This Day in History, May 26, 2022 – “From the Plymouth Plantation”
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It was just 125 years ago today, May 26, 1897, when one of America’s oldest written books was returned to the people of Massachusetts, after being mysteriously stolen during the American Revolution. From Plymouth Plantation, a history of our early Pilgrim ancestors was written by William Bradford, who was the leader of Plymouth Colony so many years ago. This important book follows the famous journey of the Pilgrims, from life in the Dutch lands to the Mayflower voyage, and of course the hardships they faced in the New World. Perhaps the most important part of the book is that it offers a detailed account of what happened to all of the early settlers.
At the time of the American Revolution, the book’s 270 pages, about a foot long, were stored in the Old South Meeting House in Boston. It was then that he disappeared and managed to return to England and to the Episcopal Library at Fulham Palace. To make matters worse, the British didn’t even hide the fact that they had their ill-gotten spoils. They started publishing the book over several years, giving American readers enticing reprints, while the British had the real thing locked away! Finally, after years of corporate America arguing for its return, Frederick Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has decided to return the legendary book to its rightful owners. Today, this book is in the Massachusetts State Library, and it has been there since it was returned 125 years ago today.
What happened yesterday, May 25?