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Tuesday, May 26, 2015


According to Malcolm Gaskill, author of “Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans”, the Journal of Winslow and Bradford is one of the best memoirs from the New World.  Of course, they had something to say about the herring too……
Jan. 2, 2015

A Relation or Journall of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England
By Edward Winslow and William Bradford (1622)
Winslow and Bradford were Mayflower Pilgrims who had surely read Smith’s Jamestown chronicle and learned from it. The colony they describe, New Plymouth, was, even in its infancy in 1620, orderly and industrious, in spirit like the communitarian parishes of old England. The new world was one both of rapture and hardship. The first winter, rued Bradford, God tested the Pilgrims with “variable windes and sodaine storms,” and the cold “so taynted our people, for scarce any of us were free from vehement coughs.” The following year, they made friends as well as enemies among the Indians, and “according to the manner of the Indians, we manured our ground with Herings”—whose calcium neutralized Plymouth’s acidic soil. Winslow and Bradford’s narrative is best known for its report on the first Thanksgiving. A plentiful harvest had led Bradford, the governor, to order the hunting of fowl “so we might after a more speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labours.” Here was the confirmation that providence had smiled on them.

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