Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Book 2, Chapters 10-12 Analysis
As the English presence in America broadens, the Pilgrims are significantly drawn into the affairs of neighboring colonial settlements. In most cases, Bradford depicts this as unwanted and a prospective hazard to the pureness of Plymouth. Ashley, similar to Morton prior to him, exposes his “depravity” (128) by sleeping with Native American females; in some sense, Bradford suggests, these men’s status as spiritual outsiders ultimately estranges them from their own culture and race.
It deserves keeping in mind, however, that Ashley is also an economic competitor to the Pilgrims, and the fact that Bradford explains him in the ethical terms that he does perhaps suggests that spiritual and financial interests are progressively blurred in Plymouth. Other next-door neighbors are more welcome to the Pilgrims. Salem, for example, was house to numerous Puritan settlers– including some members of the old Leyden churchgoers– so it’s sensible that Plymouth would wish to help curb the 1629 epidemic there.
These friendly ties become more important as the years go on, with a number of colonies ultimately unifying in a loose confederacy for shared defense against various Native American tribes, especially the Narragansett. To put it simply, the relationships that start to take shape in this area perhaps make up the beginnings of a sense of shared American identity between the numerous English inhabitants in the area.
Meanwhile, this section also introduces the White Angel, a symbol that will loom big for the remainder of the account. Although the White Angel was clearly a real ship, in Bradford’s account it likewise concerns represent the monetary entanglements that continue to afflict the Pilgrims in their new home; in the end, the question of payment hangs over Plymouth for upwards of 10 years. The White Angel also encapsulates Pilgrims’ lots of problems with deceptive or self-serving representatives and business partners like Allerton and Weston.
Characteristically, Bradford analyzes these issues as side effects of the Pilgrims’ godliness: because they are relying on and forgiving the Pilgrims are accountable to be benefited from. By contrast, Bradford continues to attribute the miseries of others to divine retribution in this area. For instance, he inserts a letter from the Massachusetts Bay Colony that explains a break out of sickness in Boston and Charleston as the “hand of God” (148 ).