The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture

By John C. Miller | Go to book overview

The Plymouth Plantation

William Bradford

Bradford began to write the History of Plymouth Plantationabout 1630. It is the first section, carrying the story down to 1621, that recaptures in artistic form the sweep and majesty of the Pilgrim experience. Although he succeeded in bringing the account of events at Plymouth down to 1647, in its later stages the History peters out into a mere chronicle.

The manuscript of Bradford's Historywas used by several generations of New England historians. During the War of Independence, it was lost to view and did not reappear until 1855, when it was discovered in the library of the Bishop of London. Presumably the manuscript had been brought to England by a Massachusetts Loyalist and deposited with the Bishop of London, under whose jurisdiction all American communicants of the Church of England lay.

After much searching of conscience on the bishop's part, the manuscript was returned to the United States in 1897. The History of Plymouth Plantationwas first published by the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1856.


OF THEIR DEPARTURE INTO HOLLAND AND THEIR TROUBLES THEREABOUT, WITH SOME OF THE MANY DIFFICULTIES THEY FOUND AND MET WITHAL. ANNO 1608

Being thus constrained to leave their native soil and country, their lands and livings, and all their friends and familiar acquaintance, it was much; and thought marvelous by many. But to go into a country they knew not but by hearsay, where they must learn a new language and get their livings they knew not how, it being a dear place and subject to the miseries of war, it was by many thought an adventure almost desperate; a case intolerable and a misery worse than death. Especially seeing they were not acquainted with trades nor traffic (by which that country doth subsist) but had only been used to a plain country life and the innocent

____________________
William Bradford: Of Plymouth Plantation. Edited by Samuel Eliot Morison.

-43-

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The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 15
  • Part I - Arrivals 41
  • The Plymouth Plantation 43
  • A Description of New England 66
  • The New English Canaan 76
  • Letters 77
  • The Crossing to Pennsylvania! 83
  • Part II - Daily Life 99
  • Pirates in Plymouth 101
  • Thomas Morton of Merrymount 103
  • The Merrymount Colony 108
  • Edifying Incidents 113
  • An Exemplary Christian 115
  • Inoculation for Smallpox 118
  • Courtship 132
  • Marriage 141
  • On Taking a Mistress 154
  • The Speech of Polly Baker 156
  • Riding through Virginia 159
  • Part III - God and the Devil 167
  • Religious Tolerance 169
  • In Defence of Intolerance 175
  • Witchcraft in Salem 179
  • Witchcraft in Salem 185
  • Witchcraft in Salem 190
  • The Devil in the Shape of a Woman 193
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 207
  • Personal Narrative 212
  • Part IV - The Indians 221
  • The Indians in Virginia 223
  • Pocahontas 231
  • The Pequot War 239
  • The Pequot War 244
  • Indian Customs and Manners 248
  • Captured by Indians 257
  • Part V - The South 291
  • Virginia 293
  • History of the Dividing Line 310
  • Part VI - Literature 351
  • Anne Bradstreet 353
  • Michael Wigglesworth 357
  • Edward Taylor 367
  • Bacon's Epitaph 370
  • Ebenezer Cook 372
  • Benjamin Franklin 377
  • Part VII - Four Colonial Views 387
  • Itinerarium Dr. Alexander Hamilton 389
  • Autobiography 419
  • Journal 437
  • Letters from an American Farmer 479
  • Bibliography 499
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