May 26 - 1647: Puritans ban Catholic Priests; 1966: Cape Cod National Seashore dedicated

Jesuit Priests are banned a under penalty of death. Cape Cod National Seashore opens
Lt. Governor Elliot Richardson, whose home was inside the new park, signs the dedication program for five-year old Todd Brooks of East Harwich. Richardson went on to become the US Attorney General who resigned because of the "Saturday Night Massacre" duri

1647: Puritans ban Jesuit priests from colony on penalty of death

On this day in 1647, Massachusetts Bay Colony banned Jesuit priests from the colony on penalty of death. The English Puritans who settled the colony feared the Jesuits for several reasons.

Three reasons they were banned

First, simply because they were Catholic.

To Puritans, Catholicism was nothing less than idolatrous blasphemy, and Catholics were destined for eternal damnation.

Second, because the Jesuits were French, and France and England were engaged in a bitter struggle for control of North America.

Finally, Jesuit missionaries had converted large numbers of Indians in Canada to Catholicism. Indian converts were potential allies of France and enemies of the English. Although no Jesuit was executed for defying the ban, the legacy of anti-Catholicism in Massachusetts survived for generations.

1966: US Interior Secretary Stewart Udall dedicates park at Cape Cod

President Kennedy Extolled at Opening of 40,000-Acre National Seashore

(The dedication of the Cape Cod National Seashore on May 31, 1966, brought together many of those responsible for its creation. In the front row in this photo of the event we can see Editor John Ullman and his wife Eleanor, and Publisher Malcolm Hobbs and his wife Gwen from The Cape Codder. Further in that row on the right are Todd Brooks and Pat Brooks of East Harwich, Connie Kemprecos of Chatham and Bobby Bowles, reporter for The Register. Photo by Walter Brooks. 

On Memorial Day weekend in 1966, the Cape Cod National Seashore Park was dedicated.  The front page story in that day's New York Times read:

EASTHAM, Mass., May 30 -- The first land the Pilgrims sighted before landing at Plymouth 346 years ago was dedicated today as the Cape Cod National Seashore. It embraces an area of nearly 40,000 acres in six towns on the Cape.

As big a controversy then as Cape Wind was a half century later

When the CCNSP was first proposed in the early 1960s by then-US Senator (D-MA) John F. Kennedy and the late US Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R-MA) the reaction from Cape Codders was negative, strong and very costly to some.

The Cape Codder  weekly newspaper in Orleans was then run by Malcolm Hobbs, and his immediate support for the park drew strong reactions from readers and even an advertising boycott. The lumber yards and real estate brokers were just seeing the beginning of the Cape's big post-war building years, and they didn't want to give up thousands of acres of possible deals.

Needless to say, Hobbs stuck it out, and by the time the park was dedicated most detractors had become supporters and realized how this environmental move might literally save the Cape for their grandchildren.  The New York Times story is below.

04-31-08-ccnp_602 welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on