IT was but a transient gleam of prosperity that had cheered the exiles at the close of their first summer in America. Through nearly the whole of the next two years, they were struggling with hardship in one of its direst forms. "A famine began to pinch," which was not wholly relieved till the second harvest after the departure of the Fortune.
1622. Scarcity of food.
In the former of the two summers that intervened, "had they not been where were divers sorts of shell-fish, they must have perished." They had planted nearly sixty acres with corn, and in their gardens they had some vegetables; but "the crop proved scanty, partly through weakness, for want of food, to tend it, partly through other business, and partly by much being stolen," before it ripened, by an unruly rout of Englishmen lately arrived in vessels of Mr. Weston. Some small supplies of corn were procured, in short expeditions by sea and land, from the coast further to the north, and more from the neighboring natives. From vessels "fishing at the eastward" Winslow obtained as much bread as amounted to a quarter of a pound a person a day, till harvest." As winter came on, they were "helped with fowl and ground-nuts." The Governor got twenty-seven or twenty- eight hogsheads of corn and beans, in a visit to Boston Bay and Cape Cod, from which latter region he returned fifty miles on foot, "receiving all respect that could be from the Indians in his journey." Another supply he brought later from the head of what is now called Buzzard's Bay.1