Pin It
Favorite

Strangers and Saints 

click to enlarge comment2-1.jpg

On Nov. 10, 1620 — just a day after sighting land — Master of the Mayflower Christopher Jones had to be frazzled. He had contracted to deliver his cargo of settlers to the Hudson River country, but without a reliable map he was adrift in uncharted waters. In fact, he had just barely extricated his ship from one of the nastiest shoals on the North American coast — the Pollock Rip between Nantucket and Cape Cod.

The Mayflower held 101 passengers, and they were restless. Illness had struck; two had died. The journey was long, and now winter was coming. Even worse, the settlers were divided between the Strangers and the Saints. The Strangers (so named by the self-described "Saints") were Londoners looking for a fresh start — a species of early entrepreneurs. The Saints were separatists from the Church of England who had been living in exile in Holland and wanted to establish a home outside the reach of King James. In his book Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick described the Saints as having "more in common with a cult than a democratic society." The two camps had almost nothing in common.

Mutiny was in the air. Master Jones must have been thinking how much he missed his regular run between England and France, hauling wine and wool. And his heart must have been still beating fast from his near-sinking when he announced that, sorry, but they would not be going to the Hudson River; they were turning back to the shore they first sighted — Cape Cod.

That day, with tempers high and the whole scheme seeming crazier than ever, the passengers did something amazing. They hammered out the Mayflower Compact — to "...covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation..." Perhaps the new world's dark curtain of forest drove home the fact that, suddenly, they had everything in common.

Once the Mayflower Compact was signed for "the general good for the colony," there were no more Strangers and Saints — there were only Pilgrims.

On Nov. 11, Jones sailed into Cape Cod Bay, and from that day on, the new lands became home to Strangers, Saints and every kind of individual in between — all, however, Americans first.

So this Thanksgiving, as the steam rises from your pile of turkey, surrounded by family and friends, and as you test the heft of your fork, think for a moment on the lessons of the Pilgrims. They put aside their differences when they had to. And that was the only way — together — that they survived and planted the seeds for all that we have to be thankful for today. ♦

  • Pin It

Speaking of Comment, Publisher's Note

  • A Win for Everyone
  • A Win for Everyone

    The water protectors at Standing Rock achieve an important victory
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • My Dinner with Fidel
  • My Dinner with Fidel

    Looking back nearly 20 years, when three Americans sat down with the Western Hemisphere's most notorious communist
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Please Make It Stop
  • Please Make It Stop

    What's been learned in this Bataan Death March of an election?
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • A Win for Everyone
  • A Win for Everyone

    The water protectors at Standing Rock achieve an important victory
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • My Dinner with Fidel
  • My Dinner with Fidel

    Looking back nearly 20 years, when three Americans sat down with the Western Hemisphere's most notorious communist
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • 'No' to Sessions
  • 'No' to Sessions

    Trail Mix: Murray opposes AG pick Sessions, McMorris Rodgers' future
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Spokane Storytelling League: Christmas Stories

Spokane Storytelling League: Christmas Stories @ South Hill Library

Sat., Dec. 10, 4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect

    • Nov 9, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


TRAIL MIX


Comment


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • A Persistent Life
  • A Persistent Life

    Scott Reed won more cases than he lost in life, and the beauty of the Coeur d'Alene area has been the beneficiary
    • May 27, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation