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  • 22 Jul 2021 3:56 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Survivors

    As we prepare to step back in time to Holland on the eve of the Pilgrims’ departure, we can see who was left a year later: of the one hundred and two passengers who had sailed from England and Holland, these were the survivors who saw the summer of 1621: John Alden; William Bradford; Isaac Allerton and his children: Bartholomew, Remember, and Mary; John and Eleanor Billington and their sons, John and Francis; William and Mary Brewster, their sons Love and Wrestling, and their charge, the bastard Richard More; Mary Chilton, orphaned at fourteen; Francis Cooke and his son John; Elizabeth Tilley, orphaned at thirteen, and her infant cousin, Humility Cooper; John Crackstone; Francis Eaton and his infant son Samuel; Samuel Fuller and his nephew (of the same name); Richard Gardinar; John Goodman and his buddy Peter Browne; Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins and all of their children: Constance, Giles, Damaris and little Oceanus, and their two servants Edward Doty and Edward Leister; Priscilla Mullins; Joseph Rogers; Henry Samson; George Soule; Myles Standish; William Trevor; Richard Warren; Susanna White, her five year old son Resolved and her infant son Peregrine; Edward Winslow and his brother Gilbert; a servant known only as “Mr. Ely”; the Carvers’ three servants, Desire Minter, a girl named Dorothy, and John Howland, who all survived the winter but were unemployed by May, when the last of the Carver family died.

  • 21 Jul 2021 3:56 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Scarcity and Plenty

    One last comment about the visit to Pokanoket -- despite the glowing reports of what was available for the taking in the wild and in the waters, this was clearly a subsistence economy: there was not much left over, and while the travellers regularly met natives who were happy to share with them, as the Pilgrims had been sharing with the hordes of visitors to their new settlement, there was nothing left over.  This is a part of Massasoit’s great embarrassment about their visit: he had been away, and thus there was nothing prepared for the entertainment.  Each person probably brought his own food, and there was very little left over for the two messengers to share.  There was only a limited means to preserve food, and the Pilgrims were constantly careful to put aside food for the winter, as well as having seed for the next spring’s planting.  And nothing, absolutely nothing, could go to waste; everyone had to be on the lookout for what use could be made of what God had provided.

  • 20 Jul 2021 3:58 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Looking back

    With the return of Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins, things quieted down for the settlers in Plymouth to a regular rhythm.  In trying to write about what happened exactly four hundred years ago on this day, for the next month or so there would be a string of “more of the same” posts.  Because I started last September, on the day after the Speedwell sprung a leak (again!), there were a couple of months (or, more exactly, the forty-two days from 25 July 1620 until 6 September 1620) for which I had no posts.  I propose to fill in that gap starting next Sunday, so these postings will cover what happened exactly four-hundred-and-one years ago.  For a couple of days, in which we know things happened in 1621, I will have two parts for the post, but the only time that should happen would be in the strike against Corbitant towards the end of August.  I will then pick back up with 1621 at the beginning of September.  I still plan on ending this project when the Fortune sails back to England in December.  But right now it is taking me more and more time to write less and less.

    The downside of all of this is that the days of the week will not match up, as they have for the past year: 25 July 1621 was a Sunday; 25 July 1620 was a Saturday; 25 July 2021 will be a Sunday.

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

    Results

    In a letter written on 11 December, to go back to England with the Fortune, Edward Winslow wrote, “We have found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us; very loving and ready to [please] us; we often go to them, and they come to us; some of us have been fifty miles by land in the country with them. … It had pleased God so to possess the Indians with a fear of us, and love unto us, that not only the greatest king amongst them, called Massasoit, but also all the princes and peoples round about us, have either made suit unto us, or been glad of any occasion to make peace with us, so that seven of them at once have sent messengers to us to that end.”  By the end of the year, for the first time in living memory, there was peace among all the tribes, and Winslow believed that this would not have happened without the arrival of the Pilgrims.  There would be two significant encounters, however, before that: one at the end of August, in a strike against the rebellious chieftan Corbitant, and another in September as Winslow sought to make contact with the Massachusetts Indians.

  • 18 Jul 2021 3:18 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Back for the Sabbath

    Note, in the quotations for the last week or so, the constant refrain that Winslow kept up about the repayment for the corn that was taken last November from the storage pits on Cape Cod.  He not only met the man whose corn was taken during the expedition to Nauset to retrieve John Billington, but he also brought the matter up with Massasoit in their negotiations on this most recent trip.  This shows not only that the Pilgrims did not come to the New World for the purposes of theft or destruction, and acted only out of the desperation of starving people, but it also shows that the Pilgrims wanted others to know this as well: Winslow wanted the repayment to be done by Massasoit, rather than by the settlers, even though Massasoit had not been responsible for the taking of the corn, so that all of the Indians would know that the Pilgrims had accepted this responsibility.  This was also put in the description that was included in Mourt’s Relation, which was intended for circulation in England and Holland, so that readers in the Old World would know that the Pilgrims intended to lead a godly life according to God’s law.  When Winslow spoke with sorrow to the Indians of the activity of the seizures and captivity of Captain Hunt, and included this in his chronicle, he surely was sending a notice, if not a warning, that this was exceptional, and should not be attempted again.

  • 17 Jul 2021 3:54 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Return

    Being wet and weary, at length the messengers arrived at Nemasket; “there we refreshed ourselves, giving gifts to all such as had showed us any kindness. Amongst others, one of the six that came with us from Pokanoket, having before this on the way unkindly foresaken us, marvelled we gave him nothing, and told us what he had done for us. We also told him of some discourtesies he offered us, whereby he deserved nothing. Yet we gave him a small trifle, whereupon he offered us tobacco; but the house being full of people, we told them he stole some by the way, and if it were of that we would not take it, for we would not receive that which was stolen upon any terms; if we did, our God would be angry with us, and destroy us. This abashed him and gave the rest great content. But at our departure he would needs carry him on his back through a river, whom he had formerly in some sort abused. Fain they would have had us to lodge there all night, and wondered we would set forth again in such weather. But, God be praised, we came safe home that night, though wet, weary, and surbated.”

  • 16 Jul 2021 3:38 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Friday, 16 July 1621

    Heading home

    On Friday morning, before sunrise, “we took our leave and departed, Massasoit being both grieved and ashamed that he could no better entertain us: and retaining Tisquantum to send from place to place to procure truck for us, and appointing another, called Tokamahamon, in his place, whom we had found faithful before and after upon all occasions.”

    At one of Massasoit’s towns, where the messengers had previously eaten on their outward journey, “we were again refreshed with a little fish; and bought about a handful of meal of their parched corn, which was very precious at that time of the year, and a small string of dried shell-fish, as big as oysters. The latter we gave to the six savages that accompanied us, keeping the meal for ourselves; when we drank, we ate each a spoonful of it with a pipe of tobacco, instead of other victuals, and of this also we could not but give them so long as it lasted. Five miles they led us to a house out of the way in hope of victuals: but we found nobody there and so were but worse able to return home. That night we reached to the weir where we lay before, but the Namascheucks were returned: so that we had no hope of anything there. One of the savages had shot a shad in the water, and a small squirrel as big as a rat, called a neuxis; the one half of either he gave us, and after went to the weir to fish.”

    From that point, the two Pilgrims wrote to Plymouth, and sent Tokamahamon ahead of them to Nemasket, looking for him from to find someone to meet them with food at Nemasket. “Two men now only remained with us, and it pleased God to give them good store of fish, so that we were well refreshed. After supper we went to rest, and they to fishing again; more they got and fell to eating afresh, and retained sufficient ready roast for all our breakfasts. About two o'clock in the morning arose a great storm of wind, rain, lightning, and thunder, in such violent manner that we could not keep in our fire; and had the savages not roasted fish when we were asleep, we had set forward fasting, for the rain still continued with great violence, even the whole day through, till we came within two miles of home.”

  • 15 Jul 2021 3:19 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Conclusion of meeting with Massasoit

    “The next day, being Thursday, many of their sachems, or petty governors, came to see us, and many of their men also. There they went to their manner of games for skins and knives. There we challenged them to shoot with them for skins:  but they durst not: only they desired to see one of us shoot a mark, who shooting with hail-shot, they wondered to see the mark so full of holes.”

    About one o'clock, Massasoit brought two fishes that he had shot; “they were like bream but three times so big, and better meat. These being boiled there were at least forty looked for share in them, the most ate of them: this meal only we had in two nights and a day, and had not one of us bought a partridge we had taken our journey fasting: very importunate he was to have us stay with them longer:  but we desired to keep the Sabbath at home:  and feared we should either be light-headed for want of sleep, for want with bad lodging, the savages' barbarous singing (for they use to sing themselves asleep), lice and fleas within doors, and mosquitoes without, we could hardly sleep all the time of our being there; we much fearing that if we should stay any longer, we should not be able to recover home for want of strength. “  Pokanoket is probably not going to get a five star review for overnight accommodation from the Pilgrims.

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

    Meeting with the Chief

    “After, we came to a town of Massasoit's, where we ate oysters and other fish. From thence we went to Pokanoket but Massasoit was not at home.”  It was determined to send for the sachem, and when news was brought of his coming, “our guide Tisquantum requested that at our meeting we would discharge our pieces, but one of us going about to charge his piece, the women and children, through fear to see him take up his piece, ran away.”  They could not be brought back until the interpreter explained what was going on.

    “Massasoit being come, we discharged our pieces, and saluted him, who after their manner kindly welcomed us, and took us into his house, and set us down by him, where, having delivered our foresaid message and presents, and having put the coat on his back and the chain about his neck, he was not a little proud to behold himself, and his men also to see their king so bravely attired.”

    In answer to the settlers’ message, Massasoit told them that they were welcome, “and he would gladly continue that peace and friendship which was between him and us: and, for his men, they should no more pester us as they had done: also that he would send to Paomet, and would help us with corn for seed, according to our request.”

    “This being done, his men gathered near to him, to whom he turned himself, and made a great speech; they sometimes interposing, and, as it were, confirming and applauding him in that he said. The meaning whereof (as far as we could learn) thus; Was not he Massasoit, commander of the country about them? Was not such a town as his and the people of it? And should they not bring their skins unto us? To which they answered, they were his and would be at peace with us, and bring their skins to us. After this manner he named at least thirty places, and their answer was as aforesaid to every one:  so that as it was delightful, it was tedious unto us.  This being ended, he lighted tobacco for us, and fell to discoursing of England, and of the King's Majesty, marvelling that he would live without a wife.”  King James’ wife, Anne of Denmark, had died in 1619 of dropsy, and had borne him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I.  As an aside, a source of difference between Anne and James (and the Pilgrims) was the issue of religion; for example, she refused to receive the Anglican communion at her English coronation.  Anne had been brought up a Lutheran, and had a Lutheran chaplain Hans Sering in her household, but she may have discreetly converted to Catholicism at some point, a politically embarrassing move which alarmed ministers of the Scottish Kirk and caused suspicion in Anglican England.  Like James, Anne later supported a Catholic match for both their sons, and her correspondence with the potential bride, the Spanish Infanta, Maria Anna, included a request that two friars be sent to Jerusalem to pray for her and the King. 

    Massasoit also “talked of the Frenchmen, bidding us not to suffer them to come to Narraganset, for it was King James his country, and he also was King James his man. Late it grew, but victuals he offered none; for indeed he had not any, being he came so newly home. So we desired to go to rest; he laid us on the bed with himself and his wife, they at the one end and we at the other, it being only planks laid a foot from the ground, and a thin mat upon them. Two more of his chief men, for want of room, pressed by and upon us, so that we were worse weary of our lodging than of our journey.”  Lice and fleas pressed upon them two, and, apparently, the Indians sang themselves to sleep.  Winslow and Hopkins probably got no sleep that night.

  • 13 Jul 2021 3:45 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Fish Camp

    “Passing on at length, one of the company, an Indian, espied a man and told the rest of it. We asked them if they feared any; they told us that if they were Narraganset men they would not trust them, whereat, we called for our pieces and bid them not to fear; for though they were twenty, we two alone would not care for them:  but they hailing him, he proved a friend, and had only two women with him:  their baskets were empty but they fetched water in their bottles, so that we drank with them and departed.  After, we met another man with other two women, which had been at rendezvous by the salt water, and their baskets were full of roasted crab, fishes, and other dried shell fish, of which they gave us, and we ate and drank with them, and gave each of the women a streak of beads, and departed.”  The two messengers were clearly aware of the danger of making this trip so close to enemy territory; they also had to be careful about their food, since they were close to running out of the supplies they had brought with them, despite the generosity of everyone with whom they came in contact.

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