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Summary: Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims of Plymouth

By Claire Morgan


William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Plantation, and Edward Winslow, a prominent citizen of the colony, wrote this pamphlet to convince investors that their colony was prospering and to convince other settlers to come join their enterprise. The information was based on Bradford’s and Winslow’s personal experiences during the first year of the colony.

From this account, readers learn several important pieces of information.  First, the Pilgrims had landed in an area formerly inhabited by the Pawtuxet tribe, which had been wiped out by a plague some four years previous.  Through the friendly relations of Samoset and Squanto, the Pilgrims are able to make peace with Massasoit and his tribe.  This friendship was strengthened when Winslow was able to nurse an ailing Massasoit back to health.  Furthermore, the Pilgrim’s paid for the buried corn that they had found in the abandoned Pawtuxet villages. The peace made between the Pilgrims and Massasoit’s tribe lasted several decades. 

The Pilgrims were able to establish peace with about seven other tribes in the area, including the hostile Narragansetts. The Pilgrims, though initially harassed by the Narragansetts, eventually established friendly relationships with them and apologized to the tribe for the kidnapping of some of their young men by unscrupulous traders several years before the Pilgrims had come to their shores.

The Pilgrims treated the tribes justly and were respected for their fair dealings with the tribes. Bradford and Winslow recorded the faithfulness of the tribes in keeping the peace and in acting lovingly toward the settlers.  In fact, this peace with the Pilgrims resulted in peace among the tribes themselves.

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