"A fruitfull and liberall harvest"

Pilgrim's blog -- 1623.

[I may not here omite how, notwithstand all their great paines and industrie, and the great hops of a large cropp, the Lord seemed to blast, and take away the same, and to threaten further and more sore famine unto them, by a great drought which continued from the 3. weeke in May, till about the midle of July, without any raine, and with great heat (for the most parte), insomuch as the come begane to wither away, though it was set with fishe, the moysture wherof helped it much. Yet at length it begane to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were partched like withered hay, part wherof was never recovered. Upon which they sett a parte a solemne day of humilliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervente prayer, in this great distrese. And he was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to thier owne and the Indeans admiration, that lived amongest them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hotte, and not a cloud or any signe of raine I to be seen, yet toward evening it begane to overcast, and shortly after to raine, with shuch sweete and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoyceing, and blesing God. It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degreese in that abundance, as that the earth was thorowly wete and soked therwith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed come and other fruits, as was wonderfull to see, and made the Indeans astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them shuch seasonable showers, with enterchange of faire warme weather, as, through his blessing, caused a fruitfull and liberall harvest, to their no small comforte and rejoycing. For which mercie (in time conveniente) they also sett aparte a day of thanksgiveing. This being overslipt in its place, I thought meet here to inserte the same.]
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford.

May your Thanksgiving bring "no small comforte and rejoycing."


  1. Heh. A few months ago I had to schlep down to the British Library to transcribe a bit of that edition of Bradford. I’d originally planned to use the 1950s Morison edition, but when our (‘our’ in this case is a exceptionally large UK-based distance learning institution) rights department found that the publishers wanted about a pound a word, they demurred. So I did it for a total cost of about a fifth of what they were asking.

    This has happened quite a lot recently: it’s now usually worth our while to get things re-translated, or look elsewhere rather than pay the massive reprint fees which many publishers (usually US university presses) are now demanding. So they ask for a thousand pounds, but get nothing, whereas if they’d asked for three hundred, they’d have got it. And if _we_ can’t afford to pay them, who can?

    This cost model might suit the publishers, but if I was one of the authors concerned I’d rather they sold it ten times for a hundred pounds than once (or perhaps never) for two thousand.

    Chris Williams

  2. #1 – quite. I’m watching Pocahontas. I think Thanksgiving should be a day of thanks, and remembrance and sought apologies for deeds past, whatever anarchy they arose in.

    How can we express disgust at genocide abroad when this lives in our history?

    No, I don’t take Pocahontas as serious history, although I think this is the finest Disney cartoon for social reasons.

  3. Don’t poison the gateway to Christ’s birthday with racist revisionism as presented by known Satanist Walter Disney.

  4. Seems we suffer through a drought of our own.

    If everyone who committed genocide were to remain quiet, the world would be silent. We who are human are responsible for all that is human. WE must all show disgust and take credit for what WE have all done, to do otherwise is a shallow lie. There are none of us any better than the worst of us, to believe otherwise is a futile act of denial and arrogance.

    This is what we have done, this is who we have become. What will we learn, when will we become more than our past? Why can’t we understand that those ideas to which we cling are the very beliefs and fears that created this mess? If we are to ever grow beyond our past, we must forget the products of our ignorance and forgive ourselves the actions of our childhood.

    “He must support himself on tradition, for tradition is the inevitable idiosyncrasies of a nation’s literature, but he must do everything he can to encourage its development in its natural direction. Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”

    W. Somerset Maugham

  5. Takuan, a couple of days ago, my 4.5 year old son was happily spinning round and round from one end of the hardware store to the other, behind his impatient father. When I asked him what he was doing he said, I’m spreading the magic around the world. How are you doing that? By spinning round and round, he replied. He is a human prayer wheel and my best teacher.

    Love to you all and happy holidays.

  6. Disney a satanist? I’ve never been a fan of the guy or his work, but get real.

    The gateway to Christ’s birthday? Spare me.

    You know a lot of people celebrate Thanksgiving who are not Christians. I find it annoying when people who are Christian either assume everyone else is, or that those who are not do not matter. Enjoy your religion. Don’t shove it in other people’s faces. If you feel compelled to share it, do so graciously, not arrogantly.

  7. Is Thanksgiving Christian? Naaah. Yes, Gateway to Christ’s birthday? Ummmm … apologies, what?

    It’s hugely entertaining to me that in a country where some 90% of people are estimated to believe in “god”, 90% of them celebrate Thanksgiving with more vigour than Christmas. It’s essentially a modern pagan festival, that arose after the pilgrims and nation started to figure out life was ok. Before doing in the locals. Which helped embed a modern warfare myth “- technology > bravery”. Not.

    So the US is a nation of people thankful for their presence in the land, their “independence” from religious persecution (Jones massacre anyone?), and a bit too quick to forget the underlying importance of faithfully rejoicing more than in anything else in one of the key calendar dates of their religion. Oops.

    Disney is a Santanist – spreads joy and happiness, gifts and fun. Where do you think Foetusnail’s son learned to spin the magic? I think you can attack the Disney franchise for being plastic shite, but can’t deny the impact on society at large.

    Dumbo, though, irritates me, and always will. His name is Jumbo Junior – the only words his <100 IQ mom ever says. Dumbo is the vicious name given him by the mean old trollops in the elephant enclosure. I knew this when I was 6, and it angered me, and I know it now. So why call the film "Dumbo"? That perpetuates the meanness, and teaches kids it's ok actually to laugh at the funny elephant, even though he's a hero, brave and all.

    Can I ask - how do the Indian nations (first people, indigenous, aborigines, whatever, please) celebrate the day? Do they come to white peoples' houses with baskets of fruit and gourds? I want to know, really.

    To finish - ladies and gentlemen, sell your souls to Santa, that the economy may recover.

  8. Their Disease being a sore Consumption, sweeping away whole Families, but chiefly yong Men and Children, the very seeds of increase. Their Powwowes, which are their Doctors, working partly by Charmes, and partly by Medicine, were much amazed to see their Wigwams lie full of dead Corpes, and that now neither Squantam nor Abbamocho could helpe, which are their good and bad God and also their Powwows themselves were oft smitten with deaths stroke. Howling and much lamentation was heard among the living, who being possest with great feare, oftimes left their dead unburied, their manner being such, that they remove their habitations at death of any. This great mortality being and unwonted thing, feare[d] them the more, because naturally the Country is very healthy. But by this meanes Christ (whose great and glorious workes the Earth throughout are altogether for the benefit of his Churches and chosen) not onely made roome for his people to plant; but also tamed the hard and cruell hearts of these barbarous Indians, insomuch that halfe a handfull of his people landing not long after in Plimoth-Plantation, found little resistance…

    Wonder-Working Providence by Captain Edward Johnson

    Thank the magical unseen motive forces of the universe that they have not seen it fit to have you invaded by a more technologically advanced civilization.

  9. Yes, I must join with #10 Pipenta and #11 WalterBillington in condemning #3 KingOfCats attempt at satire and irony. This are serious thread.

  10. Thanks for the quote from “Of Plymouth Plantation”. (It was required reading for me in 9th grade.) It would do many of us good to discover the actual truth behind the ideas that founded our country, instead of the revisionist history to which many here apparently ascribe.

  11. So, if this is a pilgrim’s blog, how about the comments?

    “Engravynges or it didd not happyn.”

    “Merciefull God is Merciefull”

    “This is clerely EngravureShopped. I have seene full manye an Exampelle of simillar False Engravyges in my Time, and I can telle from some of the Picksells.”

  12. ASSUMETHEPOSITION, please do so.

    Guns, Germs & Steel

    The ideas that founded this country were crap, until a brief period of idealism by slave owners produced a document we now send to the shredder.

    Is this the revisionist history you mention, these words from the period? Are these the great and glorious ideas that you mention.

    Many thanks to OxDeadBeef for this wondrous bit of revisionist history.

    “But by this meanes Christ (whose great and glorious workes the Earth throughout are altogether for the benefit of his Churches and chosen) not onely made roome for his people to plant; but also tamed the hard and cruell hearts of these barbarous Indians, insomuch that halfe a handfull of his people landing not long after in Plimoth-Plantation, found little resistance…”

    This was repeated throughout the Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi River.

  13. FoetusNail — so you are suggesting I am in denial about the interaction between the Pilgrims and the native Americans? Or are you suggesting that the Indians couldn’t possibly have acted with any hostility toward incoming settlers?

    Sorry I won’t be able to see your reply for a while. I have a Thanksgiving to celebrate!

  14. No, I’m simply suggesting the settlers were a bunch of arrogant self-righteous pricks who believed in and gave thanks to a god that would liquidate millions of savages for their benefit.

  15. #21 “incoming settlers” may have been viewed as aggressive invaders by the indigenous people. Just guessing – you know – hoardes of foreigners arriving on your land – you might say “wtf are you doing, mf?”.

    “Incoming Settlers”. Please. We’re not trying to euphemise a la Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. The Indian peoples were correct in assessing the newcomers represented a major threat to their sovereignty (written or not) over the land. They were invaders.

    #22 love ya, but “savages”? An interesting slant on that is “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe – a Nigerian viewpoint on the arrival of the whites in Africa. We destroyed a functioning cultural system.

    I refer you honourable gentlepeople back to Disney’s Pocahontas, in which we are clearly reminded that we call people who aren’t “like us” savages / infidels / uncivilised etc.

    But #22, your point is accurate and appropriate. Thankyou for omitting to capitalise the god.

  16. The word, savages, was used to illustrate the contempt with which European colonists viewed the locals, wherever they traveled. Obviously, Europeans were not the sole owners, nor even the best example, of civilization.

    I generally never capitalize the word, god, unless at the beginning of a sentence. Trust me, no one wants me to discuss gods, but if you are curious as to my position, please feel free to read my bio and comment history.

  17. Foestusnail – No, I’m simply suggesting the settlers were a bunch of arrogant self-righteous pricks who believed in and gave thanks to a god that would liquidate millions of savages for their benefit.

    collective guilt, ur doing it wrong.

  18. We need new memes. The same holidays year after year? I’m finding them all increasingly played out. Maybe I’m just missing the ritual gene. But the four day weekend is a good thing.

  19. dig up the old memes, borrow from others.

    Midsummer Eve (Solstice)
    Autumnal Equinox (Harvest)
    Winter Solstice (Hogswatch)
    New Year Old Style
    Spring Equinox (Planting Orgy)
    the old Roman festivals (Saturnalia, Lupercalia etc
    The Day of the Dead
    Lunar New Year (Chinese style)
    …lots there, it’s only inertia that binds you

  20. We did the maypole in the 5th grade. It was pretty cool. Gotta love the hippie teachers of the world.

    As far as all the other pagan holidays go, they sound fun. I’m not sure I see my extended family getting down with a planting orgy, but perhaps we could start some new traditions?

  21. Mayday? oh yeah; breeding age kids dancing around the giant phallus may pole and then pairing off for that night for an evening of love under the stars amid the scents of blooming spring…sigh. Sure beats Spring-Tide where you’re swimming like hell through the coral trying to outrun hungry parents.

  22. One thing I found interesting while I was doing genealogy research was the large number of Englishmen who ‘went native’ over the first few decades of settlement in New England (20? 50?). I have a sneaking suspicion that there were settlers who didn’t get named in Bradford’s writing because they had gone over. I love the idea that there are people running around who had Pilgrim ancestry, or who came over in the great wave that followed, whose names are not records, and therefore don’t exist by our records.

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