Lord Toussaint’s Winning DAR, “The New World”

A fictional story on the hardships, lives, and events before the embarkment of those who fled on The Mayflower.

Lord Toussaint, Chief Political Correspondent

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My name is Alice Patchett, I am a widow with two children, a boy and a girl. My eldest child, John is sixteen. My youngest, Elisabeth, is thirteen. My husband James died two years ago in May 1618, of an infection after getting injured in his carpentry shop. James’s death has been hard, but with the support of my best friend Mary and the rest of the congregation, I have been able to manage. At first, I was skeptical about the journey. We had established roots and a life for my children. It was up to me to make the decisions for the family now, oh how I wished for James’s assertiveness, I longed for him to decide for me. I stood in the cloth factory thinking and looking out the window as if though James would show up at any second with an answer. I knew that was foolish and that I had to decide, soon.
I made my decision. Mary was leaving and I was going to leave with her. I wasn’t going to watch my new family leave me. This was an incredible endeavor, and if it worked, my children and I could live in peace. We were sailing to a new world, one full of opportunity. One in which we could shape a world that would suit our faith. Freedom, oh how glorious it would be! We were going to be able to worship without fear of the Church of England, its corrupt hierarchy, or the monarchy. We would be able to worship the way God intended. Worship and faith would no longer be an arm of the monarchy that could be used to empower King James. To attain this freedom, we needed to make sacrifices, and I was willing to make them. Even if it meant leaving all that we had created for ourselves during our exile in Holland. Storm clouds were brewing, and we were at risk of losing all that we had created already, why not take the risk? With that, I made my decision, and I knew it was the right one. We were leaving. Now, all I had to so was tell Alice and John, how I would do that, I had no idea.
We were at the dinner table, when I began the discussion, and I never did forget it.
“John, Alice, I have something to tell you. I’ve been thinking…..” I began to trail off. My mind went blank, as quickly as a blown-out candle.
“What is it mum?” asked John.
“I……” I stuttered.
“Go on, speak! No one’s against you here,” said Alice.
“So, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but people have been speaking about… departing from Leiden and going off to the New World.” There was silence.
“And I was thinking that we make the voyage.” The silence continued.
“Mary is going, and there will be no one left for us here. To make matters worse, the peace treaty is almost over. We are in danger of losing all that we have created, and the only family we have left is leaving. Why not join them, and secure a future for ourselves? I’ve thought about it, long and hard, and I think it is the best course of action. Your father would agree,” I said.
The room was quite as John and Alice took it all in. John was the first to break the silence.
“I agree,”he said.
“As do I,” said Alice.
It was settled, we were leaving.
The next day, we began the process of packing our things. We were taking what we believed would be necessary to start a new life. We each took a cap, a few bundles of clothing, sewing needles, and four pairs of shoes. As accessories, Alice and I brought falling bands, while John brought a waist coat. We did not plan on bringing any food, as the company financing our voyage would be supplying the provisions. Oh, if I only knew then what I know now I would have! Weeks passed, and we were to leave for England soon, we still had no idea what ship would transport us to the New World from there, but we had faith in God and made the crossing across the channel anyway.
The crossing of the channel on the Speedwell, was largely uneventful. When we arrived in England, to our avail, there was another ship awaiting us. It was called the Mayflower, it was a small ship, but a ship none the less, what mattered was that God had provided, and we would soon be on our way! We embarked many times but were forced to return due to the Speedwell leaking. Eventually, we had to abandon the Speedwell, many were separated and were forced to return to Holland.
The Mayflower made its final embarkment from England on the 6th of September 1620. There were 102 passengers, not including myself, James, or Elizabeth. The ship was unimaginably crowded. We were all crowded into the gun deck, which had a width of only twenty-four feet at its maximum. There were no beds and we were forced to sleep above our own refuse.
“Stay strong, things could be worse. God has helped us thus far he will deliver us safely,” Mary would say.
Time passed, and the food supplies dwindled. The voyage ran longer that we expected, we were weathered by ferocious storms and at times we barely ate. Life on the ship was irritatingly uneventful, we longed for activity, but the only activity that would come were the storms, and when they came, we longed for them to end. We landed in Cape Cod on November 11th, 1620, after 66 days at sea. During the ensuing winter, many would die of sickness and starvation. We lost Marry that winter, she who had been so close to God, she who had bestowed us with hope was gone. We survived the winter, and made new lives for ourselves, always with Mary’s memory in our mind.