What you will learn
Group of people who were separatists, they separated from the Church of England and were persecuted, some even executed, for their beliefs.
Group of people who wanted to purify the Church of England but not separate from it, also persecuted for their beliefs.
True or False:
The Pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution when they sailed to America
There were Indians where the Pilgrims landed and lived
If it wasn't for the Indians the Pilgrims wouldn't have made it through the first winter.
The Pilgrims practiced communal socialism
The first Thanksgiving was spent eating with the Indians
Other than the ship's crew, everyone on board the Mayflower was a Pilgrim
History is an interesting thing. Depending on what book you read you'll get a different story about the same event. We've found that if you can read an ORIGINAL SOURCE, someone who was actually there, you're more likely to get a more ACCURATE ACCOUNT of what happened.
Most of the information on this page comes directly from the words of the people who lived it. Nathaniel Morton was the nephew of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. Governor Bradford wrote a History of Plymouth Colony (his transcripts span the years 1620 to 1646), Nathaniel Morton wrote "New England's Memorial." We quote extensively from both. Thomas Prince was also a leader of the Plymouth Colony. He wrote a chronology of the Colony and we've quoted from him. There are original letters from men who were principal participants and we use their words.
You can get "New England's Memorial" by Nathaniel Morton, with Governor Bradford's History of Plymouth Colony and these other men's works at Google Books. Just google "New England's Memorial by Nathaniel Morton" and it will come up. You can browse the entire document and even save it to your own computer. Read the history for yourself.
Sit back and read...you're about to learn a part of your history that
You never knew because your teachers won't tell you
New England's Memorial
by Nathanial Morton
It's interesting to know why Nathaniel Morton decided to write his history of the Plymouth Colony. He says it's for "the glory of God and the good of present and future generations." (dedication page 1) Interestingly, the glory of God and the care of their children is why the Pilgrims ventured from the safety of Holland to America. The more you read Morton and Bradford's words the more you realize just how much they and the rest of the Pilgrims depended upon God and their faith to lead and guide them.
In his narration "To the Christian Reader" Morton also reiterates that there's proof of God's goodness in the planting of His people in New England to commit to writing "his gracious dispensations on that behalf." He goes on to say that there's plenty of proof in "the sacred Scriptures" and in what they have seen and in what their fathers have told them that "we may not hide from our children, showing to the generations to come the praises of the Lord." (Morton, To the Christian Reader, page 1). Again, he's concerned that future generations not forget the goodness of God. He goes on to say "That especially the seed of Abraham his servant, and the children of Jacob his chosen, may remember his marvellous works in the beginning and progress of the planting of New England, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; how that God brought a vine into this wilderness; that he cast out the heathen and planted it; that he made room for it, and caused it to take deep root, and it filled the land; so that it hath sent forth its boughs to the sea and its branches to the river."
He's practically begging future generations not to forget that God did wonderful works and wonders to make sure that the "seed of Abraham his servant and the children of Jacob his chosen" were successful in the new world we call America
Unfortunately, they did forget, but that's for later.
Page 2 of this same section Morton, like the other Godly leaders of Plymouth Colony, gives the glory to God. Among the reasons he lists for writing his chronicle he says, "that as especially God may have the glory of all, unto whom it is most due." And in the very next paragraph he reiterates this point by saying that the main reason for publishing his history is so "that God may have his due praise." But Morton also wants to ensure that God's "servants, the instruments, have their names embalmed, and the present and future ages may have the fruit and benefit of God's great work, in the relation of the first planting of New England."
Don't miss this, again, Morton mentions the present and future "ages." He somehow knows that people of future generations are going to forget what God has done. They're going to forget the "who" of their planting in New England.
God isn't going to get the glory!
Sure, history books tell us that the Pilgrims believed in God. We all know that. But usually those history books make the Pilgrims look like religious zealots and bigots. God is used as a weapon. We don't get the goodness of God in the Pilgrim story. Not in secular history books.
Read on. You'll see where God saved the Pilgrims, over and over again. And where your history books never told you the truth.
First Save: God Saves the Pilgrims -- In Holland
That's right. Most people don't know, or don't remember, that the Pilgrims were in Holland when they left for America and had been for ten years. England was persecuting people who went against the Catholic Church. So, according to Morton, "In the year 1602, divers godly Christians of our English nation...entered into covenant to walk with God." (p. 9) He says that they had found "by experience" that they could "not peaceably enjoy their own liberty in their native country, without offence to others that were differently minded." and so they decided to move to the Netherlands. (p. 10). Unfortunately, this took several years for them to accomplish and so it wasn't until the year 1610 that they moved to Leyden, Holland.
The only remaining wing of the original Scrooby Manor House. William Brewster resided here and this is the place where the Pilgrims first met in secret following their separation from the Church of England. Photo by Eugene A. Fortine.
Scrooby, England is where the Pilgrims were originally from. This site has photos of the churches they belonged to before becoming Separatists.
Now get this people, in Holland the Pilgrims had religious freedom! That's right. God saved the Pilgrims from England to Holland. That was His first divine saving of the Pilgrims. Morton says that in Holland "they continued divers years in a comfortable condition, enjoying much sweet society and spiritual comfort in the ways of God, living peaceable amongst themselves, and being courteously entertained and lovingly respected by the Dutch." (p. 10)
In England they were being persecuted and executed
Holland was multicultural and had religious freedom. As a matter of fact, the Jews from the Spanish Inquisition had settled in great numbers in Holland because they had the freedom to practice their religion. Holland welcomed the English with open arms. Morton says "this church was at peace, and in rest at this time" and that they "did quietly and sweetly enjoy their church liberties" when they decided to go to America. (p. 11)
Leiden is known as the City of Refugees. Starting around 1600 Queen Elisabeth I of England followed by her successor, King James I, persecuted the English Calvinists that wanted to separate from the Anglican Church of which the King was the head. These Calvinists were called Separatists. By fleeing to Holland they benefited from the relative religious freedom there.
In 1608 a group of English Separatists from Nottinghamshire boarded a Dutch ship just off the English coast. The friends and relations they left behind got the government's permission, after a spell in jail, to join them in Holland. The group settled in Amsterdam. A considerable number of them left Amsterdam in 1609 to move to Leiden, the second city in Holland and home of its famous university.
The reverend John Robinson and about a hundred others sent a petition to the Leiden city council to ask for permission to settle in the city. Although strictly speaking permission to settle wasn't needed, the petition was answered by a letter, dated 12th of February 1609, which contained the following meaningful passage: 'No honest persons are refused free and liberal entry to the city...to make their home here.'
February 12, 1609 document granting permission for the Pilgrims to reside in Leiden
Robinson and his companions bought a piece of land near the Pieterskerk (St. Peter's church), called the Groene Poort (Green Close). They built 21 little houses, so that it became known as the English Alley. Later (1683) the houses were razed and the Jean Pesijn almshouses were built on this spot.
Pilgrims who were crucial to the history of the group, apart from John Robinson, are William Brewster and his adopted son William Bradford.
William Brewster was an elder of the church and the most important person behind the publishing activities of the Pilgrim Press (1617-1619). William Bradford was, for many years, the governor of the Pilgrim colony in North America. His manuscript Of Plymouth Plantation is still the most important source of knowledge of the Pilgrims.
Site of John Robinson House, Leyden, Holland
So why leave? Why risk going across the ocean to a new country into the unknown? Remember, they were going to where the British were! They were risking going back to British domination. Jamestown had been establish in 1607 and they knew it. So what was worth this great risk? What could have prompted them? Morton lists five reasons on pages 11 and 12 of his history:
One: The Dutch spoke a different language and after ten years they had been unable to "reform the neglect of observation of the Lord's day as a sabbath, or any other think amiss among them." The Dutch were liberal, even back then! The Pilgrim Church was conservative. After ten years they still didn't mix.
Two: Everyday life in Holland was hard and when others from England came to join them it was financially difficult for them.
Three: Their children were going the way of Holland, the way of the world, "tending to dissoluteness and the destruction of their souls, to the great grief of their parents, and the dishonor of God." Holland was a "place being of great licentiousness and liberty to children, they could not educate them, nor could they give them due correction without reproof or reproach from their neighbors." They wanted to raise their children in the ways of God.
Four: They wanted their posterity to be English, not Dutch.
Five: They wanted to advance the gospel of the kingdom of Christ and thought this would be a stepping-stone for others in this work.
Morton says that these are "the true reasons of their removal, and not as some of their adversaries did, upon the rumor thereof, cast out slanders against them; as if the state were weary of them, and had rather driven them out." He goes on to say that "it was their own free choice and motion" to leave Holland. Morton gives two examples. He says that, although some of the Pilgrims were poor, the Dutch observed that "they were diligent, faithful, and careful of their engagements, had great respect to them, and strove for their custom." The second example was that the magistrates of the city of Leyden where they lived said that "These English...have lived now amongst us ten years, and yet we never had any suit or accusation against them, or any of them." (page 12, 13).
This is one of the greatest lies that our history books teach us
Our Pilgrim forefathers did not flee religious persecution when they came to the New World!
Our Pilgrim forefathers had fled religious persecution when they left England ten years previously
The Pilgrims were not leaving religious persecution in Holland
Multicultural Holland was not a fit for our Godly Pilgrim forefathers
The Pilgrims were leaving the multicultural liberalism of Holland that was ruining their children
They were fleeing religious freedom!
Satan, the great adversary, started this lie right at the beginning! And Morton tried to squash this lie but it didn't work. It's still believed today.
Second Save: God Protected the Mayflower
Before the Pilgrims did anything else they spent "solemn days of humiliation observed both in public and private." It was then agreed that part of the church would go ahead of the rest to prepare the way. (p. 13) In other words, for days they prayed, both at home and at church, asking God what His will was for them. Not just one or two prayers. But days in prayer. Bradford says "and first, after their humble prayers unto God for his direction and assistance" they consulted about where to go. (p. 263) They knew about the Spaniards and French in Florida (p. 264) They knew the English were in Virginia. They thought about Guiana but the tropical climate had disease. But after days spent with God in supplication and prayer they made their decision. When was the last time you spent days in prayer, asking God for guidance before making an important decision?
The Pilgrims had agents go to England and negotiate on their behalf to obtain a patent for the northern part of Virginia, which included the Hudson River at that time. Now here's a part of the history that we know most people definitely aren't aware of. The Pilgrims went to the New World only with permission from the King of England. That's right. They had a "patent", permission, or license, granting them rights to colonize a certain area, namely, northern parts of Virginia. They also had the backing of investors with the Virginia Company. The Separatists rejected an offer to settle under the auspices of the Dutch Government in New Amsterdam and instead approached King James who refused to give them an official patent, but said that if they went to Jamestown he "would not molest them, provided they carried themselves peaceably." The Separatists feared that they would be persecuted if they joined the English colony in Virginia, so rejected this offer too.
Finally Thomas Weston, a London merchant, offered a proposal. He had heard that the Plymouth branch of the Virginia Company had asked for a patent to settle "Northern Virginia" at the mouth of the Hudson River. This seemed like a good location for the Separatists because it was far away from Jamestown and the established Church, and was near the more tolerant Dutch.
A group of English investors known as "merchant adventurers" agreed to finance the voyage and settlement. They formed a joint-stock company with the colonists in which they would "adventure" or risk their money in exchange for the settlers' personal labor for a period of seven years. During that time, all land and livestock were to be owned in partnership. At the end of seven years, the company would be dissolved and the assets divided.
Weston found seventy investors, but in the end only a small number of Separatists were willing to risk their lives making a dangerous voyage to an unknown land. Weston solved the problem by recruiting others who were sympathetic to the Separatist cause, but were primarily interested in relocating in the New World for economic reasons. http://www.mccarterfamily.com/mccarterpage/stories/stephen_hopkins/intro.htm
At the last minute the Virginia Company changed some of the conditions of the agreement. This caused some people "distraction." Many were afraid that going this way "might prove dangerous, and but a sandy foundation." (p. 265) "But some of the chiefest thought otherwise" according to Bradford. (p. 265) Obviously cooler heads prevailed. "and seeing, therefore, the course is probable, they must rest herein on God's providence, as they had done in other things." (p. 265) Yet some still wouldn't go to England from Holland, others that had offered to finance the trip "withdrew and pretended many excuses." (p. 279) Yet a core group, that trusted in the hand of God, pushed forward.
These people had made it their habit to trust in God. And as you shall see, this habit will serve them well in the weeks, months and years ahead. God will not fail His people when they cry out to Him in need.
More on the patent later.
Mayflower replica made in England in 1955-1956
Painting of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor
Once they had their patent the Pilgrims negotiated for two ships. Since they were still living in the Netherlands they hired a ship called the Speedwell to take them from Delft Haven, the Netherlands, to Southampton, England. This ship was not only to transport them to America but it was to stay a year in order to be used for fishing and "other affairs as might be for the good and benefit of the colony." (p. 14) The second ship was hired at London and in July 1620 sailed from London to Southampton to begin loading food and supplies for the voyage. The Mayflower was larger than the Speedwell, about 90 feet long and 24 feet wide! The captain was named Christopher Jones and there were about 30 crew. Together both ships would sail for Northern Virginia.
Chest brought by William Brewster
Can you imagine trying to decide what to bring with you? Most of your possessions would have to be left behind. They were short of money, and so had very little with them but the necessities of life. In August 1620, a letter written by some of the Mayflower passengers as they lie in Southampton, England, wrote "we are forced to sell away £60 worth of our provisions, ... scarce having any butter, no oil, not a sole to mend a shoe nor every man a sword by his side, wanting many muskets, much armor, etc." We do know from written accounts that they had some Holland cheese, some dried beef, salt pork, biscuit (hard tack), wheat, peas, oil, and butter. The only known animals brought on the Mayflower were two dogs, a mastiff and an English spaniel, primarily for hunting, though it is possible they brought some chickens or pigs. The first goats, cattle, and oxen did not begin arriving at Plymouth until several years later, and horses were not to be seen for several more years. Some passengers brought a good number of books, a few expectant mothers brought cradles. While there may have been a few wooden chests, most other furniture was built after arrival from local materials.
Cradle brought by William and Susanna White for their soon-to-be born son, Peregrine, first child born in colony
Once preparations were made "the Pilgrims had a solemn day of humiliation." Part of the time the pastor preached and "the rest of the time was spent in pouring out of prayers unto the Lord, with great fervency, mixed with abundance of tears." (p. 14) A whole day spent in prayer and supplication to God. Again, when was the last time we spent a whole day with God, asking for guidance? And just as they were leaving their pastor, John Robinson, and those with him fell down on their knees and prayed for them. (p. 15) Over and over again we get how much they relied on God for their strength and guidance.
Of the 110 passengers and crew on the Mayflower, only 37 of them were from the Pilgrim congregation in Holland! That's right. The rest were "adventurers", planters hired by the Virginia Company to accompany the Pilgrims on their journey. And there were eighteen servants! Yet all became known as Pilgrims once they reached the New World. Pilgrims and adventurers left from Southampton, England on August 5, 1620. Not a good time of year, in our opinion. Seems as if spring would have been better. And here is where Satan starts his new mischief. The master of the smaller vessel, Mr. Reynolds, said that he had a leak. So they had to stop and make repairs. On August 21 they set out again. They sailed about 300 miles out to sea and again Mr. Reynolds said he had a leak. So they had to turn around and sail back to Plymouth, England. Nothing could be found but the two ship's captains decided the ship was weak and couldn't make the trip. According to Morton the problem was that Reynolds had decided that he didn't want to stay the year in America and backed out of his agreement. (p. 20) Finally the smaller ship had to be dismissed. The cargo on the Speedwell was transferred to the Mayflower. Some passengers quit and went back with the Speedwell. The rest crammed themselves onto the now overcrowded Mayflower and continued the voyage. But by this time valuable time had been lost.
It wasn't until September 6 that the Mayflower again left England and headed for America. They had been living on the ship for over a month by this time and had a long voyage ahead of them. We all know the story of how fierce storms battered the Mayflower. At one point one of the main beams was bowed and cracked and they feared having to turn back. But it was repaired and they sailed on. Morton says that they had "many boisterous storms in which they could bear no sail, but were forced to lie at hull many days together." Finally they made it to Cape Cod and made land on November 9, 1620. What do you suppose is the first thing they did when they finally made land on the 11th? "They fell upon their knees, and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from many perils and miseries." (p. 21) They gave God the glory due Him and the thanks He deserved.
Pilgrim's route from the Netherlands to England and return route of the Speedwell
Route of Mayflower
Third Save: God Cleared the Indians From Cape Cod
But wait a minute, weren't they headed for Northern Virginia? Well, actually, they were. But "Northern Virginia" were as far north as present day New York. They were actually heading for the Hudson River Valley. They knew about the Hudson River from living in the Netherlands, since the Dutch had been exploring the area for several years. And it's this northern area of Virginia that they intended to settle. In fact, considering all the storms they went through, they didn't miss the Hudson River by much. Again, Satan thought to thwart their plans but God is sovereign and in control.
The 1620 border between Virginia and New England
Notice on the map that Northern Virginia of 1620 includes modern day New York city, including the Hudson River. This is where the Pilgrims intended to land. But storms, man, Satan, and of course the providence of God, sent them elsewhere.
Morton tells us that the landing in Cape Cod was partly because of the storms but also because of the "fraudulency and contrivance" of Mr. Jones, the ship's captain. (p. 22) Evidently the Dutch wanted to put a colony of their own along the Hudson River but hadn't gotten around to it yet and had "fraudulently hired the said Jones, by delays, while they were in England, and now under pretense of the danger of the shoals" to keep the Pilgrims from their original location. Four years later, in 1624, the Dutch do begin their own colony. In the meantime, Morton tells us that "God outshoots Satan oftentimes in his own bow" because if they had gone to the Hudson River it would have been very dangerous for them because of the "multitude of pernicious savages".
Well, weren't there Indians at Cape Cod? NO!
Years before the Pilgrims arrived God cleared out a safe spot for them
Now, why don't your history books tell you that? Because it doesn't fit in with their world view. It just wouldn't work if the Pilgrims, by the hand of God, landed in the New World and by God's miraculous wonders survived and thrived.
It's much more politically correct if the poor, stupid Pilgrims would have died without the aid of the smart, helpful Indians
The absolute, historical truth is that
"God so disposed, that the place where they afterwards settled was much depopulated by a great mortality amongst the natives, which fell out about two years before their arrival, whereby he made way for the carrying on of his good purpose in promulgating of his gospel as aforesaid." (p. 22) Morton later tells us that during their first winter half of the Pilgrims die. Of those that did survive, "there was sometimes but six or seven sound persons who (to their great commendation be it spoken) spared no pains night nor day to be helpful to the rest." He continues by saying that this would have been the perfect "opportunity for the savages to have made a prey of them, who were wont to be most cruel and treacherous people in all these parts, even like lions; but to them they were as lambs, God striking a dread in their hearts, so that they received no harm from them." (p. 37)
What's the story? Well, in 1617 the country of the Pawkuunawkut Indians was completely depopulated by some kind of a plague. Then in 1618 there was a comet that lasted on the horizon for a month. Even though the plague was not extensive the surrounding Indians equated the comet with the plague. The plague only depopulated the place where the Pilgrims would land in 1620. The Indians died so fast that they didn't have time to bury their dead. The other Indian tribes became afraid of the area and wouldn't go near the place. So when the Pilgrims landed they had a spot prepared for them by God. A place that the Indians feared. A place of safety.
Morton now wants to remind the reader of God's goodness towards these people. Remember, they landed in November. He reminds the reader that "they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succor." (p. 22) Can we possibly imagine! "What could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men?" (p. 23) Morton asks the question, "what could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?" (p. 23) And that's the question we should be asking. Why do we allow falsehood to creep into our history, into our theology, into our lives? Nothing should sustain us but the spirit of God and His grace!
These men and women were ready to perish in this wilderness. "But they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voice and looked on their adversity." (p. 23) Once again we see these brave men and women turning to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for their strength and guidance.
You can read the story for yourself but we'll try and be brief. Their patent is now void. Remember, they were supposed to be in the northern part of Virginia. Technically they had no right to be where they were at. So the men on the ship gathered together and drew up what is now called the Mayflower Compact. It was signed by 41 men on November 11, 1620, before they ever left the Mayflower. The document was drawn up in response to "mutinous speeches" that had come about because the Pilgrims had intended to settle in Northern Virginia, but the decision was made after arrival to instead settle in New England. Since there was no government in place, some felt they had no legal obligation to remain within the colony and supply their labor. The Mayflower Compact attempted to temporarily establish that government until a more official one could be drawn up in England that would give them the right to self-govern themselves in New England. The Pierce Patent of 1621 replaced the 1620 Virginia Patent. John Pierce, one of the Merchant Adventurers, secured it from the Council for New England in London. The patent gave the Mayflower colonists permission to settle in New England. The patent is the oldest extant state document in New England.
No original exists. This is a copy written down by William Bradford
1621 Pierce Patent
They chose Mr. John Carver to be their governor for that year and set out to find a place to live. They sent some men from the ship who found a deserted Indian camp. In the camp was seed corn without which they wouldn't have had anything to plant the next season. They praised the Lord for this. They decided they had found their spot. The next morning, after "seeking guidance and protection from God by prayer" (p. 32) they set out again only to be attacked by some Indians. But after having arrows flying all around them, none were hurt. "Thus is pleased God to vanquish their enemies, and to give them deliverance." (p. 33) They decided they better get back in the Mayflower and find a different place to land. After sailing for some hours it began to snow and rain and the wind increased and the sea became rough. The rudder broke and two men tried to steer with oars. Then the mast broke in three pieces and their sail fell overboard. After coming such a long ways, were they to die while so close to their goal? "By God's mercy they recovered themselves" and struck into the harbor. But the pilot had never seen the place! But they continued in and this is where Plymouth Colony, by the hand of God, made her settlement.
On the 25th of December they began to make a house for common use. By then at least three people had died and within three months half would be dead. If there had been Indians, all would be dead and history would be much different.
Fourth Save: God Brought Squanto
That first winter in the New World was a difficult one for the Pilgrims. They lost half of their people. Morton doesn't tell us but we're sure they must have cried out to God often in prayer and supplication, seeking His guidance.
Morton does tell us that "the Indians...would show themselves afar off, but when they endeavored to come near them they would run away." Not what your history books have told you! Oh no. History tells us that if it wasn't for the Indians the Pilgrims wouldn't have lasted that first winter. The truth is, the Pilgrims, other than being attacked by the Indians, didn't have one encounter with Indians until "about the 16th of March, 1621." (p. 39) Then one day an Indian named Samoset came "boldly among them and spoke to them in broken English, 'Welcome Englishmen! Welcome Englishmen!'". (p. 39, 289) Morton tells us that they "marvelled" at this. Samoset told them about the eastern part of the country, the names of the people and how many of them there were. He told them about Squanto, an Indian who could speak better English than himself. Later Samoset came back with some others and told them that Massasoiet, a chief, was coming. When he came they made a leage of peace with him. After the chief left, Squanto stayed. Morton tells us that he was their interpreter "and proved a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond expectation." Squanto showed them how to plant their corn, where to fish, and to procure their commodities." (p. 41) But the truth is that when they encountered their first Indian on March 16, they had already planted their garden by March 7.
Squanto as he may have looked
His name was Tisquantum in his native language. Through English pronunciation he became Squanto. He was a Patuxet tribesman of the Wampanoag Confederation.
photo from the Encyclopedia Britannica Online
The Pilgrims weren't sitting around, waiting either for Indians to save them or to die
They were working for survival
Half had died over the winter
The other half were weak
Yet by March 7 they had a garden planted
Squanto was icing on the cake
God's back-up plan to ensure their survival
Squanto was a native of that area, from the tribe that had been wiped out in the plague. He had been carried to England as a slave several years before and God saved him from the plague that killed his family and friends. Upon returning he found them all gone, except the bones.
God saved Squanto to aid the Pilgrims
One Indian helped the Pilgrims -- no more
Squanto stayed with them until he died in December of 1622.
Now the Pilgrims did eventually trade with other Indians. But saying that these Indians "saved" the Pilgrims is just wrong. Trade happened between peoples all the time. And by saying that the Pilgrims couldn't trade with whatever people they encountered would be saying you couldn't go to your local market to "trade" your money for food or clothes or gas for your car so that you can "survive." It's absurd. The Pilgrims took advantage of their environment, the way you do.
Fifth Save: God Brought Ships
According to the chronology by Thomas Prince, on July 16, 1622, their number was about one hundred, "all in health (that is, free from sickness, though not from weakness)." (p. 300) Their ground was well planted with corn and their gardens with "useful fruits." That summer two ships had arrived with people for a plantation in the Massachusetts Bay. One ship left for Virginia, leaving their sick people behind. The Plymouth Colony houses and feeds them when they can scarcely feed themselves. Prince's chronology states that these people "exceedingly waste and steal our corn, and yet secretly revile us." (p. 301) The colony is glad to see them go.
Their harvest should have replenished their food supply. Yet when harvest time came, Morton states "it arose but to a little in comparison of a whole year's supply." (p. 55) Prince says that "our crop proving scanty, partly through weakness for want of food, to tend it, partly through other business, and partly by much being stolen, a famine must ensue next year, unless prevented." (p. 301)
Notice that the people were "weak for want of food." They were starving. They were into their second harvest season in the New World and should have had food. Page 297 tells us that "all the summer (of 1621) no want, while some were trading, others were fishing cod, bass, etc. We now gather in our harvest." They also gathered water fowl and wild turkies with venison. Prince says that they 'fit our houses against winter, are in health and have all things in plenty." (p. 297)
Then on November 9, a year to the day since they arrived, another ship arrived. It was the Fortune bringing 35 people, but no provisions. Not only did they have to find room in their dwellings for the newcomers, but they had to share their food. Prince says that this "threatens a famine among us, unless we have a timely supply." (p. 297) The Fortune returns to England and the governor and his assistant "find their provisions will now secure hold out six months at half allowance." (p. 298) By May (1622), their "provision being spent, a famine begins to pinch us, and we look hard for supply, but none arrives." (p. 299)
Finally in May, 1622, another boat arrives, fishing east of them. The governor sent a letter, asking for food. The captain of the ship, Huddleston, spared what he could and asked other fishing ships to do the same. Every person got a quarter of a pound a person per day, till harvest. The governor had to ration it out or some would have starved. (p. 300) Prince tells us that they also dig for shell fish or "they must have perished." (p. 300)
Did you get this?!
God supplied a boat that gave the Pilgrims bread
The Pilgrims fished and dug for shell fish
Loaves and Fishes
Don't think the Pilgrims didn't understand the significance of this!
Yet by their second fall they were again starving and only had sixty acres of ground planted. (p. 300) Once again, the Pilgrims are facing starvation.
And God sends a boat
In August Prince says "by an unexpected Providence, come into our harbor two ships." (p. 301) Morton says "but behold now another providence of God" a ship came into the harbor." (p. 55) On this ship was English beads that they could use to trade with the Indians and some knives, also used for trade. Prince says "by which means we are fitted to trade, both for corn and beaver." (p. 301) Morton adds, "and so procured what corn they could." (p. 55)
And they make it through the winter of 1622.
By February of 1623, according to the chronology of Prince, they don't have much corn left. (p. 303) Again, the Pilgrims were facing famine. Something drastic has to be done.
Governor Bradford does it
He altered the Patent for God's glory
He risked everything they had worked for
Yet ensured their survival and a country was born
Conditions of the Patent
Before leaving Leyden, Holland, the Pilgrims engaged in a patent, a contract, with merchants of the Virginia Company. There were ten provisions:
1. Every person that went that was sixteen years old and upward be rated at ten pounds, and the ten pounds equaled a single share.
2. Every person that went in person and furnished himself out with ten pounds, either in money or provisions, be accounted as having twenty pounds in stock, and in the division would receive a double share.
3. The person shall continue their joint-stock and partnership for seven years and during that time all profits and benefits that are gotten shall remain in the common stock until the division.
4. Upon arriving in the New World, they shall choose fit persons to furnish their ships and boats for fishing the sea, the rest should work the land, build houses, plant the ground, and be useful for the colony.
5. At the end of seven years, the capital and the profits, namely the houses, lands, goods, and chattels, are equally divided among the adventurers.
6. If anyone comes to the colony after the first ship, at the end of the seven years they are allowed proportionally according to the time spent.
7. The man who takes his wife, children or servants is allowed for every person, age sixteen and upward, a single share in the division; a double share if he provides them necessaries. If they're between ten and sixteen then two are counted as one, both in transportation and division.
8. If children are under the age of ten they only get fifty acres of unmanured land.
9. If someone dies before the seven years are up, their executors are to divide proportionally their share.
10. All persons in the colony are to have meat, drink and apparel and all provisions out of the common stock and goods of the colony.
The conditions were hard enough but the agents were forced to change two items without the knowledge of the Pilgrims. The original plan called for the colonists to work five days a week for seven years to pay their debt. In the end they would own their houses and a share of the land worth 10 pounds. After five weeks of pressure from the investors, the agents signed a new agreement in which the colonists would work seven days a week for seven years to pay their debt and would own nothing privately, not even the roofs over their heads. Under the new agreement they would risk their lives and work like slaves for seven years with nothing to show for it but their share of land. They also learned that Weston had no clear patent from the Virginia Company and had not even invested his own money in the enterprise.
The altering of those two conditions caused a lot of concern, as previously mentioned. But the agents said without that change they wouldn't have been able to get the patent.
So, what's wrong with this picture?
Do the words communal socialism
or communism have any meaning to you?
Hard to believe, isn't it. The Pilgrims were partners in a joint stock enterprise! And everything was to be equally divided at the end of seven years. They were working together to build their community. Sounds good on the surface. A small number of people going into a new place. It's not as if they got off the boat and went into hotels to live or knocked on doors and asked for a place to stay. They couldn't go down to the local restaurant to eat. They depended on each other for survival.
But the problem is that if everyone is only working in one communal field it makes it too easy not to go to work. The excuses can be, well, someone else will get the job done. I'm too tired. I'm too sick (and we know they certainly were weak and sick).
And that's just what was happening.
By April 1621 they only have twenty acres of Indian corn planted and six acres of barley and peas. Sounds like a lot but put into perspective it's not much. This has to feed not only themselves but others who will arrive. Remember, they are just the first from their group in Holland to come to the New World. They are planning for more to arrive.
And as the years went by, they kept starving. Until Governor Bradford changed to GOD'S WAY. April, 1623 "no supply being heard of nor knowing when to expect any, we consider how to raise a better crop, and not languish still in misery." (p. 307) What do they do? Any youth not married is attached to a family and every family is told to plant for themselves "and trust to themselves for food." (p. 307) At the harvest they had to bring in "a competent portion for the maintenance of public officers, fishermen, etc." (p. 307) Every family was assigned a piece of land according to the number of people in the family. And suddenly everyone was industrious! It had "very good success, makes all industrious, gives content; even the women and children now go into the field to work" (p. 307)
"And much more corn is planted than ever."
Just like God proportioned to the Children of Israel their land, the Pilgrims now each had their own land. And more importantly, they either lived or died by their own work. Each responsible for their own food suddenly made it personal. I either work or die. And work they did!
We're told that when this harvest came, "instead of famine we have plenty, and the face of things is changed to the joy of our hearts; nor has there been any general want of food among us since to this day." (p. 308)
When the Pilgrims changed from man's communal farming to God's way, they didn't want again -- after the harvest
Their trials weren't over yet. And it isn't until May of 1627 that they divide the cattle. In January of 1628, 20 acres of land is distributed to each planter. So even though they changed their way of planting, they were still obligated to the London merchants until the seven years were over.
An imaginary likeness. There are no known portraits.
He published pamphlets about the Calvinist faith and sent them to England. Even in liberal Holland the British had power and he had to go into hiding for two years. He was the senior elder of the Plymouth colony
Governor of the Plymouth Colony
Wrote "Of Plymouth Plantation" which gives us the most accurate historical account of the Pilgrims
First page of Bradford's manuscript "Of Plimoth Plantation"
Sixth Save: God Sends Rain
April, 1623 the Pilgrims plant their corn using God's economic system. But their food is gone. Morton says that "by that time all their corn was planted, all their victuals was spent, and they were only to rest on God's providence; many times at night not knowing where to have any thing to sustain nature the next day." (p. 60) Prince says that for three or four months they had neither bread nor corn, "yet bear our wants with cheerfulness and rest on providence." (p. 308)
They survived by fishing, digging for shell-fish and shooting deer. God did provide. Morton says that "from these extremities the Lord in his goodness preserved both their lives and health; let his holy name have the praise." (p. 61) Their starving, yet praising God.
They, just as their corn appears to be growing into a large crop, "the Lord seemed to threaten them with more and sorer famine by a great drought." (p. 64) There was no rain from May until the middle of July. The heat was great and the corn began to wither away. The drought lasted for twelve weeks and not even the oldest Indian could remember such a time. So what did the Pilgrims do? They "set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer in this great distress." (p. 64) They cried out to their God! This was their habit. They knew their God. He had been faithful to them.
The Indians scoffed. They figured the English were gong to lose their corn and die. But that very day God sent rain. The Pilgrims prayed for about eight or nine hours. Winslow writes that the day started clear and hot, not a cloud in sight. They prayed for eight or nine hours and before they departed it began to rain. Morton adds, "Yet towards evening it began to be overcast, and shortly after to rain." (p. 64) The Indians were astonished. But not the Pilgrims. They rejoiced and blessed God. The rain came "without either wind or thunder, or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance, as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked." Their corn and other fruits were revived.
God Saved the Pilgrims Again
Even the Indians had to admit that, "The Englishman's God is a good God, for he hath heard you, and sent you rain." (p. 65)
Morton says that the Lord sent showers with interchange of warm weather and they had a liberal harvest "after this gracious return of prayers." Had the Pilgrims faltered in their faith? Had their trials over the years caused them to begin to doubt God? Morton doesn't say. But what is clear is that after the Pilgrims changed from communal farming to God's way, a man keeping the fruits of his own labor, there was still a lesson for the Pilgrims to learn.
God forced the Pilgrims to their knees in humiliation and prayer
Then the rains came. If ever a people had cause to be stiff-necked and doubtful, it was the Pilgrims! Yet God had them in His hands and they needed to remember to humble themselves in prayer and reach out in faith to Him.
And God answered in a powerful way
They solemnized a day of Thanksgiving unto the Lord
The Pilgrims prayed for a day for God's help, and they took a day to thank Him
By the end of March 1621 half the Pilgrims had died. The women were hit the hardest. Only four of the original 18 women survived the winter. Can you imagine what that must have been like for them? Of the 102 that landed in November, "scarce fifty remain." (p. 292) We're told that most died in the depth of winter, infect with scurvy and other diseases. Sometimes two or three a day would die, "the living scarce able to bury the dead, the well not sufficient to tend the sick." (p. 292) At times only six or seven would be well enough to work. Of the sailors, half died as well.
Those that survived were going to go on to be some of the toughest people this country has ever seen. They endured hardship, disease and famine like none will ever know. By August 22, 1624 we're told that "at New Plymouth, there are now about one hundred and eighty persons; some cattle and goats, but many swine and poultry; thirty-two dwelling houses." What a difference those hardy, Godly people made in such a short time! Furthermore, "the place it seems is healthful; for in the three last years, notwithstanding their great want of most necesssaries, there hath not one died of the first planters." (p. 311) Those that made it through the first winter, made it.
And they saw the power of God manifest for them in powerful ways. But as time goes on it's easy to forget the providence of God. As life gets easy, memories lapse. History changes.
Morton closes his history by saying that "through the grace of Christ" most of the predecessors "held their integrity in his (Christ's) ways." He wants those that succeed them to "follow their examples so far as they have followed Christ." He says it appears to be happening but he does not want it to be said of them that "indeed God did once plant a noble vine in New England, but it is degenerated into the plant of a strange vine." Instead, he wants it to be said "that the rising generation did serve the Lord all the days of such as in this our Israel are as Joshua's amongst us." (p. 222) He puts the text Joshua 24:31 which says "And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work which the Lord did for Israel." Morton knows that succeeding generations are going to forget, and stop serving the Lord as the first generation of Pilgrims did.
Notice again his prophetic fear that if after all this "such shall forget, and not regard those, his (God's) great works, here presented before them...be they assured he will destroy them, and not build them up." (p. 223) Unfortunately for us today, Morton's prophetic words are coming true. We have forgotten the marvelous deeds and wonderous miracles that God did for our Pilgrim fathers. And we have "degenerated into the plant of a strange vine."
Their names are remembered -- their descendants join special Heritage clubs -- but do we remember why they traveled or God's role in their survival?
John Cooke plaque, last male Mayflower passenger to die
On St. Mary's Church, England
Governor William Bradford
Mayflower Passenger Names:
According to Wikipedia, this is the list of Mayflower passengers:
Allerton, Isaac (wife Mary Norris Allerton, son Bartholomew and daughters Remember and Mary) Mary Norris Allerton died February 25, 1621 giving birth to a stillborn child
Bradford, William (wife Dorothy May Bradford) - Mary died December 7, 1620, she fell overboard while the Mayflower was in the harbor
Brewster, William (wife Mary, sons Love and Wrestling)
Carver, John (wife Catherine Leggett White Carver) - John was first Governor of the Colony. He died in April, 1621, his wife in May or June, 1621
Chilton, James (wife Susanna Chilton, daughter Mary) - James died December 8, 1620, Susanna died during the winter
Cooke, Francis (son, John)
Cooper, Humility, baby daughter of Robert Cooper traveled with her aunt Ann Cooper Tilley, wife of Edward Tilley
Crackstone, John (son John) - father died during the winter
Fletcher, Moses - died during the winter
Fuller, Edward (wife Mrs. Edward Fuller, son Samuel) - Edward and his wife both died during the winter
Fuller, Samuel (brother to Edward)
Goodman, John - died during the winter
Priest, Degory - died January 1, 1621
Rogers, Thomas (son Joseph) - Thomas died during the winter
Sampson, Henry (child traveling with his uncle and aunt Edward and Ann Tilley)
Tilley, Edward (wife Ann Cooper Tilley) - Edward and Ann both died during the winter
TIlley, John (wife Joan Hurst Rogers Tilley, daughter Elizabeth) - John and Joan both died during the winter
Tinker, Thomas (wife Mrs. Thomas Tinker, and a son) - Thomas, his wife and son all died during the winter
Turner, John (and two sons) - John and both sons died during the winter
White, William (wife Susanna, son Resolved. Son Peregrine White was born in Provincetown Harbor on the Mayflower) William died February 21, 1621
Williams, Thomas - died during the winter
Winslow, Edward (wife Elizabeth Barker Winslow) - Elizabeth died march 24, 1621
Planters Recruited by London Merchants:
Billington, John (wife Eleanor, sons John and Francis)
Bitteridge, Richard - died December 21, 1620
Clarke, Richard - died during the winter
Eaton, Francis (wife Sarah, son Samuel) - Sarah died during the winter
Hopkins, Stephen (wife Elizabeth Fisher Hopkins, son by first marriage Giles, daughter by first marriage Constance, daughter Damaris, Oceanus was born en route on the Mayflower)
Margesson, Edmund - died during the winter
Martin, Christopher (wife Mary Prower) - Christopher died January 8, 1621, Mary died during the winter
Mullins, William (wife Alice), daughter Priscilla, son Joseph - William died February 21, 1621, Alice and Joseph died in April, 1621
Prower, Solomon - died December 24, 1620
Rigsdale, John (wife Alice) - John and Alice both died during the winter
Standish, Myles (wife Rose) - Rose died January 29, 1621
Winslow, Gilbert (brother to Edward Winslow who came later)
Men Hired to Stay One Year:
Alden, John - considered a ship's crewman (he was the ship's cooper) but joined settlers
Allerton, John - was to return to England to help the rest of the group immigrate but died in the winter. Unknown if related to the rest of the Allerton family
Ely, Richard - hired as seaman, returned to England after his year was up but later returned and died in New England.
English, Thomas - hired to master a shallop but died in the winter
Trevore, William - hired as seaman and returned to England after his term was up
Thirteen of the 18 people in this category were attached to Pilgrim families, the other five were attached to Non-Pilgrim families.
Butten, William - a "youth", servant of Samuel Fuller and the only person who died during the voyage
Carter, Robert - servant or apprentice to William Mullins, shoemaker - died after February 21, 1621
Dorothy - maidservant of John Carver
Doty, Edward - servant to Stephen Hopkins
Holbeck, William - servant to William White (age under 21) - died during the winter
Hooke, John - age 13, apprenticed to Isaac Allerton - died during the winter
Howland, John - manservant for Governor John Carver (age under 21)
Langemore, John - servant to Christopher Martin (age under 21) - died during the winter
Latham, William - age 11, servant/apprentice to the John Carver family
Lester, Edward - servant to Stephen Hopkins
More, Ellen - age 8, indentured to Edward Winslow - died during the winter
More, Jasper - brother to Ellen, age 7, indentured to John Carver - died December 6, 1620
More, Richard - brother to Ellen and Jasper, age 6, indentured to William Brewster
More, Mary - sister to Ellen, Jasper and Richard, age 4, indentured to William Brewster - died during the winter
Soule, George - teacher of Edward Winslow's children
Story, Elias - in the care of Edward Winslow (under the age of 21) - died during the winter
Thompson, Edward - in the care of the William White family, under age 21, first passenger to die after the Mayflower reached Cape Cod, Dec. 4, 1620
Wilder, Roger - servant to the John Carver family (under age 21) - died during the winter
In all there were 102 passengers on the Mayflower - 74 men and 28 women
According to Thomas Prince's chronology on Marcy 24, 1621, "the first offence since our arrival is of John Billington who came on board at London." Billington, before the whole company, expressed his "contempt of the captain's lawful command with opprobrious (abusive) speeches." Billington was judged "to have his neck and heels tied together." But since it was his first offence and he humbled himself and "craved pardon" he was forgiven. (p. 291)
May 12, 1621, the second offence occurred. Thomas Prince calls it "the first duel fought in New England." (p. 292) Edward Doty and Edward Leister, both servants of Mr. Hopkins, had a challenge of single combat with sword and dagger. Both were injured. They were judged "by the whole company to have their head and feet tied together, and so to lie for twenty-four hours, without meat or drink." But once the punishment started, "within an hour, because of their great pains, at their own and their master's humble request" the governor released them once they promised to behave themselves.
In October of 1630 the first execution occurred in Plymouth colony. John Billington waylaid and shot John Newcomen, a young man, in the shoulder who then died of his injury. He was found guilty by both grand and petty jury. All concurred that he ought to died, "and the land be purged from blood." (p. 111)
In 1638 three men were executed for robbing and murdering an Indian near Providence. There was evidence against them and they confessed. They were condemned by legal trial. "Some have thought it great severity to hang three English for one Indian; but the more considerate will easily satisfy themselves for the legality of it; and indeed, should we suffer their murderers to go unpunished, we might justly fear that God would suffer them to take a more sharp revenge." Rhode Island apprehended them and delivered them to the jurisdiction of Plymouth on the grounds that the murder was committed in the jurisdiction of Plymouth. Massachusetts refused the trial on the same grounds. (p. 139)
What About Thanksgiving?
What did you learn in school? "The first Thanksgiving was eaten with the Pilgrims and the Indians to thank the Indians for saving the Pilgrims' lives throughout the winter and helping them have a bountiful harvest." We've already proved that to be false.
If you google "history of Thanksgiving" it's interesting what you'll find. You'll of course get information on the proclamation issued by George Washington during his first year as President. It sets aside Thursday, November 26 as "A Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God."
You'll be told that the first recorded Thanksgiving observance was held at Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 29, 1671 by proclamation of the town's governing council.
You'll find out that during the 1700s it was common practice for individual colonies to observe days of thanksgiving throughout each year. These would be days set aside for prayer and fasting, not for gluttony and football.
President Abraham Lincoln, on October 3, 1863, issued a proclamation calling for the observance of the fourth Tuesday of November as a national holiday. In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November in order to extend the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy. After a storm of protest Roosevelt moved it back to the fourth Thursday in November in 1941, where it remains today.
Wikipedia will tell you that the first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony in America was done by the Spaniards in St. Augustine, Florida, September 8, 1565. They immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe delivery to the New World and then had a great feast and celebration. Technically since this eventually became part of the United States, this can be classified as the first Thanksgiving.
The first English Thanksgiving was in 1619 in the Virginia colony. Upstream from Jamestown, English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred with a charter that required them to celebrate an annual day of thanksgiving to God on the day of their arrival, December 4. The Indians massacred nine of the settlers in 1622 as well as 400 from the Virginia Colony. The Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony were made aware of this massacre.
And of course, you'll be told that after their first harvest, the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration of food and feasting with the Indians that lasted three days.
What are our school children taught? They're taught the Pilgrim and Indian story. And that's what most Americans know and believe.
That's what you'll get on the history of Thanksgiving
Artist rendition of the first Thanksgiving feast
Here's the Truth
At the end of the harvest of 1621 the Pilgrims were praising God for their bounty. Morton says absolutely nothing about a Thanksgiving meal with the Indians.
What does Prince say in his chronology? After all, Morton wasn't there yet. Prince says absolutely nothing! Prince does say that all summer they had want of nothing. Some traded, others fished. "We now gather in our harvest...we are in health and have all things in plenty." Nothing about a celebration of the harvest.
So did they celebrate?
Well, the story comes from somewhere. William Bradford writes, "They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports."
This is pretty much what Prince says in his chronology! So what gives? What about the three day party?
It comes from a letter that Edward Winslow wrote dated December 21, 1621. He sent the letter to George Morton in England and it was printed in "Mourt's Relation", London, 1662. Winslow writes: "We set last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six acres of barley and peas. According to the manner of the Indians we manured our ground with herrings (alewives) which we have in great abundance and take with great ease at our doors. Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase in Indian corn. Our barley did indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering. We feared they were too late sown. They came up very well and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might, after a special manner, rejoice together, after we had gathered in the fruits of our labors. They four in one day killed as many fowl as with little help besides, served the Company for almost a week, at which time, amongst our recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their great king the Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted. They went out and killed five deer, which they brought in to the Plantation, and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. Although it not always be so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. -- We have found the Indians very faithful in their Covenant of Peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us. Some of us have been fifty miles into the country by land with them. -- There is now great peace amongst us; and we, for our parts, walk as peaceably and safely in the woods here as in the highways in England. - I never in my life remember a more seasonable year than we have enjoyed. -- If we have but once kine, horses and sheep, I make no question but men might live as contented here, as in any part of the world. -- The country wanteth only industrious men to employ, for it would grieve your hearts to see so many miles together with goodly rivers uninhabited, and withall to consider those parts of the world wherein you live to be seven greatly burdened with abundance of people."
According to http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mosmd/#part4 "this feasting involved the preparation of unusually large quantities of food, some of it unfamiliar. Only four of their married women had survived, and only five teenage girls, three of those being the sole survivors of their families. They must have been extremely industrious and efficient, and they must have worn themselves ragged, trying to fill a hundred and forty demanding stomachs for three days. Sufficient tribute has never been paid to them for making these festivities a success, under such trying conditions. Indeed, even the success of the Colony rested largely in their most capable and devoted hands.
The gathering was enlivened by contests of skill and strength: running, jumping, wrestling. Also, there were games of various kinds. The Indians were probably amazed to learn that the white men could play games not unlike their own. The Indians performed their dances and struck up their singing. Standish put his little army of fourteen men through their military review. Then followed feats of marksmanship, muskets performing against bows and arrows. Then Massasoit and his braves headed home at last with a warmth of feeling for his white friends which survived even the harsh tests to which it was soon subjected.
Thus they elaborately celebrated the prospect of abundance until their next harvest."
They're entertaining and feasting. This is not the Pilgrims saying to the Indians, "We're going to thank you for saving our lives, come to a meal." The Pilgrims are having a harvest festival like those held in their homeland. The Indians are lucky enough to "partake of our plenty."
God is thanked
Not the Indians
the Pilgrims simply
Share God's goodness with the Indians!
Definitely not the traditional Thanksgiving story. Amazing how twisted that story has become!
Here's the true Pilgrim Thanksgiving
Only Wikipedia tells about Governor Bradford's Thanksgiving Proclamation, the true first Thanksgiving Proclamation in the New World. And then only in passing. This is what Wikipedia says:
"The Pilgrims did not hold a true Thanksgiving until 1623, when it followed a drought, prayers for rain, and a subsequent rain shower. Irregular Thanksgivings continued after favorable events and days of fasting after unfavorable ones. In the Plymouth tradition, a thanksgiving day was a church observance, rather than a feast day."
They're right. There was no annual Thanksgiving until President Washington.
But Governor Bradford issued the first proclamation in 1623. And here's what it said:
Inasmuch as the Great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forest to abound with game, and the sea with fish and dams, and inasmuch that He protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from the 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 little ones, do gather at ye meeting house on ye hill between the hours of nine and twelve in the day time on Thursday, November ye twenty-ninth, of the year of our Lord one thousand, six hundred 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.
Signed, William Bradford, Governor
Notice, the first Thanksgiving proclamation was for meeting together to give thanks to God for all His blessings, on a Thursday, the end of November.
The Pilgrims had suffered famine, hunger and starvation. They had lost half of their original number. But God had saved them in miraculous ways. And now they had just brought in an abundant harvest. And they wanted to give Him thanks and glory.
No food...and no Indians. Just God's people giving Him humble thanks
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So, how did you do on your true/false questions?
True or False:
1. The Pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution when they sailed to America
FALSE. The Pilgrims were fleeing religions freedom and multicultural liberalism.
2. There were Indians where the Pilgrims landed and lived
FALSE. God miraculously cleared the land of Indians by plague years earlier.
3. If it wasn't for the Indians the Pilgrims wouldn't have made it through the first winter.
FALSE. God and the Pilgrims hard work got them through the first winter. No Indians were seen until March of the next year.
4. The Pilgrims practiced communal socialism
TRUE. Until they changed to God's way, every may benefiting from his own work, they suffered famine.
5. The first Thanksgiving was spent eating with the Indians
FALSE. The first Thanksgiving was spent praising and thanking God for his goodness.
6. Other than the ship's crew, everyone on board the Mayflower was a Pilgrim
FALSE: Only 37 were from the Pilgrim Church. The rest were either hired planters or servants
Now you know the truth
Morton was right to be concerned
The Pilgrim descendants forgot their Heritage
for more information see http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/index.php and http://www.mayflowerfamilies.com/ and http://www.pilgrimhall.org/bradjour.htm
Read also "The Light and the Glory" by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (Fleming 11, Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1997)