John Endecott is now aged 71, a West Countryman (as the Dyers are
believed), still upright but maybe a little bent around the
shoulders. Endecott IS a leader.
Small, quick moving, restless,
intense and humourless, he has been 'in charge' somewhere since his
20's where he became Captain during "service against the Spaniards in
the Low Countries". He has been in fact the first leader of the
Massachusetts Bay Colony, for a year and half in Salem, from September
1628 till Winthrop the Father arrives.
Endecott and 300 pioneers clear the land at Salem, stay a while
then move on to a permanent site at Boston. For 30 years he has played
his part in the leadership, the safety and the growth of Boston and
the Bay Colony. He has been governor on three occasions before it
becomes permanent 1655-64 when he dies. However it is questioned that
he has ever possessed the true qualities of a great leader.
His career has been punctuated with what many see as impatience and
ill judgement. Even now he is peppery and short-fused; has no tact,
speaks spontaneously. Yet others say he is straight and honest, often
"shows characteristic vigour, puts his foot down and says he WILL NOT
HAVE IT!!!" Another comment is that "He is a believer in looking hard
times straight in the eye."
He has fortitude, works hard, displays enterprise, and "has no fear
of being in the minority!" Another says he is "bold and impetuous, a
scorner of subterfuges". Admirable in facing problems, he has now
three times in his own house met in last minute discussions with those
he treats brutally: the Quakers Mary Price (1657), William Robinson
(1659) and now, in this play, Mary Dyer (1660). John Endecott has
showed no scholarly tastes though he pressed for education; he is
lacking in imagination yet in the 1630's, is keen to serve on the
first board of Harvard.
This unusual man is complex; for instance he is never a wealthy man
and leaves a modest estate in Boston. There is no doubt he is a
"thorough-going Puritan in religious beliefs" and "devoted to the
public good". Yet "incapable of conceiving of any good other than as
HE saw it"!
A man of cronies, or men (like Norton?) - ambitious but edgy, not
easy in close, intimate friendships themselves? stern, irascible, has
iron will but little human sympathy". He has no theology in depth,
speaks of the Puritan religion in pious terms, sincere heartfelt
expressions of his "Faith in the Deity", comments couched in biblical
terms, devout words.
This frontier life is hard, backbreaking, wearing. Any
transgressors have traditionally been harshly treated. So when this
peculiar Quaker storm breaks, to many Endecott (and Norton) are types
of leadership you might choose to counter it and solve it. Endecott is
unyielding, brutal even bloodthirsty, suppression the only answer, as
he fought to "defend" HIS Colony against these mystical strangers.