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‘ [315] bit in the morning.’ Tradition declares, that, at one
Chap. VIII.} 1623
time, the colonists were reduced to a pint of corn, which, being parched and distributed, gave to each individual only five kernels; but rumor falls short of reality; for three or four months together, they had no
July.
corn whatever. When a few of their old friends arrived to join them, a lobster, or a piece of fish, without bread or any thing else but a cup of fair spring water, was the best dish which the hospitality of the whole colony could offer. Neat cattle were not introduced
1624 Mar.
till the fourth year of the settlement. Yet, during all this season of self-denial and suffering, the cheerful confidence of the Pilgrims in the mercies of Providence remained unshaken.

The system of common property had occasioned grievous discontents; the influence of law could not compel regular labor like the uniform impulse of personal interest; and even the threat of ‘keeping back their bread’ could not change the character of the idle. After the harvest of 1623, there was no general

1623
want of food; in the spring of that year, it had been agreed, that each family should plant for itself; and parcels of land, in proportion to the respective numbers, were assigned for culture, though not for inheritance. This arrangement produced contented labor and universal industry; ‘even women and children now went into the field to work.’ The next spring, every person obtained a little land in perpetual fee. The necessity of the case, and the common interest, demanded a slight departure from the severe agreement with the English merchants. Before many harvests, sc much corn was raised, that it began to form a profitable article of commerce, and the Indians, preferring the chase to tillage, abandoned culture, and

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