By Perry D. Westbrook
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Additional resources for A literary history of New England
Though eager to strip the Church of England of its vestiges of Roman Catholicism and rigidly Calvinist, they nevertheless protested that their allegiance was to the national church. By the late 1620s official opposi- Page 22 tion to their views and practices intensified. England was no longer a comfortable home for nonconformists. By the end of the decade Winthrop laid plans for emigration. Already a number of Puritans were settled at Naumkeag (later Salem) in Massachusetts under the leadership of John Endecott and Francis Higginson.
29 Sometimes God intervened only after his aid was earnestly requested, as on the occasions related by Bradford and Winthrop when severe droughts were broken in answer to prayer. Anything, no matter how trivial, could be the subject of private or communal prayer. Cotton Mather, for example, prayed that some of his books would be publishedwith favorable results, since his bibliography of printed works numbers 454 titles. God often communicated his approval or disapproval by natural events, and the Puritans would respond to them appropriately.
The Puritans' suppression of those who in any way seriously disagreed with their political and religious beliefs may be traced to the concept of community as embodying uniformity of faith and opinion. In Plymouth persons such as Gorton, Lyford, and Oldham threatened the precarious existence of the plantation with their dissenting views and conspiratorial behavior, as did the Anglican settlers, under Thomas Morton, at nearby Merry Mount (Mount Wollaston), who were banished from New England because of their supposed atheism and their drunken revelries.