Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Book 2, Chapter 2 Summary
Prevalent illness and other issues delay the departure of the Mayflower, but the Pilgrims do ultimately send it back to England in March 1621. With the ship gone, they step up their efforts to develop a habitable nest, planting corn and (on Squanto’s idea) using fish to fertilize the soil. Modifications are also underway in the government: Guv Carver passes away in April and Bradford himself replaces him, although he relies heavily on the assistance of a guy called Isaac Allerton while recovering from his own health problem.
The facility of a government suggests that marriages can now occur in Plymouth, and the very first one does in May 1621. On the other hand, the Pilgrims continue to have various transactions with regional people– for example, sealing their alliance with the Pokanoket Sachem, Massasoit. On this exploration, the Pilgrims find out that while many of the Pokanoket had actually passed away in a current afflict, the neighboring Narragansetts are still extremely numerous. The Pilgrims also come across the group of Native Americans that they had previously taken corn and beans from and provide “complete fulfillment” (56) for the crops.
In addition to Squanto, the Pilgrims also start to count on the help of a man called Hobbamok. At one point, Squanto and Hobbamok’s commitment to the Pilgrims lands them in problem with a Sachem called Corbitant, who threatens to eliminate both of them. Hobbamok escapes and informs the Pilgrims, who decide to avenge Squanto if he had in fact been killed, “for if they permitted their pals and messengers to be damaged, none would relate to them or provide intelligence or do them service later on” (57 ).
As it turns out, nevertheless, Squanto is still alive when the Pilgrims reach him, and his captors excitedly make peace with the Pilgrims. Overall, the Pilgrims are able to work out friendly relationships with the majority of the surrounding tribes. In November, a ship bring Cushman and thirty-five new settlers get here. The Pilgrims are “glad of this addition of strength, but might have wished that a lot of [the brand-new inhabitants] had been of much better class, and all of them much better furnished with provisions” (58– 59).
Cushman also brings a letter from Weston grumbling that the Pilgrims sent the Mayflower back empty– a decision Weston credits to “weakness of judgment [rather] than weak point of hands” (59 ). However, Weston says he will keep his agreement with the Pilgrims if they hold up their end of the deal. In response, the Pilgrims return a ship stocked with clapboard and otter and beaver skins, along with a description of the scenarios that delayed the Mayflower’s return.
Regardless of this, Bradford says that Weston eventually reneged on his pledges. The winter season of 1621 shows hard for the Pilgrims. Although the Pilgrims had started to save materials in fall, the inhabitants who got here with Cushman had not similarly gotten ready for the winter, and the Pilgrims fear they will lack food. In addition, the Narragansett threaten war by sending the Pilgrims arrows covered in snakeskin; the Pilgrims react with bullets covered in snakeskin, and nothing comes of the exchange.
However, it convinces the Pilgrims to take preventative measures, consisting of confining homes within forts and forming a militia. The chapter closes with an anecdote about the Pilgrims asking for time off on Christmas on the grounds that working on a holy day breaks “their consciences” (62 ), only to end up playing in the streets. The guv– that is, Bradford– scolds them and tells them that they need to stay in your home if they think about “keeping […] the day a matter of devotion” (62 ).