainly known to have been of the
Leyden company, or to have embarked at Delfshaven, but their
constant association in close relation with others who were and who
so embarked warrants the inference that they were of the SPEEDWELL'S
passengers. It is, however, remotely possible, that they were of
the English contingent.
Edward Fuller and his wife and little son were of the Leyden company, and
on the SPEEDWELL. He is reputed to have been a brother of Dr.
Fuller, and is occasionally so claimed by early writers, but by what
warrant is not clear.
John Rigdale and his wife have always been placed by tradition and
association with the Leyden emigrants but there is a possibility
that they were of the English party. Probability assigns them to
the SPEEDWELL, and they are needed to make her accredited number.
Francis Eaton, wife, and babe were doubtless of the Leyden list. He is
said to have been a carpenter there (Goodwin, "Pilgrim Republic," p.
32), and was married there, as the record attests.
Peter Browne has always been classed with the Leyden party. There is no
established authority for this except tradition, and he might
possibly have been of the English emigrants, though probably a
SPEEDWELL passenger; he is needed to make good her putative number.
William Ring is in the same category as are Eaton and Browne. Cushman
speaks of him, in his Dartmouth letter to Edward Southworth (of
August 17), in terms of intimacy, though this, while suggestive, of
course proves nothing, and he gave up the voyage and returned from
Plymouth to London with Cushman. He was certainly from Leyden.
Richard Clarke is on the doubtful list, as are also John Goodman, Edward
Margeson, and Richard Britteridge. They have always been
traditionally classed with the Leyden colonists, yet some of them
were possibly among the English emigrants. They are all needed,
however, to make up the number usually assigned to Leyden, as are
all the above "doubtfuls," which is of itself somewhat confirmatory
of the substantial correctness of the list.
Thomas English, Bradford records, "was hired to goe master of a [the]
shallopp" of the colonists, in New England waters. He was probably
hired in Holland and was almost certainly of the SPEEDWELL.
John Alderton (sometimes written Allerton) was, Bradford states, "a hired
man, reputed [reckoned] one of the company, but was to go back
(being a seaman) and so making no account of the voyages for the
help of others behind" [probably at Leyden]. It is probable that he
was hired in Holland, and came to Southampton on the SPEEDWELL.
Both English and Alderton seem to have stood on a different footing
from Trevore and Ely, the other two seamen in the employ of the
William Trevore was, we are told by Bradford, "a seaman hired to stay a
year in the countrie," but whether or not as part of the SPEEDWELL'S
Crew (who, he tells us, were all hired for a year) does not appear.
As the Master (Reynolds) and others of her crew undoubtedly returned
to London in her from Plymouth, and her voyage was cancelled, the
presumption is that Trevore and Ely were either hired anew or--more
probably--retained under their former agreement, to proceed by the
MAY-FLOWER to America, apparently (practically) as passengers.
Whether of the consort's crew or not, there can be little doubt that
he left Delfshaven on the SPEEDWELL.
--- Ely, the other seaman in the Planters' employ, also hired to "remain
a year in the countrie," appears to have been drafted, like Trevore,
from the SPEEDWELL before she returned to London, having, no doubt,
made passage from Holland in her. Both Trevore and Ely survived
"the general sickness" at New Plimoth, and at the expiration of the
time for which they were employed returned on the FORTUNE to England
Of course the initial embarkation, on Friday, July 21/31 1620, was at
Leyden, doubtless upon the Dutch canal-boats which undoubtedly brought
them from a point closely adjacent to Pastor Robinson's house in the
Klock-Steeg (Bell, Belfry, Alley), in the garden of which were the houses
of many, to Delfshaven.
Rev. John Brown, D.D., says: "The barges needed for the journey were
most likely moored near the Nuns' Bridge which spans the Rapenburg
immediately opposite the Klok-Steeg, where Robinsons house was. This,
being their usual meeting-place, would naturally be the place of
rendezvous on the morning of departure. From thence it was but a stone's
throw to the boats, and quickly after starting they would enter the
Vliet, as the section of the canal between Leyden and Delft is named, and
which for a little distance runs within the city bounds, its quays
forming the streets. In those days the point where the canal leaves the
city was guarded by a water-gate, which has long since been removed, as
have also the town walls, the only remaining portions of which are the
Morsch-gate and the Zylgate. So, gliding along the quiet waters of the
Vliet, past the Water-gate, and looking up at the frowning turrets of the
Cow-gate, 'they left that goodly and pleasant city which had been their
resting-place near twelve years.' . . . Nine miles from Leyden a
branch canal connects the Vliet with the Hague, and immediately beyond
their junction a sharp turn is made to the left, as the canal passes
beneath the Hoom-bridge; from this point, for the remaining five miles,
the high road from the Hague to Delft, lined with noble trees, runs side
by side with the canal. In our time the canal-boats make a circuit of
the town to the right, but in those days the traffic went by canal
through the heart of the city . . . . Passing out of the gates of
Delft and leaving the town behind, they had still a good ten miles of
canal journey before them ere they reached their vessel and came to the
final parting, for, as Mr. Van Pelt has clearly shown, it is a mistake to
confound Delft with Delfshaven, as the point of embarkation in the
SPEEDWELL. Below Delft the canal, which from Leyden thither is the
Vliet, then becomes the Schie, and at the village of Overschie the
travellers entered the Delfshaven Canal, which between perfectly straight
dykes flows at a considerable height above the surrounding pastures.
Then finally passing through one set of sluice gates after another, the
Pilgrims were lifted from the canal into a broad receptacle for vessels,
then into the outer haven, and so to the side of the SPEEDWELL as she lay
at the quay awaiting their arrival."
Dr. Holmes has prettily pictured the "Departure" in his "Robinson of
Leyden," even if not altogether correctly, geographically.
"He spake; with lingering, long embrace,
With tears of love and partings fond,
They floated down the creeping Maas,
Along the isle of Ysselmond.
"They passed the frowning towers of Briel,
The 'Hook of Holland's' shelf of sand,
And grated soon with lifting keel
The sullen shores of Fatherland.
"No home for these! too well they knew
The mitred king behind the throne;
The sails were set, the pennons flew,
And westward ho! for worlds unknown."
Winslow informs us that they of the Leyden congregation who volunteered
for the American enterprise were rather the smaller fraction of the whole
body, though he adds, as noted "that the difference was not great."
A careful analysis of the approximate list of the Leyden colonists,
--including, of course, Carver, and Cushman and his family,--whose total
number seems to have been seventy-two, indicates that of this number,
forty-two, or considerably more than half (the rest being children,
seamen, or servants), were probably members of the Leyden church. Of
these, thirty, probably, were males and twelve females. The exact
proportion this number bore to the numerical strength of Robinson's
church at that time cannot be determined, because while something less
than half as we know, gave their votes for the American undertaking, it
cannot be known whether or not the women of church had a vote in the
matter. Presumably they did not, the primitive church gave good heed to
the words of Paul (i Corinthians xiv. 34), "Let your women keep silence
in the churches." Neither can it be known--if they had a voice--whether
the wives and daughters of some of the embarking Pilgrims, who did not go
themselves at this time, voted with their husbands and fathers for the
removal. The total number, seventy-two, coincides very nearly with the
estimate made by Goodwin, who says: "Only eighty or ninety could go in
this party from Leyden," and again: "Not more than eighty of the
MAY-FLOWER company were from Leyden. Allowing for [i.e. leaving out]
the younger children and servants, it is evident that not half the
company can have been from Robinson's congregation." As the total
number of passengers on the MAYFLOWER was one hundred and two when she
took her final departure from England, it is clear that Goodwin's
estimate is substantially correct, and that the number representing the
Leyden church as given above, viz., forty-two, is very close to the
"When they came to the place" [Delfshaven], says Bradford, "they found
the ship and all things ready; and such of their friends as could not
come with them [from Leyden] followed after them; and sundry also came
from Amsterdam (about fifty miles) to see them shipped, and to take their
leave of them."
Saturday, July 22/Aug. 1, 1620, the Pilgrim company took their farewells,
and Winslow records: "We only going aboard, the ship lying to the key
[quay] and ready to sail; the wind being fair, we gave them [their
friends] a volley of small shot [musketry] and 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."
Goodwin says of the parting: "The hull was wrapped in smoke, through
which was seen at the stern the white flag of England doubly bisected by
the great red cross of St. George, a token that the emigrants had at last
resumed their dearly-loved nationality. Far above them at the main was
seen the Union Jack of new device."
And so after more than eleven years of banishment for conscience' sake
from their native shores, this little band of English exiles, as true to
their mother-land--despite persecutions--as to their God, raised the
flag of England, above their own little vessel, and under its folds set
sail to plant themselves for a larger life in a New World.
And thus opens the "Log" of the SPEEDWELL, and the "Westward-Ho" of the
THE SPEEDWELL'S LOG
Sunday, July 23/Aug. 2.
On the German Ocean. Wind fair. General
course D.W., toward Southampton. sails
set, running free.
Monday, July 24/Aug. 3.
Fair. Wind moderate. Dover Straits
English Channel. In sight Dover Cliffs.
Tuesday, July 25/Aug. 5
Hugging English shore. Enters Southampton
Wednesday, July 26/Aug. 5.
Came to anchor in Port of Southampton near
ship MAYFLOWER of Yarmouth, from London (to
which this pinnace is consort), off the
north of the West Quay.'
Thursday, July 27/Aug. 6.
At anchor in port of Southampton.
Friday, July 28/Aug. 7.
Lying at anchor at Southampton.
Saturday, July 29/Aug. 8.
Lying at Southampton. MAY-FLOWER ready for
sea, but pinnace leaking and requires
Sunday, July 30/Aug. 9.
Lying at Southampton.
Monday, July 31/Aug. 10.
Tuesday, Aug. 1/11.
Wednesday, Aug. 2/22.
Ditto. Pinnace leaking. Re-trimmed again.
Thursday, Aug 3/13.
Ditto. Receiving passengers, etc. Some of
principal Leyden men assigned to SPEEDWELL.
Friday, Aug. 4/14
Southampton. Making ready to leave.
Saturday, Aug. 5/55.
Dropped down Southampton Water and beat
down Channel. Wind dead ahead. Laid general
Sunday, Aug. 6/16.
Wind baffling. Beating down Channel.
Monday, Aug. 7/17.
Tuesday, Aug. 8/18.
Ditto. Ship leaking.
Wednesday, Aug. 9/19.
Ship leaking badly. Wind still ahead.
Thursday, Aug. 10/20.
Ship still leaking badly. Gaining on
pumps. Hove to. Signalled MAY-FLOWER, in
company. Consultation with Captain Jones
and principal passengers. Decided vessels
shall put back, Dartmouth, being nearest
convenient port. Wore ship and laid course
for Dartmouth with good wind.
Friday, Aug. 11/21.
Wind fair. Ship leaking badly.
Saturday, Aug. 12/22.
Made port at Dartmouth MAY-FLOWER in
company. Came to anchor near MAY-FLOWER.
Sunday, Aug. 13/23.
Lying at anchor, Dartmouth harbor.
Monday, Aug. 14/24.
Moving cargo and overhauling and retrimming
Tuesday, Aug. 15/25.
Lying at Dartmouth. At on ship.
Wednesday, Aug. 16/26.
Ditto. Found a plank feet long loose and
admitting water freely, as at a mole hole.
Seams opened some.
Thursday, Aug. 17/27.
Lying at Dartmouth. Some dissension among
chief of passengers. Ship's "Governor"
Friday, Aug. 18/28.
Lying at Dartmouth. Still at work on ship.
Saturday, Aug. 19/29.
Still lying at Dartmouth.
Sunday, Aug. 20/30.
Lying at Dartmouth.
Monday, Aug. 21/31
Still at Dartmouth. Overhauling completed.
Cargo relaced. Making ready to go to sea.
Tuesday, Aug. 22/Sept. 1.
Still at Dartmouth. Lying at anchor ready
Wednesday, Aug. 23/Sept. 2.
Weighed anchor,' as did also MAY-FLOWER,
and set sail. Laid general course W.S.W.
Thursday, Aug. 24/Sept.3.
Fair wind, but ship leaking.
Friday, Aug. 25/Sept. 4.
Wind fair. Ship leaking dangerously.
MAY-FLOWER in company.
Saturday, Aug. 26/Sept. 5.
About 100 leagues [300 miles] from Land's
End. Ship leaking badly. Hove to.
Signalled MAY-FLOWER, in company.
Consultation between masters, carpenters,
and principal passengers. Decided to put
back into Plymouth and determine whether
pinnace is seaworthy. Put about and laid
course for Plymouth.
Sunday, Aug. 27/Sept. 6.
Wind on starboard quarter. Made Plymouth
harbor and came to anchor. MAY-FLOWER in
Monday, Aug. 28/Sept. 7.
At anchor in Plymouth harbor. Conference
of chief of Colonists and officers of
MAY-FLOWER and SPEEDWELL. No special leak
could be found, but it was judged to be the
general weakness of the ship, and that she
would not prove sufficient for the voyage.
It was resolved to dismiss her the
SPEEDWELL, and part of the company, and
proceed with the other ship.
Tuesday, Aug. 29/Sept. 8
Lying at Plymouth. Transferring cargo.
Wednesday, Aug. 30/Sept. 9
Lying at Plymouth. Transferring cargo.
Saturday, Sept. 2/12
Ditto. Reassignment of passengers. Master
Cushman and family, Master Blossom and son,
Wm. Ring and others to return in pinnace to
Sunday, Sept. 3/13
At anchor in Plymouth roadstead.
Monday, Sept. 4/14
Weighed anchor and took departure for
London, leaving MAY-FLOWER at anchor in
Saturday, Sept. 9/19
Off Gravesend. Came to anchor in Thames.
THE END OF THE VOYAGE AND
OF THE LOG OF THE
From Bradford we learn that the SPEEDWELL was sold at London, and was
"refitted", her old trip being restored, and that she afterwards made for
her new owners many and very prosperous voyages.
THE MAY-FLOWER'S CHARTER AND THE ADVENTURERS
The ship MAY-FLOWER was evidently chartered about the middle of June,
1620 at London, by Masters Thomas West Robert Cushman acting together in
behalf of the Merchant Adventurers (chiefly of London) and the English
congregation of "Separatists" (the "Pilgrims"), at Leyden in Holland who,
with certain of England associated, proposed to colony in America.
Professor Arber, when he says, in speaking of Cushman and Weston, "the
hiring of the MAY-FLOWER, when they did do it, was their act alone, and
the Leyden church nothing to do with it," seems to forget that Cushman
and his associate Carver had no other function or authority in their
conjunction with Weston and Martin, except to represent the Leyden
congregation. Furthermore, it was the avowed wish of Robinson (see his
letter dated June 14, 1620, to John Carver), that Weston "may [should]
presently succeed in hiring" [a ship], which was equivalent to hoping
that Carver and Cushman--Weston's associates representing Leyden--would
aid in so doing. Moreover, Bradford expressly states that: "Articles of
Agreement, drawn by themselves were, by their [the Leyden congregation's]
said messenger [Carver] sent into England, who together with Robert
Cushman were to receive moneys and make provisions, both for shipping,
and other things for the voyage."
Up to Saturday, June 10, nothing had been effected in the way of
providing shipping for the migrating planters though the undertaking had
been four months afoot--beyond the purchase and refitting, in Holland, by
the Leyden people themselves, of a pinnace of sixty tons (the SPEEDWELL)
intended as consort to a larger ship--and the hiring of a "pilott" to
refit her, as we have seen.
The Leyden leaders had apparently favored purchasing also the larger
vessel still needed for the voyage, hoping, perhaps, to interest therein
at least one of their friends, Master Edward Pickering, a merchant of
Holland, himself one of the Adventurers, while Master Weston had, as
appears, inclined to hire. From this disagreement and other causes,
perhaps certain sinister reasons, Weston had become disaffected, the
enterprise drooped, the outlook was dubious, and several formerly
interested drew back, until shipping should be provided and the good
faith of the enterprise be thus assured.
It transpires from Robinson's letter dated June 14., before quoted (in
which he says: "For shipping, Master Weston, it should seem is set upon
hiring"), that Robinson's own idea was to purchase, and he seems to have
dominated the rest. There is perhaps a hint of his reason for this in
the following clause of the same letter, where he writes: "I do not think
Master Pickering [the friend previously named] will ingage, except in the
course of buying ['ships?'--Arber interpolates] as in former letters
specified." If he had not then "ingaged" (as Robinson intimates), as an
Adventurer, he surely did later, contrary to the pastor's prediction, and
the above may have been a bit of special pleading. Robinson naturally
wished to keep their, affairs, so far as possible, in known and
supposedly friendly hands, and had possibly some assurances that, as a
merchant, Pickering would be willing to invest in a ship for which he
could get a good charter for an American voyage. He proved rather an
Robinson is emphatic, in the letter cited, as to the imperative necessity
that shipping should be immediately provided if the enterprise was to be
held together and the funds subscribed were to be secured. He evidently
considered this the only guaranty of good faith and of an honest
intention to immediately transport the colony over sea, that would be
accepted. After saying, as already noted, that those behind-hand with
their payments refuse to pay in "till they see shipping provided or a
course taken for it," he adds, referring to Master Weston: "That he
should not have had either shipping ready before this time, or at least
certain [i.e. definite] means and course, and the same known to us, for
it; or have taken other order otherwise; cannot in [according to] my
conscience be excused."
Bradford also states that one Master Thomas Weston a merchant of London,
came to Leyden about the same time [apparently while negotiations for
emigration under their auspices were pending with the Dutch, in February
or March, 1620], who was "well acquainted with some of them and a
furtherer of them in their former proceedings.... and persuaded them....
not to meddle with the Dutch," etc. This Robinson confirms in his letter
to Carver before referred to, saying: "You know right well we depend on
Master Weston alone,.... and when we had in hand another course with the
Dutchman, broke it off at his motion."
On the morning of the 10th of June, 1620, Robert Cushman, one of the
Leyden agents at London, after writing to his associate, Master John
Carver, then at Southampton; and to the Leyden leaders--in reply to
certain censorious letters received by him from both these sources
--although disheartened by the difficulties and prospects before him,
sought Master Weston, and by an urgent appeal so effectively wrought upon
him, that, two hours later, coming to Cushman, he promised "he would not
yet give it [the undertaking] up." Cushman's patience and endurance were
evidently nearly "at the breaking point," for he says in his letter of
Sunday, June 11, when success had begun to crown his last grand effort:
"And, indeed, the many discouragements I find here [in London] together
with the demurs and retirings there [at Leyden] had made me to say, 'I
would give up my accounts to John Carver and at his coming from
Southampton acquaint him fully with all courses [proceedings] and so
leave it quite, with only the poor clothes on my back: But gathering up
myself by further consideration, I resolved yet to make one trial more,"
etc. It was this "one trial more" which meant so much to the Pilgrims;
to the cause of Religion; to America; and to Humanity. It will rank with
the last heroic and successful efforts of Robert the Bruce and others,
which have become historic. The effect of Cushman's appeal upon Weston
cannot be doubted. It not only apparently influenced him at the time,
but, after reflection and the lapse of hours, it brought him to his
associate to promise further loyalty, and, what was much better, to act.
The real animus of Weston's backwardness, it is quite probable, lay in
the designs of Gorges, which were probably not yet fully matured, or, if
so, involved delay as an essential part. "And so," Cushman states,
"advising together, we resolved to hire a ship." They evidently found one
that afternoon, "of sixty last" (120 tons) which was called "a fine
ship," and which they "took liking of [Old English for trial (Dryden),
equivalent to refusal] till Monday." The same afternoon they "hired
another pilot . . . one Master Clarke."--of whom further.
It seems certain that by the expression, "we have hired another pilot
here, one Master Clarke," etc.; that Cushman was reckoning the "pilott"
Reynolds whom he had hired and sent over to them in Holland, as shown--as
at the first, and now Clarke as "another." It nowhere appears that up to
this date, any other than these two had been hired, nor had there been
until then, any occasion for more than one.
If Cushman had been engaged in such important negotiations as these
before he wrote his letters to Carver and the Leyden friends, on Saturday
morning, he would certainly have mentioned them. As he named neither, it
is clear that they had not then occurred. It is equally certain that
Cushman's appeal to Weston was not made, and his renewed activity
aroused, until after these letters had been dispatched and nothing of the
kind could have been done without Weston.
His letter-writing of June 10 was obviously in the morning, as proven by
the great day's work Cushman performed subsequently. He must have
written his letters early and have taken them to such place as his
messenger had suggested (Who his messenger was does not appear, but it
was not John Turner, as suggested by Arber, for he did not arrive till
that night.) Cushman must then have looked up Weston and had an hour or
more of earnest argument with him, for he says: "at the last [as if some
time was occupied] he gathered himself up a little more" [i.e. yielded
somewhat.] Then came an interval of "two hours," at the end of which
Weston came to him,
[It would be highly interesting to know whether, in the two hours
which intervened between Cushman's call on Weston and the latter's
return call, Weston consulted Gorges and got his instructions. It
is certain that he came prepared to act, and that vigorously, which
he had not previously been.]
and they "advised together,"--which took time. It was by this evidently
somewhat past noon, a four or five hours having been consumed. They then
went to look for a ship and found one, which, from Cushman's remark, "but
a fine ship it is," they must (at least superficially) have examined.
While hunting for the ship they seem to have come across, and to have
hired, John Clarke the "pilot," with whom they necessarily, as with the
ship's people, spent some time. It is not improbable that the approach
of dusk cut short their examination of the ship, which they hence "took
liking of [refusal of] till Monday." It is therefore evident that the
"refusal" of the "sixty last" ship was taken, and the "pilot" Clarke was
"hired," on Saturday afternoon, June 10, as on Sunday, June 11, Cushman
informed the Leyden leaders of these facts by letter, as above indicated,
and gave instructions as to the SPEEDWELL'S "pilott," Master Reynolds.
We are therefore able to fix, nearly to an hour, the "turning of the
tide" in the affairs of the Pilgrim movement to America.
It is also altogether probable that the Pilgrims and humanity at large
are still further (indirectly) indebted to Cushman's "one more trial" and
resultant Saturday afternoon's work, for the MAY-FLOWER (though not found
that day), and her able commander Jones, who, whatever his faults, safely
brought the Pilgrims through stormy seas to their "promised land."
Obligations of considerable and rapidly cumulative cost had now been
incurred, making it imperative to go forward to embarkation with all
speed, and primarily, to secure the requisite larger ship. Evidently
Weston and Cushman believed they had found one that would serve, when on
Saturday, they "took liking," as we have seen, of the "fine ship" of 120
tons, "till Monday." No less able authorities than Charles Deane, Goodwin,
and Brown, with others, have mistakenly concluded that this ship was the
MAY-FLOWER, and have so stated in terms. As editor of Bradford's history
"Of Plimoth Plantation," Mr. Deane (in a footnote to the letter of
Cushman written Sunday, June 11), after quoting the remark, "But it is a
fine ship," mistakenly adds, "The renowned MAYFLOWER.--Ed.," thus
committing himself to the common error in this regard. John Brown, in
his "Pilgrim Fathers of New England," confuses the vessels, stating
that, "when all was ready for the start, a pilot came over to conduct the
emigrants to England, bringing also a letter from Cushman announcing that
the MAYFLOWER, a vessel of one hundred and eighty tons, Thomas Jones,
Master, would start from London to Southampton in a week or two," etc.
As we have seen, these statements are out of their relation. No pilot
went for that purpose and none carried such a letter (certainly none from
Cushman), as alleged. Cushman's letter, sent as we know by John Turner,
announced the finding of an entirely different vessel, which was neither
of 180 tons burden, nor had any relation to the MAY-FLOWER or her future
historic freight. Neither was there in his letter any time of starting
mentioned, or of the port of Southampton as the destination of any vessel
to go from London, or of Jones as captain. Such loose statements are the
bane of history. Goodwin, usually so accurate, stumbles unaccountably in
this matter--which has been so strangely misleading to other competent
men--and makes the sadly perverted statement that, "In June, John Turner
was sent, and he soon returned with a petulant (sic) letter from Cushman,
which, however, announced that the ship MAYFLOWER had been selected and
in two weeks would probably leave London for Southampton." He adds, with
inexcusable carelessness in the presence of the words "sixty last" (which
his dictionary would have told him, at a glance, was 120 tons), that:
"This vessel (Thomas Jones, master) was rated at a hundred and eighty
tons . . . . Yet she was called a fine ship," etc. It is evident
that, like Brown, he confused the two vessels, with Cushman's letter
before his eyes, from failure to compute the "sixty last." He moreover
quotes Cushman incorrectly. The great disparity in size, however, should
alone render this confusion impossible, and Cushman is clear as to the
tonnage ("sixty last"), regretting that the ship found is not larger,
while Bradford and all other chroniclers agree that the MAY-FLOWER was of
"9 score" tons burden.
It is also evident that for some reason this smaller ship (found on
Saturday afternoon) was not taken, probably because the larger one, the
MAY-FLOWER, was immediately offered to and secured by Masters Weston and
Cushman, and very probably with general approval. Just how the
MAY-FLOWER was obtained may never be certainly known. It was only on
Saturday, June 10, as we have seen, that Master Weston had seriously set
to work to look for a ship; and although the refusal of one--not wholly
satisfactory--had been prudently taken that day, it was both natural and
politic that as early as possible in the following week he should make
first inquiry of his fellow-merchants among the Adventurers, whether any
of them had available such a ship as was requisite, seeking to find, if
possible, one more nearly of the desired capacity than that of which he
had "taken the refusal" on Saturday. It appears altogether probable that,
in reply to this inquiry, Thomas Goffe, Esq., a fellow Adventurer and
shipping-merchant of London, offered the MAY-FLOWER, which, there is
ample reason to believe, then and for ten years thereafter, belonged to
It is quite likely that Clarke, the newly engaged "pilot," learning that
his employers required a competent commander for their ship, brought to
their notice the master of the ship (the FALCON) in which he had made his
recent voyage to Virginia, Captain Jones, who, having powerful friends at
his back in both Virginia Companies (as later appears), and large
experience, was able to approve himself to the Adventurers. It is also
probable that Thomas Weston engaged him himself, on the recommendation of
the Earl of Warwick, at the instance of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.
As several weeks would be required to fit the ship for her long voyage on
such service, and as she sailed from London July 15, her charter-party
must certainly have been signed by June 20, 1620. The SPEEDWELL, as
appears from various sources (Bradford, Winslow et al.), sailed from
Delfshaven, Saturday, July 22. She is said to have been four days on the
passage to Southampton, reaching there Wednesday, July 26. Cushman, in
his letter of Thursday, August 17, from Dartmouth to Edward Southworth,
says, "We lay at Southampton seven days waiting for her" (the SPEEDWELL),
from which it is evident, both that Cushman came on the MAY-FLOWER from
London, and that the MAY-FLOWER must have left London at least ten days
before the 26th of July, the date of the SPEEDWELL'S arrival. As given
traditionally, it was on the 15th, or eleven days before the SPEEDWELL'S
arrival at Southampton.
By whom the charter-party of the MAY-FLOWER was signed will probably
remain matter of conjecture, though we are not without intimations of
some value regarding it. Captain John Smith tells us that the Merchant
Adventurers (presumably one of the contracting parties) "were about
seventy, . . . not a Corporation, but knit together by a voluntary
combination in a Society without constraint or penalty. They have a
President and Treasurer every year newly chosen by the most voices, who
ordereth the affairs of their Courts and meetings; and with the assent of
most of them, undertaketh all the ordinary business, but in more weighty
affairs, the assent of the whole Company is required." It would seem
from the foregoing--which, from so intelligent a source at a date so
contemporaneous, ought to be reliable--that, not being an incorporated
body, it would be essential that all the Adventurers (which Smith
expressly states was their rule) should "assent" by their signatures,
which alone could bind them to so important a business document as this
charter-party. It was certainly one of their "more weighty affairs," and
it may well be doubted, also, if the owner of the vessel (even though one
of their number) would accept less than the signatures of all, when there
was no legal status by incorporation or co-partnership to hold them
If the facts were indeed as stated by Smith,--whose knowledge of what he
affirmed there is no reason to doubt,--there can be little question that
the contract for the service of the MAY-FLOWER was signed by the entire
number of the Adventurers on the one part. If so, its covenants would be
equally binding upon each of them except as otherwise therein stipulated,
or provided by the law of the realm. In such case, the charter-party of
the MAY-FLOWER, with the autograph of each Merchant Adventurer appended,
would constitute, if it could be found, one of the most interesting and
valuable of historical documents. That it was not signed by any of the
Leyden congregation--in any representative capacity--is well-nigh
certain. Their contracts were with the Adventurers alone, and hence they
were not directly concerned in the contracts of the latter, their
"agents" being but co-workers with the Adventurers (under their
partnership agreements), in finding shipping, collecting moneys,
purchasing supplies, and in generally promoting the enterprise. That
they were not signing-parties to this contract, in particular, is made
very certain by the suggestion of Cushman's letter of Sunday, June 11,
to the effect that he hoped that "our friends there [at Leyden] if they
be quitted of the ship-hire [as then seemed certain, as the Adventurers
would hire on general account] will be induced to venture [invest] the
more." There had evidently been a grave fear on the part of the Leyden
people that if they were ever to get away, they would have to hire the
necessary ship themselves.
There is just the shadow of a doubt thrown upon the accuracy of Smith's
statement as to the non-corporate status of the Adventurers, by the loose
and unwieldy features which must thereby attach to their business
transactions, to which it seems probable that merchants like Weston,
Andrews, Beauchamp, Shirley, Pickering, Goffe, and others would object,
unless the law at that time expressly limited and defined the rights and
liabilities of members in such voluntary associations. Neither evidences
of (primary) incorporation, or of such legal limitation, have, however,
rewarded diligent search. There was evidently some more definite and
corporate form of ownership in the properties and values of the
Adventurers, arrived at later. A considerable reduction in the number of
proprietors was effected before 1624--in most cases by the purchase of
the interests of certain ones by their associates--for we find their
holdings spoken of in that year as "sixteenths," and these shares to have
sometimes been attached for their owners' debts. A letter of Shirley,
Brewer et als., to Bradford, Allerton et als., dated London, April 7,
1624, says: "If it had not been apparently sold, Mr. Beauchamp, who is of
the company also, unto whom he [Weston] oweth a great deal more, had long
ago attached it (as he did other's 16ths)," etc. It is exceedingly
difficult to reconcile these unquestionable facts with the equal
certainty that, at the "Composition" of the Adventurers with the Planters
in 1626, there were forty-two who signed as of the Adventurers. The
weight, however, of evidence and of probability must be held to support