The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture

By John C. Miller | Go to book overview

Edifying Incidents

John Winthrop

One of the "declining gentry" of England, John Winthrop decided in 1630 for religious and economic reasons to accompany the Puritans to New England. A graduate of Cambridge University and the Inns of Court, he was lord of Groton Manor and justice of the peace of Suffolk County, a position to which only persons of importance were appointed. Although his reputation has suffered at the hands of historians and novelists because of his treatment of Anne Hutchinson, he was in actuality a far more kindly and humane man than the other Puritan leaders. He took action against Mrs. Hutchinson because he believed her to be a fomenter of subversive ideas directed against both church and state.

About eight persons were drowned this winter, all except three, by adventuring upon the ice. Two of these three (one of them being far in drink) attempted to pass from Boston to Winisemett in a small boat on a tempestuous night. This man (accustomed to come home to Winisemett drunk) his wife would tell him he would one day be drowned, etc. but he made light of it. Another went aboard a ship to make merry on Saturday night (being the beginning of the Lord's day), and returning about midnight with three of the ship's company, the boat was overset by means of the ice, they guiding her by a rope, which went from the ship to the shore. The seamen waded out, but the Boston man was drowned. He was a man of good conversation and hopeful of some work of grace begun in him, but he was drawn away by the seamens' invitation. God will be sanctified in them that come near him. Two others were the children of one of the church of Boston. While the parents were at the lecture, the boy (being about seven years of age), having a small staff in his hand, ran down upon the ice towards a boat he saw, and the ice breaking, he fell in, but his staff kept him up till his sister, about fourteen years old, ran down to save her brother (though there were four men at hand, and called to her not to go, being themselves hasting to save him) and so drowned herself

____________________
The Winthrop Papers. Edited by Allyn B. Forbes.

-113-

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The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 15
  • Part I - Arrivals 41
  • The Plymouth Plantation 43
  • A Description of New England 66
  • The New English Canaan 76
  • Letters 77
  • The Crossing to Pennsylvania! 83
  • Part II - Daily Life 99
  • Pirates in Plymouth 101
  • Thomas Morton of Merrymount 103
  • The Merrymount Colony 108
  • Edifying Incidents 113
  • An Exemplary Christian 115
  • Inoculation for Smallpox 118
  • Courtship 132
  • Marriage 141
  • On Taking a Mistress 154
  • The Speech of Polly Baker 156
  • Riding through Virginia 159
  • Part III - God and the Devil 167
  • Religious Tolerance 169
  • In Defence of Intolerance 175
  • Witchcraft in Salem 179
  • Witchcraft in Salem 185
  • Witchcraft in Salem 190
  • The Devil in the Shape of a Woman 193
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 207
  • Personal Narrative 212
  • Part IV - The Indians 221
  • The Indians in Virginia 223
  • Pocahontas 231
  • The Pequot War 239
  • The Pequot War 244
  • Indian Customs and Manners 248
  • Captured by Indians 257
  • Part V - The South 291
  • Virginia 293
  • History of the Dividing Line 310
  • Part VI - Literature 351
  • Anne Bradstreet 353
  • Michael Wigglesworth 357
  • Edward Taylor 367
  • Bacon's Epitaph 370
  • Ebenezer Cook 372
  • Benjamin Franklin 377
  • Part VII - Four Colonial Views 387
  • Itinerarium Dr. Alexander Hamilton 389
  • Autobiography 419
  • Journal 437
  • Letters from an American Farmer 479
  • Bibliography 499
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