Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Book 2, Chapter 1 Summary
Bradford skips backward to describe the origins of the Plymouth federal government. The Pilgrims choose to prepare a compact in part to avoid opportunists from taking advantage of the confusion surrounding the abandoned contract with the Virginia Company. The compact, which Bradford includes in the text, states the Pilgrims’ intention to establish a federal government in addition to laws suitable to their goals as a colony, and this results in the selection of John Carver as guv for the very first year.
Although this does not totally put a stop to dissension amongst the inhabitants, it does mitigate it. The first few months of settlement, nevertheless, likewise generate a much more instant problem: a sickness that Bradford credits to a combination of winter and the lingering impacts of scurvy from the voyage. Throughout January and February, roughly half the Pilgrims pass away. Those who remain well diligently look after the ill– including sailors who had actually formerly declined to do the very same for the Pilgrims– at what Bradford describes as significant personal threat.
Meanwhile, the Pilgrims continue to sporadically experience Native Americans, consisting of a man called Samoset, who had learned to speak some English through contact with English anglers. Samoset in turn introduces the Pilgrims to members of a regional people, consisting of the sachem, or leader, and a guy called Squanto, who speaks English even more with complete confidence. The Pilgrims and this group– the Pokanoket– sign a peace treaty, and Squanto stays with the Pilgrims, teaching them how to fish and grow corn.
Squanto’s account of himself also supplies the Pilgrims with important insight into the area and their neighbors. After being kidnapped and almost sold into slavery, Squanto was ultimately able to return to America with a male called Captain Dermer, who had actually remained in Plymouth just a few months prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival. In his journal, Dermer reported that the soil in the region was good, but that the Pokanoket had actually been hostile ever since several members of their tribe were slaughtered on an English ship.
Bradford declares that the Pilgrims’ survival in the face of this threat shows that God was securing them. Nevertheless, Bradford says that the Pokanoket did eventually show untrustworthy; he later discovered that right away before meeting the Pilgrims, the Pokanoket had “got all the Powows of the nation together for three days to curse and execrate [the English] in a horrid and devilish way with conjurations, holding their assembly in a dark and miserable overload” (54 ).