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  • 1 Aug 2021 3:41 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Kept the Sabbath.

    Mayflower at Southampton [Saturday, 1 August 1621]

    Mayflower lying off the West Quay, Southampton.

    Leiden Pilgrims en route to Delfshaven [Saturday, 1 August 1620]

    Passing out of the gates of Delft and leaving the town behind, the Leiden Pilgrims still had a good ten miles of canal journey before them before they reached their ship and came to the final parting, at Delfshaven, their point of embarkation in the Speedwell. Below Delft the canal, which from Leiden is the Vliet, then becomes the Schie, and at the village of Overschie the travellers entered the Delfshaven Canal, which between perfectly straight dykes flows at a considerable height above the surrounding pastures. Then finally passing through one set of sluice gates after another, the Pilgrims were lifted from the canal into a broad receptacle for vessels, then into the outer haven, and so to the side of the Speedwell as it lay at the quay awaiting their arrival. “When they came to the place” [Delfshaven], says Bradford, “they found the ship and all things ready; and such of their friends as could not come with them [from Leiden] followed after them; and sundry also came from Amsterdam (about fifty miles) to see them shipped, and to take their leave of them.”

    The Pilgrim company took their farewells, and Winslow records: “We only going aboard, the ship lying to the key [quay] and ready to sail; the wind being fair, we gave them [their friends] a volley of small shot [musketry] and three pieces of ordnance and so lifting up our hands to each other and our hearts for each other to the Lord our God, we departed.”

    Goodwin says of the parting: “The hull was wrapped in smoke, through which was seen at the stern the white flag of England doubly bisected by the great red cross of St. George, a token that the emigrants had at last resumed their dearly-loved nationality. Far above them at the main was seen the Union Jack of new device.”

  • 31 Jul 2021 3:28 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continuing planting and construction

    Mayflower at Southampton [Friday, 31 July 1620]

    Lying at Southampton.  John Carver, Robert Cushman, and Christopher Martin, three of the agents, are now here.  Outfitting ship, taking in lading, and getting ready for sea.

    Embarkation of the Leiden Pilgrims [Friday, 31 July 1620]

    The initial embarkation was at Leyden, doubtless upon the Dutch canal-boats which brought them from a point closely adjacent to Pastor Robinson’s house in the Klock-Steeg, in the garden of which were the houses of many of them, to Delfshaven.

  • 30 Jul 2021 3:15 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continuing planting and construction

    Mayflower at Southampton [Thursday, 30 July 1620]

    Lying at Southampton off north end of “West Quay.”

    Pilgrims gather for departure at Leiden [Thursday, 30 July 1620]

    Edward Winslow wrote in Hypocrisy Unmasked that “They that stayed at Leiden feasted us that were to go at our pastor’s house, it being large; where we refreshed ourselves, after tears, with singing of Psalms, making joyful melody in our hearts as well as with the voice, there being many of our congregation very expert in music; and indeed it was the sweetest melody that ever mine ears heard.”  Pastor John Robinson preached his last sermon to the whole congregation, a third of which prepared to leave tomorrow; about twenty-five years later, Winslow remembered Robinson saying, “We are now ere long to part asunder, and the Lord knoweth whether ever he should live to see our faces again … he charged us before God and his blessed angels, to follow him no further than he followed Christ; and if God should reveal anything to us by any other instrument of his, to be as ready to receive it, as ever we were to receive any truth by his ministry; for he was very confident that the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth out of his holy word.  He took occasion also miserably to bewail the state and condition of the Reformed churches who were come to a period in religion and would go no further than the instruments of their reformation.”

  • 29 Jul 2021 2:58 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continuing planting and construction.

    Mayflower in Southampton [Wednesday, 29 July 1620]

    The Mayflower arrived at Southampton and came to anchor just outside of the harbour.  Both the Mayflower and the Speedwell would lay at anchor a day or two offshore, before hauling in to the quay.  The Mayflower undoubtedly lay at anchor until after the Speedwell arrived, to save expense.

  • 28 Jul 2021 2:41 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continuing planting and construction.

    Mayflower headed to Southampton [Tuesday, 28 July 1620]

    The Mayflower reaches Southampton Water, a tidal estuary north of the Solent and the Isle of Wight in England.  It was formed by the rivers Test major, Itchen and Hamble minor which flow into it, and became an inlet of the sea at the end of the last ice age when sea levels rose, flooding many valleys in the south of England.

  • 27 Jul 2021 3:20 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continuing planting and construction.

    Mayflower in English Channel [Monday, 27 July 1620]

    Set course S.W. by W.  Favouring wind.  The Speedwell heads for the Netherlands.

  • 26 Jul 2021 3:30 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continuing planting and construction.

    Mayflower at Gravesend [Sunday, 26 July 1620]

    The Mayflower, now at Gravesend, took aboard a pilot for its route down the English Channel.  Favouring wind.

  • 25 Jul 2021 3:16 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Sabbath rest.

    Rested on the Sabbath.  “They assemble by beat of drum, each with his musket or firelock, in front of the captain’s door; they have their cloaks on, and place themselves in order, three abreast and are led by a sergeant without beat of drum. … They march in good order, and each sets his arms down near him.  They are constantly on their guard day and night.” (from a 1628 letter by Isaac de Rasieres, in The Narratives of New Netherlands, ed. J. Franklin Jameson, New York: Scribners, 1909).

    Mayflower departs London [Saturday, 25 July 1620]

    Robert Cushman and Christopher Martin, agents of the chartering party, came aboard the Mayflower this morning at London.  The crew finished lading; the passengers who embarked at London went aboard and got under way for Southampton.  Dropped down the Thames to Gravesend with the tide: vessels leaving the port of London always, in that day, “dropped down with the tide,” tug-boats being unknown, and headway against the tide being difficult in the narrow river by sail power alone.

  • 24 Jul 2021 2:58 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Saturday, 24 July 1621


    Working the land continues in earnest, as well as construction of the few buildings the tiny community was able to erect.  Discussions about what to do with the disintegrating relations among the natives (the captivity of Massasoit and the threatening of Squanto).

    We are now stepping back to 1620, so exactly 401 years ago (remember the change in calendar, so this day would have been 14 July 1620 in the Julian calendar, used in England, and 24 July 1620 in the Gregorian calendar, used in the Netherlands) …

    Preparations [Friday, 24 July 1620]

    Preparations had gone very, very badly.  In a letter of 10 June, the Leiden Pilgrims had complained that a ship had not even been hired or purchased yet, and the group was not being informed about what was being done.  “The colony, even before it began, was fully mortgaged for seven years.  [Robert] Cushman’s justification for having made that arrangement consisted of high flown rhetorical flourishes” (Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, 594).  To make matters worse, in addition to the leaders of the Leiden group seeking to travel as a bridgehead for the congregation, there were three agents in England (Weston, Cushman and Carver), often working at cross purposes and frequently acting without consulting each other: the project was haemorrhaging money.  The Mayflower was finally engaged, and, against Weston and Cushman’s advice, Carver went to Southampton to engage what crew he could at the last minute and assemble provisions.  Plans were made to transport 150 settlers.  The Leiden congregation had decided that only a minority would go: John Robinson, as the minister, would remain, and William Brewster, as the elder, would go.

  • 23 Jul 2021 3:55 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Survivors (part two)

    Only the Hopkins, Billington, and Brewster families survived in their entirety -- actually it is not known when the youngest of the Hopkins family, Damaris and Oceanus, died.  One or both had died by 1623, so it is possible that they did not survive the first winter at Plymouth.  No other family had both father and mother living.  Of the forty-one men who signed the Mayflower Compact, only nineteen still lived; of the nine who did not sign the Compact, there was a better survival rate.  This may have made a difference in the community’s interchanges: the number who signed the Compact slipped from 81% of the adult males to 70%.  Eight children who had come with at least one parent now had none.  Of eighteen adult women, only four survived.  In the spring and the summer they planted their crops within a few hundred feet of the unmarked graves where their friends and family lay.

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