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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 following 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
ment, who could speak a few words of English which he had picked up from English sailors fishing at Monhegan, off the Maine coast. In a few days he brought another Indian. By means of these two, the Pilgrims established friendly relations with the great chief Massasoit. They were very anxious to do this because they lost fully half their number a few months after landing.
One hundred Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth in England. One died on the way across the ocean, and one was born. Fifty died the first winter, which was for them a terrible one, on account of the privation and suffering they endured, although the season was a mild one for New England. But weakened as they were, and half starving, not one offered to return in the Mayflower, which set out on her voyage back April 15, 1621.
In the November following, came the ship Barbara from England with more people and more supplies. In August, 1623, the Anne and the Little James arrived. the latter sent out to stay with the colony. All com ing in these ships are counted in with those who came in the Mayflower, and are called the Pilgrim Forefathers.1
1 For a fuller account, see Young's "Chronicles of the Pilgrims."
"THE COURTSHIP OF MILES STANDISH," if intelli gently studied, gives a very good picture of the condi tions under which the settlement of Plymouth was begun, and furthermore a very good portrayal of the character of the Pilgrim Fathers. But to get this clearly in mind, it is necessary that every reference, especially those to the Bible, should be followed up.
After the Reformation was established in England and the Puritans began to multiply, they took the Bible as the source of their information as to what they ought to do and what customs they ought to observe. The Old Testament was read as it had never been read before. They likened themselves and their troubles and their deeds to personages and events of the Bible, and phrases and expressions from it were used in daily speech.
Longfellow has perfectly presented this characteristic of these particular Puritans, called Pilgrims. The poem is full of Biblical references, and as every pupil has easy access to a Bible, there can be no better time for giving him some acquaintance with a book without knowledge of which literature in general cannot be understood. The Pilgrims took the Bible to Plymouth with them, intending to draw from it all measures of government and conduct. So it
appears in the poem, even among the few books of Miles Standish, who was not originally a member of their church. It appears also on the table at the council, when they are discussing the war challenge of the Indians.
In "The Courtship of Miles Standish," Longfellow has not presented the historical facts and events exactly as they occurred. He has used with them what we call poetic license- that is, he has brought them in where they best suited the story, whether they took place in just that order or not. If he were writing history, we should not be willing to have this done. But in poetry it is permitted. The action of the tale is supposed to take place during the first year of the settlement, but in reality the events which are related. occupied the first four years. For instance, the expedition against the Indians on which Miles Standish marched away was not undertaken until the third year. So, too, the converting of their first fort into a church with cannon mounted on its roof was not accomplished until later.
The chief actors in this little love story are Miles Standish, John Alden, and Priscilla Mullins.
In 1584 Queen Elizabeth took the part of the United Provinces (as Holland was then called), which were contending for their independence against Spain. She made a league with them, and sent them men and money. From that time on, there were always