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Soule Kindred In America

Mayflower, Day by Day - Friday, 9 October 1620

9 Oct 2020 2:55 AM | Soule (Administrator)


It is remarkable that, totally unused to any such conditions, wet, cold, poorly fed, overcrowded, storm-tossed, bruised and beaten, anxious, and with no homes to welcome them, exposed to new hardships and dangers on landing, worn and exhausted, any of the Mayflower’s company survived. It certainly cannot be accounted strange that infectious diseases, once started among them, should have run through their ranks like fire, taking both old and young. Nor is it strange that—though more inured to hardship and the conditions of sea life—with the extreme and unusual exposure of boat service on the New England coast in mid-winter, often wading in the icy water and living aboard ship in a highly infected atmosphere, the crew of seamen should have succumbed to disease in almost equal numbers with the colonists. Edward Thompson, Jasper More, and James Chilton died within a month of the arrival at Cape Cod (and while the ship lay in that harbour), and following the axiom of vital statistics that “for each death two are constantly sick,” there must have been some little (though not to say general) sickness on the Mayflower when she arrived at Cape Cod. It would, in view of the hardship of the voyage, have been very remarkable if this had not been the case. It would have been still more remarkable if the ill-conditioned, thin-blooded, town-bred “servants” and apprentices had not suffered first and most. It is significant that eight out of nine of the male servants died in the first four months. It was impossible that scurvy should not have been prevalent with both passengers and crew.

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