This instrument was signed by the whole body of
men, forty-one in number, who, with their families, constituted the one hundred and two, the whole colony, ‘the proper democracy,’ that arrived in New England
This was the birth of popular constitutional liberty.
The middle age had been familiar with charters and constitutions; but they had been merely compacts for immunities, partial enfranchisements, patents of nobility, concessions of municipal privileges, or limitations of the sovereign power in favor of feudal institutions.
In the cabin of the Mayflower
, humanity recovered its rights, and instituted government on the basis of ‘equal laws’ for ‘the general good.’
was immediately and unanimously chosen governor for the year.
Men who emigrate, even in well-inhabited districts, pray that their journey may not be in winter.
Wasted by the rough and wearisome voyage, ill supplied with provisions, the English
fugitives found themselves, at the opening of winter, on a barren and bleak coast, in a severe climate, with the ocean on one side and the wilderness on the other.
There were none to show them kindness or bid them welcome.
The nearest French settlement was at Port Royal
; it was five hundred miles to the English
plantation at Virginia
As they attempted to disembark, the water was found so shallow, that they were forced to wade; and, in the freezing weather, the very act of getting on land sowed the seeds of consumption and inflammatory colds.
The bitterness of mortal disease was their welcome to the inhospitable shore.
The season was already fast bringing winter, and
the spot for the settlement remained to be chosen