November 26, 2020

The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact was signed shortly after landfall on November 11, 1620. It read:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape-Codd the 11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our sovereigne lord, King James, of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.

* John Carver
* William Bradford
* Edward Winslow
* William Brewster
* Issac Allerton
* Myles Standish
* John Alden
* Samuel Fuller
* Christopher Martin
* William Mullins
* William White
* Richard Warren
* John Howland
* Stephen Hopkins

* Edward Tilley
* John Tilley
* Francis Cooke
* Thomas Rogers
* Thomas Tinker
* John Rigdale
* Edward Fuller
* John Turner
* Francis Eaton
* James Chilton
* John Crackston
* John Billington
* Moses Fletcher
* John Goodman

* Degory Priest
* Thomas Williams
* Gilbert Winslow
* Edmund Margeson
* Peter Browne
* Richard Britteridge
* George Soule
* Richard Clarke
* Richard Gardiner
* John Allerton
* Thomas English
* Edward Dotey
* Edward Leister

The document was created because the Pilgrims were unable to reach the mouth of Hudson Bay, where they planned to settle. So instead they decided to plant a colony at Plymouth, outside of the boundaries of the Virginia colony and far from any English aid. There was considerable rancour and the Compact was written to bind the colonists to the decision they had collectively made.

And after the intial failures of the colony, the bounty of the third year led William Bradford to issue this proclamation of Thanksgiving:

Governor Bradford of Massachusetts made this first Thanksgiving Proclamation three years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth:

"Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the daytime, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings."

William Bradford
Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:49 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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