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Mayflower, Day by Day - Friday, 8 October 1621

8 Oct 2021 3:47 AM | Soule (Administrator)

Pilgrim Mythology (part one)

“Until recent years, I think it fair to say that the Pilgrims suffered more at the hands of the historians and writers than they did at the hands of the Indians.  Some writers have found the pure and undigested Pilgrim story of exile, emigration, and improvisation held together by a sinewy faith too unbelievable for consumption.  So some of them dismissed it as a somewhat overgrown fairy tale: the type of story fit for company with the Easter Bunny at worse or Jonah in the belly of the whale at best.  They then turned their energies to debunking the Pilgrim ‘myths’ and concentrated upon the more exciting and believable adventure in Boston such as witch hunts, blue laws, and triangular trade.  And other historians, also finding the bare story too much for consumption, decided to embellish and improve upon the original, passing for concrete fact the romantic nostrums of tradition, thus earning for themselves and their subjects the eventual derision of a more discriminating and sophisticated audience.”  Peter J. Gomes, “What Can We Believe About the Pilgrims?” NEHG Register 124 (Apr 1970): 135f.

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