Touching the plantacon which wee here haue begun, it fell out thus about the yeare 1627 some friends beeing togeather in Lincolnesheire, fell into some discourse about New England and the plantinge of the gospell there; and after some deliberation, we imparted our reasons by l'res [letters] & messages to some in London & the west country where it was likewise deliberately thought vppon [upon], and at length with often negociation soe ripened that in the year 1628. wee procured a patent from his Ma'tie for our planting between the Matachusetts Bay, and Charles river on the South; and the River of Merimack on the North and 3 miles on ether side of those Rivers & Bay, as allso for the government of those who did or should inhabit within that compass and the same year we sent Mr. John Endecott & some with him to beginne a plantacon & to strengthen such as he should find there which wee sent thether from Dorchester & some places adioyning [adjoining]; ffrom whom the same year receivinge hopefull news.

The next year 1629 wee sent diverse shipps over w'th about 300 people, and some Cowes, Goates & Horses many of which arrived safely. Theis [these] by their too large comendacons [commendations] of the country, and the comodities thereof, invited us soe strongly to goe on that Mr. Wenthropp, of Soffolke (who was well knowne in his own country & well approved heere for his pyety, liberality, wisedome & gravity) comeinge in to us, wee came to such resolution that in April 1630, wee sett saile from Old England with 4 good shipps. And in May following 8 more followed, 2 having gone before in February and March, and 2 more following in June and August, besides another set out by a private merchant. Theis 17 Shipps arrived all safe in New England, for the increase of the plantacon here theis yeare 1630. . . .

Our 4 shipps which sett out in Aprill arrived here in June and July, where wee found the colony in a sadd and unexpected condicon aboue 80 of them being dead the winter before and many of those aliue weake and sicke: all the corne & bread amongst them all hardly sufficient to feed them a fortnight, insoemuch that the remainder of 180 servants wee had the 2 years before sent over, comeinge to vs for victualls to sustaine them wee found ourselves wholly unable to feed them by reason that the p'visions [provisions] shipped for them were taken out of the shipp they were put in, and they who were trusted to shipp them in another failed us, and left them behind; whereupon necessity enforced us to our extreme loss to giue them all libertie; who had cost us about: 16 or 20 £s [sterling] a person furnishing and sending over.

But bearing theis things as wee might, wee beganne to consult of the place of our sitting downe: ffor Salem where wee landed, pleased us not. And to that purpose some were sent to the Bay2 to search vpp the rivers for a convenient place; who vppon their returne reported to haue found a good place vppon Mistick; but some other of us seconding theis to approoue [approve] or dislike of their judgment; we found a place [that] liked vs better 3 leagues vp Charles river--And there vppon vnshipped our goods into other vessels and with much cost and labour brought them in July to Charles Towne; but there receiveing advertisements by some of the late arived shipps from London and Amsterdam of some Ffrench preparations against vs (many of our people brought with vs beeing sick of ffeavers [fevers] & the scurvy and wee thereby vnable to car[r]y vp our ordinance and baggage soe farr) wee were forced to change counsaile and for our present shelter to plant dispersedly, some at Charles Towne which standeth on the North Side of the mouth of Charles River; some on the South Side thereof, which place we named Boston (as wee intended to haue done the place wee first resolved on) some of vs vppon Mistick, which wee named Meadford; some of vs westward on Charles river, 4 miles from Charles Towne, which place wee named Watertoune; others of vs 2 miles from Boston in a place wee named Rocksbury, others vppon the river of Sawgas betweene Salem and Charles Toune. And the westerne men 4 miles South from Boston at a place wee named Dorchester.

This dispersion troubled some of vs, but helpe it wee could not, wanting ability to remove to any place fit to build a Toune vppon, and the time too short to deliberate any longer least [lest] the winter should surprize vs before wee had builded our houses. . . . of the people who came over with vs from the time of their setting saile from England in Aprill 1630. vntill December followinge there dyed by estimacon about 200 at the least -- Soe lowe hath the Lord brought vs! Well, yet they who survived were not discouraged but bearing God's corrections with humilitye and trusting in his mercies, and considering how after a greater ebb hee had raised vpp our neighbours at Plymouth we beganne againe in December to consult about a fitt place to build a Toune [town] vppon, leavinge all thoughts of a fort, because vppon any invasion wee were necessarily to loose our howses when we should retire thereinto; soe after diverse meetings at Boston, Rocksbury and Waterton on the 28th of December wee grew to this resolution to bind all the Assistants Mr. Endicott & Mr. Sharpe excepted, which last purposeth to returne by the next ships into England) to build howses at a place, a mile east from Waterton neere Charles river,3 the next Springe, and to winter there the next yeare, that soe by our examples and by removeinge the ordinance and munition thether, all who were able, might be drawne thether, and such as shall come to vs hereafter to their advantage bee compelled soe to doe; and soe if God would, a fortifyed Toune might there grow vpp, the place fitting reasonably well thereto. . . .

But now haueing some leasure to discourse of the motiues for other mens comeinge to this place or their abstaining from it, after my brief manner I say this --That if any come hether [hither] to plant for worldly ends that canne live well at home hee co[m]mits an errour of which hee will soon repent him. But if for spirittuall [ends] and that noe particular obstacle hinder his removeall, he may finde here what may well content him: vizt: materialls to build, fewell [fuel] to burn, ground to plant, seas and rivers to ffish in, a pure ayer [air] to breath[e] in, good water to drinke till wine or beare canne be made, which togeather with the cowes, hoggs and goates brought hether allready may suffice for food, for as for foule [fowl] and venison, they are dainties here a well as in England. Ffor cloaths and beddinge they must bring them with them till time and industry produce them here. In a word, wee yett enioy [enjoy] little to bee envyed but endure much to be pittyed in the sicknes & mortalitye of our people.

1From Dudley's letter to the Countess of London. Printed in Hart's "Source Book of American History." Dudley came over with Winthrop, and at one time was governor of the Colony.
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2Boston Harbor is here referred to.
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3The place was afterward called Newtown, and is now Cambridge.
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© 2002 by Lynn Waterman