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The Emancipation of Massachusetts by Brooks Adams

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... as clearly as if he had pointed with his finger." [Footnote: _Short
Story_, Preface, Section 5.] Let posterity draw a veil over the shocking

Two or three days after her condemnation "the governor sent [her] a
warrant ... to depart ... she went by water to her farm at the Mount ...
and so to the island in the Narragansett Bay which her husband and the
rest of that sect had purchased of the Indians." [Footnote: Winthrop, i.

This pure and noble but most unhappy woman had sinned against the clergy,
past forgiveness here or hereafter. They gibbeted her as Jezebel, and her
name became a reproach in Massachusetts through two hundred years. But her
crimes and the awful ending of her life are best read in the Christian
words of the Rev. Thomas Welde, whose gentle spirit so adorned his holy

"For the servants of God who came over into New England ... seeing their
ministery was a most precious sweete savour to all the saints before she
came hither, it is easie to discerne from what sinke that ill vapour hath
risen which hath made so many of her seduced party to loath now the smell
of those flowers which they were wont to find sweetnesse in. [Footnote:
_Short Story_, p. 40.] ... The Indians set upon them, and slew her and all
the family. [Footnote: Mrs. Hutchinson and her family were killed in a
general massacre of the Dutch and English by the Indians on Long Island.
Winthrop, ii. 136.] ... Some write that the Indians did burne her to death
with fire, her house and all the rest named that belonged to her; but I am
not able to affirme by what kind of death they slew her, but slaine it
seemes she is, according to all reports. I never heard that the Indians in
those parts did ever before this, commit the like outrage ...; and
therefore God's hand is the more apparently seene herein, to pick out this
wofull woman, to make her and those belonging to her, an unheard of heavie
example of their cruelty above al others." [Footnote: _Short Story_,



With the ruin of the Antinomians, opposition to the clergy ceased within
the church itself, but many causes combined to prevent the bulk of the
people from participating in the communion. Of those who were excluded,
perhaps even the majority might have found it impossible to have secured
their pastor's approbation, but numbers who would have been gladly
received were restrained by conscientious scruples; and more shrank from
undergoing the ordeal to which they would have been obliged to submit. It
was no light matter for a pious but a sincerely honest man to profess his
conversion, and how God had been pleased to work "in the inward parts of
his soul," when he was not absolutely certain that he had indeed been
visited by the Spirit. And it is no exaggeration to say that to sensitive
natures the initiation was appalling. The applicant had first to convince
the minister of his worthiness, then his name was openly propounded, and
those who knew of any objection to his character, either moral or
religious, were asked to give notice to the presbytery of elders. If the
candidate succeeded in passing this private examination as to his fitness
the following scene took place in church:--

"The party appearing in the midst of the assembly ... the ruling elder
speaketh in this manner: Brethren of this congregation, this man or woman
... hath beene heretofore propounded to you, desiring to enter into church
fellowship with us, and we have not since that heard anything from any of
you to the contrary of the parties admittance but that we may goe on to
receive him: therefore now, if any of you know anything against him, why
he may not be admitted, you may yet speak.... Whereupon, sometimes men do
speak to the contrary ... and so stay the party for that time also till
this new offence be heard before the elders, so that sometimes there is a
space of divers moneths between a parties first propounding and receiving,
and some are so bashfull as that they choose rather to goe without the
communion than undergoe such publique confessions and tryals, but that is
held their fault." [Footnote: Lechford, _Plain Dealing_, pp. 6, 7.]

Those who were thus disfranchised, Lechford, who knew what he was talking
about, goes on to say, soon began to complain that they were "ruled like
slaves;" and there can be no doubt that they had to submit to very
substantial grievances. The administration of justice especially seems to
have been defective. "Now the most of the persons at New England are not
admitted of their church, and therefore are not freemen, and when they
come to be tryed there, be it for life or limb, name or estate, or
whatsoever, they must bee tryed and judged too by those of the church, who
are in a sort their adversaries: how equall that hath been, or may be,
some by experience doe know, others may judge." [Footnote: _Plain
Dealing_, p. 23.]

The government was in fact in the hands of a small oligarchy of saints,
[Footnote: "Three parts of the people of the country remaine out of the
church." _Plain Dealing_, p. 73. A. D. 1642.] who were, in their turn,
ruled by their priests, and as the repression of thought inevitable under
such a system had roused the Antinomians, who were voters, to demand a
larger intellectual freedom, so the denial of ordinary political rights
to the majority led to discontent.

Since under the theocracy there was no department of human affairs in
which the clergy did not meddle, they undertook as a matter of course to
interfere with the militia, and the following curious letter written to
the magistrates by the ministers of Rowley shows how far they carried
their supervision even so late as 1689.

* * * * *

ROWLEY, _July_ 24th, 1689.

_May it please your honors,_

The occasion of these lines is to inform you that whereas our military
company have nominated Abel Platts, for ensign, we conceive that it is our
duty to declare that we cannot approve of their choice in that he is
corrupt in his judgment with reference to the Lord's Supper, declaring
against Christ's words of justification, and hereupon hath withdrawn
himself from communion with the church in that holy ordinance some years,
besides some other things wherein he hath shown no little vanity in his
conversation and hath demeaned himself unbecomingly toward the word and
toward the dispensers of it....

EDWARD PAISON. [Footnote: _History of Newbury_, p. 80.]

* * * * *

A somewhat similar difficulty, which happened in Hingham in 1645, produced
very serious consequences. A new captain had been chosen for their
company; but a dispute having arisen, the magistrates, on the question
being submitted to them, set the election aside and directed the old
officers to keep their places until the General Court should meet.
Notwithstanding this order the commotion continued to increase, and the
pastor, Mr. Peter Hubbert, "was very forward to have excommunicated the
lieutenant," who was the candidate the magistrates favored. [Footnote:
Winthrop, ii. 222, 223.] Winthrop happened to be deputy governor that
year, and the aggrieved officer applied to him for protection; whereupon,
as the defendants seemed inclined to be recalcitrant, several were
committed in open court, among whom were three of Mr. Hubbert's brothers.

Forthwith the clergyman in great wrath headed a petition to which he
obtained a large number of signatures, in which he prayed the General
Court to take cognizance of the cause, since it concerned the public
liberty and the liberty of the church.

At its next session, the legislature proceeded to examine the whole case,
and Winthrop was brought to trial for exceeding his jurisdiction as a
magistrate. A contest ensued between the deputies and assistants, which
was finally decided by the influence of the elders. The result was that
Winthrop was acquitted and Mr. Hubbert and the chief petitioners were
fined. [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 227.]

In March the constable went to Hingham to collect the money, [Footnote:
1645-46, 18 March.] but he found the minister indisposed to submit in
silence. About thirty people had collected, and before them all Mr.
Hubbert demanded the warrant; when it was produced he declared it
worthless because not in the king's name, and then went on to add that the
government "was not more then a corporation in England, and ... had not
power to put men to death ... that for himself he had neither horn nor
hoofe of his own, nor anything wherewith to buy his children cloaths ...
if he must pay the fine he would pay it in books, but that he knew not for
what they were fined, unlesse it were for petitioning: and if they were so
waspish they might not be petitioned, then he could not tell what to say."
[Footnote: _New Eng. Jonas_, Marvin's ed. p. 5.]

Unluckily for Mr. Hubbert he had taken the popular side in this dispute
and had thus been sundered from his brethren, who sustained Winthrop, and
in the end carried him through in triumph; and not only this, but he was
suspected of Presbyterian tendencies, and a committee of the elders who
had visited Hingham to reconcile some differences in the congregation had
found him in grave fault. The government was not sorry, therefore, to make
him a public example, as appeared not only by these proceedings, but by
the way he was treated in the General Court the next autumn. He was
accordingly indicted for sedition, tried and convicted in June, fined
twenty pounds, and bound over to good behavior in forty pounds more.
[Footnote: _New Eng. Jonas_, p. 6., 2 June, 1646.] Such a disturbance
as this seems to have been all that was needed to bring the latent
discontent to a focus.

William Vassal had been an original patentee and was a member of the first
Board of Assistants, who were appointed by the king. Being, however, a man
of liberal views he had not found Massachusetts congenial; he had returned
to England after a stay of only a month, and when he came again to America
in 1635, he had settled at Scituate, the town adjoining Hingham, but in
the Plymouth jurisdiction. Having both wealth and social position he
possessed great influence, and he now determined to lead an agitation for
equal rights and liberty of conscience in both colonies at once, by
petitioning the legislatures, and in case of failure there, presenting
similar petitions to Parliament.

Bradford was this year [Footnote: 1645.] governor of Plymouth, and Edward
Winslow was an assistant. Winslow himself had been governor repeatedly,
was a thorough-going churchman, and deep in all the councils of the
conservative party. There was, however, no religious qualification for the
suffrage in the old colony, and the complexion of its politics was
therefore far more liberal than in Massachusetts; so Vassal was able to
command a strong support when he brought forward his proposition. Winslow,
writing to his friend Winthrop at Boston, gives an amusing account of his
own and Bradford's consternation, and the expedients to which they were
forced to resort in the legislature to stave off a vote upon the petition,
when Vassal made his motion in October, 1645.

"After this, the first excepter [Vassal] having been observed to tender
the view of a scroule from man to man, it came at length to be tendered to
myself, and withall, said he, it may be you will not like this. Having
read it, I told him I utterly abhorred it as such as would make us odious
to all Christian commonweales: But at length he told the governor
[Bradford] he had a written proposition to be propounded to the court,
which he desired the court to take into consideration, and according to
order, if thought meet, to be allowed: To this the deputies were most made
beforehand, and the other three assistants, who applauded it as their
Diana; and the sum of it was, to allow and maintaine full and free
tollerance of religion to all men that would preserve the civill peace and
submit unto government; and there was no limitation or exception against
Turke, Jew, Papist, Arian, Socinian, Nicholaytan, Familist, or any other,
&c. But our governor and divers of us having expressed the sad
consequences would follow, especially myselfe and Mr. Prence, yet
notwithstanding it was required, according to order, to be voted: But the
governor would not suffer it to come to vote, as being that indeed would
eate out the power of Godlines, &c.... You would have admired to have seen
how sweet this carrion relished to the pallate of most of the deputies!
What will be the issue of these things, our all ordering God onely
knows.... But if he have such a judgment for this place, I trust we shall
finde (I speake for many of us that groane under these things) a resting
place among you for the soales of our feet." [Footnote: _Hutch.
Coll._, Prince Soc. ed. i. 174.]

As just then nothing more could be done in Plymouth, proceedings were
transferred to Massachusetts. Samuel Maverick is a bright patch of color
on the sad Puritan background. He had a dwelling at Winnisime, that "in
the yeare 1625 I fortified with a pillizado and fflankers and gunnes both
belowe and above in them which awed the Indians who at that time had a
mind to cutt off the English." [Footnote: Mass. _Hist. Soc. Proceedings_,
Oct. 1884, p. 236.] When Winthrop landed, he found him keeping open house,
so kindly and freehanded that even the grim Johnson relaxes when he speaks
of him: "a man of very loving and curteous behaviour, very ready to
entertaine strangers, yet an enemy to the reformation in hand, being
strong for the lordly prelatical power." [Footnote: _Wonder-Working
Providence_, Poole's ed. p. 37.]

This genial English churchman entertained every one at his home on
Noddle's Island, which is now East Boston: Vane and Lord Ley, and La Tour
when he came to Boston ruined, and even Owen when he ran off with another
man's wife, and so brought a fine of £100 on his host. Josselyn says with
much feeling: "I went a shore upon Noddles Island to Mr. Samuel Maverick,
... the only hospitable man in the whole countrey." He was charitable
also, and Winthrop relates how, when the Indians were dying of the
smallpox, he, "his wife and servants, went daily to them, ministered to
their necessities, and buried their dead, and took home many of their
children." He was generous, too, with his wealth; and when the town had to
rebuild the fort on Castle Island much of the money came from him.

But, as Endicott told the Browns, when he shipped them to England, because
their practice in adhering to their Episcopal orders tended to "mutiny,"
"New England was no place for such as they." One by one they had gone,--
the Browns first, and afterward William Blackstone, who had found it best
to leave Boston because he could not join the church; and now the pressure
on Maverick began to make him restive. Though he had been admitted a
freeman in the early days, he was excluded from all offices of importance;
he was taxed to support a church of which he disapproved, yet was forced
to attend, though it would not baptize his children; and he was so
suspected that, in March, 1635, he had been ordered to remove to Boston,
and was forbidden to lodge strangers for more than one night without leave
from a magistrate. Under such circumstances he could not but sympathize
with Vassal in his effort to win for all men equal rights before the law.
Next after him in consequence was Dr. Robert Childe, who had taken a
degree at Padua, and who, though not a freeman, had considerable interests
in the country,--a man of property and standing. There were five more
signers of the petition: Thomas Burton, John Smith, David Yale, Thomas
Fowle, and John Dand, but they do not require particular notice. They
prayed that "civil liberty and freedome be forthwith granted to all truly
English, equall to the rest of their countrymen, as in all plantations is
accustomed to be done, and as all free-borne enjoy in our native
country.... Further that none of the English nation ... be banished
unlesse they break the known lawes of England.... We therefore humbly
intreat you, in whose hands it is to help ... for the glory of God ... to
give liberty to the members of the churches of England not scandalous in
their lives ... to be taken into your congregations, and to enjoy with you
all those liberties and ordinances Christ hath purchased for them, and
into whose name they are baptized... or otherwise to grant liberty to
settle themselves here in a church way according to the best reformations
of England and Scotland. If not, we and they shall be necessitated to
apply our humble desires to the Honorable Houses of Parliament."
[Footnote: _New Eng. Jonas_, Marvin's ed. pp. 13-15.]

This petition was presented to the court on May 19, 1646; but the session
was near its close, and it was thought best to take no immediate steps.
The elders, however, became satisfied that the moment had come for a
thorough organization of the church, and they therefore caused the
legislature to issue a general invitation to all the congregations to send
representatives to a synod to be held at Cambridge. But notwithstanding
the inaction of the authorities, the clergy were perfectly aware of the
danger, and they passed the summer in creating the necessary indignation
among the voters: they bitterly denounced from their pulpits "the sons of
Belial, Judasses, sons of Corah," "with sundry appellations of that nature
... which seemed not to arise from a gospel spirit." Sometimes they
devoted "a whole sermon, and that not very short," to describing the
impending ruin and exhorting the magistrates "to lay hold upon" the
offenders. [Footnote: _New Eng. Jonas_, Marvin's ed. p. 19.] Winthrop
had been chosen governor in May, and, when the legislature met in October,
he was made chairman of a committee to draft an answer to Childe. This
document may be found in Hutchinson's Collection. As a state paper devoted
to the discussion of questions of constitutional law it has little merit,
but it may have been effective as a party manifesto. A short adjournment
followed till November, when, on reassembling, the elders were asked for
their advice upon this absorbing topic.

"Mr. Hubbard of Hingham came with the rest, but the court being informed
that he had an hand in a petition, which Mr. Vassall carried into England
against the country in general, the governour propounded, that if any
elder present had any such hand, &c., he would withdraw himself." Mr.
Hubbert sitting still a good space, one of the deputies stated that he was
suspected, whereupon he rose and said he knew nothing of such a petition.

Then Winthrop replied that he "must needs deliver his mind about him," and
though he had no proof about the petition, "yet in regard he had so much
opposed authority and offered such contempt to it, ... he thought he would
(in discretion) withdraw himself, &c., whereupon he went out." [Footnote:
Winthrop, ii. 278.]

The ministers who remained then proceeded to define the relations of
Massachusetts toward England, and the position they assumed was very

"I. We depend upon the state of England for protection and immunities of
Englishmen.... II. We conceive ... we have granted by patent such full and
ample power ... of making all laws and rules of our obedience, and of a
full and final determination of all cases in the administration of
justice, that no appeals or other ways of interrupting our proceedings do
lie against us." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 282.]

In other words, they were to enjoy the privileges and safeguards of
British subjects without yielding obedience to British law.

Under popular governments the remedy for discontent is free discussion;
under despotisms it is repression. In Massachusetts energetic steps were
promptly taken to punish the ring-leaders in what the court now declared
to be a conspiracy. The petitioners were summoned, and on being questioned
refused to answer until some charge was made. A hot altercation followed,
which ended in the defendants tendering an appeal, which was refused; and
they were committed for trial. [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 285.] A species of
indictment was then prepared in which they were charged with publishing
seditious libels against the Church of Christ and the civil government.
The gravamen of the offence was the attempt to persuade the people "that
the liberties and privileges in our charter belong to all freeborn
Englishmen inhabitants here, whereas they are granted only to such as the
governour and company shall think fit to receive into that fellowship."
[Footnote: _Idem_.] The appeal was held criminal because a denial of
the jurisdiction of the government. The trial resembled Wheelwright's.
Like him the defendants refused to make submission, but persisted
"obstinately and proudly in their evil practice;" that is to say, they
maintained the right of petition and the legality of their course. They
were therefore fined: Childe £50; Smith £40; Maverick, because he had not
yet appealed, £10; and the others £30 each; three magistrates dissented.

Childe at once began hasty preparations to sail. To prevent him Winthrop
called the assistants together, without, however, giving the dissenting
magistrates notice, and arranged to have him arrested and searched.

One striking characteristic of the theocracy was its love for inflicting
mental suffering upon its victims. The same malicious vindictiveness which
sent Morton to sea in sight of his blazing home, and which imprisoned Anne
Hutchinson in the house of her bitterest enemy, now suggested a scheme for
making Childe endure the pangs of disappointment, by allowing him to
embark, and then seizing him as the ship was setting sail. And though the
plan miscarried, and the arrest had to be made the night before, yet even
as it was the prisoner took his confinement very "grievously, but he could
not help it." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 294.]

Nothing criminating was found in his possession, but in Dand's study,
which was ransacked, copies of two petitions were discovered, with a
number of queries relating to certain legal aspects of the charter, and
intended to be submitted to the Commissioners for the Plantations at

These petitions were substantially those already presented, except that,
by way of preamble, the story of the trial was told; and how the ministers
"did revile them, &c., as far as the wit or malice of man could, and that
they meddled in civil affaires beyond their calling, and were masters
rather than ministers, and ofttimes judges, and that they had stirred up
the magistrates against them, and that a day of humiliation was appointed,
wherein they were to pray against them." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 293.]

Such words had never been heard in Massachusetts. The saints were aghast.
Winthrop speaks of the offence as "being in nature capital," and Johnson
thought the Lord's gracious goodness alone quelled this malice against his

Of course no mercy was shown. It is true that the writings were lawful
petitions by English subjects to Parliament; that, moreover, they had
never been published, but were found in a private room by means of a
despotic search. Several of the signers were imprisoned for six months and
then were punished in May:--

Doctor Childe, (imprisonment till paid,) £200
John Smith, " " " 100
John Dand, " " " 200
Tho. Burton, " " " 100
Samuel Maverick, for his offence in being party
to ye conspiracy, (imprisonment
till paid,) 100
Samuel Maverick, for his offence in breaking his
oath and in appealing against ye
intent of his oath of a freeman, 50
[Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ iii, 113. May 26, 1647. £200 was the equivalent of
about $5,000.]

The conspirators of the poorer class were treated with scant ceremony. A
carpenter named Joy was in Dand's study when the officers entered. He
asked if the warrant was in the king's name. "He was laid hold on, and
kept in irons about four or five days, and then he humbled himself...for
meddling in matters belonging not to him, and blessed God for these irons
upon his legs, hoping they should do him good while he lived." [Footnote:
Winthrop, ii. 294.]

But though the government could oppress the men, they could not make their
principles unpopular, and the next December after Vassal and his friends
had left the colony, the orthodox Samuel Symonds of Ipswich wrote
mournfully to Winthrop: "I am informed that coppies of the petition are
spreading here, and divers (specially young men and women) are taken with
it, and are apt to wonder why such men should be troubled that speake as
they doe: not being able suddenly to discerne the poyson in the sweet
wine, nor the fire wrapped up in the straw." [Footnote: Felt's _Eccl.
Hist._ i. 593.] The petitioners, however, never found redress. Edward
Winslow had been sent to London as agent, and in 1648 he was able to write
that their "hopes and endeavours ... had been blasted by the special
providence of the Lord who still wrought for us." And Winthrop piously
adds: "As for those who went over to procure us trouble, God met with them
all. Mr. Vassall, finding no entertainment for his petitions, went to
Barbadoes," [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 321.] ... "God had brought" Thomas
Fowle "very low, both in his estate and in his reputation, since he joined
in the first petition." And "God had so blasted" Childe's "estate as he
was quite broken." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 322.]

Maverick remained some years in Boston, being probably unable to abandon
his property; during this interval he made several efforts to have his
fine remitted, and he did finally secure an abatement of one half. He then
went to England and long afterward came back as a royal commissioner to
try his fortune once again in a contest with the theocracy.

Dr. Palfrey has described this movement as a plot to introduce a direct
government by England by inducing Parliament to establish Presbyterianism.
By other than theological reasoning this inference cannot be deduced from
the evidence. All that is certainly known about the leaders is that they
were not of any one denomination. Maverick was an Episcopalian; Vassal was
probably an Independent like Cromwell or Milton; and though the elders
accused Childe of being a Jesuit, there is some ground to suppose that he
inclined toward Geneva. So far as the testimony goes, everything tends to
prove that the petitioners were perfectly sincere in their effort to gain
some small measure of civil and religious liberty for themselves and for
the disfranchised majority.

Viewed from the standpoint of history and not of prejudice, the events of
these early years present themselves in a striking and unmistakable

They are the phenomena that regularly attend a certain stage of human
development,--the absorption of power by an aristocracy. The clergy's rule
was rigid, and met with resistance, which was crushed with an iron hand.
Was it defection from their own ranks, the deserters met the fate of
Wheelwright, of Williams, of Cotton, or of Hubbert; were politicians
contumacious, they were defeated or exiled, like Vane, or Aspinwall, or
Coddington; were citizens discontented, they were coerced like Maverick
and Childe. The process had been uninterrupted alike in church and state.
The congregations, which in theory should have included all the
inhabitants of the towns, had shrunk until they contained only a third or
a quarter of the people; while the churches themselves, which were
supposed to be independent of external interference and to regulate their
affairs by the will of the majority, had become little more than the
chattels of the priests, and subject to the control of the magistrates who
were their representatives. This system has generally prevailed; in like
manner the Inquisition made use of the secular arm. The condition of
ecclesiastical affairs is thus described by the highest living authority
on Congregationalism:--

"Our fathers laid it down--and with perfect truth--that the will of
Christ, and not the will of the major or minor part of a church, ought to
govern that church. But somebody must interpret that will. And they
quietly assumed that Christ would reveal his will to the elders, but would
not reveal it to the church-members; so that when there arose a difference
of opinion as to what the Master's will might be touching any particular
matter, the judgment of the elders, rather than the judgment even of a
majority of the membership, must be taken as conclusive. To all intents
and purposes, then, this was precisely the aristocracy which they affirmed
that it was not. For the elders were to order business in the assurance
that every truly humble and sincere member would consent thereto. If any
did not consent, and after patient debate remained of another judgment, he
was 'partial' and 'factious,' and continuing 'obstinate,' he was
'admonished' and his vote 'nullified;' so that the elders could have their
way in the end by merely adding the insult of the apparent but illusive
offer of cooperation to the injury of their absolute control. As Samuel
Stone of Hartford no more tersely than truly put it, this kind of
Congregationalism was simply a 'speaking Aristocracy in the face of a
silent Democracy.'" [Footnote: _Early New England Congregationalism, as
seen in its Literature_, p. 429. Dr. Dexter.]

It is true that Vassal's petition was the event which made the ministers
decide to call a synod [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 264.] by means of an
invitation of the General Court; but it is also certain that under no
circumstances would the meeting of some such council have been long
delayed. For sixteen years the well-known process had been going on, of
the creation of institutions by custom, having the force of law; the stage
of development had now been reached when it was necessary that those
usages should take the shape of formal enactments. The Cambridge platform
therefore marks the completion of an organization, and as such is the
central point in the history of the Puritan Commonwealth. The work was
done in August, 1648: the Westminster Confession was promulgated as the
creed; the powers of the clergy were minutely defined, and the duty of the
laity stated to be "obeying their elders and submitting themselves unto
them in the Lord." [Footnote: _Cambridge Platform,_ ch. x. section 7.] The
magistrate was enjoined to punish "idolatry, blasphemy, heresy," and to
coerce any church becoming "schismatical."

In October, 1649, the court commended the platform to the consideration of
the congregations; in October, 1651, it was adopted; and when church and
state were thus united by statute the theocracy was complete.

The close of the era of construction is also marked by the death of those
two remarkable men whose influence has left the deepest imprint upon the
institutions they helped to mould: John Winthrop, who died in 1649, and
John Cotton in 1652.

Winthrop's letters to his wife show him to have been tender and gentle,
and that his disposition was one to inspire love is proved by the
affection those bore him who had suffered most at his hands. Williams and
Vane and Coddington kept their friendship for him to the end. But these
very qualities, so amiable in themselves, made him subject to the
influence of men of inflexible will. His dream was to create on earth a
commonwealth of saints whose joy would be to walk in the ways of God. But
in practice he had to deal with the strongest of human passions. In 1634,
though supported by Cotton, he was defeated by Dudley, and there can be no
doubt that this was caused by the defection of the body of the clergy. The
evidence seems conclusive, for the next year Vane brought about an
interview between the two at which Haynes was present, and there Haynes
upbraided him with remissness in administering justice. [Footnote:
Winthrop, i. 178.] Winthrop agreed to leave the question to the ministers,
who the next morning gave an emphatic opinion in favor of strict
discipline. Thenceforward he was pliant in their hands, and with that day
opened the dark epoch of his life. By leading the crusade against the
Antinomians he regained the confidence of the elders and they never again
failed him; but in return they exacted obedience to their will; and the
rancor with which he pursued Anne Hutchinson, Gorton, and Childe cannot be
extenuated, and must ever be a stain upon his fame.

As Hutchinson points out, in early life his tendencies were liberal, but
in America he steadily grew narrow. The reason is obvious. The leader of
an intolerant party has himself to be intolerant. His claim to eminence as
a statesman must rest upon the purity of his moral character, his calm
temper, and his good judgment; for his mind was not original or brilliant,
nor was his thought in advance of his age. Herein he differed from his
celebrated contemporary, for among the long list of famous men, who are
the pride of Massachusetts, there are few who in mere intellectual
capacity outrank Cotton. He was not only a profound scholar, an eloquent
preacher, and a famous controversialist, but a great organizer, and a
natural politician. He it was who constructed the Congregational
hierarchy; his publications were the accepted authority both abroad and at
home; and the system which he developed in his books was that which was
made law by the Cambridge Platform.

Of medium height, florid complexion, and as he grew old some tendency to
be stout, but with snowy hair and much personal dignity, he seems to have
had an irresistible charm of manner toward those whom he wished to

Comprehending thoroughly the feelings and prejudices of the clergy, he
influenced them even more by his exquisite tact than by his commanding
ability; and of easy fortune and hospitable alike from inclination and
from interest, he entertained every elder who went to Boston. He
understood the art of flattery to perfection; or, as Norton expressed it,
"he was a man of ingenuous and pious candor, rejoicing (as opportunity
served) to take notice of and testifie unto the gifts of God in his
brethren, thereby drawing the hearts of them to him...." [Footnote:
Norton's _Funeral Sermon_, p. 37.] No other clergyman has ever been able
to reach the position he held with apparent ease, which amounted to a
sort of primacy of New England. His dangers lay in the very fecundity of
his mind. Though hampered by his education and profession, he was
naturally liberal; and his first miscalculation was when, almost
immediately on landing, he supported Winthrop, who was in disgrace for the
mildness of his administration, against the austerer Dudley.

The consciousness of his intellectual superiority seems to have given him
an almost overweening confidence in his ability to induce his brethren to
accept the broader theology he loved to preach; nor did he apparently
realize that comprehension was incompatible with a theocratic government,
and that his success would have undermined the organization he was
laboring to perfect. He thus committed the error of his life in
undertaking to preach a religious reformation, without having the
resolution to face a martyrdom. But when he saw his mistake, the way in
which he retrieved himself showed a consummate knowledge of human nature
and of the men with whom he had to deal. Nor did he ever forget the
lesson. From that time forward he took care that no one should be able to
pick a flaw in his orthodoxy; and whatever he may have thought of much of
the policy of his party, he was always ready to defend it without

Neither he nor Winthrop died too soon, for with the completion of the task
of organization the work that suited them was finished, and they were
unfit for that which remained to be done. An oligarchy, whose power rests
on faith and not on force, can only exist by extirpating all who openly
question their pretensions to preeminent sanctity; and neither of these
men belonged to the class of natural persecutors,--the one was too gentle,
the other too liberal. An example will show better than much argument how
little in accord either really was with that spirit which, in the regular
course of social development, had thenceforward to dominate over

Captain Partridge had fought for the Parliament, and reached Boston at the
beginning of the winter of 1645. He was arrested and examined as a
heretic. The magistrates referred the case to Cotton, who reported that
"he found him corrupt in judgment," but "had good hope to reclaim him."
[Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 251.] An instant recantation was demanded; it was
of course refused, and, in spite of all remonstrance, the family was
banished in the snow. Winthrop's sad words were: "But sure, the rule of
hospitality to strangers, and of seeking to pluck out of the fire such as
there may be hope of, ... do seem to require more moderation and
indulgence of human infirmity where there appears not obstinacy against
the clear truth." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 251.]

But in the savage and bloody struggle that was now at hand there was no
place for leaders capable of pity or remorse, and the theocracy found
supremely gifted chieftains in John Norton and John Endicott.

Norton approaches the ideal of the sterner orders of the priesthood. A
gentleman by birth and breeding, a ripe scholar, with a keen though
polished wit, his sombre temper was deeply tinged with fanaticism. Unlike
so many of his brethren, temporal concerns were to him of but little
moment, for every passion of his gloomy soul was intensely concentrated on
the warfare he believed himself waging with the fiend. Doubt or compassion
was impossible, for he was commissioned by the Lord. He was Christ's
elected minister, and misbelievers were children of the devil whom it was
his sacred duty to destroy. He knew by the Word of God that all save the
orthodox were lost, and that heretics not only perished, but were the
hirelings of Satan, who tempted the innocent to their doom; he therefore
hated and feared them more than robbers or murderers. Words seemed to fail
him when he tried to express his horror: "The face of death, the King of
Terrours, the living man by instinct turneth his face from. An unusual
shape, a satanical phantasm, a ghost, or apparition, affrights the
disciples. But the face of heresie is of a more horrid aspect than all ...
put together, as arguing some signal inlargement of the power of darkness
as being diabolical, prodigeous, portentous." [Footnote: _Heart of New
Eng. Rent_, p. 46.] By nature, moreover, he had in their fullest measure
the three attributes of a preacher of a persecution,--eloquence,
resolution, and a heart callous to human suffering. To this formidable
churchman was joined a no less formidable magistrate.

No figure in our early history looms out of the past like Endicott's. The
harsh face still looks down from under the black skull-cap, the gray
moustache and pointed beard shading the determined mouth, but throwing
into relief the lines of the massive jaw. He is almost heroic in his
ferocious bigotry and daring,--a perfect champion of the church.

The grim Puritan soldier is almost visible as, standing at the head of his
men, he tears the red cross from the flag, and defies the power of
England; or, in that tremendous moment, when the people were hanging
breathless on the fate of Christison, when insurrection seemed bursting
out beneath his feet, and his judges shrunk aghast before the peril, we
yet hear the savage old man furiously strike the table, and, thanking God
that he at least dares to do his duty, we see him rise alone before that
threatening multitude to condemn the heretic to death.



The Rev. Thomas Shepard, pastor of Charlestown, was such an example, "in
word, in conversation, in civility, in spirit, in faith, in purity, that
he did let no man despise his youth;" [Footnote: _Magnalia_, bk. 4,
ch. ix. Section 6.] and yet, preaching an election sermon before the
governor and magistrates, he told them that "anabaptisme ... hath ever
been lookt at by the godly leaders of this people as a scab." [Footnote:
_Eye Salve_, p. 24.] While the Rev. Samuel Willard, president of Harvard,
declared that "such a rough thing as a New England Anabaptist is not to be
handled over tenderly." [Footnote: _Ne Sutor_, p. 10.]

So early as 1644, therefore, the General Court "Ordered and agreed, yt if
any person or persons within ye iurisdiction shall either openly condemne
or oppose ye baptizing of infants, or go about secretly to seduce others
from ye app'bation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart ye
congregation at ye administration of ye ordinance, ... and shall appear to
ye Co't willfully and obstinately to continue therein after due time and
meanes of conviction, every such person or persons shallbe sentenced to
banishment." [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ ii. 85. 13 November, 1644.]

The legislation, however, was unpopular, for Winthrop relates that in
October, 1645, divers merchants and others petitioned to have the act
repealed, because of the offense taken thereat by the godly in England,
and the court seemed inclined to accede, "but many of the elders ...
entreated that the law might continue still in force, and the execution of
it not suspended, though they disliked not that all lenity and patience
should be used for convincing and reclaiming such erroneous persons.
Whereupon the court refused to make any further order." [Footnote:
Winthrop, ii. 251.] And Edward Winslow assured Parliament in 1646, when
sent to England to represent the colony, that, some mitigation being
desired, "it was answered in my hearing. 'T 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." [Footnote: _Hypocrisie
Unmasked_, 101.]

Unquestionably, at that time no one had been banished; but in 1644 "one
Painter, for refusing to let his child be baptized, ... was brought before
the court, where he declared their baptism to be anti-Christian. He was
sentenced to be whipped, which he bore without flinching, and boasted that
God had assisted him." [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 208, note.] Nor was
his a solitary instance of severity. Yet, notwithstanding the scorn and
hatred which the orthodox divines felt for these sectaries, many very
eminent Puritans fell into the errors of that persuasion. Roger Williams
was a Baptist, and Henry Dunster, for the same heresy, was removed from
the presidency of Harvard, and found it prudent to end his days within the
Plymouth jurisdiction. Even that great champion of infant baptism,
Jonathan Mitchell, when thrown into intimate relations with Dunster, had

"That day ... after I came from him I had a strange experience; I found
hurrying and pressing suggestions against Pædobaptism, and injected
scruples and thoughts whether the other way might not be right, and infant
baptism an invention of men; and whether I might with good conscience
baptize children and the like. And these thoughts were darted in with some
impression, and left a strange confusion and sickliness upon my spirit.
Yet, methought, it was not hard to discern that they were from the _Evil
One_; ... And it made me fearful to go needlessly to Mr. D.; for methought
I found a venom and poison in his insinuations and discourses against
Pædobaptism." [Footnote: _Magnalia_, bk. 4, ch. iv. Section 10.]

Henry Dunster was an uncommon man. Famed for piety in an age of
fanaticism, learned, modest, and brave, by the unremitting toil of
thirteen years he raised Harvard from a school to the position which it
has since held; and though very poor, and starving on a wretched and ill-
paid pittance, he gave his beloved college one hundred acres of land at
the moment of its sorest need. [Footnote: Quincy's _History of Harvard_,
i. 15.] Yet he was a criminal, for he would not baptize infants, and he
met with the "lenity and patience" which the elders were not unwilling
should be used toward the erring.

He was indicted and convicted of disturbing church ordinances, and
deprived of his office in October, 1654. He asked for leave to stay in the
house he had built for a few months, and his petition in November ought to
be read to understand how heretics were made to suffer:--

"1st. The time of the year is unseasonable, being now very near the
shortest day, and the depth of winter.

"2d. The place unto which I go is unknown to me and my family, and the
ways and means of subsistance....

"3d. The place from which I go hath fire, fuel, and all provisions for man
and beast, laid in for the winter.... The house I have builded upon very
damageful conditions to myself, out of love for the college, taking
country pay in lieu of bills of exchange on England, or the house would
not have been built....

"4th. The persons, all beside myself, are women and children, on whom
little help, now their minds lie under the actual stroke of affliction and
grief. My wife is sick, and my youngest child extremely so, and hath been
for months, so that we dare not carry him out of doors, yet much worse now
than before.... Myself will willingly bow my neck to any yoke of personal
denial, for I know for what and for whom, by grace I suffer." [Footnote:
_History of Harvard_, i. 18.]

He had before asked Winthrop to cause the government to pay him what it
owed, and he ended his prayer in these words: "Considering the poverty of
the country, I am willing to descend to the lowest step; and if nothing
can comfortably be allowed, I sit still appeased; desiring nothing more
than to supply me and mine with food and raiment." [Footnote: _Idem_,
i. 20.] He received that mercy which the church has ever shown to those
who wander from her fold; he was given till March, and then, with dues
unpaid, was driven forth a broken man, to die in poverty and neglect.

But Jonathan Mitchell, pondering deeply upon the wages he saw paid at his
very hearthstone, to the sin of his miserable old friend, snatched his own
soul from Satan's jaws. And thenceforward his path lay in pleasant places,
and he prospered exceedingly in the world, so that "of extream lean he
grew extream fat; and at last, in an extream hot season, a fever arrested
him, just after he had been preaching.... Wonderful were the lamentations
which this deplorable death fill'd the churches of New England withal....
Yea ... all New England shook when that pillar fell to the ground."
[Footnote: _Magnalia_, bk. 4, ch. iv. Section 16.]

Notwithstanding, therefore, clerical promises of gentleness, Massachusetts
was not a comfortable place of residence for Baptists, who, for the most
part, went to Rhode Island; and John Clark [Footnote: For sketch of
Clark's life see _Allen's Biographical Dictionary_.] became the
pastor of the church which they formed at Newport about 1644. He had been
born about 1610, and had been educated in London as a physician. In 1637
he landed at Boston, where he seems to have become embroiled in the
Antinomian controversy; at all events, he fared so ill that, with several
others, he left Massachusetts 'resolving, through the help of Christ, to
get clear of all [chartered companies] and be of ourselves.' In the course
of their wanderings they fell in with Williams, and settled near him.

Clark was perhaps the most prominent man in the Plantations, filled many
public offices, and was the commissioner who afterward secured for the
colony the famous charter that served as the State Constitution till 1842.

Obediah Holmes, who succeeded him as Baptist minister of Newport, is less
well known. He was educated at Oxford, and when he emigrated he settled at
Salem; from thence he went to Seaconk, where he joined the church under
Mr. Newman. Here he soon fell into trouble for resisting what he
maintained was an "unrighteous act" of his pastor's; in consequence he and
several more renounced the communion, and began to worship by themselves;
they were baptized and thereafter they were excommunicated; the inevitable
indictment followed, and they, too, took refuge in Rhode Island.
[Footnote: Holmes's Narrative, Backus, i. 213.]

William Witter [Footnote: For the following events, see "_Ill Newes from
New England" Mass. Hist. Coll._ fourth series, vol. ii.] of Lynn was an
aged Baptist, who had already been prosecuted, but, in 1651, being blind
and infirm, he asked the Newport church to send some of the brethren to
him, to administer the communion, for he found himself alone in
Massachusetts. [Footnote: Backus, i. 215.] Accordingly Clark undertook the
mission, with Obediah Holmes and John Crandall.

They reached Lynn on Saturday, July 19, 1651, and on Sunday stayed within
doors in order not to disturb the congregation. A few friends were
present, and Clark was in the midst of a sermon, when the house was
entered by two constables with a warrant signed by Robert Bridges,
commanding them to arrest certain "erroneous persons being strangers." The
travellers were at once seized and carried to the tavern, and after dinner
they were told that they must go to church.

Gorton, like many another, had to go through this ordeal, and he speaks of
his Sundays with much feeling: "Only some part of those dayes they brought
us forth into their congregations, to hear their sermons ... which was
meat to be digested, but only by the heart or stomacke of an ostrich."
[Footnote: _Simplicitie's Defence_, p. 57.]

The unfortunate Baptists remonstrated, saying that were they forced into
the meeting-house, they should be obliged to dissent from the service, but
this, the constable said, was nothing to him, and so he carried them away.
On entering, during the prayer, the prisoners took off their hats, but
presently put them on again and began reading in their seats. Whereupon
Bridges ordered the officers to uncover their heads, which was done, and
the service was then quietly finished. When all was over, Clark asked
leave to speak, which, after some hesitation, was granted, on condition he
would not discuss what he had heard. He began to explain how he had put on
his hat because he could not judge that they were gathered according to
the visible order of the Lord; but here he was silenced, and the three
were committed to custody for the night. On Tuesday they were taken to
Boston, and on the 31st were brought before Governor Endicott. Their trial
was of the kind reserved by priests for heretics. No jury was impanelled,
no indictment was read, no evidence was heard, but the prisoners were
reviled by the bench as Anabaptists, and when they repudiated the name
were asked if they did not deny infant baptism. The theological argument
which followed was cut short by a recommitment to await sentence.

That afternoon John Cotton exhorted the judges from the pulpit. He
expounded the law, and commanded them to do their duty; he told them that
the rejection of infant baptism would overthrow the church; that this was
a capital crime, and therefore the captives were "foul murtherers."
[Footnote: _Ill Newes_, p. 56.] Thus inspired, the court came in toward

The record recites a number of misdemeanors, such as wearing the hat in
church, administering the communion to the excommunicated, and the like,
but no attempt was made to prove a single charge. [Footnote: _Ill Newes_,
pp. 31-44.] The reason is obvious: the only penalty provided by statute
for the offence of being a Baptist was banishment, hence the only legal
course would have been to dismiss the accused. Endicott condemned them to
fines of twenty, thirty, and five pounds, respectively, or to be whipped.
Clark understood his position perfectly, and from the first had demanded
to be shown the law under which he was being tried. He now, after
sentence, renewed the request. Endicott well knew that in acting as the
mouthpiece of the clergy he was violating alike justice, his oath of
office, and his honor as a judge; and, being goaded to fury, he broke out:
You have deserved death; I will not have such trash brought into our
jurisdiction. [Footnote: _Idem_, p. 33.] Holmes tells the rest: "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 judgement seat, and
cursed me, saying, The curse of God ... goe with thee; so we were carried
to the prison." [Footnote: _Idem_, p. 47.]

All the convicts maintained that their liberty as English subjects had
been violated, and they refused to pay their fines. Clark's friends,
however, alarmed for his safety, settled his for him, and he was

Crandall was admitted to bail, but being misinformed as to the time of
surrender, he did not appear, his bond was forfeited, and on his return to
Boston he found himself free.

Thus Holmes was left to face his punishment alone. Actuated apparently by
a deep sense of duty toward himself and his God, he refused the help of
friends, and steadfastly awaited his fate. As he lay in prison he suffered
keenly as he thought of his birth and breeding, his name, his worldly
credit, and the humiliation which must come to his wife and children from
his public shame; then, too, he began to fear lest he might not be able to
bear the lash, might flinch or shed tears, and bring contempt on himself
and his religion. Yet when the morning came he was calm and resolute;
refusing food and drink, that he might not be said to be sustained by
liquor, he betook himself to prayer, and when his keeper called him, with
his Bible in his hand, he walked cheerfully to the post. He would have
spoken a few words, but the magistrate ordered the executioner to do his
office quickly, for this fellow would delude the people; then he was
seized and stripped, and as he cried, "Lord, lay not this sin unto their
charge," he received the first blow. [Footnote: _Ill Newes_, pp. 48, 56.]

They gave him thirty lashes with a three-thonged whip, of such horrible
severity that it was many days before he could endure to have his
lacerated body touch the bed, and he rested propped upon his hands and
knees. [Footnote: Backus, i. 237, note. MS. of Gov. Jos. Jencks.] Yet, in
spite of his torture, he stood firm and calm, showing neither pain nor
fear, breaking out at intervals into praise to God; and his dignity and
courage so impressed the people that, in spite of the danger, numbers
flocked about him when he was set free, in sympathy and admiration. John
Spur, being inwardly affected by what he saw and heard, took him by the
hand, and, with a joyful countenance, said: "Praised be the Lord," and so
went back with him. That same day Spur was arrested, charged with the
crime of succoring a heretic. Then said the undaunted Spur: "Obediah
Holmes I do look upon as a godly man: and do affirm that he carried
himself as did become a Christian, under so sad an affliction." "We will
deal with you as we have dealt with him," said Endicott. "I am in the
hands of God," answered Spur; and then his keeper took him to his prison.
[Footnote: _Ill Newes_, p. 57.]

Perhaps no persecutor ever lived who was actuated by a single motive:
Saint Dominic probably had some trace of worldliness; Henry VIII. some
touch of bigotry; and this was preeminently true of the Massachusetts
elders. Doubtless there were among them men like Norton, whose fanaticism
was so fierce that they would have destroyed the heretic like the wild
beast, as a child of the devil, and an abomination to God. But with the
majority worldly motives predominated: they were always protesting that
they did not constrain men's consciences, but only enforced orderly
living. Increase Mather declared: in "the same church there have been
Presbyterians, Independents, Episcopalians, and Antipædobaptists, all
welcome to the same table of the Lord when they have manifested to the
judgment of Christian charity a work of regeneration in their souls."
[Footnote: _Vindication of New Eng._ p. 19.] And Winslow solemnly
assured Parliament, "Nay, some in our churches" are "of that judgment, and
as long as they [Baptists] carry themselves peaceably as hitherto they
doe, wee will leave them to God." [Footnote: _Hypocrisie Unmasked_, p.
101. A. D. 1646.]

Such statements, although intended to convey a false impression, contained
this much truth: provided a man conformed to all the regulations of the
church, paid his taxes, and held his tongue, he would not, in ordinary
circumstances, have been molested under the Puritan Commonwealth. But the
moment he refused implicit obedience, or, above all, if he withdrew from
his congregation, he was shown no mercy, because such acts tended to shake
the temporal power. John Wilson, pastor of Boston, was a good example of
the average of his order. On his death-bed he was asked to declare what he
thought to be the worst sins of the country. "'I have long feared several
sins, whereof one,' he said, 'was Corahism: that is, when people rise up
as Corah against their ministers, as if they took too much upon them, when
indeed they do but rule for Christ, and according to Christ.'" [Footnote:
_Magnalia_, bk. 3, ch. iii. Section 17.] Permeated with this love of
power, and possessed of a superb organization, the clergy never failed to
act on public opinion with decisive effect whenever they saw their worldly
interests endangered. Childe has described the attack which overwhelmed
him, and Gorton gives a striking account of their process of inciting a

"These things concluded to be heresies and blasphemies.... The ministers
did zealously preach unto the people the great danger of such things, and
the guilt such lay under that held them, stirring the people up to labour
to find such persons out and to execute death upon them, making persons so
execrable in the eyes of the people, whom they intimated should hold such
things, yea some of them naming some of us in their pulpits, that the
people that had not seen us thought us to be worse by far in any respect
then those barbarous Indians are in the country.... Whereupon we heard a
rumor that the Massachusets was sending out an army of men to cut us off."
[Footnote: _Simplicitie's Defence_, p. 32.]

The persecution of the Baptists lays bare this selfish clerical policy.
The theory of the suppression of heresy as a sacred duty breaks down when
it is conceded that the heretic may be admitted to the orthodox communion
without sin; therefore the motives for cruelty were sordid. The ministers
felt instinctively that an open toleration would impair their power; not
only because the congregations would divide, but because these sectaries
listened to "John Russell the shoemaker." [Footnote: _Ne Sutor_, p. 26.]
Obviously, were cobblers to usurp the sacerdotal functions, the
superstitious reverence of the people for the priestly office would not
long endure: and it was his crime in upholding this sacrilegious practice
which made the Rev. Thomas Cobbett cry out in his pulpit "against Gorton,
that arch-heretick, who would have al men to be preachers." [Footnote:
_Simplicities Defence_, p. 32. See _Ne Sutor_, p. 26.]

Therefore, though Winslow solemnly protested before the Commissioners at
London that Baptists who lived peaceably would be left unmolested, yet
such of them as listened to "foul-murtherers" [Footnote: "_Ill Newes_,"
_Mass. Hist. Coll._ fourth series, vol. ii. p. 56.] were denounced by the
divines as dangerous fanatics who threatened to overthrow the government,
and were hunted through the country like wolves.

Thomas Gould was an esteemed citizen of Charles-town, but, unfortunately
for himself, he had long felt doubt concerning infant baptism; so when, in
1655, a child was born to him, he "durst not" have it christened. "The
elder pressed the church to lay me under admonition, which the church was
backward to do. Afterward I went out at the sprinkling of children, which
was a great trouble to some honest hearts, and they told me of it. But I
told them I could not stay, for I 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 administring
the service to infants. Then they dealt with me for my unreverent
carriage." [Footnote: Gould's Narrative, Backus, i. 364-366.] That is to
say, his pastor, Mr. Symmes, caused him to be admonished and excluded from
the communion. In October, 1656, he was presented to the county court for
"denying baptism to his child," convicted, admonished, and given till the
next term to consider of his error; and gradually his position at
Charlestown became so unpleasant that he went to church at Cambridge,
which was a cause of fresh offence to Mr. Symmes. [Footnote: _History of
Charlestown_, Frothingham, p. 164.]

From this time forward for several years, though no actual punishment
seems to have been inflicted, Gould was subjected to perpetual annoyance,
and was repeatedly summoned and admonished, both by the courts and the
church, until at length he brought matters to a crisis by withdrawing, and
with eight others forming a church, on May 28, 1665.

He thus tells his story: "We sought the Lord to direct us, and taking
counsel of other friends who dwelt among us, who were able and godly, they
gave us counsel to congregate ourselves together; and so we did, ... to
walk in the order of the gospel according to the rule of Christ, yet
knowing it was a breach of the law of this country.... After we had been
called into one or two courts, the church understanding that we were
gathered into church order, they sent three messengers from the church to
me, telling me the church required me to come before them the next Lord's
day." [Footnote: Gould's Narrative, Backus, i. 369.] That Sunday he could
not go, but he promised to attend on the one following; [Footnote: Gould's
Narrative, Backus, i. 371.] and his wife relates what was then done: "The
word was carried to the elder, that if they were alive and well they would
come the next day, yet they were so hot upon it that they could not stay,
but master Sims, when he was laying out the sins of these men, before he
had propounded it to the church, to know their mind, the church having no
liberty to speak, he wound it up in his discourse, and delivered them up
to Satan, to the amazement of the people, that ever such an ordinance of
Christ should be so abused, that many of the people went out; and these
were the excommunicated persons." [Footnote: Mrs. Gould's Answer, Backus,
i. 384.] The sequence is complete: so long as Gould confined his heresy to
pure speculation upon dogma he was little heeded; when he withheld his
child from baptism and went out during the ceremony he was admonished,
denied the sacrament, and treated as a social outcast; but when he
separated, he was excommunicated and given to the magistrate to be

Passing from one tribunal to another the sectaries came before the General
Court in October, 1665: such as were freemen were disfranchised, and all
were sentenced, upon conviction before a single magistrate of continued
schism, to be imprisoned until further order. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._
vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 291.] The following April they were fined four pounds
and put in confinement, where they lay till the 11th of September, when
the legislature, after a hearing, ordered them to be discharged upon
payment of fines and costs. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 2,
p. 316.]

How many Baptists were prosecuted, and what they suffered, is not known,
as only an imperfect record remains of the fortunes of even the leaders of
the movement; this much, however, is certain, they not only continued
contumacious, but persecution added to their numbers. So at length the
clergy decided to try what effect a public refutation of these heretics
would have on popular opinion. Accordingly the governor and council,
actuated by "Christian candor," ordered the Baptists to appear at the
meeting-house, at nine o'clock in the morning, on the 14th of April, 1668;
and six ministers were deputed to conduct the disputation. [Footnote:
Backus, i. 375.]

During the immolation of Dunster the Rev. Mr. Mitchell had made up his
mind that he "would have an argument able to remove a mountain" before he
would swerve from his orthodoxy; he had since confirmed his faith by
preaching "more than half a score ungainsayable sermons" "in defence of
this comfortable truth," and he was now prepared to maintain it against
all comers. Accordingly this "worthy man was he who did most service in
this disputation; whereof the effect was, that although the erring
brethren, as is usual in such cases, made this their last answer to the
arguments which had cast them into much confusion: 'Say what you will we
will hold our mind.' Yet others were happily established in the right ways
of the Lord." [Footnote: _Magnalia_, bk. 4, ch. iv. Section 10.]

Such is the account of Cotton Mather: but the story of the Baptists
presents a somewhat different view of the proceedings. "It is true there
were seven elders appointed to discourse with them.... and when they were
met, there was a long speech made by one of them of what vile persons they
were, and how they acted against the churches and government here, and
stood condemned by the court. The others desiring liberty to speak, they
would not suffer them, but told them they stood there as delinquents and
ought not to have liberty to speak.... Two days were spent to little
purpose; in the close, master Jonathan Mitchel pronounced that dreadful
sentence against them in Deut. xvii. 8, to the end of the 12th, and this
was the way they took to convince them, and you may see what a good effect
it had." [Footnote: Mrs. Gould's Answer, Backus, i. 384, 385.]

The sentence pronounced by Mitchell was this: "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 the evil from Israel." [Footnote:
_Deut._ xvii. 12.]

On the 27th of May, 1668, Gould, Turner, and Farnum, "obstinate &
turbulent Annabaptists," were banished under pain of perpetual
imprisonment. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. ii, pp. 373-375.]
They determined to stay and face their fate: afterward they wrote to the

* * * * *

HONOURED SIRS: ... After the tenders of our service according to Christ,
his command to your selves and the country, wee thought it our duty and
concernment to present your honours with these few lines to put you in
remembrance of our bonds: and this being the twelfth week of our
imprisonment, wee should be glad if it might be thought to stand with the
honour and safety of the country, and the present government thereof, to
be now at liberty. For wee doe hereby seriously profess, that as farre as
wee are sensible or know anything of our own hearts, wee do prefer their
peace and safety above our own, however wee have been resented otherwise:
and wherein wee differ in point of judgment wee humbly beeseech you, let
there be a bearing with us, till god shal reveale otherwise to us; for
there is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them
understanding, therefore if wee are in the dark, wee dare not say that wee
doe see or understand, till the Lord shall cleare things up to us. And to
him wee can appeale to cleare up our innocency as touching the government,
both in your civil and church affaires. That it never was in our hearts to
thinke of doing the least wrong to either: but have and wee hope, by your
assistance, shal alwaies indeavour to keepe a conscience void of offence
towards god and men. And if it shal be thought meete to afforde us our
liberty, that wee may take that care, as becomes us, for our families, wee
shal engage ourselves to be alwayes in a readines to resigne up our
persons to your pleasure. Hoping your honours will be pleased seriously to
consider our condition, wee shall commend both you and it to the wise
disposing and blessing of the Almighty, and remaine your honours faithful
servants in what we may.

JOHN FARNUM. [Footnote: _Mass. Archives_, x. 220.]

* * * * *

Such were the men whom the clergy daily warned their congregations "would
certainly undermine the churches, ruine order, destroy piety, and
introduce prophaneness." [Footnote: _Ne Sutor_, p. 11.] And when they
appealed to their spotless lives and their patience under affliction, they
were told "that the vilest hereticks and grossest blasphemers have
resolutely and cheerfully (at least sullenly and boastingly) suffered as
well as the people of God." [Footnote: _Ne Sutor_, p. 9.]

The feeling of indignation and of sympathy was, notwithstanding, strong;
and in spite of the danger of succoring heretics, sixty-six inhabitants,
among whom were some of the most respected citizens of Charlestown,
petitioned the legislature for mercy: "They being 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." [Footnote: Backus,
i. 380, 381.] On November 7, 1668, the petition was voted "scandalous &
reproachful," the two chief promoters were censured, admonished, and fined
ten and five pounds respectively; the others were made, under their own
hands, to express their sorrow, "for giving the court such just ground of
offence." [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 413.]

The shock was felt even in England. In March, 1669, thirteen of the most
influential dissenting ministers wrote from London earnestly begging for
moderation lest they should be made to suffer from retaliation; but their
remonstrance was disregarded. [Footnote: Backus, i. 395.] What followed is
not exactly known; the convicts would seem to have lain in jail about a
year, and they are next mentioned in a letter to Clark written in
November, 1670, in which he was told that Turner had been again arrested,
but that Gould had eluded the officers, who were waiting for him in
Boston; and was on Noddle's Island. Subsequently all were taken and
treated with the extremest rigor; for in June, 1672, Russell was so
reduced that it was supposed he could not live, and he was reported to
have died in prison. Six months before Gould and Turner had been thought
past hope; their sufferings had brought them all to the brink of the
grave. [Footnote: Backus, i. 398-404, 405.] But relief was at hand: the
victory for freedom had been won by the blood of heretics, as devoted, as
fearless, but even unhappier than they; and the election of Leverett, in
1673, who was opposed to persecution, marks the moment when the hierarchy
admitted their defeat. During his administration the sectaries usually met
in private undisturbed; and soon every energy of the theocracy became
concentrated on the effort to repulse the ever contracting circle of
enemies who encompassed it.

During the next few years events moved fast. In 1678 the ecclesiastical
power was so shattered that the Baptists felt strong enough to build a
church; but the old despotic spirit lived even in the throes of death, and
the legislature passed an act forbidding the erection of unlicensed
meeting-houses under penalty of confiscation. Nevertheless it was
finished, but on the Sunday on which it was to have been opened the
marshal nailed the doors fast and posted notices forbidding all persons to
enter, by order of the court. After a time the doors were broken open, and
services were held; a number of the congregation were summoned before the
court, admonished, and forbidden to meet in any public place; [Footnote:
June 11, 1680. _Mass. Rec._ v. 271.] but the handwriting was now glowing
on the wall, priestly threats had lost their terror; the order was
disregarded; and now for almost two hundred years Massachusetts has been
foremost in defending the equal rights of men before the law.

The old world was passing away, a new era was opening, and a few words are
due to that singular aristocracy which so long ruled New England. For two
centuries Increase Mather has been extolled as an eminent example of the
abilities and virtues which then adorned his order. In 1681, when all was
over, he published a solemn statement of the attitude the clergy had held
toward the Baptists, and from his words posterity may judge of their
standard of morality and of truth.

"The Annabaptists in New England have in their narrative lately published,
endeavoured to ... make themselves the innocent persons and the Lord's
servants here no better than persecutors.... I have been a poor labourer
in the Lord's Vineyard in this place upward of twenty years; and it is
more than I know, if in all that time, any of those that scruple infant
baptism, have met with molestation from the magistrate merely on account
of their opinion." [Footnote: Preface to _Ne Sutor_.]



The lower the organism, the less would seem to be the capacity for
physical adaptation to changed conditions of life; the jelly-fish dies in
the aquarium, the dog has wandered throughout the world with his master.
The same principle apparently holds true in the evolution of the
intellect; for while the oyster lacks consciousness, the bee modifies the
structure of its comb, and the swallow of her nest, to suit unforeseen
contingencies, while the dog, the horse, and the elephant are capable of a
high degree of education. [Footnote: _Menial Evolution in Animals_,
Romanes, Am. ed. pp. 203-210.]

Applying this law to man, it will be found to be a fact that, whereas the
barbarian is most tenacious of custom, the European can adopt new fashions
with comparative ease. The obvious inference is, that in proportion as the
brain is feeble it is incapable of the effort of origination; therefore,
savages are the slaves of routine. Probably a stronger nervous system, or
a peculiarity of environment, or both combined, served to excite
impatience with their surroundings among the more favored races, from
whence came a desire for innovation. And the mental flexibility thus
slowly developed has passed by inheritance, and has been strengthened by
use, until the tendency to vary, or think independently, has become an
irrepressible instinct among some modern nations. Conservatism is the
converse of variation, and as it springs from mental inertia it is always
a progressively salient characteristic of each group in the descending
scale. The Spaniard is less mutable than the Englishman, the Hindoo than
the Spaniard, the Hottentot than the Hindoo, and the ape than the
Hottentot. Therefore, a power whose existence depends upon the fixity of
custom must be inimical to progress, but the authority of a sacred caste
is altogether based upon an unreasoning reverence for tradition,--in
short, on superstition; and as free inquiry is fatal to a belief in those
fables which awed the childhood of the race, it has followed that
established priesthoods have been almost uniformly the most conservative
of social forces, and that clergymen have seldom failed to slay their
variable brethren when opportunity has offered. History teems with such
slaughters, some of the most instructive of which are related in the Old
Testament, whose code of morals is purely theological.

Though there may be some question as to the strict veracity of the author
of the Book of Kings, yet, as he was evidently a thorough churchman, there
can be no doubt that he has faithfully preserved the traditions of the
hierarchy; his chronicle therefore presents, as it were, a perfect mirror,
wherein are reflected the workings of the ecclesiastical mind through many
generations. According to his account, the theocracy only triumphed after
a long and doubtful struggle. Samuel must have been an exceptionally able
man, for, though he failed to control Saul, it was through his intrigues
that David was enthroned, who was profoundly orthodox; yet Solomon lapsed
again into heresy, and Jeroboam added to schism the even blacker crime of
making "priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of
Levi," [Footnote: I Kings xii. 31.] and in consequence he has come down to
posterity as the man who made Israel to sin. Ahab married Jezebel, who
introduced the worship of Baal, and gave the support of government to a
rival church. She therefore roused a hate which has made her immortal; but
it was not until the reign of her son Jehoram that Elisha apparently felt
strong enough to execute a plot he had made with one of the generals to
precipitate a revolution, in which the whole of the house of Ahab should
be murdered and the heretics exterminated. The awful story is told with
wonderful power in the Bible.

"And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and
said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand,
and go to Ramoth-gilead: and when thou comest thither, look out there
Jehu, ... and make him arise up ... and carry him to an inner chamber;
then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the
Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel....

"So the young man ... went to Ramoth-gilead.... And he said, I have an
errand to thee, O captain....

"And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head,
and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I have anointed thee
king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel.

"And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the
blood of my servants the prophets....

"For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: ... and I will make the house
of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, ... and the dogs
shall eat Jezebel....

"Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: ... And he said, Thus
spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king
over Israel.

"Then they hasted, ... and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king. So
Jehu ... conspired against Joram....

"But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which
the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria....

"So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there....

"And Joram ... went out ... in his chariot, ... against Jehu.... And it
came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he
answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and
her witchcrafts are so many?

"And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is
treachery, O Ahaziah.

"And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his
arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his

"But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the
garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the
chariot. And they did so....

"And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted
her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.

"And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew
his master?...

"And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her
blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trod her under

"And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, ... to the
elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying, ... If ye be
mine, ... take ye the heads of ... your master's sons, and come to me to
Jezreel by to-morrow this time.... And it came to pass, when the letter
came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew seventy persons,
and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel....

"And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate
until the morning....

"So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all
his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none

"And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the
shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of

"And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at
the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any
of them....

"And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in
Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the Lord,
which he spake to Elijah.

"And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab
served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. Now therefore call
unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests;
let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever
shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the
intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal....

"And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came,
so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the
house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another....

"And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt
offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay
them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword;
and the guard and the captains cast them out....

"Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel." [Footnote: 2 _Kings_ ix., x.]

Viewed from the standpoint of comparative history, the policy of
theocratic Massachusetts toward the Quakers was the necessary consequence
of antecedent causes, and is exactly parallel with the massacre of the
house of Ahab by Elisha and Jehu. The power of a dominant priesthood
depended on conformity, and the Quakers absolutely refused to conform; nor
was this the blackest of their crimes: they believed that the Deity
communicated directly with men, and that these revelations were the
highest rule of conduct. Manifestly such a doctrine was revolutionary. The
influence of all ecclesiastics must ultimately rest upon the popular
belief that they are endowed with attributes which are denied to common
men. The syllogism of the New England elders was this: all revelation is
contained in the Bible; we alone, from our peculiar education, are capable
of interpreting the meaning of the Scriptures: therefore we only can
declare the will of God. But it was evident that, were the dogma of "the
inner light" once accepted, this reasoning must fall to the ground, and
the authority of the ministry be overthrown. Necessarily those who held so
subversive a doctrine would be pursued with greater hate than less harmful
heretics, and thus contemplating the situation there is no difficulty in
understanding why the Rev. John Wilson, pastor of Boston, should have
vociferated in his pulpit, that "he would carry fire in one hand and
faggots in the other, to burn all the Quakers in the world;" [Footnote:
_New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 124.] why the Rev. John Higginson
should have denounced the "inner light" as "a stinking vapour from hell;"
[Footnote: _Truth and Innocency Defended_, ed. 1703, p. 80.] why the
astute Norton should have taught that "the justice of God was the devil's
armour;" [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 9.] and why
Endicott sternly warned the first comers, "Take heed you break not our
ecclesiastical laws, for then ye are sure to stretch by a halter."
[Footnote: _Idem_, p. 9.]

Nevertheless, this view has not commended itself to those learned
clergymen who have been the chief historians of the Puritan commonwealth.
They have, on the contrary, steadily maintained that the sectaries were
the persecutors, since the company had exclusive ownership of the soil,
and acted in self-defence.

The case of Roger Williams is thus summed up by Dr. Dexter: "In all
strictness and honesty he persecuted them--not they him; just as the
modern 'Come-outer,' who persistently intrudes his bad manners and
pestering presence upon some private company, making himself, upon
pretence of conscience, a nuisance there; is--if sane--the persecutor,
rather than the man who forcibly assists, as well as courteously requires,
his desired departure." [Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_, p. 90.]

Dr. Ellis makes a similar argument regarding the Quakers: "It might appear
as if good manners, and generosity and magnanimity of spirit, would have
kept the Quakers away. Certainly, by every rule of right and reason, they
ought to have kept away. They had no rights or business here.... Most
clearly they courted persecution, suffering, and death; and, as the
magistrates affirmed, 'they rushed upon the sword.' Those magistrates
never intended them harm, ... except as they believed that all their
successive measures and sharper penalties were positively necessary to
secure their jurisdiction from the wildest lawlessness and absolute
anarchy." [Footnote: _Mass. and its Early History_, p. 110] His conclusion
is: "It is to be as frankly and positively affirmed that their Quaker
tormentors were the aggressive party; that they wantonly initiated the
strife, and with a dogged pertinacity persisted in outrages which drove
the authorities almost to frenzy...." [Footnote: _Idem_, p. 104]

The proposition that the Congregationalists owned the territory granted by
the charter of Charles I. as though it were a private estate, has been
considered in an earlier chapter; and if the legal views there advanced
are sound, it is incontrovertible, that all peaceful British subjects had
a right to dwell in Massachusetts, provided they did not infringe the
monopoly in trade. The only remaining question, therefore, is whether the
Quakers were peaceful. Dr. Ellis, Dr. Palfrey, and Dr. Dexter have
carefully collected a certain number of cases of misconduct, with the view
of proving that the Friends were turbulent, and the government had
reasonable grounds for apprehending such another outbreak as one which
occurred a century before in Germany and is known as the Peasants' War.
Before, however, it is possible to enter upon a consideration of the
evidence intelligently, it is necessary to fix the chronological order of
the leading events of the persecution.

The twenty-one years over which it extended may be conveniently divided
into three periods, of which the first began in July, 1656, when Mary
Fisher and Anne Austin came to Boston, and lasted till December, 1661,
when Charles II. interfered by commanding Endicott to send those under
arrest to England for trial. Hitherto John Norton had been preeminent, but
in that same December he was appointed on a mission to London, and as he
died soon after his return, his direct influence on affairs then probably
ceased. He had been chiefly responsible for the hangings of 1659 and 1660,
but under no circumstances could they have been continued, for after four
heretics had perished, it was found impossible to execute Wenlock
Christison, who had been condemned, because of popular indignation.

Nevertheless, the respite was brief. In June, 1662, the king, in a letter
confirming the charter, excluded the Quakers from the general toleration
which he demanded for other sects, and the old legislation was forthwith
revived; only as it was found impossible to kill the schismatics openly,
the inference, from what occurred subsequently, is unavoidable, that the
elders sought to attain their purpose by what their reverend historians
call "a humaner policy," [Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_, p. 134.]
or, in plain English, by murdering them by flogging and starvation. Nor
was the device new, for the same stratagem had already been resorted to by
the East India Company, in Hindostan, before they were granted full
criminal jurisdiction. [Footnote: Mill's _British India_, i. 48, note.]

The Vagabond Act was too well contrived for compassing such an end, to
have been an accident, and portions of it strongly suggest the hand of
Norton. It was passed in May, 1661, when it was becoming evident that
hanging must be abandoned, and its provisions can only be explained on the
supposition that it was the intention to make the infliction of death
discretionary with each magistrate. It provided that any foreign Quaker,
or any native upon a second conviction, might be ordered to receive an
unlimited number of stripes. It is important also to observe that the whip
was a two-handed implement, armed with lashes made of twisted and knotted
cord or catgut. [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 357, note.]
There can be no doubt, moreover, that sundry of the judgments afterward
pronounced would have resulted fatally had the people permitted their
execution. During the autumn following its enactment this statute was
suspended, but it was revived in about ten months.

Endicott's death in 1665 marks the close of the second epoch, and ten
comparatively tranquil years followed. Bellingham's moderation may have
been in part due to the interference of the royal commissioners, but a
more potent reason was the popular disgust, which had become so strong
that the penal laws could not be enforced.

A last effort was made to rekindle the dying flame in 1675, by fining
constables who failed in their duty to break up Quaker meetings, and
offering one third of the penalty to the informer. Magistrates were
required to sentence those apprehended to the House of Correction, where
they were to be kept three days on bread and water, and whipped.
[Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 60.] Several suffered during this revival,
the last of whom was Margaret Brewster. At the end of twenty-one years the
policy of cruelty had become thoroughly discredited and a general
toleration could no longer be postponed; but this great liberal triumph
was only won by heroic courage and by the endurance of excruciating
torments. Marmaduke Stevenson, William Robinson, Mary Dyer, and William
Leddra were hanged, several were mutilated or branded, two at least are
known to have died from starvation and whipping, and it is probable that
others were killed whose fate cannot be traced. The number tortured under
the Vagabond Act is unknown, nor can any estimate be made of the misery
inflicted upon children by the ruin and exile of parents.

The early Quakers were enthusiasts, and therefore occasionally spoke and
acted extravagantly; they also adopted some offensive customs, the most
objectionable of which was wearing the hat; all this is immaterial. The
question at issue is not their social attractiveness, but the cause whose
consequence was a virulent persecution. This can only be determined by an
analysis of the evidence. If, upon an impartial review of the cases of
outrage which have been collected, it shall appear probable that the
conduct of the Friends was sufficiently violent to make it credible that
the legislature spoke the truth, when it declared that "the prudence of
this court was exercised onely in making provission to secure the peace &
order heere established against theire attempts, whose designe (wee were
well assured by our oune experjence, as well as by the example of theire
predecessors in Munster) was to vndermine & ruine the same;" [Footnote:
_Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 385.] then the reverend historians of
the theocracy must be considered to have established their proposition.
But if, on the other hand, it shall seem apparent that the intense
vindictiveness of this onslaught was due to the bigotry and greed of power
of a despotic priesthood, who saw in the spread of independent thought a
menace to the ascendency of their order, then it must be held to be
demonstrated that the clergy of New England acted in obedience to those
natural laws, which have always regulated the conduct of mankind.


1656, July. First Quakers came to Boston.

1656, 14 Oct. First act against Quakers passed. Providing that ship-
masters bringing Quakers should be fined £100. Quakers to be whipped and
imprisoned till expelled. Importers of Quaker books to be fined. Any
defending Quaker opinions to be fined, first offence, 40s.; second, £4;
third, banishment.

1657, 14 Oct. By a supplementary act; Quakers returning after one
conviction for first offence, for men, loss of one ear; imprisonment till
exile. Second offence, loss other ear, like imprisonment. For females;
first offence, whipping, imprisonment. Second offence, idem. Third
offence, men and women alike; tongue to be bored with a hot iron,
imprisonment, exile. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 309.]

1658. In this year Rev. John Norton actively exerted himself to secure
more stringent legislation; procured petition to that effect to be
presented to court.

1658, 19 Oct. Enacted that undomiciled Quakers returning from banishment
should be hanged. Domiciled Quakers upon conviction, refusing to
apostatize, to be banished, under pain of death on return. [Footnote:
_Idem_, p. 346.]

Under this act the following persons were hanged:

1659, 27 Oct. Robinson and Stevenson hanged.

1660, 1 June. Mary Dyer hanged. (Previously condemned, reprieved, and
executed for returning.)

1660-1661, 14 Mar. William Leddra hanged.

1661, June. Wenlock Christison condemned to death; released.

1661, 22 May. Vagabond Act. Any person convicted before a county
magistrate of being an undomiciled or vagabond Quaker to be 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. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 2,
p. 3.]

1661, 9 Sept. King Charles II. wrote to Governor Endicott directing the
cessation of corporal punishment in regard to Quakers, and ordering the
accused to be sent to England for trial.

1661. 27 Nov. Vagabond Act suspended.

1662. 28 June. The company's agents, Bradstreet and Norton, received from
the king his letter of pardon, etc., wherein, however, Quakers are
excepted from the demand made for religious toleration.

1662, 8 Oct. Encouraged by the above letter the Vagabond law revived.

1664-5, 15 March. Death of John Endicott. Bellingham governor.
Commissioners interfere on behalf of Quakers in May. The persecution

1672, 3 Nov. Persecution revived by passage of law punishing persons found
at Quaker meeting by fine or imprisonment and flogging. Also fining
constables for neglect in making arrests and giving one third the fine to
informers. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 60.]

1677, Aug. 9. Margaret Brewster whipped for entering the Old South in


1656, Mary Prince. 1662, Deborah Wilson.
1658, Sarah Gibbons. 1663, Thomas Newhouse.
" Dorothy Waugh. " Edward Wharton.
1660, John Smith. 1664, Hannah Wright. [Footnote: Uncertain.]
1661, Katherine Chatham. " Mary Tomkins.
" George Wilson. 1665, Lydia Wardwell.
1662, Elizabeth Hooton. 1677, Margaret Brewster.

"It was in the month called July, of this present year [1656] when Mary
Fisher and Ann Austin arrived in the road before Boston, before ever a law
was made there against the Quakers; and yet they were very ill treated;
for before they came ashore, the deputy governor, Richard Bellingham (the
governor himself being out of town) sent officers aboard, who 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.... And
then they were 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 pretence to know whether they were witches [a true
touch of sacerdotal malignity] 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. And seeing
they were not provided with victuals, Nicholas Upshal, one who had lived
long in Boston, and was a member of the church there, was so concerned
about it, (liberty being denied to send them provision) that he purchased
it of the jailor at the rate of five shillings a week, lest they should
have starved. And 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 jailor kept their beds ... and their Bible, for his
fees." [Footnote: Sewel, p. 160.]

Endicott was much dissatisfied with the forbearance of Bellingham, and
declared that had he "been there ... he would have had them well whipp'd."
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 10.] No exertion was spared,
nevertheless, to get some hold upon them, the elders examining them as to
matters of faith, with a view to ensnare them as heretics. In this,
however, they were foiled.

On the authority of Hutchinson, Dr. Dexter [Footnote: _As to Roger
Williams_, p. 127.] and r. Palfrey complain [Footnote: Palfrey, ii.
464.] that Mary Prince reviled two of the ministers, who "with much
moderation and tenderness endeavored to convince her of her errors."
[Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 181.] A visitation of the clergy was a
form of torment from which even the boldest recoiled; Vane, Gorton,
Childe, and Anne Hutchinson quailed under it, and though the Quakers
abundantly proved that they could bear stripes with patience, they could
not endure this. She called them "Baal's priests, the seed of the
serpent." Dr. Ellis also speaks of "stinging objurgations screamed out ...
from between the bars of their prisons." [Footnote: _Mem. Hist. of
Boston_, i. 182.] He cites no cases, but he probably refers to the same
woman who called to Endicott one Sunday on his way from church: "Woe unto
thee, thou art an oppressor." [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 181.] If
she said so she spoke the truth, for she was illegally imprisoned, was
deprived of her property, and subjected to great hardship.

In October, 1656, the first of the repressive acts was passed, by which
the "cursed" and "blasphemous" intruders were condemned to be "comitted to
the house of correction, and at theire entrance to be seuerely whipt and
by the master thereof to be kept constantly to worke, and none suffered to
converse or speak with them;" [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 1,
p. 278.] and any captain knowingly bringing them within the jurisdiction
to be fined one hundred pounds, with imprisonment till payment.

"When this law was published at the door of the aforenamed Nicholas
Upshall, the good old man, grieved in spirit, publickly testified against
it; for which he was the next morning sent for to the General Court, where
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 place, desired them to take heed, lest they were
found fighters against God.' For this, he, though one of their church-
members, and of a blameless conversation, was fined £20 and £3 more for
not coming to church, whence the sense of their wickedness had induced him
to absent himself. They also banished him out of their jurisdiction,
allowing him but one month for his departure, though in the winter season,
and he a weakly ancient man: Endicott the governor, when applied to on his
behalf for a mitigation of his fine, churlishly answered, 'I will not bate
him a groat.'" [Footnote: Besse, ii. 181.]

Although, after the autumn of 1656, whippings, fines, and banishments
became frequent, no case of misconduct is alleged until the 13th of the
second month, 1658, when Sarah Gibbons and Dorothy Waugh broke two bottles
in Mr. Norton's church, after lecture, to testify to his emptiness;
[Footnote: This charge is unproved.] both had previously been imprisoned
and banished, but the ferocity with which Norton at that moment was
forcing on the persecution was the probable incentive to the trespass.
"They were sent to the house of correction, where, after being kept three
days without any food, they were cruelly whipt, and kept three days longer
without victuals, though they had offered to buy some, but were not
suffered." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 184.]

In 1661 Katharine Chatham walked through Boston, in sackcloth. This was
during the trial of Christison for his life, when the terror culminated,
and hardly needs comment.

George Wilson is charged with having "rushed through the streets of
Boston, shouting: 'The Lord is coming with fire and sword!'" [Footnote:
_As to Roger Williams_, p. 133.] The facts appear to be these: in 1661,
just before Christison's trial, he was arrested, without any apparent
reason, and, as he was led to prison, he cried, that the Lord was coming
with fire and sword to plead with Boston. [Footnote: _New England Judged_,
ed. 1703, p. 351.] At the general jail delivery [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._
vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 19. Order passed 28 May, 1661.] in anticipation of the
king's order, he was liberated, but soon rearrested, "sentenced to be tied
to the cart's tail," and flogged with so severe a whip that the Quakers
wanted to buy it "to send to England for the novelty of the cruelty, but
that was not permitted." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 224.]

Elizabeth Hooton coming from England in 1661, with Joan Brooksup, "they
were soon clapt up in prison, and, upon their discharge thence, being
driven with the rest two days' journey into the vast, howling wilderness,
and there left ... without necessary provisions." [Footnote: Besse, ii.
228, 229.] They escaped to Barbadoes. "Upon their coming again to Boston,
they were presently apprehended by a constable, an ignorant and furious
zealot, who declared, 'It was his delight, and he could rejoice in
following the Quakers to their execution as much as ever.'" Wishing to
return once more, she obtained a license from the king to buy a house in
any plantation. Though about sixty, she was seized at Dover, where the
Rev. Mr. Rayner was settled, put into the stocks, and imprisoned four days
in the dead of winter, where she nearly perished from cold. [Footnote:
Besse, ii. 229.] Afterward, at Cambridge, she exhorted the people to
repentance in the streets, [Footnote: "Repentance! Repentance! A day of
howling and sad lamentation is coming upon you all from the Lord."] and
for this crime, which is cited as an outrage to Puritan decorum,
[Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_, p. 133.] she was once more apprehended
and "imprisoned in a close, stinking dungeon, where there was nothing
either to lie down or sit on, where she was kept two days and two nights
without bread or water," and then sentenced to be whipped through three
towns. "At Cambridge she was tied to the whipping-post, and lashed with
ten stripes with a three-stringed whip, with three knots at the end: At
Watertown she was laid on with ten stripes more with rods of willow: At
Dedham, in a cold frosty morning, they tortured her aged body with ten
stripes more at a cart's tail." 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 winter sometimes frozen, which made the
torture intolerably agonizing. Then, as hanging was impossible, other
means were tried to make an end of her: "Thus miserably torn and beaten,
they carried her a weary journey on horseback many miles into the
wilderness, and toward night left her there among wolves, bears, and other
wild beasts, who, though they did sometimes seize on living persons, were
yet to her less cruel than the savage-professors of that country. When
those who conveyed her thither left her, they said, 'They thought they
should never see her more.'" [Footnote: Besse, ii. 229. See _New England
Judged_, p. 413.]

The intent to kill is obvious, and yet Elizabeth Hooton suffered less than
many of those convicted and sentenced after public indignation had forced
the theocracy to adopt what their reverend successors are pleased to call
the "humaner policy" of the Vagabond Act. [Footnote: _As to Roger
Williams_, p. 134.]

Any want of deference to a clergyman is sure to be given a prominent place
in the annals of Massachusetts; and, accordingly, the breaking of bottles
in church, which happened twice in twenty-one years, is never omitted.

In 1663 "John Liddal, and Thomas Newhouse, having been at meeting" (at
Salem), "were apprehended and ... sentenced to be whipt through three
towns as vagabonds," which was accordingly done.

"Not long after this, the aforesaid Thomas Newhouse was again whipt
through the jurisdiction of Boston for testifying against the persecutors
in their meeting-house there; at which time he, in a prophetick manner,
having two glass bottles in his hands, threw them down, saying, 'so shall
you be dashed in pieces.'" [Footnote: Besse, ii. 232.]

The next turbulent Quaker is mentioned in this way by Dr. Dexter: "Edward
Wharton was 'pressed in spirit' to repair to Dover and proclaim 'Wo,
vengeance, and the indignation of the Lord' upon the court in session
there." [Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_, p. 133.] This happened in
the summer of 1663, and long ere then he had seen and suffered the
oppression that makes men mad. He was a peaceable and industrious
inhabitant of Salem; in 1659 he had seen Robinson and Stevenson done to
death, and, being deeply moved, he said, "the guilt of [their] blood was
so great that he could not bear it;" [Footnote: Besse, ii. 205.] he was
taken from his home, given twenty lashes and fined twenty pounds; the next
year, just at the time of Christison's trial, he was again seized, led
through the country like a notorious offender, and thrown into prison,
"where he was kept close, night and day, with William Leddra, sometimes in
a very little room, little bigger than a saw-pit, having no liberty
granted them."

"Being brought before their court, he again asked, 'What is the cause, and
wherefore have I been fetcht from my habitation, where I was following my
honest calling, and here laid up as an evil-doer?' They told him, that
'his hair was too long, and that he had disobeyed that commandment which
saith, Honour thy father and mother.' He asked, 'Wherein?' 'In that you
will not,' said they, 'put off your hat to magistrates.' Edward replied,
'I love and own all magistrates and rulers, who are for the punishment of
evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.'" [Footnote: Besse,
ii. 220.]

Then Rawson pronounced the sentence: "You are upon pain of death to depart
this jurisdiction, it being the 11th of this instant March, by the one and
twentieth of the same, on the pain of death.... 'Nay [said Wharton], I
shall not go away; therefore be careful what you do.'" [Footnote: Besse,
ii. 221.]

And he did not go, but was with Leddra when he died upon the tree. On the
day Leddra suffered, Christison was brought before Endicott, and commanded
to renounce his religion; but he answered: "Nay, I shall not change my
religion, nor seek to save my life; ... but if I lose my life for Christ's
sake and the preaching of the gospel, I shall save it." They then sent him
back to prison to await his doom. At the next court he was brought to the
bar, where he demanded an appeal to England; but in the midst a letter was
brought in from Wharton, signifying, "That whereas they had banished him
on pain of death, yet he was at home in his own house at Salem, and
therefore proposing, 'That they would take off their wicked sentence from
him, that he might go about his occasions out of their jurisdiction.'"
[Footnote: Besse, ii. 222, 223.]

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 hang'd until you
are dead, dead, dead.'" [Footnote: Sewel, p. 279.] Thereafter Wharton
invoked the wrath of God against the theocracy.

To none of the enormities committed, during these years are the divines
more keenly alive than to the crime of disturbing what they call "public
Sabbath worship;" [Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_, p. 139.] and since
their language conveys the impression that such acts were not only very
common, but also unprovoked, whereas the truth is that they were rare, it
cannot fail to be instructive to relate the causes which led to the
interruption of the ordination of that Mr. Higginson, who called the
"inner light" "a stinking vapour from hell." [Footnote: Ordained July 8,
1660. _Annals of Salem_.]

John and Margaret Smith were members of the Salem church, and John was a
freeman. In 1658, Margaret became a Quaker, and though in feeble health,
she was cast into prison, and endured the extremities of privation; her
sufferings and her patience so wrought upon her husband that he too became
a convert, and a few weeks before the ceremony wrote to Endicott:

"O governour, governour, do not think that my love to my wife is at all
abated, because I sit still silent, and do not seek her ... freedom, which
if I did would not avail.... Upon examination of her, there being nothing
justly laid to her charge, yet to fulfil your wills, it was determined,
that she must have ten stripes in the open market place, it being very
cold, the snow lying by the walls, and the wind blowing cold.... My love
is much more increased to her, because I see your cruelty so much enlarged
to her." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 208, 209.]

Yet, though laboring under such intense excitement, the only act of
insubordination wherewith this man is charged was saying in a loud voice
during the service, "What you are going about to set up, our God is
pulling down." [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 187.]

Dr. Dexter also speaks with pathos of the youth of some of the criminals.

"Hannah Wright, a mere girl of less than fifteen summers, toiled ... from
Oyster Bay ... to Boston, that she might pipe in the ears of the court 'a
warning in the name of the Lord.'" [Footnote: _As to Roger Williams,_ p.
133.] This appears to have happened in 1664, [Footnote: Besse, ii. 234.
_New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 461.] yet the name of Hannah Wright is
recorded among those who were released in the general jail delivery in
1661, [Footnote: Besse, ii. 224.] when she was only twelve; and her sister
had been banished. [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 461.]

But of all the scandals which have been dwelt on for two centuries with
such unction, none have been made more notorious than certain
extravagances committed by three women; and regarding them, the reasoning
of Dr. Dexter should be read in full.

"The Quaker of the seventeenth century ... was essentially a coarse,
blustering, conceited, disagreeable, impudent fanatic; whose religion
gained subjective comfort in exact proportion to the objective comfort of
which it was able to deprive others; and which broke out into its choicest
exhibitions in acts which were not only at that time in the nature of a
public scandal and nuisance, but which even in the brightest light of this
nineteenth century ... would subject those who should be guilty of them to
the immediate and stringent attention of the police court. The disturbance
of public Sabbath worship, and the indecent exposure of the person--
whether conscience be pleaded for them or not--are punished, and rightly
punished, as crimes by every civilized government." [Footnote: _As to
Roger Williams_, pp. 138, 139.]

This paragraph undoubtedly refers to Mary Tomkins, who "on the First Day
of the week at Oyster River, broke up the service of God's house ... the
scene ending in deplorable confusion;" [Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_,
p. 133.] and to Lydia Wardwell and Deborah Wilson, who appeared in public

Mary Tomkins and Alice Ambrose came to Massachusetts in 1662; landing at
Dover, they began preaching at the inn, to which a number of people
resorted. Mr. Rayner, hearing the news, hurried to the spot, and in much
irritation asked them what they were doing there? This led to an argument
about the Trinity, and the authority of ministers, and at last the
clergyman "in a rage flung away, calling to his people, at the window, to
go from amongst them." [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 362.]
Nothing was done at the moment, but toward winter the two came back from
Maine, whither they had gone, and then Mr. Rayner saw his opportunity. He
caused Richard Walden to prosecute them, 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:--

* * * * *

To the Constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich,
Wenham, Linn, Boston, Roxbury, Dedham, and until these vagabond Quakers
are carried out of this jurisdiction. You and every 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.

At Dover, dated December the 22d, 1662. [Footnote: Besse, ii. 227.]

* * * * *

The Rev. John Rayner pronounced judgment 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.

"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 a
while cruelly whipp'd them, whilst the priest 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." [Footnote: _New
England Judged_, pp. 366, 367.]

Had the Reverend 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.

Soon after, on Sunday,--"Whilst Alice Ambrose was at prayer, two
constables ... came ... and taking her ... dragged her out of doors, and
then with her face toward the snow, which was knee deep, over stumps and
old trees near a mile; when they had wearied themselves they ... left the
prisoner in an house ... and fetched Mary Tomkins, whom in like manner
they dragged with her face toward the snow....On the next morning, which
was excessive cold, they got a canoe ... and so carried them to the
harbour's mouth, threatning, that 'They would now so do with them, as that
they would be troubled with them no more.' The women being unwilling to
go, they forced them down a very steep place in the snow, dragging Mary
Tomkins over the stumps of trees to the water side, so that she was much
bruised, and fainted under their hands: They plucked Alice Ambrose into
the water, and kept her swimming by the canoe in great danger of drowning,
or being frozen to death. They would in all probability have proceeded in
their wicked purpose to the murthering of those three women, had they not
been prevented by a sudden storm, which drove them back to the house
again. They kept the women there till near midnight, and then cruelly
turned them out of doors in the frost and snow, Alice Ambrose's clothes
being frozen hard as boards.... It was observable that those constables,
though wicked enough of themselves, were animated by a ruling elder of
their church, whose name corresponded not with his actions, for he was
called Hate-evil Nutter, he put those men forward, and by his presence
encouraged them." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 228.]

Subsequently, Mary Tomkins committed the breach of the peace complained
of, which was an interruption of a sermon against Quaker preaching.
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 386.]

Deborah Wilson, one of the women who went abroad naked, was insane, the
fact appearing of record subsequently as the judgment of the court. She
was flogged. [Footnote: _Quaker Invasion_, p. 104.]

Lydia Wardwell was the daughter of Isaac Perkins, a freeman. She married
Eliakim Wardwell, son of Thomas Wardwell, who was also a citizen. They
became Quakers; and the story begins when the poor young woman had been a
wife just three years. "At Hampton, Priest Seaborn Cotton, understanding
that one Eliakim Wardel had entertained Wenlock Christison, went with some
of his herd to Eliakim's house, having like a sturdy herdsman put himself
at the head of his followers, with a truncheon in his hand." Eliakim was
fined for harboring Christison, and "a pretty beast for the saddle, worth
about fourteen pound, was taken ... the overplus of [Footnote: Sewel, p.
340.] which to make up to him, your officers plundred old William Marston
of a vessel of green ginger, which for some fine was taken from him, and
forc'd it into Eliakim's house, where he let it lie and touched it not;
... and notwithstanding he came not to your invented worship, but was
fined ten shillings a day's absence, for him and his wife, yet was he
often rated for priest's hire; and the priest (Seaborn Cotton, old John
Cotton's son) to obtain his end and to cover himself, sold his rate to a
man almost as bad as himself, ... who coming in pretence of borrowing a
little corn for himself, which the harmless honest man willingly lent him;

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