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Good Newes from New England
Chapter 6, 1624

Caleb Johnson, a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, provides the following comments on this hypertext version:

Written by Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow, Good Newes from New England was published in London in 1624.  It is a journal of events that occured between 1622 and 1623 at Plymouth Colony.  It includes information about Tisquantum's death (November 1622), the sickness of Massasoit, Thomas Weston's Wessagussett Colony, and much more.
This is a modernized-English version of the book as it was reprinted in the Mayflower Descendant, volume 25-26.  There really are no distinct chapters, but I have adopted the chapterization used in the recent Applewood Books edition of Good Newes from New England.

Our thanks to Mr. Johnson for presenting this hypertext version of Good Newes from New England. Go to Mr. Johnson's Mayflower History page.

Goode Newes, Introduction Goode Newes, Chap. 1 Goode Newes, Chap. 2
Goode Newes, Chap. 3 Goode Newes, Chap. 4 Goode Newes, Chap. 5
Goode Newes, Chap. 6 Goode Newes, Chap. 7 Goode Newes, Chap. 8

Chapter 6, Good Newes from New England

The month of April being now come, on all hands we began to prepare for Corn. And because there was no Corn left before this time, save that was preserved for seed, being also hopeless of relief by supply, we thought best to leave off all other works, and prosecute that as most necessary. And because there was no small hope of doing good in that common course of labor that formerly we were in, for that the Governors that followed men to their labors, , had nothing to give men for their necessities, and therefore could not so well exercise that command of them therein as formerly they had done, especially considering that self-love wherewith every man (in a measure more or less) loveth and preferreth his own good before his neighbors, and also the base disposition of some drones, that as at other times so now especially would be most burdenous to the rest; It was therefore thought best that every man should use the best diligence he could, for his own preservation, both in respect of the time present and to prepare his own Corn for the year following and bring in a competent portion for the maintenance of public Officers, Fishermen, etc. which could not be freed from their calling without greater inconveniences. This course was to continue till harvest, and then the Governors to gather in the appointed portion, for the maintenance of themselves and such others as necessity constrained to exempt from this Condition. Only if occasion served upon any special service they might employ such as they thought most fit to execute the same, during this appointed time, and at the end thereof all men to be employed by them in such service as they thought most necessary for the general good. And because there is great difference in the ground, that therefore a set quantity should be set down for a person, and each man to have his fall by lot, as being most just and equal, and against which no man could except.

At a general meeting of the Company, many courses were propounded, but this approved and followed, as being the most likely for the present and future good of the Company; and therefore before this month began to prepare our ground against seed-time. In the midst of April we began to set, the weather being then seasonable, which much encouraged us, giving us good hopes of after plenty: the setting season is good till the latter end of May. But it pleased God for our further chastisement, to send a great drought, insomuch, as in six weeks after the latter setting there scarce fell any rain, so that the stalk of that was first set began to send forth the ear before it came to half growth, and that which was later, not like to yield any at all, both blade and stalk hanging the head, and changing the color in such manner, as we judged It utterly dead: our Beans also ran not up according to their wonted manner, but stood at a stay, many being parched away, as though they had been scorched before the fire. Now were our hopes overthrown, and we discouraged, our joy being turned into mourning.

To add also to this sorrowful estate in which we were, we heard of a supply that was sent unto us many months since, which having two repulses before, was a third time in company of another ship three hundred Leagues at Sea, and now in three months time heard no further of her, only the signs of a wrack were scene on the coast, which could not be judged to be any other then the same. So that at once God seemed to deprive us of all future hopes. The most courageous were now discouraged, because God which hitherto had been our only Shield and Supporter, now seemed in his anger to arm himself against us; and who can withstand the fierceness of his wrath.

These, and the like considerations moved not only every good man privately to enter Into examination with his own estate between God and his conscience, and so to humiliation before him: but also more solemnly to humble our selves together before the Lord by fasting and prayer. To that end a day was appointed by public authority, and set a-part from all other employments, hoping that the same God which had stirred us Up hereunto, would be moved hereby in mercy to look down upon Us, and grant the request of our dejected souls, if our continuance there might any way stand with his glory and our good. But oh the mercy of our God! Who was as ready to hear as we to ask: For though in the morning when we assembled together, the heavens were as clear and the drought as like to continue as ever it was: yet (our exercise continuing some eight or nine hours) before our departure the weather was over-cast, the clouds gathered together on all sides, and on the next morning distilled such soft, sweet, and moderate showers of rain, continuing some fourteen days, and mixed with such seasonable weather, as it was hard to say whether our withered Corn or drooping affections were most quickened or revived. Such was the bounty and goodness of our God. Of this the Indians by means of Hobomok took notice: who being then in the Town, and this exercise in the midst of the week, said, it was but three days since Sunday, and therefore demanded of a boy what was the reason thereof? Which when he knew and saw what effects followed thereupon, he and all of them admired the goodness of our God towards us, that wrought so great a change in so short a time, strewing the difference between their conjuration, and our invocation on the name of God for rain; theirs being mixed with such storms and tempests, as sometimes in stead of doing them good, it layeth the Corn flat on the ground, to their prejudice: but ours in so gentle and seasonable a manner, as they never observed the like.

At the same time Captain Standish being formerly employed by the Governor to buy provisions for the refreshing of the Colony, returned with the same, accompanied with one Mr. David Tomson, a Scotchman, who also that Spring began a Plantation twenty-five leagues northeast from us, near Smiths Isles, at a place called Pascatoquack, where he liketh well. Now also heard we of the third repulse that our supply had, of their safe though dangerous return into England, and of their preparation to come to us. So that having these many signs of Gods favor and acceptation, we thought it would be great ingratitude, if secretly we should smoother up the same, or content our selves with private thanksgiving for that which by private prayer could not be obtained. And therefore another solemn day was set a-part and appointed for that end, wherein we returned glory, honor, and praise, with all thankfulness to our God, which dealt so graciously with us, whose name for these and all other his mercies towards his Church and chosen ones, by them be blessed and praised now and evermore, Amen.

In the latter end of July and the beginning of August, came two Ships with supply unto us, who brought all their passengers, except one, in health, who recovered in short time, who also notwithstanding, all our wants and hardship (blessed be God) found not any one sick person amongst us at the Plantation. The bigger Ship called the Anne was hired, and there again freighted back, from whence we set sail the tenth of September. The lesser called the little James, was built for the company at their charge. She was now also fitted for Trade and discovery to the South-ward of Cape Cod, and almost ready to set sail, whom I pray God to bless in her good and lawful proceedings.

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