Morton, Thomas. (ca 1590 - 1647).
L i f e
- colonist in Massachussets, New England, founder of the Merrymount Colony (later Wollaston, now Quincy, Massachusetts)
- a counterpart of the pious Plymouth Protestants: established trade relations with the natives, exchanged furs for liquor and guns, and studied the Native American culture
- considered the Indian culture more "civilized and humanitarian" than that of his "intolerant European neighbours"
- shocked by his celebration of May-Day by dancing and drinking, erecting the May-pole, and inviting the Indians to join the celebration
- the Puritans sent Captain Miles Standish with company to arrest him and deport to England: deported two times, eventually imprisoned in Boston for two years
W o r k
- an adventurous businessman and author of travel writings and satires
The New English Canaan (1637):
- mingles prose x verse
- combines a serious-minded description of the colonised country and the natives x an irreverent satire on the New Plymouth Puritans’ piety and holiness
- includes a chapter on "how not to colonize" in reference to the Puritans
"The riches of which Country I have set forth in this abstract as in a Landskipp, for the better information of the Travellers, which they may peruse; and plainly perceive by the demonstration of it that it is nothing inferior to Canaan of Israel, but a kind of parallel to it, in all points".
From New English Canaan (1637).
(Morton in ca. 1620. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorThomas Morton. (ca. 1590 - 1647). American colonist.
WorkProse writer. Poet.
GenresChronicle. Travel writing. Satire.
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Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
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Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
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