A dramatisation of the story surrounding the death by hanging of the Quaker Mary Dyer in 1660

Jailor Adams

Jailor Adams was on one of the first ships to land, a year or so after Endecott.

For 30 years, he was a soldier serving the Colony in the towns, enjoying the excitement and danger of the skirmishes with the Indians, doing his town duty, with the civilian officers, in helping to control the rowdies, occasional drunks, interfamily rows, taking his turn providing perimeter guard at First-Day gatherings, open air services, and trading and movement of people between the towns and villages when the Indians were threatening.

Big, burly, assured and talkative, he is now just over Sixty, one of the town's small band of jailors, a bit cynical and tired, but still gruff and warm to most.

He has noted the increasing unrest in what was to be the Puritan's perfect "Citie on the Hill". It is reminding him of the persecution his religious relatives experienced back in Old England 40 years ago. Then, his wife had pressed to try the new Colony and he has never regretted accepting the challenge of moving his long family abroad.

Conforming but never deeply religious, he has gone along with the Puritan rule-book, though not meeting the so-called 'spiritual qualities' demanded of one of the 'Elect' as his wife is. In fact he has a reputation of having a mind that has "never progressed as the Lord desires". He does not see the Devil's handiwork everywhere, as do so many of the Puritans in leadership, in fact he is amused and quite accepting of human foibles, willing to do his duty to help keep good order, but with no wish to persecute any.

The Quaker "invaders"? Like his goodwife Martha, he sees the tough new laws of the past three or four years as over-reaction. He believes in maybe a taste of whipping, maybe a week or two in the jailhouses around the Colony, maybe some days of community service - there's plenty of building work going on in this expanding town.

However, he's disturbed by some of the heavy whipping, repeated whipping on some Quaker dissidents - it strikes him as cruelty. Continue to throw them out of the Colony is his opinion. He heard Mary Dyer speak in one of Boston's street meetings, found her sensible, obviously with plenty of steel, but not a fanatic. He has heard others' good views of her, including those of his three sons, who know Will Dyer the son quite well. She may be a mystic, following a course which none understands, but she is no insurrectionist or insurgent; hanging her is NOT the answer - for her or other Quaker "troublemakers".

He and his wife Martha wonder how Mary Dyer can have apparently left her family for so long, but are prepared to concede her "commitment to God" is genuine. Adams in fact admires these peculiar people the Quakers - they're certainly waking up some of the Colony's leadership who have become rather overly pious, narrow minded and stuffy!

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