The Development of New England Society to 1660 Early American Social History, Term 1 Week 8 The New England Town • Townships are basis of settlement in NEng • Each settlement was founded by a group of families who were allocated a collective land grant that was then subdivided to the constituting members. • Some leeway for new arrivals to be granted land, but since most of the best land had already been allocated, more common for new arrivals to establish their own town since land readily available New England towns generally closed communities, little natural growth by immigration, mainly on rivers or coast recreated Eng model of small settlements, interacting with each other Each town sent two members to the General Court in Boston Religion • Religious idealism central to settlement of NEng. • NEng not a theocracy, rather a government of the righteous, only visible saints could vote, and hold office. Non-saints effectively marginalised • Religion central to lives of people: towns were centered around a church, 1635 law that no one was allowed to live more that half a mile from a church. • land distribution controlled by church members. • Sunday = day of rest, no work permitted at all. • Attendance at church compulsory on Sundays, long services Old Ship Meeting House, Hingham, Mass, 1681 Parson Capen House, Topsfield, Mass, 1683 New England Mind • Phrase coined by Perry Miller in 2 vol intellectual history of New England (1939 & 1953) • Puritans struggled to balance opposing forces of zeal with control - enthusiasm with caution. • Puritans sought union with God, but also demanded decent public deportment. Puritan Character • Miller’s 5 key words to explain Puritan mentality • • • • • Depravity Covenant Election Grace Love Half-Way Covenant • Problem = falling nos of full church members • Explanations • Solution - Half Way covenant of 1662 whereby the grandchildren of visible saints were permitted to receive baptism; not universally accepted. Also did not end the gradual drift away from religion by the younger inhabitants of Massachusetts. Creating a Religious Society • Puritans believed that all people were sinful (depravity), govt’s job to pass laws to encourage all to obey the will of God. • Goodness epitomised by order, sin and evil by disorder. • Mass law v. invasive. Reinforced natural authority of husbands over wives, parents over children and masters over slaves. • Most crimes prosecuted were moral rather than criminal e.g gambling, drunkenness, lying, adultery, or Sabbath breaking - punishable by corporeal and capital punishment. • Some New England colonies based their whole criminal codes on the bible Dealing with deviance Essex Co. Court Records • 7 September 1636 :that William James and Elizabeth his wyfe shall appear at the next quarter Court at Boston to Answer a matter of uncleanness confessed by them. • 27 March 1638 : for drunkenness Richard Lambert was fined ten shillings & ordered to sit in stocks two public days • 27 June 1637 Whereas Dorothy the wyfe of John Talbie hath not only broke that peace & Love, which ought to have been both betwixt them, but also hath violently broke the kings peace, by frequent Laying hands upon her husband to the danger of his Life, It is therefore ordered that, for prevention of future evils that are feared will be committed by her if she be left at Liberty. That she shall be bound & chained to some post till she manifest some change of her course and Conversation & repentance for what is already committed. Only it is permitted that she shall come to the place of gods worship, to enjoy his ordinances. Colonial Pillories • Popularity of humiliation – use of stocks, branding, standing at the pillory (tied to a post), putting in a cage, or being forced to wear sign stating your crime for all to see. Problems • Geographical mobility • Economic change • Religious Dissent: increasing nos of people arriving with differing religious beliefs e.g. Anabaptists, Quakers, all persecuted by Puritan authorities. Thomas Morton and Merrymount • Morton arrived New England 1624, grew disillusioned with harsh way of life, established own community that rejected religious doctrines and moralistic ways • Encouraged drinking, trad Eng sports, inter-marriage with Indians, traded guns for furs, erected maypole, goaded religious authorities. • Arrested and deported by Plymouth authorities, 1628. Returned 1637, arrested and exiled to Maine, died 1643. • The Inhabitants of Pasonagessit (having translated the name of their habitation from that ancient Salvage name to Ma-reMount [MerryMount]) did devise amongst themselves to have it performed in a solemne manner with Revels, & merriment after the old English custorne: prepared to sett up a Maypole upon the festivall day of Philip and Jacob ; & therefore brewed a barrell of excellent beer, & provided a case of bottles to be spent, with other good cheer, for all comers of that day. .. The setting up of this Maypole was a lamentable spectacle to the precise seperatists : that lived at new Plymouth. They termed it an Idoll; yea they called it the Calf of Horeb: and stood at defiance with the place, naming it Mount Dagon; threatening to make it a woefull mount and not a merry mount. . . . Roger Williams 1603-83 • Roger Williams arrived 1631, appointed minister at Salem 1634 • Controversial ideas: advocates a complete split with the C of E. • Proclaims King’s charter was useless as the land belonged to the Indians, and it wasn’t his to grant. • RW banished 1635 for spreading "diverse, new, and dangerous opinions" – writings burned • 1636 founded Providence, Rhode Island, got on well with Miantonomi, purchased land from Narragasett. Roger Williams 1603-83 Governor of Rhode Island 1654-8 Anne Hutchinson 1591-1643 • Hutchinson arrived in Massachusetts in 1634 • Hutchinson developed the Doctrine of Inner Light arguing that God would reveal his grace to individuals directly - no need for priests or churches, rather piety was a personal achievement - later became popular among Quakers • made even worse by the fact that AH is a woman • Challenge to trad puritan orthodoxy and hierarchy – can’t be tolerated • banished from Massachusetts in 1637, settles with family in Rhode Island, but murdered by Indians in NY 1643 Quakers • Quakers posed the greatest threat to Holy Experiment • Beliefs: pacifism; Doctrine of Inner Light – all holy from within; disliked church hierarchy - said bishops and priests were redundant; also rejected any kind of social hierarchy, all were equal before God, and that no other authority had any legitimacy. • New England Quakers v.vocal in criticism • Viewed by authorities as a 'cursed sect’, • 1658 govt of Massachusetts Bay declared that any Quakers who returned from banishment would be executed - final threat, did not work. • 1660 the newly restored Charles II ordered Massachusetts to stop executing Quakers, but this did not end their everyday persecution. Conclusions • New England gradually becoming less stable by mid 17thC. • Immigration continuing, economy diversifying • original religious idealism fading, religious homogeneity under threat from internal and external forces • New England becoming more diverse, yet still a very different society from the Chesapeake.