In April 1626, Captain Myles Standish returns from England, having traveled on an English fishing boat. He comes bringing sad tidings, including the deaths of John Robinson and Robert Cushman. Sad though the Pilgrims are to hear of the deaths of their old friends, they set to work farming for corn, since Standish has informed them that it’s now their most valuable commodity from an English perspective. They’re also able to trade with the Indians successfully.
The death of John Robinson is almost a symbolic event, representing how the Puritan plantation in America has become its own autonomous entity, with laws and values distinct from those of Robinson’s European contingent.
The Pilgrims send a representative, Isaac Allerton, back to England to negotiate with outstanding investors regarding the Pilgrims’ debts. Meanwhile, the Pilgrims proceed to build more fishing boats. They have no boat-builders among them, but an ingenious carpenter manages to design and build a stable ship, which they use for the next seven years.
It’s a sign of the Pilgrims’ new economic independence that they decide to send Allerton back to England: they’re finally in a position where they’re not entirely dependent on their English creditors, and therefore can run the risk of angering the investors.