Winthrop Fleet




Chapter I   Setting the Stage


Since the early dawn of the century which saw the end of the reign of Elizabeth, England's greatest
monarch, and the acession to her throne of James 'the wisest fool in Christendom,' the mighty possi-
bilities of imperial expansion set in motion by the explorations of Frobisher, Raleigh, Drake, Gilbert,
Gosnold, and Weymouth had been coming to the next logical step in their natural development.  After
discovery occupation must follow.  Within the first decade of the seventeenth century these adventurous
men of our race were crossing the thousand leagues of the 'vast and furious ocean' which separated
Europe from the almost unknown continent of North America.  Beginning the year before the senile queen
'of famous memory' was on her death-couch, the earliest colony set out from Falmouth, County Cornwall,
to make a trial of settlement on the shores of New England.  Each succeeding year marked the departure
of a like expedition to get a foothold on our dangerous and forbidding littoral.  Failure followed
failure of these persistent voyagers to accomplish their designs of permanency.  The rigorous winter
climate to which they were not enured helped to cool their enthusiasm to conquer it after enjoying the
novel delights of our spring, summer and autumn temperatures.   Gosnold who first


essayed in 1602 to
challenge the sovereignty of this region for the abode of the white man, retired in good order after a
few months at Cuttyhunk on the Elizabeth Islands.  Pring in 1603 established a short acquaintance with
the harbor which was to become the permanent home of an experimental socialist plantation seventeen
years later, but he, too, gracefully retired when the early frosts reminded him of that season when a
white Christmas was the inevitable programme of the forces of Nature with which they could not com-
fortably cope.  In 1605, Weymouth added to their needed knowledge of the topography of the Maine coast,
planted crosses here and there in token of seizure in the name of his sovereign and laid the foundation
for the first serious attempt to occupy the claims he had staked out.  He also joined the list of temp-
orary sojourners on our rocky coast-line.

The year 1607 witnessed two determined attempts to solve this growing problem of acquiring a permanent
foothold for the Englishmen on this continent.  Already the French had solved it in Canada and the
Spanish in Florida, and it came to be a race for empire from 34 degrees to 45 degrees North Latitude,
or fight.   Two chartered companies set out in the spring of this year - one under the patronage of the
Plymouth or Northern Company  for the better-known and more explored territory of the Maine coast. Three
vessels, the Sarah Constant, the Discovery and the Goodspeed took colonists to the James River in
Virginia and began the Southern Colony at Jamestown.   The pleasant climate of that region contributed
to the success of this planting and it became the first permanent settlement of Englishmen in our
present national limits.


Simultaneously from Plymouth, under the patronage of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Sir Ferdin-
ando Gorges, the Gilberts and other West-Country men, two vessels, the Mary and John and the Gift of
God - turned their prows hopefully to the 'stern and rock-bound coast' of Maine where the Kennebec
empties its waters into broad Atlantic.  Theirs was the more difficult task and was undertaken by men
almost unfitted for the serious task.  The leader, Captain George Popham, of Bridgewater, of three
score years and ten, was chosen to promote an enterprise that called for the vigor of youth.  He died
during the first winter and his bones remain unlocated on the bleak and rocky promontory of Sabino,
overlooking the restless ocean which he had recently crossed.  No more uninviting spot could have been
chosen for the site of a colony.  Yet it survived an exceptionally severe winter with no other casualty
and a fort was constructed for permanent protection.  The little colony continued to function during the
following spring and summer, but the ships sent to England for supplies brought back news of the death
of Chief Justice Popham, its chief supporter and of another patron, brother of Raleigh Gilbert, Esq.,
of Marldon, Devon, who had been chosen Vice-Governor of the Colony, and these events with other con-
tributing causes resulted in the abandonment of this first well-organized plan to conquer the relentless
winter climate of New England among its barren spaces.  This failure was attributed to these natural
obstacles to successful planting of a colony in that region and practically ended for the next decade
all concerted attempts to win that inhospitable region to serve the uses of the white man.  The 'sea


of Devon had solved the initial factors in the problem of bringing this continent to the knowledge
of their nation, but had not been able to utilize its vast potentialities for the service of mankind.

The reputation of that region as a home for Englishmen was blasted by the failure of the Popham Colony
to maintain occupation beyond a twelvemonth, albeit the abandonment was in reality due to internal and
personal causes and not to insurmountable external elements.  Nevertheless, one great source of attract-
ion became the magnet which continued to draw these dauntless mariners to our coast yearly in the in-
creasing numbers.  They came in by the score to lure wealth from the virgin fishing grounds where, cod-
fish were so plentiful that, as one expressed it, they 'pestered' the vessels in shoals.  Soon there
grew up fishing stations and permanent establishments at Monhegan, Pemaquid and Darmariscove, where the
curing of fish became a valuable industry.  Vessels from the Southern Colony at Jamestown came hither
to obtain sea-food for their winter subsistence and the coast of Maine was a busy place in the height of
the fishing season.  To abandon such a source of wealth to the savages or to their European rivals was
a concession to weakness which was not a fundamental quality in the spirits of men who could ride the
waves for weeks to reach this new land.  Again in 1616 one of the great figures in the colonization
movements of the past, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, determined to verify his belief that this winter climate
of Northern Virginia - as it was then called, was inhabitable by Englishmen.  He sent a party to spend
the winter months at the mouth of the Saco River, and when they came back in the spring to tell their
experiences, the old accepted legend was permanently shattered.  Henceforth it was judged to be suitable
for occupancy the year round and the great fishing fleets confirmed it by establishing quarters for their industries on the Maine coast.


Meanwhile developments went on apace in natural sequence.  The little band of religious zealots who had
left their native land in 1610 for religious freedom in Holland began to think of their future under an
alien flag, and fell to considering a second migration to the unsettled continent beyond the Western
ocean where they could once more live under their own flag and bring up their children in the language
of their fathers.  Over there they could have land in plenty, start life anew as Englishmen, and found
a religious colony modeled on their own design.  In 1620 they came in the immortal ship, the Mayflower
from Leyden, reenforced by threescore and more of London folks to join them in establishing a socialist
plantation financed by Merchant Adventurers of the great city.  The story of these first 'Pilgrims'
is too well known to be retold here; but the unsanitary conditions of travel at sea, the lack of proper
food causing scurvy, and the rigors of winter brought a toll of fifty victims the first winter - half
the little company unsheltered in their poorly constructed shacks or huddled in the stuffy cabins of
the ship.  Yet they were forced to remain to conquer or die.  They had burned their bridges behind them
in Holland and could not return to England where they would be questioned for religious contumacy.
Reenforced the next year by additions of nearly twoscore Londoners from a second ship, the Fortune, and
in 1623 by a third ship, the Anne, the loss in numbers was more than made up, and for the next seven
years they prospered and slowly grew to be the largest body of Englishmen in one settlement on the coast
of Massachusetts.  Small and casual parties of the courageous breed of


Englishmen followed them hither
to lay claim to the soil for themselves and for the glory of the Kingdom.  Settlements were made in
Weymouth (1623), at Braintree (1623), at Winnisimmet, Nantasket and in Boston Harbor (1624), and Naumkeag (1624), Shawmut (1624), and Mishawum (1625) - little clearings in the great forest that fringed
the coast-line from Cape Cod to Cape Ann.  Contemporaneously the mouth of the Piscataquua gave hospit-
ality to like squatters in that region and so formed a connecting link with the busier settlements now
growing larger and more important on the Maine coast.  At Damariscove Island a fully equipped settlement
of fishermen protected by a palisade of logs ten feet high, bade defiance to Indian arrows and French
muskets.  Monhegan was the farthest outpost to the eastward.  These were all individual groups independ-
ent of each other and in splendid isolation the band of religious sectaries from Leyden held themselves
apart from all of them, for these other settlers were 'worldly people' brought up in the rites of the
Established Church and having no sympathy with or part in the programme of the Plymouth Separatists.
Perhaps the total of all these groups would number five hundred souls, subjects of the King, but bound
together by no other ties.  They cut little or no figure in the national consciousness and were scarcely
mentioned in the talk of the times beyond the counting houses of the merchants who were financially
interested in the several ventures at these scattered points.  Patents of territory had been taken to
cover some of these enterprises, but they added nothing to the importance of the squatter sovereignty
to which they belonged.   Some of these patents were never confirmed or completed by actual settlement
and others of them had limits impossible to define

or were overlapped by grants that had little reverence to prior occupancy.

Thus, by gradual and persistent effort to overcome baffling obstacles hitherto unknown to Englishmen,
the coast of Massachusetts came gradually into the actual possession of white men in the space of
twenty seven years after Gosnold had made his summer residence on Cuttyhunk.  All these successive
footholds gained by venturous Britons made the background and setting for the larger and more important
act in the drama of American colonization - the Great Migration of 1603, from another part of England
which hitherto had not shared in the preliminary scenes here related.

Click here to see the passengers of the Winthrop Fleet                                

Chapter II     The Background


What had been going on in the material life of England since the accession of James, in the extension
and expansion of its commercial interests overseas and the consciousness of the imperial destiny in
seeking for new outlets for the national growth, was having its parallel in the spiritual development of
the age.  The effects of the Reformation, first finding definite expression less than a century before,
were being formulated slowly, characteristic of the English mentality.  Reforming the religious habits
of generations was a halting and painful process for our ancestors, and the Church 'by law established,'
having inherited the status of the old Papal organization with its compact body of ecclesiastics, was
always prepared to battle for their prerogatives under any system of theology.  This period, well up to
1600 was occupied by the protesting element to slough off all the remnants of Romish rites, while
Catholic Mary and Protestant Elizabeth were engaged in killing off each other's heretics.  But the
domination of foreign friars and alien abbots had practically ceased when the new century opened.  The
release from their sordid grip gave opportunities, untrammeled, for that religious freedom which the
people were too ignorant and unprepared to use with discretion.  It became a fresh and unlimited field
for the exploitation of the self-educated theologians unrestrained by the authorities.  The Bible placed
in the hands of the common people became the fount and source of myriads of whimsical doctrines fashion-
ed out of 'Holy Writ' and interpreted by these amateur expositors.

These reformers undertook not only


to transform and destroy the symbolism of the Church, but to recon-
struct the fundamental doctrines of Christian theology.  The liturgy of the Mass was revamped by ex-
cising every Romish rite and often transforming it into a meaningless gesture.  The sacrament of bapt-
ism furnished the mose fertile field for the ingenuity of unlettered Biblical microscopists and Pedo-
baptists, Anabaptists and Se-Baptists emerged from this welter of verbal tergiversations on that funda-
mental of Christianity alone.  Of course, the Holy Communion was stripped of its attributes in adoration
of the real Presence as taught by the Romish Church and with them went most of the respectful conduct of
of the protesting sects toward this rite during its solemnization.  These antagonists not only refused
to partake of the Lord's Supper, but to show their hostility refused to take off their hats while it
was being administered.  Absence from the church services naturally followed and during the first
quarter of this century, the Archdeacons' Courts were busy dealing with acts of contumacy ranging from
non-attendance at worship to acts of disrespect during the services.  The Bishops' Courts were equally
busy in dealing with the acts of the delinquent clergy.  The situation favored the loosening of all be-
liefs in doctrines and ceremonies.  The laity were not 'persecuted,' as is the common legend.  They were
dealt with by the local ecclesiastics and merely given reprimands, orders to make public confession of
their fault, or excommunication if recalcitrant.  The clergy were subjected to more serious hazards, as
in disobeying the church laws they were violating their oaths given at ordination, and it is to be re-
membered that Chruch and State being one they were breaking the laws of the realm.  These refractory
ministers who refused to follow the canon law and disobeyed the orders of the Bishop with respect to
the sacraments were fined and sometimes imprisoned if they proved


recalcitrant.  Being deprived of their appointments, their means of living was taken away.  While many
of the clergy were sincere in their opposition to the constituted authorities, the disturbances of the
times gave opportunities for clerical demagogues to play up to the prejudices of the mob and stage
spectacular scenes in churches.  In one place the town authorities employed one of these mountebanks
as preacher to harangue the people in the afternoons.  He would use the sermon delivered in the morning
by the Vicar as a text for his lampoons and make sport of it in coarse and ribald language.  He was
tried before the Bishop, found guilty of disorderly conduct and then fled to New England as a "perse-
cuted' clergyman to escape his fines.

In no section of England was the spirit of hostility to the Established Church more widely spread and
more deeply ingrained than in the section known as East Anglia, comprising the counties of Norfolk,
Suffolk and Essex.  Of course there were no exact comital lines which embraced these Puritan sectaries,
as the adjoining counties of Cambridge, Herts, Middlesex and London itself were inoculated with the same
'heresies.'   Cambridge University was the Alma Mater of most of the dissenting clergy and certainly of
the vast majority of those ministers who emigrated to New England.  They were the 'scofflaws' of their
generation and became the irreconcilable intolerants in the religious discussions of the first quarter
of that century.  East Anglia became the early nursery of the dissenters and the consistent supporter
of the clandestine congregations which grew up in that region.  They were called by several names -
Brownists, Independents, Separatists; but by whatever title known, although differeing in methods and
dogmas, they were unanimous in opposition to the Established Church and generally at loggerheads with
each other.  Out of this region

were enlisted the first volunteers of that great army of emigrants who shook the dust of England from
their feet in the twenty years preceding the death of King Charles (1649).

It is not, however, a correct assumption to picture these emigrants as leaving their ancestral homes
because of the religious unrest of the times.  Only a portion of them were motivated by this reason
and it is doubtful if it were the real preponderating influence om this great movement.  There were other substantial factors operating, economic and social.  The majority of these people were of the
yeoman class who for generations had been the tenantry of the nobility and landed gentry.  They did not
live - they simply vegetated, hopeless of any improvement in their condition socially or materially, and
doomed to support indefinitely a class of parasites set over them by a monarchical form of government.
The Manorial System perpetuated a social slavery whereby landlords drained the earnings of their tenants
whose lives were spent in the working for their masters and who died as poor as they began.  The servile section of the clergy preached to these patient plodders the doctrine of Christian resignation
and acceptance of the lot in which Providence had place them.  It was a contemptible part of the 'system' which helped to condemn the so-called 'lower classes' to hopeless serfdom with the sanction
of theChruch and the approval of Holy Writ.  Only in rare instances could a tenant become a freeholder,
and, coincident with the acquirement of his spiritual freedom, these downtrodden yeomen came to sense
their opportunity for material liberty, their right to profit by the toil of their hands.  This right
was being gradually recognized as invevitable during the reign of James the First, and when Charles the
First came to the throne, his extreme views of the Royal Prerogative began to wreck

their newly acquired privileges.  The extravagances of Charles' Court and his imposition of taxes with
out the authority of Parliament to meet these excessive charges led to resistance from all classes. Large and small freeholders were the victims of taxation illegally laid on their holdings.  In this
class were the recently emancipated tenants, who found themselves taxed unjustly by a King who flouted
their Parliament and set up an arbitrary government.  It presaged civil war.

Among the other restless spririts were those whose land hunger was not satisfield.  They could not be-
come free men in the fullest meaning.  They knew of the great continent across the Atlantic where a
hundred acres would be given to each and every settler - a king's ransom in their vocabulary and almost beyong their conception as a reality.  Their they would, indeed, be free to enter into a new existence
unhampered by the dead hand of precedents and the remorseless exactions of the landed gentry.  Although
technically the plantations in this new country would be under the jurisdiction of the English authorities, yet they would inevitably become disentangled from all the traditions of the past, and
the opportunity to establish a liberal commonwealth was the great aspiration of those who had the courage to break away from the land of their fathers, cross an uncharted ocean, and encounter unknown
perils from a savage race and from the wild beasts of the trackless forests.  This is the background
out of which the Great Emigration emerged.

Chapter 3 Preparing for the Hegira


The ways and means by which these various eager and restless spirits were organized for this
great adventure and became the dramatis personae of transcendental importance deserve parti-
cular study.  It must be borne in mind that, while they became pioneers of a distinct ex-
odus of people from their ancestral homes, they were not the first who had essayed this try-
ing ordeal on the American coast.  English colonists had made homes for themselves in Virg-
inia since 1607 and prospered, and for ten years the little band of Pilgrims at Plymouth
had struggled and won a foothold on the drear and infertile coast in what is now known as
the Old Colony.  The accomplishments of these hardy tenants of an inhospitable region,
scarcely numbering more than a few hundred, had made no distinctive impression upon the
knowledge of Englishmen.  The Plymouth Plantation was almost unknown and scarcely ever
mentioned in the daily life and conversation of the common people of England.   In a sense,
therefore, those to whom was presented the project of joining an emigration movement across
the Atlantic considered it a novel idea.  But little printed material was available on the
subject.  The few 'narratives' on the Virginia and Plymouth settlements rarely found read-
ers in the small parishes of the English countryside.  What little these yeomen knew of the
country which came to be called 'New England' filtered down to them through the medium of
local clergy, especially those who were becoming detached from their loyalty to the est-
ablished religion.  These vicars and curates who were beginning to feel the


restraining hand of the hierarchy on their growing habits of nonconformity to the rites and
doctrines of the Established Church were indirectly the instigators of this migratory move-
ment.  It was these ecclesiastical recusants who had brought down on themselves the dis-
ciplinary machinery of the Church for their contumacy, and finding their functions suspend-
ed their incomes cut off, and their civil status imperiled, encouraged the hope of greater
opportunities in a new land to carry on their independent ministrations beyond the reach
of the King's and Lord's officials.  Yet with this generalization we do not answer the
natural inquiry as to the methods by which individuals in widely separated parts of England,
were gathered in one group under acknowledged leaders to take part in this self-imposed
exile from their homes and native land.  The historic index points unerringly to the Rever-
end John White, of Dorsetshire, England, as the earliest and most important original factor
among the influences which led up to this new colonizing company.  Generally known as the
'Patriarch of Dorchester' [England], he had been continuously at the head of various organ-
ized companies as well as unorganized movements to effect settlements on the Massachusetts
coast.  This work he began in 1623 with the Dorchester Company, which took possession of

Cape Ann as a site for a colony, and thereafter he was identified with every like develop-
ment on the coast, and was interested in every company that finally became merged success-
ively into this last great venture in 1629 - the Massachusetts Bay Company.  White was a
conforming Puritan of liberal views.  He recognized the need of the Established Church and
believed that the emigration of these Dissenters to a new country not only would afford a
remedy for their grievances, but answer the growing pressure


of adverse economic conditions.  He further believed it would be an indirect advantage to
England itself in relieving it of the agitations of a dissatisfied element, restoring peace
at home and at the same time giving the emigrants a safety valve for their opposition to
expend itself.  His whole thought was to employ this means to heal a growing discontent,
spiritual and material, which was plaguing the English people.  In later years he is found
condemning the excesses of these people in Massachusetts in their persecution of others in
the name of religion.

In support of his early plans for the settlement of the coast of Massachusetts Bay, he had
enlisted scores of prominent men in the West Country - Dorset, Somerset, and Devon - as
stockholders.  Among them was Colonel John Humphrey son of Michael Humphrey, gentleman, of
Chaldon, County Dorset.   Colonel Humphrey was a familiar figure in London and connected by
marriage with Lord de la Warr and the Pelham family, both associated with colonization
projects.  For his third wife Humphrey married in 1630 the Lady Susan Fiennes, daughter of
the Earl of Lincoln, sister of the Lady Arbella, wife of Isaac Johnson, and of like kin-
ship to John Gorges, the son of Sir Ferdinando.  Thus a definite contact can be established
between the earliest colonizing projects started by White and this last one, the goal of
his efforts.  It is possible to visualize the association of Humphrey with the Earl of
Lincoln's family connection which played such an important part in the development of this
climax of White's work.  Through it we can account for Thomas Dudley, a retainer of the
Earl, but a native of Northamptonshire, as a passenger in this fleet.  Sempringham


in Lincolnshire, the seat of the Earl, had already the year before sent forth to Salem in
New England its Rector, the Reverend Samuel Skelton, and thus, like a pebble thrown into a
pool, the influence of John White of Dorchester [England] reached out in widening ripples.

Just how Winthrop was drawn into the project is uncertain.  He was a late recruit in the
scheme.  In fact, the Massachusetts Bay Company had been in existence a year and a half
before the name of the elder Winthrop appears on the records.  Prior to that, however, in
April, 1628, John Winthrop, Jr., had under consideration the plan of going to New England
on some sort of an expedition thither for business or investigation.  In a letter to his
father at that time he wrote: "For my voyage to New England, I doe not resolve, (especially
following my Uncle [Emanuel] Downing's advice), except I misse the Straightes (Gibraltar)
but I will stay till you have sold the land though I misse of both.'    Thus New England
had been discussed in the family circles.

Three months later the younger Winthrop was at Leghorn on his voyage to Mediterranean ports,
and that was the end of that earlier idea of going to New England.  The seed, however, was
working and in his frequent visits to London as one of the attorneys of the Court of Wards
and Liveries, the elder Winthrop would be brought into contact through his brother-in-law
[Emanuel] Downing, not only with some of the active members of the newly chartered Company
of the Massachusetts Bay, particularly Isaac Johnson, but with other like projects in the
Carribean Islands undertaken by his kinsman and county neighbors.  His son Henry (Winthrop)
had already gone to the Barbados to establish himself in that island colony.  The times
were beginning to be stirring politically.  The


King had dissolved Parliament, which was not to meet again for more than a decade, and he
was sorting out the lukewarm among his subjects as well as his open enemies for reprisals.
Writing to his wife in May, 1629, the Squire of Groton Manor [John Winthrop] poured out
his apprehensions as to the future of the country and his own fortunes. 'I am verilye per-
suaded God will bring some heavye Affliction upon this lande and that speedylie.'  The blow
fell upon him the next month when he was deprived of his office of Attorney in the Court of
Wards and Liveries, with its large and welcome fees and this, added to his financial burden,
caused him to exclaim to his wife, 'Where we shall spend the rest of our short tyme I knowe
not: the Lorde, I trust, will direct us in mercye.'  At this critical time, in his anxiety
for his own future, and argument in manuscript, 'Reasons for and against settling a planta-
tion in New England,' was circulated among the group of Puritans who were known to have
supported the colonization projects begun by White.  A copy came to the notice of Winthrop
and at his request his son Forth made a copy for the Governor's use.

By the summer of 1629, Winthrop had practically decided to throw in his lot with the Massa-
chusetts Bay Company.  His reasons as stated in his family letters were the constantly in-
creasing expenses of a grown and growing family with no prospects of additional income and
the urgency of the stockholders in the Company that he undertake the leadership of the
organization. 'If he lett pass this opportunitie,' he recorded on a personal memorandum,
'that talent which God


hath bestowed uppon him for publicke service is like to be buried.'    Whether this pessi-
mistic view of his chances of development and success at home was justified is an unanswer-
able question, but it is clear that his decision was based on material rather than spirit-
ual grounds.  He said nothing that indicates his dissatisfaction with the Established
Church.  In none of his later writings has he left any suggestion that ecclesiastical
persecution or distasteful teachings or ritualistic practices influenced his decision to
sell the family manor and the comforts of its appointments to start life anew in an un-
known continent.  By his own testimony it was a question of pounds, shillings and pence,
of a decreasing income and an unfavorable balance sheet, which led him to flee from a
political and economic situation which others remained to fight and win in the end.  It is
pure speculation to surmise what he might have become in the next decade as the Puritan
power became dominant.  A lawyer of his talents and character might have been among the
chief advisers of Cromwell and after the death of Charles one of the great officers of State.

In July, 1629, a few weeks after he had lost his office, Winthrop and his brother-in-law,
Emanuel Downing, attended a meeting at Sempringham by invitation of Isaac Johnson, the
husband of the Lady Arbella, to discuss the subject of emigration to America, either New
England or the West India islands.  The decision favored the former place, and on August
26, at a second conference in the University town of Cambridge, Sir Richard Saltonstall,
Thomas Dudley, William Vassell, Nicholas West, Increase Nowell, Isaac Johnson, John Humphrey
Thomas Sharpe, John Winthrop, William Colburne, Kellam Browne, and William Pynchon concluded
an agreement to go to New England by the


first of the following March (1629/30), with their families and personal property, and
establish a plantation there for permanent settlement.  Thus John Winthrop, Lord of the
Manor of Groton, came at last to the turning-point of his career and, casting
his lot with these men, soon attained leadership.  His name has become attached to the
fleet which was the first fruits of the great project that resulted in the Puritan settle-
ment of New England.

Winthrop's first attendance was at a meeting of the Company October 15, 1629, and five days
later he was chosen Governor 'for his integritie & sufficiencie.'  Humphrey was elected
Deputy Governor at the same meeting, at which the Reverend John White was present, showing
his continued interest in the plans and his support of them.  From this date forward the
ensuing six months were busy times for the promoters.  They were employed in spreading far
and wide the gospel of emigration and signing up recruits for the passenger list.  Naturally
the 'underground telegraph' of what was in prospect reached all sorts of persons ready for
the adventure, for one reason or another, but it found responses more readily among those
sympathetically inclined to Puritan and Separatist ideas.  The Dissenting and Separatist
clergy were already in touch with each other and were early informed of the nature and
purposes of the project, and those who were out of a job or earning a precarious living by
school teaching or holding services surreptitiously in private houses were thought to be fit
subjects for the new propaganda, but they did not join this first great hegira. Archbishop
Laud, their Nemesis later, had not come into power when this movement was being organized,
and not for several years later were the clergy harried by his Grace and his High Commission
Court.  Only two regular glergymen came with Winthrop - the Reverend John Wilson, a native
of Windsor, Berkshire, who had been preaching at Sudbury, Suffolk [England] and the Rever-
end George Phillips, similarly employed at Boxford in the same county, within six miles of
each other with Groton between the two.  Their inclusion in this company may be credited to
the personal influence of Winthrop, and Phillips was a fellow passenger in the Arbella.

The Michaelmas and Hilary Assizes of 1629 at Bury St. Edmunds, always largely attended by
the yeomanry of the county, gave Winthrop an opportunity to meet many persons who would be
informed of the proposed plantation in New England, and thus the gospel of a new country
where land could be had freely and held in fee simple was placed before the tenantry of
Suffolk under favorable circumstances and with good results.  While it was generally
understood that the leaders of this movement were sympathizers with the reform element
in the Established Church, yet this feature was not presented as an inducement, and from
what is known of subsequent happenings, it is clear that a considerable part of the
passengers of the Winthrop Fleet were loyal to the English Church and had no intent or
desire to be a part of any scheme that pretended otherwise.  A contemporary writer alleged
that 'divers went under the Umbrella of Religion.'   Many of them never joined the Puritan
churches, nor became Freemen after their arrival.

That the whole task of advertising the programme of the Company did not devolve on Winthrop
is in evidence, but we have knowledge of his writing personal letters to 'prospects' in
various parts of England.  In London, where the work


of preparation was centered, the labor was done by a few at Governor Cradock's house on
Cannon Street near London Stone.  Deputy Governor [Thomas] Goffe's house on East Cheap,
Isaac Johnson's residence in Soper Lane, Mr. Increase Nowell's house in Philpot Lane near-
by, and doubtless Emanuel Downing's house in Peterborough Court, off Fleet Street (where
Winthrop made his home in the City), were the centers of much missionary work among persons
inquiring about the new colony overseas.  It is doubtful if printed appeals were circulated
by the promoters, yet a diarist of the period stated that 'Books of Incouragement' were
distrubuted in various parts of England; but if so, none have survived, and the writer may
refer to tracts that were printed after their departure.  Nevertheless, the work of the
promoters was well done by word of mouth, and toward the end of the campaign they were able
to exercise their privilege of rejecting some applicants and of making choice of certain
artisans who would be necessary in establishing a new colony.


Chapter  IV
Expense of Travel and Supplies


Passenger travel across the North Atlantic Ocean, which is now one of the great enter-
prises of maritime business, may with truth be said to have started with the departure of
the Winthrop Fleet.  It carried, as has been stated, the largest number of Englishmen
sailing as passengers in one body across the Atlantic up to that event.  There had been
no occasion for such a large group of emigrants to require the services of a fleet of
vessels.  Since that event there has been constant movement of vessels carrying passengers
between the European and American shores.  The maritime interests of England were entirely
concerned with exports and imports and passenger travel was merely incidental to this ex-
tensive overseas trade.  Ships were not built to accomodate travelers and those who desired
to visit foreign countries had to adjust themselves to the inconveniences of a freight-
carrying vessel.

Nor had this new traffic as yet resulted in any modification of the interior construction
of vessels to make them more comfortable for their human freight.  The eleven vessels
secured for carrying the Great Migration were the ordinary freighters of the period.  There
were certain vessels engaged in the wine trade to the Mediterranean ports, which by reason
of their occupation, were specially constructed and were known as 'sweet ships,' as they
were unusually well caulked and always dry.  The Mayflower was of this type and it is
probable that the vessels of the Winthrop Fleet on which passengers were mainly carried were
selected from this class of traders.  A certain number of them carried only horses, cattle,
and small stock.


The construction and model of these ships are shown in the accompanying illustrations of
a typical craft of the early seventeenth century.  The bow with the high forcastle deck
was occupied by the seamen before the mast, and the still higher poop deck on the stern
which covered the cabin sheltered the quarters of the officers.  The space between these two
towering structures, or 'between decks,' which was open on small vessels or fitted with a
deck and a hold in large craft, was used for the cargo, the ordnance and stowing of the long
boats.  In this part of the ship, as we learn from Winthrop's story, 'some cabins' had been
constructed, probably rough compartments of boards for women and children, while hammocks
for the men were swung from every available point of vantage.  We may be assured that Lady
Arbella Johnson and some of 'the better quality' had special quarters in the cabins, as we
are told that they were changed to the lower deck for safety during the threatened hostilities,

meaning the 'hold' or 'between decks.'  It may be left to the imagination
how the sanitary needs of the passengers were met in ordinary weather with smooth seas. It
would be merely speculation to know how the requirements of nature were met in prolonged
storms for the women and children were kept under the hatches.

The number of passengers in the Winthrop Fleet will be discussed elsewhere, but in addition
to the number of 'souls' comprising the emigrants were the officers and crews of the
several ships.  It is recorded that the Arbella (350 tons) was 'manned with fifty-two
seamen,' but the number of officers is not given, probably not less than fifteen of all
ranks.  This is the only basis we have for estimating the number of persons engaged in
navigating the eleven ships and it must be necessarily proximate.  For all the circumstances
of the problem it may be assumed that the Arbella was the largest ship


and with that allowance not less than four hundred officers and seamen manned the entire
fleet and, thus figured, there were not less than eleven hundred stowed away in these ships,
perhaps an average of a hundred to each one.

The cost of transportation overseas for passengers was somewhat of a new problem in mari-
time reckoning, as the length of the voyage was always uncertain, sometimes ranging in
length from six to twelve weeks.  The people emigrating in this Fleet were to be carried
under an arrangement with the Company 'at the rate of 5 li. a person.'  William Wood, a
contemporary writer, said on this point: 'Every man have ship-provisions allowed him for his
five pounds a man, which is Salt Beefe, Porke, Salt Fish, Butter, Cheese, Pease
Pottage, Water-grewell, and such kind of Victuals, with good Biskets, and sixe-shilling
Beere.'  This of course, was for adults, and for children the following schedule of relative
fares was provided:

Sucking children not to be reckoned; such as under 4 yeares of age, 3 for one [fare];
under 8, 2 for one; under 12, 3 for 2.

It is understood that each emigrant traveled at his own expense for himself and those de-
pendent upon him, and it should be here explained in this connection that there were four
classes of emigrants: (1) those who paid for their passage over; (2) those who had some
profession, art or trade and were to receive remuneration for same in money or grants of
land; (3) those who paid a part of their passage and were to labor at the rate of three
shillings a day after arrival in repayment; (4) indentured servants were carried at the
expense of their masters, who were to receive in return fifty acres of land for each servant
transported.  This was similar


to the plan adopted in Virginia to encourage the bringing over of settlers.  The cost of
transportation was an important item in the consideration of the average tenant farmer or
artisan, as the single fare reckoned at present values would be six or eight times as much,
relatively, and was almost prohibitive for a large family.

In addition to the fares for passage the cost of shipping household goods increased the
financial problem for the emigrant.  It was necessary to carry these things as there was no
way of obtaining them in an unsettled country.  The rate for this service was fixed at '4 li
a tonn for goods.'  For the average Puritan family of eight persons, with a ton of freight,
the cost of the trip would be about thirty pounds, or nearly a thousand dollars in our
present money.

In what manner the Lares and Penates of the passengers reached their destination may be sur-
mised from the unfamiliarity of these husbandmen and artisans from East Anglia and London
with the perils of the deep.  Very few of them had ever left the shores of the 'tight little
isle' and they were ignorant of the inadequacy of these absurdly small craft in the trough
of the mountainous Atlantic seas developed in her savage moods.  A contemporay writer speaks
of the giant waves 'hurling their unfixed goods from place to place,' from lack of proper

The present descendants of our first settlers have scant conception and practically no
actual knowledge of the conditions which their ancestors experienced in making the long
trans-Atlantic voyage from England to the American continent.  The most that is understood
and appreciated is the diminutive size of the vessels and the long and hazardous passage


required under the best conditons to reach the 'stern and rock-bound coast' of New England.
The character and size of the vessels which composed this fleet have been described prev-
iously.  Beyond that nothing definite is known as to their living accomodations, their food
supplies and their existence under the uncomfortable conditions in cramped quarters.

In addition to the medical men emigrating as passengers - Doctors Gager and Palsgrave -
there were undoubtedly physicians on each of the ships, which carried a considerable number
of passengers, in accordance with maritime law.  This medical service was an extra charge
amounting to 2s 6d for each person covering the voyage.  The regulations of the Guild of
Barber Surgeons of that date (Sec.47) specified that the 'furniture (instruments, medicines,
etc.) of surgeons employed at sea should be examined before sailing.'  The duties and quali-
fications of this official are thus defined by Captain John Smith in his Accidence for
Young Seamen (London, 1626, p.3):

"The Chirurgeon is exempted from all duty but to attend the sicke and cure the wounded; and
good care would be had that he have a Certificate from the Barber-Surgeons Hall for his
sufficiency, and also that his Chest bee well furnished both for Physicke and Chirurgery
and so neare as may be proper for the clime you goe for, which neglect hath beene a losse
of many a mans life."

In the then existing state of medical knowledge there was little scientific information re-
garding one of the great dangers of ocean voyages - the certainty of scurvy appearing if the
voyage extended over six weeks without the opportunity of obtaining fresh vegetables.  This
morbid shadow hung over every project of overseas exploration and proved to be the undoing
of many an expedition to unknown shores across the Atlantic.


It placed its deadly hand on the expeditons of Drake, Raleigh and Gilbert, and only ten
years before the Winthrop Fleet started, half of the Mayflower Pilgrims died of scorbutic
starvation during the first months after their arrival in Plymouth.  There was little
accurate knowledge of the cause of this dietary disease.  It was vaguely understood that the
lack of fresh vegetables was one of the factors in its causation, but they had no means of
supplying this deficiency on prolonged voyages.  It seems that Winthrop himself had been
advised on this subject, for we find him writing back to his wife to bring 'a gallon of
Scurvy grasse to drink a litle 5: or 6: morninges together, with some saltpeter dissolved
in it & a litle grated or sliced nutmege.'   While limes and lemons were procurable their
usefulness as prophylactics in scurvy was little known except among those who followed the
sea.  Their main reliance was on beer, which was therapeutically sound judgement, as it
served both to allay thirst and as a mild anti-scorbutic.  Water could not be preserved
sweet and potable on these long voyages.  For this reason we find that in the list of provi-
sions for the Arbella forty-two tuns of beer were provided for the passengers of that ship
(about ten thousand gallons).  There is nothing to indicate that limes or lemons were
carried, as numbers fell victims to scurvy on the voyage and many after arrival died from
the lack of proper preventives.  This disease persisted for several months after landing,
causing continuous mortality and it was not until the return of the Lyon in the spring,


bringing a supply of lemons, that the progress of the disease was checked.

The Arbella also carried fourteen tuns of drinking water (thirty-five hundred gallons),
two hogsheads of 'syder,' and one hogshead of vinegar.  This supply of fluids was their
rations for twelve weeks.  For solid food this ship carried sixteen hogsheads of meat, of
which there was beef (eight thousand pounds) pork (twenty-eight hundred pounds), and a
quantity of beef tongues.  It cost them nineteen shillings per hundredweight for beef, and
twenty for pork.  The tongues were priced at fourteen pence apiece.  Of course, this meat
was prepared for the voyage according to the art or 'mystery' of preserving meat practiced
by the Salters Company.  It was evidently a satisfactory delivery, for the Governor wrote
home that the beef 'was as sweet and good as if it were but a month powdered.'  In addition
to this they had six hundred pounds of 'haberdyne' (salt codfish) and for good measure they
had one barrel of salt and one hundred pounds of suet, presumably for cooking purposes.  The
staff of life was represented by twenty thousand biscuits, of which fifteen thousand were
brown and five thousand white, supplemented by one barrel of flour, thirty bushels of oat-
meal and eleven firkins of butter as a spread.  The only vegetable in their table of supplies was peas, of which they had forty bushels.  These were dried peas.  To make this
unembellished diet patatable they provided the cook with a bushel and a half of mustard
seed to stimulate their jaded appetites after days and weeks of 'salthorse.'  Of course,
individual passengers brought small supplies of food for their own use, probably relishes
to relieve the monotony of sea diet.  As a result


of his own experience Winthrop wrote to his wife that when she came over the following year
to bring a supply of 'pease that would porridge well.'  He added  one practical suggestion,
doubtless the outgrowth of his own experiences: 'Be sure to have ready at sea 2: or 3:
skillets of several syzes, a large fryinge panne, a small stewinge panne & a case to boyle
a pudding in,' which implies that the passengers cooked some of their own meals or parts of
them.  Evidently the Steward's department of the Fleet was not yet experienced or efficient
in serving regular meals for so many people, satisfactorily.

Deep-sea fishing supplemented the larder, giving them fresh fish as the exigencies of the
weather permitted and as luck favored their angling.  As the approached the Grand Banks
codfishing was always rewarded by plentiful catches.  The galley was furnished with the
following list of utensils and tableware:
                           The Cookes Store

100 platters
4 Trayes
2 wooden bowlles
4 Lanthornes
4 pompes for water and beer
3-l/2 duzen of quart cans
3 duzen of small cans
13 duzen of Wooden Spoones
3-1/2 duzen Bread basketts
3-l/2 duzen Musterd dishes
2-l/2 Duzen butter dishes
3 or 4 duzen Trenchers
1 duzen Codd-lyne
3 duzen Coddhookes
1/2 duzen Mackerell lynes
1-l/2 duzen Mackerell hookes
12 leades
6 small Leades

The following attractive suggestions were made by Wood regarding luxuries 'for such as
have ability...some conserves and good Claret wine to burne at Sea: or you may have it
by some of your Vintners or Wine Coopers burned here, and put up in Vessels.'


It is evident that artificial lights were not supplied to passengers, and that sundown was
the signal for retiring.  This appears to be a logical conclusion from the fact that only
four 'lanthornes' and six dozen candles were provided, and as far as ascertainable, the
only heat on the vessel was from the cooking-stove in the galley, for which eight thousand
of 'burning wood' was carried.  Their descendants, who now travel in our leviathans of the
deep, surrounded by all the luxuries that embellish modern voyages, will have difficulty
in visualizing this picture of conditions that existed three centuries ago.

Chapter V
The Voyage Overseas


As soon as the agreement at Cambridge on August 26, 1629 was consummated, the Company began
to arrange for shipping to carry the emigrants across the Atlantic.  In the next month the
ship Eagle (mounting twenty-eight guns and carrying a crew of fifty-two seamen) was bought
for the Company's use by ten of the members as underwriters.  This plan was in accordance
with the suggestion of the Reverend Francis Higginson as a business proposition that it
would be more economical for a party of emigrants to join together and purchase a ship for
the voyage and dispose of it after arrival.  This ship was later christened the Arbella in
honor of the Lady Arbella.  The following additional ships were chartered during the year
for service in the spring, viz.:

William and Francis

It was provided that the fleet should be 'Ready to set saile from London by the first day
of March and that if any passengers bee to take shipp at Isle of Wight the ships shall
stoppe there twenty-four hours.'   Presumably the usual delays


prevented adherence to this schedule and the month of April arrived before the fleet had
assembled at Southampton Water, the final rendezvous.  A plan of consortship was arranged
by which the Arbella was designated 'Admiral,' the Talbot 'Vice Admiral,' the Ambrose 'Rear
Admiral' and the Jewel a 'Captain' in nautical ranking for the fleet, and a code of signals
was agreed upon for use at sea to maintain contact and regulate their movements. Winthrop
went down to Southampton on the 10th of March to superintend the assembling of supplies and
loading of the ships from London.  It can be inferred from available records that only the
four leaders of the Fleet, named above, carried passengers, as well as the Mayflower, Whale
and Success.  The others were used to transport freight and live stock.  These vessels began
to drift in to The Solent between his arrival and the last of the month.  From this point
the sole authority on the voyage of this grand fleet - the greatest ever assembled to carry
Englishmen overseas to a new homeland - is John Winthrop himself, who began his famous
journal of the voyage under these headlines:

                         ANNO DOMINI 1630, MARCH 29 MONDAY

            Easter Monday.  Ryding at the Cowes, near the Isle of Wight.

What follows this introductory entry in his log is a condensed narration of the principal
events of interest which marked the progress of this famous flotilla to the shores of their


On Tuesday, April 6, Matthew Cradock, the late Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company,
arrived from London to take his official leave of the party and when this formality was over
and he was duly saluted as he went over the side, these four ships led by the Arbella
weighed anchor and leisurely sailed down The Solent and came to anchorage before the castle
at Yarmouth on the west end of the Isle of Wight.  More salutes between the Castle and the

It is necessary here to mention an historic event which for some reason is given no mention
by Winthrop in his Journal or in his letters to his wife before sailing.  Reference is made
to the famous farewell address of the Reverend John Cotton, Vicar of Boston, Lincolnshire,
who came down to give his blessing and approval of the undertaking, but where this address
was delivered is uncertain, as two contemporary authorities place it at Gravesend and at
Southampton.  John Rous in his Diary of the year 1630 makes the following record:

       Some little while since, the Company went to New England
       under Mr. Winthrop.  Mr. Cotton, of Boston in Lincolnshire,
       went to their departure about Gravesend & preached to them,
       as we heare, out of 2 Samuel, vii.10.  It is said that he
       is prohibited for preaching any more in England then untill June
       24 next now coming.

Another who should be a competent authority, as a passenger in the Winthrop Fleet, places
the scene of this sermon at Southampton.  In a letter from Samuel Fuller of Plymouth to
Governor Bradford, dated Charlestown, August 2, 1630, only three weeks after the arrival
of the Fleet, he wrote:


       Here is a gentleman, one Mr. William Cottington (a Boston Man), who tould
       me, that Mr. Cottons charge at Hamton was, that they should take advise of
       them at Plimoth, and should doe nothing to offend them.

This farewell sermon was published by John Humfrey in the same year entitled 'God's Promise
to his Plantation.'  The evidence favors Southampton as the scene of its delivery, but the
silence of Winthrop is inexplicable.  Nor does he mention the visits of friends and relatives coming to bid farewell to the departing emigrants, as Bradford and Winslow re-
lated the touching scenes when the Pilgrims left Delfthaven.  Johnson, however, although not
a participant, supplies material for this part of the story.  He records that some of them
'had their speach strangled from the depth of their inward dolor with heart-breaking sobs..
adding many drops of salt liquor to the ebbing ocean.'   He could not refrain from adding
that some of the idlers on the dock expressed the opinion that the participants in this
emigration were 'cract-braines.'

They stayed at anchor off the Castle of Yarmouth for a week, waiting for the seven vessels
left behind at Southampton which were not yet ready for the long voyage.  This week of idle-
ness was made bearable for the godly by a fast on Friday, which some ungodly landmen im-
proved by tapping a 'rundlet of strongwater' and making merry with the stolen cups of
of liquor.  The culprits were laid in bolts all night, whipped in the morning, and dieted on
bread and water the following day while sobering up.  On Monday, April 6, the Captain of
Yarmouth Castle, 'a grave, comely gentleman, and of great age,' came aboard the Arbella and


was entertained at breakfast.  He had sailed on the seven seas in Elizabeth's reign, had
been in a Spanish prison for three years, and with his three sons was on the famous voyage
to Guiana in 1610 under Sir Thomas Roe.  Doubtless this typical old British salt regaled
them with his experiences on the Atlantic and, in his honor as he was piped down the side,
four shots from the forecastle waked echoes on The Solent.

Again Mr. Cradock came aboard to announce that the rest of the fleet had dropped down to
Stokes Bay opposite Cowes and would sail by St. Helen's Point (now Bembridge Foreland) into
the Channel and at last all was ready - or nearly so.  The Governor's son Henry and Mr.
Pelham, who went off to attend to shipping the cattle, were left behind to join some later
ship.  On Thursday, April 8, at six in the morning, the 'Admiral' weighed anchor and set
sail, followed by her three consorts in scattered formation.  Accompanying them were some
small ships bound for New Foundland.  The rest of the seven vessels of the fleet were not
ready until two or three weeks later, but as there is no known existing record of their
experiences in crossing the ocean the story of the Fleet only applies to the 'Admiral' and
her consorts.  The others were not heard from until their safe arrival on the New England
coast.  By ten in the forenoon of the first day they were past the Needles and at daylight
on Friday the 9th the Bill of Portland was abeam the flagship Arbella and the first excite-
ment of the trip is described by Winthrop, when the decks were cleared for action against
a suspected enemy fleet:

         In the morning we descried from the top, eight sail astern of us, (whom Capt.
         Lowe told us he had seen at Dunnose in the evening).  We supposing they might
         be Dunkirkers, our captain caused the gunroom and gundeck to be cleared; all
         the hammocks were taken down, our ordnance loaded, and our powder-chests and
         fireworks made ready, and our landmen quartered among the seamen, and twenty-
         five of them appointned for muskets, and every man written down for his

         The wind continued N. [blank] with fair weather, and afternoon it calmed, and
         we still saw those eight ships to stand towards us; having more wind than we,
         they came up apace, so as our captain and the masters of our consorts were more
         occasioned to think they might be Dunkirkers, (for we were told at Yarmouth,
         that there were ten sail of them waiting for us;) whereupon we all prepared to
         fight with them, and took down some cabins which were in the way of our ord-
         nance, and out of every ship were thrown such bed matters as were subject to
         take fire, and we heaved out our long boats, and put up our waste cloths, and
         drew forth our men, and armed them with muskets and other weapons, and instru-
         ments for fireworks; and for an experiment our captain shot a ball of wild-fire
         fastened to an arrow out of a cross-bow, which burnt in the water a good time.

         The Lady Arbella and the other women and children were removed into the lower
         deck, that they might be out of danger.  All things being thus fitted, we went
         to prayer upon the upper deck.  It was much to see how cheerful and comfort-
         able all the company appeared; not a woman or child that showed fear, though
         all did apprehend the danger to have been great, if things had proved as might
         well be expected, for there had been eight against four, and the least of the
         enemy's ships were reported to carry thirty brass pieces; but our trust was in
         the Lord of Hosts; and the courage of our captain, and his care and diligence
         did much to encourage us.  It was now about one of the clock, and the fleet
         seemed to be within a league of us; therefore our captain, because he would
         show he was not afraid of them, and that he might see the issue before night
         should overtake us, tacked about and stood to meet them, and when we came near
         we perceived them to be our friends, - the Little Neptune, a ship of some
         twenty pieces of ordnance and her two consorts, bound for the Straits; a ship
         of Flushing, and a Frenchman, and three other English ships bound for Canada
         and Newfoundland.  So when we drew near, every ship


         (as they met) saluted each other, and the musketeers discharged their small
         shot; and so (God be praised) our fear and danger was turned into mirth and
         friendly entertainment.  Our danger being thus over, we espied two boats on
         fishing in the channel; so every of our four ships manned out a skiff and
         we bought of them great store of excellent fresh fish of divers sorts.

This thrilling description of a naval engagement that almost happened discloses some facts
which lets light upon the method of providing 'accommodations' for passengers on overseas
travel.  It has been explained that vessels of this fleet were ordinary freighters, built
for transporting merchandise, dry and wet goods, from Mediterranean and European ports to
and from English ports.  The carrying of passengers on voyages lasting two or three months
was never in the plans of shipbuilders or merchant adventurers of that era.  Only naval
vessels were constructed with this end in view and the coastwise craft chartered for the
Atlantic voyages were ill-fitted to afford the necessary comforts for women and children.
Temporary, makeshift 'cabins' between decks were installed on them for protection from the
elements and privacy in the night watches.

When peace again settled over this much worried flotilla the voyage was resumed and by
Saturday morning they were 'over against' Plymouth and later in the day the Lizard hove in
sight.  The Scilly Isles were passed the next morning (Sunday the 11th) and now, out of the
English Channel, ahead of them lay the great ocean with nearly three thousand miles to be
traversed before they would sight land again.  The inevitable conditions ensued as the
little vessels headed into the unending swells and choppy seas of the Atlantic and they
began to toss over its surface, churned under a 'very stiff gale' from the Northwest.

Everybody was too seasick,


both minister and people, and the usual religious services on their first Sabbath at sea
were ommitted.  This temporary difficulty, 'which put us all out of order,' says Winthrop,
lasted for a day or more, and the method employed to restore their drooping spirits and
uncertain stomachs is related by him:

        Our children and others, that were sick, and lay groaning in the cabins,
        we fetched out, and having stretched a rope from the steerage to the main-
        mast, we made them stand, some of one side and some of the other, and sway
        it up and down till they were warm, and by this means they soon grew well
        and merry.

Having become enured to the novel equilibrium of the unstable decks, this inevitable feature
of the voyage soon became negligible and the usual routine was resumed.  On the next Sunday
at sea relgious services were held on the ships, and even in stormy weather, and on week
days prayer meetings were held.  Catechizing of the children was done on Tuesdays and Wed-

It will not be interesting nor important to recite the daily progress of the fleet, or the
variations in the weather during the long weeks on the ocean.  The temperature for the first
half of the voyage was generally low and so cold 'as we could well endure our warmer clothes.'  The first comfortably warm day was on April 26, as noted by Winthrop, two weeks
out, but it was only of short duration.  Gales called by him 'stiff,' 'pretty,' or 'handsome' followed each other with seas 'high' or 'raging' in regular succession.  On May 3
they were obliged to 'lay at hull,' so great was the stress of the stormy seas, and heavy
rains generally accompanied these conditions.


On May 19 they had reached (or thought they had) the Grand Banks in the midst of a great
storm, and at nine of the clock at night a fast was observed and again the following day.
Some of the vessels lost their smaller sails at this time as the storm continued with little
abatement for several days.  Scarcely any headway was made during this prolonged bad weath-
er.  The live stock, which was carried in separate ships, suffered as much, if not more than
the passengers, as they were helpless on the storm-swept decks.  There were two hundred and
forty cows and about sixty horses transported with the Fleet, according to Winthrop.

Captain John Smith, describing this storm, which lasted ten days, stated that the cattle
'were so tossed and brused, three score and ten died.'

The nautical devices used by Captain Milborne of the Arbella to bring his ship to its
destined port were the crude methods available at that period.  Navigators had only the
cross-staff to ascertain the latitude, but while the elevation of the sun could be measured
with practical accuracy by this instrument and the degrees of latitude figured out there was
no way to determine longitude at sea.  This requirement was not available for the mariners
until the latter half of the next century.  To overcome this difficulty, the east or west
positions at a given time were expressed in terms of dead reckoning by estimating the marine
leagues sailed from day to day.  As they progressed west, Winthrop enters in his Journal
such statements as 'about 90 leagues from Scilly.'

It was evidently the plan of the navigator of the Arbella as Admiral of the Fleet to use
latitude 43 degrees 15' north as his general westerly course, which would bring him directly
south of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, and to the Isles of Shoals.  The Arbella reached this
latitude on May 3rd when just north of Terceira,


Azores, and he varied little from this course except when driven from it, above or below, by
stress of weather.  When he reached the Gulf of Maine and came in permanent view of the
coast of New England his course was determined by well-known landmarks.

On May 30 they reckoned they were on the meridian of Cape Sable but soundings gave no
'ground' at about eighty fathoms, and on June 6 they sighted land 'about five or six leagues
off' and on the following day (Monday, 7th) found they were in thirty fathoms with a calmer
sea. 'So we put our ship a-strays,' writes Winthrop, 'and took in less than two hours, with
a few hooks, sixty-seven codfish, most of them very great fish, some a yard and a half long
and a yard in compass.'  While these incidents of the voyage of a material character were
being enacted, Winthrop found time in the seclusion of the cabin to employ his busy pen
in setting down some of his religious convictions.  He wrote an essay which he entitled
'A Model of Christian Charity,' the original of which is still in existence.

The scent of the nearing coast-line was now more and more in evidence and on June 9, with a
'handsome gale' to speed them on, they 'had the mainland upon our starboard all day' and saw
'very high land' and many small islands' off the coast of Maine.  The worst of this stormy
crossing was now nearly over.  On June 10 they made the Three Turks Heads on their star-
board bow, meaning the three peaks of Mount Agamenticus in York, Maine; then Boone Island
and the 'Shoals' assured them that the end of the voyage was at hand.

These were the externals which the leaders of the Fleet had encountered in the past sixty-
eight cold and stormy days and nights.  What of the human beings tossed on the bosom of the
ocean toward the unknown shores of New England and how


did they fare?   That they suffered hardships needs no recital.  Death continually hovered
in the wake of the flotilla and we are told that many of the passengers of the Success were
nearly starved when they reached their destination.  Yet during the voyage, when weather
and sea conditions permitted, there was occasional visiting between the ships and dinner
parties were held for the men 'in the round house' (meaning the Master's cabin) of the
Arbella, and the ladies were served in the 'great cabin' on these festal occasions.  A
squadron under command of Captain Thomas Kirk, bound for Quebec, was overtaken and while in
their company like social courtesies followed.  Exchanges of food between vessels was made
to equalize the supplies whenever possible, but the commissariat was not equal to the re-
quirements of a balanced dietary.  They were ignorant of its principles.

Winthrop notes that a swallow lighted on his ship when ninety miles from Scilly and again
when off Nova Scotia 'a wild pigeon and a small land bird' flew aboard as harbingers of the
nearing coast.  He noted that the new moon in April and May looked much smaller than the
moons in England, and on May 31 he writes, 'this day about five at night we expected the
eclipse,' but for some reason this celestial phenomenon did not perform.  An eclipse was
due at this date, but probably due to inability to reckon the time accurately and perhaps
from obscuration by clouds it was invisible to the Fleet.  It was a total solar eclipse which would have been visible in England.  About halfway across they saw a whale who lay 'just in our ship's way (the bunch of his back about a yar above water).  He would not shun us; so we passed within a stone's cast of him, as he lay spouting up water.'

Winthrop speaks on three occasions of the 'landsmen' and once


of the 'musketeers.'  In nautical terms a landsman is a sailor on his first voyage, and it
appears that they were assigned to the duty of soldiers or guardsmen and drilled in the use
of muskets for defensive purposes.  It is known that two professional military men - Captain
John Underhill and Captain Daniel Patrick - were employed to act as leaders in military
operations after arrival in New England.  It is probable that they had duties of this char-
acter during the voyage should any emergency like the one recited in the beginning of this
chapter arise.  They followed in this matter the example of the Pilgrims in the employment
of Captain Myles Standish for the same purpose.

Deaths occured as a not unexpected event in such a large party living under unfavorable
conditions; one of them a seaman, 'a profane fellow' according to the journalist.  The
Talbot lost fourteen passengers by death on the voyage, an impressive record on a small
ship.  A child was born on the Jewel and one woman on the Arbella was brought to bed of a
still-born infant.

At last on June 12, land came to be a reality to the sight of the tired voyagers, when they
reached Cape Ann; and those who were able went ashore and 'gathered a store of fine straw-
berries.'  The next day (Sunday), Miasconomo, the Sagamore of Agawam, came aboard and pre-
sumably welcomed the strangers to the home of his forefathers.  At all events he stayed all
day.  Festivities continued with visits from the Masters of vessels already in the harbor
of Salem, while the Governor and the Assistants, with some of the women, went to the resi-
dence of Captain Endicott and enjoyed a real meal in which venison pasty and good beer
tempted their jaded appetites.   On Wednesday the 18th, the Jewel having been the second
vessel of the Fleet to reach port, all disembarked and the Promised Land lay at their feet.


The Mayflower and Whale dropped anchor in Charlestown Harbor two weeks later, July 1,
followed by the Talbot the next day.  The William and Francis and Hopewell arrived the 3d,
the Trial and the Charles, the 5th, and the 6th of July saw the Success, the last of the
Fleet, safely at anchor in Salem Harbor.  The Great Emigration had reached its destination.

With their faces looking back to the East, whence they had wearily sailed a thousand leagues
cradled in Atlantic tempests, they could say then with the Evangelist:

                        'And there shall be no more Sea.'

Chapter VI


Probably few of those who participated in this great movement had any conception that their
names would be eagerly sought three centuries later for a permanent record in the annals
of the nation they were destined to establish.

The story of an event which became of historic importance is only half told if the identity
of the participants is not revealed, for it is the natural impulse of man to confer even
posthumous honors on the men and women who took part in it.  So it will be asked who were
these adventurous souls who sailed three thousand miles to our shores in craft so frail and
so absurdly small that no one of their descendants could be induced to risk its peril today?

It is essential to the completeness of the story to know them by name, for this voyage was
the beginning of the greatest movement in American colonization.  To answer this it will be
necessary to know how many emigrants sailed in this flotilla before a list can be compiled
with any surety of completeness.  Fortunately, Winthrop, in a letter to his wife written just
before sailing, told her that there were seven hundred passengers aboard. While this state-
ment needs no corroboration, yet it is satisfactory to have a contemporary writer give in-
dependent testimony that 'six or seven hundred went with him.' [John Smith: Advertisement
for Planters.]  A much larger number has been claimed by later historians, but no authority
for their figures has been given nor any reason offered for ignoring Winthrop's specific
statement.  Therefore,


we have to deal with about seven hundred men, women and children as embarked for the ad-
venture and then subtract the casualties of the voyage, deaths that ensued shortly after
arrival from disease, the return of discontented persons, and the few who came as pros-
pectors to view the country and examine its desirability for planting a colony.  On these
points we have a detailed statement written six months after their arrival by Thomas Dudley
to Bridget, Countess of Lincoln, mother of the Lady Arbella.  It was sent back by the Lyon
April 1, 1631, and reached England in four weeks.  He wrote her that from the time they
weighed anchor in April, 1630, to the following December 'there dyed by estimacon about two
hundred at least, so lowe hath the Lord brought us.'   On the score of desertions - return
of the discontented - he gives these details:

     Insomuch that the shippes being now uppon their returne, some for England, some
     for Ireland, there was I take it, not much less than an hundred, (some think many
     more) partly out of dislike of our government, which restrained and punished their
     excesses and partly through fear of famine, (not seeing other means than by their
     labour to feed themselves) which returned back again.  And glad were wee to bee
     ridd of them.  Others also afterwards hearing of men of their own disposition, which
     were planted at Piscataway, went from us to them, whereby though our numbers were
     lessened, yet wee accounted ourselves nothing weakened by their removall.'

Thus from Dudley's account there must be subtracted two hundred


deaths and about one hundred desertions or removals from the seven hundred who set sail
in April, 1630, and the remaining four hundred and fifty appear to be the number of pass-
engers to be accounted for by name, as no records of the deaths occurring at sea or after
arrival is extant.

We know only of a few of the more prominent persons like Isaac Johnson and his wife, the
Lady Arbella, the wives of the Reverend George Phillips and Mr. William Pynchon, and the
accidental drowning of young Henry Winthrop.   The deaths of thirty-five others are found
in various sources, leaving one hundred and sixty-five casualties unaccounted for, probably
'the poorer sort' mentioned by Winthrop.  Of the hundred who removed to adjoining settle-
ments or returned to England, but twenty-seven are known by name.

It is more than probable that the number of deaths and removals were estimated by Dudley
and stated in 'round numbers.'   He must have included the casualties of the Dorchester
Settlers who came in the Mary and John, as well as those in the Lyon, and would be likely
to exaggerate the desertion of undesirables, of whom they were glad 'to bee ridd.'  The
inference drawn would show the remaining settlers classified as 'godly persons.'  These
totals make up the seven hundred passengers.

Fortunately, for our purposes, there exists a list of seventy names of those who came with
the fleet, a rough list prepared by Winthrop, and to be found entered on a flyleaf in the
original Winthrop Jounal disconnected with the main text.  A facsimile of this important
record appears herewith.  As this list comprises only males the names of women and children
accompanying them, as well as the other emigrants not recorded by Winthrop, must be sifted
out of many existing records, Colonial, Town, Church and family papers, and be differentiat-
ed from the older planters who were settled at Charlestown,


Dorchester, Salem and adjacent places in the Bay before the arrival of the Winthrop Fleet.

This is not always easy of accomplishment and in many cases it required a search in England
to determine whether a particular settler of 1630 came with the Mary and John from Plymouth,
with Endicott in 1628, or by other vessels individually.  The first list of persons re-
questing to be made freemen on October 19, 1630, contains the names of Old Planters of
Charlestown and Salem, as well as the Dorchester party from the West Country mingled with
those of the Winthrop Fleet, so that it gives no definite clue to the passengers of the
latter named vessels.  This list contains one hundred and nine names and on May 18, 1631,
there were one hundred and fourteen persons made freemen.

With few exceptions they were the men who had applied for the franchise the preceding
October, so this list does not solve the problem.  The next source of identification is
the list of members of the First Church of Boston at its foundation in Charlestown, 1630,
and subsequent admissions during a number of succeeding years.  Many of them did not be-
come affiliated with the church at all, and many did not join at its founding, which is
ample proof that they did not emigrate for religious reasons.  The church list therefore
is not a safe source of authority as to the problem.  In the final justification for the
inclusion of a name, other than the few who are mentioned specifically as coming in the
Fleet, the decision must rest on identification of the individual in his English home, and
where that is impossible, all the circumstantial factors entering in each case must be
weighed.  The surname is important, whether East Anglian or West Country;


the passenger's kinsfolk and associates; his neighbors in the town where he settled, and the
weight of evidence for and against his origin in that part of England whence the great bulk
of the passengers of the Winthrop Fleet originated, these are some of the constituent ele-
ments of the problems which entered into the composition of the passenger list of those who
can be assumed or proven to have come with Winthrop.

Whence came this company of voyagers seeking a new home in a trackless wilderness?  The news
of their coming had already reached our shores.  The Reverend Francis Higginson of Salem,
who had preceded them hither by a year, wrote to some of his old friends in Leicestershire
under date of 24 July, 1629, that 'a great company of godly Christians out of London' were
expected next year (1630), and Thomas Prince, a later historian, in speaking of the Migra-
tion, said, 'the greatest Number came from About London tho' South Hampton was the place of
the Rendevouz.'   While it is true that many came 'out of London' and 'about London' it is
not true that the majority of them originated in that city.  As has been stated, there were
many foci of activities in spreading the gospel of emigration to New England both before and
after Winthrop assumed active control of the movement.  Analysis of the home origins of the
passengers as compiled by the author shows that they came from twenty different counties
of England in the following relative order:

Suffolk            159
Essex               92
London              78
Northamptonshire    22
Lincolnshire        12
Yorkshire            8
Leicestershire       7
Kent                 5
Lancashire           5
Hampshire            5
Norfolk              4
Oxfordshire          3
Buckinghamshire      2
Hertfordshire        2


To this list are to be added Nottinghamshire, Cambridge, Rutlandshire and Chester with one
each and five from Holland.   This tabulation of origins, four hundred and more in number,
does not give us a definite picture of the situation, as England is a small country and its
forty small counties are so grouped that the comital lines make only an artificial bound-
ary.  This will be best shown on the accompanying map which represents county groupings that
explain the restricted density of origins.

The Lincolshire group can be attributed to the influence of the Reverend John Cotton, the
Reverend Samuel Skelton, and the Fiennes family; the Leicestershire group to the Reverend
Arthur Hildersham of Ashby-de-la Zouch and the Reverend Francis Higginson; the Northhampton-
shire group to Thomas Dudley and the Reverend Samuel Stone; the Lancashire group probably
to Reverend Richard Mather, and the large London group to the numerous dissenting clergy-
men in the city parishes as well as to the business influence of the lay members of the
Company residing there.   

Of course, Winthrop can be personally credited as an important factor in his own county.
Using as a center Groton, of which he was Lord of the Manor, about a hundred persons came
from surrounding parishes within a radius of ten miles.  Most of the adjoining county of
Essex was then under the spell of the Reverend Thomas Hooker, Hugh Peter and John Eliot,
preaching and teaching in and around Chelmsford, while William Pynchon, of the old landed
gentry in Writtle nearby, gave the movement its business aspect in that county.

Of the social qualities of these passengers there are certain facts which permit some
definite statements as to their status in the domestic life of the mother country.
Lady Arbella Fiennes, daughter of an earl, and her brother Charles carried


the honors of nobility for the passengers, while Sir Richard Saltonstall, knight, was the
sole representative of the titled gentry.  Next in rank were Isaac Johnson and John Winthrop
both esquires.  Brand, Feake, Plaistow and Pynchon were of the 'gentleman' class, and foll-
owing them were the undefined persons who for one reason or another were given the prefix
of 'Mr.' in our early records: Alcock, Bradstreet, Browne, Coddington, Cole, Dillingham,
Dudley, Freeman, Glover, Jones, Masters, Mayhew, Pelham, Stoughton, Turner, Tyndale and

Thus twenty-five of the two hundred and forty-seven possible heads of families were of a
social rank above that of yeomen or husbandmen.  The great majority of the passengers were
artisans or tillers of the soil who were called 'planters' - not in the agricultural sense
but as persons who were engaged in planting a colony under the flag of England.  Of the
trades represented, as far as known, there were the following, viz.: armorer, baker, black-
smith, butcher, carpenter, cordwainer, merchant, five of each; clothier, chandler, cooper,
military officer, physician, tailor, three each; fisherman, herdsman, mason, two of each;
tanner and weaver, one of each.  This list is, of course, incomplete, but recites the known
or recorded vocations of the passengers.  'These ships,' said Prince, 'were filled with
Passengers of all occupations skill'd in all Kinds of Faculties needful for Planting a new
Colony.'  And an earlier writer, after stating that there were 'divers good and godly
people' among them probably covered the situation fully by adding that 'people of all sorts

From this list the following analysis of the classes of passengers can be deduced: there
were two hundred and forty-three adult males, potential heads of families, but only one
hundred and twenty-nine of them are known to have been accompanied by their wives and thus
were the same number


of married women in the passenger list.  Thirteen single women or widows are of record as
surviving the ordeal of the voyage and diseases in the first year.  There were about one
hundred and thirty-five children accompanying their parents and seventeen classed as ser-
vants.  Three of the prominent leaders - Winthrop himself, Sir Richard Saltonstall, and the
Reverend John Wilson - did not bring their wives with them, probably for the reason that
they wished to prepare suitable homes for them in advance of their coming.  It is further
possible that most of the unattached females, presumed to be single, may have been widows of
deceased passengers, or kinswomen of other families, as unmarried women did not travel alone
on an adventure of this nature at that period.

Many inquiries have been received by the author, since the announcement of the issue of this
volume, seeking information as to the names of the passengers of the Arbella.  As there is
no known list of the emigrants who came in the Winthrop Fleet, so there is none of those
who came in particular ships, beyond the Governor himself, his three boys, and three other
persons casually mentioned by him in his log of the voyage.   In the Public Record Office,
London, among the Colonial Papers, there is a document, in the nature of a 'news' report,
which gives the following names as having sailed recently for New England:

          Mr. John Winthroppe Esqr. Governor and three of his sonnes
          Sir Rich. Saltonstall Knight three of his sonnes and 2 daughters
          Mr. Isaake Johnson Esqr. and the Lady Arbella his wife sister to
          the Earle of Lincolne
          Mr. Charles Fines the said Earles brother
          Mr. Dudley his wife 2 sonnes and 4 daughters
          Mr. Coddington and his wife
          Mr. Pinchon and his wife and 3 daughters
          Mr. Vassall and his wife
          Mr. Revell


In view of the fact that social position and official connection with the company would
give the above-named persons quarters on the flagship, it may be assumed, for these reasons
and the convenience of conferences on business connected with their future settlement, that
they came on the Arbella.  The only objection to accepting this natural conclusion definite-
ly is the fact that Mr. John Revell, who was an Assistant, was a passenger in the Jewel.

With these explanations there will follow the names of those who are believed to have come
to New England with Winthrop on the evidence cited in each individual case.


                              MRS. ANNE (____) POLLARD


This passenger, according to her own story, came with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630 in one of
the ships that arrived at Charlestown.  She was then about nine or ten years of age and de-
scribed herself as 'a romping girl' of the type who would be the heroine of the special in-
cident which will be her title to enduring local fame.

She is credited with being the first female, of all the passengers, to set foot on the pen-
insular of Shawmut, now the city of Boston, and for that reason deserves special notice in
this story of the Great Emigration. 

Taking one of the ship's boats, with a party of young people, she went over to Shawmut in search of fresh water, as the springs at Charlestown gave a brackish, unpalatable and in-
adequate water supply.  As the boat touched the shore, she was the first to leap out, and
her claim to priority of landing in Boston has been of record for more than a century.

She became the wife of William Pollard, innholder of Boston, by whom she had a large family
and at her death, December 6, 1725, she had nearly reached the great age of one hundred and
five years.  Franklin's 'New England Courant' in a short obituary notice of this centenar-
ian stated that shw was born in Saffron Walden, Essex, but with this clue it has not been
possible, up to the time of the issue of this volume, to identify her among the many child-
ren baptized 'Anne' in the years calculated from her age at death.

None of the various parents of all these Annes can be recognized as coming to Boston with
her, either by name or connected with her by will here or in England, after extensive in-
vestigation by one of the leading genealogists of London.   The matter is still being followed up.   

Her portrait, painted when she became a centenarian, is in the collections
of the Massachusetts Historical Society and a reproduction may be seen in Bolton's
'Portraits of the Founders.'






Source: The Winthrop Fleet of 1630 by Charles Edward Banks 1854-1931, published Boston 1930

Contributed & Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth

All data on this website is Copyright 2010 by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters

All data on this website is ? 2010 by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.