Illegals Make Landfall at Plymouth. Film at 11.

On this day in 1620, the British ship Mayflower lays anchor near modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers bravely prepare to break ground on their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.

This voyage has become an iconic story in the earliest annals of white American history, with its tale of perilous seas, death and of survival in the harsh New England winter environment. The culmination of the voyage, the signing of the Mayflower Compact, established a rudimentary form of democracy, with each member contributing to the welfare of the community.

The Mayflower, 90 feet in length and weighing 180 tons, initially departed from Southampton, England, on August 15, 1620. When the second vessel in her caravan, Speedwell, proved unseaworthy, it was twice forced to return to port. The Mayflower finally set out alone from Plymouth, England, on September 16, after taking on some of the smaller ship’s passengers and supplies.

Of the 102 colonists aboard, 35 were members of the English Separatist Church, a radical faction of Puritanism; they had earlier fled to Leiden, the Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. Seeking a more abundant life along with religious freedom, the Separatists negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Approximately two-thirds of those making the trip aboard the Mayflower were non-Separatists, including Myles Standish and John Alden.

With five souls perishing during the voyage, rough seas and storms prevented Mayflower from reaching the territory that had been granted in Virginia, a region then conceived of as much larger than the present-day U.S. state of Virginia, spanning North to the Hudson River in what is now New York state. After a grand total of 103 days, she finally made last landfall off of modern Massachusetts. An additional 45 original members were lost to disease and privation during the first Winter ashore.

How strange a concept cooperation is when compared against the hair-splitting, dithering nonsense in Congress as a wounded GOP finally and begrudgingly considers pandemic relief. While over 3,000 Americans die per day, and millions go without necessities, the parsimony in disbursing a few hundred dollars to the average American is stunning. Compared against the millions in easy loans and relief sprayed at the likes of “Reverend” Joel Osteen, Tom Brady, and Secretary of Transporation Elaine Chao (McConnell), among others, their impluse is heretical; had this avarice prevailed in Plymouth Colony, all souls would have been lost in the first Winter.

Stranger still, the water-born caravan of 1620, which originally included the Speedwell, contained some 140 dirty, diseased, dangerous and armed illegals. Notwithstanding their unlawful status, the asylum seekers were able to establish a treaty with Wampanoag Chief Massasoit which helped ensure their personal safety and survival in daunting conditions.

Through negotiation, reason, and the actual observance of certain tenets of Christianity, the Pilgrims were aided by Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who remained behind as an emissary of Massasoit. The treaty ensured that each people would not bring harm to the other, that Massasoit would send his allies to make peaceful negotiations with Plymouth, and that they would come to each other’s aid in times of need.

And here, the largely unlearned lesson endeth.

Author: Bill Urich

A tail-end baby-boomer, Bill Urich was born in Cleveland to a grade school teacher and her Navy vet husband, and reared in Greater Detroit. Working his way through school primarily at night, Mr. Urich holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. In his legal career he has acted as an assistant state prosecutor, city attorney, special prosecutor, mediator, magistrate, private practitioner and mayor of Royal Oak, a large home-rule city in Michigan. Mr. Urich continues in private practice and municipal prosecution, is on faculty to DePaul University, pens regular contributions to political publications, and remains active in selected campaigns and causes related to labor, social and criminal justice. A father of three mostly-grown sons, he spends his precious free time on family, friends, the pursuit of happiness, beauty and truth, three rescue cats, and fronting the rock band Calcutta Rugs from behind the drum kit.