Location: Cape Cod Bay
|Mayflower Compact in Gov. William Bradford's hand|
The "Mayflower Compact" was signed on 11 November 1620 while the Mayflower lay at anchor in what is now Provincetown Harbor. The Pilgrims had permission from the English authorities to settle in "Virginia." They planned to settle near the mouth of the Hudson River. They decided instead to stay outside the bounds of the Virginia Company because of the hazards which occurred when they tried to travel south. The Mayflower Compact set out a legal form of self-government until they could get formal permission from the Council of New England, which would be granted in the form of the Pierce Patent of 1621.
The original Mayflower Compact has been lost, but several copies were made and lists of signers were published before its loss. This one is from Governor William Bradford's history Of Plymouth Plantation. Spelling and punctuation have not been modernized, although modern lettering has been used.
In yͤ name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, the loyal subjects of our dread Soveraigne Lord, King James, by yͤ grace of God, of great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland king, defender of yͤ faith, etc.
Haveing undertaken, for yͤ glorie of God, and advancemente of yͤ Christian faith, and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant yͤ first colony in yͤ Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in yͤ presence of God and one of another, covenant, & combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering & preservation & furtherance of yͤ ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to enacte, constitute, & frame such just & equall lawes, ordinances, Acts, constitutions & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for yͤ generall good of yͤ Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnes whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd yͤ . 11. of November, in yͤ year of yͤ raigne of our soveraigne Lord King James of England, france, & Ireland, yͤ eighteenth, and of Scotland yͤ fiftie fourth. Ano dom . 1620.