Septr: 6. These troubls being blowne over, and now all being compacte togeather in one shipe, they put to sea againe with a prosperus winde, which continued diverce days togeather, which was some incouragemente unto them; yet according to ye usuall maner many were afflicted with sea-sicknes. . . .

After they had injoyed faire winds and weather for a season, they were incountred many times with crosse winds, and mette with many feirce stormes, with which ye shipe was shroudly shaken, and her upper works made very leakie; and one of the maine beames in ye midd ships was bowed & craked, which put them in some fear that ye shipe could not be able to performe ye vioage. So some of ye cheefe of ye company, perceiving ye mariners to feare ye suffisiencie of ye shipe, as appeared by their mutterings, they entred into serious consulltation with ye mr. & other officers of ye ship, to consider in time of ye danger; and rather to returne then to cast them selves into a desperate & inevitable perill. And truly ther was great distraction & differance of opinion amongst ye mariners themselves; faine would they doe what could be done for their wages sake, (being now halfe the seas over,) and on ye other hand they were loath to hazard their lives too desperatly. But in examening of all opinions, the mr. & others affirmed they knew ye ship to be stronge & firme under water; and for the buckling of ye maine beame, ther was a great iron scrue ye passengers brought out of Holland, which would raise ye beame into his place; ye which being done, the carpenter & mr. affirmed that with a post put under it, set firme in ye lower deck, & otherways bounde, he would make it sufficiente.

And as for ye decks & uper workes they would calke them as well as they could, and though with ye workeing of ye ship they would not longe keepe stanch, yet ther would otherwise be no great danger, if they did not overpress her with sails. So they comited them selves to ye will of God, & resolved to proseede. In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so feirce, & ye seas so high, as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were forced to hull, for diverce days togither. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a mighty storme, 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 tope-saile halliards, which hunge over board, & rane out at length; yet he held his hould (though he was sundrie fadomes under water) till he was hald up by ye same rope to ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat hooke & other means got into ye shipe againe, & his life saved; and though he was something ill with it, yet be lived many years after, and became a profitable member both in church & comone wealthe. In all this siage ther died but one of ye passengers, which was William Butten, a youth, servant to Samuel Fuller, when they drew near ye coast. . .

But to omite other things, (that I may be breefe,) after longe beating at sea they fell with that land which is called Cape Cod; the which being made & certainly knowne to be it, they were not a little joyfull. After some deliberation had amongst them selves & with ye Mr. of ye ship, they tacked aboute and resolved to stande for ye southward ye wind & weather being faire) to find some place aboute Hudsons river for their habitation. But after they had sailed yt course aboute half yeday, they fell amongst deangerous shoulds and roring breakers, and they were so farr intangled ther with as they conceived them selves in great danger; & ye wind shrinking upon them withall, they resolved to bear up againe for the Cape, and thought them selves hapy to gett out of those dangers before night overtooke them, as by Gods providence they did. And ye next day they gott into ye Cape harbor wher they ridd in saftie.2 A word or too by ye way of this cape; it was thus first named by Capten Gosnole & his company, Ano: 1602, and after by Capten Smith was caled Cape James; but it retains ye former name amongst sea-men. Also yt pointe which first shewed those dangerous shoulds unto them, they called Point Care, & Tuckers Terrour; but yt French & Dutch to this day call it Malabarr, by reason of those perilous shoulds, and ye losses they have suffered their.

Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries thereof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente. And no Marvell if they were thus joyefull, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few Miles on ye coast of his owne Italy; as he affirmed, that he had rather remaine twentie years on his way by land, then pass by sea to any place in a short time; so tedious & dreadfull was ye same unto him. . . .

But hear I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amased at this poore peoples presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he well considers ye same. Being thus passed ye vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembred by yt which wente before), they had now no freinds to well come them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire too, to seeke for succoure. It is recorded in scripture as a mercie to ye apostle & his shipwraked company, yt the barbarians shewed them no smale kindnes in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they mette with them (as after will appeare) were readier to fill their sids full of arrows then otherwise. And for ye season it was winter, and they that know ye winters of yt cuntrie know them to be sharp & violent, & subjecte to cruell & feirce stormes, deangerous to travill to known places, much more to serch an unknown coast. Besids, what could they see but a hidious & desolate wildernes, full of wild beasts & willd men? and what multituds ther might be of them they knew not. Nether could they, as it were, goe up to ye tope of Pisgah, to vew from this willdernes a more goodly cuntrie to feed their hops; for which way soever they turnd their eys (save upward to ye heavens) they could have little solace or content in respecte of any outward objects.

For sumer being done, all things stand upon them with a wetherbeaten face; and ye whole countrie, full of woods & thickets, represented a wild & savage view. If they looked behind them, ther was ye mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a maine barr & goulfe to seperate them from all ye civil parts of ye world. If it be said they had a ship to sucour them, it is trew; but what heard they daly from ye mr. & company? but yt with speede they should looke out a place with their shallop, wher they would be at some near distance; for ye season was shuch as he would not stirr from thence till a safe harbor was discovered by them wher they would be, and he might goe without danger; and that victells consumed apace, but he must & would keepe sufficient for them selves & their returne. Yea, it was muttered by some, that if they gott not a place in time, they would turne them & their goods ashore & leave them.

Let it also be considred what weake hopes of supply & succoure they left behinde them, yt might bear up their minds in this sade condition and trialls they were under; and they could not but be very smale. It is true, indeed, ye affections & love of their brethren at Leyden was cordiall. & entire towards them, but they had litle power to help them, or them selves; and how ye case stode between them & ye marchants at their coming away, hath allready been declared. What could now sustaine them but ye spirite of God & his grace? . . .

Being thus arrived at Cape-Codd ye 11. of November, and necessitie calling them to looke out a place for habitation, (as well as the maisters & mariners importunitie,) they having brought a large shalop with them out of England, stowed in quarters in ye ship, they now gott her out & sett their carpenters to worke to trime her up; but being much brused & shatered in ye shipe wth foule weather, they saw she would be longe in mending. Whereupon a few of them tendered them selves to goe by land and discovere those nearest places, whilst ye shallop was in mending; and ye rather because as they wente into yt harbor ther seemed to be an opening some 2. or 3. leagues of, which ye maister judged to be a river. It was conceived ther might be some danger in ye attempte yet seeing them resolute, they were permited to goe, being 16. of them well armed, under ye conduct of Captain Standish, having shuch instructions given them as was thought meete.

They sett forth ye 15. of Nover and when they had marched aboute ye space of a mile by ye sea side, they espied 5. or 6. persons with a dogg coming towards them, who were salvages; but they fled from them, & rane up into ye woods, and ye English followed them, partly to see if they could speake with them, and partly to discover if ther might not be more of them lying in ambush. But ye Indeans seeing them selyes thus followed, they again forsooke the woods, & rane away on ye sands as hard as they could, so as they could not come near them, but followed them by ye tracte of their feet sundrie miles, and saw that they had come the same way. So, night coming on, they made their randevous & set out ther sentinels, and rested in quiete ye night, and the next morning followed their tracte till they had, headed a great creeke, & so left the sands, & turned an other way into ye woods. But they still followed them by geuss, hopeing to find their dwellings; but they soone lost both them & them selves, falling into shuch thickets as were ready to tear their cloaths & armore in peeces, but were most distressed for wante of drinke.

But at length they found water & refreshed them selves, being ye first New-England water they drunke of, and was now in thir great thirste as pleasante unto them as wine or bear had been in for-times. Afterwards they directed their course to come to ye other shore, for they knew it was a necke of land they were to crosse over, and so at length gott to ye sea-side, and marched to this supposed river, & by ye way found a pond of clear fresh water, and shortly after a good quantitie of clear ground wher ye Indeans had formerly set corne, and some of their graves. And proceeding furder they saw new-stuble wher corne had been set ye same year, also they found wher latly a house had been, wher some planks and a great ketle was remaining, and heaps of sand newly padled with their hands, which they, digging up, found in them diverce faire Indean baskets filled with corne, and some in eares, faire and good, of diverce collours, which seemed to them a very goodly sight, (haveing never seen any shuch before).

The month of November being spente in these affairs, & much foule weather falling in, the 6. of Desemr: they sente out their shallop againe with 10. of their principall men, & some sea men, upon further discovery, intending to circulater that deepe bay of Cape-Codd. The weather was very could, & it frose so hard as ye sprea of ye sea lighting on their coats, they were as if they had been glased; yet that night betimes, they gott downe into ye botome of ye bay, and as they drue nere ye shore they saw some 10. or 12. Indeans very busie aboute some thing. They landed about a league or 2. from them, and had much a doe to put a shore any wher, it lay so full of flats. Being landed, it grew late, and they made themselves a barricade with loggs & bowes as well as they could in ye time, & set out their sentenill & betooke them to rest, and saw ye smoake of ye fire ye savages made yt night.

When morning was come they devided their company, some to coast alonge ye shore in ye boate, and the rest marched throw ye woods to see ye land, if any fit place might be for their dwelling. They came also to ye place wher they saw the Indeans ye night before, & found they had been cuting up a great fish like a grampus, being some 2. inches thike of fate like a hogg, some peeces wher of they had left by ye way; and ye shallop, found 2. more of these fishes dead on ye sands, thing usuall after storms in yt place, by reason of ye great flats of sand that lye of. So they ranged up and doune all yt day, but found no people, nor any place they liked. When ye sune grue low, they hasted out of ye woods to meete with their shallop, to whom them made signes to come to them into a creeke hardby, which they did at high-water; of which they were very glad, for they had not seen each other all yt day, since ye morning.

So they made them a barricado (as usually they did every night) with loggs, staks, & thike pine bowes, ye height of a man, leaving it open to leeward, partly to shelter them from ye could & wind (making their fire in ye midle, & lying round aboute it), and partly to defend them from any sudden assaults of ye savags, if they should surround them. So being very weary, they betooke them to rest. But about midnight they heard a hideous & great crie, and their sentinall caled, "Arme, arme"; so they bestired them & stood to their armes, & shote of a cupple of moskets, and then the noys seased. They concluded it was a companie of wolves, or such like willd beasts; for one of ye sea men tould them he had often heard shuch a noyse in New-found land. So they rested till about 5. of ye clock in the morning; for ye tide, & ther purposs to goe from thence, made them be stiring betimes. So after praier they prepared for breakfast, and it being day dawning, it was thought best to be carring things downe to ye boate. But some said it was not best to carrie ye armes downe, others said they would be the readier, for they had laped them up in their coats from ye dew.

But some 3. or 4. would not cary theirs till they wente them selves, yet as it fell out, ye water being not high enough, they layed them downe on ye banke side, & came up to breakfast. But presently, all on ye sudain, they heard a great & strange crie, which they knew to be the same voyces they heard in ye night, though they varied their notes, and & one of their company being abroad came runing in, & cried, "Men, Indeans, Indeans"; and wth all, their arowes came flying amongst them. Their men rane with all speed to recover their armes, as by ye good providence of God they did. In ye mean time, of those that were ther ready, two muskets were discharged at them, & 2. more stood ready in ye entrance of ther randevoue, but were comanded not to shoote till they could take full aime at them; & ye other 2. charged againe with all speed, for ther were only 4. had armes ther, & defended ye baricado which was first assalted. The crie of ye Indeans was dreadfull, espetially when they saw ther men rune out of ye randevoue towourds ye shallop, to recover their armes, the Indeans wheeling aboute upon them. But some runing out with coats of malle on, & cutlasses in their hands, they soone got their armes, & let flye amongs them, and quickly stopped their violence.

Yet ther was a lustie man, and no less valiante, stood behind a tree within halfe a musket shot, and let his arrows flie at them. He was seen shoot 3. arrowes, which were all avoyded. He stood 3. shot of a musket, till one taking full aime at him, and made ye barke or splinters of ye tree fly about his ears, after which he gave an extraordinary shrike, and away they wente all of them. They left some to keep ye shalope, and followed them aboute a quarter of a mile, and shouted once or twise, and shot of 2. or 3. peces, & so returned. This they did, that they might conceive that they were not affrade of them or any way discouraged. Thus it pleased God to vanquish their enimies, and give them deliverance; and by his spetiall providence so to dispose that not any one of them were either hurte, or hitt, though their arrows came close by them, & on every side them, and sundry of their coats which hunge up in ye barricado, were shot throw & throw. Aterwards they gave God sollamme thanks & praise for their deliverance, & gathered up a bundle of their arrows, & sente them into England afterward by ye mr. of ye ship, and called that place ye first encounter.

From hence they departed, and costed all along, but discerned no place likly for harbor; & therfore hasted to a place that their pillote, (one mr. Coppin who had bine in ye cuntrie before) did assure them was a good harbor, which he had been in, and they might fetch it before night; of which they were glad, for it begane to be foule weather. After some houres sailing, it begane to snow & raine, & about ye midle of ye afternoone, ye wind increased, & ye sea became very rough, and they broake their rudder, & it was as much as 2. men could doe to steere her with a cupple of oares. But their pillott bad them be of good. cheere, for he saw ye harbor; but ye storme increasing, & night drawing on, they bore what saile they could to gett in, while they could see. But herwith they broake their mast in 3 peeces, & their saill fell over bord, in a very grown sea, so as they had like to have been cast away; yet by Gods mercie they recovered themselves, & having ye floud with them, struck into ye harbore. But when it came too, ye pillott was deceived in ye place, and said, ye Lord be merciful unto them, for his eys never saw yt place before; & he & the mr. mate would have rune her ashore, in a cove full of breakers, before ye winde. But a lusty seaman which steered, bad those which rowed, if they were men, about with her, or ells they were all cast away; the which they did with speed. So he bid them be of good cheere & row lustly, for ther was a faire sound before them, & he doubted not but they should find one place or other wher they might ride in saftie.

And though it was very darke, and rained sore, yet in ye end they gott under ye lee of a smalle iland, and remained ther all yt night saftie. But they knew not this to be an iland till morning, but were devided into their minds; some would keepe ye boate for fear they might be amongst ye Indians; others were so weake and could, they could not endure, but got ashore, & with much adoe got fire, (all things being so wett,) and ye rest were glad to come to them; for after midnight ye wind shifted to the north-west, & it frose hard. But though this had been a day & night of much trouble & danger unto them, yet God gave them a morning of comforte and refreshing (as usually he doth to his children), for ye next day was a faire sunshinig day, and they found them selvs to be on an iland secure from ye Indeans, wher they might drie their stufe, fixe their peeces, & rest them selves, and gave God thanks for his mercies, in their manifould deliverances. And this being the last day of ye weeke, they prepared ther to keepe ye Sabath. On Munday they sounded ye harbor, and founde it fitt for shipping; and marched into ye land, & found diverse cornfeilds, & little runing brooks, a placed (as they supposed) fitt for situation; at least it was ye best they could find, and ye season, & their presente necessitie, made them glad to accept of it. So they returned to their shipp againe with this news to ye rest of their people, which did much comforte their harts.

On ye 15. of Desemr. they wayed anchor to goe to ye place they had discovered, & came within 2. leagues of it, but were faine to bear up againe; but ye 16. day ye winde came faire, and they arrived safe in this harbor.3 And afterwards took better view of ye place, and resolved wher to pitch their dwelling; and ye 25. day begane to erecte ye first house for comone use to receive them and their goods. . . .

I shall a litle returne backe and begine with a combination made by them before they came ashore, being ye first foundation of their governmente in this place; occasioned partly by ye discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them had let fall from them in ye ship--That when they came ashore they would use their own libertie; for none had power to comand them, the patente they had being for Virginia, and not for New-england, which belonged to an other Government, with which ye Virginia Company had nothing to doe. And partly that shuch an acte by them done (this their condition considered) might be as firme as any patent, and in some respects more sure. The forme was as followeth:

"In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by ye Grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland king, defender of ye faith, &c., having undertaken, for ye glorie of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves together into a civill body politick, for our better ordering & preservation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just & equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness wherof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape-Codd ye11. of November, in ye year of England, Franc, & Ireland ye eighteenth, and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom. 1620. "

1William Bradford had already been a leading member of a little dissenting congregation in England, when, in 1608, it fled from England to Holland, and in 1620 settled at Plymouth, Mass. A year after the arrival at Plymouth Bradford was elected Governor of the Colony, and, with the exception of two short intervals, held this office until his death nearly forty years afterward.

Bradford's "History of Plymouth" is a classic in New England historical literature--the foundation-stone in fact, of the history of New England. A curious item in the survival of the manuscript is that, at the time of the evacuation of Boston by the British during the Revolution, it disappeared mysteriously, to be discovered eighty years afterward in the palace of the Bishop of London. More than forty years after this discovery, the manuscript was restored by the diocese of London to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, which now preserves it in the State Library in Boston.
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2Now known as Provincetown, where a lofty monument on a hill back of the harbor, dedicated in 1910, commemorates the landing there of the Pilgrim Fathers. While the Mayflower lay, in this harbor Paregrine White was born, the first child of English parentage born in New England.
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3The landing at Plymouth was effected on December 21.
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© 2002 by Lynn Waterman