The Pilgrim Fathers - North American Colonies

Taken from The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century (1898) by Edgar Sanderson

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tower of an old church, almost hidden by shrubs, with tall trees waving above some weather-marked tombstones of the churchyard in the rear. The death of Bacon in the hour of success left Berkeley free to exercise a revenge on the patriotic party which aroused the disgust of Charles the Second, and caused his recall. In 1679 Lord Culpepper became governor, and aristocratic rule was restored. The franchise was confined to freeholders and householders. The assembly could be summoned solely by the Crown, and could deal only with measures drafted by the governor and council, and approved by the Crown. The legislative body had, however, the sole right of initiating money-bills.

The "Pilgrim Fathers" derived their name from the wanderings undertaken in search of religious freedom. Some Puritan "Separatists ", of the Brownist or Independent sect, had quitted Scrooby, in Lincolnshire, for Holland, in 1608, driven from their homes by the action of the laws against nonconformity. They settled at Leyden, with John Robinson as pastor, and their numbers were reinforced by brethren arriving from other parts of England. In July, 1620, about half their body, desiring to find a home for their children in a land free from the contaminating influences of old-world civilization, sailed from Delfthaven in the Speedwell. On August 5th, with a few emigrants from England, one hundred and twenty persons sailed from Southampton on board the Mayflower, of 180 tons, and the Speedwell. Driven first into the Dart and then into Plymouth by stress of weather, they condemned the Speedwell as an unseaworthy vessel, and at last, on September 6th, 1620, the party of pilgrims, seventy-four men, twenty-eight women, and a number of children, started from Plymouth in the Mayflower, and reached Cape Cod in November, a long way north of the territory assigned to the Virginia Company. A covenant to obey all laws enacted by the males of the community in council was signed, and John Carver was chosen as governor. An exploring party under Miles Standish, after losing rudder, mast, and sail in a furious storm, placed foot ashore on "Forefathers' Rock", at the place called New Plymouth, from the port of departure in the motherland. Their companions in the Mayflower ratified the choice of a spot for settlement, and New England thus began to exist. The colony suffered so severely in the first winter that half the number, including Carver, died, but the rugged character of the new-comers matched … continue reading »

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