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LANDING OF THE FATHERS AT PLYMOUTH.

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But no convenient harbor is discovered. The pilot CHAP. of the boat, who had been in these regions before, gives assurance of a good one, which might be 1620. reached before night; and they follow his guidance. After some hours' sailing, a storm of snow and rain begins; the sea swells; the rudder breaks; the boat must now be steered with oars; the storm increases; night is at hand; to reach the harbor before dark, as much sail as possible is borne; the mast breaks into three pieces; the sail falls overboard ; but the tide is favorable. The pilot, in dismay, would have run the boat on shore in a cove full of breakers; "about

66 with her,” exclaimed a sailor, “or we are cast away. They get her about immediately, and passing over the surf, they enter a fair sound; and get under the lee of a small rise of land. It is dark and the rain beats furiously; yet the men are so wet and cold and weak, they slight the danger to be apprehended from the savages, and, after great difficulty, kindle a fire on shore.

Morning, as it dawned, showed the place to be a small island within the entrance of a harbor. The day was required for rest and preparations. Time was precious; the season advancing; their companions were left in suspense. The next day was the “ Christian Sabbath.” Nothing marks the character of the Pilgrims more fully, than that they kept it sacredly, though every consideration demanded haste.

On Monday, the eleventh day of December, Old Style, the exploring party of the forefathers land at Plymouth. A grateful posterity has marked the

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Dec. 9.

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VOL. I.

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CHAP. rock, which first received their footsteps. The

consequences of that day are constantly unfolding 1620. themselves, as time advances. It was the origin of

New-England; it was the planting of the New-England institutions. Inquisitive historians' have loved to mark every vestige of the Pilgrims; poets of the purest minds have commemorated their virtues; the noblest genius has been called into exercise to display their merits worthily, and to trace the conse

quences of their daring enterprize. Dec.

The spot, when examined, seemed to invite a settlement, and, in a few days, the Mayflower was safely moored in its harbor. In memory of the hospitalities, which the company had received at the last English port, from which they had sailed, this oldest New-England colony obtained the name of Plymouth. The system of civil government had been established by common agreement; the character of the church had for many years been fixed by a sacred covenant. As the Pilgrims landed, their institutions were already perfected.

Democratic liberty and independent Christian worship at once existed in America.

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1 Hubbard, Prince, Hutchinson, ence, of which the remote extent Belknap, Freeman, Davis, Baylies, may hardly be known to its auThacher.

thor. I have heard the hymns of 2 Should this volume meet the Heber sung by drovers on Lake eye of Mrs. Hemans, I hope she Erie, and seen the favorite poems will not disregard a sincere ex- of Mrs. Hemans in the village pression of respect from one, who newspapers of the remote interior. admires alike her rare abilities, Happy the nation, of which the and the noble use, to which they writers are filled with elevated are applied. The popular poet, thought and tastes! Happy the who arlds the charm of beautiful people, which expresses its faith language to the sentiment of mo- in imunortality in the chorus of its rality and truth, enjoys an influ- every day songs!

THE FIRST WINTER AT PLYMOUTH.

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Jan. 9.

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Mar.

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After some days, they began to build ; a difficult CHAP. task for men, of whom one half were wasting away with consumptions and lung-fevers. For the sake 1621. of haste, it was agreed, that every man should build his own house; but frost and foul weather were great hindrances; they could seldom work half of the week; and tenements were erected as they could be, in the short intervals of sunshine between showers of sleet and snow-storms.

On the third of March, a south wind brought warm and fair weather. “ The birds sang in the woods most pleasantly. But it was not till spring had far advanced, that the mortality began to cease. afterwards remarked, with modest gratitude, that of the survivors, very many lived to an extreme old age. A shelter, not less than comfort, had been wanting ; the living had been scarce able to bury the dead; the well not sufficient to take care of the sick. At the season of greatest distress, there were but seven able to render assistance. The benevolent Carver had been appointed governor; at his first landing, he Mar. had lost a son ; soon after the departure of the Mayflower for England, his health sunk under a sudden attack; and his wife, broken-hearted, followed him in death. William Bradford, the historian of the colony, was soon chosen his successor. The record of misery was kept by the graves of the governor and half the company.

But if sickness ceased to prevail, the hardships of privation and want remained to be encountered. In the autumn, an arrival of new emigrants, who came 1621-2

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THE PILGRIMS SUFFER FROM WANT AND OPPRESSION.

VIII.

CHAP. unprovided with food, compelled the whole colony,

for six months in succession, to subsist on half allowance only. “I have seen men,” says Winslow, “stagger by reason of faintness for want of food." They were once saved from famishing by the benev

olence of fishermen off the coast. Sometimes they 1622. suffered from oppressive exactions on the part of

ships, that sold them provisions at the most exorbi

tant prices. Nor did their miseries soon terminate. 1623. Even in the third year of the settlement, their victuals

were so entirely spent, that “they knew not at night where to have a bit in the morning.” Tradition declares, that, at one time, the colonists were reduced to a pint of corn, which, being parched and distribu

ted, gave to each individual only five kernels ; but July. rumor falls short of reality; for three or four months

together, they had no corn whatever. When a few of their old friends arrived to join them, a lobster, or a piece of fish, without bread or any thing else but a cup of fair spring water, was the best dish, which the hospitality of the whole colony could offer. Neat cattle were not introduced till a later day. Yet during all this season of self-denial and suffering, the cheerful confidence of the Pilgrims in the mercies of Providence remained unshaken.

The system of common property had occasioned grievous discontents; the influence of law could not compel regular labor like the uniform impulse of personal interest; and even the threat of “keeping back their bread” could not change the character of the idle. After the harvest of 1623, there was no gene

1624. Mar.

THE OLD COLONY AND THE NATIVES.

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ral want of food; in the spring of that year, it had CHAP. been agreed, that each family should plant for itself; and parcels of land, in proportion to the respective 1623. numbers, were assigned for culture, though not for inheritance. This arrangement produced contented labor and universal industry; “even women and

6 children now went into the field to work." The next spring, every person obtained a little land in perpetual fee. The necessity of the case, and the common interest, demanded a slight departure from the severe agreement with the English merchants. Before many harvests, so much corn was raised, that it began to form a profitable article of commerce, and the Indians, preferring the chase to tillage, abandoned culture, and looked to the colonists for their supply. The intercourse between the Plymouth colony and the Indians soon assumed the character of commercial familiarity. The exchange of European manufactures for beaver and other skins, was almost the only pursuit, which promised to be lucrative.

The spot, to which Providence had directed the planters, had, a few years before, been rendered entirely a desert by a pestilence, which had likewise swept over the neighboring tribes, and desolated almost the whole sea-board of New-England. Where the Pilgrims landed, there were the traces of 1620. a previous population, but not one living inhabitant. Smokes from fires in the remote distance alone indi- 1621. cated the vicinity of natives. Miles Standish, “ the best linguist among the Pilgrims, as well as the

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