Archive for April 27th, 2012


Backbaygrouch gave me a lot of information on the Mayflower Compact. He sort of apologized because being wrong embarrasses real people.

Not me. What I said was actually what the majority of people, if they have ever heard of the Compact at all an remember it, have impressed on them. You would be astonished to learn how much solid fact I have gotten out of making a complete fool of myself.

The fact is that public opinion is based on such vague remembered impressions. I had actually heard that the Compact was written on board.

Remember that when I was coming up the Pilgrims were the FIRST. A documentary on American history endorsed by the National Education Association began with “…how a nation founded by Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1620 became a world power.”

That makes the NEA look a lot more like an idiot than if I said the Mayflower was French.

I have rethought my article in the light of the facts as presented by BBG. In public opinion OF MY DAY, the Compact was looked upon as the first statement of principles in American history. Beyond that, there was no story.

They just presented the Compact.

You knew the Pilgrims first landed in English America.

The reasons for it, as put down by BBG, require a pretty advanced understanding of history. You would play hell trying to explain these details in your average college history course.

First and foremost, how would you explicate, as BBG did, that the Compact was written largely because the Pilgrims did not decide to go on to some OTHER settlement. As I said, my Harvard graduated Associate Director was absolutely astonished to discover that Jamestown was settled BEFORE Plymouth.

A couple of facts in exchange. The first Indian the Pilgrims encountered spoke English. Europeans had been fishing off those shores since the late Middle Ages, and he had dealt with them regularly.

Secondly, the shipment that John Smith described as “twenty niggurs” who arrived a year before the Founding Fathers of Plymouth were, as BBG guessed, indentured. It is almost impossible to get a straight story about how slavery evolved in Jamestown,.

Blacks were always slaves in Latin America and, oddly enough, in Plymouth.