Date of this Version
The following copy of the Letter of Thomas Dudley to the Countess of Lincoln, written in March 1631, is the earliest complete printing of the text. It appeared in the New Hampshire Historical Collections, volume 4 (1834), pages 224-249. It was also issued separately in Concord, N.H., by Marsh, Capen and Lyon that same year.
Approximately three-quarters of the letter had previously appeared in 1696, in the volume published in Boston titled Massachusetts, or The First Planters, possibly compiled and edited by Joshua Scottow.
This present text was printed from a manuscript discovered “by one of the Publishing Committee” bound in a copy of Edward Johnson’s Wonder-Working Providence and Edward Winslow’s New England Salamander Discovered. The editor of this text, John Farmer, suggests that this manuscript was the printer’s copy for the text printed in 1696, relating that the excerpts are marked for the printer and correspond to the printed 1696 version.
This text of the letter was reprinted four years later (in 1838) at Washington, D.C., in volume II of Peter Force’s Tracts and Other Papers Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America, From the Discovery of the Country to the Year 1776. Force, however, altered and truncated the brief explanatory passage at the start, describing the manuscript’s discovery.
The letter has been printed many times since, in numerous modernized versions.