|Thomas Willett biographical notes (5)|
The return trip to New England was arranged. Thomas had the company of another old family friend from Leyden on the outbound trip. this was his father’s friend, John Browne, along with his daughter, Mary Browne, and other members of that family who were immigrating to the new world. They left England on June 22, 1632, on board the Lion, which was a fairly large ship for the day. The return trip took twelve weeks; they arrived in Boston on September 16. Thomas Willett
and Mary Brown must have seen a lot of each other during that voyage. An enduring romance must have had its inception on board the Lion.
After returning to the Plymouth Colony, Thomas was sent once again to the Kennebec trading post. One day, in 1632, a French ship put into the harbor at Kennebec. Under the ruse of needing repairs, the French captured the post from the “servants left in charge by the resident agent, Thomas Willett, who happened to be in Plymouth getting supplies” (Wilson, page 295). Willett remained with the trading venture until 1634, and earned the praise of William Bradford of Plymouth as an “honest young man whom, being discreet, they could trust.”
In 1634, Willett was moved from the Kennebec post to the one at Penoscot. Again the French came, this time in 1635, and led by one d’Aulay captured the post while Willett was in charge. The capture was done with almost legendary French charm and grace, if Bradford’s History of the Plymouth settlement can be believed. The French turned Willett and his fellows out of the post, gave them provisions and their ship, and sent them packing back to Plymouth. Tis second episode did not damage the reputation that Willett had with the leaders in Plymouth. French and English rivalry would continue in the region unabated until well after the Arcadian [sic] expulsion from Grand Pre in Nova Scotia in 1755.
Went [sic] we think of the New England plantations, we usually think of open minded, tolerant Pilgrims and Puritans looking only for a “new” world where they could worship God without fear of persecution. However, neither open-mindness [sic] nor tolerant were adjectives which should ever be used to describe the Pilgrims and Puritans.
“Sectarian bitterness and exclusivity were more characteristic of the seventeenth century than our own day. Tolerance was not then championed as a principle; it was regarded more as a disagreeable alternative to community discord. Every Sect preferred that dissenters [p. 5] find some other place to worship. On Boston Common, Puritans hanged four Quakers who had returned after being expelled. An unorthodox Roger Williams escaped deportation by fleeing south, where he founded Rhode Island. A year later, in 1636, Thomas Hooker
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