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

    Got anchors, and with fair wind got underway at full tide

    Many wait on the shore to bid goodbye.  Mayflower set colours and gave the Pilgrims a parting salute with the ensign and ordnance.  Cleared the harbour without hindrance, and laid a general course ESE for England with a fine wind.  Took departure from Cape Cod early in the day, shook off the land and got ship to rights before night.  All sails set, with the ship logging her best.

    And so the Mayflower began her speedy, uneventful, homeward run of only thirty-one days (!), arriving in England on 6/16 May 1621, having been absent on her “round-trip voyage” from her sailing port two hundred and ninety-six days.

  • 14 Apr 2021 3:32 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Still at anchor in Plymouth harbour

    Sails loosened and all ready for departure except for the Governor’s letters.  Last visits of shore people to the ship.  The Mayflower will sail with the morning tide, if the wind serves; it has been one hundred and ten days in this harbour.

  • 13 Apr 2021 3:09 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Still at anchorage, but (nearly) ready to sail with a fair wind

    Said goodbyes to Governor Carver and company.  Master Williamson, the ship’s merchant [purser], appointed by William Mullins an overseer of his will, takes a copy to England for probate, with many letters, keepsakes, and other communications to Adventurers and friends.  Very little lading, chiefly skins and roots: the Pilgrims had hoped to load the Mayflower up with goods that could be sold in England.  For the investment of thousands of pounds, all the Adventurers received in return was “a pile of ballast stones and a few native artifacts” (Philbrick, Mayflower, 103).  There was a distinct possibility that they might withdraw further financial support. 

  • 12 Apr 2021 3:12 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Still at anchor, but making last preparations for voyage

    Ship’s officers made farewells on shore.  Governor Carver copied out, and Giles Heale (surgeon) and Christopher Jones (captain) witnessed, William Mullins’ will, to go to England.

  • 11 Apr 2021 4:00 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor in Plymouth harbour 

    The sixteenth Sunday the ship has lain at anchor here, and the last, being nearly ready to sail.  Most of the crew ashore on liberty. In the sixteen weeks the ship has lain here, half of her crew (but none of her officers) have died, and a few are still weak.  Among the petty officers who have died have been the master gunner, boatswain, and three quartermasters, beside the cook, and more than a third of the sailors.  An exceptionally bad voyage for the owner, Adventurers, ship, and crew.  Bradford and Mourt’s Relation mention few (or none) of the crew by name, but the toll above can be calculated from passing references and descriptions in those works.  Given the audience of these two works, and the intention to describe God’s Providence over the settlers in the early days of the colony, this is not all that surprising.

  • 10 Apr 2021 3:36 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchorage

    Setting up rigging, bending light sails; getting ballast and wood from the beach and island.

  • 9 Apr 2021 3:55 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchorage

    Hastening all preparations for sailing.  Getting ballast, etc.  Water butts filled.

    In the past month, according to Bradford’s calculations (as reported in Prince’s Annals), the Pilgrims lost thirteen by death; this makes in total half of their number since November.  With the rising temperatures and increasing sunshine, people are beginning to recover.

  • 8 Apr 2021 3:02 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchorage

    Getting in stores and ballast.

    Master Jones offered to take back any of the colonists who wished to return to England, but none desired to go. There are a number of ways of interpreting this, and it was undoubtedly a combination rather than one single reason: a basic optimism may have led them to believe that the worst was over; a strong commitment to the project may have been in evidence; a desire to stay with the others, with whom they had suffered so much; or perhaps they really had no place to which they could return.  Each passenger who stayed probably had a unique reason, but the only ones who left any written discussion of the colony’s early history are Edward Winslow and William Bradford, and they quite consciously framed their work for a widespread public consideration.  Famously, John Alden, who had been the ship’s cooper, decided to remain and not to go back to England. 

    This was home now.

  • 7 Apr 2021 2:49 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchorage

    The Pilgrims really did not have a whole lot to show for the last six months.  Forty-five dead out of one hundred and two, only a handful of buildings up -- and most of them were not finished, not a single fur-bearing animal trapped, and precisely one (1) single fish caught, and that was found on the shore so you can’t really count it as “caught,” but it more or less threw itself at them.  With the Speedwell back in England, it was impossible to do any serious fishing.  They needed fish nets, hooks, as well as gun powder and other supplies that could not be made on site.  If the Mayflower left soon (and it showed all signs of doing so), it might be able to make it back quickly, and the Adventurers could stock up another ship with supplies and send it back, so that it might arrive by the beginning of September, if they were lucky.  But if the Adventurers were angry that there was no return -- absolutely none -- on their investment, it was impossible to tell when, or if, anything might come.

  • 6 Apr 2021 3:09 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchorage

    Getting ballast, overhauling rigging, getting wood, water, etc., from shore.

    Christopher Jones had certainly not intended to spend the winter in New England: the Mayflower, of which he was part owner, had left England too late in the year, and then the settlers took too long to find a place to settle, and then they took too long to build a place to live and move their goods to shore, and then most of his crew got sick.  Those who did not die were too sick to sail back across the ocean in the winter.  If the Pilgrims had arrived when they were originally supposed to, they would have been able to grow at least a little produce to send back, along with any other commodities that they could have sent back for sale in England (such as furs) to pay back the Adventurers.  The winter was cold, and no work was possible except for what was needed for immediate, hand-to-mouth necessities.  Jones could have waited until the summer, and perhaps have brought back some things, but he clearly was not all that optimistic about what could be produced.  The lack of cargo meant that the ship lacked ballast; it was probably loaded with stones from the beach, but stone was not really something of which England was in need.  And they had run out of beer, so the crew would have to drink water.  All the way back.

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