Mayflower Passengers: Not All Were There for Religious Reasons


Though the Pilgrims (a separate group from the Puritans who came just after them) were all about establishing a religious community in the New World, they were forced to take on non-religious passengers to pay for the voyage. This was something they agreed to only very reluctantly, as they did not want their community corrupted. The elders of the church, who had led England some years previously to set up a community in the much more religiously accommodating Leyden, Holland, discussed at length whether they should allow passengers from outside their community on the ship. They were already concerned that the liberal, and what they considered hedonistic, atmosphere in Leyden was having a detrimental effect on their children. This is why they were so eager to go to the New World. They couldn’t go back to England, and Leyden was too permissive and secular in its nature, though it was more than willing to allow the Pilgrims to live there...

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