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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 2


This note contained in document ADMS-05-02-02-0007-0003-0001
3. In Jan. 1630 the New England Council, reciting its patent, note 2 above, granted to
“Wm. Bradford, his heires associates and assignes for ever,” both the lands in Massachusetts on which the Plymouth Colony was settled, and a tract “which lyeth within or between and Extendeth it self from the utmost of Cobest-cont alias Comasecont Which adjoyneth to the River Kenibeck alias Kenebeckick towards the Westerne Ocean and a place called the falls of Nequamkick in America aforesaid and the Space of Fifteen English milles on Each Side of the said River Commonly called Kenebeck River and all the said River Called Kenebeck that Lyes within the said Limitts and Bounds Eastward Westward Northward and Southward Last afore mentioned.”
The grantees were to pay one fifth of all gold and silver found to the Crown, and another fifth to the grantors, “for all Services and demands Whatsoever.” Morison, “The Mayflower's Destination and the Pilgrim Fathers' Patents,” 38 Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns. 387, 407–413 (1959). See 1 Andrews, Colonial Period 293–296. Bradford held directly from the King by virtue of the requirement of the Statute of Quia Emptores, 18 Edw. 1 (1290), which had not been waived in the 1620 patent. Id. at 335. Known as the “Plymouth Patent,” this grant was the foundation of the Kennebec Company's land claims in the 18th century. See Doc. II below. The “surrender” of the patent was the act by which Bradford, on 2 March 1641,
“by the free and full consent, approbacion, and agreement of the . . . old planters,” who had joined him in financing the early days of the colony, did “surrender into the handes of the whole Court, consistinge of the freemen of this corporacion of New Plymouth, all that ther right and title, power, authorytie, priviledges, immunities and freedomes granted in the said lettres patentes by the said right honorable counsell for New England, reserving his and their personall right of freemen, together with the said old planters aforesaid, except the said lands before excepted [certain tracts previously agreed to be reserved for the old planters], declareing the freemen of this present corporacion, together with all such as shalbe legally admitted into the same, his associates.” Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, 2:10–11 (Boston, ed. N. B. Shurtleff, 1855).
The patent was actually surrendered “in publick Court” and returned to Bradford for safekeeping. Id. at 11. See Morison, “Pilgrim Fathers' Patents,” 38 Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns. 397–398.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/