Cambridge being the collegiate centre of Puritanism
in England, Emmanuel College is the (most likely) venue for the 26 August meeting of the leaders willing to formalise the
Massachusetts Bay Company’s plans. Fascinated in their discussions is one of the students there, John Harvard, who came
up two years ago, will graduate in 1631, be raised to the degree of MA in 1635, emigrate to Cambridge Massachusetts in 1637,
die the following year and leave part of his wealth to fund the colony’s first college, which will then bear his name.
(see 1635-41 panel).
The upshot of the meeting is that a pact is drawn up, agreed and signed. It is called the Cambridge Agreement and its
signatories pledge to immediately dispose of their estates and it is ‘fully and faithfully agreed amongst us, and every
of us doth hereby freely and sincerely promise and bind himself in the word of a Christian and in the presence of God…that
we will be ready in our persons, and with such of our several families as are to go with us… to embark for the said
plantation by the first of March next.’ Those signing are Sir Richard Saltonstall, William Vassal, Isaac Johnson, John
Humfrey , William Sharpe, (agent for Governor Matthew Craddock) and William Colbourne. The question of officially moving the
Charter to Massachusetts still remains and has to be legalised. This will be done next day in London.
The illustration of the
‘Charter’ shown here is based on an old print of Emmanuel College. Note the two students climbing over the wall.
The letters MBC in the wax seal stand for Massachusetts Bay Company. The figure standing left of the Charter is the statue
of Henry VIII on Trinity College gateway. His real sceptre was stolen years and years ago, now replaced by a wooden chair
leg. The clothes of the traders shown in Cambridge market are copied from leaflets collected by Samuel Pepys and housed today
in his handsome library in Magdalene College. The vendors are selling toasting forks, hats, fans and baskets, onions, balls
of soap, tailors’ marking stones and lastly water. Hobson’s conduit brings fresh water to the town centre.