On This Date In History: Thomas Morton was an English lawyer who arrived in the Massachusetts Colony in 1625 as part of a number of people who settled about 25 miles from Plymouth near present day Quincy. The rather stern “Puritan Saints” had landed at Plymouth a few years earlier and thought of New England as a “hideous and desolate wildnerness full of wild beasts and wild men!” I’m sure that’s what some present day visitors from rural America might think about San Francisco. But really, I’m not sure what the Puritans expected to find…Ye Olde Malt Shoppe on every corner? Anyway, Morton wasn’t so dour as he thought the land was “paradise” and that he found the Indians to be “more full of humanity” than the Christians who had gotten there before him…in other words…the Puritan Saints.
The leader of the group near Quincy left for the milder climate of Virginia and Morton and a dozen cohorts took advantage by throwing out the second in command, releasing the indentured servants and going about exploiting the fruits of their paradise. They renamed the place Merry Mount and in 1627 reintroduced “revels of merriment after the olde English cutom.” They put up a maypole and invited the neighboring Indians to join in a days-long fertility rite with lots of beer flowing, dancing and amenities of erotic nature. Perhaps not suprisingly, Merry Mount became quite popular with fur traders. Guess whose business suffered? The grumpy old puritans, who thought that such mingling with the natives and their “wickedness” would undermine their own resolve which was so rigid that “unseemly laughter” was prohibited, not to mention any sort of revelry. I guess their resolve wasn’t so resolute as they were afraid others having fun would spoil their grumpiness. So, in an attempt to revive their own flailing fur trade and make certain that everyone was grumpy, the Puritans sent a group of armed me to Merry Mount and make it not so merry. They captured Morton and left him on an island. They put him on a boat back to England to face charges of selling guns and spirits to the Indians but the Mother Country wouldn’t prosecute. So, in 1629 Morton went back to Merry Mount .
Puritan leaders John Winthrop and John Endicott hailed his return by cutting down his Maypole and on this date in 1630 put Morton in the stocks and seized his property. Then they exiled him to England and burned down his house. Again, the English courts refused to prosecute but Morton was thwarted at his attempt to get the charter for the Massachusetts Bay Colony revoked. For some stupid reason, Morton returned to where he was obviously not welcome and was thrown in irons without fire or blankets. Finally, when they determined that he was “old and crazy” Winthrop had Morton released. What a great guy. Morton died in 1646. The moral to this story is if you want to pursue a life of merriment in the face of great grumpiness, make certain that you and your merry makers are better armed than the grumps.
Weather Bottom Line: I told you of this possibility a few days ago…the front eased down so far that the showers are held at bay and then you’d see some forecasters with the old CYA 20% forecast. If you get a shower over the next day or so, you’re probably in the way south of the viewing area. Really, the best rain chances we’ve seen in a couple of weeks will be on Wednesday when the low that has been meandering in the south gets ejected and a low moves up from the Southwest. Huge chances? No…but I think that the biggest story is that there are numerous indications that we will get a shot of decidedly unseasonable cool air by the middle of next week, which will certainly increase the already rampant speculation that we will have a cold winter since we’ve been relatively cool this summer.