A perfect paradise where no man wants for work, food, family, and fortune, can hardly be called desirable. At the very best, that word is a gross understatement. As humans, we are expected to have a deep natural longing to better our overall quality of living. The seemingly natural condition, is that the grass is always greener in someone else’s pastures. No exception to this instinctive law is the description of Utopia, by Sir Thomas More.
In his work, he describes a wondrous place, full of peaceful, benevolent people that coexist perfectly. A place where your labors will not go in vain, and your supplies will never diminish. For as Sir More states, “Every father goes and takes whatsoever he or his family stands in need of, without either paying for it or leaving anything in exchange.” (35) The family unit is structurally sound, with the oldest man being its governor, and the social hierarchy flows from the top there downward. (More 35) As More reveals, Everyone works three hours before lunch, three hours after, and has a set bedtime of eight o’clock every afternoon. (35) So it seems that the Utopian like conception of the early Colonies were a much coveted philosophy. However, The version of a Utopia, as described by Sir Thomas can only be considered a fantasy at the greatest stretches of the imagination. A world “where no man has poverty, and all men zealously pursue the good of the public” simply does not exist.(More, 35)
More realistic in it’s description of the societal structure and natural environment of the colonies are the individual works of Richard Frethorne and Edward Waterhouse. In the letters from Richard Frethorne to his father, he explicitly states how “the nature of the Country is such that it causeth much sickness, as the scurvie, and the bloody flix” (38) The first established colonies were nowhere near the paradise described in Sir More’s works. The neighbors were anything but peaceful, resorting to antics of stealing their fellow...
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