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The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

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    THE SUFFERINGS OF THE BAPTISTS

    Of all the pests which so far the New England Puritans dreaded and hated, the Baptists or, as they were nicknamed, “the Anabaptists,” were the greatest. It was not one of the least of the offenses of Roger William’s that he was a Baptist. Not long after Roger Williams’s banishment, that Thomas Shepard of Charlestown in the sermon before referred to entitled “Eye Salve,” had told the governor and the magistrates that “Anabaptists have ever been looked at by the godly leaders of this people as a scab;” and the president of Harvard College said that “such a rough thing as a New England Anabaptist is not to be handled over tenderly.” According to these principles, therefore, the general court of Massachusetts in 1644—TTR 624.2

    “Ordered and agreed that if any person or persons, within this jurisdiction, shall either openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of infants, or go about secretly to seduce others from the approbation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart the congregation at the ministration of the ordinance, or shall deny the ordinance of magistracy, or their lawful right and authority to make war, or to punish the outward breaches of the first table, and shall appear to the court willfully and obstinately to continue therein, after due time and means of conviction, every such person or persons shall be sentenced to banishment.” 68[Page 625] Id., p. 105. Under the year 1649, Hildreth gives the copy of a law embodying the provisions cited above, with other important points. It seems to be the same law, it if really belongs under 1949, it must be a re-enactment with addition. It runs thus: “‘Although no human power be lord over the faith and consciences of men, yet because such as bring in damnable heresies, tending to the subversion of the Christian faith and destruction of the souls of men, ought duly to be restrained from such notorious impieties,’ therefore ‘any Christian within this jurisdiction who shall go about to subvert or destroy the Christian faith or religion by broaching and maintaining any damnable heresies, as denying the immortality of the soul, or resurrection of the body, or any sin to be repented of in the regenerate, or any evil done by the outward man to be accounted sin, or denying that Christ gave himself a ransom for our sins, or shall affirm that we are not justified by his death and righteousness, but by the perfection of our own works or shall deny the morality of the fourth commandment, or shall openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of infants, or shall purposely depart the congregation at the administration of the ordinance, or shall deny the ordinance of magistracy, or their lawful authority to make war, or to punish the outward breaches of the first table, or shall endeavor to seduce other to any of the errors and heresies above mentioned; ’—any such were liable to banishment.’—History of the United States,” Vol. 4, chap. xii, par. 1, 2.TTR 625.1

    The next year, however, a strong petition was presented for the repeal of the law because of the offense that had been “taken threat by the godly in England, ‘but many of the elders entreated that the law might continue still in force.’” The law remained, but the representative of the colony who went to England in 1646 explained to Parliament that “‘it is true we have a severe law, but wee never did or will execute the rigor of it upon any ... But the reason wherefore wee are loath either to repeale or alter the law is because wee would have it ... to beare witnesse against their judgment, ... which we conceive ... to bee erroneous.” In pursuance of this law and in the same year, a Baptist by the name of Painter, for refusing to let his child be sprinkled, “was brought before the court, where he declared their baptism to be antichristian.” He was sentenced to be whipped, which he bore without flinching.TTR 625.2

    And now in 1651 three Baptist ministers, John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and John Crandall, went from the Providence plantation to Lynn, Massachusetts, to visit an aged Baptist. They arrived on Saturday, July 19, and the next day they worshiped together in his private house. While Mr. Clarke was preaching, two constables entered the house with a warrant to arrest “certain erroneous persons being strangers.” The three ministers were carried off at once to the tavern, and were notified that they must attend worship at the parish church in the afternoon. They protested, saying that if they were forced into the meeting-house, they should be obliged to dissent from the service. The constable told them that was nothing to him. He was ordered to bring them to church, and to church they must go. As they entered the meeting-house, the congregation was at prayers, and the three prisoners took off their hats; but as soon as the prayer was over, they put on their hats again, and began reading in their seats. The officers were ordered to take off their hats again.TTR 626.1

    When the service was over, Elder Clarke asked permission to speak. His request was granted on condition that he would not speak about what he had just heard preached. He began to explain why he had put on his hat, saying that he “could not judge that they were gathered according to the visible order of the Lord.” He was allowed to proceed no further, and the three were shut up for the night. The following Tuesday they were taken to Boston and put in prison. July 31, they were tried before the court of assistants, and were fined, Clarke twenty pounds, Holmes thirty, and John Crandall five, “or each to be well whipped.” At the beginning of the trial Elder Clarke had asked that they be shown the law under which they were being tried, and now he made the same request again, but Endicott broke in, “You have deserved death. I will not have such trash brought into our jurisdiction. You go up and down, and secretly insinuate things into those that are weak, but you cannot maintain it before our ministers; you may try a dispute with them.”TTR 626.2

    As they were sent away from the court to prison, Elder Holmes says, “As I went from the bar, I exprest myself in these words: ‘I blesse God I am counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus; whereupon John Wilson (their pastor, as they call him) strook me before the judgment-seat, and cursed me, saying, ‘The curse of God ... goe with thee;’ so we were carried to the prison.”TTR 627.1

    The Baptists were ready to defend their doctrines as well as to attack the popish ceremonies of the Puritans; therefore Elder Clarke, as soon as they had arrived at the prison, wrote a letter to the court, and proposed to debate the Baptist principles with any of their ministers. He was asked in reply what the Baptist principles were that he would debate. Clarke drew up four propositions, the first stating their faith in Christ; second, that baptism, or dipping in water, is one of the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that a visible believer or disciple of Christ Jesus (that is, one who manifests repentance toward and faith in Jesus Christ) is the only person to be baptized or dipped in water etc.; third, that every such believer in Christ may in point of liberty, and ought in point of duty, to improve that talent which the Lord had given him, and in the congregation may ask for information to himself; or if he can, may speak by way of prophecy, for edification, and upon all occasions and in all places as far as the jurisdiction of his Lord extends, may and ought to walk as a child of light; and, fourth, “I testify that no such believer or servant of Christ Jesus hath any liberty, much less authority, from his Lord, to smite his fellow-servant, nor with outward force, or arm of flesh to constrain, or restrain, his conscience, nor his outward man for conscience’ sake, or worship of his God, where injury is not offered to any person, name, or estate of others, every man being such as shall appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, and must give an account of himself to God; and, therefore, ought to be fully persuaded in his own mind for what he undertakes, because he that doubteth is damned if he eat, and so also if he act, because he doth not eat or act in faith, and what is not of faith is sin.”TTR 627.2

    There was at first some talk, or rather a bluff, that Cotton would debate with him; but after consulting together, Cotton declined, and as Elder Clarke’s fine had been paid by his friends, he was released, and ordered to go out of the colony as soon as possible. They all three refused to pay the fine that was imposed. Crandall was admitted to bail, but they resolved to hold Elder Holmes, and make him an example. What happened to him he himself tells in a letter to his brethren in London, as follows:—TTR 628.1

    “I desired to speak a few words: but Mr. Nowel answered, ‘It is not now a time to speak,’ whereupon I took leave, and said. ‘Men, brethren, fathers, and countrymen, I beseech you to give me leave to speak a few words, and the rather because here are many spectators to see me punished, and I am to seal with my blood, if God give strength, that which I hold and practice in reference to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. That which I have to say, in brief, is this although I am no disputant, yet seeing I am to seal with my blood what I hold, I am ready to defend by the word, and to dispute that point with any that shall come forth to withstand it.’ Mr. Nowel answered, now was no time to dispute; then said I, ‘I desire to give an account of the faith and order which I hold,’ and this I desired three times; but in comes Mr. Flint, and saith to the executioner, ‘Fellow, do thine office, for this fellow would but make a long speech to delude the people,’ so I, being resolved to speak, told the people, ‘That which I am to suffer for is the word of God, and testimony of Jesus Christ.’ ‘No,’ saith Mr. Nowel, ‘it is for your error, and going about to seduce the people; ‘to which I replied, ‘Not for error, for in all the time of my imprisonment, wherein I was left alone, my brethren being gone, which of all your ministers came to convince me of error? And, when upon the governor’s words, a motion was made for a public dispute, and often renewed upon fair terms, and desired by hundreds, what was the reason it was not granted?’ Mr. Nowel told me, it was his fault who went away and would not dispute; but this the writings will clear at large. Still Mr. Flint calls to the man to do his office; so before, and in the time of his pulling off my clothes, I continued speaking, telling them that I had so learned that for all Boston I would not give my body into their hands thus to be bruised upon another account, yet upon this I would not give an hundredth part of a wampum peague to free it out of their hands; and that I made as much conscience of unbuttoning one button, as I did of paying the thirty pounds in reference thereunto. I told them, moreover, that the Lord having manifested his love towards me in giving me repentance towards God, and faith in Christ, and so to be baptized in water by a messenger of Jesus, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, wherein I have fellowship with him in his death, burial and resurrection, I am now come to be baptized in afflictions by your hands, that so I may have further fellowship with my Lord, and am not ashamed of his sufferings, for by his stripes am I healed. And as the man began to lay the strokes upon my back, I said to the people. ‘Though my flesh should fail, and my spirit should fail, yet God would not fail;’ so it pleased the Lord to come in, and to fill my heart and tongue as a vessel full, and with an audible voice I break forth, praying the Lord not to lay this sin to their charge, and telling the people that now I found he did not fail me, and therefore now I should trust him forever who failed me not; for in truth, as the strokes fell upon me. I had such a spiritual manifestation of God’s presence, as I never had before, and the outward pain was so removed from me, that I could well bear it, yea, and in a manner felt it not, although it was grievous, as the spectators said, the man striking with all his strength, spitting in his hand three times, with a three-corded whip, giving me therewith thirty strokes. When he had loosed me from the post, having joyfulness in my heart, and cheerfulness in my countenance, as the spectators observed, I told the magistrates, ‘You have struck me with roses;’ and said, moreover, ‘Although the Lord hath made it easy to me, yet I pray God it may not be laid to your charge.”TTR 628.2

    When the whipping was over, two men, John Hazel and John Spur, went up to the suffering man, and shook hands with him, Hazel not speaking anything at all, and Spur simply saying, “Blessed be the Lord;” yet both were fined forty shillings, with the choice of paying the fine or being whipped. They both refused to pay the fine, but a friend paid Spur’s, and after imprisonment for a week, another paid Hazel’s. The whipping of Holmes was thirty lashes with a three-thonged whip of knotted cord wielded with both hands, and was so severe that when taken back to prison, his lacerated body could not bear to touch the bed. For many days he was compelled to rest propped up on his hands and knees. In prison an old acquaintance came “with much tenderness like the good Samaritan,” to comfort him and dress his wounds, and even against him information was given, and inquiry made as to who was the surgeon. When Elder Holmes’s letter reached his friends in London, they published it, upon which Sir Richard Saltonstall wrote to the Boston preachers the following letter:—TTR 630.1

    “Reverend and dear friends, whom I unfeignedly love and respect: It doth not a little grieve my spirit to hear what sad things are reported daily of your tyranny and persecution in New England; that you fine, whip, and imprison men for their consciences. First, you compel such to come into your assemblies as you know will not join with you in worship, and when they show their dislike thereof, or witness against it, then you stir up your magistrates to punish them for such (as you conceive) their public affronts. Truly, friends, this practice of compelling any in matters of worship to do that whereof they are not fully persuaded, is to make them sin, for so the apostle tells us (Romans 14:23); and many are made hypocrites thereby, conforming in their outward man for fear of punishment. We pray for you and wish your prosperity every way; hoped the Lord would have given you so much light and love there, that you might have been eyes to God’s people here, and not to practice those courses in a wilderness, which you went so far to prevent. These rigid ways have laid you very low in the hearts of the saints. I do assure you I have heard them pray in public assemblies, that the Lord would give you meek and humble spirits, not to strive so much for uniformity as to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. When I was in Holland, about the beginning of our wars, I remember some Christians there, that then had serious thoughts of planting in New England, desired me to write to the governor thereof, to know if those that differ from you in opinion, yet holding the same foundation in religion, as Anabaptists, Seekers, Antinomians, and the like, might be permitted to live among you; to which I received this short answer from your then governor, Mr. Dudley: ‘God forbid,’ said he, ‘our love for the truth should be grown so cold that we should tolerate errors.’TTR 630.2

    It is important to know what answer was made to this, and to know the arguments that were used by the New England theocracy to justify these wicked persecutions. The preachers answered Sir Richard’s letter, by the hand of their chief, John Cotton. And the letter runs as follows:—TTR 631.1

    “Honored and dear Sir: My Brother Wilson and self do both of us acknowledge your love, as otherwise formerly, so now in late lines we received from you, that you grieve in spirit to hear daily complaints against us; it springeth from your compassion for our afflictions therein, wherein we see just cause to desire you may never suffer like injury in yourself, but may find others to compassionate and condole with you. For when the complaints you hear of are against our tyranny and persecution in fining, whipping, and imprisoning men for their consciences, be pleased to understand we look at such complaints as altogether injurious in respect of ourselves, who had no hand or tongue at all to promote either the coming of the persons you aim at into our assemblies, or their punishment for their carriage there. Righteous judgments will not take up reports, much less reproaches against the innocent. The cry of the sins of Sodom was great and loud, and reached unto heaven; yet the righteous God (giving us an example what to do in the like case) he would first go down to see whether their crimes were altogether according to the cry, before he would proceed to judgment. Genesis 18:20, 21. And when he did find the truth of the cry, he did not wrap up all alike promiscuously in the judgment, but spared such as he found innocent. We are amongst those (if you knew us better) you would account of as (as the matron of Abel spake of herself) peaceable in Israel. 2 Samuel 20:19. Yet neither are we so vast in our indulgence or toleration as to think the men you speak of suffered an unjust censure. For one of them, Obadiah Holmes, being an excommunicate person himself, out of a church in Plymouth patent, came into this jurisdiction and took upon him to baptize, which I think himself will not say he was compelled here to perform. And he was not ignorant that the rebaptizing of an elder person, and that by a private person out of office and under excommunication, are all of them manifest contestations against the order and government of our churches, established, we know, by God’s law, and he knoweth by the laws of the country. And we conceive we may safely appeal to the ingenuity of your own judgment. whether it would be tolerated in any civil state, for a stranger to come and practise contrary to the known principles of the church estate? As for his whipping, it was more voluntarily chosen by him than inflicted on him. His censure by the court was to have paid, as I know, thirty pounds, or else to be whipt: his fine was offered to be paid by friends for him freely; but he chose rather to be whipt; in which case, if his sufferings of stripes was any worship of God at all, surely it could be accounted no better than will worship. The other, Mr. Clarke, was wiser in that point, and his offense was less, so was his fine less, and himself, as I hear, was contented to have it paid for him, whereupon he was released. The imprisonment of either of them was no detriment. I believe they fared neither of them better at home; and I am sure Holmes had not been so well clad for years before.TTR 631.2

    “But be pleased to consider this point a little further: You think to compel men in matter of worship is to make them sin, according to Romans 14:23. If the worship be lawful in itself, the magistrate compelling to come to it, compelleth him not to sin, but the sin is in his will that needs to be compelled to a Christian duty. Josiah compelled all Israel, or, which is all one, made to serve the Lord their God. 2 Chronicles 34:33. Yet his act herein was not blamed, but recorded among his virtuous actions. For a governor to suffer any within his gates to profane the Sabbath, is a sin against the fourth commandment, both in the private householder and in the magistrate; and if he requires them to present themselves before the Lord, the magistrate sinneth not, nor doth the subject sin so great a sin as if he did refrain to come. But you say it doth but make men hypocrites, to compel men to conform the outward man for fear of punishment. If it did so, yet better be hypocrites than profane persons. Hypocrites give God part of his due, the outward man; but the profane person giveth God neither outward nor inward man. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, we have tolerated in our church some Anabaptists, some Antinomians, and some Seekers, and do so still at this day. 69[Page 632] Backus’s “Church History of New England,” pp. 75-81.TTR 632.1

    In 1655 Thomas Gould of Charlestown refused to have his baby sprinkled and christened. The regular preacher ordered the church “to lay him under admonition, which the church was backward to do.” Not long afterward he was at church as the law required him to be, and when the time of sprinkling the children came, he went out. He was spoken to about it, but told them he could not stay because he “lookt upon it as no ordinance of Christ. They told me that now I had made known my judgment, I might stay.... So I stayed, and sat down in my seat, when they were at prayer and administering the service to infants. Then they dealt with me for my unreverent carriage.” Their dealing with him was to admonish him and exclude him from the communion.TTR 632.2

    In October, 1656, he was accused before the county court for denying baptism to his child. Of course he was convicted. He was admonished and given till the next term to consider his ways. During this time they made it so unpleasant for him that he ceased attending the church at Charlestown, and went to church at Cambridge instead. But this, being an apparent slight upon the minister, was only a new offense. Although not actually punished, he was subjected to petty annoyances, being again and again summoned both to the church and to the court to be admonished, until in May 28, 1665, he withdrew entirely from the Congregational Church, and with eight others formed a Baptist church. This being “schismatical,” was counted as open rebellion, and Gould and his brethren were summoned to appear before the church the next Sunday. They told the magistrates that they could not go at that time, but the following Sunday they would be there; but the minister refused to wait, and in his sermon “laid out the sins of these men, and delivered them up to Satan.”TTR 633.1

    They were called before one court after another, until their case reached the general court in October. Those among them who were freeman were disfranchised, and if they should be convicted again of continued schism, were to be imprisoned until further order. In April, 1666, they were fined four pounds, and were imprisoned until September, when they were ordered to be discharged upon payment of fines and costs. In April, 1668, they were ordered by the governor and council to appear at the meeting-house at nine o’clock on the morning of April 14, to meet six ministers who would debate with them. The debate, however, did not amount to much except that it gave to the ministers an opportunity to denounce the Baptists as they wished. The Baptists, asking for liberty to speak, were told that they stood there as delinquents, and ought not to have liberty to speak. Two days were spent in this way, when at the end of the second day, “Rev.” Jonathan Mitchell pronounced the following sentence from Deuteronomy 17:9-12:—TTR 633.2

    “And thou shalt come unto the priests and the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose, shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee. According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand nor to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt put away evil from Israel.TTR 634.1

    May 27, Gould and two of his brethern as “obstinate and turbulent Anabaptists,” were banished under penalty of perpetual imprisonment. They remained. Accordingly they were imprisoned. By this persecution much sympathy was awakened in the community, and a petition in their behalf was signed by sixty-six of the inhabitants of Charlestown, among whom were some of the most prominent citizens. The petition was to the legislature, and prayed for mercy upon the prisoners, saying, “They be aged and weakly men; ... the sense of this their ... most deplorable and afflicted condition hath sadly affected the hearts of many ... Christians, and such as neither approve of their judgment or practice; especially considering that the men are reputed godly, and of a blameless conversation... We therefore most humbly beseech this honored court, in their Christian mercy and bowels of compassion, to pity and relieve these poor prisoners.” 70[Page 635] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” pp. 118-125. The petition was by vote declared scandalous and reproachful. The two persons who had taken the lead in getting it up, were fined, one ten and the other five pounds, and all the others who had signed the petition were compelled to sign a document expressing their sorrow for giving the court such just grounds of offense.TTR 634.2

    Report of these proceedings having reached England, thirteen of the Congregational ministers wrote, by the hand of Robert Mascall, a letter to their brethren in New England, in which they said:—TTR 635.1

    “O, how it grieves and affects us, that New England should persecute! Will you not give what you take? Is liberty of conscience your due? And is it not as due unto others who are sound in the faith? Amongst many Scriptures, that in the fourteenth of Romans much confirms me in liberty of conscience thus stated. To him that esteemeth anything unclean, to him it is unclean. Therefore though we approve of the baptism of the immediate children of church members, and of their admission into the church when they evidence a real work of grace, yet to those who in conscience believe the said baptism to be unclean, it is unclean. Both that and mere ruling elders, though we approve of them, yet our grounds are mere interpretations of, and not any express scripture. I cannot say so clearly of anything else in our religion, neither as to faith or practice. Now must we force our interpretations upon others, pope-like? How do you cast a reproach upon us who are Congregational in England, and furnish our adversaries with weapons against us! We blush and are filled with shame and confusion of face, when we hear of these things. Dear brother, we pray that God would open your eyes, and persuade the heart of your magistrates, that they may no more smite their fellow-servants, nor thus greatly injure us their brethren, and that they may not thus dishonor the name of God. My dear brother, pardon me, for I am affected; I speak for God, to whose grace I commend you all in New England; and humbly craving your prayers for us here, and remain your affectionate brother, ROBERT MASCALL.TTR 635.2

    “Finsbury, near Morefield, March 25, 1669.” 71[Page 635] Backus’s “Church History of New England,” pp. 99-101.TTR 635.3

    It seems that the imprisoned Baptists were by some means released after about a year’s confinement, but the next year afterward Gould and Turner were arrested and imprisoned “a long time.”TTR 635.4

    The cases which we have cited are not by any means all the persecutions and oppressions that fell upon the Baptists; but these are sufficient to show that the persecution was shameful enough, even had these been all the cases that ever occurred. The persecution continued even beyond the date which we have now reached, but the Baptists were assisted in their splendid fight for freedom of thought and of worship, and relief came the quicker to them, by the no less heroic and more fearfully persecuted Quakers. THE SUFFERINGS OF THE QUAKERS.TTR 636.1

    In July, 1656, Mary Fisher and Anne Austin, two Quaker women, landed in Boston. By some means, news of their coming had preceded them. Before they were allowed to land at all, Richard Bellingham, the deputy-governor, Governor Endicott being absent, sent officers aboard the ship, “searched their trunks and chests, and took away the books they found there, which were about one hundred, and carried them ashore, after having commanded the said women to be kept prisoners aboard; and the said books were, by an order of the council, burnt in the market-place by the hangman.” The women were soon taken from the ship, however, and at once “shut up close prisoners, and command was given that none should come to them without leave; a fine of five pounds being laid on any that should otherwise come at or speak with them, tho’ but at the window. Their pens, ink, and paper were taken from them, and they not suffered to have any candle-light in the night season; nay, what is more, they were stript naked, under pretense to know whether they were witches, tho’ in searching no token was found upon them but of innocence. And in this search they were so barbarously misused that modesty forbids to mention it. And that none might have communication with them, a board was nailed up before the window of the jail.” 72[fn72] [Page 637] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” pp. 143, 144. August 18, the following order was issued to the jailer:—To the Keeper of the Boston Jail:TTR 636.2

    You are by virtue hereof to keep the Quakers formerly committed to your custody as dangerous persons, industrious to improve all their abilities to seduce the people of this jurisdiction, both by words and letters, to the abominable tenets of the Quakers, and to keep them close prisoners, not suffering them to confer with any person, nor permitting them to have paper or ink. “Signed, EDWARD RAWSON, “Sec. of the Boston Court.TTR 637.1

    August 18, 1656.” 73[Page 637] Besse’s “Suffering of the Quakers.” They were not only denied food by the authorities, but “liberty was denied even to send them provisions.” “Seeing they were not provided with victuals, Nicholas Upshal, one who lived long in Boston, and was a member of the church there,” bought of the jailer for five shillings a week the privilege of furnishing them with food. September 7, another order was issued to the jailer, commanding him “to search as often as he saw meet, the boxes, chests, and things of the Quakers formerly committed to his custody, for pen, ink, and paper, papers and books, and to take them from them.” 74[Page 637] Id.,TTR 637.2

    “After having been about five weeks prisoners, William Chichester, master of a vessel, was bound in one hundred pound bond to carry them back, and not suffer any to speak with them, after they were put on board; and the jailer kept their beds ... and their Bible, for his fees.” 75[Page 637] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” p. 144. During the imprisonment they were frequently examined by the ministers with a view to getting some hold on them by which they might be dealt with for the heresy of schism, or some other such crime, but all in vain. It was well for the two women that they happened to be sent away when they were, for not long afterward Endicott returned, and was not a little displeased with Bellingham, the deputy-governor, for dealing so gently with them, declaring that if he had been there, he “would have had them well whipped,” although as yet the colony had no law at all concerning Quakers.TTR 637.3

    These two women had not been long gone before eight other Quakers arrived in Boston. They were subjected to the same sort of treatment to which the other two had been. In the same month of September, the Commissioners of the United Colonies met at Plymouth, and the Boston court called upon them to stir up Plymouth Colony to vigilance, especially against the Quakers. The letter ran as follows:—TTR 638.1

    “Having heard some time since that our neighboring colony of Plymouth, our beloved brethren, in great part seem to be wanting to themselves in a due acknowledgment and encouragement of the ministry of the gospel, so as many pious ministers have (how justly we know not) deserted their stations, callings, and relations; our desire is that some such course may be taken, as that a pious orthodox ministry may be restated among them, that so the flood of errors and principles of anarchy may be prevented. Here hath arrived amongst us several persons professing themselves Quakers, fit instruments to propagate the kingdom of Satan, for the securing of our neighbors from such pests, we have imprisoned them all till they be dispatched away to the place from whence they came.” 76[Page 638] Backus’s “Church History of New England,” p. 89.TTR 638.2

    “The commissioners gave advice accordingly,” but Bradford, who was governor of Plymouth, would not take any such steps. After his death, however, severe measures were adopted.TTR 638.3

    October 14, 1656, the general court of Massachusetts enacted the following law:—TTR 638.4

    “Whereas there is an accursed sect of heretics lately risen in the world, which are commonly called Quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent of God and infallibly assisted by the Spirit, to speak and write blasphemous opinions, despising governments, and the order of God in the church and commonwealth, speaking evil of dignities, reproaching and reviling magistrates and ministers, seeking to turn the people from the faith, and gain proselytes to their pernicious ways: This court taking into consideration the premises, and to prevent the like mischief as by their means is wrought in our land, doth hereby order, and by the authority of this court be it ordered and enacted that what master or commander of any ship, bark, pink, or catch, shall henceforth bring into any harbor, creek, or cove, within this jurisdiction, any Quaker or Quakers, or other blasphemous heretics, shall pay, or cause to be paid, the fine of one hundred pounds to the treasurer of the county, except it appear he want true knowledge or information on their being such, and in that case he hath liberty to clear himself by his oath, when sufficient proof to the contrary is wanting. And for default of good payment, or good security for it, he shall be cast into prison, and there to continue till the said sum be satisfied to a treasurer as aforesaid. And the commander of any catch, ship, or vessel, being legally convicted, shall give in sufficient security to the governor, or any one or more of the magistrates, who have power to determine the same, to carry them back to the place whence he brought them, and on his refusal to do so, the governor or any one or more of the magistrates, are hereby empowered to issue out his or their warrants to commit such master or commander to prison, there to continue till he give in sufficient security to the content of the governor, or any of the magistrates as aforesaid. And it is hereby further ordered and enacted, that what Quaker soever shall arrive in this country from foreign parts, or shall come into this jurisdiction from any parts adjacent, shall be forthwith committed to the house of correction, and at their entrance to be severely whipped, and by the master thereof to be kept constantly to work, and none suffered to converse or speak with them during the time of their imprisonment, which shall be no longer than necessity requires. And it is ordered, if any person shall knowingly import into any harbor of this jurisdiction any Quaker’s books or writings concerning their devilish opinions, he shall pay for such book or writing, being legally proved against him or them, the sum of five pounds; and whosoever shall disperse or sell any such book or writing, and it be found with him or her, or in his or her house, and shall not immediately deliver the same to the next magistrate, shall forfeit or pay five pounds for the dispersing or selling of every such book or writing. And it is hereby further enacted that if any person within this colony shall take upon them to defend the heretical opinions of the Quakers, or any of their books or papers as aforesaid, being legally proved, shall be fined for the first time forty shillings; and if they persist in the same, and shall again defend it the second time, four pounds; if they shall again defend and maintain said accursed heretical opinions, they shall be committed to the house of correction till there be convenient passage to send them out of the land, being sentenced to the court of assistants to banishment. Lastly, it is hereby ordered that what person or persons soever shall revile the person of magistrates or ministers as is usual with the Quakers, such person or persons shall be severely whipped, or pay the sum of five pounds.” 77[Page 639] Besse’s “Sufferings of the Quakers.”TTR 638.5

    When this law was published, Nicholas Upshal, the kind and Christian old gentleman who had bought the privilege of feeding Mary Fisher and Anne Austin, when they were in prison, “publicly testified against it.” The next morning he was summoned to answer before the general court. He told them that “the execution of that law would be a forerunner of a judgment upon their country, and therefore in love and tenderness which he bare to the people and the place, desired them to take heed, lest they were found fighters against God.” He was fined twenty pounds, although a member of one of the churches. And then having absented himself from church on account of these things, he was fined three pounds, and banished, although winter was now come, and he “a weakly, ancient man.” 78[Page 640] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” p. 146.TTR 640.1

    Notwithstanding these laws and penalties, and the spirit to inflict the penalties in the severest way, the Quakers continued to come. In fact, wherever such laws were, that was the very place where the Quakers wished to be, because they were opposed to every kind of soul-oppression and every form of the union of Church and State. Not only in this, but in almost everything else, their views made them objects of special hatred to the theocrats of Massachusetts. They recognized no such distinction among Christians as clergy and laity, and could neither be coaxed nor forced to pay tithes. They refused to do military service, and would not take an oath. They would not take their hats off either in church or in court. “In doctrine their chief peculiarity was the assertion of an ‘inward light,’ by which every individual is to be guided in his conduct of life.” And “the doctrine of the ‘inward light,’ or of private inspiration, was something especially hateful to the Puritan.”—Fiske. 79[Page 640] “Beginnings of New England,” p. 180. Another thing no less hateful to the Puritan than this, was their refusal to keep Sunday in the Puritan way. They called “in question the propriety of Christians turning the Lord’s day into a Jewish Sabbath.”—Fiske. 80[Page 641] Id. They were denounced as infidels, blasphemers, agents of the devil, and were counted as easily guilty of every heresy and every crime in the Puritan theoretical catalogue.TTR 640.2

    Admission to the confederacy of the New England colonies had been absolutely refused Rhode Island, on account of its principles of liberty of conscience; but hatred of the Quakers led Massachusetts colony in 1657 to ask Rhode Island to join the confederacy in the endeavor to save New England from the Quakers. “They sent a letter to the authorities of that colony, signing themselves their loving friends and neighbors, and beseeching them to preserve the whole body of colonists against ‘such a pest,’ by banishing and excluding all Quakers, a measure to which ‘the rule of charity did oblige them.’”—Fiske. 81[Page 641] Id., p. 184.TTR 641.1

    But Roger Williams was still president of Rhode Island, and, true to his principles, he replied: “We have no law amongst us whereby to punish any for only declaring by words their minds and understandings concerning things and ways of God as to salvation and our eternal condition. As for these Quakers, we find that where they are most of all suffered to declare themselves freely and only opposed by arguments in discourse, there they least of all desire to come. Any breach of the civil law shall be punished, but the freedom of different consciences shall be respected.” 82[Page 641] Id., pp. 184, 185. This was not in any sense on expression of difference as to the teachings of the Quakers; because by discussion Roger was constantly combating them. He wrote a book against them entitled, “George Fox Digged out of his Burrowes,” and at the age of seventy-three he “rowed himself in a boat the whole length of Narragansett Bay to engage in a theological tournament against three Quaker champions.”—Id., p. 186.TTR 641.2

    This reply enraged the whole confederacy. Massachusetts threatened to cut off the trade of Rhode Island. In this strait Rhode Island, by Roger Williams, appealed for protection to Cromwell, who now ruled England. The appeal presented the case as it was, but that which made it of everlasting importance, as the grandest and most touching appeal in all history, is the piteous plea, “But whatever fortune may befall, let us not be compelled to exercise any civil power over men’s consciences.83[Page 642] Id.TTR 641.3

    In this year, October 14, another law was passed against Quakers, in which it was enacted that—TTR 642.1

    “If any person or persons within this jurisdiction shall henceforth entertain and conceal any such Quaker or Quakers, or other blasphemous heretics, knowing them so to be, every such person shall forfeit to the country forty shillings for every such hour’s entertainment and concealment of any Quaker or Quakers, etc., as aforesaid, and shall be committed to prison as aforesaid, till forfeiture be fully satisfied and paid: and it is further ordered that if any Quaker or Quakers shall presume, after they have once suffered what the law requires, to come into this jurisdiction, every such male Quaker shall for the first offense have one of his ears cut off, and be kept at work in the house of correction till he can be sent away at his own charge, and for the second offense shall have his other ear out off: and every woman Quaker that has fulfilled the law here that shall presume to come into this jurisdiction, shall be severely whipped, and kept at the house of correction at work, till she be sent away at her own charge, and so also for her coming again she shall be alike used as aforesaid: and for every Quaker, he or she, that shall presume a third time herein again to offend, they shall have their tongues burned through with a red-hot iron, and be kept at the house of correction close to work, till they be sent away at their own charge. And it is further ordered that all and every Quaker arising from among ourselves, shall be dealt with, and suffer the like punishments, as the law provides against foreign Quakers.” 84[Page 642] Besse’s “Sufferings of the Quakers.”TTR 642.2

    The Quakers, however, not only continued to come, and to come again when imprisoned, whipped, and banished; but their preachings, and much more their persecutions, raised up others in the colonies. This result followed so promptly that May 20, 1658, the following statute was enacted:—TTR 642.3

    “That Quakers and such accursed heretics, arising among ourselves, may be dealt with according to their deserts, and that their pestilent errors and practices may be speedily prevented, it is hereby ordered, as an addition to the former laws against Quakers, that every such person or persons, professing any of their pernicious ways by speaking, writing, or by meeting on the Lord’s day, or at any other time, to strengthen themselves, or seduce others to their diabolical doctrines, shall, after due means of conviction, incur the penalty ensuing; that is, every person so meeting, shall pay to the country for every time ten shillings; and every one speaking in such meeting, shall pay five pounds apiece; and in case any such person, after having been punished by scourging or whipping for such, according to the former law, shall be still kept at work in the house of correction, till they put in security with two sufficient men, that they shall not any more vent their hateful errors, nor use their sinful practices, or else shall depart this jurisdiction at their own charges, and if any of them return again, then each such person shall incur the penalty of the law formerly made for strangers.” 85[Page 643] Id.,TTR 642.4

    In 1658 “Rev.” John Norton, supported by the rest of the clergy, circulated a petition praying that the penalty of death should be visited upon all Quakers who should return after having been banished. The Board of Commissioners of the United Colonies met in Boston in September. The petition was presented to the Board, which in response advised the general court of each colony to enact such a law. Accordingly, October 16, the general court of Massachusetts enacted the following law:—TTR 643.1

    “Whereas there is a pernicious sect, commonly called Quakers, lately risen up, who by word and writing have published and maintained many dangerous and horrid tenets, and do take upon them to change and alter the received and laudable customs of our nation, not giving civil respects to equals, or reverence to superiors; whose actions tend to undermine civil government, and to destroy the order of the churches, by denying all established forms of worship, and by withdrawing from orderly church fellowship, allowed and proved by all orthodox professors of truth, and instead thereof, and in opposition thereto, frequently meet by themselves, insinuating themselves into the minds of the simple, or such as are least affected to the order and government of the church and commonwealth, whereby diverse particular inhabitants have been infected, notwithstanding all former laws made, have been upon the experience of their arrogant and bold determinations, to disseminate their practice amongst us, prohibiting their coming into this jurisdiction, they have not been deterred from their impious attempts to undermine our peace and hazard our ruin:TTR 643.2

    “For prevention thereof, this court doth order and enact that every person or persons, of the accursed sect of Quakers, who is not an inhabitant of, but is found within, this jurisdiction, shall be apprehended without warrant, where no magistrate is at hand, by any constable, commissioner, or selectman, and conveyed from constable to constable, to the next magistrate who shall commit the said person to close prison, there to remain (without bail) till the next court of assistants, where they shall have a legal trial: and being convicted [Note:—“For which conviction, it was counted sufficient that they appeared with their hats on and said ‘thee’ and ‘thou’] to be of the sect of the Quakers, shall be sentenced to be banished upon pain of death: and that every inhabitant of this jurisdiction being convicted to be of the aforesaid sect, either by taking up, publishing, or defending the horrid opinion of the Quakers, or stirring up of mutiny, sedition, or rebellion against the government, or by taking up their abusive and destructive practices, viz., denying civil respect to equals and superiors, and withdrawing from our church assemblies, and instead thereof frequenting meetings of their own; in opposition to our church order, or by adhering to, or approving of, any known Quaker, and the tenets practiced, that are opposite to the orthodox received opinions of the godly, and endeavoring to disaffect others to civil government and church order, or condemning the practice and proceedings of this court against the Quakers, manifesting thereby their plotting with those whose design is to overthrow the order established in Church and State, every such person convicted before the said court of assistants, in manner aforesaid, shall be committed to close prison for one month, and then,’ unless they choose voluntarily to depart this jurisdiction, shall give bond for their good behavior, and appear at the next court, where continuing obstinate, and refusing to retract and reform their aforesaid opinions, they shall be sentenced to banishment upon pain of death; and any one magistrate upon information given him of any such person, shall cause him to be apprehended, and shall commit any such person, according to his discretion, till he comes to trial as aforesaid.” 86[Page 644] Id.,TTR 644.1

    Nor were any of these laws in any sense a dead letter. They were enforced in the regular Puritan way. In 1657 the following order was issued by Governor Endicott:—TTR 644.2

    “To the marshall general or his deputy: You are to take with you the executioner, and repair to the house of correction, and there see him cut of the right ears of John Copeland, Christopher Holder, and John Rouse, Quakers, in execution of the sentence of the court of assistants for the breach of the law instituted, ‘Quakers.’” 87[Page 644] Id.,TTR 644.3

    In the latter of the same year the following order was issued by the court:—TTR 645.1

    “Whereas Daniel Southwick and Provided Southwick, son and daughter of Lawrence Southwick, absenting themselves from the public ordinances, have been fined by the courts of Salem and Ipswich, pretending they have no assistance, and resolving not to work, the court, upon perusal of the law, which was made upon account of the dates, in answer to what should be done for the satisfaction of the fines, resolves that the treasurers of the several counties are and shall be fully empowered to sell said persons to any of the English nation, at Virginia or Barbadoes, to answer the said fines. 88[Page 645] Id.TTR 645.2

    With this latter sentence there is connected an important series of events. As stated in this order, these two persons were son and daughter of Lawrence Southwick. Lawrence Southwick and his wife Cassandra, were an aged couple who had been members of the Salem church until about the close of 1656. They had three children, Joseph, who was a man grown, and the two mentioned above, who were but mere youth. The old gentleman and his wife were arrested at the beginning of the year 1657, upon a charge of harboring Quakers. The old gentleman was released, but as a Quaker tract was found upon his wife, she was imprisoned seven weeks and fined forty shillings. If they were not Quakers before, this made them such, and likewise some of their friends. A number of them now withdrew from the Salem church, and worshiped by themselves. All were arrested. Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick and their son Joseph, were taken to Boston to be dealt with. Upon their arrival there, February 3, without even the form of a trial they were whipped and imprisoned eleven days, the weather being extremely cold. In addition to this, they were fined four pounds and thirteen shillings, for six weeks’ absence from church on Sun days, and their cattle were seized and sold to pay this fine.TTR 645.3

    The following summer two Quakers, William Leddra and William Brend, went to Salem. They with five others, among whom were the Southwicks who before had suffered, were arrested for meeting together. They were all taken to Boston, and put all together in a room in the prison, of which the windows were boarded up close. Food was denied them unless they would work to pay for it. “To work when wrongfully confined, was against the Quaker’s conscience.” —Adams.” 89[Page 646] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” p. 164. They therefore went five days without anything to eat. This, however, was only a part of their sufferings, for on the second day of their imprisonment, they all were severely whipped, and then with raw wounds were thrown back into the close dark room, in the July heat, with nothing to lie upon but the bare boards. On the second day afterwards they were informed that they could go if they would pay the constables and jail fees. They refused to pay anything. The next day the jailer, in order to force them to yield, took Brend, and with irons bound his neck and heels together, and kept him that way for sixteen hours, from five o’clock in the morning till me nine o’clock at night.TTR 645.4

    The next day Brend was put to the mill and ordered to work. He could not have worked if he would, as he could scarcely move; but he would not have worked if he could and so he refused. Then in a rage ‘the gaoler took a pitched rope, about an inch thick, and gave him twenty blows over his back and arms with; all his strength, till the rope untwisted; then he fetched another rope, thicker and stronger, and told Brend that he would cause him to bow to the law of the country, and make him work. Brend thought this in the highest degree unreasonable, since he had committed no evil, and was wholly unable to work, having been kept five days without eating, and whipped also, and now thus unmercifully beaten. Yet in the morning the gaoler relented not, but began to beat again with his pitched rope on the poor man’s bruised body, and foaming at the mouth like a madman, with violence laid four score and seventeen more blows upon him, as other prisoners, who beheld this cruelty with grief and passion reported. And if his strength and his rope had not failed him, he would have laid on more. He thought also to give him the next morning as many blows more .... To what condition these blows must have brought the body of Brend, who had nothing on but a serge cossack over-shirt, may easily be conceived. His back and arms were bruised and bleeding, and the blood hanging, as it were, in bags under his arms, and so into one was his flesh beaten that the sign of a particular blow could not be seen. His body being thus cruelly tortured, he lay down upon the boards so extremely weakened that the natural parts decaying, and his strength failing, his body turned cold; there seemed, as it were, a struggle between life and death; his senses were stopped, and he had for some time neither seeing, feeling, nor hearing; till at length a divine power prevailing, life broke through death, and the breath of the Lord was breathed in his nostrils.” 90[Page 647] Besse’s “Sufferings of the Quakers.”TTR 646.1

    The people now, horrified at the outrage, would bear no more. A cry was raised, they rushed to the jail, and rescued the tortured prisoner. This rather frightened the government. Endicott sent his own family doctor to succor Brend, but the surgeon pronounced the case hopeless—that the flesh would “rot from off his bones,” and he must die. The cry of the people grew louder, and their indignation more fierce. They demanded that the barbarous jailer should be brought to justice. The magistrate posted up on the church door a promise that he should be brought to trial, but here the “Rev.” John Norton stepped forth, declaring: “Brend endeavored to beat our gospel ordinances black and blue; if he then be beaten black and blue, it is but just upon him and I will appear in his behalf that did so.” He rebuked the magistrates for their faintness of heart, and commanded them to take down the notice from the church door. They obeyed, and the cruel jailer was not only justified, but was commanded to whip the Quakers who were yet in prison “twice a week if they refused to work, and the first time to add five stripes to the former ten, and each time to add three to them. 91[Page 648] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” p. 166.TTR 647.1

    The other prisoners now presented a petition to the court praying to be released. Their petition was dated, “From the House of Bondage in Boston, wherein we are made captives by the wills of men, although made free by the Son (John 8:36), in which we quietly rest, this sixteenth of the fifth month, 1658.” They were brought into court for examination. They made so strong a defense that there appeared some prospect of their acquittal; but the preachers rallied in force. The “Rev. “Charles Chauncy, in “the Thursday lecture,” preached as follows:—TTR 648.1

    “Suppose you should catch six wolves in trap [there were six Salem Quakers], ... and ye cannot prove that they killed either sheep or lambs: and now ye have them, they will neither bark nor bite; yet they have the plain marks of wolves. Now I leave it to your consideration whether ye will let them go alive; yea or nay?” 92[Page 648] Id., p. 169.TTR 648.2

    By their diligence the preachers not only prevented any acquittal, but succeeded in forcing through the law of October 16, 1658, above quoted (page 643), inflicting capital punishment upon all who remained, or returned after sentence of banishment. The very day on which this law was passed, the prisoners were brought into court, and sentence of banishment was pronounced, the Southwicks being commanded to leave before the spring elections. They did not go. In May, 1659, they were called up again, and charged with rebellion for not going as commanded. They pleaded that they had no place to go to, and that they had done nothing to deserve either banishment or death, though all they had in the world had been taken from them. Major-General Dennison replied that ‘they stood against the authority of the country in not submitting to their laws: that he should not go about to speak much concerning the error of their judgments: but, added he, ‘You and we are not able well to live together, and at present the power is in our hand, and therefore the stronger must send off.’” 93[Page 649] Id., p. 170.TTR 648.3

    Accordingly the sentence of banishment was again pronounced under the penalty of death. “The aged couple were sent to Shelter Island, but their misery was well-nigh done; they perished within a few days of each other, tortured to death by flogging and starvation.”—Adams. 94[Page 649] Id. Their son Joseph was sent away in a ship to England.TTR 649.1

    Then the two children, Daniel and Provided, were brought before the court. They were asked why they had not come to church. Daniel replied, “If you had not so persecuted our father and mother, perhaps we might have come.” They were fined. As parents and home and all were gone, it was impossible for them to pay any fine; and as there was not much prospect of the government’s making anything out of an attempt to force children to work, even by flogging, the sentence quoted on page 645 was pronounced. commanding the county treasures to sell them to recover the fine.TTR 649.2

    The treasurer of Salem took the children to Boston, and went to a ship’s captain who was about to sail for Barbadoes, and began to bargain for their passage to that place to be sold. The captain said he was afraid they would corrupt his ship’s company.TTR 649.3

    The treasurer.—“Oh no, you need not fear that, for they are poor, harmless creatures, and will not hurt anybody.”TTR 649.4

    The captain—“Will they not so? And will ye offer to make slaves of so harmless creatures?” 95[Page 649] Id., p. 173.TTR 649.5

    Harmless creatures as they were, however, it seems that they were really sent away thus to be sold.TTR 649.6

    In September, 1659, three Quakers, William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson, and Mary Dyer, who had but lately come to Boston, were banished. Mrs. Dyer was wife of the secretary of Rhode Island. She returned home. Robinson and Stevenson went as far as Salem, where they turned about and went back to Boston. Not long afterward, Mrs. Dyer returned. October 20, they were brought before the general court. Being called to the bar, Governor Endicott commanded the officer to pull off the men’s hats. He then said:—TTR 649.7

    “We have made several laws to keep the Quakers from amongst us, and neither whipping, nor imprisonment, nor cutting off ears, nor banishment upon pain of death, can keep them from us. Neither I nor any of us desire the death of any of them. Give ear and hearken to your sentence of death.” 96[Page 650] Besse’s “Sufferings of the Quakers.”TTR 650.1

    He then sentenced them one by one to be hanged. October 27 was the day set for the execution. For fear the people might effect a rescue, a guard was put upon the prison. As the day drew near, the dissatisfaction of the people became more marked, and when the time came, it was deemed necessary to have a company of two hundred armed men, to make sure that the theocrats might accomplish the hanging. The three prisoners marched hand in hand to the scaffold on Boston Common, with drums beating before them to drown any words that they might speak. As the procession moved along, “Rev.” John Wilson, the Boston preacher, with others of the clergy, stood ready to join in the march. Wilson tauntingly cried out, “Shall such jakes as you come in before authority, with your hats on?” Robinson replied, “Mind you, mind you, it is for not putting off the hat we are put to death.” When they reached the gallows, Robinson attempted to speak to the people, but Wilson interrupted him with, “Hold your tongue, be silent; thou art going to die with a lie in thy mouth.” The two men were then bound and hanged. The rope was placed round Mrs. Dyer’s neck, but her son just then arrived from Rhode Island, and upon his earnest entreaty and promise to take her away, they let her go. The bodies of the two men were tumbled into a hole in the ground, and left exposed with no sort of burial. The next spring, however, Mrs. Dyer returned again. June 1, she was again marched to the gallows. At the last moment she was told that see might go if she would promise to stay away. She answered, “In obedience to the will of the Lord, I came, and in his will I abide faithful unto death.” And so they hanged her. 97[Page 651] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” pp. 175, 176; “Beginnings of New England,” pp. 188, 189.TTR 650.2

    In November, William Leddra, who had been banished, returned to Boston. He was at once arrested, but public opinion was now so strong against the persecution that the government made every effort to persuade him to go away. But he would not go. He was kept in prison four months, and at last, in March, he was sentenced to be hanged. A few days before his execution, he was called before the court, and as he was being questioned, Wenlock Christison, another Quaker who had that moment returned from banishment, walked into the court room, and, standing before the judges with uplifted hand, said: “I am come here to warn you that ye shed no more innocent blood.” He was arrested and taken at once to jail.TTR 651.1

    Leddra was hanged, but Christison remained; and as he had openly rebuked the judges, his case was the more notorious. But as the discontented murmurings of the people grew louder and louder, the government hesitated to proceed. The theocrats, however, were not yet ready to yield, and so they brought him to trial before the general court, both the governor and the deputy-governor being present.TTR 651.2

    Endicott.—“Unless you renounce your religion, you shall die.”TTR 651.3

    Christison—“Nay; I shall not change my religion, nor seek to save my life; neither do I intend to deny my Master; but if I lose my life for Christ’s sake, and the preaching of the gospel, I shall save my life.”TTR 651.4

    Endicott.—“What have you to say for yourself, why you should not die?”TTR 652.1

    Christison.—“By what law will you put me to death?”TTR 652.2

    Endicott.—“We have a law, and by our law you are to die.”TTR 652.3

    Christison.—“So said the Jews of Christ, ‘We have a law, and by our law he ought to die!’ Who empowered you to make that law?”TTR 652.4

    One of the Board.—“We have a patent, and are the patentees; judge whether we have not power to make laws.”TTR 652.5

    Christison.—“How, have you power to make laws repugnant to the laws of England?”TTR 652.6

    Endicott.—“No.”TTR 652.7

    Christison.—“Then you are gone beyond your bounds, and have forfeited your patent; and that is more than you can answer. Are you subjects to the king? yea or nay?”TTR 652.8

    One of the Court.—“Yea, we are so.”TTR 652.9

    Christison.—“Well, so am I. Therefore seeing that you and I are subjects to the king, I demand to be tried by the laws of my own nation.”TTR 652.10

    One of the Court.—“You shall be tried by a bench and a jury.”TTR 652.11

    Christison.—“That is not the law, but the manner of it; for I never heard nor read of any law that was in England, to hang Quakers.”TTR 652.12

    Endicott.—“There is a law to hang Jesuits.”TTR 652.13

    Christison.—“If you put me to death, it is not because I go under the name of a Jesuit, but of a Quaker. Therefore I appeal to the laws of my own nation.”TTR 652.14

    One of the Court.—“You are in our hands, you have broken our law, and we will try you.”TTR 652.15

    In the very midst of the trial, a letter was brought in and handed to the court. It was from Edward Wharton, yet another Quaker who had returned from banishment. The letter states: “Whereas you have banished me on pain of death, yet I am at home in my own house at Salem, and therefore purpose that you will take off your wicked sentence from me, that I may go about my occasions out of your jurisdiction.”TTR 652.16

    The trial was over; but what should they do with the Quaker? They were afraid to sentence him, and they could not bear to confess defeat by letting him go. The court debated among themselves more than two weeks what to do. “Endicott was exasperated to frenzy, for he felt the ground crumbling beneath him; he put the fate of Christison to the vote, and failed to carry a condemnation. The governor seeing this division, said, ‘I could find it in my heart to go home; being in such a rage, that he flung something furiously on the table ... Then the governor put the court to vote again; but this was done confusedly, which so incensed the governor that he stood up and said, ‘You that will not consent, record it: I thank God I am not afraid to give judgment ... Wenlock Christison, hearken to your sentence: You must return unto the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, and there you must be hanged until you are dead, dead, dead.’” 98[Page 653] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” pp. 18, 151, 152; “Beginnings of New England,” p. 190.TTR 653.1

    The sentence of the court was to put Christison to death; but they never dared to execute it. “Even the savage Endicott knew well that all the train bands of the colony could not have guarded Christison to the gallows from the dungeon where he lay condemned.”—Adams. 99[Page 653] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” p. 177.TTR 653.2

    The sentence of death, as such, they were thus forced to abandon; but they still hoped to accomplish the same thing by another, and as their chief apologist defined, a “humaner policy.” For this purpose the “Vagabond Act” was passed May 22, 1661, by which it was enacted that, “Any person convicted before a county magistrate of being an undomiciled or vagabond Quaker, was to stripped naked to the middle, tied to the cart’s tail, and flogged from town to town, to the border. Domiciled Quakers to be proceeded against under Act of 1658 to banishment, and then treated as vagabond Quakers. The death penalty was still preserved, but not enforced.”—Adams. 100[Page 654] Id., p. 142.TTR 653.3

    The first victim of this new and “humaner” law was Joseph Southwick, who returned from banishment in 1661, and in the “seventh month” was sentenced to its penalty. On the trial, Endicott told him that they had made the new law “to save his life, in mercy to him.” He inquired whether it were not as good to take his life now, as to whip him after their manner, twelve or fourteen times on the cart’s tail through their towns, and then put him to death afterward? He was sentenced to be flogged through Boston, Roxbury, and Dedham. “The peculiar atrocity of flogging from town to town lay in this: that the victim’s wounds became cold between the times of punishment, and in the winter sometimes frozen, which made the torture intolerably agonizing.”—Adams. 101[Page 654] Id., pp. 148, 149.TTR 654.1

    In response to their sentence, Joseph Southwick said: “Here is my body; if you want a further testimony of the truth I profess, take it and tear it in pieces.... It is freely given up, and as for your sentence, I matter it not.” Then “they tied him to a cart, and lashed him for fifteen miles and while he ‘sang to the praise of God,’ his tormentor swung with all his might a tremendous two-handed whip, whose knotted thongs were made of twisted cat-gut; thence he was carried fifteen miles from any town into the wilderness.”—Adams. 102[Page 654] Id., p. 172. And there they left him.TTR 654.2

    In the middle of the winter of 1661-62, a Quaker woman, Elizabeth Hooton, was subjected to the same torture, being whipped through Cambridge, Watertown, and Dedham.TTR 654.3

    In 1662 three Quaker women fell under the notice of “Rev.” John Rayner; “and as the magistrate was ignorant of the technicalities of the law, the elder acted as clerk, and drew up for him the following warrant:—TTR 654.4

    “To the constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, Wenham, Linn Boston, Roxbury, Dedham, and untill these vagabond Quakers are carried out of this jurisdiction:—TTR 654.5

    “You and every one of you are required, in the king’s majesty’s name, to take these vagabond Quakers, Anne Coleman, Mary Tomkins, and Alice Ambrose, and make them fast to the cart’s tail, and driving the cart through your several towns, to whip them on their backs, not exceeding ten stripes apiece on each of them in each town, and so to convey them from constable to constable, till they come out of this jurisdiction, as you will answer it at your peril: and this shall be your warrant. Per me, “RICHARD WALDEN.TTR 655.1

    “At Dover, dated December the 22nd, 1662.”TTR 655.2

    “The Rev. John Rayner pronounced judgement of death by flogging; for the weather was bitter, the distance to be walked was eighty miles, and the lashes were given with a whip, whose three-twisted, knotted thongs cut to the bone.TTR 655.3

    “‘So, in a very cold day, your deputy, Walden, caused these women to be stripp’d naked from the middle upward, and tyed to a cart, and after awhile cruelly whipp’d them whilst the priest [John Rayner], stood and looked, and laughed at it.... They went with the executioner to Hampton, and through dirt and snow at Salisbury, half way the leg deep, the constable forced them after the cart’s tayl at which he whipp’d them.’TTR 655.4

    “Had the Rev. John Rayner but followed the cart, to see that his three hundred and thirty lashes were all given with the same ferocity which warmed his heart to mirth at Dover, before his journey’s end he would certainly have joyed in giving thanks to God over the women’s gory corpses, freezing amid the snow. His negligence saved their lives, for when the ghastly pilgrims passed through Salisbury, the people, to their eternal honor, set the captives free.”—Adams. 103[Page 655] “Emancipation of Massachusetts,” pp. 155-157.TTR 655.5

    There are many other instances of these horrible tortures to both men and women; but these, without any mention of the hanging of witches, are enough to explain and to justify the deserved and scathing sentence of the historian of the United States, that “the creation of a national and uncompromising church led the Congregationalists of Massachusetts to the indulgence of the passions which disgraced their English persecutors, and Laud was justified by the men whom he had wronged.”—Bancroft. 104[Page 656] “History of the United States,” chap. “The Place of Puritanism in History,” par. 5. In his last revision, however, this is softened into this: “The uncompromising Congregationalists of Massachusetts indulged the passions of their English persecutors.”TTR 655.6

    Yet it must not be supposed that the legislation with respect to the views of the Baptists and the Quakers was exceptional in its nature or even its severity; only, as the laws regarding them were more openly disregarded, the penalties were inflicted upon them in greater measure than upon any others. There was a law running as follows:—TTR 656.1

    “Albeit faith is not wrought by the word, nevertheless, seeing that blasphemy of the true God cannot be excused by an ignorance or infirmity of human nature,’ therefore, ‘no person in this jurisdiction, whether Christian or pagan, shall wittingly and willingly presume to blaspheme his holy Name, either by willful or obstinate denying the true God, or his creation or government of the world, or shall curse God, or reproach the holy religion of God, as if it were but a public device to keep ignorant men in awe, nor shall utter any other eminent kind of blasphemy of like nature or degree,’ under penalty of death.”TTR 656.2

    Another law subjected to fine, whipping, banishment, and finally to death, “any who denied the received books of the Old and New, Testaments to be the infallible word of God.”—Hildreth. 105[Page 656] “History of the United States,” Vol. i, chap. xii, par. 1, 2.TTR 656.3

    Another and about the mildest form of punishment is shown by the following law, enacted in 1646:—TTR 656.4

    “It is therefore ordered and decreed, that if any Christian (so-called) within this jurisdiction shall contemptuously behave himself towards the word preached or the messenger thereof called to dispense the same in any congregation, when he faithfully executes his service and office therein according to the will and word of God, either by interrupting him in his preaching, or by charging him falsely with an error which he hath not taught in the open face of the church, or like a son of Korah, cast upon his true doctrine or himself any reproach, to the dishonor of the Lord who hath sent him, and to the disparagement of that his holy ordinance, and making God’s ways contemptible or ridiculous, that every such person or persons (whatsoever censure the church may pass) shall for the first scandal, be convented and reproved openly by the magistrate, at some lecture, and bound to their good behavior; and if a second time they break forth into the like contemptuous carriages, they shall either pay five pounds to the public treasure, or stand two hours openly upon a block or stool four foot high, upon a lecture day, with a paper fixed on his breast, written with capital letters, ‘A WANTON GOSPELLER:’ that others may fear and be ashamed of breaking out into the like wickedness.” 106[Page 657] Trumbull’s “Blue Laws, True and False,” p. 83, with note.TTR 656.5

    Yet Massachusetts, though the worst, was not by any means the only one, of the colonies that had an established religion, and that per-consequence persecuted. The other Puritan colonies were of the same order. Plymouth and New Haven were second only to Massachusetts, and Connecticut was not far behind. New Haven had a law against Quakers, ordering that:—“Every Quaker that comes into this jurisdiction shall be severely whipped, and be kept at work in the house of correction; and the second time, be branded in one hand, and kept at work as aforesaid; the third time be branded in other hand, and the fourth time, to be bored through the tongue with a red-hot iron.”TTR 657.1

    That the law was by no means a nullity, is seen by the fact that Humphrey Norton, merely passing through Southbold on his way to one of the Dutch plantations, was apprehended, without being asked whither he was going, and committed to the marshall, conveyed to New Haven, and there cast into prison, chained to a post, and none suffered to visit him in the bitter cold winter.... At length, he was had before the court, where was their priest [minister], John Davenport, to whom Humphrey Norton had sent some religious queries; and the priest having spoken what he pleased in answer to those queries, Humphrey attempted to reply, but was prevented by their tying a great iron key across his mouth, so that he could not speak. After that he was had again to prison, and after ten days more, sentenced to be severely whipped, and burned in the hand with the letter ‘H’ for heresy, and to be sent out of the colony, and not to return upon pain of the utmost penalty they could inflict by law, and to pay ten pounds towards the charge of the court and colony. And they ordered this sentence to be executed the same day. Accordingly, the drum was beat, and the people gathered; ‘the poor man was fetched, and stripped to the waist, and set with his back towards the magistrates, and had given, in their view, thirty-six cruel stripes, and then turned, and his face set towards them, his hand made fast in the stocks, where they had set his body before, and burned very deep with a red-hot iron: then he was sent to prison again, and there kept, till a Dutchman, a stranger to him, paid down twenty nobles for his fine and fees. It was remarkable that as soon as he had suffered this cruel sentence, and was let loose from the stocks, he knelt down, and prayed to the Lord, to the astonishment of his persecutors.” 107[Page 658] Besse’s “Sufferings of the Quakes.”TTR 657.2

    The “Blue Laws” of Connecticut are proverbial; yet they were copied almost bodily from the Massachusetts code. For instance, the “Wanton Gospeller” statute of Massachusetts was adopted by Connecticut, word fro word, with only the change of the inscription to “An Open and Obstinate Contemner of God’s Holy Ordinances.”TTR 658.1

    Nor was it alone in New England that Church and State were united. It was so to a greater or less extent in every one of the thirteen original colonies in America, except Rhode Island. In New England the established religion was Congregationalism, while in all the colonies south from New York to Georgia, except only Pennsylvania, the Church of England was the favored one. In Pennsylvania there was no union with any particular denomination as such, but no one could hold office or even vote except “such as possess faith in Jesus Christ.” And protection from compulsory religious observances was guaranteed to no one, except those “who confess and acknowledge one almighty and eternal God to be the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of the world.” As all were thus required to be religious, and to possess faith in Jesus Christ, it was therefore required “that according to the good example of the primitive Christians, every first day of the week, called the Lord’s day, people shall abstain from their common daily labor, that they may the better dispose themselves to worship God according to their understandings.” 108[Page 659] Charters and Constitutions, Pennsylvania.TTR 658.2

    Maryland, while held by the Roman Catholics, was freer than any other colony, except Rhode Island; yet even there, as in Pennsylvania, it was only toleration that was guaranteed, and that only to persons “professing to believe in Jesus Christ.” But in 1692 the Episcopalians took possession, and although other forms of religion were still tolerated, “Protestant Episcopacy was established by law,” and so continued until the Revolution.TTR 659.1

    The Church and State system in Georgia, and even its practical working as late as 1737, may be seen in the persecution of John Wesley. The case grew out of Wesley’s refusing the sacrament to certain women, and this was made only the opportunity to vent their spite upon him in whatever else they could trump up. The first step was taken thus:—“GEORGIA. SAVANNAH SS.TTR 659.2

    “To all Constables, Tythingmen, and others whom these may concern: You and each of you are hereby required to take the body of John Wesley, clerk, and bring him before one of the bailiffs of the said town, to answer the complaint of William Williamson and Sophia his wife, for defaming the said Sophia, and refusing to administer to her the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, in a publick congregation, without cause; by which the said William Williamson is damag’d one thousand pound sterling. And for so doing, this is your warrant, certifying what you are to do in the premises. Given under my hand and seal the eighth day of August, Anno Dom., 1737. THO. CHRISTIE.”TTR 659.3

    Wesley was arrested, and brought before the recorder for examination. When questioned upon this matter, he replied that “the giving or refusing the Lord’s Supper being a matter purely ecclesiastical, I could not acknowledge their power to interrogate me upon it.” The case was deferred to the next regular sitting of the court. When the court convened, the judge charged the grand jury to “beware of spiritual tyranny, and to oppose the new illegal authority that was usurped over their consciences.” The grand jury, says Wesley, was thus composed: “One was a Frenchman who did not understand English, one a Papist, one a profest infidel, three Baptists, sixteen or seventeen others, dissenters, and several others who had personal quarrels against me, and had openly vow’d revenge.”TTR 659.4

    A majority of this grand jury framed an indictment of ten counts, as follows:—TTR 660.1

    “That John Wesley, clerk, has broken the laws of the realm, contrary to the peace of our sovereign lord the king, his crown and dignity.TTR 660.2

    “1. By speaking and writing to Mrs. Williamson against her husband’s consent.TTR 660.3

    “2. By repelling her from the holy communion.TTR 660.4

    “3. By not declaring his adherence to the Church of England.TTR 660.5

    “4. By dividing the morning service on Sundays.TTR 660.6

    “5. By refusing to baptize Mr. Parker’s child otherwise than by dipping, except the parents would certify it was weak, and not able to bear it.TTR 660.7

    “6. By repelling Wm. Gough from the holy communion.TTR 660.8

    “7. By refusing to read the burial service over the body of Nathaniel Polhill.TTR 660.9

    “8. By calling himself ordinary of Savannah.TTR 660.10

    “9. By refusing to receive Wm. Agliorly as a godfather, only because he was not a communicant.TTR 660.11

    “10. By refusing Jacob Matthews for the same reason, and baptizing an Indian trader’s child with only two sponsors.TTR 660.12

    The prosecution was made to drag along with Wesley neither convicted nor acquitted, but held, as he describes it, as a sort of “prisoner at large,” until, willing to bear it no longer, he determined to go back to England. That he should leave Georgia and go somewhere was just what the Georgians wanted, and although a pretense of opposing his going was made, they were glad when he left, December 2, 1737. 109[Page 661] “John Wesley a Missioner to Georgia,” by William Stevens Perry, D. D., bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Iowa; New York Independent, March 5, 1891, pp. 5, 6.TTR 660.13

    Of the Southern colonies, Virginia took the lead, and was next to Massachusetts in intolerance and persecution. The colony was divided into parishes, and all the inhabitants were taxed to maintain the worship of the Episcopal Church. All the people were required to attend the churches of the establishment. The rights of citizenship were dependent upon membership in the Episcopal Church. Whoever failed to attend church any Sunday “without an allowable excuse,” was to be fined one pound of tobacco, and if any one should be absent from Sunday service for a month, the fine was fifty pounds of tobacco.TTR 661.1

    Virginia, however, though standing in the lead of the Southern colonies in the severity of its religious legislation, was the first of all the colonies to separate Church and State, and to declare and secure by statute the religious rights of all men.TTR 661.2

    From this review of Protestantism, it plainly appears that after Martin Luther, until the rise of Roger Williams, not a single Reformer preached in sincerity the principles of Christianity and of Protestantism as to the rights of conscience, and that in not a single place except the colony of Rhode Island, was there even recognized, much less exemplified, the Christian and Protestant principle of the separation of Church and State, of the religious and civil powers.TTR 661.3

    Throughout this whole period we find that in all the discussions, and all the work, of the professed champions of the rights of conscience, there everywhere appears the fatal defect that it was only their own rights of conscience that they either asserted or defended. In other words, their argument simply amounted to this: It is our inalienable right to believe and worship as we choose. It is likewise our inalienable right to compel everybody else to believe and worship as we choose.TTR 661.4

    But this is no assertion at all of the rights of conscience. The true principle and assertion of the rights of conscience is not our assertion of our right to believe and worship as we choose. This always leaves the way open for the additional assertion of our right to compel others to believe and worship as we choose, should occasion seem to demand; and there are a multitude of circumstances that are ever ready strongly to urge that occasion does demand.TTR 662.1

    The true principle and the right assertion of the rights of conscience is our assertion of every other man’s right to believe and worship as he chooses, or not to worship at all if he chooses. This at once sweeps away every excuse and every argument that might ever be offered for the restriction or the invasion of the rights of conscience by any person or any power.TTR 662.2

    This is the Christian doctrine. This is the Roger Williams doctrine. This is the genuine Protestant doctrine, for it is “the logical consequence of either of the two great distinguishing principles of the Reformation, as well of justification by faith alone as of the equality of all believers.”—Bancroft. 110[Page 662]“History of the United States,” chap. “Self-Government in Massachusetts,” par. 22.TTR 662.3

    In the promulgation of the principles of Protestantism, and in the work of the Reformation, the names of MARTIN LUTHER and ROGER WILLIAMS can never rightly be separated. Williams completed what Luther began; and together they gave anew to the world, and for all time, the principles originally announced by Him who was the Author and Finisher of the faith of both—JESUS CHRIST, THE AUTHOR OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.TTR 662.4

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