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The Mayflower and Her Log; July 15, 1620-May 6, 1621   By: (1845-1908)

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July 15, 1620 May 6, 1621 Chiefly from Original Sources

By AZEL AMES, M.D. Member of Pilgrim Society, etc.

"Next to the fugitives whom Moses led out of Egypt, the little shipload of outcasts who landed at Plymouth are destined to influence the future of the world." JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL


O civilized humanity, world wide, and especially to the descendants of the Pilgrims who, in 1620, laid on New England shores the foundations of that civil and religious freedom upon which has been built a refuge for the oppressed of every land, the story of the Pilgrim "Exodus" has an ever increasing value and zest. The little we know of the inception, development, and vicissitudes of their bold scheme of colonization in the American wilderness only serves to sharpen the appetite for more.

Every detail and circumstance which relates to their preparations; to the ships which carried them; to the personnel of the Merchant Adventurers associated with them, and to that of the colonists themselves; to what befell them; to their final embarkation on their lone ship, the immortal MAY FLOWER; and to the voyage itself and to its issues, is vested to day with, a supreme interest, and over them all rests a glamour peculiarly their own.

For every grain of added knowledge that can be gleaned concerning the Pilgrim sires from any field, their children are ever grateful, and whoever can add a well attested line to their all too meagre annals is regarded by them, indeed by all, a benefactor.

Of those all important factors in the chronicles of the "Exodus," the Pilgrim ships, of which the MAY FLOWER alone crossed the seas, and of the voyage itself, there is still but far too little known. Of even this little, the larger part has not hitherto been readily accessible, or in form available for ready reference to the many who eagerly seize upon every crumb of new found data concerning these pious and intrepid Argonauts.

To such there can be no need to recite here the principal and familiar facts of the organization of the English "Separatist" congregation under John Robinson; of its emigration to Holland under persecution of the Bishops; of its residence and unique history at Leyden; of the broad outlook of its members upon the future, and their resultant determination to cross the sea to secure larger life and liberty; and of their initial labors to that end. We find these Leyden Pilgrims in the early summer of 1620, their plans fairly matured and their agreements between themselves and with their merchant associates practically concluded, urging forward their preparations for departure; impatient of the delays and disappointments which befell, and anxiously seeking shipping for their long and hazardous voyage.

It is to what concerns their ships, and especially that one which has passed into history as "the Pilgrim bark," the MAY FLOWER, and to her pregnant voyage, that the succeeding chapters chiefly relate. In them the effort has been made to bring together in sequential relation, from many and widely scattered sources, everything germane that diligent and faithful research could discover, or the careful study and re analysis of known data determine. No new and relevant item of fact discovered, however trivial in itself, has failed of mention, if it might serve to correct, to better interpret, or to amplify the scanty though priceless records left us, of conditions, circumstances, and events which have meant so much to the world.

As properly antecedent to the story of the voyage of the MAY FLOWER as told by her putative "Log," albeit written up long after her boned lay bleaching on some unknown shore, some pertinent account has been given of the ship herself and of her "consort," the SPEEDWELL; of the difficulties attendant on securing them; of the preparations for the voyage; of the Merchant Adventurers who had large share in sending them to sea; of their officers and crews; of their passengers and lading; of the troubles that assailed before they had "shaken off the land," and of the final consolidation of the passengers and lading of both ships upon the MAY FLOWER, for the belated ocean passage... Continue reading book >>

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