How much did this cost? (continued)
Goodwin shows the cost of transportation at different times and under varying conditions: “The expense of securing and shipping Thos. Morton of ‘Merry Mount’ to England, was £12 7 0,” but just what proportion the passage money bore to the rest of the account, cannot now be told. The expense of Mr. Rogers, the young clergyman brought over by Isaac Allerton, without authority, was, for the voyage out: “For passage £1. For diet for eleven weeks at 4s. 8d. per week, total £3 11 4” [A rather longer passage than usual.] Constant Southworth came in the same ship and paid the same, £3 11 4, which may hence be assumed as the average charge, at that date, for a first-class passage. The expenses of the 35 of the Leiden congregation who came over in the Mayflower in 1620, and of the others brought in the Lion in 1630, were slightly higher than these figures, but the cost of the trip from Leiden to England was included, with that of some clothing. In 1650, Judge Sewall, who as a wealthy man would be likely to indulge in some luxury, gives his outlay, one way, as, “Fare, £2 3 0; cabin expenses, £4 11 4; total, £6 14 4.”
On calculating historical equivalents of prices: Note that prior to 15 February 1971 ("Decimal day," or "D-day"), monetary amounts in the UK were expressed as pounds (£), shillings (s.) and pence (d.), where £1 = 20s. = 240d. After 1970, there were 100 pennies in a pound, so one (new) penny = 2.4 old pence. Often one knows the price, cost, or value of something in a particular, historic year, and one wants to know the value of this money amount in another year (such as the present). The measure often used is the price of a "bundle" of goods and services that a representative group of consumers buys or earns. In the UK that measure is usually taken to be the "retail price index" (RPI), which corresponds to what is called the "consumer price index" in other countries. While it is tricky (and well-nigh impossible) to calculate exactly any modern equivalents, a guess is that £1 sterling in 1620 is equivalent to £210 sterling today (and thus about $275 US or $360 CAN at current exchange rates -- which is somewhat misleading). Thus the £5 10s. mentioned yesterday as the per person amount for passage on one of the ships of the Winthrop fleet in 1630 would convert in 2020 to £1,155 = $1,970.63 CAD = $1,472.03 USD.