The Mayflower Compact
On Sept. 6, 1620, the Mayflower, a sailing vessel of about 180 tons, started her memorable voyage from Plymouth, England, with about 1001 pilgrims aboard, bound for Virginia to establish a private permanent colony in North America.
Arriving at what is now Provincetown, Mass., on Nov. 11 (Nov. 21, new-style calendar), 41 of the passengers signed the famous “Mayflower Compact” as the boat lay at anchor in that Cape Cod harbor. A small detail of the pilgrims, led by William Bradford, assigned to select a place for permanent settlement, landed at what is now Plymouth, Mass., on Dec. 21 (n.s.).
The text of the compact follows:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c.
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.
In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620
See also Encyclopedia: Mayflower Compact.