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Mayflower, Day by Day - Friday, 2 April [1620]/21

2 Apr 2021 3:57 AM | Soule (Administrator)

At anchor

A fair day.  Some of the ship’s company went on shore.  Making ready for sea, getting ballast, wood, and water from the shore, etc. 

Yesterday, it was noted, Massasoit “drank a great draught” of brandy and broke out in a sweat.  The sweat may not have been only because of the alcohol.  He didn’t say all that much, but it was clear not only to Bradford but also to others that Massasoit was trembling with fear.  He was every bit as afraid of the Pilgrims as they were of him.  Yet he was able to agree to a “treaty” of sorts, which held, remarkably (under the circumstances), for more than half a century:

“1. That neither he nor any of his should injure or do hurt to any of our people.

2. And if any of his did hurt to any of ours, he should send the offender, that we might punish him.

3. That if any of our tools were taken away when our people are at work, he should cause them to be restored, and if ours did any harm to any of his, we would do the likewise to them.

4. If any did unjustly war against him, we would aid him; if any did war against us, he should aid us.

5. He should send to his neighbor confederates, to certify them of this, that they might not wrong us, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.

6. That when their men came to us, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them, as we should do our pieces when we came to them.

Lastly, that doing thus, King James would esteem of him as his friend and ally.”  The agreement had a definite downside for the English, however, because the Pokanoket were at war with the Narragansett, and Massasoit was definitely counting on the support of his new friends, who might very soon be dragged into a war between the two tribes, particularly if Massasoit decided to take advantage of the powerful new weaponry to take out the Narragansett in a decisive first strike.

This morning “divers of their people came over to us, hoping to get some victuals as we imagined; some of them told us the king would have some of us come see him. Captain Standish and Isaac Allerton went venturously, who were welcomed of him after their manner: he gave them three or four ground-nuts, and some tobacco.”  They came back safely; this was one of several good signs that the peace agreement was working.  “We cannot yet conceive but that he is willing to have peace with us, for they have seen our people sometimes alone two or three in the woods at work and fowling, when as they offered them no harm as they might easily have done, and especially because he hath a potent adversary the Narragansets, that are at war with him, against whom he thinks we may be some strength to him, for our pieces are terrible unto them. This morning they stayed till ten or eleven of the clock, and our governor bid them send the king's kettle, and filled it full of peas, which pleased them well, and so they went their way.”  

The settlers held a meeting -- finally without being interrupted by Indians appearing --  and concluded both military orders and some laws, and chose as Governor, for the coming year, John Carver, who had been elected Governor in Plymouth (England) on the ship last August, and was confirmed in that office last November.

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