Wednesday, November 27, 2013


We sometimes think of Plymouth's Puritan Colony as some lonely and bleak outpost of England when in fact it was nothing of the sort. It was merely bleak. Once there was another little bit of England being nurtured nearby by others of a different philosophical bent.
Unfortunately, there were men in the new world of a sterner faith than these Maypole worshippers. Not far from Merry Mount was a settlement of Puritans, most dismal wretches, who said their prayers before daylight, and then wrought in the forest or the corn-field till evening made it prayer time again. Their weapons were always at hand to shoot down the straggling savage. When they met in conclave, it was never to keep up the old English mirth, but to hear sermons three hours long, or to proclaim bounties on the heads of wolves and the scalps of Indians. Their festivals were fast days, and their chief pastime the singing of psalms. Wo to the youth or maiden who did but dream of a dance! The selectman nodded to the constable; and there sat the light-heeled reprobate in the stocks; or if he danced, it was round the whipping-post, which might be termed the Puritan Maypole.*
*Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Maypole of Merry Mount

After the good people of Plymouth devastated and looted the colony, the founder of Mount Wollastan (Merry Mount was the Puritan name given the place) was dragged to Plymouth, placed in the stocks and given a mock trial after which he was marooned on the Isle of Shoals. Oddly enough, that is the very place that the good people of somewhere elected to build a monument to the first Englishman to land upon the Isles, Captain John Smith (yes, the Pocahontas one).

This stereo view picture of the monument is taken from:
I don't believe I'd like any of the good people of the Plymouth Colony. I imagine all their neighbors found them something of a trial and burden.

By the way, when viewed with a stereoscope, the picture above leaps into 3D just like the movies!


Buck said...

I wouldn't have lasted long in Puritan society.

HMS Defiant said...

Me neither.

Anonymous said...

If any wonder what it would have been like to live in a crushing Puritan society, you need only visit a "safe space" on the grounds of many of our Indoctrination Centers previously known as Universities.

MSG Grumpy