The Mayflower and Her Log, v2 by Azel Ames

This etext was 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. BOOK 2. CHAPTER III THE MAY-FLOWER’S CHARTER AND THE ADVENTURERS The ship MAY-FLOWER was evidently chartered about the middle of June, 1620 at London, by
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  • 15/7/1620-6/5/1621
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This etext was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample the author’s ideas before making an entire meal of them. D.W.]


July 15, 1620–May 6, 1621
Chiefly from Original Sources

Member of Pilgrim Society, etc.




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 unstable friend.

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 him.

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 collectively.

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 the conclusion that in June, 1620, the organization was voluntary, and that the charter-party of the MAY-FLOWER was signed–” on the one part “–by each of the enrolled Adventurers engaged in the Leyden congregation’s colonization scheme. Goodwin’ alone pretends to any certain knowledge of the matter, but although a veracious usually reliable writer, he is not infallible, as already shown, and could hardly have had access to the original documents,–which alone, in this case, could be relied on to prove his assertion that “Shortly articles were signed by both parties, Weston acting for the Adventurers.” Not a particle of confirmatory evidence has anywhere been found in Pilgrim or contemporaneous literature to warrant this statement, after exhaustive search, and it must hence, until sustained by proof, be regarded as a personal inference rather than a verity. If the facts were as appears, they permit the hope that a document of so much prima facie importance may have escaped destruction, and will yet be found among the private papers of some of the last survivors of the Adventurers, though with the acquisition of all their interests by the Pilgrim leaders such documents would seem, of right, to have become the property of the purchasers, and to have been transferred to the Plymouth planters.

This all-important and historic body–the company of Merchant Adventurers–is entitled to more than passing notice. Associated to “finance” the projected transplantation of the Leyden congregation of “Independents” to the “northern parts of Virginia,” under such patronage and protection of the English government and its chartered Companies as they might be able to secure, they were no doubt primarily brought together by the efforts of one of their number, Thomas Weston, Esq., the London merchant previously named, though for some obscure reason Master John Pierce (also one of them) was their “recognized” representative in dealing with the (London) Virginia Company and the Council for the Affairs of New England, in regard to their Patents.

Bradford states that Weston “was well acquainted with some of them the Leyden leaders and a furtherer of them in their former proceedings,” and this fact is more than once referred to as ground for their gratitude and generosity toward him, though where, or in what way, his friendship had been exercised, cannot be learned,–perhaps in the difficulties attending their escape from “the north country” to Holland. It was doubtless largely on this account, that his confident assurances of all needed aid in their plans for America were so relied upon; that he was so long and so fully trusted; and that his abominable treachery and later abuse were so patiently borne.

We are indebted to the celebrated navigator, Captain John Smith, of Virginia fame, always the friend of the New England colonists, for most of what we know of the organization and purposes of this Company. His ample statement, worthy of repetition here, recites, that “the Adventurers which raised the stock to begin and supply this Plantation, were about seventy: some, Gentlemen; some, Merchants; some, handicraftsmen; some adventuring great sums, some, small; as their estates and affections served . . . . These dwell most about London. They are not a corporation but knit together, by a voluntary combination, in a Society, with out constraint or penalty; aiming to do good and to plant Religion.” Their organization, officers, and rules of conduct, as given by Smith, have already been quoted. It is to be feared from the conduct of such men as Weston, Pierce, Andrews, Shirley, Thornell, Greene, Pickering, Alden, and others, that profitable investment, rather than desire “to do good and to plant Religion,” was their chief interest. That the higher motives mentioned by Smith governed such tried and steadfast souls as Bass, Brewer, Collier, Fletcher, Goffe, Hatherly, Ling, Mullens, Pocock, Thomas, and a few others, there can be no doubt.

[Weston wrote Bradford, April 10, 1622, “I perceive and know as well as another ye disposition of your adventurers, whom ye hope of gaine hath drawne on to this they have done; and yet I fear ye hope will not draw them much further.” While Weston’s character was utterly bad, and he had then alienated his interest in both Pilgrims and Adventurers, his judgment of men was evidently good.]

No complete list of the original “seventy” has ever been found, and we are indebted for the names of forty-two, of the fifty who are now known, to the final “Composition” made with the Pilgrim colonists, through the latter’s representatives, November 15/25, 1626, as given by Bradford, and to private research for the rest. The list of original members of the company of Merchant Adventurers, as ascertained to date, is as follows. More extended mention of them appears in the notes appended to this list.

Robert Allden, Thomas Fletcher, Emanuel Altham, Thomas Goffe, Richard Andrews, Peter Gudburn, Thomas Andrews, William Greene, Lawrence Anthony, Timothy Hatherly, Edward Bass, Thomas Heath, John Beauchamp, William Hobson, Thomas Brewer, Robert Holland, Henry Browning, Thomas Hudson, William Collier, Robert Keayne, Thomas Coventry, Eliza Knight, John Knight, John Revell, Miles Knowles, Newman Rookes, John Ling, Samuel Sharpe, Christopher Martin(Treasurer pro tem.), James Shirley (Treasurer), Thomas Millsop, William Thomas, Thomas Mott, John Thornell William Mullens, Fria Newbald, Matthew Thornell William Pennington, William Penrin. Joseph Tilden, Edward Pickering, Thomas Ward, John Pierce, John White, John Pocock, John Wincob, Daniel Poynton, Thomas Weston, William Quarles, Richard Wright.

Shirley, in a letter to Governor Bradford, mentions a Mr. Fogge and a Mr. Coalson, in a way to indicate that they might have been, like himself, Collier, Thomas, Hatherly, Beauchamp, and Andrews, also of the original Merchant Adventurers, but no proof that they were such has yet been discovered. It has been suggested that Sir Edwin Sandys was one of the number, at the inception of the enterprise, but–though there is evidence to indicate that he stood the friend of the Pilgrims in many ways, possibly lending them money, etc.–there is no proof that he was ever one of the Adventurers. It is more probable that certain promoters of Higginson’s and Winthrop’s companies, some ten years later, were early financial sponsers of the MAY-FLOWER Pilgrims. Some of them were certainly so, and it is likely that others not known as such, in reality, were. Bradford suggests, in a connection to indicate the possibility of his having been an “Adventurer,” the name of a “Mr. Denison,” of whom nothing more is known. George Morton of London, merchant, and friend of the leaders from the inception, and later a colonist, is sometimes mentioned as probably of the list, but no evidence of the fact as yet appears. Sir George Farrer and his brother were among the first of the Adventurers, but withdrew themselves and their subscriptions very early, on account of some dissatisfaction.

It is impossible, in the space at command, to give more than briefest mention of each of these individual Adventurers.

Allden. Was at one time unfriendly to the Pilgrims,–Bradford calls him “one of our powerfullest opposers,”–but later their ally. Little is known of him. He appears to have been of London.

Altham. Was Master of the pinnace LITTLE JAMES, belonging chiefly to Fletcher, and apparently expected to command her on her voyage to New Plymouth in 1623, as consort of the ANNE, but for some reason did not go, and William Bridge went as her Master, in his stead.

Andrews (Richard). Was one of the wealthiest and most liberal of the Adventurers. He was a haberdasher of Cheapside, London, and an Alderman of the city. He became an early proprietor and liberal benefactor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, but most illogically gave the debt due him from Plymouth Colony (L540) to the stronger and richer Bay Colony. He had been, however, unjustly prejudiced against the Pilgrims, probably through the deceit of Pierce, Weston, Shirley, and Allerton.

Andrews (Thomas). A Lord Mayor of London, reputed a brother of the last- named. Never very active in the Adventurers’ affairs, but friendly, so far as appears.

Anthony. Little or nothing is known concerning him.

Bass. Was one of the enduring friends of the struggling Colony and loaned them money when they were in dire straits and the prospect of recovery was not good. He was of London, and considerable is known concerning him.

Beauchamp. Was one of the most active of the Company for many years. Generally to be relied upon as the Colony’s friend, but not without some sordid self seeking. Apparently a wealthy citizen and “salter” of London.

Brewer. Is too well-known as long the partner of Brewster in the conduct of the “hidden press” at Leyden, and as a sufferer for conscience’ sake, to require identification. He was a wealthy man, a scholar, writer, printer, and publisher. Was of the University of Leyden, but removed to London after the departure of the chief of the Pilgrims. Was their stanch friend, a loyal defender of the faith, and spent most of his later life in prison, under persecution of the Bishops.

Browning. Does not appear to have been active, and little is known of him.

Collier. Was a stanch and steadfast friend. Finally cast in his lot with the Pilgrims at New Plymouth and be came a leading man in the government there. His life is well known. He was a “brewer.”

Coventry. Appears only as a signer, and nothing is known of him.

Fletcher. Was a well-to-do merchant of London, a warm friend and a reliance of the Pilgrims. The loss of the LITTLE JAMES was a severe blow to him financially.

Greene. Appears to have been a merchant and a partner in Holland (and perhaps at London) of Edward Pickering. They were well acquainted personally with the Pilgrims, and should have been among their most liberal and surest friends. Facts indicate, however, that they were sordid in their interest and not entirely just.

Goffe. Was a London merchant and ship-owner, as else where appears. He was not only a Merchant Adventurer, but a patentee and deputy- governor of the Massachusetts Company, and an intimate friend of Winthrop. He lost heavily by his New England ventures. There is, as shown elsewhere, good reason to believe that he was the owner of the MAY-FLOWER on her historic voyage, as also when she came over in Higginson’s and Winthrop’s fleets, ten years later.

Gudburn. Appears only as a signer, so far as known.

Hatherly. Was a well-to-do friend of the Pilgrims, and after many complaints had been made against them among the “Purchasers”– arising out of the rascality of Shirley and Allerton–went to New England on a mission of inquiry. He was perfectly convinced of the Pilgrims’ integrity and charmed with the country. He made another visit, and removed thither in 1633, to remain. He became at once prominent in the government of New Plimoth Colony.

Heath. Does not appear to have been active, and naught is known of him.

Hobson. Is known only as a signer of the “Composition.”

Holland. Was a friend and ally of the Pilgrims, and one of their correspondents. He is supposed to have been of the ancient house of that name and to have lived in London.

Hudson. Was not active, and appears as a signer only.

Keayne. Was a well-to-do citizen of the vicinity of London, a friend, in a general way, of the Pilgrims. He came to Boston with Winthrop. Was prominent in the Massachusetts Colony. Was the founder and first commander of the early Artillery Company of Boston, the oldest military organization of the United States, and died at Boston, leaving a large estate and a very remarkable will, of which he made Governor Winslow an “overseer.” He was an erratic,–but valuable, citizen.

Knight (Eliza). Seems to have been the only woman of the Adventurers, so far as they are known, but no thing is known of her. It has been suggested that the given name has been wrongly spelled and should be “Eleazar,”–a man’s name,–but the “Composition” gives the signature as Eliza, clearly, as published.

Knight (John). Finds no especial mention. He was probably a relative of Eliza.

Knowles. Appears only as a signer of the “Composition.”

Ling. Was a wealthy friend of the colonists and always true to them. He lost his property and was in poverty when the Pilgrims (though not yet well on their feet), in grateful remembrance of his fidelity, sent him a generous gift.

Martin. Was the first treasurer of the colonists and also a MAY-FLOWER Pilgrim. Mention of him appears later. He was no credit to the Company, and his early death probably prevented much vexation.

Millsop. Appears only as a signer of the “Composition.”

Mott. Has no especial mention, but is believed to have sent some of his people to Plymouth Colony at an early day.

Mullens. Was, as appears elsewhere, a well-conditioned tradesman of Surrey, England, who was both an Adventurer and a MAY-FLOWER Pilgrim, and Martin and himself appear to have been the only ones who enjoyed that distinction. He died, however, soon after the arrival at Plymouth. That he was an Adventurer is but recently discovered by the author, but there appears no room for doubt as to the fact. His record was brief, but satisfactory, in its relation to the Pilgrims.

Newbald. Finds no especial mention.

Pennington. Appears only as a signer. It is a London name.

Penrin. Appears only as a signer of the “Composition.”

Pickering. Is introduced to us first as a Leyden merchant, through John Robinson’s letters. He appears to have been a shrewd, cold-blooded calculator, like his partner-Adventurer, Greene, not interested especially in the Pilgrims, except for gain, and soon deserting the Adventurers. His family seem to have been in favor with Charles II. (See Pepys’ “Diary.”)

Pierce (John). Although recognized by the Virginia Companies and Council for New England, as the representative of the Adventurers, he has only been recently generally reckoned a chief man of the Adventurers. A Protean friend of the Pilgrims, never reliable, ever pretentious, always self-seeking, and of no help. He was finally ruined by the disasters to his ship, the PARAGON, which cost him all his interests. Having attempted treacherously to secure to himself the Patent granted in the Colony’s interest, he was compelled by the Council to surrender its advantages to the Adventurers and colonists.

Pocock. Was a stanch and firm supporter of the Pilgrims and their interests, at all times, and to the end. He was also a financial supporter and deputy-governor the Massachusetts Company, under Winthrop. A correspondent of Bradford. A good man.

Poyton. Finds no especial mention. He appears as a signer only.

Quarles. Appears only as a signer of the “Composition.”

Revell. Was a very wealthy citizen, merchant, and ship owner of London, and a good man. He became also ardently interested in Winthrop’s Company. Was an “assistant” and one of the five “undertakers” chosen to go to New England to reside. He went to New England on the JEWELL of Winthrop’s fleet, and was part owner of the LADY ARBELLA. He evidently, however, did not like the life, and returned after a few weeks’ stay.

Rookes. Appears only as a signer.

Sharpe. Was also a friend of both Pilgrim and Puritan. He came to New England in 1629, and settled first at Salem, in the Massachusetts Company. He died in 1658, having long been a ruling elder of the church there. He met with many enemies, but was a valuable man and an able one. He was Governor Cradock’s New England agent.

Shirley. Requires little mention here. The perfidious friend of the Pilgrims,–perhaps originally true to them,–he sunk everything for hope of gain. He was treasurer of the Adventurers, one of their most active and intelligent men, but proved a rascal and a canting hypocrite. He was a “citizen and gold-smith” of London.

Thomas. Has nowhere been enumerated in any list of the Adventurers (though occasionally mentioned as such by recent writers), which is strange, as repeated letters of his to Bradford, and other data, show him to have been one of the best and truest of them all. He sold his interests before the “Composition” and became a colonist after 1630. He was the fifth of the Adventurers to come to New England to remain, and cast in his lot with the Pilgrims at New Plimoth–Martin, Mullens, Collier, and Hatherly preceding him. A wealthy and well-informed man, he became a power in the government. Probably Welsh by birth, he was a London merchant when the Adventurers were organized. His home at Marshfield, Massachusetts, has since become additionally famous as the home of Daniel Webster.

Thornell (John). Is sometimes confounded with another Adventurer, Matthew Thornhill, as his name is some times so spelled. There is reason to believe they were related. He was not a friend to the Pilgrims.

Thornhill (or Thornell), (Matthew). Little is known concerning him.

Tilden. Was of an old family in Kent, “a citizen and girdler of London,” as his will declares, his brother (Nathaniel) later coming to New England and settling near Hatherly at Scituate. Nathaniel’s son Joseph–named for his uncle–was made his executor and heir. The uncle was always a firm friend of the Pilgrims. Mr. Tilden’s will is given by Waters (“Genealogical Gleanings,” vol. i. p. 71), and is of much interest.

Ward. Appears only as a signer.

White. Probably the Rev. John White, a stanch friend of the Pilgrims, although not a “Separatist,” and intimately connected with the upbuilding of New England. His record was a broad and noble one. Goodwin says: “Haven thinks White was that Dorchester clergyman reputed to be the author of the Planters’ Plea.” Probably, but not certainly, William White of the Pilgrims was also an Adventurer.

Wincob (?). Was a gentleman of the family of the Countess of Lincoln, and the one in whose name the first patent in behalf of the Adventurers and Pilgrims (which, however, was never used) was taken. It is only recently that evidences which, though not conclusive, are yet quite indicative, have caused his name to be added to the list, though there is still a measure of doubt whether it belongs there.

Weston. Requires little mention here. Once a friend of the Pilgrims and unmistakably the organizer of the Adventurers, he became a graceless ingrate and rascal. An instrument of good at first, he became a heartless and designing enemy of the Planters. He was a “citizen and merchant [ironmonger] of London.” It is altogether probable that he was originally a tool of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and was led by him to influence the Leyden brethren to break off negotiations with the Dutch. He died poor, at Bristol, England.

Wright. Perhaps came to New Plimoth and married a daughter of the MAY- FLOWER Pilgrim, Francis Cooke. If so, he settled at Rehoboth and became its leading citizen. He may possibly have been the settler of that name in the Bay-Colony, and the weight of evidence rather favors the latter supposition.

Of the Adventurers, Collier, Hatherly, Keayne, Mullens, Revell, Pierce, Sharpe, Thomas, and Weston, probably Wright and White, possibly others, came to America for longer or shorter periods. Several of them were back and forth more than once. The records show that Andrews, Goffe, Pocock, Revell, Sharpe, and White were subsequently members of the Massachusetts (Winthrop’s) Company.

Professor Arberl finds but six of the Pilgrim Merchant Adventurers who later were among the Adventurers with Winthrop’s Company of Massachusetts Bay, viz.:–Thomas Andrews, John Pocock, Samuel Sharpe, Thomas Goffe, John Revell, John White.

He should have added at least, the names of Richard Andrews and Robert Keayne, and probably that of Richard Wright.

Of their number, Collier, Hatherly, Martin, Mullens, Thomas, and (possibly) Wright were Plymouth colonists Martin and Mullens, as noted, being MAY-FLOWER Pilgrims. Nathaniel Tilden, a brother of Joseph Tilden of the Adventurers, came, as previously mentioned, to the Colony from Kent, settling at Scituate. Joseph, being apparently unmarried, made his nephew, Joseph of Scituate, his residuary legatee, and his property mostly came over to the Colony.

Collier, Hatherly, and Thomas all located within a few miles of one another, were all wealthy and prominent men in the government of the Colony, were intimate friends,–the first and last especially,–and lent not a little dignity and character to this new dependency of King James the First. The remaining twenty or thereabouts whose names are not surely known–though a few of them are pretty safely conjectured, some being presumably of the Holland Pilgrims and their friends–were probably chiefly small contributors, whose rights were acquired from time to time by others of larger faith in the enterprise, or greater sympathy or means. Not all, however, who had ceased to hold their interests when the “Composition” was made with Allerton in behalf of the colonists, in 1626, were of these small holders. Weston was forced out by stress of circumstances; Thomas moved to New England; Pierce was ruined by his ventures by sea; Martin and Mullens died in 1621; Pickering and Greene got out early, from distrust as to profits; Wincob alone, of this class, was a small investor, if he was one at all.

By far the greater portion of the sums invested by the Adventurers in behalf of the Colony is represented by those whose names are known, those still unknown representing, doubtless, numbers rather than amounts. It is, however, interesting to note, that more than four sevenths of the original number, as given by Captain John Smith, continued to retain their interests till the “Composition” of 1626. It is to be hoped that it may yet be possible to increase considerably, if not to perfect, the list of these coadjutors of the Pilgrims–the Merchant Adventurers–the contracting “party of the second part,” to the charter-party of the MAY- FLOWER.

Who the Owner of the MAY-FLOWER was, or who his representative, the “party of the first part,” to the charter party of the Pilgrim ship, cannot be declared with absolute certainty, though naturally a matter of absorbing interest. There is, however, the strongest probability, as before intimated, that Thomas Goffe, Esq., one of the Merchant Adventurers, and always a stanch friend of the Pilgrims, was the owner of the historic vessel,–and as such has interwoven his name and hers with the histories of both the Pilgrim and Puritan hegiras from Old to New England. He was, as previously stated, a wealthy “merchant and ship owner of London,” and not only an Adventurer with the Leyden Pilgrims, but–nearly ten years later–a patentee of the Massachusetts Company and one of its charter officers.

We are told in the journal of Governor Winthrop of that Company–then on board the LADY ARBELLA, the, “Admiral” or flagship of his fleet, riding at Cowes, ready to set sail for New England–that on “Easter Monday (March 29), 1630, the CHARLES, the MAY-FLOWER, the WILLIAM AND FRANCIS, the HOPEWELL, the WHALE, the SUCCESS, and the TRIAL,” of his fleet, were “still at Hampton [Southampton] and are not ready.” Of these seven ships it is certain that Mr. Goffe owned at least two, as Governor Winthrop–in writing, some days later, of the detention of his son Henry and his friend Mr. Pelham, who, going ashore, failed to return to the governor’s ship before she sailed from Cowes, and so went to the fleet at Southampton for passage–says: “So we have left them behind and suppose they will come after in one of Mr. Goffe’s ships.” It is clear, therefore, that Mr. Goffe, who was an intimate friend and business associate of Governor Winthrop, as the latter’s correspondence amply attests, and was a charter deputy-governor of the Massachusetts Company, and at this time “an assistant,” was the owner of at least two (probably not more) of these seven belated ships of the governor’s fleet, riding at Southampton. Bearing in mind that the MAY-FLOWER and the WHALE were two of those ships, it becomes of much importance to find that these two ships, evidently sailing in company (as if of one owner), arrived together in the harbor of Charlestown, New England, on Thursday, July 1, having on board one of them the governor’s missing son, Henry Winthrop. If he came–as his father expected and as appears certain–“in one of Mr. Goffe’s ships,” then evidently, either the MAY-FLOWER or the WHALE, or both, belonged to Mr. Goffe. That both were Goffe’s is rendered probable by the fact that Governor Winthrop–writing of the vessels as if associated and a single interest–states that “most of their cattle [on these ships] were dead, whereof a mare and horse of mine.” This probability is increased, too, by the facts that the ships evidently kept close company across the Atlantic (as if under orders of a common owner, and as was the custom, for mutual defence and assistance, if occasion required), and that Winthrop who, as we above noted, had large dealings with Goffe, seems to have practically freighted both these ships for himself and friends, as his freight bills attest. They would hence, so far as possible, naturally keep together and would discharge their cargoes and have their accountings to a single consignee, taken as nearly together as practicable. Both these ships came to Charlestown,–as only one other did,–and both were freighted, as noted, by one party.

Sadly enough, the young man, Henry Winthrop, was drowned at Salem the very day after his arrival, and before that of either of the other vessels: the HOPEWELL, or WILLIAM AND FRANCIS (which arrived at Salem the 3d); or the TRIAL or CHARLES (which arrived–the first at Charlestown, of the last at Salem–the 5th); or the SUCCESS (which arrived the 6th); making it certain that he must have come in either the MAY-FLOWER or the WHALE. If, as appears, Goffe owned them both, then his ownership of the MAY-FLOWER in 1630 is assured, while all authorities agree without cavil that the MAY-FLOWER of Winthrop’s fleet in that year (1630) and the MAY- FLOWER of the Pilgrims were the same. In the second “General Letter of Instructions” from the Massachusetts Company in England–dated London, May 28, 1629–to Governor Endicott and his Council, a duplicate of which is preserved in the First Book of the Suffolk Registry of Deeds at Boston, the historic vessel is described as “The MAY-FLOWER, of Yarmouth- –William Pierse, Master,” and Higginson, in his “Journal of a Voyage to New England,” says, “The fifth ship is called the MAY-FLOWER carrying passengers and provisions.” Yarmouth was hence undoubtedly the place of register, and the hailing port of the MAY-FLOWER,–she was very likely built there,–and this would remain the same, except by legal change of register, wherever she was owned, or from what ever port she might sail. Weston and Cushman, according to Bradford, found and hired her at London, and her probable owner, Thomas Goffe, Esq., was a merchant of that city. Dr. Young remarks: “The MAYFLOWER Of Higginson’s fleet is the renowned vessel that brought the Pilgrim Fathers to Plymouth in 1620.” Hon. James Savage says “The MAYFLOWER had been a name of renown without forming part of this fleet [Winthrop’s, 1630], because in her came the devoted planters of Plimouth [1620] and she had also brought in the year preceding [1629] some of Higginson’s company to Salem.” Goodwin’ says: “In 1629 she [the Pilgrim MAY-FLOWER] came to Salem with a company of the Leyden people for Plymouth, and in 1630 was one of the large fleet that attended John Winthrop, discharging her passengers at Charlestown.” Dr. Young remarks in a footnote: “Thirty-five of the Leyden congregation with their families came over to Plymouth via Salem, in the MAY-FLOWER and TALBOT.”

In view of such positive statements as these, from such eminent authorities and others, and of the collateral facts as to the probable ownership of the MAY-FLOWER in 1630, and on her earlier voyages herein presented, the doubt expressed by the Rev. Mr. Blaxland in his “Mayflower Essays,” whether the ship bearing her name was the same, on these three several voyages, certainly does not seem justified.

Captain William Pierce, who commanded the MAY-FLOWER in 1629, when she brought over part of the Leyden company, was the very early and intimate friend of the Pilgrims–having brought over the ANNE with Leyden passengers in 1623–and sailed exclusively in the employ of the Merchant Adventurers, or some of their number, for many years, which is of itself suggestive.

To accept, as beyond serious doubt, Mr. Goffe’s ownership of the MAY- FLOWER, when she made her memorable voyage to New Plimoth, one need only to compare, and to interpret logically, the significant facts;–that he was a ship-owner of London and one of the body of Merchant Adventurers who set her forth on her Pilgrim voyage in 1620; and that he stood, as her evident owner, in similar relation to the Puritan company which chartered her for New England, similarly carrying colonists, self-exiled for religion’s sake, in 1629 and again in 1630. This conviction is greatly strengthened by the fact that Mr. Goffe continued one of the Pilgrim Merchant Adventurers, until their interests were transferred to the colonists by the “Composition” of 1626, and three years later (1629) sent by the MAY-FLOWER, on her second New England voyage, although under a Puritan charter, another company from the Leyden congregation. The (cipher) letter of the “Governor and deputies of the New-England Company for a plantation in Massachusetts Bay” to Captain John Endicott, written at Gravesend, England, the 17th of April, 1629, says: “If you want any Swyne wee have agreed with those of Ne[w] Plimouth that they deliver you six Sowes with pigg for which they a[re] to bee allowed 9 lb. in accompt of what they the Plymouth people owe unto Mr. Goffe [our] deputie [Governor].” It appears from the foregoing that the Pilgrims at New Plymouth were in debt to Mr. Goffe in 1629, presumably for advances and passage money on account of the contingent of the Leyden congregation, brought over with Higginson’s company to Salem, on the second trip of the MAY-FLOWER. Mr. Goffe’s intimate connection with the Pilgrims was certainly unbroken from the organization of their Merchant Adventurers in 1619/20, through the entire period of ten years, to 1630. There is every reason to believe, and none to doubt, that his ownership of the MAY- FLOWER of imperishable renown remained equally unbroken throughout these years, and that his signature as her owner was appended to her Pilgrim charter-party in 1620. Whoever the signatories of her charter-party may have been, there can be no doubt that the good ship MAY-FLOWER, in charge of her competent, if treacherous, Master, Captain Thomas Jones, and her first “pilot,” John Clarke, lay in the Thames near London through the latter part of June and the early part of July, in the summer of 1620, undergoing a thorough overhauling, under contract as a colonist- transport, for a voyage to the far-off shores of “the northern parts of Virginia.”

In whatever of old English verbiage, with quaint terms and cumbersome repetition, the stipulations of this contract of were concealed, there can be no doubt that they purported and designed to “ingage” that “the Good ship MAY-FLOWER of Yarmouth, of 9 score tuns burthen, whereof for the present viage Thomas Joanes is Master,” should make the “viage” as a colonist-transport, “from the city of London in His Majesty’s Kingdom of Great Britain,” etc., “to the neighborhood of the mouth of Hudson’s River, in the northern parts of Virginia and return, calling at the Port of Southampton, outward bound, to complete her lading, the same of all kinds, to convey to, and well and safely deliver at, such port or place, at or about the mouth of Hudson’s River, so-called, in Virginia aforesaid, as those in authority of her passengers shall direct,” etc., with provision as to her return lading, through her supercargo, etc.

It is probable that the exact stipulations of the contract will never transpire, and we can only roughly guess at them, by somewhat difficult comparison with the terms on which the LADY ARBELLA, the “Admiral,” or flagship, of Winthrop’s fleet, was chartered in 1630, for substantially the like voyage (of course, without expectation or probability, of so long a stay on the New England coast), though the latter was much the larger ship. The contract probably named an “upset” or total sum for the “round voyage,” as was the of the case with the LADY ARBELLA, though it is to be hoped there was no “demurrage” clause, exacting damage, as is usual, for each day of detention beyond the “lay days” allowed, for the long and unexpected tarries in Cape Cod and Plymouth harbors must have rolled up an appalling “demurrage” claim. Winthrop enters among his memoranda, “The agreement for the ARBELLA L750, whereof is to be paid in hand [i e. cash down] the rest upon certificate of our safe arrival.” The sum was doubtless considerably in excess of that paid for the MAY- FLOWER, both because she was a much larger, heavier-armed, and better- manned ship, of finer accommodations, and because ships were, in 1630, in far greater demand for the New England trade than in 1620, Winthrop’s own fleet including no less than ten. The adjustments of freight and passage moneys between the Adventurers and colonists are matter of much doubt and perplexity, and are not likely to be fully ascertained. The only light thrown upon them is by the tariffs for such service on Winthrop’s fleet, and for passage, etc., on different ships, at a little later day. It is altogether probable that transportation of all those accepted as colonists, by the agents of the Adventurers and “Planters,” was without direct charge to any individual, but was debited against the whole. But as some had better quarters than others, some much more and heavier furniture, etc., while some had bulky and heavy goods for their personal benefit (such as William Mullen’s cases of “boots and shoes,” etc.), it is fair to assume that some schedule of rates for “tonnage,” if not for individuals, became necessary, to prevent complaints and to facilitate accounts. Winthrop credits Mr. Goffe–owner of two of the ships in 1630 –as follows:–

“For ninety-six passengers at L4, L384. For thirty-two tons of goods at L3 (per ton). For passage for a man, his wife and servant, (3 persons) L16/10, L5/10 each.”

Goodwin shows the cost of transportation at different times and under varying conditions. “The expense of securing and shipping Thos. Morton of ‘Merry Mount’ to England, was L12 7 0,” but just what proportion the passage money bore to the rest of the account, cannot now be told. The expense of Mr. Rogers, the young insane clergyman brought over by Isaac Allerton, without authority, was, for the voyage out: “For passage L1 0 0. For diet for eleven weeks at 4s. 8d. per week, total L3 11 4” [A rather longer passage than usual.] Constant Southworth came in the same ship and paid the same, L3 11 4, which may hence be assumed as the average charge, at that date, for a first-class passage. This does not vary greatly from the tariff of to-day, (1900) as, reduced to United States currency, it would be about $18; and allowing the value of sterling to be about four times this, in purchase ratio, it would mean about $73. The expenses of the thirty-five of the Leyden congregation who came over in the MAY-FLOWER in 1620, and of the others brought in the LION in 1630, were slightly higher than these figures, but the cost of the trip from Leyden to England was included, with that of some clothing. In 1650, Judge Sewall, who as a wealthy man would be likely to indulge in some luxury, gives his outlay one way, as, “Fare, L2 3 0; cabin expenses, L4 11 4; total, L6 14 4.”



Unhappily the early chroniclers familiar with the MAY-FLOWER have left us neither representation nor general description of her, and but few data from which we may reconstruct her outlines and details for ourselves. Tradition chiefly determines her place in one of the few classes into which the merchant craft of her day were divided, her tonnage and service being almost the only other authentic indices to this class.

Bradford helps us to little more than the statement, that a vessel, which could have been no other, “was hired at London, being of burden about 9 score” [tons], while the same extraordinary silence, which we have noticed as to her name, exists as to her description, with Smith, Bradford, Winslow, Morton, and the other contemporaneous or early writers of Pilgrim history. Her hundred and eighty tons register indicates in general her size, and to some extent her probable model and rig.

Long search for a reliable, coetaneous picture of one of the larger ships of the merchant service of England, in the Pilgrim period, has been rewarded by the discovery of the excel lent “cut” of such a craft, taken from M. Blundeville’s “New and Necessarie Treatise of Navigation,” published early in the seventeenth century. Appearing in a work of so high character, published by so competent a navigator and critic, and (approximately) in the very time of the Pilgrim “exodus,” there can be no doubt that it quite correctly, if roughly and insufficiently, depicts the outlines, rig, and general cast of a vessel of the MAY-FLOWER type and time, as she appeared to those of that day, familiar therewith.

It gives us a ship corresponding, in the chief essentials, to that which careful study of the detail and minutiae of the meagre MAY-FLOWER history and its collaterals had already permitted the author and others to construct mentally, and one which confirms in general the conceptions wrought out by the best artists and students who have attempted to portray the historic ship herself.

Captain J. W. Collins, whose experience and labors in this relation are further alluded to, and whose opinion is entitled to respect, writes the author in this connection, as follows “The cut from Blundeville’s treatise, which was published more or less contemporaneously with the MAYFLOWER, is, in my judgment, misleading, since it doubtless represents a ship of an earlier date, and is evidently [sic] reproduced from a representation on tapestry, of which examples are still to be seen (with similar ships) in England. The actual builder’s plans, reproduced by Admiral Paris, from drawings still preserved, of ships of the MAYFLOWER’S time, seem to me to offer more correct and conclusive data for accurately determining what the famous ship of the Pilgrim Fathers was like.”

Decidedly one of the larger and better vessels of the merchant class of her day, she presumably followed the prevalent lines of that class, no doubt correctly represented, in the main, by the few coeval pictures of such craft which have come down to us. No one can state with absolute authority, her exact rig, model, or dimensions; but there can be no question that all these are very closely determined from even the meagre data and the prints we possess, so nearly did the ships of each class correspond in their respective features in those days. There is a notable similarity in certain points of the MAY-FLOWER, as she has been represented by these different artists, which is evidence upon two points: first, that all delineators have been obliged to study the type of vessel to which she belonged from such representations of it as each could find, as neither picture nor description of the vessel herself was to be had; and second, that as the result of such independent study nearly all are substantially agreed as to what the salient features of her type and class were. A model of a ship [3 masts] of the MAY-FLOWER type, and called in the Society’s catalogue “A Model of the MAY FLOWER, after De Bry,” but itself labelled “Model of one of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Ships,” is (mistakenly) exhibited by the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth. It is by no means to be taken as a correct representation of the Pilgrim bark. Few of the putative pictures of the MAY-FLOWER herself are at all satisfactory,–apart from the environment or relation in which she is usually depicted,–whether considered from an historical, a nautical, or an artistic point of view. The only one of these found by the author which has commanded (general, if qualified) approval is that entitled “The MAY-FLOWER at Sea,” a reproduction of which, by permission, is the frontispiece of this volume. It is from an engraving by the master hand of W. J. Linton, from a drawing by Granville Perkins, and appeared in the “New England Magazine” for April, 1898, as it has elsewhere. Its comparative fidelity to fact, and its spirited treatment, alike commend it to those familiar with the subject, as par excellence the modern artistic picture of the MAY-FLOWER, although somewhat fanciful, and its rig, as Captain Collies observes, “is that of a ship a century later than the MAY-FLOWER; a square topsail on the mizzen,” he notes, “being unknown in the early part of the seventeenth century, and a jib on a ship equally rare.” Halsall’s picture of “The Arrival of the MAY-FLOWER in Plymouth Harbor,” owned by the Pilgrim Society, of Plymouth, and hung in the Society’s Hall, while presenting several historical inaccuracies, undoubtedly more correctly portrays the ship herself, in model, rig, etc., than do most of the well-known paintings which represent her. It is much to be regretted that the artist, in woeful ignorance, or disregard, of the recorded fact that the ship was not troubled with either ice or snow on her entrance (at her successful second attempt) to Plymouth harbor, should have covered and environed her with both.

Answering, as the MAY-FLOWER doubtless did, to her type, she was certainly of rather “blocky,” though not unshapely, build, with high poop and forecastle, broad of beam, short in the waist, low “between decks,” and modelled far more upon the lines of the great nautical prototype, the water-fowl, than the requirements of speed have permitted in the carrying trade of more recent years. That she was of the “square rig” of her time–when apparently no use was made of the “fore-and-aft” sails which have so wholly banished the former from all vessels of her size–goes without saying. She was too large for the lateen rig, so prevalent in the Mediterranean, except upon her mizzenmast, where it was no doubt employed.

The chief differences which appear in the several “counterfeit presentments” of the historic ship are in the number of her masts and the height of her poop and her forecastle. A few make her a brig or “snow” of the oldest pattern, while others depict her as a full-rigged ship, sometimes having the auxiliary rig of a small “jigger” or “dandy- mast,” with square or lateen sail, on peak of stern, or on the bow sprit, or both, though usually her mizzenmast is set well aft upon the poop. There is no reason for thinking that the former of these auxiliaries existed upon the MAY-FLOWER, though quite possible. Her 180 tons measurement indicates, by the general rule of the nautical construction of that period, a length of from 90 to 100 feet, “from taffrail to knighthead,” with about 24 feet beam, and with such a hull as this, three masts would be far more likely than two. The fact that she is always called a “ship”–to which name, as indicating a class, three masts technically attach–is also somewhat significant, though the term is often generically used. Mrs. Jane G. Austin calls the MAY-FLOWER a “brig,” but there does not appear anywhere any warrant for so doing.

At the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum) at Washington, D. C., there is exhibited a model of the MAY-FLOWER, constructed from the ratio of measurements given in connection with the sketch and working plans of a British ship of the merchant MAY-FLOWER class of the seventeenth century, as laid down by Admiral Francois Edmond Paris, of France, in his “Souvenirs de Marine.” The hull and rigging of this model were carefully worked out by, and under the supervision of Captain Joseph W. Collins (long in the service of the Smithsonian Institution, in nautical and kindred matters, and now a member of the Massachusetts Commission of Inland Fisheries and Game), but were calculated on the erroneous basis of a ship of 120 instead of 180 tons measurement. This model, which is upon a scale of 1/2 inch to 1 foot, bears a label designating it as “The ‘MAYFLOWER’ of the Puritans” [sic], and giving the following description (written by Captain Collins) of such a vessel as the Pilgrim ship, if of 120 tons burthen, as figured from such data as that given by Admiral Paris, must, approximately, have been. (See photographs of the model presented herewith.) “A wooden, carvel-built, keel vessel, with full bluff bow, strongly raking below water line; raking curved stem; large open head; long round (nearly log-shaped) bottom; tumble in top side; short run; very large and high square stern; quarter galleries; high forecastle, square on forward end, with open rails on each side; open bulwarks to main [spar] and quarter-decks; a succession of three quarter- decks or poops, the after one being nearly 9 feet above main [spar] deck; two boats stowed on deck; ship-rigged, with pole masts [i. e. masts in one piece]; without jibs; square sprit sail (or water sail under bowsprit); two square sails on fore and main masts, and lateen sail on mizzenmast.”

Dimensions of Vessel. Length, over all, knightheads to taffrail, 82 feet; beam, 22 feet; depth, 14 feet; tonnage, 120; bowsprit, outboard, 40 feet 6 inches; spritsail yard, 34 feet 6 inches; foremast, main deck to top, 39 feet; total length, main [spar] deck to truck, 67 feet 6 inches; fore-yard, 47 feet 6 inches; foretopsail yard, 34 feet 1 2 inches; mainmast, deck to top, 46 feet; total, deck to truck, 81 feet; main yard, 53 feet; maintopsail yard, 38 feet 6 inches; mizzen mast, deck to top, 34 feet; total, deck to truck, 60 feet 6 inches; spanker yard, 54 feet 6 inches; boats, one on port side of deck, 17 feet long by 5 feet 2 inches wide; one on starboard side, 13 feet 6 inches long by 4 feet 9 inches wide. The above description “worked out” by Captain Collins, and in conformity to which his putative model of the “MAY FLOWER” was constructed, rests, of course, for its correctness, primarily, upon the assumptions (which there is no reason to question) that the “plates” of Admiral Paris, his sketches, working plans, dimensions, etc., are reliable, and that Captain Collins’s mathematics are correct, in reducing and applying the Admiral’s data to a ship of 120 tons. That there would be some considerable variance from the description given, in applying these data to a ship of 60 tons greater measurement (i.e. of 180 tons), goes without saying, though the changes would appear more largely in the hull dimensions than in the rigging. That the description given, and its expression in the model depicted, present, with considerable fidelity, a ship of the MAY-FLOWER’S class arid type, in her day,–though of sixty tons less register, and amenable to changes otherwise,–is altogether probable, and taken together, they afford a fairly accurate idea of the general appearance of such a craft.

In addition to mention of the enlargements which the increased tonnage certainly entails, the following features of the description seem to call for remark.

It is doubtful whether the vessels of this class had “open bulwarks to the main [spar] deck,” or “a succession of three quarter-decks or poops.” Many models and prints of ships of that period and class show but two. It is probable that if the jib was absent, as Captain Collins believes (though it was evidently in use upon some of the pinnaces and shallops of the time, and its utility therefore appreciated), there was a small squaresail on a “dandy” mast on the bowsprit, and very possibly the “sprit” or “water-sail” he describes. The length of the vessel as given by Captain Collins, as well as her beam, being based on a measurement of but 120 tons, are both doubtless less than they should be, the depth probably also varying slightly, though there would very likely be but few and slight departures otherwise from his proximate figures. The long- boat would be more likely to be lashed across the hatch amidships than stowed on the port side of the deck, unless in use for stowage purposes, as previously suggested. Captain Collins very interestingly notes in a letter to the author, concerning the measurements indicated by his model: “Here we meet with a difficulty, even if it is not insurmountable. This is found in the discrepancy which exists between the dimensions–length, breadth, and depth–requisite to produce a certain tonnage, as given by Admiral Paris and the British Admiralty. Whether this is due to a difference in estimating tonnage between France (or other countries) and Great Britain, I am unable to say, but it is a somewhat remarkable fact that the National Museum model, which was made for a vessel of 120 tons, as given by Admiral Paris who was a Frenchman, has almost exactly the proportions of length, depth, and breadth that an English ship of 180 tons would have, if we can accept as correct the lists of measurements from the Admiralty records published by Charnock . . . . In the third volume of Charnock’s ‘History of Marine Architecture,’ p. 274., I find that a supply transport of 175 tons, built in 1759, and evidently a merchant ship originally, or at least a vessel of that class, was 79.4 feet long (tonnage measure), 22.6 feet beam, and 11.61 feet deep.” The correspondence is noticeable and of much interest, but as the writer comments, all depends upon whether or not “the measurement of the middle of the eighteenth century materially differed in Great Britain from what it was in the early part of the previous century.”

Like all vessels having high stems and sterns, she was unquestionably “a wet ship,”–upon this voyage especially so, as Bradford shows, from being overloaded, and hence lower than usual in the water. Captain John Smith says: “But being pestered [vexed] nine weeks in this leaking, unwholesome ship, lying wet in their cabins; most of them grew very weak and weary of the sea.” Bradford says, quoting the master of the MAY- FLOWER and others: “As for the decks and upper works they would caulk them as well as they could, . . . though with the working of the ship, they would not long keep staunch.” She was probably not an old craft, as her captain and others declared they “knew her to be strong and firm under water;” and the weakness of her upper works was doubtless due to the strain of her overload, in the heavy weather of the autumnal gales. Bradford says: “They met with many contrary winds and fierce storms with which their ship was shrewdly shaken and her upper works made very leaky.” That the confidence of her master in her soundness below the water-line was well placed, is additionally proven by her excellent voyages to America, already noted, in 1629, and 1630, when she was ten years older.

That she was somewhat “blocky” above water was doubtless true of her, as of most of her class; but that she was not unshapely below the water-line is quite certain, for the re markable return passage she made to England (in ballast) shows that her lower lines must have been good. She made the run from Plymouth to London on her return voyage in just thirty-one days, a passage that even with the “clipper ships” of later days would have been respectable, and for a vessel of her model and rig was exceptionally good. She was “light” (in ballast), as we know from the correspondence of Weston and Bradford, the letter of the former to Governor Carver–who died before it was received–upbraiding him for sending her home “empty.” The terrible sickness and mortality of the whole company, afloat and ashore, had, of course, made it impossible to freight her as intended with “clapboards” [stave-stock], sassafras roots, peltry, etc. No vessels of her class of that day were without the high poop and its cabin possibilities,–admirably adapting them to passenger service,–and the larger had the high and roomy topgallant forecastles so necessary for their larger crews. The breadth of beam was always considerably greater in that day than earlier, or until much later, necessitated by the proportionately greater height (“topsides”), above water, at stem and stern. The encroachments of her high poop and forecastle left but short waist-room; her waist-ribs limited the height of her “between decks;” while the “perked up” lines of her bow and stern produced the resemblance noted, to the croup and neck of the wild duck. That she was low “between decks” is demonstrated by the fact that it was necessary to “cut down” the Pilgrims’ shallop–an open sloop, of certainly not over 30 feet in length, some 10 tons burden, and not very high “freeboard”–“to stow” her under the MAY-FLOWER’S spar deck. That she was “square-rigged” follows, as noted, from the fact that it was the only rig in use for ships of her class and size, and that she had “topsails” is shown by the fact that the “top-saile halliards” were pitched over board with John Howland, and saved his life. Bradford says: “A lustie yonge man (called John Howland) coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was with a seele of ye shipe throwne into ye sea: but it pleased God yt he caught hould of ye top-saile halliards which hunge over board & rane out at length yet he held his hould . . . till he was haled up,” etc. Howland had evidently just come from below upon the poop- deck (as there would be no “grattings” open in the waist to receive the heavy seas shipped). The ship was clearly experiencing “heavy weather” and a great lurch (“seele”) which at the stern, and on the high, swinging, tilting poop-deck would be most severely felt, undoubtedly tossed him over the rail. The topsail halliards were probably trailing alongside and saved him, as they have others under like circumstances.

Whether or not the MAY-FLOWER had the “round house” under her poop-deck, —a sort of circular-end deck-house, more especially the quarters, by day, of the officers and favored passengers; common, but apparently not universal, in vessels of her class,–we have no positive knowledge, but the presumption is that she had, as passenger ships like the PARAGON (of only 140 tons), and others of less tonnage, seem to have been so fitted!

It is plain that, in addition to the larger cabin space and the smaller cabins,–“staterooms,” nowadays,–common to ships of the MAY-FLOWER’S size and class, the large number of her passengers, and especially of women and children, made it necessary to construct other cabins between decks. Whether these were put up at London, or Southampton, or after the SPEEDWELL’S additional passengers were taken aboard at Plymouth, does not appear. The great majority of the men and boys were doubtless provided with bunks only, “between decks,” but it seems that John Billington had a cabin there. Bradford narrates of the gunpowder escapade of young Francis Billington, that, “there being a fowling-piece, charged in his father’s cabin [though why so inferior a person as Billington should have a cabin when there could not have been enough for better men, is a query], shot her off in the cabin, there being a little barrel of powder half- full scattered in and about the cabin, the fire being within four feet of the bed, between the decks, . . . and many people gathered about the fire,” etc.

Whatever other deductions may be drawn from this very badly constructed and ambiguous paragraph of Bradford, two things appear certain,–one, that Billington had a “cabin” of his own “between decks;” and the other, that there was a “fire between decks,” which “many people” were gathered “about.” We can quite forgive the young scamp for the jeopardy in which he placed the ship and her company, since it resulted in giving us so much data concerning the MAY-FLOWER’S “interior.” Captain John Smith’s remark, already quoted, as to the MAY-FLOWER’S people “lying wet in their cabins,” is a hint of much value from an experienced navigator of that time, as to the “interior” construction of ships and the bestowal of passengers in them, in that day, doubtless applicable to the MAY-FLOWER.

While it was feasible, when lying quietly at anchor in a land-locked harbor, with abundance of fire-wood at hand, to have a fire, about which they could gather, even if only upon the “sand-hearth” of the early navigators, when upon boisterous seas, in mid-ocean, “lying . . . in their cabins” was the only means of keeping warm possible to voyagers. In “Good Newes from New England,” we find the lines:–

“Close cabins being now prepared, With bred, bief, beire, and fish, The passengers prepare themselves, That they might have their wish.”

Her magazine, carpenter’s and sailmaker’s lockers, etc., were doubtless well forward under her forecastle, easily accessible from the spar-deck, as was common to merchant vessels of her class and size. Dr. Young, in his “Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers” (p. 86, note), says: “This vessel was less than the average size of the fishing-smacks that go to the Grand Banks. This seems a frail bark in which to cross a stormy ocean of three thousand miles in extent. Yet it should be remembered that two of the ships of Columbus on his first daring and perilous voyage of discovery, were light vessels, without decks, little superior to the small craft that ply on our rivers and along our coasts . . . . Frobisher’s fleet consisted of two barks of twenty-five tons each and a pinnace of ten tons, when he sailed in 1576 to discover a north-west passage to the Indies. Sir Francis Drake, too, embarked on his voyage for circumnavigating the globe, in 1577, with five vessels, of which the largest was of one hundred, and the smallest fifteen tons. The bark in which Sir Humphrey Gilbert perished was of ten tons only.” The LITTLE JAMES, which the Company sent to Plymouth in July, 1623, was “a pinnace of only forty-four tons,” and in a vessel of fifty tons (the SPEEDWELL), Martin Pring, in 1603, coasted along the shores of New England. Goodwin says: “In 1587 there were not in all England’s fleet more than five merchant vessels exceeding two hundred tons.” The SPARROW-HAWK wrecked on Cape Cod in 1626 was only 40 feet “over all.” The Dutch seem to have built larger vessels. Winthrop records that as they came down the Channel, on their way to New England (1630), they passed the wreck of “a great Dutch merchantman of a thousand tons.”

The MAY-FLOWER’S galley, with its primitive conditions for cooking, existed rather as a place for the preparation of food and the keeping of utensils, than for the use of fire. The arrangements for the latter were exceedingly crude, and were limited to the open “hearth-box” filled with sand, the chief cooking appliance being the tripod-kettle of the early navigators: This might indeed be set up in any part of the ship where the “sand-hearth” could also go, and the smoke be cared for. It not infrequently found space in the fore castle, between decks, and, when fine weather prevailed, upon the open deck, as in the open caravels of Columbus, a hundred years before. The bake-kettle and the frying-pan held only less important places than the kettle for boiling. It must have been rather a burst of the imagination that led Mrs. Austin, in “Standish of Standish,” to make Peter Browne remind poor half-frozen Goodman–whom he is urging to make an effort to reach home, when they had been lost, but had got in sight of the MAY-FLOWER In the harbor–of “the good fires aboard of her.” Moreover, on January 22, when Goodman was lost, the company had occupied their “common-house” on shore. Her ordnance doubtless comprised several heavy guns (as such were then reckoned), mounted on the spar-deck amid ships, with lighter guns astern and on. the rail, and a piece of longer range and larger calibre upon the forecastle. Such was the general disposal of ordnance upon merchant vessels of her size in that day, when an armament was a ‘sine qua non’. Governor Winslow in his “Hypocrisie Unmasked,” 1646 (p. 91), says, in writing of the departure of the Pilgrims from Delfshaven, upon the SPEEDWELL: “The wind being fair we gave them a volley of small shot and three pieces of ordnance,” by which it seems that the SPEEDWELL, of only sixty tons, mounted at least “three pieces of ordnance” as, from the form of expression, there seem to have been “three pieces,” rather than three discharges of the same piece.

The inference is warranted that the MAY-FLOWER, being three times as large, would carry a considerably heavier and proportionate armament. The LADY ARBELLA, Winthrop’s ship, a vessel of 350 tons, carried “twenty- eight pieces of ordnance;” but as “Admiral” of the fleet, at a time when there was a state of war with others, and much piracy, she would presumably mount more than a proportionate weight of metal, especially as she convoyed smaller and lightly armed vessels, and carried much value. There is no reason to suppose that the MAY-FLOWER, in her excessively crowded condition, mounted more than eight or ten guns, and these chiefly of small calibre. Her boats included her “long-boat,” with which the experience of her company in “Cape Cod harbor” have made us familiar, and perhaps other smaller boats,–besides the Master’s “skiff” or “gig,” of whose existence and necessity there are numerous proofs. “Monday the 27,” Bradford and Winslow state, “it proved rough weather and cross winds, so as we were constrained, some in the shallop and others in the long-boat,” etc. Bradford states, in regard to the repeated springings- a-leak of the SPEEDWELL: “So the Master of the bigger ship, called Master Jones, being consulted with;” and again, “The Master of the small ship complained his ship was so leaky . . . so they [Masters Jones and Reynolds] came to consultation, again,” etc. It is evident that Jones was obliged to visit the SPEEDWELL to inspect her and to consult with the leaders, who were aboard her. For this purpose, as for others, a smaller boat than the “long-boat” would often serve, while the number of passengers and crew aboard would seem to demand still other boats. Winthrop notices that their Captain (Melborne) frequently “had his skiff heaved out,” in the course of their voyage. The Master’s small boat, called the “skiff” or “gig,” was, no doubt, stowed (lashed) in the waist of the ship, while the “long-boat” was probably lashed on deck forward, being hoisted out and in, as the practice of those days was, by “whips,” from the yardarms. It was early the habit to keep certain of the live- stock, poultry, rabbits, etc., in the unused boats upon deck, and it is possible that in the crowded state of the MAY-FLOWER this custom was followed. Bradford remarks that their “goods or common store . . . were long in unlading [at New Plimoth] for want of boats.” It seems hardly possible that the Admiralty authorities,–though navigation laws were then few, crude, and poorly enforced,–or that the Adventurers and Pilgrim chiefs themselves, would permit a ship carrying some 130 souls to cross the Atlantic in the stormy season, without a reasonable boat provision. The capacity of the “long-boat” we know to have been about twenty persons, as nearly that number is shown by Bradford and Winslow to have gone in her on the early expeditions from the ship, at Cape Cod. She would therefore accommodate only about one sixth of the ship’s company. As the “gig” would carry only five or six persons,–while the shallop was stowed between decks and could be of no service in case of need upon the voyage,–the inference is warranted that other boats were carried, which fail of specific mention, or that she was wofully lacking. The want of boats for unlading, mentioned by Bradford, suggests the possibility that some of the ship’s quota may have been lost or destroyed on her boisterous voyage, though no such event appears of record, or is suggested by any one. In the event of wreck, the Pilgrims must have trusted, like the Apostle Paul and his associates when cast away on the island of Melita, to get to shore, “some on boards and some on broken pieces of the ship.” Her steering-gear, rigging, and the mechanism for “getting her anchors,” “slinging,” “squaring,” and “cockbilling” her yards; for “making” and “shortening” sail; “heaving out” her boats and “handling” her cargo, were of course all of the crude and simple patterns and construction of the time, usually so well illustrating the ancient axiom in physics, that “what is lost [spent] in power is gained in time.”

The compass-box and hanging-compass, invented by the English cleric, William Barlow, but twelve years before the Pilgrim voyage, was almost the only nautical appliance possessed by Captain Jones, of the MAY- FLOWER, in which no radical improvement has since been made. Few charts of much value–especially of western waters–had yet been drafted, but the rough maps and diagrams of Cabot, Smith, Gosnold, Pring, Champlain and Dermer, Jones was too good a navigator not to have had. In speaking of the landing at Cape Cod, the expression is used by Bradford in “Mourt’s Relation,” “We went round all points of the compass,” proving that already the mariner’s compass had become familiar to the speech even of those not using it professionally.

That the ship was “well-found” in anchors (with solid stocks), hemp cables, “spare” spars, “boat-tackling” and the heavy “hoisting-gear” of those days, we have the evidence of recorded use. “The MAY-FLOWER,” writes Captain Collins, would have had a hemp cable about 9 inches in circumference. Her anchors would probably weigh as follows: sheet anchor (or best bower) 500 to 600 lbs.; stream anchor 350 to 400 lbs.; the spare anchors same as the stream anchor.

“Charnock’s Illustrations” show that the anchors used in the MAY-FLOWER period were shaped very much like the so called Cape Ann anchor now made for our deep-sea fishing vessels. They had the conventional shaped flukes, with broad pointed palms, and a long shank, the upper end passing through a wooden stock. [Tory shows in his diagrams some of the anchors of that period with the space between the shank and flukes nearly filled up in the lower part with metal.] Such an anchor has the maximum of holding powers, and bearing in mind the elasticity of the hemp cables then used, would enable a vessel to ride safely even when exposed to heavy winds and a racing sea: There is no doubt, according to the British Admiralty Office,–which should be authority upon the matter,– that the flag under which the MAY-FLOWER, and all other vessels of the merchant marine of Great Britain, sailed, at the time she left England (as noted concerning the SPEEDWELL), was what became known as the “Union Jack,” as decreed by James the First, in 1606, supplanting the English ensign, which had been the red cross of St. George upon a white field. The new flag resulted from the “union” of the crowns and kingdoms of England and Scotland, upon the accession of James VI. of Scotland to the English throne, as James I. of England, upon the death of queen Elizabeth. Its design was formed by superimposing the red cross of St. George upon the white cross of St. Andrew, on a dark blue field; in other words, by imposing the cross of St. George, taken from the English ensign, upon the Scotch flag, and creating there by the new flag of Great Britain.

In a little monograph on “The British Flag–Its Origin and History,” a paper read by its author, Jona. F. Morris, Esq., before the Connecticut Historical Society, June 7, 1881, and reprinted at Hartford (1889), Mr. Morris, who has made much study of the matter, states (p. 4): “In 1603, James VI. of Scotland was crowned James I. of England. The Scots, in their pride that they had given a king to England, soon began to contend that the cross of St. Andrew should take precedence of the cross of St. George, that ships bearing the flag of the latter should salute that of St. Andrew. To allay the contention, the King, on the 12th of April, 1606, ordered that all subjects of Great Britain travelling by sea shall bear at the maintop the red cross of St. George and the white cross, commonly called the cross of St. Andrew, joined together according to a form made by his heralds besides this all vessels belonging to South Britain or England might wear the cross of St. George at the peak or fore, as they were wont, and all vessels belonging to North Britain or Scotland might wear the cross of St. Andrew at the fore top, as they had been accustomed; and all vessels were for bidden to wear any other flag at their peril. The new flag thus designed by the heralds and proclaimed by this order was called the ‘King’s Colors.’ For a long period the red cross had been the colors of English navigators, as well as the badge of English soldiery . . . . No permanent English settlement in America was made until after the adoption of the ‘King’s Colors.’ Jamestown, Plymouth, Salem, and Boston were settled under the new flag, though the ships bringing over settlers, being English vessels, also carried the red cross as permitted.” Mr. Barlow Cumberland, of Toronto, Canada, has also given, in a little monograph entitled “The Union Jack” (published by William Briggs of that city, 1898), an admirable account of the history of the British jack, which confirms the foregoing conclusions. The early English jack was later restored. Such, roughly sketched, was the Pilgrim ship, the renowned MAY-FLOWER, as, drafted from the meagre but fairly trustworthy and suggestive data available, she appears to us of to-day.


In even the little we know of the later history of the ship, one cannot always be quite sure of her identity in the records of vessels of her name, of which there have been many. Dr. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, of Boston, says that “a vessel bearing this name was owned in England about fifteen years or more before the voyage of our forefathers, but it would be impossible to prove or disprove its identity with the renowned MAY- FLOWER, however great such a probability might be. It is known, nevertheless, that–the identical famous vessel afterwards hailed from various English ports, such as London, Yarmouth, and Southampton, and that it was much used in transporting immigrants to this country. What eventually became of it and what was the end of its career, are equally unknown to history.” Goodwin says: “It does not appear that the MAY- FLOWER ever revisited Plymouth, but in 1629 she came to Salem,” with a company of the Leyden people for Plymouth, under command of Captain William Peirce, the warm friend of the Pilgrims, and in 1630 was one of the large fleet that attended John Winthrop, under a different master, discharging her passengers at Charlestown. Nothing is certainly known of her after that time. In 1648 a ship [hereinafter mentioned by Hunter] named the MAY-FLOWER was engaged in the slave trade, and the ill-informed as well as the ill-disposed have sometimes sneeringly alleged that this was our historic ship; but it is ascertained that the slaver was a vessel of three hundred and fifty tons,–nearly twice the size of our ship of happy memory. In 1588 the officials of Lynn (England) offered the “MAY- FLOWER” (150 tons) to join the fleet against the dreaded Spanish Armada. In 1657, Samuel Vassall, of London, complained that the government had twice impressed his ship, MAY-FLOWER, which he had “fitted out with sixty men, for the Straits.” Rev. Joseph Hunter, author of “The Founders of New Plymouth,” one of the most eminent antiquarians in England, and an indefatigable student of Pilgrim history among British archives, says: “I have not observed the name of MAY FLOWER [in which style he always writes it] before the year 1583 . . . . But the name soon became exceedingly popular among those to whom belonged the giving of the names to vessels in the merchant-service. Before the close of that century [the sixteenth] we have a MAY-FLOWER of Hastings; a MAY-FLOWER of Rie; a MAY-FLOWER of Newcastle: a MAY FLOWER of Lynn; and a MAY-FLOWER Of Yarmouth: both in 1589. Also a MAY-FLOWER of Hull, 1599; a MAY FLOWER of London of eighty tons burden, 1587, and 1594, Of which Richard Ireland was the master, and another MAY-FLOWER of the same port, of ninety tons burthen, of which Robert White was the master in 1594, and a third MAY- FLOWER of London, unless it is the same vessel with one of the two just spoken of, only with a different master, William Morecock. In 1587 there was a MAY-FLOWER Of Dover, of which John Tooke was the master. In 1593 there was a MAY-FLOWER of Yarmouth of 120 tons, of which William Musgrove was the master. In 1608 there was a MAY-FLOWER of Dartmouth, of which Nicholas Waterdonne was the master; and in 1609 a MAY-FLOWER of Middleburgh entered an English port.”

Later in the century we find a MAY-FLOWER of Ipswich, and another of Newcastle in 1618; a MAY-FLOWER of York in 1621; a MAY-FLOWER of Scarborough in 1630, Robert Hadock the master; a MAY-FLOWER of Sandwich the same year, John Oliver the master; a MAY-FLOWER of Dover, 1633, Walter Finnis, master, in which two sons of the Earl of Berkshire crossed to Calais. “Which of these was the vessell which carried over the precious [Pilgrim] freight cannot perhaps be told [apparently neither, unless perhaps the MAY-FLOWER of Yarmouth of 1593, in which case her tonnage is incorrectly given], but we learn from Mr. Sherley’s letter to Governor Bradford’ that the same vessel was employed in 1629 in passing between the two countries, a company of the church at Leyden, who had joined in the first emigration, intending to pass in it to America; and in the same author we find that the vessel arrived in the harbour of Charlestown [N. E.] on July 1, 1630. There was a MAY-FLOWER which, in 1648, gained an unenviable notoriety as a slaver. But this was not the MAY-FLOWER which had carried over the first settlers, it being a vessel Of 350 tons, while the genuine MAY-FLOWER was of only 180 tons.” Of the first of her two known visits, after her voyage with the Pilgrim company from Leyden, Goodwin says: “In August, 1629, the renowned MAY-FLOWER came from England to Salem under Plymouth’s old friend [William] Peirce, and in her came thirty-five Leyden people, on their way to Plymouth.” The number has been in dispute, but the large cost of bringing them, over L500, would suggest that their families must have also come, as has been alleged, but for the following from Governor Bradford’s Letter Book: “These persons,” he says, “were in all thirty-five, which came at this time unto us from Leyden, whose charge out of Holland into England, and in England till the ship was ready, and then their transportation hither, came to a great deal of money, for besides victuals and other expenses, they were all newly apparelled.” Shirley, one of the Adventurers, writing to Governor Bradford in 1629, says: “Here are now many of your friends from Leyden coming over. With them also we have sent some servants, or in the ship that went lately (I think called the TALBOT), and this that these come in is the MAY-FLOWER.” All that Higginson’s journal tells of her, as noted, is, that “she was of Yarmouth;” was commanded by William Peirce, and carried provisions and passengers, but the fact that she was under command of Captain Peirce of itself tells much. On her next trip the MAY-FLOWER sailed from Southampton, in May, 1630, as part of Winthrop’s fleet, and arrived at Charlestown July 1. She was, on this voyage, under command of a new master (perhaps a Captain Weatherby), Captain Peirce having, at this time, command of the ship LYON, apparently in the service of Plymouth Colony. A vessel of this name [MAY-FLOWER] was sailing between England and Boston in 1656. Young says: “The MAY-FLOWER is a ship of renown in the history of the colonization of New England. She was one of the five vessels which, in 1629, conveyed Higginson’s company to Salem, and also one of the fleet which, in 1630, brought over his colony to Massachusetts Bay.”

October 6, 1652, “Thomas Webber, Mr. of the good shipp called the MAYFLOWER of the burden of Two hundred Tuns or there abouts . . . . Rideing at Ancor in the Harber of Boston,” sold one-sixteenth of the ship “for good & valluable Consideracons to Mr. John Pinchon of Springfield Mrchant.” The next day, October 7, 1652, the same “Thomas Webber, Mr, of the good Shipp called the MAY FLOWER of Boston in New England now bound for the barbadoes and thence to London,” acknowledges an indebtedness to Theodore Atkinson, a wealthy “hatter, felt-maker,” and merchant of Boston, and the same day (October 7, 1652), the said “Thomas Webber, Mr. of the good shipp called the MAY FLOWER of the burthen of Two hundred tuns or thereabouts,” sold “unto Theodore Atkinson felt-maker one- sixteenth part as well of said Shipp as of all & singular her masts Sails Sail-yards Ancors Cables Ropes Cords Gunns Gunpowder Shott Artillery Tackle Munition apparrell boate skiffe and furniture to the same belonging.” It is of course possible that this was the historic ship, though, if so, reappearing twenty two years after her last known voyage to New England. If the same, she was apparently under both new master and owner. From the facts that she is called “of Boston in New England” and was trading between that port, “the Barbadoes” and London, it is not impossible that she may have been built at Boston–a sort of namesake descendant of the historic ship–and was that MAY-FLOWER mentioned as belonging, in 1657, to Mr. Samuel Vassall; as he had large interests alike in Boston, Barbadoes, and London. Masters of vessels were often empowered to sell their ships or shares in them. Although we know not where her keel was laid, by what master she was built, or where she laid her timbers when her work was done, by virtue of her grand service to humanity, her fame is secure, and her name written among the few, the immortal names that were not born to die.


Personal inference rather than a verity Transplantation to the “northern parts of Virginia”