Remembering the Pilgrims
In September of 1620, a small group of men, women, and children left Plymouth, England, for Virginia on the Mayflower. Having been blown off course by a storm, the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod on November 11. That day Governor William Bradford and the leaders of the Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact, acknowledging God’s sovereignty in their lives and their duty to obey Him.
The Mayflower Compact, often called “The American Covenant,” was our nation’s first great constitutional document. It is still worth reading today:
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 present solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends foresaid, 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 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign Lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland.
On December 21, the Pilgrims landed on the site of Plymouth Colony. Had they arrived only a few years earlier, they would have been wiped out by the Patuxets, one of the fiercest tribes in the region. However, three years earlier, the Patuxets had been devastated by a plague. The Pilgrims had landed in one of the few places where they could survive.
Of the 102 passengers who arrived on the Mayflower, only 52 survived the winter. The Mayflower sailed back to England in the spring of 1621. Despite the privations of the winter, none of the Pilgrims returned with the ship.
On February 12, 2003, the 108th Congress passed Resolution 38, expressing the pride of the U.S. Congress for the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620. It reads as follows:
Whereas on September 6, 1620, one hundred and ten men, women, and children set sail from Holland to the New World with the pioneer spirit and desire for freedom;
Whereas the Pilgrims survived the grueling voyage in cold damp conditions with only cold food to eat;
Whereas once land was spotted, the pilgrims created the Mayflower Compact which guaranteed equality amongst the settlers;
Whereas the Mayflower Compact laid the foundation and moral framework for the future laws of the United States of America;
Whereas the Pilgrims sought out the Native Americans to build a community encompassing both cultures; and
Whereas on December 21, 1620, the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the first step in the New World: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the Congress –
(1) expresses its pride for the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620; and
(2) honors the Pilgrims pioneer spirit and desire for freedom.
My wife being a direct descendant of William Bradford, this date, December 21, 1620, will not go unnoticed at Bradford Hall, our Virginia home. Nor, might I be so bold as to say, should it at yours. The Pilgrims are the ancestors of all liberty-loving Americans. Their spirit of freedom is worth celebrating every day.
Our Lord, too, offers a Declaration of Independence to every slave of sin. He has redeemed us out of the market place of sin, and from that day forward we ought to stand firm in that liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.
Marvelous Declaration of Independence, signed with His own blood!
December 21, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. He is the author of Why I Stopped Listening to Rush and numerous other books.