Of Plymouth Plantation

Of Plymouth Plantation


William Bradford

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Of Plymouth Plantation: Book 2, Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

In 1636, Edward Winslow, now back in America, is re-elected governor. Though the Pilgrims have begun to sue Mr. Allerton for the cost of the White Angel, they hear nothing. However, they send a thousand pounds of beaver to England, and later send more. The Pilgrims hear back from Sherley that London is in the grips of a plague, meaning that the fur market is poor. This disappoints the Pilgrims, since they’ve traded on credit with the Dutch and now have no money to repay them. The Pilgrims decide not to send more furs back to England, in the hopes that the plague will subside. Some Pilgrims claim that they’ve paid off their debts with interest, even including the cost of the White Angel.
Winslow works as Governor in Plymouth for a number of years. In the meantime, the Pilgrims proceed with suing Allerton. The tables have turned: once, Allerton held all the power, due to his influential business contacts and lucrative trade deals. Now, the Pilgrims have much more economic power and political clout than Allerton does. The Pilgrims are also in a position where they can decide whether or not to ship supplies back to England—and in this case, they don’t.
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Since 1634, Bradford writes, the Pequot Indians have been at war with the Narragansett. The Pequot attempt to forge an alliance with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, governed by John Winthrop; however, Winthrop quickly finds the Pequot to be “a very false tribe,” and breaks off any alliances with them. Bradford will not elaborate on the Pequot conflicts with the Narragansett, since he suspects that other historians will cover them in much more detail.
At the end of the chapter, Bradford alludes to the growing conflict between differing Native American tribes—and between Native Americans and the English colonists. However, Bradford doesn’t delve into great detail about the Pequot, meaning that he seems to take Winthrop at his word when he says they’re untrustworthy.
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