It is so hard to find out the truth by looking at the past. The process of time obscures the truth and even contemporaneous writers disguise and twist out of malice or flattery. — Plutarch

Miles Standish - John S. C. Abbott




Exploring The Coast

Repairing the Shallop.—The Second Exploring Tour.—Interesting Discoveries.—Return to the Ship.—A Week of Labor.—The Third Exploring Tour.—More Corn Found.—Perplexity of the Pilgrims.—The Fourth Expedition.—The First Encounter.—Heroism of the Pilgrims.—Night of Tempest and Peril.—A Lee Shore Found.—Sabbath on the Island.

The next morning, refreshed by the repose of the Sabbath, the Pilgrims rose early to enter upon the arduous duties before them. The prospect of gloomy forests, barren sands and wild ocean, was any thing but cheerful: No alluring spot of grove or meadow or rivulet invited them to land. Weary as they were of their small and crowded bark, it was still preferable to any residence which the shore offered them. Still these heroic men indulged in no despondency. The martyr spirit of Elder Brewster animated his whole flock. Just before sailing for the New World, he had said to Sir Edward Sandys:

"It is not with us as with other men, whom small things can discourage, or small discontents cause to wish themselves home again. We believe and trust that the Lord is with us, unto whom and whose service we have given ourselves, and that he will graciously prosper our endeavors according to the simplicity of our hearts therein."

The captain of the Mayflower  was unwilling to leave the harbor at Cape Cod and peril his vessel by coasting about in those unknown seas in search for a suitable location for the colony. The Pilgrims had taken the precaution to bring with them a large shallop, whose framework, but partially put together, was stowed away in the hold of the vessel. They now got out these pieces, and their carpenter commenced vigorously the work of preparing the boat for service. It would require some days to put the shallop in order for a tour of exploration along the shore. There were twenty-eight females among the emigrants. Eighteen of these were married women, accompanying their husbands. These females, attended by a strong guard of armed men, were landed Monday morning to wash the soiled clothes which had accumulated through the long voyage. The weather was excessively cold, and the water so shoal that the boat could not come within several rods of the shore. The men were compelled to wade through the water, carrying the women in their arms; thus with many of them was laid the foundation of serious and fatal sickness.

In the meantime, while these labors were being performed, Captain Miles Standish, on Wednesday morning, the 15th of November, set out with a party of fifteen men, well armed and provisioned, for a more extended tour of exploration. It was deemed rather a hazardous enterprise, as they knew not but that the woods were filled with savages, lying in ambush. The Mayflower  was anchored, it is supposed, about a furlong from the end of what is now called Long Point, and at that place the men were probably set on shore.

Mourt writes: "The willingness of the persons was liked, but the thing itself, in regard to the danger, was rather permitted than approved. And so, with cautious directions and instructions, sixteen men were set out, with every man his musket, sword and corslet, under the conduct of Captain Miles Standish, unto whom was adjoined, for counsel and advice, William Bradford, Stephen Hopkins and Edward Tilley."

The exploring party followed along the coast fog the distance of about a mile, when they saw six or seven Indians, with a dog, approaching them. As soon as the savages caught sight of the party of white men, they seemed to be much terrified, and fled precipitately into the woods. The Pilgrims hotly pursued, hoping to open with them amicable relations. The Indians, seeing themselves thus followed, turned again from the woods to the sea shore, where, upon the beach, their flight would be unobstructed by the bushes and branches, which impeded their flight in the forest. Their pursuers kept close after them, guided by the tracks of their feet in the sand.

Night now came on. The Pilgrims constructed a rude camp, with protecting ramparts of logs, built a rousing camp fire, for the night was cold as well as dark, and having established faithful sentinels, slept quietly until morning. The place of the bivouac, they supposed to be about ten miles from the vessel. The next morning, Thursday, November 16th, at the earliest dawn, the Pilgrims resumed their tour. They followed the track of the Indians from the shore into the woods. "We marched through boughs and bushes and under hills and valleys, which tore our very armor in pieces, and yet could meet with none of them, nor their houses, nor find any fresh water, which we greatly desired and stood in need of."

About ten o'clock in the morning they entered a deep valley, where they perceived tracks of deer, and found, to their great joy, a spring, bubbling cool and fresh from its mossy bed. Having refreshed themselves with a beverage which they pronounced to be superior to any wine or beer which they had ever drank, they pressed on their way, pushing directly south, and soon found themselves again upon the sea shore where they built a large fire, that its smoke ascending through the silent air, might inform those on board the ship of the point which they had reached.

Then, continuing their journey, they soon entered another valley, where they found a fine clear pond or fresh water. This was undoubtedly the little lake which now gives name to the Pond Village in Truro. As they journeyed on they came to a plain of cleared land, consisting of about fifty acres, where the plough could be driven almost without obstruction. There were many indications that this land had formerly been planted with corn. Turning again into the interior, they came to several singular looking mounds, covered with old mats. Digging into one of these, they found decaying bows and arrows, and other indications that they were Indian graves. Reverently they replaced the weapons and again covered up the grave, as they would not have the Indians think that they would violate their sepulchres.

Further on they found an immense store of strawberries, large and very delicious. This seems very remarkable at that season of the year. Roger Williams writes: This berry is the wonder of all fruits, growing naturally in those parts. In some places, where the natives have planted, I have many times seen as many as would fill a good ship within a few miles compass." They found, also, abundance of walnuts and grape vines, with some very good grapes. Coming upon a deserted dwelling, they found, to their astonishment, a large iron kettle, which must have been taken from some ship, wrecked upon the coast. Upon examining the remains of the hut more carefully, they became satisfied that it must have been erected by some sailors from Europe, who probably had been cast away upon the coast.

Here they came upon another mound, newly made, so different from the others that they were induced to examine it. "In it we found a little old basket, full of fair Indian corn, and digged further and found a fine, great new basket, full of very fair corn of this year, with some six and thirty goodly ears of corn, some yellow and some red, and others mixed with blue, which was a very goodly sight. The basket was round and narrow at the top. It held about three or four bushels, which was as much as two of us could lift from the ground, and was very handsomely and cunningly made."

The Pilgrims had never seen corn before. Though they knew from its appearance that it must constitute an important article of food, they could have had no conception of the infinite value those golden kernels would contribute to the millions of inhabitants destined to throng this broad continent. These holes in the earth were the Indian barns. They were constructed so as to hold about a hogshead each. The corn having been husked and thoroughly dried in the sun, was placed in baskets surrounded with mats, which were woven or braided with flags. As the provisions of the Pilgrims were nearly expended, from their unexpectedly long voyage, the sight of the golden ears of corn was more grateful to them than so many doubloons would have been.

"We were in suspense," writes one of these explorers, "what to do with it and the kettle. At length, after much consultation, we concluded to take the kettle and as much of the corn as we could carry away with us. And when our shallop came, if we could find any of the people, and come to parley with them, we would give them the kettle again, and satisfy them for their corn."

About eight months after this, as we shall have occasion hereafter to mention, they met the Indians and paid them to their full content. "The loose corn they put in the kettle, for two of the men to carry away on a staff. They also filled their pockets with the corn. The remainder they carefully buried again, for we were so laden with armor that we could carry no more." It is worthy of note that the Pilgrims were cased in armor. One of the grandsons of Miles Standish is said to have in his possession the coat of mail which his illustrious ancestor wore upon this occasion. The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth claims also to have the identical sword blade used by Miles Standish.

Not far from this place they found the remains of an old fort, which had doubtless been built by the same persons who erected the hut and owned the kettle. This was near a spot which they at first supposed to be a river, but which proved to be an arm of the sea, and which was doubtless the entrance of what is now called Parmet River. They found here a high cliff of sand, since called Old Tom's Hill, after an Indian chief who had his wigwam upon its summit. They were, at this spot, about nine miles from Cape Cod harbor. Two birch bark canoes had been left here by the Indians, one on each bank of the creek. As the adventurers had received directions not to be absent more than two days, they had no time for extensive explorations. Returning to the fresh water pond, they established their rendezvous for the night. Building an immense fire, with the barricade to the windward, and establishing three sentinels, each man to take his turn as it came, they sought such sleep as could be found in a drenching rain, for the night proved dark and stormy.

In the morning they set out on their return home, and lost their way. As they wandered along they entered a well-trodden deer path in the entangled forest. Here they came upon a singular contrivance, apparently some sort of a trap, which they were carefully examining, when Mr. Bradford, subsequently Governor, found himself suddenly caught by the leg and snapped up into the air. As he experienced no serious injury, the incident afforded only occasion for merriment. It was a deer trap, ingeniously constructed by bending a strong sapling to the earth, with a rope and noose concealed under leaves covered with acorns.

"It was a very pretty device," writes Mourt, "made with a rope of their own making, having a noose as artificially made as any roper in England can make." These traps were so strong that a horse would be tossed up if he were caught in one of them. "An English mare," writes Wood, "having strayed from her owner, and grown wild by her long sojourning in the woods, ranging up and down with the wild crew, stumbled into one of these traps, which stopped her speed, hanging her, like Mahomet's coffin, betwixt earth and heaven."

Toiling along through the wilderness, they saw three bucks and a flock of partridges, but could not get a shot at them. As we came along by the creek we saw great flocks of wild geese and ducks, but they were very fearful of us, so we marched some while in the woods, some while on the sands, and other while in the water up to the knees, till at length we came near the ship, when we shot off our pieces, and the long boat came to fetch us." Those familiar with the locality can trace their route as they passed round the head of East Harbor Creek, and went down on the north side of it. They then waded through Stout's Creek, near Gull Hill, and passed on to the end of Long Point, near which the ship was anchored.

It was Friday afternoon, November 17th, when the expedition returned, with rent clothes and blistered feet, and with a discouraging report; for they had found no place suitable for the location of their colony.

Another Sunday came, and this little band of exiles was again assembled, on the deck of the Mayflower, to attend to their accustomed worship. The whole of the ensuing week was employed in refitting the shallop, which required the labor of seventeen days, and in making preparation for another and more extensive tour along the coast.

On Monday of the next week, the 27th of November, twenty-four of the colonists and ten of the seamen, in the shallop, all under command of Captain Jones, of the Mayflower, again set out in search of a spot where they might commence their lonely settlement in the wilderness. It was a dreary winter's day, with clouds, a rough sea, freezing winds and flurries of rain and sleet. The sand hills, whitened with snow, swept by the wind and covered with a stunted growth of oaks and pines, presented nothing alluring to the eye. As the day wore away and the storm increased in violence, they ran in towards the shore for security. Here the shallop cast anchor, under the lee of the sand hills, in comparatively smooth water. The crew passed the night in the boat, which probably afforded shelter for a few persons. A party landed, and following along the beach about six miles, encamped, with a glowing fire at their feet.

The next morning, the storm still continuing, the shallop reached them about eleven o'clock, and taking them on board, continued their voyage until they arrived at Pamet Creek, which the previous expedition had visited. Here they found a sheltered cove, which they called Cold Harbor. It afforded a safe refuge for boats, but was not a suitable harbor for ships, as it had a depth of but twelve feet of water at flood tide. The creek here separates into two streams, running back about three and a half miles into the country, and separated by the high cliff of which we have spoken, called Tom's Hill.

A party landed at the foot of the cliff and marched into the interior, between the streams, four or five miles. The country was broken with steep hills and deep valleys, and there was six inches of snow upon the ground. As night darkened over them they entered a small grove of pine_ trees, where they built their camp and kindled their fire, and established their sentinels for the night. They supped luxuriously upon three fat geese and six ducks, which they had shot by the way.

It was their intention in the morning to follow up this creek to its head, supposing that they should there find emptying into it a river of fresh water. But in talking the matter over, it seemed to the majority that the region was very undesirable. It was rough, hilly, with poor soil, and a harbor fit only for boats. In the morning, consequently, the shallop returned to its anchorage at the mouth of the creek, while the party on land crossed over to the other stream to get the rest of the corn which they had left behind. Here they found one of the canoes, of which we have previously spoken, which was sufficiently capacious to carry seven or eight over at a time. Here they found several other depositories of corn, so that they obtained seven or eight bushels.

"And sure it was God's good providence," writes Mourt, "that we found this corn, for else we know not how we should have done; for we knew not how we should find or meet with any of the Indians, except it be to do us a mischief. Also we had never, in all likelihood, seen a grain of it if we had not made our first journey; for the ground was now covered with snow, and so hard frozen that we were fain, with our cutlasses and short swords, to hew and carve the ground a foot deep, and then wrest it up with levers, for we had forgot to bring other tools."

Captain Jones, satisfied that there was no place here for the location of the colony, was quite discouraged and wished to return to the ship. Several others were quite sick from exposure and fatigue. They therefore returned to the shallop, while eighteen remained to continue their exploration until the next day, when the shallop was to come to take them. Several Indian trails were discovered, leading in various directions into the woods. One of these they followed five or six miles without finding any signs of inhabitants. Returning by another route, they came to a plain which had been cultivated, where they found several Indian graves, and among them manifestly the grave of a white man. In it they found fine yellow hair, some embalming powder, a knife, a pack-needle, and two or three iron instruments, bound up in a sailor's canvas coat. It was supposed that the Indians had thus buried the man to honor him.

While thus ranging about, some of them came upon two deserted Indian huts. They were made round, like an arbor, of long saplings, each end being stuck into the ground. The door was about three feet high, protected by a mat. The chimney was a hole in the top. In the centre of them, one could easily stand upright. The fire was built in the centre, around which the inmates slept on mats. The sides and roof were warmly sheathed, as a protection from wind and rain, with thick mats. A few very mean articles of household furniture were found within, such as bowls, trays and earthen pots. There were also quite a variety of baskets, some of them quite curiously wrought. Some of these baskets were filled with parched acorns, which it subsequently appeared they often used instead of corn.

During the day the shallop arrived. The latter part of the afternoon they hastened on board, with their treasures, and, it is supposed, reached the Mayflower  that evening. In Mourt's narrative it is recorded: "We intended to have brought some beads and other things, to have left in the houses in sign of peace, and that we meant to truck with them. But it was not done, by means of our hasty coming away from Cape Cod."

The question was then very earnestly and anxiously discussed, whether they should decide upon Cold Harbor for their settlement, or send out another expedition on an exploring tour. Those who were in favor of Cold Harbor for their settlement, wished to locate their dwellings upon the bluff, at the entrance of Pamet River, now called Old Tom's Hill. The arguments they urged were, that there was there a convenient harbor for boats; convenient corn land ready to their hands; that Cape Cod would be a good place for fishing, as they daily saw great whales swimming about; that the place was healthy and defensible, and most important of all, that the heart of winter had come, and that they could not embark on more exploring tours without danger of losing both boat and men. The question, however, was settled in the negative, in view of the shallowness of the harbor, the barrenness of the land, and the inadequate supply of fresh water.

But very little was then known of Massachusetts Bay. But the second mate of the ship, Robert Coppin, had been in that region before. He said that upon the other side of the Bay, at a distance of about twenty-five miles, in a direct line west from Cape Cod, was a large navigable river with a good harbor. It was decided immediately to fit out another expedition to explore the whole coast of Massachusetts Bay, as far as the mouth of that fabulous river, but not to go beyond that point. A party of ten picked men, among whom were Governor Carver and William Bradford, set out in the shallop in the afternoon of the 6th of December, upon this all-important expedition, in which it seemed absolutely necessary that they should select some spot on which to establish their colony. They were well armed and provisioned, and it was certain that they would leave nothing untried which human energy could accomplish. It was a perilous enterprise in the dead of winter, in a comparatively open boat upon a storm-swept sea.

A cold wind ploughed the bay, raising such waves that many of the voyagers were deathly sick. It was late in the afternoon before they succeeded in clearing the harbor. The severity of the winter weather was such that the spray, dashing over them, was immediately frozen, covering them with coats of ice. They ran down the coast in a southerly direction, about twenty miles, when, doubling a point of land, they entered a small shallow cove, where they discovered twelve Indians on the beach, cutting up a grampus. As they turned their bow towards the land the Indians fled, and soon disappeared in the stunted growth behind the sand hills. The water in the little bay was so shallow that they found it difficult to approach the shore. At last they effected a landing about three miles from the point where they had seen the Indians, but even then they had to wade several yards through the water up to their knees. As the weather was intensely cold, this caused much suffering.

It was quite dark before they reached the land. With considerable difficulty they constructed a barricade of logs, to shelter them from the wind, and also to protect them from the arrows of the natives, should they be attacked. Sentinels were stationed to keep a vigilant guard, a roaring fire was built, and our weary exiles, wrapped in their cloaks and with their feet to the fire, soon forgot, for a few hours, all their troubles in the oblivion of sleep. During the night the sentinels could see, at the distance of but a few miles, the gleam of the camp fire of the Indians.

In the morning the company divided, a part to follow along the shore through the woods to see if they could find any suitable place for their settlement, while the rest sailed along slowly in the boat, noticing the depth of water and watching for harbors. Thus the day passed without any successful results. Those on the shore followed an Indian trail for some distance into the woods. They came to a large burying place, surrounded with a palisade and quite thickly filled with graves. As the sun of the short winter's day was sinking, and the shades of another night were coming on, the boat put into a small creek, where its inmates were soon joined by the party from the woods. They met joyfully, for they had not seen one another since the morning, and some anxiety was felt for the safety of those upon the shore.

Governor Bradford, who was of the party, says that they made a barricade, as they were accustomed to do every night, of logs, stakes and thick pine boughs, the height of a man, leaving it open to the leeward, partly to shelter it from the cold and winds, making their fire in the middle and lying round about it, and partly to defend them from any assaults of the savages, if they should attack them. So, being very weary, they betook themselves to rest.

"But about midnight they heard a hideous and great cry, and their sentinel called 'arm! arm!' So they bestirred themselves and stood to their arms and shot off a couple of muskets, and then the noise ceased. They concluded that it was a company of wolves, or such like wild beasts; for one of the seamen told them that he had often heard such a noise in Newfoundland. So they rested till about five of the clock in the morning, for the tide and their purpose to go from thence made them bestirring betimes.

"After prayer they prepared for breakfast, and it being day-dawning, it was thought best to be carrying things down to the boat. But some said that it was not best to carry the arms down; others said they would be the readier, for they had wrapped them up in their coats, from the dew. But some three or four would not carry theirs until they went themselves; yet, as it fell out, those who took their arms to the boat, the water not being high enough for the boat to come to the shore, they laid them down upon the bank and came back to breakfast.

"But presently, all on the sudden, they heard a great and strange cry, which they knew to be the same voices which they heard in the night, though they varied their notes; and one of their company being abroad, came running in and cried, 'Indians! Indians!' Immediately a shower of arrows fell upon the encampment. Then men ran with all speed to recover their arms, as by the good providence of God they succeeded in doing.

"In the mean time, Captain Miles Standish, having a snaphance ready, made a shot, and, after him, another. After they two had shot, other two were ready; but Captain Standish wished us not to shoot till we could take aim, for he knew not what need we should have. Then there were four only of us which had their arms there ready, and stood before the open side of our barricade which was first assaulted. They thought it best to defend it lest the enemy should take it and our stuff, and so have the more vantage against us."

From the hideous yells of the Indians it seemed as though the woods were full of them. There might be ten or twenty Indians to one white man. It was greatly to be feared that they might, by a sudden rush, seize the shallop, and thus cut off all possibility of retreat. Captain Standish, therefore, immediately divided his little army of ten men, leaving five to defend the barricade and five to protect the boat. In the midst of the terrific turmoil and storm of Indian missiles, the two divisions, separated but by a distance of a few yards, cheered each other by encouraging words. Most of the guns were matchlocks. Those by the shallop called for a firebrand to light their matches. One seized from the fire a burning log and carried it to them. The Indians seemed to understand the act, for they redoubled the fury of their yells.

The thick winter garments of the Pilgrims and their coats of mail effectually protected a large portion of their bodies from the arrows of the natives. The arrows as, unlike bullets they could be seen in their flight, could also be dodged. There was one Indian, of gigantic stature, apparently more brave than the rest, who seemed to be the leader of the band. He was in advance of all the other Indians, and, standing behind a large tree, within half musket shot of the encampment, let fly his arrows with wonderful strength and accuracy of aim, while his voice, rising above the din of the conflict, animated them to courage and exertion. Three arrows which he shot were avoided by stooping. Three musket shots, which were aimed at him, struck the tree, causing the bark and splinters to fly about his ears, but he was unharmed. Captain Standish devoted his special attention to this chief. Watching his opportunity, when the arm of the savage was exposed, in the attempt to throw another shaft, he succeeded in striking it with a bullet. The shattered arm dropped helpless. The savage gazed for a moment in apparent bewilderment and dismay, upon the mangled and bleeding limb, and then, as if conscious that he had fought his last battle, uttered a peculiar and distressing cry, which was probably the signal for retreat, and dodging from tree to tree, disappeared.

His warriors followed his example, and were speedily lost in the solitude and silence of the forest. Their flight was so instantaneous into the glooms which surrounded them, that scarcely one moment elapsed ere not an Indian was to be seen, and the demoniac clamor of war gave place to the sacred quietude of the untenanted wilderness. Captain Standish led his heroic little band, driving before them they knew not how many hundreds of Indians, nearly a quarter of a mile. Then they shot off two muskets and gave three loud cheers, that they might see," Governor Bradford writes, that we were not afraid of them, nor discouraged. Then the English, who more thirsted for their conversion than their destruction, returned to their boat without receiving any damage."

The first act of these devout men, upon returning to their encampment, was to give thanks to God for their great deliverance. There was a sublimity in this Te Deum, from the lips of these exiles, as in the twilight of the wintry morning, exposed to wind and rain, they bowed reverently around their camp fire, which never could have been surpassed by peals from choir and organ, resounding through the groined arches of the cathedrals of Saint Peter, Notre Dame or Saint Paul.

The escape of the Pilgrims, unharmed; from this shower of missiles, was indeed wonderful. The arrows of the Indians were thrown with great force, and being pointed with flint and bone, would, when hitting fairly, pierce the thickest clothing. Some of them were barbed with brass, probably obtained from some fisherman's vessel. When striking any unprotected portion of the body, they would inflict a very dangerous and painful wound. But no one was hurt. Some overcoats which were hung up in the barricade were pierced through and through. Arrows were sticking in the logs, and many were found beneath the leaves. They collected quite a number of them, and sent them back to England as curiosities.

It is supposed that the scene of this conflict, was at what is now called Great Meadow Creek, in Eastham, about a mile northeast from Rock Harbor. The Pilgrims named the place The First Encounter.

It was indeed a gloomy morning of clouds and rain and chill wind which now opened before these stout-hearted wanderers. The surf dashed sullenly upon the shore. The gale, sweeping the ocean, and moaning through the somber firs and pines, drove the sheeted mist, like spectral apparitions of ill omen, over the land and the sea. As the Pilgrims re-embarked the rain changed to sleet. A day of suffering and of great peril was manifestly before them. The gale rapidly increased in violence. The billows dashed so furiously upon the beach there was no possibility of again landing unless they should find some sheltered cove. The waves frequently broke into the boat. Their garments were drenched, and clothing and ropes were soon coated with ice. Anxiously, hour after hour, as they were buffeted by the storm, they searched the dim shore hoping to find some bay or river in which they could take refuge.

The short winter's day was soon drawing to a close. Night was at hand, night long, dark and stormy, in an unknown sea. They were numbed and nearly frozen with the cold. To many of them it seemed not improbable that before the morning they would all find a grave in the ocean. As twilight was darkening into night, a huge billow, chasing them with gigantic speed, broke into the boat, nearly filling it with water, at the same time unshipping and sweeping away their rudder. They immediately got out two oars, and with exceeding difficulty succeeded in steering their tempest-tossed bark. To add to their calamities, and apparently to take from them their last gleam of hope, just then a sudden flaw of wind snapped their mast into three pieces, dashing their sail into the foaming sea, and they were left at the mercy of the billows.

Their pilot, who had been upon the coast before, and who had thus far cheered them with the assurance that there was a harbor at hand, now lost all presence of mind, and throwing up his arms, exclaimed, "The Lord have mercy upon us. I was never in this place before. All that we can do is to run the boat ashore through the breakers." It was insane counsel which, being followed, involved almost certain death.

Some one of their number, was it their gallant leader Miles Standish, remonstrated, shouting out in the darkness, If ye be men, seize your oars or we are all cast away." They did so, and, with lusty arms, on a flood tide, still guided their boat along the shore, which was dimly seen as the breakers dashed high over sand and rock. At last they discerned land directly before them. Whether it were an island or a promontory they knew not. By great exertions they succeeded—though it was very dark and the rain fell in torrents—in gaining the lee of the land. Here they cast anchor in comparatively still water. But they were afraid to leave the boat. The experience of the past night had taught them that the woods might be full of savages.

Their sufferings however from the cold, the wind and the rain, became unendurable. A few of their number, feeling that they should certainly perish in the open boat, ventured ashore, where after much difficulty they succeeded in building a fire. Though its blaze illumining the forest, might be a beacon to point them out to their savage foes, they piled upon it branches and logs and, forgetting their danger, rejoiced in the cheerful flame and the warmth. Those in the boat could not long resist the aspect of comfort which the fire presented. They soon also landed, and with their axes, speedily constructed a camp to shelter them from the rain, and a rampart of logs, behind which, with their guns, they could protect themselves from a large number of natives armed only with bows and javelins.

Thus ere long they found themselves in what might be deemed, under the circumstances, comfortable quarters. During the night the clouds were dispersed. The morning dawned, serene and bright, but cold. It was the morning of the Sabbath. And these remarkable men, notwithstanding the importance of improving every moment of time, decided, apparently without hesitation or thought of doing otherwise, to remain quietly in their encampment in the religious observance of the Lord's day. Some may say that this was fanaticism; that a more enlightened judgment would have taught them that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; and that situated as they then were, it was a work of necessity and mercy to prosecute their tour without delay.

But these men believed it to be their duty to sanctify the Sabbath by resting from all but necessary labor. Thus believing, their decision could not but be pleasing in the sight of God. Captain Miles Standish, as we have mentioned, was the leader of this expedition. The decision must have been consequently in accordance with his views.

Governor Bradford, describing this painful and perilous adventure, writes:

"And though it was very dark and rained sore, yet in the end they got under the lee of a small island and remained there all night in safety. But they knew not this to be an island till morning, but were divided in their minds. Some would keep the boat for fear they might be among the Indians. Others were so weak and cold, they could not endure, but got ashore and with much ado got a fire, all Things being so wet, and the rest were glad to come to them; for after midnight the wind shifted to the northwest and it froze hard.

"But though this had been a day and night of much trouble and danger unto them, yet God gave them a morning of comfort and refreshing, as He usually does to His children; for the next day was a fair, sunshining day, and they found themselves to be on an island, secure from the Indians, where they might dry their stuff, fix their pieces and rest themselves, and give God thanks for his mercies in their manifold deliverances. And this being the last day of the week they prepared to keep the Sabbath."

In their frail camp they spent the sacred hours of the Lord's day, in thanksgivings and supplications and in hymning the praises of God. They named this spot, where they had found brief refuge from the storm, Clark's Island, in honor of the Captain of the Mayflower.