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, etc.
Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and 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 in a Civil Body Politic, 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 hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.
(William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, ed. Samuel Morison, 75-6.)
The original document does not survive. It first appeared in Mourt’s Relation, a pamphlet about the first year of settlement at Plimoth. In 1669 Plymouth’s town historian, Nathaniel Morton, reprinted the agreement in his book, New England’s Memorial. Interestingly, he included a possible list of the men who signed it, even though these men’s names were not included in earlier copies of the Mayflower Compact. According to Morton, the document was signed by 41 of the male passengers – all but one of the freemen, three of the five hired men, and two of the nine servants.
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