Person talk:Phineas Pratt (1)

The following are general details about the Sparrow and Weston. If and when there is more general interest on this topic, the information should be moved to an article:

The Charity and the Swan arrived at Plymouth in the end of June or beginning of July, 1622. Weston seems to have been unscrupulous and untrustworthy, promising much and delivering nothing. Certainly, the judgment of Robert Cushman (a member of the Pilgrim community who was handling business details for them in London) was not favorable : “The people which they [the Weston ships] carry are no men for us; wherefore I pray you entertain them not, neither exchange man for man with them, except it be some of your worst… if they offer to buy anything of you, let it be such as you can spare; and let them give the worth of it. If they borrow anything of you, let them leave a good pawn… I fear these people will hardly deal so well with the savages as they should. I pray you therefore signify to Squanto that they are a distinct body from us, and we have nothing to do with them, neither must be blamed for their faults, much less can warrant their fidelity.” [1]

John Pierce, in whose name the Pilgrims’ patent for the Plymouth land was written, agreed in this assessment, writing “But as for Mr. Weston’s company, I think them so base in condition (for the most part) as in all appearance not fit for an honest man’s company.” [2] The approximately 67 men (many of them ailing) who had been on the three Weston ships stayed in Plymouth during the summer of 1622, being fed and housed and cared for by the Plymouth colonists who were in desperate straits themselves. Edward Winslow[3] complained “That little store of corn we had was exceedingly wasted by the unjust and dishonest walking of these strangers; who, though they would sometimes seem to help us in our labor about our corn, yet spared not day and night to steal the same, it being then eatable and pleasant to the taste, though green and unprofitable; and though they received much kindness, set light both by it and us, not sparing to requite the love we showed them with secret backbitings, revilings, &c.”


In the fall of 1622, the Weston men left to colonize an area north of Plymouth called Wessagusset. They soon fell into difficulties with the local Native Americans, as predicted by Robert Cushman. They not only “so wronged the Indians by stealing their corn, etc.” that the Indians refused to trade with them, but they behaved generally in a very foolish and improvident fashion : “After they began to come into wants, many sold away their clothes and bed coverings; other (so base were they) became servants to the Indians, and would cut them wood and fetch them water for a capful of corn; others fell to plain stealing, both night and day, from the Indians, of which they grievously complained. In the end, they came to that misery that some starved and died with cold and hunger… By which their carriages they became contemned and scorned of the Indians, and they began greatly to insult over them in a most insolent manner. Insomuch that many times as they lay thus scattered abroad and had set on a pot with ground nuts or shellfish, when it was ready the Indians would come and eat it up; and when night came, whereas some of them had a sorry blanket or such like to lap themselves in, the Indians would take it and let the other lie all night in the cold, so as their condition was very lamentable.” [4]

  1. Bradford, p. 107-108
  2. Bradford, p. 109.
  3. Good Newes, p. 19
  4. Bradford, p. 116.