SUNK - ALL HANDS LOST
Samuel North esquire
on the tragedy that destroys England's dreams of American Empire.
- 15th of November 1620
News reaches Falmouth by way of the Spanish vessel La Pinez
Town stunned by loss - Rescued Mayflower ships log delivered
to Towns Mayor.
Tragedy of the drowned Scrooby congregation - Lincolnshire mourns
its loss- 102 pilgrims dead- a setback to the colonisation of the
Hereby follows extracts from the ships log:
The day began
like any other, the ships master Christopher Jones recorded
in his log. The going was favourable.... 'Though the presence
of an unknown species of seabird situated in the rigging is considered
good luck by many. Elizabeth Hopkins, who is only a week away from labour
predicts storms ahead. She is from a Yorkshire seafaring family and
says the presence of a sea bird, low cloud and a stiff breeze is not
a good combination. She is concerned for her unborn child and had hoped
they would reach landfall before her bairn would be born.'
'We are 46 days out from Southampton and all are in goodish health save
William Butten who has developed a pain in the stomach which
Samuel Fuller believs to be the apendicts
COMPLAINTS WERE MADE
Complaints about my crew have yet again been received for being
surly, offhand and downright bullying towards the pilgrims.
I know that more than once they have demonstrated mutinous behaviour,
demanding that I, Master Jones turn the ship back towards England. But
this far out from England they now knew that they were closer to the
Americas than Europe and were resigned to landing somewhere in the region
of Cape Cod, their intended destination.
SPIRITS DARKEN WITH THE SKY
Mr Miles Standish also completed a diary, recovered from the wreckage.
October, the 46th day out from England
By noon , as the sky darkened and the sea began to swell, throwing
up immense waves, no one was in doubt that there was a major storm on
its way. Messrs Bradford and Brewster called a prayer meeting with the
aide of the Scrooby men. At the start of the voyage we had all been
Non-conformists, Separatists, Brownists and assorted others, but now
they were all pilgrims and equal under the eyes of God Almighty. They
gathered on deck and began to pray for his mercy in this coming tempest.
Miles Standish, Master Jones noted in his log was an adventurer
and not a religious man. He doth understand that this storm will be
a particularly hard blow. Standish is concerned at the state of the
ship. He reminds me of the swollen timbers, and the leaks, he knows
that this vessel could not stand a battering. I infomed him that
This will be a hard night, Mr Standish. I hope they pray loud
enough for God to hear them. He replied in kind.
Aye sir, and I hope he is of a mind to be listening. We must secure
as much as we can. We cannot afford to lose as much as a nail or rope.
PREPARATIONS FOR SEASICKNESS
I instructed the crew to take their ration of beef and beer, mustard
and vinegar. Who knew when the galley would be able to muster up vittles
again. The ships cook was making a list of ingredients he knew
would be needed for those afflicted with sea-sickness that night. Wormwood,
prunes, white bisket, rice, pipkins, porranges, cinnamon, spirits. He
reported that we have no lemons left.
When the passengers had prayed for three hours, or more, it was
clear that with each hour the storm was gathering with force. Night
fell early as the clouds closed in. The sea swell overwhelmed the gunwales
and many passengers were breaking off from praying to spew where they
prayed, the deck being too unsteady to walk to the sides.
THE UNSOUND MAYFLOWER
I gave orders to trim the sails, but it was a useless gesture,
the main beam was already cracked below decks, the upper works were
already flooding and everyone knew that at the first major blow, the
mast would let go.
THE MOST CRUEL SEA
The first officer reported that Mr. Standish could be seen with
a few crew members he had persuaded to help him stash and stow, even
so, now and then a barrel or some other vital item would suddenly break
loose and plunge into the sea. Some were glad it was dark for our ship
wallows dreadfully in the troughs. The towering sea seems to almost
overwhelm us, waves taller than the mast itself roll under us, then
plunge us down once again with a sickening lurch.
PRAYERS NOT HEARD
By midnight the passengers are gathered just below decks, hanging
on to whatever is fixed. Woman and children whimper, prayers can be
heard, but everyone knows that they are not being heeded. Someone, somewhere
began to sing an old hymn and soon many joined in, though it was considered
a sin to do so. Minute by minute the waves and wind lashed our ship
ship and though we could see little, the fact that the passengers were
soaked was evidence enough that the leaks were getting worse.
MILES STANDISH OBSERVES
The ships master knew now that this was more than a storm,
by his judgment it was a hurricane. This was the season for such things.
This was the worst tempest he had ever experienced and he knew, though
didnt say, that his vessel could not last the night.
THE MASTER'S LAST ENTRY
He lit his lamp and wrote in his log:
Midnight, the sixteenth of October in the year of our lord 1620.
The Lords ship, the Mayflower, will founder this night. We have
lost the mizzen mast, most of our sail and I have no control over our
destiny. We are lost, yet put our trust and faith in the Lord to deliver
us up and keep us safe in the next life.
PREPARING TO MEET THE MAKER
He blotted his entry, closed the log and slipped it into a canvas sack,
wrapping the same in oilskin, five times, trying it tight with twine.
He knew that the log would never be found, but he made the effort all
the same, so that in his heart he knew there would be a record of this
THE LAST DRAMATIC MOMENTS OF THE MAYFLOWER
On deck there was a yell, Mr Standish, holding a child in his arms,
was suddenly swamped and swept overboard into the freezing ocean. Moments
later, a wave almost a hundred feet high rolled over the Mayflower,
flipping it as if a leaf, tossing all those aboard under. It happened
in a moment. The screams were brief, there was no time to save oneself
and besides, there was not a soul aboard who could swim.
As the eye of the storm passed overhead, the air began to still, the
sea grow calm.
The Mayflower floated still, the hulls rotting timbers exposed
to the stars that suddenly had reappeared. But no voice could be heard.
LA PINEZ DISCOVERS THE WRECK
A day later, the 180 ton Mayflower wreck was found, by the storm striken
Spanish vessel La Pinez returning from the Indies. The Mayflower was
found still afloat, not a soul surviving. A good swimmer retrieved the
ships log and Mr Standishs water-logged diary. (As well
as few personal items)
Weeks later Captain Vasquez put into Falmouth to make urgent repairs
to his sails. He told of seeing bodies floating in the water half eaten
by sea beasts.
THE END OF VIRGINIA
AND THE COLONIES?
The Times now asks: Is this the end of the adventure and exploration
of the Americas? Will the Virginia Colony survive? Who now will brave
the wild and dangerous ocean?
LONDON CITY NEWS
The City prohibits future investments in New World patents and licences.
The Virginia Company stock plummets. Court gossip hints that America
best left to Spanish adventurers.
In related subjects in todays TIMES:
Mayflower Master Christopher Jones in the pay of the Dutch,
claims City financier.
Wimslow fortune to go to the Crown?
The Times asks: Who can build a safe ship? What now of Englands empire dreams?
© Samuel North esquire
1620 The Times
semaphore to email@example.com
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