Archive for July 29th, 2008

More links between wars in Europe and Puritan New England

Posted on July 29, 2008. Filed under: Puritans | Tags: , , , , , |

I’m in the middle of researching those Puritans who fought in the Pequot War who also served in the Thirty Years’ War in Europe. So far, I know Lion Gardener who built and manned the fort at Saybrook, Connecticut fought with the English volunteer force in the Netherlands under Sir Horace Veer. And John Mason, who led the attack on Mystic was also with the English volunteers in the Netherlands.

It’s hard to start from scratch on this, because there are no lists of who fought as an English volunteer readily available on the Internet. But I’ve found that Gardener may well have been at the critical siege of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, or Bois-le-duc.

The interest in these ties is that they support my thesis that the Puritans in far-off New England, faced with exotic Native American enemies, actually saw themselves as Protestants in the thick of the battle for Europe, facing the too-familiar heretic foe. Catholics were no better than Pequots to the Puritans, and the grim and brutal battle philosophy of European soldiers and generals was transported to New England.

This means that the brutality shown by the Puritans to the Pequots in that war (1637, in the thick of the Thirty Years’ War) was not a brutality uniquely sparked by and reserved for Native Americans. It was the standard-issue European religious-war intolerance that called for the complete decimation of the enemy. Just as Protestants in Germany who fell under Imperial control were forced to convert or to leave their homes forever, so defeated Native Americans were forcibly converted or banished from their lands.

If anyone out there has more data on Puritans who fought in the Pequot and the Thirty Years’ War, let me know!

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