The Mayflower Compact

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Before the passengers went ashore, they drew up an instrument of self-government for the little band to replace the original patent.  This immortal Mayflower Compact was modeled on the Covenant by which the Pilgrims had lived in Leyden for more than a decade and was later hailed by John Quincy Adams, among others, as the first example in modern times of a social compact or system of government instituted by voluntary agreement by men of equal rights.  It was signed by all of the adult male passengers on the 11th of November (Old Style) 1620.

The Mayflower Compact was signed in the cabin of the Mayflower, November 21, 1620 (New Style).  It was signed by forty-one of those who made the voyage.  Lines of descent have been proven from twenty-four of these men.  Richard Moore and Henry Samson were too young to sign.

 

The Mayflower Compact

 In the Name of God, Amen.  We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony:  unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.  In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11 of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth Ano.  Dom. 1620.

John Carver Edward Tilley Digery Priest*
William Bradford* John Tilley* Thomas Williams
Edward Winslow* Francis Cooke* Gilbert Winslow
William Brewster* Thomas Rogers* Edmund Margeson
Isaac Allerton* Thomas Tinker Peter Browne*
Miles Standish* John Ridgdale Richard Britteridge
John Alden* Edward Fuller* George Soule*
Samuel Fuller* John Turner Richard Clarke
Christopher Martin Francis Eaton* Richard Gardiner
William Mullins* James Chilton* John Allerton
William White* John Crackstone Thomas English
Richard Warren* John Billington* Edward Doty*
John Howland* Moses Fletcher* Edward Leister
Stephen Hopkins* John Goodman  

* Denotes those with proven descendants.

Order as given by Nathaniel Morton (1669) and Thomas Prince (1736)

 

 

About the Compact

Original Document - not known to exist.

Earliest Copy - text appeared in print in 1622 in "Mourt's Relation.".

Earliest Handwritten Copy - text was that by Governor Bradford in his history, "Of Plimoth Plantation", probably set down in his hand between 1630 and 1646.  He did not list the signers, nor did he refer to the document as "Compact" or "Mayflower Compact".

Compact - designation appeared at a later time, but at least by 1739.

First Listing of Signers - appeared in "New England's Memorial" (1669) by Nathaniel Morton, Secretary to the Colony Court for many years.

Historians - generally agree that the list does not represent the sequence of actual signing.  They deem it highly unlikely, for example, that John Alden, a hired cooper, would have been invited to sign ahead of such important (in 1620) people as Samuel Fuller, Christopher Martin, William Mullins, Richard Warren, and so on.

(Evergreen Log - Fall 2000, as taken from Arizona Society's Log)

 

Revised:  August 19, 2008