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Papers of the Winthrop Family, Volume 2

The Agreement at Cambridge1
Massachusetts Bay Company Saltonstall, Richard Dudley, Thomas Vassall, William West, Nicholas Johnson, Isaac Humfrey, John Sharp, Thomas Nowell, Increase Winthrop, John Pynchon, William Brown, Kellam Colbron, William


The true coppie of the Agreement of Cambridge, August. 26. 1629.

Vpon due consideracion of the state of the plantacion now in hand for new England, wherein wee (whose names are hervnto subscribed) haue ingaged ourselves: and having weighed the greatnes of the worke in regard of the consequence, Gods glory and the churches good: As also in regard of the difficultyes and discouragements which in all probabilityes must be 152forcast vpon the prosecucion of this businesse: Considering withall that this whole adventure growes vpon the joynt confidence we haue in each others fidelity and resolucion herein, so as no man of vs would haue adventured it without assurance of the rest: Now for the better encourragement of ourselves and others that shall joyne with vs in this action, and to the end that euery man may without scruple dispose of his estate and afayres as may best fitt his preparacion for this voyage, It is fully and faithfully agreed amongst vs, and euery of vs doth hereby freely and sincerely promise and bynd himselfe in the word of a Christian and in the presence of God who is the searcher of all hearts, that we will so really endevour the prosecucion of this worke, as by Gods assistaunce we will be ready in our persons, and with such of our seuerall familyes as are to go with vs and such provisions as we are able conveniently to furnish ourselves withall, to embarke for the said plantacion by the first of march next, at such port or ports of this land as shall be agreed vpon by the Company, to the end to passe the Seas (vnder Gods protection) to inhabite and continue in new England. Provided alwayes that before the last of September next the whole gouernement together with the Patent for the said plantacion bee first by an order of Court legally transferred and established to remayne with vs and others which shall inhabite vpon the said plantacion. And provided also that if any shall be hindered by such just and inevitable Lett or other cause to be allowed by 3 parts of foure of these whose names are herevnto subscribed, then such persons for such tymes and during such letts to be dischardged of this bond. And we do further promise euery one for himselfe that shall fayle to be ready through his owne default by the day appointed, to pay for euery dayes default the summe of 3 li. to the vse of the rest of the Company who shall be ready by the same day and tyme.

This was done by order of Court the 29th of August. 1629.

Rich: Saltonstall.2 Tho: Dudley William Vassall3 Nicho: West.4 Isaack Johnson John Humfrey5 Tho: Sharp4 Increase Nowell4 John Winthrop Will: Pinchon4 Kellam Browne4 William Colbron.4

Early copy, used by Hutchinson, now in the Library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; Thomas Hutchinson, Collection of Original Papers (Boston, 1769), 25–26; Alexander Young, Chronicles of Massachusetts (Boston, 1846), 281–282; L. and L. , I. 344–345; Proceedings , LXII. 275–280 (1930). See J. B. Mullinger, The University of Cambridge, III. 170–171. The last line of the text was probably interpolated later.


Sir Richard Saltonstall, an early member of the Company of the Massachusetts Bay, one of the assistants, and a large proprietor of the stock, was the son of Samuel Saltonstall of Halifax, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. His uncle, Sir Richard Saltonstall, was lord mayor of London in 1597. He came to Massachusetts in 1630, and returned to England in the following year, leaving his two eldest sons in the colony. He continued to take an interest in the affairs of New England, and was one of the patentees of Connecticut, of which colony his great-grandson became governor. See Journal April 5, 1630, note.


William Vassall, son of John Vassall, an alderman of London, is named in the Charter of the Company as a patentee arid assistant. He came to Massachusetts for a short time in 1630, again in 1635, and dwelt at Scituate, where he took a leading part in the struggle for religious liberty connected with the Remonstrance of Robert Child. He returned to England in 1646 and died in Barbados in 1655. See Journal, July 7, 1630, note.


Haven says of West and Browne that “they never came over, and nothing is known concerning them.” It has since come to light that West was a major in the Parliamentary army during the Civil War and one of the grantees of the Bahamas in 1650. 2 Proceedings , XIII. 5, 55–56 (1899). Sharpe, Nowell, Pynchon, and Colbron all came to New England and will be mentioned later.


John Humfrey, or Humphrey, one of the patentees of the Company and before its organization treasurer of the joint adventurers engaged in the fishing trade at Cape Ann, was, like Isaac Johnson, son-in-law of Thomas, third Earl of Lincoln, having married his daughter Susan. He was elected deputy governor when Winthrop was chosen governor. He came to the colony in 1634 and returned to England in 1641, in order to become governor of Old Providence, the Puritan colony in the Caribbean. See Mrs. Frances Rose-Troup, “John Humfry,” in Essex Institute, Historical Collections, LXV. 293–308 (1929).