As Thanksgiving week has begun I have been thinking about the Mayflower Compact.
The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony and was composed and signed while the Mayflower was anchored in what is today Provincetown Harbor.
Below is a rendering in modern English of the Mayflower Compact.
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 advancements of the Christian faith and honor 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 another, covenant and combine ourselves together into 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 hereunto 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, 1620.
The Mayflower Compact was signed by 41 of the passengers of the Mayflower including my ancestor George Soule. See: Mayflower Ancestry
One interesting fact is that George Soule was a servant of Edward Winslow. Since he was a servant it was unlikely that he would have signed the compact as he would have been under a contract to Winslow. However, he was a signer so it must have been a special circumstance.
Unfortunately the original Mayflower Compact has been lost to time. The last known location was in Plymouth, but most likely it was sent back to England on the Mayflower. Perhaps it is buried in an English archive somewhere.