Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649-1699

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1989 - History - 252 pages
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Social historian Roger Thompson brings the forgotten and faceless men and women in 17th-century Massachusetts to suggest that records from Middlesex County of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay show that the puritan social system was not so rigid and the relationships between sexes not so regulated as some historians have suggested. The argument of 'Sex in Middlesex' is revisionist: the 'puritans' and 'theocrats' who throng its pages do not behave in accordance with popular stereotype or conform tot he interpretations of major historians.
 

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Sex in Middlesex: popular mores in a Massachusetts county, 1649-1699

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Thompson analyzes the court records of 17th century Middlesex County, searching for such sexually related crimes as fornication, breach of promise, sexual deviancy, and adultery. His findings help ... Read full review

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Contents

Middlesex County and Its Records
3
ADOLESCENT MORES
17
Fornication Detection and Evasion
19
Courtship and Patriarchal Authority
34
Pregnant Brides and Broken Promises
54
Sexual Deviance and Abuse
71
Adolescent Culture
83
Typical Adolescents
97
Unfaithful Husbands
128
Unfaithful Wives
141
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY
155
Domestic Relations
157
Community Control
169
Conclusion
190
Notes
201
Index
243

MARRIED MORES
111
Marital Problems
115

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Page xiv - Cranmer, took a journey to see their tutor; where they found him with a book in his hand (it was the Odes of Horace) he being then like humble and innocent Abel, tending his small allotment of sheep in a common field; which he told his pupils he was forced to do then, for that his servant was gone home to dine, and assist his wife to do some necessary household business. But when his servant returned and released him, then his two pupils attended him unto his house, where their best entertainment...
Page xiv - But when his servant returned and released him, then his two pupils attended him unto his house, where their best entertainment was his quiet company, which was presently denied them ; for Richard was called to rock the cradle ; and the rest of their welcome was so like this, that they staid but till next morning, which was time enough to discover and pity their tutor's condition...
Page 4 - ... of which courts shall have full power to hear and determine all causes, civil and criminal, not extending to life, member or banishment (which, with causes of divorce, are reserved to the Court of Assistants), and to make and constitute clerks and other needful officers, and to summon juries of inquest and trials out of the towns of the county, provided no jurors shall be warned from Salem to Ipswich, nor from Ipswich to Salem.

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