Page images

given in your next communication respecting the form in which you would wish the copy to be made; that is, whether with the contractions as used by Bradford, and his own orthography, or reduced to modern orthography, as is done by Dr. Young in the part which he has printed. It would be expedient to copy the original so far as to write on only one side of the leaf, as there are a few additions on some of the opposite pages, and also a few notes in the handwriting of Prince, which it might be well to preserve, distinguishing them, of course, from the work of Bradford.

I return the letter of Governor Bradford in this envelope.

I am, dear Sir, your very faithful servant,


These letters were received in the early part of April, and, without waiting for any formal action of the Historical Society, which would have caused delay, a reply was immediately made and forwarded by the steamer of the 11th of that month, with directions to have an exact copy of the manuscript made as soon as practicable; adequate funds being at once placed at the disposal of Mr. Hunter for that purpose.

The copy of the manuscript was completed on the 10th of July, and it was received at Boston on the 3d of August. A note of Mr. Hunter was received at the same time, under date of July 14th, 1855, in which he says:

"The transcriber has done his work in a very satisfactory manner, preserving all the peculiarities of Bradford's writing, and the copy is, I think, as perfect a representation of the original as could well be made. I have perused the copy, turning often to the original when I thought there might be some error, and there has hardly been an instance in which I did not find it exact.


are cases not a few in which you may think that what Bradford has written is not correctly represented; but you would find, I may venture to say, in all cases, that it is Bradford himself who has not expressed his meaning with sufficient precision. I made the collation with much attention; and in the course of it I added, what I think ought to be preserved, the paging of the original, in which you will perceive some irregularity.

"Everything has been copied except the Hebrew quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures, and a Collection of Hebrew Roots; and you will perceive that everything which is not Bradford's is distinguished from his; but scarcely any hand has obtruded except Prince's.

"The volume is a folio of twelve inches by seven and a half. The backs of white parchment, soiled, and in no good condition. There has been some scribbling on the cover, now scarcely legible. It was done by some member of Bradford's family, before they had allowed the volume to pass out of their hands. In this scribbling the name of Mercy Bradford* is to be traced.

"I inclose a fac-simile of the manuscript in this letter. The verses on Mrs. Bradford are pasted inside the cover.† I shall not return the manuscript immediately, so that if you wish reference to be made to it on any particular point, it can be done."

The gratification of receiving the copy of this venerable relic was second only to that which would be experienced by a sight of the original. The following memorandum, referred to by Mr. Hunter in his letter of March 19th, is written upon one of the blank leaves at the commencement of the volume.

"This book was rit by goefner William Bradford, and gifen to his son mager William Bradford, and by him to his son mager John Bradford, rit by me Samuel Bradford, Mach 20, 1705.”

* Daughter of Governor Bradford.

+ See Appendix, page 460.

The following note by Prince, written upon another leaf, also referred to by Mr. Hunter, will be read with equal interest.

"Tuesday, June 4. 1728.

"N. B. Calling at Major John Bradford's at Kingston near Plimouth, son of Major Wm Bradford formerly Dep Gov' of Plimouth Colony, who was eldest son of W". Bradford, Esq. their 2a Gov' & author of this History; ye sd Major John Bradford gave me several Manuscript Octavoes w He assured me were written with his said Grandfather Gov' Bradfords own Hand. He also gave me a little Pencil Book wrote with a Blew-lead Pencil by his s Father yo Dep Gov'. And He also told me y' He had sent & only lent his s Grandfather Gov' Bradford's History of Plimouth Colony wrote by his own Hand also, to Judg Sewall; and desired me to get it of Him or find it out, & take out of it what I think proper for my New England Chronology; we I accordingly obtained, and This is ye sd History; w I find wrote in ye same Hand-writing as ye Octavo Manuscripts above s. "THOMAS PRINCE.

"I also mentioned to him my Desire of lodging this History in ye New England Library of Prints & Manuscripts, wc I had been then collecting for 23 years, to w He signified his willingness-only y' He might have ye Perusal of it while he lived.


Prince's book-plate, which many of his volumes that belonged to the New England Library contain, is pasted on this leaf.

A few words may be said as to the plan adopted in printing this volume. The orthography of the original, as represented by the copy, has been scrupulously preserved. In a few instances, an obvious error of inadvertence has been corrected, but the word as it stood in the manu

script unless the change was of too trifling a nature to be thus indicated - has been placed at the bottom of the page. But such slight changes even have rarely been made, as the purpose has been to reproduce a copy of the original, even to the retaining of some apparent slips of the author. The peculiarity of the time as to the use of the letters u and v, in spelling, was not preserved by the transcriber, and in that regard modern usage has prevailed; Mr. Hunter, when written to respecting it, saying he thought it quite unnecessary to attend scrupulously to these. Occasionally, throughout the manuscript, an alteration was found to have been made in a word after it was first written. For instance, the word such is usually written shuch, but very frequently a pen has been drawn down through the second letter, reducing it to modern orthography. This is the case with a few other words. In some instances the correction of the spelling of a word is indicated by placing a letter over the word as originally written. Whether these changes were made by the author, or by another ancient hand, I cannot determine without an inspection of the original. In such instances, the word has been printed to conform to the correction. Many passages in the volume are underscored, and it was designed to print such in italics; and this method was proceeded in till, arriving at the middle of the volume, this peculiarity existed to such an extent that it was perceived it would essentially mar the appearance of the book to represent it in type. Some question also existed as to whether the underscoring might not be the work of Prince, some of whose notes refer to these marked passages. The italics were therefore abandoned.

There was a great want of uniformity in the author's punctuation, and also in his use of capitals; and in that regard I have taken the liberty in printing to bring them into conformity with modern usage.

The original manuscript was written on one side only

of the leaf. On the reverse or blank pages Bradford sometimes wrote long passages, some of which were inadvertently omitted by him in the narrative, and afterwards supplied. Others were intended as notes to illustrate the text. The most of Prince's notes, which are not numerous, were written on these reverse pages; and in printing them, his abbreviated words have been spelled out at length, and the orthography generally made to conform to modern usage. And this remark will also apply to the language of all early writers cited in the notes of the editor. The orthography of Bradford in his History is preserved in his notes, as well as in the body of the work. Where a word appears in the text in brackets, it will be understood to have been supplied by the editor, unless otherwise indicated. The paging of the original manuscript has been preserved in brackets throughout the book. The running-title of the volume has been adopted from the only title of Bradford, on the first page, with the addition of the word "History."

In this volume, in the body of the work as well as in the notes, everything is from Bradford's pen, unless otherwise indicated. Prince's notes simply bear his name in italics. The few notes which I have made in the capacity of editor are signed "ED."

Where references are made to Morton's Memorial, and other early tracts, the first editions are intended, unless other editions are named.

The chronology of this History is in old style, the distinction between which and the present mode of computation is too well known to historical readers to need explanation here.

The very interesting list of passengers of the Mayflower, with an account of their families, which is at the end of the manuscript, is here placed in the Appendix.

In a note of Mr. Hunter, cited above, he says that everything in the volume had been copied, except some


« PreviousContinue »