Chapter 5


This year died Mr. Richard Warren, who hath been mentioned before in this book, and was an useful instrument; and during his life bore a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the plantation of New Plimouth.1

Whereas about three years before this time there came over one Capt. Wollaston,2

a man of considerable parts, and with him three or four more of some eminency, who brought with them a great many servants, with provisions and other requisites for to begin a plantation, and pitched themselves in a place within the Massachusetts Bay, which they called afterwards by their captain’s name, Mount Wollaston; which place is since called by the name of Braintree. And amongst others that came with him, there was one Mr. Thomas Morton, who should seem had some small adventure of his own or other men’s amongst them, but had little respect, and was slighted by the meanest servants they kept. They having continued some time in New England, and not finding things to answer their expectation, nor profit to arise as they looked for, the said Capt. Wollaston takes a great part of the servants, and transports them to Virginia, and disposed of them there, and writes back to one Mr. Rasdale, of his chief partners, and accounted their merchant, to bring another part of them to Virginia likewise, intending to put them off there, as he had done the rest; and he with consent of the said Rasdale, appointed one whose name was Filcher to be his lieutenant, and to govern the remainder of the plantation, until he or Rasdale should take further order thereabout.

But the aforesaid Morton, having more craft than honesty, having been a pettifogger at Furnival’s Inn, he in the other’s absence, watches an opportunity, commons being but hard among them, and got some strong drink, and other junkets, and made them a feast, and after they were merry, he began to tell them he would give them good counsel; you see, said he, that many of your fellows are carried to Virginia, and if you stay still until Rasdale’s return, you will also be carried away and sold for slaves with the rest; therefore I would advise you to thrust out this Lieut. Filcher, and I, having a part in the plantation, will receive you as my partners and consociates, so may you be free from service, and we will converse, plant, trade, and live together as equals, or to the like effect. This counsel was easily followed, so they took opportunity and thrust Lieut. Filcher out of doors, and would not suffer him to come any more amongst them, but forced him to seek bread to eat and other necessaries, amongst his neighbours, till he could get a passage for England.3

After this they fell to great licentiousness of life, in all profaneness, and the said Morton became lord of misrule, and maintained, as it were, a school of Atheism, and after they had got some goods into their hands, and got much by trading with the Indians, they spent it as vainly in quaffing and drinking both wine and strong liquors in great excess, as some have reported, ten pounds’ worth, in a morning, setting up a may-pole, drinking and dancing about it, and frisking about it like so many fairies, or furies rather, yea, and worse practices, as if they had anew revived and celebrated the feast of the Roman goddess, Flora, or the beastly practices of the mad Bacchanalians. The said Morton, likewise, to show his poetry, composed sundry rhymes and verses, some tending to lasciviousness, and others to the detraction and scandal of some persons’ names, which he affixed to his idle or idol may-pole; they changed also the name of their place, and instead of calling it Mount Wollaston, they called it the Merry Mount, as if this jollity would have lasted always. But this continued not long, for shortly after that worthy gentleman, Mr. John Endicot, who brought over a patent under the broad seal of England, for the government of the Massachusetts, visiting these parts, caused that may-pole to be cut down, and rebuked them for their profaneness, and admonished them to look to it that they walked better; so the name was again changed, and called Mount Dagon.

Now to maintain this riotous prodigality and profuse expense, the said Morton thinking himself lawless, and hearing what gain the fishermen made of trading of pieces, powder, and shot; he, as head of his consortship, began the practice of the same in these parts; and first he taught the Indians how to use them, to charge and discharge them, and what proportion of powder to give the piece, according to the size or bigness of the same, and what shot to use for fowl, and what for deer; and having instructed

  By PanEris using Melati.

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