Front Matter A Proper Beginning On the Broad Ocean Making Ready for Battle The Rest of the Voyage First View of America The Town of Salem Other Villages Visiting Salem Making Comparisons An Indian Guest A Christening and a Dinner Deciding upon a Home A Sad Loss Rejoicing to Mourning Thanksgiving Day in July Leaving for Charlestown Our Neighbors Getting Settled The Great Sickness Moving the Town Master Prohibits Swimming Anna Foster's Party The Town of Boston Guarding Against Fires Our Own New Home The Fashion of the Day My Own Wardrobe Master Johnson's Death Many New Kinds of Food The Supply of Food The Sailing of the Lyon The Famine The Search for Food The Starvation Time A Day to be Remembered The Coming of the Lyon Another Thanksgiving Day A Defense for the Town A Problem of Servants Chickatabut Building a Ship Household Conveniences How the Work is Divided Launching the Ship Master Winthrop's Mishap New Arrivals Another Famine Fine Clothing Forbidden Our First Church A Troublesome Person The Village of Merry Mount Punishing Thomas Morton Philip Ratcliff's Crime In the Pillory Stealing from the Indians The Passing of New Laws Master Pormont's School School Discipline Other Tools of Torture Difficult Lessons Other Schools Raising Flax Preparing Flax Spinning, Bleaching, Weaving What We Girls Do at Home Making Soap Soap from Bayberries Goose-picking A Change of Governors Flight of Roger Williams Sir Harry Vane Making Sugar Sugaring Dinner Training Day Shooting for a Prize Lecture Day Punishment for Evildoers Murder of John Oldham Savages on the Warpath Pequot Indians

Ruth of Boston - James Otis

Philip Ratcliff's Crime

The punishment of Thomas Morton saddened Susan and myself sorely; but not so much as when one Philip Ratcliff was punished.

He was such a wicked man that he went around the town saying he believed the devil was at the head of our church, and in every way casting reproach upon religion, despite the fact of his having been warned again and main that unless he put a bridle to his tongue, punishment would speedily follow.

He did not give heed to the warning, however, and after a time, which was during the third summer of our being in this land, he was brought before the court as one who had cast reproach upon God. For this he was sentenced to be whipped, to have his ears cut off, to be fined forty shillings, and afterward to be banished to England.

[Illustration] from Ruth of Boston by James Otis

Because of this man's being so very, very wicked, Susan and I believed we should go to sec him whipped, and gathered with the people at the pillory, where he stood with his neck and arms clutched by the heavy bars of wood; but when Samuel Morgan made ready the heavy whip, just as the man's back was bared to receive the lashes, we turned away in horror, not daring to look.

Father said, when he came home in the evening, that Ratcliff bore the whipping and the ear-cutting without a cry; but when it was over, he threatened vengeance against us, after he should be set free in England, and later we came to know what he meant by such threats.

He went everywhere about in the old country, telling that the New World was a hideous wilderness in which roamed the wildest savages thirsting for the blood of white people; that the land was rocky and barren, and not fit for farms, for no crops could be raised upon it; that the weather was cold, and that the climate caused deathly sickness.

All this, father said, worked to our harm among those godly people who were inclined to join us, for they feared to come into such a place, not understanding that these thins were lies which had been told out of a spirit of revenge.