Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Mayflower: A Gift from Devonshire

Mayflower II

Warwick Charlton wanted to show his appreciation. Charlton, an Englishman, served during World War II as a public relations officer with American forces. After the war, Charlton determined to build a replica of the Mayflower, sail it across the Atlantic, and present it as gift to the United States. Construction of Mayflower II began at the Upham shipyard in Brixham, Devonshire in 1955. Every effort was made to insure historical accuracy, from the English oak timbers to the hand-sewn linen canvas sails and the true hemp cordage.

On a September 22, 1956, Mayflower II was christened seventeenth-century style and toasted with a golden cup. On April 20, 1957, she began her solitary voyage across the Atlantic with a crew of 34 men. She sailed safely by Nantucket Lightship on June 11 and arrived at Provincetown on the western side of the tip of Cape Cod the following day. Finally, to great fanfare, she reached her destination at Plymouth just before noon the morning of June 13.

Maybe you have read Nathaniel Philbrick’s, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War. Overall, Philbrick writes a fairly balanced, commendable account, but like many historians, Philbrick completely misses the vital significance of Reformed Christianity to these early settlers.

Consider these links: Sam Logan's basic introduction to Pilgrims and Puritans. Check out Iain Murray’s article on the American Puritans, "God Will Direct the Bullet," at the Banner of Truth website. Don't miss the Pilgrim Hall Museum and the official website of the Plimoth Plantation Living History Museum. Also see William Bradford’s gravesite. Mary Chilton, a Mayflower passenger, and John Winthrop, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, are buried in King’s Chapel Burying Ground.

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