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of November, in the year of the raigne of our soveraigne lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. 1620 (Wheelwright, 32-33) Bradford writes of the Compact, that it developed partly in response to "the discontented and mutinous speeches" of some of the "strangers"--colonists who had travelled with them but who "were uncommitted to church fellowship"--and that it asserted and firmed the Pilgrims' "owne libertie; for none had the power to command them, the patente they had being for Virginia, and not for New england...." The Compact thus arose out of a need to maintain social and civic coherence, to ensure that the officials elected and the group as a whole would have some legitimation against challenges to its "legal authority" (Mc Quade, 140; Wheelwright, 32).
The reasons are suggested by William Bradford, when he notes the "discouragements" of the hard life they had in Holland, and the hope of attracting others by finding "a better, and easier place of living"; the "children" of the group being "drawne away by evill examples into extravagence and dangerous courses"; the "great hope, for the propagating and advancing the gospell of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world" (Wheelwright, 7-8).
Thus, in a remarkable instance when a "proud and very profane yonge man" who "would curse and swear most bitterly" falls overboard from the Mayflower and drowns, it is seen as "the just hand of God upon him" (Wheelwright, 14).
But as "loyall subjects" to the "dread soveraigne Lord, King James," their task is twofold: to maintain a degree of independence that would allow them to live in accordance with their Separatist views, but also to keep the ties to England strong enough so that those who did not share their religion nevertheless would be bound by an order ultimately traceable to the Crown.
The misreadings that Kammen notes will be discussed further in following sections.
So too when a member of their party is saved from drowning, or when the initial landing party finds the corn and beans for seed, or with their safe arrival at Plymouth Bay in general, is the "spetiall providence of God" evinced.
And Bradford seems to self-consciously maintain this version of the Christian perspective as an historical one, never allowing the reader or student of the Pilgrims to forget that their story is one with a trajectory--coming from its beginnings England, and moving through the beginnings of the 'New World'.