Granted to William Bradford and Associates
The legal arrangements under which the Pilgrims journeyed to America and established their colony, andTo all to whom these presents shall come greetinge: Whereas our late sovereigns lord king James for the advancement of a collonie and plantacon in the cuntry called or knowne by the name of New Englande in America, by his highnes letters patients under the greate scale of Englande bearingedate att Westminster the third day of November in the eighteenth yeare of his highnes raigne of England, &c. did give graunte and confirms unto the right honoble Lodowicke late lord duke of Lenox, George late marques of Buckingham, James marques Hamilton, Thomas earle of Arundell, Robert earle of Warwicke and Ferdinando Gorges, Knight, and divers others whose names are expressed in the said letters pattents and their successors that they should be one bodie pollitique and corporate perpeturely consistinge of forty persons, and that they should have perpetual succession and one common scale to serve for the said body and that they and their successors should be incorporated called and knowne by the name of the Councill established at Plymouth in the county of Devon for the planting, rulinge orderinge and governinge of New Englande in America, and alsoe of his speciall grace certaine knowledge and more motion did give graunte and confirms unto the said presidents and councill and their successors forever under the reservations limitations and declaracons in the said letters pattents expressed, all that part and portion of the said country called New-England in America scituate, and lyinge and being in breadth from ffourty degrees northerly latitude from the equinoctiall line to ffourty eight degrees of the said northerly latitude inclusively, and in length of and in all the breadth aforesaide throughout the maine land from sea to sea, together alsoe with all the firms landes soyles grounds creeks inletts havens portes seas rivers islands waters fishinges mynes and mineralls as well royall mines of gold and silver as other mines and mineralls pretious stones quarries and all and singular the commodities jurisdiccons royalties privileges ffranchises and preheminences both within the said tracte of lands upon the maine, as also within the said islands and seas adioyninge: To have hold possesse and enjoy all and singuler the foresaid continents landes territories islands hereditaments and prcints sea waters fishinges with all and all manner their commodities royalties privileges preheminences and proffitts that shall arise from thence, with all and singuler their appurtenaces and every parte and parcell thereof unto the said councell and their successors and assignee forever: To be holden of his Matie, his heirs and successors as of his mannor of East Greenwiche in the county of Kent in free and common soccage and not in capite nor by Knights service yeeldinge and payinge therefore to the said late king's Matie, his heires and successors the fifte parte of the oare of gold and silver which from tyme to tyme and aft all tymes from the date of the said letters pattents sholbe there gotten had and obtained for and in respect of all and all manner of duties demands and services whatsoever to be done made and paid unto his said late Matie, his heirs and successors as in and by the said letters patients amongst sundry other privileges and matters therein contained more fully and at large it doth and may appease. Now knowe ye that the said councell by virtue and authority of his said late Man letters patients and for and in consideracon that William Bradford and his associatts have for these nine yeares lived in New Englande aforesaid and have there inhabited and planted a towne called by the name of New Plimouth att their own proper costs and charges: And now seeinge that by the speciall providence of God, and their extraordinary care and industry they have increased their plantacon to neere three hundred people, and are uppon all occasions able to relieve any new planters or others his Mats subjects whoe may fall uppon that coaste; have given granted bargained sould enfeofed allotted assigned and sett over and by these presents doe cleerly and absolutely give graunt bargaine sell alien enfeoffe allots assigne and confirme unto the said William Bradford, his heires associatts and assignee all that part of New-Englande in America aforesaid and tracte and tractes of lande that lye within or betweene a certaine rivolet or rundlett there commonly called Coa hassett alias Cona hassett towards the north, and the river commonly called Naragansets river towards the south; and the great westerne ocean towards the east, and betweene and within a straight line directly extendinge upp into the maine land towards the west from the mouth of the said river called Naragansetts river to the utmost limitts and bounds of a cuntry or place in New Englande called Pokenacutt alias Sowamsett westward, and another like straight line extendinge itself directly from the mouth of the said river called Coahassett alias-Cone hassett towards the west so farr upp into the maine lande westwardes as the utmost limitts of the said place or cuntry commonly called Pokencutt alias Sowamsett doe extend, together with one half of the said river called Naragansetts and the said rivolett or rundlett called Coahassett alias Conahassett and all lands rivers waters havens creeks ports fishings fowlings and all hereditaments proffitts comodities and emoluments whatsoever situate lyinge and beinge or ariseinge within or betweene the said limitts and bounds or any of them. And for as much as they have noe conveniente place-either of tradinge or ffishinge within their own precints whereby (after soe longe travell and great paines,) so hopefull a plantacon may subsiste, as alsoe that they may bee incouraged the better to proceed in soe pious a worke which may especially tend to the propagation of religion and the great increase of trade to his Mats realmes, and advancemente of the publique plantacon, the said councell have further given graunted bargained sold enfeoffed allotted assigned and sett over and by these presentes doe cleerely and absolutely give graunte bargaine sell alien enfeoffe allots assigne and confirme unto the said William Bradford his heires associate and assignee all that tracte of lande or parte of New England in America aforesaid wch lyeth within or betweene and extendeth itself from the utmost limitts of Cobbiseconte alias Comasee-Conte which adjoineth to the river of Kenebeke alias Kenebekike towards the westerne ocean and a place called the falls att Mequamkike in America aforesaid, and the space of fifteene Englishe miles on each side of the said river commonly called Kenebek river, and all the said river called Kenebek that lies within the said limitts and bounds eastward westward northward or southward laste above mentioned, and all lands grounds soyles rivers waters fishings hereditamts and proffitts whatsoever situate lyinge and beinge arisinge happeninge or accrueinge, or which shall arise happen or accrue in or within the said 1imitts and boundes or either of them together with free ingresse egresse and regresse with shipps boates shallopps and other vessels from the sea commonly called the westerne ocean to the said river called Kennebek and from the said river to the said westerne ocean, together with all prerogatives rights royalties jurisdiccons, preveledges ffranchises liberties and guerenities, and alsoe marine liberty with the escheats and casualties thereof the Admiralty Jurisdiccon excepted with all the interest right title claime and demande whatsoever which the said councell and their successors now have or ought to have and claime or may have and acquire hereafter in or to any the said porcons or tractes of land hereby menconed to be graunted, or any the premisses in as free large ample and beneficiall manner to all intents, construccons and purposes whatsoever as the said councell by virtue of his Mats said letters pattents may or can graunte; to have and to horde the said tracte and tractes of lande and all and singular the premisses above menconed to be graunted with their and every of their appurtenances to the said William Bradford his heires associatts and assignee forever, to the only proper and absolute use and behoofe of the said William Bradford his heires associate and assignee forever; Yeeldinge and payinge unto our said soveraigne Lord the Kinge, his heires and successors forever one-fifte parte of the oare of the mines of gold and silver and one other fifte parte thereof to the presidents and councell, which shall be had possessed and obtained within the precints aforesaid for all services and demands whatsoever. And the said councell doe further graunt and agree to and with the said William Bradford his heires associatts and assignee and every of them, his and their Factors agents tenants and servants and all such as hee or they shall send and employ aboute his said particular plantacon, shall and may from tyme to tyme Freely and lawfully goe and returne trade and traffique as well with the Englishe as any of the natines within the precints aforesaid, with liberty of fishinge uppon any parte of the sea coaste and sea shoares of any the seas or islands adjacente and not beinge inhabited or otherwise disposed of by order of the said presidents and councell: also to importe exporte and transports their goods and merchandise aft their wills and pleasures paying only such duty to the Kings Ma
which, ultimately, resulted in the colony’s demise in 1692 are among the most confusing aspects of the
Plymouth experience. The “correct” way to proceed, as outlined in the surviving documents (and many
documents do not survive), did not always reflect how affairs were actually conducted. And the entire system of
establishing and governing colonies was so new and experimental that rules were often changed to meet new
circumstances (and information on how and why these changes occurred is generally incomplete). As a result,
scholars frequently disagree about what actually did happen! What follows is, therefore, not a definitive answer
but the scenario that seems most likely. (Read more).
[SEAL.] R. WARWICKE
For more information regarding the charters of laws of New Plymouth, click here.