Prof. David Hackett Fischer gives an overview of the chief characteristics of New England’s ancestors, who hailed from the coastal southeastern counties of England, mainly East Anglia and Essex, in his praiseworthy book, Albion’s Seed.  Among them were an inclination toward industrial pursuits, urban living, equality, and rebelliousness against established authorities in religion and politics (Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, New York, Ny., Oxford UP, 1989, pgs. 42-9).

It is remarkable how true New England has remained to that inner logos of hers as sketched by Prof. Fischer (and how insightful he was to see and describe it so well).  She remains as urban, industrial, and ocean-facing as ever, delving especially into new technologies like robotics.

But especially notable is her continuing revolution in the intertwining realms of politics and religion, particularly the institutions of marriage and family.  Prior to their departure from England to North America, Richard Hooker in the Preface to Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (published in 1594) describes how the Puritans took multiple wives:  ‘These men, in whose mouths at the first sounded nothing but only mortification of the flesh, were come at the length to think they might lawfully have their six or seven wives apiece . . . .’

Polygamy would continue famously with Mormonism, dreamt up by New England’s Joseph Smith, who has an impeccable Massachusetts Puritan family pedigree on his father’s side.  But less famously known are the destroyers of the traditional Christian family who were part of the Yankee abolitionist circles.  One of the South’s best apologists, George Fitzhugh, draws attention to one of them in Cannibals All! (1857), a fellow by the name of Stephen Pearle Andrews who was in high standing with the Yankee elite of his day:

‘We wish to prove that the great movement in society, known under various names, as Communism, Socialism, Abolitionism, Red Republicanism and Black Republicanism, has one common object: the breaking up of all law and government, and the inauguration of anarchy, and that the destruction of the family is one of the means in which they all concur to attain a common end. We shall quote only from Stephen Pearle Andrews, because he is by far the ablest and best informed of American Socialists and Reformers, and because he cites facts and authorities to show that he presents truly the current thought and the general intention. Mr. Andrews is a Massachusetts gentleman, who has lived at the South. He has been an Abolition Lecturer. He is the disciple of Warren, who is the disciple of Owen of Lanark and New Harmony. Owen and Warren are Socrates and Plato, and he is the Great Stygarite, as far surpassing them, as Aristotle surpassed Socrates and Plato. But it is not merely his theories on which we rely; he cites historical facts that show that the tendency and terminus of all abolition is to the sovereignty of the individual, the breaking up of families, and no-government. He delivered a series of lectures to the elite of New York on this subject, which met with approbation, and from which we shall quote. He established, or aided to establish, Free Love Villages, and headed a Free Love Saloon in the city of New York, patronized and approved by the “Higher classes.” He is indubitably the philosopher and true exponent of Northern Abolitionism’ (pgs. 287-8).

Mr. Fitzhugh quotes at length from Mr. Andrews’s Science of Society, and a couple of passages about marriage stand out:

‘Every variety of conscience, and every variety of deportment in reference to this precise subject of love is already tolerated among us. At one extreme of the scale stand the Shakers, who abjure the connection of the sexes altogether. At the other extremity stands the association of Perfectionists, at Oneida, who hold and practice, and justify by the Scriptures, as a religious dogma, what they denominate complex marriage, or the freedom of love. We have, in this State, stringent laws against adultery and fornication; but laws of that sort fall powerless, in America, before the all-pervading sentiment of Protestantism, which vindicates the freedom of conscience to all persons and in all things, provided the consequences fall upon the parties themselves. Hence the Oneida Perfectionists live undisturbed and respected, in the heart of the State of New York, and in the face of the world; and the civil government, true to the Democratic principle, which is only the same principle in another application, is little anxious to interfere with this breach of its own ordinances, so long as they cast none the consequences of their conduct upon those who do not consent to bear them.

‘ . . . In general, however, Government still interferes with the marriage and parental relations. Democracy in America has always proceeded with due reference the prudential motto, festina lente. In France, at the time of the first Revolution, Democracy rushed with the explosive force of escapement from centuries of compression, point blank to the bull’s eye of its final destiny, from which it recoiled with such force that the stupid world has dreamed, for half a century, that the vita principle of Democracy was dead. As a logical sequence from Democratic principle, the legal obligation of marriage was sundered, and the Sovereignty of the Individual above the institution was vindicated’ (pgs. 291-2).

What Mr. Andrews’s says in his book in 1851 about disassociating people from the normative male and female dichotomy of the sexes and the redefinition of marriage foreshadow what would follow in New England in the decades to come.  These seeds were slow to germinate, but now that they have, they have borne multiple harvests of radicalism in quick succession – unsurprisingly in Massachusetts, the birthplace of Puritan Yankeedom:

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples had a ‘right’ to marry.

In 2023, the City Council of Somerville, Mass., ‘unanimously approved an antidiscrimination ordinance to protect people in polyamorous and other consensually nonmonogamous relationships.’

Now, in 2024, the Massachusetts Legislature is moving quickly to approve the use of human surrogates and other techniques to allow LGBT people to ‘build families’:

‘State representatives unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday they said would update Massachusetts law to better reflect the diverse ways people build families.

The bill lays out clear paths to establishing legal parentage for families that have children through assisted reproduction, like surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization.’

Somerville again proves her radical bona fides with the statement of her representative, Christine Barber, that this legislation will help tear down ‘barriers to reproductive justice’ that other States are fiendishly erecting.

What will New England radicalism give birth to next?  One shudders to think, considering the foregoing.  And, indeed, we may already have an answer with the new attempt to generate sympathy for ‘minor-attracted persons.’  The North American Man/Boy Love Association began in Boston, after all.

This is a tragedy for New England.  They have been given a gift by God, zealousness or enthusiasm, but they use it to accomplish evil ends that grieve God and harm themselves and others.

What a dishonor to their ancestors!  Among their ancient kinfolk in Old England were holy men and women, who used this gift of zeal as it should be used – to love God and their neighbor.

St. Botolph, the monastic founder of Ikenho (+680) for whom Boston is named (a contraction of ‘Botolph’s Town or Stone’), banished evil spirits and diffused the Grace of God throughout southeast England and even beyond that region:

‘In Iken St. Botolph struggled much against the demons who dwelled in that area in great numbers and vexed him continually. By the power of the sign of the cross and through his austere ascetic life the venerable man vanquished them and drove them away from the area.

‘Abbot Botolph gathered around him many brethren, instructed them in the spiritual life and became famous as a wise and learned mentor. Everybody saw a loving and caring father in him. He himself cultivated the land in Iken and thanks to his labours the formerly swampy soil around Iken became very fertile. Already during his life, St. Botolph was loved all over England for his holy life, wisdom, miracles of healing, prophecies and for driving out evil spirits. He was a good example for his spiritual children in all things. According to his life, “All loved Botolph: he always was humble, modest, friendly and mild in communication, proved the truth of his sermons by example of his life… He taught his monks the rules of Christian perfection and the decrees of the Church Fathers. He thanked God both in good and sorrowful times alike, knowing that He makes everything for the good of those who love Him”. The saint excelled in extreme mercy, poverty and kindness.’

Especially in the latter words, we see what a contrast there is between the Christian spirit of St. Botolph and the unmerciful, mercenary, and unkind New England Yankees.

The life of St. Etheldreda (Audrey), foundress of the monastery of Ely (+679), is similar.  Her family’s life is a rebuke to the Yankee impiety towards the traditional Christian family and towards traditional Christian statecraft of governors:

‘The future saint was born early in the 630s in the kingdom of East Anglia and was a daughter of the pious King Anna, who ruled from 634 till 654. Her birthplace was probably in Exning which is now a village in the county of Suffolk. Her father, King Anna, was responsible for the spread of Orthodoxy and formation of Church life in his kingdom (East Anglia comprised Norfolk, Suffolk and eastern parts of Cambridgeshire). Under his influence the rulers of the kingdoms of Wessex and Essex converted to Orthodoxy and were baptized; through his holy children this influence stretched even to Northumbria, Mercia and Kent. King Anna is first of all notable for his six devout children, all of whom are listed among the saints.’

Some of the ways St. Audrey directed her zeal to noble ends – fasting, prayer, etc. – are described:

‘Prayer, taking Communion, meekness and charity were the most essential elements of the Christian life for Etheldreda. Abbess Etheldreda gave up wearing garments of thin linen cloth and wore only those of woolen cloth. At that time in England it was the custom to take hot baths, but Etheldreda despite her royal origins preferred to bathe only in cold water, allowing herself hot water only on the feasts of Easter, Pentecost and the Baptism of the Lord. But even on these festivals she showed true humility and used the water left after other sisters. The holy woman ate only once a day and kept this rule throughout the year, breaking it only during illness or on great festivals. Very often she stayed up for the whole night, fervently praying in church on her knees right till the morning. She lived very modestly and in solitude. Many of her friends, relatives and former courtiers followed her example and chose the path of monasticism and service to God. Some of them remained at her monastery or entrusted their daughters to her loving care. Many of the faithful and even clergy flocked to her for advice and asked her to become their spiritual mother.’

One of the most exemplary of New England’s Christian forefathers is St. Edmund, the Martyr-King of East Anglia (+869), who was slain by the heathen Vikings.  He loved his people so intensely that he chose not to marry so that he could devote more of his life to their well-being:

‘Edmund was tall, with fair hair, well-built and with a particular majesty of bearing. He was a wise and honest man, pious and chaste in all his deeds. In all things he always strove to please God and by his pure life and glorious works he won the respect of all his subjects. Edmund was very meek and humble: he knew that, becoming a king, he could never be conceited with his countrymen, but should only be on a par with everybody in the kingdom. Edmund was protector of the Church and a shelter for orphans, was generous to the poor and cared for widows like a loving father. All who pleaded to him for justice received help. It was said that even children could walk alone great distances in the kingdom without any fear for themselves under St. Edmund. The holy king corrected the stubborn and impious and led his country to repentance. He served his nation so selflessly that he even refused marriage, laboring wholeheartedly for the good of the people.’

When the idol-worshipping Danes offered that he submit to them and become their vassal, he refused and prepared himself to become a sacrifice to save his fellow countrymen and their Christian Faith:

‘St. Edmund stood praying hard in his royal hall, imploring the Savior to strengthen him in this difficult hour. He only thought how to stop the bloodshed and to preserve his Christian country. Shortly before the arrival of the wicked men, Edmund said to Humbert, “O father bishop! It is necessary that I alone should die for my countrymen, lest the entire nation should perish.” Seeing the multitude of pagans, Edmund dropped his weapon, imitating Christ Who refused to defend Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Vikings bound Edmund hand and foot and then subjected him to relentless tortures and beat him with thick sticks. After that the murderers tied Edmund to an oak tree and for a long time flogged the king with whips, constantly insulting him. The humble and faithful king bore all the suffering with great patience and only kept pronouncing the name of Jesus Christ. The heathen were filled with fury, hearing the name of Christian God. They then shot arrows at the holy martyr until he was covered with them, in his passion repeating the exploit of St. Sebastian. At last, Ingvar realized that the pious king would never renounce Christ and commanded his servants to behead him. The soldiers instantly fulfilled his command, and St. Edmund until the last moment of his life repeated and called on the name of Christ Who was above all for him. Edmund was twenty-eight; he had ruled his kingdom for fourteen years.’

Such was the fervent love of St. Edmund for God and for his kinsmen.

These saints of the Orthodox Church in Old England show us what a Christian New England could be like.  If this and all the foregoing seems like a non-sequitur for a web site dedicated to Dixie’s traditions, it is not.  Southrons have an interest in the spiritual condition of their Yankee cousins, whether they realize it or not.  For a non-Christian New England is an inveterate busybody.  As we have seen over and over again for more than 150 years, believing they have attained perfection, Yankees think they have nothing left to do at home and thus go outside their borders to impose their perfection on others, often through force of arms, as Dixie experienced in the War of Northern Aggression.

The Southern people cannot expect to be left alone to develop and enjoy their own folkways in peace as long as New England remains antagonistic toward Christ and His Church.  Whether through the federal governmental apparatus or through private means (corporations, media, and other non-governmental organizations), the enlightened Yankees will try to reform the benighted, backward Southerners and all the other poor fools out there in the world – which means that a political separation from New England would probably not completely resolve the ‘Yankee problem,’ to borrow Dr. Clyde Wilson’s words, though it would likely help.

Dixie extols the Christian family.  Says Mr. Fitzhugh,

‘Love and veneration for the family is with us not only a principle, but probably a prejudice and a weakness. We were never two weeks at a time from under the family roof, until we had passed middle life, and now that our years almost number half a century, we have never been from home for an interval of two months. And our historical reading, as well as our habits of life, may have unfitted us to appreciate the communist and fusion theories of Fanny Wright, Owen and Mr. Greely. In attempting to vindicate and justify the ways of God and Nature, against the progressiveness of Black Republicanism in America, and Red Republicanism in Europe, we would forewarn the reader that we are a prejudiced witness. We are the enthusiastic admirer of the social relations exhibited in the histories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The social relations established in Deuteronomy; and 25th chapter Leviticus, and as practiced by the Jews to this day, elicit our unfeigned admiration and approval. Moses is with us the Prince of Legislators, and the twenty-fifth Leviticus the best of political platforms. The purity of the family seems to be his paramount object. Homer, too, especially in his Odyssey, charms and enchains us with his beautiful descriptions of family felicity and family purity’ (pgs. 284-5).

This vision of the family expressed so tenderly by Mr. Fitzhugh is at risk at the South while New England remains estranged from the Holy Trinity (the federal government’s executive bureaucracy has all but declared a crusade against the Southern and other Red States’ anti-trans laws).  While keeping her focus primarily on the cultivation and health of her own Christian Faith and culture, Dixie must also strive for the union of New England with Christ the God-man.  Prayer will be her primary means of doing so, but she must also send and support missionaries when her churches are able.

A Christian New England will resemble her Christian ancestors, who were content to fight the demons of their own domain, whether in the wilderness or in their hearts, who gloried in the martyrdom won through the ascetic labors of monasticism or the defense of their Christian people against pagan invaders, who had no ‘ideological crusades’ vis-à-vis neighboring peoples – only the friendly preaching of the Holy Gospel to those who wished to hear it.

May God grant that these prodigals would return to Him, through the prayers of the saints of New England’s ancestors, and through the efforts of Dixians, too.

Walt Garlington

Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.


  • James Persons says:

    “Among their ancient kinfolk in Old England were holy men and women, who used this gift of zeal as it should be used – to love God and their neighbor.”

    I have read, but not verified so keep that in mind, that the Puritans were a genuine bunch of troublemakers along the lines of BLM or The Weather Underground, even to the point of starting/attempting a civil war. They were pretty much universally reviled in England and suffered the understandable, predictable blowback and hence they fled to The Netherlands because they were being “persecuted”. I can’t find the source of this info at the moment but will post it when I find it. Additionally, they were prompted by the fact that Henry VIII didn’t go far enough for their taste in reforming what became The Church of England. As I pointed out, I haven’t verified this info but it sure rings true with what we all know about folks from New England/MA/Yankees.

    • James Persons says:

      I have been unable to find the source for my comment above. I misplaced it most likely due to being retired and enjoying life and family instead of staying on top of keeping research organized. In searching for that citation and thus reviewing at the same time I can, I believe, objectively and accurately, summarize as follows: the Puritans & Pilgrims were no different while still in England than they have been here in America. They wanted the King to IMPOSE their religious beliefs and practices on the entire country. Bear in mind England had been a Catholic country, all the subjects practiced the Catholic faith. When Henry VIII broke with Rome and reformed the church, he and his religious advisors decided to maintain many of the practices of the Catholic Church. The great majority of the English people were content with the reforms and what became The Church of England/The Anglican Church. The Puritan’s my way or the highway approach lead them to cross the Atlantic, and the rest is American history. They became the Yankee ‘progressives’ of the 19th C. and today

  • Kristin Nare says:

    As a Southerner who now lives in the north (due to marriage) I found this article interesting and inspiring. I hope to be a missionary of sorts, starting with my children mainly, but also in the culture, as I seek to bring the truth of God’s Word to bear, as gently and lovingly as possible (which I sometimes fail at) on the culture up here.

  • Joseph Johnson says:

    You can include the Civil Rights Movement as part of puritan/post puritan projects.

  • Joseph Johnson says:

    Even the so called peace/anti-war movement and counter counter of the 60’s and 70’s had puritan elements. You can also include the “Great Society”.

  • Matt C. says:

    There’s a ministry in Husser, LA you might find interesting, Mr. Garlington, if you’re anywhere near there. You can take a glance at it at Pauls epistle grace fellowship. Just put all those words together and dot com it. You can then look at their web site. I’m in VA, but I’m familiar with the ministry. If I was there, I’d visit them.

  • Matt C. says:

    “While keeping her focus primarily on the cultivation and health of her own Christian Faith and culture, Dixie must also strive for the union of New England with Christ the God-man. Prayer will be her primary means of doing so, but she must also send and support missionaries when her churches are able.”

    Yes, prayer that believer’s in Dixie would get the Word up there.

    But, there are questions. Which gospel is to be put forth? The “gospel of the kingdom?” (Matt 24:14) Or, “the gospel of the grace of God?” (Acts 20:24) Are these gospel’s the same? One needs to be straight on that because the kingdom gospel has been temporarily suspended.

    “Already during his life, St. Botolph was loved all over England for his holy life, wisdom, miracles of healing, prophecies and for driving out evil spirits.”

    If a believer wants to get the Word out, Botolph better not be the example to follow, as far as Bible doctrine goes. It’s evident he was not rightly dividing the Word and was mixed up in a Biblical program that has been in abeyance for 2000+ years now. Paul needs to be the example to follow. The former Confederate soldier C.I. Scofield got it right in his comments for Ephesians 3.

  • THT says:

    I don’t take issue with EVERYTHING that Josiah Warren said. He was actually a critic of New Harmony and of Owen. However, he was still off base in saying that one could “define words as they wished”. This is the simply deconstructionism in its infancy.
    Words can not be subjective and at the whim of personal definition. They must be objective and must have a fixed meaning for them to convey a valid concept. Otherwise, the concept is in and of itself useless. No one would argue that the word “Apple” is not objective. But, somehow the word “Virtue” can have a personal subjective definition. What makes the word “virtue” so different from the word “apple”. Well, it’s a question of how people value an apple and how they value virtue.

    However, he did speak heavily against “forced union” and he spoke heavily against “egalitarianism”. He was for “voluntary union” and “inequality”.

    But, he valued them, well, not as I do. hehe

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