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the next year or two, they managed to slip away and gather in Amsterdam, where they proceeded to organize a church. However, things proved unsatisfactory there, and at the end of a year they moved again, this time to Leyden, which was not far away. Here they settled down and remained twelve years, winning golden opinions from the Dutch government for their industry and their peaceful lives.
These English Puritans were mainly of the respectable middle class, farmers and handicraftsmen. Leyden was a great woollen-manufacturing centre, and in the course of their stay there, they all became more or less expert in the different branches of that trade, that is, in spinning, weaving, carding, etc. Also in carpentering, rope-making, and many other kinds of work that is done with the hands. Here, too, they were joined by fugitive Protestants from France, called Huguenots. These people were famous for their ability in silkweaving. Dutch weavers also became part of their company. It was probably owing in large part to their skill in these trades that they were enabled to found later a successful colony in America. To open a new country you must have workers, people who know how to do things.
After a time it became evident to the leaders among these Puritans that their little band would have to move again. They saw that it was hard for their people to make a living in Holland, and moreover, they were in danger of losing their nationality. They could foresee that when their children grew up, they would very likely marry among the Dutch, probably learn to speak the Dutch language and drop their own, and in time be wholly absorbed into the Dutch nation. Then, too, in religious matters, outside habits and customs, with regard to the observance of the Sabbath, for instance, were sure to creep in. So if they wished to preserve both their religion and their nationality, although the Dutch were the best people they could settle among for the purpose, still it would be better to settle in a country without other inhabitants.
Moreover, they had been hearing better things of America. In the very year of their escape to Holland, the first permanent English colony had been settled at Jamestown, Virginia. And while they did not Wish to get very near this colony on account of their religion, still if they went to America now, it would be a comfort to know that they were not the only English people living on that side of the world. Then, too, Henry Hudson had made his famous voyage up the Hudson River and had brought back a glowing account of it. And they began to think that they might settle there, and if they did, it would be far enough away from Jamestown to suit their purpose.
So they sent some agents to King James, asking if he would let them go to America and settle on the land he claimed to own there. They told him that they
wished to remain loyal Englishmen, and hinted that in time their trade might become valuable to him. The king, of course, would have nothing to say officially to heretics, but inasmuch as he could no longer have the pleasure of harrying these particular heretics in his own dominions, they were given to understand privately that they might go. And they began with mingled joy and sorrow to make their preparations for departure.
In England they had been called Separatists, a name against which they protested, saying that they had not separated in the least from what the Church of England believed, but only from the ceremonies which it practised. But as their great objection to it was that it was a national church which everybody had to support, and as they were really trying to separate the Church from the State, they were obliged in the end to submit to bear the name of Separatists. But they said that since they had removed from England to Amsterdam to be free to practise their own religion, and from Amsterdam to Leyden, and were now again about to leave Leyden for America, they looked upon their wanderings as a pilgrimage and themselves as pilgrims, and thus they would call themselves.
They hired a small ship in Holland named the Speedwell, to convey as many of them as it could accommodate to America and remain there with them a year to assist in the coasting trade with the Indians. Another, the Mayflower, was chartered in London, and the two ships were to meet at Southampton and proceed from there together. But the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, and they had to put back. Finally all of her passengers who could be accommodated were taken aboard the Mayflower, which then sailed alone from the English harbor of Plymouth, September 16, 1620. ,
After a slow and wearisome voyage, the Mayflower reached Cape Cod. As they intended to settle about Hudson River, they sailed south from here, but finding themselves among dangerous shoals, they turned back and dropped anchor in what is now known as Provincetown Harbor, on November 21.
Before going ashore, they drew up the famous “Compact,” “ combining ourselves together into a. civil body politic,” and immediately chose Mr. John Carver as governor. The next day was Sunday, which they observed on board the vessel. Monday morning the women went ashore to wash and the men to explore. The first day or two these explorers saw no Indians, but found some buried corn which they dug up and took away, intending to pay the owners for it as soon as they found out to whom it belonged. A few days later, as they were exploring further down the coast, they were suddenly attacked by Indians, whom they easily beat off. Probably these were the owners of the corn, who, finding it gone, and not knowing that the Pilgrims intended to pay for it, looked upon them as marauders, and so attacked them. During the follow. ing winter the Pilgrims did discover to whom the corn belonged, and paid for it.
They continued their explorations around Cape Cod, and finally entered Plymouth Bay and made a landing. This was the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, December 21, 1620, and the rock on which they stepped ashore is still to be seen at Plymouth. Having brought the Mayflower around, they immediately set to work building their small town, erecting first a common house for the accommodation of all until separate houses could be built for the different families. They called the place Plymouth, partly because it had already been called so by Captain John Smith of the Virginia colony who had explored this coast, and partly because Plymouth was the last English town which befriended them.
They occasionally saw Indians at a distance, but were quite unmolested for over a year. The reason for this they found out later. It seems that three or four years before the coming of the Pilgrims, a plague had carried off the whole of the tribe which owned the land about Plymouth, with the exception of one man. So there were none left to feel that the white men were taking their land from them. On March 26, 1621, a friendly Indian named Samoset came into the settle