Friday, July 09, 2004

What if?

...from "Might the Mayflower Not Have Sailed?" by Theodore K. Rabb, in What Ifs of American History: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been pp. 1-16:
....what if one of the circumstances had not fallen into place and she had not planted a 'godly' community at Plymouth? That question leads us to the crucial moment for the long-term success of the colony: the arrival from England in 1630 of John Winthrop, a Puritan lawyer, with a fleet of eleven ships carrying some seven hundred colonists. Would they have come if the Mayflower had not preceded them can be argued that they would not.... Without the beacon planted at Plymouth to reassure them, these staid, comfortable, and conservative creators of a 'Bible Commonwealth' would scarcely have risked their families and their possessions on so hazardous an enterprise. Again one must say that without the Mayflower, there could have been no Massachusetts Bay. " .... It was thus a combination of belief and circumstances that enabled the Puritans to inject into American culture an expectation of religious faith, a commitment to self-reliance and daily toil as morally worthy, and a stern regard for the virtuous life that have given their country a quite distinctive coloration among the modern nations of the West.... We may now take for granted the role of these traditions--the force of religion, the equation of work with virtue, the focus on the individual, and the insistent devoutness alongside the tolerance--in detrmining the course of American history. But there is little doubt that they might well have died in infancy if the Mayflower had not set sail...."

Tim Ware's fabulous
William Pynchon is Thomas' colonial descendant, born in Springfield, Essex, England on 11 October 1590. He married Anne Agnes Andrew about 1623. The family emigrated to New England on Winthrop's fleet of 1630, Anne dying soon after their arrival. A few years later, William married Frances Sanford of Dorchester. William was the founder of Springfield, Massachusetts and one of the Bay Colony's leaders until his publication of a book about justification and redemption, The Meritorious Price of our Redemption (1650).

Gravity's Rainbow, p. 556:
"Could he have been the fork in the road America never took, the singular point she jumped the wrong way from? Suppose the Slothropian heresy had had the time to consolidate and prosper. Might there have been fewer crimes in the name of Jesus, and more mercy in the name of Judas Iscariot?"
(Thanks to Dave Monroe, for posting a slightly different version of this at Pynchon-l).