Presentation on theme: "(1579?-1647?). Morton was a lawyer, trader, and adventurer. One of the founders of the settlement at Mount Wollaston (1625), a trading post about."— Presentation transcript:
Morton was a lawyer, trader, and adventurer. One of the founders of the settlement at Mount Wollaston (1625), a trading post about 30 miles from Plymouth Colony. His aim was to trade with the Indians and encourage others to settle the land. He was a member of the Anglican Church; thus, he was in direct conflict with the Separatists of the Plymouth Colony.
Morton was captured and sent to England in 1628; when he returned in 1629, his colony had disintegrated. Captured again and returned to England in 1630, he was released, returning to Massachusetts in 1643 before being sent away by authorities. He was briefly imprisoned when he tried to return, after which he left for Maine, his home for the two years before his death.
The record of Thomas Morton's Merry Mount comes principally from two sources: his own account in Book III, Chapter 4 of The New English Canaan (1637) William Bradford's very different account in his History of Plimmoth Plantation. John Winthrop also has an account in his History of New England.
Morton and his community at Merry Mount posed a threat to the communal integrity and identity of the group at Plymouth became the “others” in contrast to how the Pilgrims defined themselves. Among the reasons why the Pilgrims distrusted Morton his free association with the Native Americans what the Pilgrims saw as his licentious behavior
William Bradford ( ), governor of Plymouth colony, includes an account of Merry Mount in the History of Plymouth Plantation, : After this they fell to great licentiousness, and led a dissolute life, powering out them selves into all profaneness. And Morton became lord of misrule, and maintained (as it were) a school of Atheism. And after they had got some good into their hands, and got much by trading with ye Indians, they spent it as vainly, in quaffing & drinking both wine & strong waters in great excess, and, as some reported, £10 worth in a morning. They also set up a May-pole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, inviting the Indian women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking together, (like so many fairies, or furies rather,) and worse practices. As if they had anew revived & celebrated the feasts of ye Roman Goddess Flora, or ye beastly practices of ye mad Bacchanalians. Morton likewise (to show his poetries) composed sundry rimes & verses, some tending to lasciviousness, and others to ye detraction & scandal of some persons, which he affixed to this idle or idol May-polle. They changed also the name of their place, and in stead of calling it Mount Wollaston, they call it Merie-mounte, as if this jollity would have lasted ever. But this continued not long, for after Morton was sent for England, (as follows to be declared,) shortly after came over that worthy gentleman, Mr. John Endecott, who brought over a patent under ye broad seal, for ye government of ye Massachusetts, who visiting those parts caused yt May-polle to be cut down, and rebuked them for their profanes, and admonished them to look there should be better walking; so they now, or others, changed ye name of their place again, and called it Mounte-Dagon.
Thomas Morton's own account can be found in his book New English Canaan (1637), in Book III, Chapter XIV, 'Of the Revells of New Canaan': The Inhabitants of Pasonagessit, (having translated the name of their habitation from that ancient Salvage name to Ma-re Mount, and being resolved to have the new name confirmed for a memorial to after ages,) did devise amongst themselves to have it performed in a solemn manner, with Revels and merriment after the old English custom; [they] prepared to sett up a Maypole upon the festival day of Philip and Iacob, and therefore brewed a barrel of excellent beer and provided a case of bottles, to be spent, with other good cheer, for all comers of that day. And because they would have it in a complete form, they had prepared a song fitting to the time and present occasion. And upon Mayday they brought the Maypole to the place appointed, with drums, gunners, pistols and other fitting instruments, for that purpose; and there erected it with the help of Salvages, that came thither of purpose to see the manner of our Revels. A goodly pine tree of 80. foot long was reared up, with a pair of buckthorns nail one somewhat near unto the top of it: where it stood, as a faire sea mark for directions how to find out the way to mine Host of Ma-re Mount.