Puritanism and the Wilderness: The Intellectual Significance of the New England Frontier, 1629-1700

By Peter N. Carroll | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
"The Good Land"

TWO generations after the settlement of New England, Puritan historians extolled the courage of their patriarchs, the men who first established beachheads upon the virgin continent. William Hubbard, whose General History of New England won the endorsement of the Massachusetts General Court in 1682, recounted the single- minded commitment of John Winthrop, "that honorable and worthy gentleman," who guided the Great Migration of 1630. At "a solemn feast" shortly before his last farewell, Governor Winthrop, "finding his bowels yearn within him," broke into "a flood of tears" which "set them all a weeping." But despite the distress at losing dear friends forever, this passionate outburst failed to dampen their spirits "as to think of breaking off their purpose so far carried on."1Cotton Mather, writing nearly three decades after Hubbard, was similarly struck by the resolution of the founding fathers. It was, he felt, "a strange work of God" which inspired diverse men "to secede into a wilder

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1
William Hubbard, "A General History of New-England from the Discovery to 1680," reprinted in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, second ser., V-VI ( 1848), V, 125. (Hereafter cited as Colls. M.H.S.); Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, ed. by Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, 5 vols. ( Boston, 1853-54), V, 378. (Hereafter cited as Recs. of Mass. Bay.)

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Puritanism and the Wilderness: The Intellectual Significance of the New England Frontier, 1629-1700
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Two Worlds 5
  • Chapter I - The Good Land 7
  • Chapter II - Sad Stormes and Wearisom Dayes 27
  • Chapter III - A New World 45
  • Part II - The Symbolic Wilderness 61
  • Chapter IV - A Sorrowful Estate 65
  • Chapter V - A Place of Safetie 87
  • Chapter VI - The Pleasant Gardens of Christ 109
  • Part III - A Wilderness Society 127
  • Chapter VII - The Welfare of This Commonwealth 131
  • Chapter VIII - The Unity of the English Colonyes 161
  • Chapter IX - The Further Improvement of the Wildernes 181
  • Chapter X - A Smart Rod and Severe Scourge 199
  • Epilogue 223
  • Selected Bibliography 225
  • Index 241
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