I chose 1659
the end of the English Civil War period, a time of doubt
and uncertainty. Soon Charles II will return from exile. Many
Puritans still residing in England harbour renewed concerns for
their safety and are thinking once more of leaving to join their
brethren in New England, to start a new life in America.
settlers who did embark for the New World faced a sea journey
lasting 8 weeks if they were lucky, on a small sailing ship often
not designed to take passengers. They usually travelled in family
or community groups, but they also took orphans and young people
with them. They often kept diaries and journals recording their
experiences. They believed that they were Gods chosen people,
marked out for His special favour, and were setting out for this
new world under His guidance.
the Massachusetts colony was already well established, many towns
were already founded, but there was plenty of room for more settlers.
The English believed they were civilising the wilderness, that
the land was empty and there for the taking, although this was
obviously not so. Native American peoples populated the whole
region, although their numbers had fallen drastically since the
beginning of the 17th century. Thousands had died from European
diseases for which they had no immunity. At first the two peoples
lived side by side with little enmity. In fact, the Indians often
helped the first settlers. Without the help of the Wampanoag people,
the original pilgrims would have died. Across the colony, trade
continued, European goods for furs and food, but the two groups
had little understanding of each other. Although some English
settlers showed respect, even admiration, for their Indian neighbours,
most regarded them as little more than savages and thought that
their pagan beliefs put them in league with the Devil.
the world Mary enters. This is what she had to escape ...