The Rebels Of Merry Mount

Thomas Morton liked the lush country, the Indians liked Thomas—and the stern Puritans cared little for either

No early English settler was more delighted with New England than was Thomas Morton, lawyer of Clifford’s Inn, London. He had none of the dour misgivings of William Bradford and the other Mayflower Pilgrims who had landed at Plymouth less than two years before. From the moment he stepped ashore at Massachusetts Bay, in June, 1622, he fell in love with this American earth: its Indians, its wild life and plants, and its beauty. Only Captain John Smith left a more complete record of its resources.

 
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Anne Hutchinson Versus Massachusetts

She was, said Governor Winthrop, an American Jezebel

It would have been no pleasant thing for any defendant to hear John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts colony, declaim the serious charges brought against Anne Hutchinson at her trial in 1637. In the Puritan society of early Massachusetts they were among the gravest that could be imagined. As recorded by the court reporter, they seem to evoke the gravity with which John Winthrop must have delivered them: “Mrs. Hutchinson, you are called here as one of those that have troubled the peace of the commonwealth and the churches here.Read more »

When Christmas Was Banned In Boston

Many a book, a magazine, a play, a movie, has been banned in Boston. But Christmas? Read more »

Many a book, a magazine, a play, a movie, has been banned in Boston. But Christmas?

The Money-maker

How far back in American history can we find the old shell game in operation? Alas, pretty far. It is as old as money, or the shortage thereof. Even the first Puritan settlers of New England were able to let their eyes stray from regarding Zion to study the money problem, which was, Heaven knows, acute in those days. Hard English coin, silver or copper, was simply not to be had for ordinary commerce. Barter was tried in some places, but it was the shell that really came to the fore, in the form of wampum.Read more »

Zion In The Forest

Roger Williams liked Indians and almost everyone else, and he founded a colony that gave our freedom a broader horizon

There is a legend about Roger Williams that is exceedingly popular among Americans. There is also a truth which is slowly emerging from the welter of fancies. The truth is less simple than the legend, for most legends are oversimplifications. But it has some even more dramatic aspects than the beloved myth and it accords better, too, with the mental development of the normal human being. If it dims the halo of this pioneer of American liberty, it gives him a warmth, a nearness to ourselves that we could hardly feel while he stood on the pedestal.

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