Little Bits of History

Freedom of Religion

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 9, 2010

June 9, 1628: Thomas Morton is the first person to be deported from the area that is now the US. He was a New England writer, social reformer, trader and adventurer. He was also an Anglican. He first visited from England in 1622 and came back again in 1625 with Captain Wollaston. They founded a settlement called Mt. Wollaston [today it is called Quincy, Massachusetts].

Morton and Wollaston had a falling out when Morton learned of Wollaston’s selling indentured servants into slavery. Wollaston left for Virginia, and with Morton in charge the name of the settlement changed to Mare Mount then to Merry Mount. The Plymouth settlers [Puritans] were upset with the Merry Mount settlers [Anglicans] and wary of their trading with the Natives.

After engaging in a Maypole celebration that incensed the Puritans, Miles Standish managed to have Morton shipped back to England on charges of trading arms with the natives and harboring runaway servants. The Puritans were highly incensed about the trading with natives, since they held it as their right alone. The Maypole tradition has its roots in Germanic paganism which made it very unpopular as well. The United Kingdom adopted the practice early on and they were a part of village or parish life by the 16th century. Evangelical Protestants were not impressed with the pagan ritual and the event was condemned and then banned in several areas in England between 1570 and 1630. Apparently they were banned in the colonies as well.

Morton returned to the New World in 1628, was sent back to England in 1630, returned again to Boston and was imprisoned. He was exiled to Maine after his release and wrote an unflattering treatise entitled New English Canaan published in three volumes. He excoriated the Puritans, their land enclosure, and their near genocide of the natives. It was a call for multiculturalism and tolerance.

“What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action.” – Wendell Phillips

“A New England conscience doesn’t keep you from doing anything; it just keeps you from enjoying it.” – unknown

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” – John Adams

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.” – Kingsley Amis

Also on this day:
In 1772,  the
American Revolution was picking up steam.
In 1909,
Alice Ramsey began her drive across the country.

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