Early American History Seminar: Charlotte Carrington, University of Cambridge

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Early American History and Culture Seminar

“ ‘Mine-Host of Ma-re Mount’ and his ‘Land of Milk and Honey’: A Reappraisal of Thomas Morton and his World”
Charlotte Carrington, University of Cambridge 
Thomas Morton established the Ma-re Mount settlement, near modern-day Quincy, Massachusetts, in the 1620s. Morton, an Anglican gentleman and lawyer, freed the servants at the plantation in order to trade and plant as equals. The Mortonites erected a maypole and embraced Old English traditions, which vexed the Pilgrims and Puritans. Morton, who was banished from New England more than once, is primarily remembered as a marginal licentious anti-type to his Puritan opponents. This article places Morton at the centre of the narrative, and examines the true nature of his dissent. It addresses Morton’s disregarded side of the story, his English background and his actual actions and interactions. It argues that Morton’s New World identity was formed upon the soundless of the common law and worldly entrepreneurial concerns. Morton used this praxis to pen his protest against the discrimination of the authorities, and to promote a new vision for New England.