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The text followed in this edition of Bradford is that of the textedition published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1898, which Mr. Davis assured me was unusually accurate. In all cases where doubt seemed warranted, comparison was made with the excellent facsimile mentioned in the editor's Introduction, and in a few cases with the original manuscript. But in some particulars a systematic departure has been made from the practice followed in the Massachusetts edition. That edition prints the symbols &, y*, y* and y*", and the contractions w"1 and vf*, as they stand in the manuscript. In this edition I have followed what is believed to be a better practice, by giving to these manuscript marks the form which, we may presume, they would have borne in print if Bradford's manuscript had been printed in his lifetime; i. e., I have printed, for the above, the words and, the, that, they, with and which. Also, where the original places a short line over a letter, to indicate the omission of an m or an n directly following it, I have substituted the missing letter itself, as would commonly have been done in seventeenthcentury printing; and have disregarded Bradford's underscoring or italicizing of words whenever it seemed to have no significance, or a significance other than that now conveyed by italics. Names of ships have been uniformly set in italics. Bradford's frequent use of parentheses in place of commas has not been followed.
The notes which Bradford appended to his text, often writing them on the margins of his pages, have been reproduced in the footnotes of the present edition, but have been distinguished from the editor's notes by placing them in quotation-marks, and adding "Br." or some less abbreviated indication of their authorship. The notes which are attributed to Rev. Thomas Prince in this edition are notes which he wrote on the manuscript while it was in his possession. Not all his notes have been repeated in these pages. The dates which are given in square brackets in the headlines of the pages may be understood to indicate years beginning on the first of January, rather than, according to Bradford's custom, on the twenty-fifth of March.
The facsimiles in this volume represent the first page of the famous manuscript (reduced to about half its height), the page near the beginning of Book 2 on which occurs the text of the Mayflower Compact, and the title-page of "Mourt's Relation," concerning which work see the editor's Introduction. The map is a reproduction, somewhat reduced, of Captain John Smith's map of New England, first published in 1614 as an accompaniment to his Description of New England. As that map exists in various "states," and it was desired to reproduce that state which would exhibit the best map of New England which the Pilgrims could have consulted at the time of their voyage, the general editor sought the aid of the learned bibliographer, Mr. Wilberforce Eames, librarian of the Lenox Branch of the New York Public Library, who has made a special and minute study of the various states of this map, and whose generous kindness to historical students is well known. Mr. Eames distinguishes nine states of this map, each showing some additions to its predecessor, or some modifications of its readings. Of these the fifth (or perhaps in equal degree the sixth, which is very similar) represents the map as it would stand in the freshest copies procurable in 1620. The seventh, on the other hand, reads in its title "Prince Charles nowe King," indicates "Salem," "P. Wynthrop," "P. Standish," and reads "New Plimouth" in place of "Plimouth," and so is plainly of a later time. The eighth and ninth states, the latter of which is reproduced in Veazie's reprint of Captain Smith's Advertisements and in Jenness's Isles of Shoals, are of still later date. The New York Public Library (Lenox Building) has three copies of the state which we have chosen,— two of them in copies of Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia, the third a separate copy; I have chosen the last for reproduction. The legend which is nearly obliterated, below "Simon Passaeus sculpsit" in the lower left-hand corner, is "Robert Clerke excudit." The arms at the right of these legends are those of Smith, including the three Turks' heads.
To the note on p. 79 a reference might well be added to Mr. Reginald G. Marsden's article on the Mayflower in the English Historical Review, XIX. 669-680, in which he essays to identify the famous Mayflower from among the many contemporary ships of that name, to show it to have been a ship of Harwich, and to trace its history from 1609 to 1626, when he supposes it to have been captured