Thomas sticks out because of the dearth of information about him. He did not leave behind anything of a glib, or even querulous, nature. No, he was there and effective; and, he left his progeny. We have already mentioned that being free with words was a trait that seemed to come to fore here, in the first land of freedom.
Hence, Thomas can serve as a proxy for our look backs. Just like the "WWJD?" question, we can ask: what did Thomas think?
On reading Thomas Prince yesterday, I marveled at his scholarship and energy. His 1736 publication (Vol. I of the Chronological History of New England) had several pages of references. Luckily for us, Prince had read Rev. Hubbard's manuscript (finished in 1680, it was almost lost in the mayhem related to the tax issue - at Hutchinson's house which was trashed and burned) and used it.
Hence, we have the first reference of the role of Thomas and John (Tylly, of course) in a look back that was only 100 years after the fact. Of course, all sorts had their memoirs. I'll keep looking for the first reference, but, right now, it seems to be Hubbard (printed first by Prince).
Now, coming over to this land brought out several latent characteristics that had evolved over centuries. Think of the youngsters now running off to college and parties (and dire straits, many times). Same sort of thing; yet, some were more mature about it (hint, Thomas and his ilk). Others took their new-found power a little to far (despots, essentially - who? do I have to enumerate the whole set for you?).
I will redo Prince's bibliography in a modern format. It's really impressive. Many of these are in digital form, hence we can read them (so, we'll link to the on-line material).
But, looking at his work reinforced some notion that I've rolled around [in my mind]: you have to go back to the original sources, folks, to see what the person said by reading it yourself. As we would know from information theory, we have people expressing their opinion, then that opinion generates a retort (many times the original source is not reviewed to see what is what) and so forth, ad infinitum (it seems). We have to go back to the original source (which implies having it available and not just quoted by some later dude -- now, there may be additional information about motivation, milieu, etc., which all can be facilitated with the internet -- listening Zuck? -- what is this crap of claiming territory and making oodles of money -- yes, the cyber realm's landscape is being as screwed up as was the 1st world's).
The coming Gardner's Beacon issue will provide, hopefully, a new start on some of this stuff. The original basis will be minimal (somewhat).
The clamor accelerated with the advent of New England's reality, prowess, (in Thomas Prince's work, the scope includes all, not just the northern part that was started by the errant Pilgrims of 1620). The clamor reached some peak around the War of Revolution. However, the internet age has caused a worldwide surge (that is, beyond the huge amount daily captured in the Congressional Record). Lord help us (as in, who can eat or wear this vaporous thing that does not even have any semblance of being? -- ah, money as an analog).
01/01/2013 -- David Goss' talk at the 1999 Essex Society of Genealogists gives a perspective that also motivates. See the TGS bibliography.