Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A penny for your thoughts

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

Wikipedia has this to say about the Mayflower:

“The Mayflower was the ship that transported the English Separatists, better known as the Pilgrims, from a site near the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, (which would become the capital of Plymouth Colony), in 1620. There were 102 passengers and a crew of 25–30.

“The vessel left England on September 6, 1620 (Old Style)/ September 16 (New Style), and after a grueling 66-day journey marked by disease, which claimed two lives, the ship dropped anchor inside the hook tip of Cape Cod (Provincetown Harbor) on November 11/November 21. The Mayflower was originally destined for the mouth of the Hudson River, near present-day New York City, at the northern edge of England’s Virginia colony, which itself was established with the 1607 Jamestown Settlement. However, the Mayflower went off course as the winter approached, and remained in Cape Cod Bay. On March 21/31, 1621, all surviving passengers, who had inhabited the ship during the winter, moved ashore at Plymouth, and on April 5/15, the Mayflower, a privately commissioned vessel, returned to England. In 1623, a year after the death of captain Christopher Jones, the Mayflower was most likely dismantled for scrap timber in Rotherhithe, London.

“The Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future United States. According to popular history, English Dissenters called Pilgrims undertook the voyage to escape religious persecution in England. The story of the Mayflower as symbol of religious freedom is a staple of any American history textbook.”

I’ve saved the best for last.

Here is a list of the passengers.

Now here’s that penny...


  1. I'll even start off the comments! The English were very big on civil liberties, going back to the Magna Carta and King John and the nobles in 1215. And the English were very big on doing things their own way religiously, too, witness King Henry VIII separating the Anglicans from the Roman Catholic Church so that he could marry, divorce, and behead anybody he pleased if that person did not produce a male heir or someone more fetching happened by.

    But after the Church of England folks got going strong, they sort of felt that everybody in England should worship God in just the same way they did, and believe the same things they did, and so forth.

    Hence, the Mayflower voyage became necessary, even though the trip had begun in Holland, technically.

    Four centuries later, some people still go around beheading people in the name of religion. But not, thanks be to God, in England or America.

  2. Thanks for the Thanksgiving history lesson! Have a blessed holiday!

  3. oh by the way my thoughts are worth a nickle, and so should your's bob

  4. Jeannelle, and you as well!

    Putz, be on the lookout for a nickel in the mail (but don't hold your breath).

  5. Nice to see that there was good Yorkshire blood aboard "The Mayflower". This obviously explains America's later rise to power and prosperity. Your country should give heartfelt thanks for that.

    Research reveals that the two dogs on board were called "Hershey" (coat same colour as a "Hershey" bar) and Boston - after which the famous Massachusetts city was named.

  6. Y.P., my research has revealed (a) that the famous city in Massachusetts was named after this place and (b) that what you are full of (today, at least) is also the same colour as a Hershey bar.

  7. P.S. - My previous comment is meant in no way to disparage the great and magnificent place known as Yorkshire, the most pre-eminent county in all of England, and from whence England's glory obviously springs (along with, some would contend, a few Lancashirians, some Tudors, some Hanoverians, and a prince of a guy from an obscure part of Germany known as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) or anyone who hails from there. I was just, as we say in the colonies, feeling my Cheerios this morning and decided to rib my good friend.

  8. Poor Henry V111 is given rather a bad press. Remember that his disposing of his wives was not simply on a whim and a fancy and that in many ways he was a mere puppet - as are most British monarchs - deplorably used by both the church and the state. He was devoted to Anne Boleyn and was heatbroken that she had to die but the matter was taken out of his hands.

    Prior to 1215, marriage had nothing whatsoever to do with the church - it was a secular institution monitored by families and involving civil courts only when things got out of hand. A spoken vow between two consenting adults was enough. Both the Church of England and the Catholic church manipulated both the king's situation and their desire to control to bring in laws that should never have happened. The result was that not only were all religious and civil freedoms curtailed, but the way was opened for women's lives to be limited and for them to be locked into unhappy and abusive marriages (remember too that the law still allowed for men to go outside their marriages whenever the fancy took them!) and the ridiculous notion of coverture came into being. A young teenager of the time described her wedding preparations as making 'daily preparations for my journey to Hell'.
    Even in today's society we are still living out remnants of the barbaric legacy that the institutionalised church left us.

    Non - conformists who wanted to simply live their faith had little choice but to either go underground or board voyages such as The Mayflower.

    You are right that in our 'civilised' society we no longer behead people for their religion, but the recognised churches still have a stranglehold that squeezes the life out of those who wish to adhere to New Testament principles - a very, very different concept to what is preached from the pulpits or spread across the broadsheets. Such people are still forced 'underground' - hence the rise in home cells, internet churches and free churches, or to sojourn on in the hope of finding something that comes close to their belief system.

    And saddest of all, ask the average man in the street who professes no faith and he will still lump the whole of Christendom with a recognised church that bears no fruit at all but has the lung capacity and wealth to shout the loudest !! x

  9. Elizabeth, thank you for the history lesson. I had thought that Henry VIII was "in charge" but apparently not. And I also didn't know that having "the benefit of clergy" to bless a union was of comparatively recent origin either. Is this a phenomenon within Christianity, do you think? I mean, haven't Jewish marriages been performed by a rabbi since Biblical times?