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European Background Of American History by Edward Potts Cheyney

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Corporation" (Political Science Quarterly, XI., 369-273).] The charter
of the Dutch West India Company was granted by "The High and Mighty
Lords, the Lords States-General of the United Netherlands," June 3,
1621. It had already been under discussion in the various
representative bodies of the Netherlands for fifteen years, and had
been a fixed idea in the brain of its projector, William Usselinx, for
at least fourteen years before that, [Footnote: Jameson, Usselinx, 21,
28, 70.] advocated in a dozen pamphlets and a hundred memorials and
communications, written and oral, to the States-General; and it had the
advantage of the state's experience with the Dutch East India Company.
The shape given to the West India Company in its charter was not,
therefore, merely an outcome of the plans of an individual, but a
resultant also of the influence of the earlier commercial companies, of
the political conditions of the time, and of the ambitions, economic
and political, of the influential merchant-rulers of the Netherlands.
[Footnote: Ibid, 2-4.]

1. The company was given for twenty-four years, during which no
stockholders could withdraw and no new subscriptions would be received,
the monopoly of the Dutch trade on the west coast of Africa, from Cape
Verd to the Cape of Good Hope; in all the islands lying in the Atlantic
Ocean; on the east coast of America from Newfoundland to the Straits of
Magellan; and even beyond the straits on its west coast, and in the
southern lands which at that time were still believed to stretch from
Cape Horn across the South Pacific to New Guinea. All the non-European
regions of the globe were thus divided by the States-General, with even
greater boldness than by Pope Alexander, between the East and West
India Dutch chartered companies.

2. Its commercial privileges included a general monopoly and extended
to all forms of advancement of trade.

3. As to colonization, the charter provided that the company "may
advance the peopling of fruitful and unsettled parts." Usselinx, the
original author and the persistent advocate of the plan, would gladly
have made more adequate provision for the establishment of colonies,
the stimulation of agriculture and mining, good government in these
colonies, their religious life, and the conversion of the natives. He
had a picture in his mind of a great commercial dominion, settled from
Holland and other countries, forming a market for European
manufactures, and producing colonial goods for the use of the
Netherlands. [Footnote: Jameson, Usselinx, 43.] But the charter was
granted in war time, and by a body of aristocratic traders, who, as
Bacon says, "look ever to the present gain"; so that the capture of
Spanish plate-fleets and the sacking of West Indian settlements are
contemplated with as much assurance and interest as are colonization
and more legitimate commerce.

4. In view of later disputes between England and her colonies, it is
worthy of note that even such an enlightened advocate of a prosperous,
self-governing colonial empire as Usselinx should have insisted, in
1618, that the colonists were to pay taxes to the home government, to
trade with the Netherlands only, and to have no manufactures that would
compete with those of the mother-country. [Footnote: Ibid., 63]

5. The political or semi-public powers of the company, according to the
charter, were very extensive: it could form alliances and make war, so
long as the war was defensive or retaliatory, could build forts,
maintain troops, appoint officers, capture prizes, and arrest offenders
on the high seas.

6. By way of subsidy the company was given one million florins, the use
of sixteen government ships and four yachts, and exemption from all
tolls and license dues on its ships.

7. The duties required of the company were an oath of fidelity to
Prince Maurice, the stadtholder, and to the States-General, on the part
of its officers; the provision of a number of vessels equal at least to
those provided by the government; the return of its ships whenever
practicable to the ports from which they had set out; the preservation
for military purposes of all prizes captured from enemies of the
States-General; the periodical publishing of accounts; and the
division, after six years, of all surplus over ten per cent, in such a
way that, in addition to what the shareholders received, one-tenth
should go to the States-General and one-thirtieth to Count Maurice.

The government of the Dutch West India Company was very complicated,
reflecting the political arrangements of the Netherlands and the
jealousies of a merchant aristocracy distributed in provinces and
cities. There was a governor-in-chief of the company's colonial
possessions, but his powers were dependent on a general board of
nineteen directors, who were the supreme authority in the regulation of
the company's affairs. Below this central body were five territorial
chambers, with a combined membership of seventy-eight. The numbers,
powers, and influence on the policy of the company of these chambers
were in proportion to the wealth of the cities they represented and to
the amount of the stock subscribed from these cities. The Amsterdam
chamber, which was to subscribe one-half the capital stock, was far the
most influential and had the largest number of directors; after it in
order came the chambers of Zealand, of the cities on the Meuse, of the
cities of North Holland, and of the cities of Friesland and Groningen.
These local boards elected the general board, one-third of their
number, chosen by lot, retiring each year. [Footnote: Jameson,
Usselinx, 33, 34.]

When Richelieu became prime-minister of France in 1624, one of the
earliest definite lines of policy he initiated was the formation of
privileged commercial companies. [Footnote: Edict of Reformation of
1627, art. 429; Isambert, Recueil General des Anciennes Lois
Francaises, XVI., 329.] He saw with great clearness and formulated in a
state paper [Footnote: Michaud et Poujoulat, Memoires, I., chap,
xviii., 438.] the reasons for recognizing the superiority for distant
commerce, under the conditions of that period, of chartered companies
over individual traders. He was also much impressed with the power and
success of the great East India companies of England and Holland. His
first plan was a general French company of commerce, to include all the
outlying sections of the world, and at least two such companies were
chartered in succession. They came to nothing, and soon gave place to
companies authorized each to carry on commerce with a specified part of
America, Africa, Europe, or Asia.[Footnote: Pigeonneau, Hist. du
Commerce, II., 426-431.] The most important of these was the company of
Canada, chartered in 1628 on the plans of Champlain, and intended to
take the place of all earlier companies and individual grantees having
privileges in that region. The chartered powers and privileges of this
company may be analyzed as follows:

1. The region to which they extended was "the fort and settlement of
Quebec, with all the country of New France, called Canada." [Footnote:
Isambert, Recueil General, XVI., 216-222.] It was described as
extending along the Atlantic coast from Florida to the arctic circle,
and from Newfoundland westward to the sources of the farthest rivers
which fell into the St. Lawrence or the "Fresh Sea."

2. The power of the company over the soil was complete. It was allowed
to sell or dispose of it in such portions and on such terms as it
should see fit, except that if it should grant great fiefs such as
duchies or baronies, letters of confirmation to the grantees should be
sought from the crown.

3. The continuance of the company in its full form with all powers and
duties was to be for fifteen years, while for other purposes its life
was to be perpetual.

4. Its commercial privileges extended during this term of fifteen years
to the complete monopoly of all kinds of commerce by sea or land, all
former grants being withdrawn; and the company was empowered to
confiscate any French or other vessels coming to trade within its
dominions. The value of Canada as a source of supply for furs was
already known, and the fur trade was placed under the special control
of the company forever. The whale and seal fisheries, on the other
hand, were exempted from its control, even for the fifteen years, and
left free to all Frenchmen.

5. As a form of subsidy the king agreed to give the company two war-
vessels of two hundred to three hundred tons, armed and equipped for a
voyage; but they were to be victualled, supported, and, in case of
loss, replaced by the company. He also presented them with certain
cannon formerly the property of the East India Company. The nature of
these gifts seems to intimate the possibility of warlike expeditions of
the company against the king's enemies and its own, and prizes are
referred to repeatedly as a possible source of income.

6. All goods of all kinds brought from New France were to be exempted
for fifteen years from all duties and imposts; and all victuals,
munitions of war, and all other necessaries exported from France to the
colony should be likewise exempt. Other privileges were permission to
nobles, clergymen, and officers to join the company without derogation
from their rank, and an agreement to ennoble twelve prominent members
of the company; full naturalization as French citizens of all colonists
and converted natives; and the advancement of all artisans who should
pursue their trades in the colony for six years, to full mastership in
their respective occupations.

7. The duties the company was bound to fulfil in return for these
concessions were primarily those of colonization. The company engaged
to take over to New France two or three hundred colonists of both sexes
within the year 1628, and altogether four thousand within fifteen
years; to lodge, feed, and provide them with the necessaries of life
for three years after their emigration; and then to assign to them
enough cleared land for their support and enough grain to sow it and to
feed them till the first harvest. These provisions showed a clear
insight into the difficulties of settlement of a new country, but they
also imposed upon the company a crushing burden of expense which
required true Gallic optimism to contemplate with any assurance of

8. Next to peopling of the colony came the conversion of the heathen.
Indeed, this object, with proper piety, was placed in the forefront of
the edict creating the company. In each settlement the company was
bound to provide at least three priests and give them support for
fifteen years, or else provide them with cleared land sufficient for
their support. After the expiration of the fifteen years, and for
further missionary efforts, the religious needs of the colony were
commended to the charity and devotion of the company and the colonists.

9. It was required that all colonists should be natural-born Frenchmen
and Catholics. The absolute orthodoxy of this colony from its inception
was in striking contrast with the freedom from religious restriction of
the colonies planned by Coligny before the civil wars had forced the
government to introduce rigorous conformity.

10. The company's rights over the colony were great: they could appoint
officers of sovereign justice, who should be commissioned by the crown;
and nominate military officials by sea and land over ships, troops, and
fortresses, the king agreeing to appoint their nominees. They were
empowered to build forts, forge cannon, make gunpowder, and do all
things necessary for the security of the colony and its commerce.

11. The charter contained no provisions for the internal government of
the company, simply recognizing the existing voluntary organization of
one hundred associates, whom it describes as a "strong company for the
establishment of a colony of native Frenchmen." As far as membership
extends, they were allowed to join to themselves any additional number
up to another hundred.

Thus was organized the company which, through the genius of Champlain
and with much tribulation, laid the foundations of the colony of

Considering as types these four companies dating from 1600, 1609, 1621,
and 1628, and representing England, Holland, and France, a comparison
of their main characteristics leads to the following generalizations:

1. It is evident that there was in early modern times a movement for
the organization and chartering of companies for distant commerce,
closely dependent on their respective governments. These companies had
their period of rise in the sixteenth century; a rapid and wide-spread
development in the seventeenth; and a subsequent decline and discredit
in the eighteenth. The movement was European; every country whose
situation or ambitions would at all admit of distant trading, and whose
system of commerce was not, like that of Spain and Portugal, already
stereotyped under government control, adopted approximately the same

2. To each of these companies was secured by its charter the monopoly
of trade in a particular region. Its members alone had power or right
to carry on commerce with a specified people, over a specified extent
of coasts or lands, and during a definite period of years. This
monopoly might be only as against the fellow-countrymen of the members
of the company; but an effort, generally successful, was made to
exclude all other Europeans from each reserved field of commerce.

3. The companies were based on unions of the capital of many merchants
or other adventurers. An official Dutch letter on the trade with
America speaks of "knowing by experience that without the common
assistance of a general company navigation and commerce could not be
practised, maintained, and defended in the regions and quarters
designated above, because of the great risks from corsairs, pirates,
and other extortions which are met with upon such voyages." [Footnote:
Letters to the Dutch West India Company, June 9, 1621.] The preliminary
equipment of ships, the purchase of supplies and merchandise, the
acquisition of land, the building of forts and the supply of weapons
and military material; the payment of a military force to protect their
commerce against natives or interloping Europeans; the expenses, in
many cases, of transporting and supporting colonists; and, finally, the
long waiting before returns could be reasonably hoped for--some or all
of these expenses were inseparable from the whole plan of establishing
distant trade. It was no wonder that individual traders gave place to
great unions of the merchants of London, Amsterdam, or Dieppe, who
risked part of their means and united their resources to form companies
to trade with the East and West Indies, Africa, and other outlying
parts of the world.

4. Neither the possession of a monopoly nor the creation of a large,
joint capital was considered enough to launch an enterprise of this
kind. The grant of public or political powers by government was
necessary to make its economic objects attainable, and these were given
with a free hand. The companies very generally received, explicitly or
by implication, rights of peace and war, of supreme justice, of
administrative independence, and of legislation for their own
territory, members, and servants. A chartered company was in many cases
the holder from the crown of a wide fief in which it possessed more
than feudal powers. As a matter of fact, the companies generally
remained quite dependent on the home authorities, but this resulted
from the desire to save expense, from the supremacy of commercial
ideals, or from patriotism, rather than from deficiencies in their

5. In the grant of these extensive political powers the home
governments had ulterior motives. The seventeenth century was a period
of intense international rivalry, and the chartered commercial
companies were pieces in the game. It was not mere profit in pounds,
shillings, and pence which Elizabeth hoped to obtain from the voyages
of the ships of the East India Company, but a weakening of the power
and wealth and colonial dominion of Spain. Even in the more peaceful
times of James, the Spaniards saw, and were justified in seeing, in the
popular interest in Virginia another phase of the national hatred of
Spain. [Footnote: Letters from Zuniga to Philip III, in Brown, Genesis
of the United States, docs, xxviii.-xxxiii., etc.] It was at the close
of the twelve years' truce between the Netherlands and Spain, just when
the war was being resumed, that the Dutch West India Company was
formed, and its greatest activity was in a warlike rivalry with its
great opponent in South America. "The reputation of this crown" was
combined with "the glory of God" in the charter of the Canada Company;
and most of the commercial and colonizing projects of France in the
seventeenth as in the nineteenth century, had a large element of
political pride behind them. Sometimes it was warlike conquest,
sometimes the expulsion of a rival, sometimes the acquisition of a new
base of operations, sometimes the obtaining of a more favorable balance
of trade, sometimes mere international rivalry; but whatever the other
elements, there were always some political objects in addition to the
hope of obtaining dividends from trade.

6. For the history of America, the most important characteristic common
to the chartered companies of the seventeenth century is the
territorial foothold they obtained in the regions where they possessed
their monopolies. It might be only a few acres of ground used for a
fort, storehouses, and dwellings, which was all the English East India
Company possessed for the first century and a half of its existence; or
it might be the almost limitless domains of the Canada or Virginia
Company. There was no distinction between two kinds of companies, one
for commerce, the other for colonization, but simply one of relative
attention given to the two interests, according to the character of the
regions for which the companies had obtained their concessions. All the
companies expected to carry on commerce; all expected to plant some of
their fellow-countrymen on the soil of the country with which they
meant to trade. If the region of their activity was the ancient,
wealthy, thickly settled, and firmly governed coast of India, the
settlers were only a few servants of the company. If, on the other
hand, the region for which the monopoly of the company was granted was
a broad and temperate tract, occupied by a sparse population of
savages, and offering only such objects of trade or profit as could be
collected slowly or wrested by European labor from, the soil or the
forest, the quickest way to a commercial profit was the establishment
on the distant soil of a large body of colonists from the home land.

This necessity for colonization in order to carry out their other
objects makes the chartered commercial companies of the seventeenth
century fundamental factors in American history. The proprietary
companies of Virginia, Massachusetts, New Netherland, Canada, and other
colonies were primarily commercial bodies seeking dividends, and only
secondarily colonization societies sending over settlers. This
distinction, and the gradual pre-dominance of the latter over the
former, is the clew to much of the early history of settlement in
America. The commercial object could only be carried out by employing
the plan of colonization, but new motives were soon added. The
patriotic and religious conditions of the times created an interest in
the American settlements as places where men could begin life, anew
with new possibilities. Hence the company, the home government,
dissatisfied religious bodies, and many individuals, looked to the
settlements in America with other than a commercial interest. The
policy of the companies was modified and eventually transformed by the
influence of these non-commercial interests.

As financial enterprises, the chartered commercial companies were
subject to such great practical difficulties that few of them survived
for any great length of time or repaid their original investment to the
shareholders. Some were reorganized time and again, each time on a more
extensive scale, and each time to suffer heavier losses. [Footnote: W.
R. Scott, "The Royal African Company" (Am. Hist. Review, VIII., 2).]
They experienced much mismanagement and softie peculation and fraud on
the part of their directors; in some cases false dividends were
declared for the purpose of temporarily raising the value of the stock.
Their credit was bad, and they sometimes had to borrow money at fifty
and even seventy-five per cent, interest. [Footnote: Bonnassieux, Les
Grandes Compagnies de Commerce, 494, etc.]

They encountered other difficulties quite apart from the incompetency
or dishonesty of their directors. Parliaments and States-General were
opposed to monopolistic and privileged companies, and threw what
obstacles they could in their way; and political exigencies often
forced even the sovereigns who had given them their charters to disavow
and discourage them. [Footnote: Letter of October 8, 1607, from Zufiiga
to the king of Spain, in Brown, Genesis of the United States, I., 121.]
Their greatest difficulties, how-ever, arose from the very nature of
the problem which they were trying to solve. Distant commerce with
barbarous races, amid jealous rivals, carried on with insufficient
capital; the persuasion of reluctant emigrants to establish themselves
in the wilderness at a time when the mother-country was not yet
overcrowded; the long waiting for returns and the failure of one dream
after another--it was these difficulties in the very work itself that
led to the failure of most of the companies and the scanty success of
the others.

Nevertheless, the companies played a very important part in the
advancement of civilization during the period of their existence. They
enriched Europe with many products of the New World and the more
distant Old World, which could hardly have reached it, or reached it in
such abundance, except for the organized voyages of the chartered
companies. The formation of chartered companies relieved certain
nations of their dependence upon other nations for some of the
necessities and many of the luxuries of life. National independence was
furthered, at the same time that foreign products were made much
cheaper. Spices, sugar, coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, cotton, silk,
drugs, and other articles were made accessible to all. New shipping was
built by the companies and additional commercial intercourse created.
[Footnote: Bonnassieux, Les Grandes Compagnies de Commerce, 514.] New
territories were made valuable and new centres of activity created in
old and stagnant as well as in new and undeveloped countries. Above
all, the chartered companies were the actual instruments by which many
colonies were founded, and a strong impress given to the institutions
of these colonies through all their later history.




In analyzing the forces which affected the colonization of America, the
depth of the impression made upon Europe by the Protestant Reformation
can hardly be overestimated. Although the direct and immediate
influence of this great movement upon the fortunes of America was
great, its indirect and remote effects have been still more important.
One of these effects was the creation of a religious motive for
emigration which, in conjunction with other incentives, was one of the
earliest and most constant causes for the peopling of America.

It is true that the desire for religious freedom was only one among
many such impelling forces. The desire to better their fortunes was
perhaps the most fundamental and enduring consideration that influenced
emigrants. Many settlers came because at home they had failed or were
burdened with debt, or had become involved in ill repute or crime, and
hoped to make a new start in a new land. Many sought the New World as
many still press to the frontier, from sheer restlessness and
recklessness, from the love of adventure, the hope that luck will do
better for them than labor. Many came as a result of urgent inducements
offered by projectors of colonies or agents of shipmasters, as in the
case of the early "company servants" or the later "redemptioners" or
"indentured servants."

No inconsiderable number came because they were forced to come: the
earlier planters of colonies and patentees of lands received permission
to seize for their uses men and women of the lower classes, much as men
were pressed into naval service; paupers were handed over to the
colonizing companies to be shipped to their settlements; repeatedly the
prisons were emptied to provide colonists, and commissions were
appointed, as in England in 1633, "to reprieve able-bodied persons
convicted of certain felonies, and to bestow them to be used in
discoveries and other foreign employments." [Footnote: Cal. of State
Pap, Domestic, 1631-1633, p. 547.]

Somewhat later, transportation to the colonies to labor for a fixed
number of years became a familiar form of commutation of the death
penalty, and after 1662 it was made the statutory penalty for certain

Yet among this multiplicity of motives for emigration to the colonies
religion held a peculiar place. Many men for whom the dominant
inducement was a more material one were partly led by religious
motives; many of the changes in Europe that unsettled men and made them
more ready to leave their old homes were results of the Reformation.
Religious motives were the earliest to send any really large body of
settlers to the English colonies, and they remained for more than a
century probably the most effective motives.

During the first twenty years of the settlement of Virginia, where the
religious incentive was least strong, less than six thousand settlers
came over; during the first twenty years of the settlement of New
England, where it was strongest, there were more than twenty thousand.
The later churchmen of Virginia and the Carolinas, the Catholics of
Maryland, the Quakers of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and a great body
of Presbyterians, Huguenots, Mennonites, Moravians, and adherents of
other sects which were products of the Reformation, sought tinder the
more liberal laws of the colonies the religious liberty which they
could not find at home.

The working of this influence in England will appear in a later chapter
on the religious history of that country during this period; its
peculiar development in Germany seems to demand a further word of
explanation here. Three forms of reformed doctrine and organization--
Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Zwinglianism--grew up on German soil in the
years between 1517 and 1555, and obtained more or less extensive
recognition and power from imperial, princely, or city authorities.
Lutheranism, the most moderate and widely accepted form of
Protestantism, was officially established in most of the central and
northern and in some of the southern states and cities; Calvinism, less
widely extended but more strictly organized, held a similar position in
the southwest; while the doctrines of Zwingli, which had been adopted
and were enforced in the greater part of Switzerland, spread to a
number of those southern regions of Germany from which Switzerland was
as yet indistinctly separated. [Footnote: Armstrong, The Emperor
Charles V., I., 228-231.]

A vast number of earnest souls were not satisfied with any of these
forms of official religion, and even in the earliest days of the
Reformation, preachers arose who went beyond the moderate reforms of
Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin, and whose teachings gained a ready
acceptance. In Saxony, in Hesse, in South Germany, and in Moravia; in
the cities of Constance, Strasburg, Augsburg, and Nuremberg; in the
Netherlands and in Switzerland, there was much preaching and formation
of independent religious communities quite apart from, and indeed in
opposition to, the official Reformation. [Footnote: Moeller, Hist, of
the Christian Church (English trans.), III., 36, 64, 88, 94.] These
radical preachers and their followers represented very different
beliefs and practices. That which was common to them all was an
acceptance of the Bible literally interpreted as a guide both to
doctrine and to church organization. The effort to return to the
apostolic organization of the church led them to reject any but an
unpaid ministry, and to insist that none should be members of their
congregations except such as were personally converted and who
conformed their lives to the teachings of the Bible.

Their idea was, therefore, the formation of little companies separated
from the surrounding people of the world rather than the Lutheran or
Zwinglian plan of a reorganization of the national church on Protestant
lines en masse. An austere piety, the wearing of plain clothes, the
avoidance of forms of social respect, the refusal to take an oath or to
hold civil office, an assertion of the sinfulness of paying or
receiving tithes or interest, an approach to communistic practice in
matters of property--some or all of these were widely disseminated
among the lower classes of the people to whom such teachings
principally appealed.

The doctrine which came nearest to being a point of uniformity and a
possible bond of union among these reformers was their objection to
infant baptism. To them baptism was the mark of a personally attained
relation to Christ, and was, therefore, meaningless when administered
to an unconscious infant. Certain "prophets" who came to Wittenberg
from Zwickau confronted Luther and Melancthon with this principle as
early as 1521; and radical reformers proclaimed it in opposition to
Zwingli at Zurich in 1523. Everywhere advocacy of an exact adherence to
the verbal teaching of Holy Writ and a rejection of the claims of an
established church, were accompanied by opposition to infant baptism.
In 1525 for the first time the logical deduction from their premises
was made; those baptized only in their infancy were asserted not to
have been effectively baptized at all, and were rebaptized as a sign of
their conversion. [Footnote: Moeller, Hist, of the Christian Church
(English trans.), III., 65.] From this time onward re-baptism, or, from
the point of view of its advocates, the first valid baptism, became the
test and mark of adoption into many communities of true believers.
Those who practised this rite were, therefore, called "Anabaptists"--
that is to say, those who baptized a second time--or, more frequently,
merely "Baptists."

The rebaptism of a person who had been already once baptized was not
only in the eyes of the established church an impiety, it was in the
eyes of the established law a capital crime, and the history of
Anabaptism in Germany is the history of a long martyrdom. In Catholic
and Protestant countries alike these radicals were persecuted. From
Strasburg and Nuremberg they were expelled, in Zurich their leaders
were drowned, in Augsburg they were beheaded, in Austria, Wittenberg,
Bavaria, and the Palatinate they were burned at the stake.

In 1534 their sect was brought into sudden and fatal prominence by the
revolt in Munster and its vicinity. Here a body of adherents of radical
religious doctrines added to their creed a tenet not common to the
general body of Anabaptists--that is to say, the duty of taking up
temporal arms to overthrow the existing powers and to introduce the New
Jerusalem. The old episcopal city was seized by the Anabaptist leaders,
bloody battles were fought, and after a six months' orgy of fanaticism,
libertinism, and violence the rebels were defeated by the united troops
of Catholic and Lutheran powers and a terrible vengeance taken.

Anabaptists everywhere, no matter how peaceable and moderate their
principles, suffered under the imputation of holding such doctrines as
had led to the terrible excesses at Munster, as they had long before
been held to sympathize with the Peasants' Revolt; and their
persecutions became correspondingly harsher. Nevertheless, they
continued to form communities and to spread through Germany, the
Netherlands, and Switzerland. The attractiveness of the teachings of
wandering Anabaptist preachers long continued unabated, and their
regularly organized congregations or communities, because of their
thrift, honesty, and plainness of life, survived and flourished,
wherever they could obtain even the barest and most temporary

They were necessarily a people without a national home. Seldom for a
whole generation did any considerable body of Anabaptists or Pietists
remain undisturbed in any one locality. Expelled by imperial edict from
Bohemia, they made their way to Hungary and Transylvania; fined,
imprisoned, and in danger of death in Protestant Switzerland, they
migrated to the Tyrol, to the Palatinate, and to the south German
cities, only soon to be visited there with still worse persecution.
During the two great religious wars they suffered especial hardships,
and in the midst of the Thirty Years' War they were rigorously expelled
by the emperor from all his hereditary dominions, even from Moravia,
where they had been allowed to exist for almost a century. [Footnote:
Moeller, Hist. of the Christian Church (English trans.), III., 437-
442.] Either from original differences of doctrine and personal
influence, or from later divisions and reorganization, grew up those
bodies which, although often, as has been seen, grouped under the
general head of Anabaptists, have become known in Europe and America as
Mennonites, Amish, and Dunkers; and each of these bodies has
experienced various divisions. The Schwenkfelders, Boehmists, and other
mystics or pietists, are habitually grouped with these sects, rather
because of their similar historical origin and attitude to the
established churches than of any identity of religious belief.

By the close of the seventeenth century the condition of these
dissenters from the established churches had become more tolerable; but
they were at best a remnant, narrowed in spirit by persecution,
repeatedly separated from their earlier homes, still under the ban of
ecclesiastical disapproval, and even where tolerated living under
burdensome restrictions. The rising colonies of the New World,
especially those which promised religious liberty, and above all that
one of them whose Quaker founder held doctrines so like their own, must
have exerted, notwithstanding their alien race and tongue, an almost
irresistible attraction upon them. In view of the political and
religious history of Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, it is therefore no wonder that a vast number of Germans
emigrated to America, and that in Pennsylvania were soon to be found
numerous representatives of every religious sect that existed in the

The religious divisions which sprang from the Protestant Reformation
were not restricted to the Old World. In America, also, religion was a
centrifugal influence, splitting up old colonies, and establishing new
centres of population, which in turn attracted other groups of
emigrants from Europe, and brought into existence still other types of
government and society. [Footnote: Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation,
266-346.] The results were shown in the characteristics of Rhode Island
and Connecticut, of Germantown and Bethlehem, in some of the principal
contrasts between New France and New England, and in many of the lesser
diversities that have distinguished different sections of America in
their subsequent history. Many influences combined to give form and
character to each American settlement: its race elements, the
commercial requirements of the controlling chartered company, the
demands of the home government, the theoretical ideas of the founder,
the habitudes of the colonists in the lands from which they came. Among
these influences, as among the motives for emigration, the religious
experiences and desires of the settlers were a prime factor.

The Reformation indirectly affected America by wars which soon led to
the rise of some nations, the fall of others; they pitted Catholic
states against Protestant states, they weakened Germany, France, and
the southern Netherlands by a sanguinary civil struggle, and were
avoided in England only by harsh persecution.

In the Iberian peninsula the progress of Protestantism was so slight
and so quickly crushed out that it played no part in the colonization
of Portuguese or Spanish America. It is true that the somewhat outworn
machinery of the Inquisition was rejuvenated in the sixteenth century,
so as to reach a Protestant movement in Seville, the sailing-point for
the American fleets; and this was made an excuse for the introduction
of a stricter and more vigorous policy of orthodox uniformity in Spain.
The Inquisition also found occupation in looking after heretic foreign
merchants and sailors in Spanish seaports, and Jews and Protestant
Germans in the American colonies; but no Spaniards ever emigrated to
America to escape religious persecution.

As for France, the terrible religious wars of the sixteenth century
weakened her projects of colonization, as they did all her other
activities, and divided her people into two hostile parties, one of
which must ultimately crush out the other. The short-lived colonies
established in the middle years of the sixteenth century in Brazil and
in Florida were due largely to the hope that they might be places of
refuge for oppressed Huguenots. The first French colonies which had any
successful outcome, however, were the creation of the other religious
party; for Richelieu, when he took up the establishment of colonies in
1624, insisted on Catholic orthodoxy in the religion of the colonists.
This precaution was doubtless due to the Huguenot efforts for
independence and their treasonable negotiations in France. In founding
distant colonies as extensions of the power of the home government, a
minister could hardly permit the domination in the new colonies of a
party with which he was in deadly conflict at home. Whatever his
motive, orthodoxy was insisted on; and New France, like New Spain,
became unbrokenly Catholic.

The English colonies, however, ultimately profited by what the French
colonies had lost. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in
1685, persecution sent a stream of Huguenots to the various English
colonies of America, and added thereby a valuable and interesting
strain to the richly mingled blood of the American race.




The revolt of the Netherlands, which created a new and vigorous
European state in the sixteenth century, and a great commercial and
colonizing world-power in the seventeenth, was as much a religious as a
political movement. The centralizing, autocratic, and unconciliatory
policy of Philip II. was probably enough in itself to have caused
rebellion in the Netherlands; while the religious conflict was so
bitter that it would almost certainly have caused a revolt, even if
there had been no political friction. The revolt of 1568 and the war
which lasted till 1609, as a matter of fact, turned on causes belonging
equally to both fields.

When Charles V. visited the Netherlands in 1520, on his way to claim
the imperial crown, the twenty-two provinces then gathered into his
hands were all nominally Catholic; and the large majority of the
population were sincerely attached to Rome. Yet reformed doctrines soon
made their way into the country in several forms. In the southern and
central states, Flanders, Brabant, Hainault, Holland, and Zealand,
Calvinism entered from France; into Friesland and North Holland came
many Mennonites; in some of the towns there were Anabaptists; in the
great commercial cities, such as Antwerp and Amsterdam, Lutherans were
numerous, some of them immigrants from Germany, some converted to that
faith through the communications between lower Germany and the adjacent
provinces of the Netherlands. [Footnote: Blok, Hist. of the People of
the Netherlands (English trans), III., 22.] Even the Catholics of the
Netherlands were not of a bigoted or militant type; heresy had been
wide-spread there since the thirteenth century, and the inhabitants had
not the horror of it that was felt in some more orthodox countries.
[Footnote: Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, I., Introd, xii.]

Among the wealthy, turbulent, strong-minded, and patriotic Netherland
burghers and peasantry Reformation doctrines and principles readily
spread and gained acceptance; yet they were met by the most determined
and harsh opposition from the government which now held the Netherlands
in the hollow of its hand. In 1521 Charles V. issued from Worms an
edict dooming to loss of property and death every Dutch, Flemish, or
Walloon adherent of the teachings of Luther; and in 1523 two monks were
burned at Brussels as first-fruits of the long and miserable harvest
which was so abundantly reaped afterwards.

A series of edicts known as the "Placards" was now issued by Charles,
prohibiting private meetings for religious worship, reading of the
Scripture by laymen, discussions on questions of faith, the destruction
of religious emblems, the harboring of heretics, the possession of
heretical books, and, in general, all heretic or non-Catholic opinions
and practices. These edicts were enforced by all the power of the civil
government, and by the activity of four inquisitors. The "Placards"
reached their culmination in the edict of 1550, renewing and making
more severe all punishments for religious offences. When Charles, in
1556, laid down the burden of government in favor of his son, the
persecutions had numbered their hundreds, if not thousands, of victims;
but heresy had spread only the more widely, and Protestantism in its
various forms had become only the stronger.

Philip II. entered upon the struggle with heresy even more vigorously
than his father. Even the Catholics of the Netherlands were opposed to
the enforcement of the "Placards," while the heretics who were
suffering and multiplying under it were looking forward almost
desperately to some change that would make their position more
tolerable. The States-General, the nearest approach to a national
legislature that the Netherlands possessed, in 1559 pleaded for
mildness. It was only the Spanish ruler who was determined to apply the
heresy laws in all their vigor; and when he left the Netherlands and
began to direct their administration from Spain, the religious question
became more and more the great unifying element in national resistance
to his policy.

William of Orange, in the council of state, took the lead in drawing up
a petition to the king for the amelioration of the "Placards" and for
the suspension of the decrees for an inflexible orthodoxy which had
just been promulgated from Trent. He pointed out the necessity of
recognizing the proximity and influence of Lutheran Germany upon the
Netherlands, the actual extension of Protestantism in the provinces,
and the degree to which the old church had lost its authority over the
hearts of men. In words that rose in dignity and significance far above
the ordinary contests of Catholics and Protestants, he declared: "I am
Catholic, and will not deviate from religion; but I cannot approve the
custom of kings to confine men's creed and religion within arbitrary
limits." [Footnote: Blok, Hist. of the People of the Netherlands
(English trans), III., 14.] Philip replied to this petition of the
Catholic nobles of the Netherlands by the edict of Segovia, dated
October 17, 1565, insisting more vehemently than ever before on the
enforcement of the laws against heresy in all their severity, including
what was practically the introduction of the Spanish Inquisition. On
the other hand, the Reformation pressed on with rapid strides; vast
crowds gathered outside of Tournai, Harlem, Antwerp, and other cities
to listen to Calvinist preachers. Ten, twelve, and twenty thousand of
the populace assembled at a time to sing psalms and hymns and to listen
to the appeals of teachers eloquent and devout, but almost invariably

The inevitable crisis was now hastening on. The lesser nobles,
including some Calvinists, soon formed the "Confederation," sent their
petition to the king, and in 1567 broke out in fruitless rebellion.
Almost at the same time the mob rose in the image-breaking riots which
spread like wild-fire over all the provinces except the most southern.
Then came Alva, with his unlimited powers, his veteran troops, his
"Council of Blood," his more than ten thousand victims of political and
religious persecution, and the awful severity and barbarity that have
made his name a synonym of cruelty and heartless despotism. William of
Orange brought an army into Brabant in 1568, and revolt was soon in
full progress. Even under Charles V. there had been much emigration
from the Netherlands to Germany and England, to escape religious
persecution. Now the barbarities of Alva increased the number many-
fold. It was estimated that there were at one time sixty thousand Dutch
and Walloon refugees living in England. By 1568 the emigrants were said
to number four hundred thousand.

As the revolt progressed and the various cities expelled the officers
of the Spanish governor and put themselves under the banner of Orange,
they became little oases of toleration. The instructions of William to
his lieutenants in the north in 1572 ordered them "to restore fugitives
and the banished for conscience' sake--and to see that the Word of God
is preached, without, however, suffering any hindrance to the Roman
Church in the exercise of its religion." [Footnote: Motley, Rise of the
Dutch Republic, pt. iii.] By November, 1576, when the treaty known as
the Pacification of Ghent was made between Holland and Zealand on the
one hand and the fifteen southern provinces on the other, liberalism in
religious views had progressed as far as the power of the patriotic
party extended; and all "Placards" and edicts on the subject of
religion were suspended till a national assembly should take final
action on the subject. At the same time it was provided that there
should be no action against the Catholic religion, outside the
territory of Holland and Zealand. [Footnote: Blok, Hist, of the People
of the Netherlands (English trans.), III., 105, 106.]

Soon the Flemish provinces, where Protestantism had made least headway
and where distrust of the north was strong, were "pacified" by Don John
of Austria and Alexander of Parma. The Union of Arras, of January 6,
1579, became a centre of union and reconciliation to Spain and
Catholicism for the fifteen southern provinces. Just three weeks
afterwards the Union of Utrecht was formed, which united the seven
northern provinces and became the basis of the free republic of the
United Netherlands: each province was to make its own religious
arrangements, though toleration was secured by the provision that no
one should be molested or questioned on the subject of divine worship.
[Footnote: Arts. 5, 9, 10, n, 12, 13, quoted in Motley, pt. vi.,
chap.i.] Thus while the southern provinces set their feet in the path
of a return to Roman Catholic uniformity, the northern provinces
pledged themselves to toleration of Catholics and of all sects of
Protestants alike.

Toleration is to the modern student the chief interest and glory of the
foundation of the United Netherlands; but it was not toleration but
Protestantism which then gave the young republic its peculiar strength,
vigor, and enterprise. Even in the Pacification of Ghent and the Union
of Utrecht, Holland and Zealand were recognized as Protestant states.
As the bitter struggle progressed, their Protestantism became more
pronounced and more militant. Exiled Calvinists from the south flocked
to Amsterdam, Middleburg, Rotterdam, and other northern cities in great
numbers, intensifying the Protestant character of these communities and
enriching them with capital, business ability, and an astonishingly
large proportion of gifted men. [Footnote: Jameson, Usselinx, 27.] The
formal abjuration of Philip by the United Provinces in 1581, on grounds
so largely religious, could not but bring into still greater prominence
the Protestantism of the country which now claimed its independence.
The long-continued warfare that followed the assassination of the
beloved prince of Orange, the sieges, mutinies, and battles by land and
sea, steadily deepened the religious and political hatred between the
Netherlands and Spain.

By the year 1596 internal theological struggles between Remonstrants
and Contra-Remonstrants approached the proportions of a civil war; and
the victory gained by the latter party through the intervention of the
stadtholder Maurice connected religion and politics, church and state,
even more clearly, and made still more intense the fiery Protestantism
of the Dutch government. [Footnote: Blok, Hist of the People of the
Netherlands (English trans.), III., 398-447.] Strengthened by her
efforts, hardened by her struggles, awakened to vigorous life by the
exhilaration of the long and arduous conflict, the little Protestant
state approached the end of the sixteenth century, enterprising in
internal plans and eager for new fields of foreign commerce. The
probability that commercial expansion would bring her into conflict
with Spain added zest to the prospect and gave promise that in
extending trade, conquering distant possessions, and establishing
colonies, she would at the same time be weakening her bitterest enemy.

Hence the early Dutch expeditions to the Indies, the formation of the
East and West India Companies, the establishment of the colonies in
Brazil, Guiana, and North America, and of commercial factories in the
East Indies, were all of them in a certain sense part of the religious
and political struggle between the Netherlands and Spain. When the
twelve years' truce was signed, in 1609, those provinces which had
returned to the Spanish obedience were uniformly Catholic, but their
prosperity and international significance had disappeared. The
independent provinces, on the other hand, were, for all their
toleration, almost uniformly Protestant, and they were already one of
the great maritime and commercial powers of Europe. [Footnote: Blok,
Hist of the People of the Netherlands (English trans), III., 326-334.]

The United Netherlands speedily colonized New Amsterdam, Guiana, Cape
Colony, Java, and other places, with a population persistent in
Protestantism and in many race characteristics. Unfortunately for
Holland the number of her emigrants was never great enough to enable
her permanently to play a great part in the history of colonization.
The Dutch are not an emigrating people. Yet those who did emigrate
carried with them such an assertive character and so highly developed a
group of institutions that they exercised a deep and permanent
influence over communities like New York, in which they soon ceased to
be the dominant element; while their institutions in Holland made such
a strong impression upon English sojourners in their midst that some of
their characteristics reappeared long afterwards in American colonies
in which no Dutchman had ever settled. [Footnote: Douglas Campbell,
Puritan in Holland.]

The Reformation, with the wars to which it gave rise, made Germany for
a time the most conspicuous state in Europe, but its ultimate effect
was to reduce that state to a degree of material poverty, political
insignificance, and intellectual torpidity unknown before in her
experience. Civil war was long delayed; the political necessities and
the astute policy of Charles V., the conservative instincts and
patriotic scruples of Luther, and the doubtful position of many of the
German provinces and cities, long prevented any attempt by the emperor
to enforce the orthodoxy required by the Diet of Worms, and induced the
Lutherans to go more than halfway in accepting the policy of
postponement. [Footnote: Armstrong, The Emperor Charles V., I., 201-
203, 240-256,] Yet even this early period was troubled by successive
minor outbreaks of violence. The "Knights' War" of 1523, the Peasants'
Revolt of 1524 and 1525, the Zwinglian wars in Switzerland in 1531, and
the Anabaptist outbreak at Munster in 1534 were all connected with the
religious ferment of the times.

From 1530, when the League of Schmalkald was formed to unite the
Protestant princes and cities, Germany really belonged to two camps,
and civil war was only a question of time. The time came in 1546, the
year of Luther's death, when Charles was at last free from foreign
complications and could make the attempt to reintroduce conformity into
Germany. The Schmalkaldic War, although marked by a series of imperial
successes and temporarily closed by a triumphant truce in 1548, was
soon renewed, and the Peace of Passau of 1552 was a general compromise,
representing rather the weariness of war and the jealousies of the
various powers of Germany than any permanent political of religious
equilibrium. An attempt was made to establish a more lasting settlement
in the conference of Augsburg in 1555. Here the terms of the recent
treaty were put in more formal shape: Lutheranism was given legal
recognition; all religious disputes should be settled by peaceful
means; in legal causes between a Protestant and a Catholic the Imperial
Hight Court of Justice should be composed of an equal number of
Catholics and Protestants.

On the other hand, certain compromises were then introduced which were
destined to be fatal to the permanency of the religious and political

1. Instead of individual toleration, as was originally proposed, the
principle was adopted which has become known as cujus regio ejus
religio--that is to say, each prince or imperial city should choose
between Catholicism and Lutheranism; and thereafter all inhabitants
must conform, or, if unwilling to do so, must expatriate themselves.
The unstable equilibrium of the empire was thus transferred to the
individual states, and each was threatened with internal revolution
whenever there was a change in the prevailing religious views of the
inhabitants or the personal beliefs of the prince.

2. A second compromise was reached by providing that all ecclesiastical
property seized by temporal governments down to the close of the late
war should be guaranteed to its new possessors; but that for the future
the process of secularization should cease. Thus an artificial obstacle
was placed in the way of the avarice or the desire for reform of the
Protestant princes, at the very time they were given increased control
in their own states.

3. The "ecclesiastical reservation" made an exception to the right of
territorial independence in religion in the case of the ecclesiastical
states, which were so numerous in Germany. If any archbishop, bishop,
or abbot, who was also a secular prince, should become a Lutheran, he
must resign his office and divest himself of his power and
jurisdiction, which would pass to his Catholic successor. This
provision deprived Protestant subjects of ecclesiastical princes of all
prospect of religious freedom, and doomed them to compulsory
reconciliation with the Catholic Church or to exile, except for certain
rights guaranteed to them by the treaty.

4. The compromises of Augsburg were compromises between Catholics and
Lutherans only, and neither Calvinists nor Zwinglians were given
recognition in its terms, although Calvinism was destined to be the
great aggressive force of the Reformation, making an appeal to the
masses of the people and taking a fundamental hold upon its adherents
beyond anything which Lutheranism, or indeed any other form of the
Reformation, ever obtained.

The agreement reached in 1555, incomplete and unstable as it seemed,
remained the foundation of an outward if somewhat troubled religious
peace for more than sixty years. Yet a renewal of the conflict was
threatened from time to time, and in 1618 the terrible Thirty Years'
War broke out. The earlier contests had been civil wars only, the
renewed war was no longer merely a German struggle. In 1625 Christian
IV., king of Denmark, entered the war as leader on the Protestant side,
only to yield to the perseverance of Tilly, the general of the Catholic
armies, and to the genius of Wallenstein, the representative of Emperor
Ferdinand; and to retire in 1629, leaving north Germany more completely
than before at the mercy of the emperor and of the Catholic party.
Scarcely a year later Gustavus Adolphus, full of enthusiasm for the
Protestant cause and provided with funds from France, brought his
veteran regiments and his military ability from Sweden into Germany,
and fought in consecutive years his three wonderful campaigns. After
the death of the "Lion of the North," in 1632, the "Swedish period"
endured still two years; and when, in 1634, Catholic and Protestant
princes entered upon a truce they made terms upon an equality, though
there was even yet but little promise of a permanent settlement.

Just before the fatal battle of Lutzen, in the midst of military
preparations, a decisive step was taken by Gustavus which ultimately
led to the creation of one more American colony. Ever since the
introduction of new issues. One after another, foreign states were
drawn into the struggle until a mere German civil war had developed
into a general European conflict, in which foreigners were struggling
for German territory. Catholics made alliances with Lutherans and with
Calvinists, until what had begun as a religious struggle became a
purely political contest among unpatriotic German princes and ambitious
neighbors of Germany contending for power and prestige.

When, at the peace of 1648, political questions had been settled,
territorial changes agreed upon, the Netherlands and Switzerland
definitely separated from the empire, Alsace surrendered to France, and
much of Pomerania to Sweden, the religious conflict was brought to an
end as far as possible by returning to the old plan of the treaty of
Augsburg, except that such toleration as was then granted to Catholics
and Lutherans was now extended to Calvinists also. To these provisions
some further extensions of religious liberty were added by securing
guarantees of protection to subjects differing in their religion from
their princes and by including in the highest imperial tribunal a
certain number of Protestants. [Footnote: Lamprecht, Deutsche
Geschichte, V., sect ii., 764.] The material sufferings and losses of
Germany during the war were almost beyond description. [Footnote:
Erdmannsdorffer, Deutsche Geschichte, 1648-1740, I., 100-115] The
armies, made tip largely of soldiers of different nationalities,
without attachment to the countries through which they marched, without
interest in the questions at issue, without a regular commissariat,
often without pay, brutalized by long campaigning and repeated sacks of
cities, followed by an immense rabble of non-combatant men, women, and
children, were a barbarian horde, and ravaged the lands in which they
were established like a fire or a pestilence. The tortures they
inflicted upon the peasantry and the citizens, the robbery, the
outrages, the wanton destruction, pressed close to the limits of human
endurance, and seemed almost to threaten the extermination of the
population. The prosperity of the cities was crushed by war
contributions, even when they escaped being plundered like Magdeburg;
and the debasement of the coinage practised by the emperor and the
princes bore hardly upon all who bought or sold. [Footnote: Gindeley,
History of the Thirty Years' War (English trans.), II., 390-395] During
the later campaigns of the war military operations in many regions
became almost impracticable from the very impoverishment of the
country; no sustenance existed for friend or for enemy; population in
some parts was almost destroyed, and it was everywhere extensively
displaced. [Footnote: Ibid., 398.] The conservatism, the settled
rooting of the people in the soil, acquired and inherited property,
moral and material fixity, were all alike disturbed.

The half-century that followed 1648 did but little to restore
prosperity or repose to Germany. The western provinces especially were
the scene of frequently renewed warfare. The territorial ambitions of
Louis XIV. were directed to the German lands which lay on the eastern
border of France, and there was no strength in the empire to resist his
aggressions or to make him fear either defeat or reprisals. Even the
European coalitions which forced upon him successive treaties did not
prevent renewed attacks or heal the scars of the repeated devastations
of the lower and the upper Rhine country. The culmination of this
period of suffering was the terrible ravaging of the Palatinate, in
1688, when the fertile region about Heidelberg, Mannheim, Speyer, and
Worms was harried and burned and pillaged by the soldiers of Louis,
with the same brutality and more destructiveness than the wild Swedish
and mercenary armies of the Thirty Years' War had used.

A people with an experience such as that of the Germans in the
seventeenth century was thenceforth easily drawn away from home. One
generation of continuous warfare throughout all Germany, followed by
another generation of intermittent invasion from France, and closed by
a crisis of rapine and devastation, made hundreds of thousands of the
German people homeless, despairing, and eager for escape. It was this
situation of the people, combined with the religious condition before
described, that made Germany the best recruiting-ground for American
colonists to be found in Europe. Before the close of the seventeenth
century a stream of emigration set from Germany towards America which
furnished to Pennsylvania one-third of her pre-Revolutionary
inhabitants, and made a considerable part of the population of several
of the other colonies.

A second effect of the Thirty Years' War was the practical dissolution
of the empire and the loss by the emperor of all centralized control
over its policy. This was a cumulative result of the war rather than a
definite provision of the peace. The princes, nobles, and cities had so
frequently allied themselves with foreign states against the emperor
and against one another, their policy had been so constantly regulated
by their own interests alone, in entire disregard of those of the
nation at large, and the religious divisions had been settled on such a
sectional basis, that there was now no thought of derogating from their
independence for the sake of the central power of Germany. By Article
VIII. of the treaty of peace all German states were definitely
permitted to form independent alliances among themselves and with
foreign states, so long as these were not directed against either the
emperor or the empire. [Footnote: Lamprecht, Deutsche Geschtchte, V.,
Section 2, pp 765, 766.] As a matter of fact, the bond of union among
the states of Germany had become so weak as to be almost non-existent.
The emperor was the actual ruler of the Hapsburg dominions and the
nominal head of the empire; but Germany was a geographical rather than
a national expression, and its head could play no part as a national
ruler outside of his immediate hereditary dominions. Germany had many
interests in America. Martin Behaim, Regiomontanus, and other German
scientists contributed largely to the development of the science of
navigation during the period of discovery; Waldseemuller suggested the
name that has been universally accepted for the New World; the numerous
printing-presses of Germany did much to make known to Europe the
history of the exploration and early conquests and the wonders of the
Indies; under Charles V. the empire was brought closely into connection
with Spain, the greatest colonizing power of the seventeenth century;
her Fuggers, Welsers, and other capitalists provided much of the means
for the early Spanish voyages, and for a time held extensive grants in
Venezuela under the Spanish crown; and her teeming emigrants furnished
a large part of the colonial population. Yet Germany as a nation has,
of all the nations of Europe, exercised the least influence on the
fortunes of America. Neither the emperor nor any German prince has ever
exercised any direct or indirect power over any American territory.
Many causes may have contributed to this failure, but the most
effective was doubtless the Thirty Years' War. The religious disunion,
the material impoverishment, and the political insignificance which
this war caused, during the most important colonizing century, excluded
Germany as a nation from a role among the European powers which have
held control over parts of the New World.




England passed through the crisis of the Reformation without a civil
war, yet no country of Europe found greater difficulty in coming to a
religious equilibrium after that change. Though actual rebellion was
nipped in the bud wherever it appeared, as in the Pilgrimage of Grace
of 1536 and in the Rising of the North of 1569, yet between those
years, and long after the second rising, religious passions were
embittered to the very verge of outbreak. In the early period of the
Reformation changes were rapid and violent, and during more than a
century and a half after Protestantism was established hostile
legislation imposed heavy burdens upon all those who differed from the
dominant party in religious faith.

When England became a colonizing country at the opening of the
seventeenth century, the effect of the religious changes up to that
time had been to produce four well-marked religious parties among her
people--Churchmen, Catholics, Puritans, and Independents. First in
order came the adherents of the established church, a church which was
in a very real sense the creation of Queen Elizabeth and of her times--
for all that had gone before was unstable and tentative, and might
readily have been altered by a ruler of different character or policy.
When Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558 the great body of the people
of England, from a religious point of view, was still a fluid mass, a
sea accustomed to be drawn, like the tide, by the planet that ruled the
sky, whether an Erastian Henry VIII., a Catholic Mary, or a Protestant
Protector Somerset.

Elizabeth declared at her accession that she would not allow her people
to swerve to the right hand or the left from the religion established
by law; and in the main she succeeded in carrying out this policy. The
prayer-book, the articles of religion, the supremacy of the queen, the
uniformity of service, the practices and doctrines of the official
English church during the long reign of Elizabeth, meant something very
definite and made the established church an objective reality. Of
course she learned, as other sovereigns have learned, that even the
will of a king may break against the rock of religious conviction, and
large numbers of the people of England during her reign remained, or
became, dissatisfied with the established church.

Nevertheless, when Elizabeth died Anglicanism was the national church
in a sense in which it had not been before, and in exactly the same
sense as that in which the Roman Catholic church was the church of
Spain. A generation had grown up which had seen no other religious
system in authority, whose beliefs and duties were taught them by its
clergy, and whose sentiments and devotion naturally gathered around it
as their object. This religious system, therefore, was strongly
intrenched: it had all the authoritativeness of law, all the sanction
of patriotic feeling in a period of intense patriotism, and the support
of much sound learning; besides, the church was fast becoming hallowed
by tradition and beautified to the imagination by sentiment. Yet for
various reasons the Anglican church failed to obtain the allegiance of
the whole English nation.

The second of the four great religious classes, the Catholics, held
allegiance to a still older and more imposing organization. However
clear the argument of English churchmen that the Anglican body was the
church founded by the apostles and enduring continuously in England
through all the intervening centuries, the "old church" was still to
many the church of which the pope was the earthly head. From the time
that Henry VIII. attacked the supremacy of the pope and many of the
characteristic doctrines and practices of the mediaeval church, a party
separate from the national church came into being, which clung
faithfully to that system.

The existence of the English Roman Catholics as a separate body from
the established English church may be considered to date from the
resignation of Sir Thomas More from the chancellorship in 1532. During
the remainder of Henry's reign their position was equivocal and
dangerous, a number of conspicuous Catholics accepting martyrdom under
the laws against treason, when brought to the test of the acceptance or
rejection of the king's claim to the headship of the English church.
Under the enlightened rule of Somerset they were not persecuted, but
under his successor, and under the personal rule of Edward VI., they
fared much worse. [Footnote: Pollard, England Under Protector Somerset,
110-120, 258-264, 322] The time of consolation came under Queen Mary,
when for a space of five years (1553-1558) the English church and
English Catholicism again became identical.

Elizabeth on her accession had no antagonism to the Roman Catholics as
such. Neither in doctrine nor in ceremonial was there any essential
breach between Elizabeth and the Catholic church; and for a moment the
world watched to see what her decision would be. [Footnote: Maitland,
"Defender of the Faith" (Eng Hist Review, XV.,120).] Yet the nature of
her position dictated to her a return to the ecclesiastical position of
her father, and an acquiescence in the main results of the Protestant
development under Edward VI. She accepted the requirements of the
policy readily enough, and by the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity of
1559 [Footnote: I Eliz., chaps, i., ii. ] the English Catholics again
became a proscribed body, living in disobedience to the law, subject to
severe pains and penalties for any speech or action against the
established church, and even for the negative offence of absence from
its religious services.

The disabilities of the Catholics according to the laws passed at the
opening of the reign of Elizabeth were as follows: 1. No Catholic could
hold any office or employment under the crown, or any ecclesiastical
office in England, or receive any university degree: for all such
persons were required to take an oath renouncing the authority of the
pope, and acknowledging the headship of the queen in ecclesiastical
matters. [Footnote: Ibid., chap, ii., sub-section 19-25.] 2. No
Catholic could attend mass: the service of the prayer-book being
required at all meetings for worship in England. [Footnote: Ibid.,
chap, ii., sub-section 3-8.] 3. No Catholic could remain away from the
regular services of the established church: as the law required that
"all and every person and persons inhabiting within the realm or any
other the queen's majesty's dominions shall diligently and faithfully,
having no lawful or reasonable excuse to be absent, endeavor themselves
to resort to their parish church or chapel accustomed ... upon every
Sunday and other days ordained and used to be kept as holy days, and
then and there to abide orderly and soberly during the time of the
common prayer, preachings, or other service of God there to be used and
ministered." [Footnote: I Eliz., chap, ii., Section 14.] 4. No Catholic
could speak, write, or circulate any arguments or appeals in favor of
the ecclesiastical claims of the Catholic church or in derogation of
the royal supremacy or of the prayer-book.

The penalties for violation of these laws varied from a fine of one
shilling for absence from church on a Sunday or holy day to the
terrible customary punishment for treason in the case of repeated
conviction for supporting the claims of the pope. These fundamental
disabilities remained in existence during the whole of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries. They were added to from time to time as the
religious conflict in England, and in Europe at large, became more
embittered; although, on the other hand, there were occasional periods
when the exigencies of policy or the sympathies of the sovereign
temporarily suspended their enforcement. They remained the fundamental
law long after the Act of Toleration of 1689 made easy the burdens of
other Nonconformists, and until the gradual progress of enlightenment
in the eighteenth century led to a willing neglect to enforce them; and
they disappeared only in 1829.

The tendency during the reign of Elizabeth was constantly towards an
increase in the severity of the laws against "popish recusants," as
those who refused to conform to the established church were called, and
to greater rigor in their application. At four successive periods
during that reign additions were made to the disabilities and
sufferings imposed by law upon Roman Catholics.

1. An act of 1563 extended the lines of restriction so that the oath of
supremacy must be taken by a much greater number of officials--by all
school-masters, lawyers, and petty officers of court, and by all
members of the House of Commons; and so that the first refusal of any
person to take it, as well as the first occasion on which any one
should in writing or speech support the claims of the pope, should be
punished by confiscation and outlawry, the second offence by the
penalties of treason. [Footnote: Eliz., chap. i.] 2. The difficulties
of the Catholics were increased by the coming, in 1568, of Mary Queen
of Scots to England, where she became a permanent centre of Catholic
disaffection and hopes; by the Rebellion of the North in 1569; and by
the papal bull of deposition of the queen in 1570. The laws at once
reflected the anger and alarm of Parliament and ministers, and their
care "for the surety and preservation of the queen's most royal person,
in whom consisteth all the happiness and comfort of the whole state and
subjects of the realm." [Footnote: 13 Eliz., chap, i., Section I.] From
1571 to 1575 four new treason laws, [Footnote: Ibid., chaps, i, ii.; 14
Eliz., chaps, i., ii.] directed against sympathizers with Mary and
bringers of bulls from Rome, recall the savage legislation of Henry
VIII. under somewhat similar circumstances.

3. A third series of additions to the anti-Catholic code was called out
by the efforts of the Jesuits, from 1579 onward, to reconquer the
heretical nations and especially England, for the church. Hence, in
1581, the mere attempt to convert any subject of the queen to Roman
Catholicism, as well as the acceptance of such reconciliation with the
church, was made treason; the saying or hearing of the mass was
forbidden under penalty of heavy fine and long imprisonment; recusants
who were absent from church a month at a time were fined 20 pounds a
month for the length of time for which they stayed away; [Footnote: 23
Eliz., chap. i.] and by a later law the crown was allowed, in case of
recusancy, instead of the fine, to seize two-thirds of the property of
the offender. [Footnote: Ibid., chap. ii.]

Certain offences which Catholics might be especially expected to
commit, such as "by setting or erecting any figure or by casting of
nativities or by calculations or by any prophesying, witchcraft,
conjuration, or other like unlawful means whatsoever, seek to know, and
shall set forth by express words, deeds, or writings how long her
majesty shall live, or who shall reign king or queen of this realm of
England after her highness's decease," were made punishable by death
and confiscation of goods. In 1585 all Jesuits and Catholic priests
trained abroad were banished on pain of death, and all English subjects
studying abroad in one of those Jesuit schools, which had already
become famous as the best schools in Christendom, were required to
return to England immediately and take the oath of supremacy or suffer
the penalties of treason.

4. Within the next few years came the execution of Mary, the war with
Spain, the defeat of the Armada, and the definite passing of the crisis
of Elizabeth's reign. Nevertheless, the year 1593 was marked by an "act
against popish recusants," which required all English Catholics to
remain within five miles of their homes, and provided for a still
closer search for Jesuits and priests. [Footnote: 35 Eliz., chap. ii.]

Thus an augmenting body of oppressive law, in addition to their
fundamental disabilities, burdened the English Catholics at the
accession of James I. in 1603. That event they may well have looked
forward to and welcomed with joy. James was the son of Mary of
Scotland, for whom many of them had made such deep personal sacrifices
and on whose account all had been made to suffer. He was known to be a
man of moderate spirit, easy good-nature, and philosophic breadth of
mind. Circumstances, by relieving England from the fear of invasion
from Spain, and by establishing the Protestant succession, might be
considered to have left the way open for the admission of a more
generous and tolerant treatment of the Catholic minority. The king
controlled the enforcement or the non-enforcement of the law; his word
could put the machinery of the courts, high and low, into motion for
purposes of persecution; or, on the other hand, could open the prison
doors to those already incarcerated, and restrain the indictment of
those amenable to the law. James might fairly be expected to have the
will, as he undoubtedly had the power, to treat the Catholics with
greater leniency.

On the other hand, parliamentary and popular antagonism to the Roman
Catholics had to be contended with. Notwithstanding the legal supremacy
and complete predominance of the Anglican church, there was still a
wide-spread fear of the "usurped power and jurisdiction of the bishop
of Rome"; and much patriotic hatred of the Catholic enemies of England
and of their sympathizers within the realm. This national sentiment was
strongly reinforced by the fanatical Puritan fervor of opposition to
"the devilish positions and doctrines whereon popery is built and
taught." The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which Catesby, Guy Fawkes, and
other Catholic conspirators showed themselves ready to sacrifice the
king, his family, his ministers, and members of Parliament, filled
James for a while with fears for his own safety. If James, therefore,
should favor the Catholics he must do so in opposition to the
overwhelming public opinion of the people of England and to his own
timidity. What would be his policy? Would the persecuted minority be
taken under the protection of the crown? Or would their position remain
as it had been for half a century, or even be made worse?

Upon the answer to this question depended the happiness or unhappiness
of the Catholics in England and the likelihood or unlikelihood that
many of them would emigrate. Should their position become intolerable,
those who could would either take refuge in one of the Catholic states
of the continent or find an asylum in those boundless lands claimed by
England across the sea. The minds of men through all Europe were
turning towards America, not only as a sphere for trade and a base for
the fighting out of Old-World quarrels, [Footnote: Zuniga to the king
of Spain, December 24, 1606, and September 22,1607, in Brown, Genesis
of the United States, I., 88-90, 116-118.] but as a place of settlement
for men who could not conform to their Old-World religious

Before the reign of James was over Sir George Calvert obtained a
charter for Avalon, in Newfoundland, the ambiguity of whose terms made
it possible to take Catholic priests and settlers there; and in 1632 he
received in exchange for this a charter for Maryland, under which
Catholics held all official positions and Jesuit missionaries carried
on their work. The British island of Montserrat, in the West Indies,
appears to have been settled in 1634 by Catholic refugees from
Virginia; [Footnote: Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 261, n. 9.] and
there were other floating proposals to colonize English and Irish
Catholics in America. [Footnote: Cal. of State Pap., 1628, p. 95.] It
was evidently quite within the bounds of possibility that Catholic
colonies should be established in those "other your highness's
dominions," from which the House of Commons in 1623 especially
petitioned that Romanists should be excluded. [Footnote: Rushworth,
Historical Collections, I., 141.]

As a matter of fact, the policy of James and of his son and successor
Charles towards the Catholics had little consistency, and shows an
alternation of leniency and increased severity, reflecting the varying
inclinations of the king and the changing exigencies of external and
internal politics. During the first two years of his reign James
lightened their burdens, in accordance with the promises of his first
speech in Parliament, "so much as time, occasion, or law should
permit." [Footnote: Prothero, Statutes and Constitutional Documents,
284.] The Gunpowder Plot then thoroughly frightened and angered the
king and justified the House of Commons in its protests against
leniency to the Catholics. In 1606 two long detailed statutes
[Footnote: 3 and 4 James I., chaps. iv., v.] were enacted, carrying
much further in principle the persecuting provisions of the law under
Elizabeth, increasing the burdens upon the conscience, the purse, and
the liberty of Catholics, and specifying the most minute arrangements
for the enforcement of the law and the discovery of those who were
secretly Romanists.

Before many years a change came, due principally to the interest of
James in the scheme of obtaining a Spanish bride for his son, and to
his increasing subserviency to Gondomar, the shrewd Spanish minister.
The king of Spain would not listen to any negotiations for the hand of
his sister, unless the persecution of his co-religionists in England
was stopped; and James, in order to carry out his foreign policy,
blinded by his admiration for the Spaniard, and always prone to follow
the line of least resistance, promised what he certainly could not
perform, the parliamentary repeal of the anti-Catholic laws.

Nevertheless, he performed what he could, and ordered the suspension of
their enforcement. In 1622 the lord keeper of the privy seal wrote to
the judges that "it is his majesty's pleasure that they make no
niceness or difficulty to extend the princely favor to all such as they
shall find prisoners in the jails of their circuits for any church
recusancy or refusing the oath of supremacy or dispensing of popish
books, or any other point of recusancy that shall concern religion only
and not matters of state." [Footnote: Rushworth, Historical
Collections, I., 63.] A vast number of Catholics were, in this year,
released on bail or freed completely from prosecution. When the Spanish
marriage negotiations failed, just before the close of the reign of
James, Parliament again petitioned the king to enforce the old penal
laws, at last with success; and a momentary wave of severity towards
the Catholics spread over England.

Spain was not the only Catholic country with which England was in
negotiation. The marriage of Charles with Henrietta Maria of France
followed close upon his accession to the throne. The conditions of the
marriage treaty called for greater leniency to the Catholics, and the
influence of the queen secured it, though not in the degree promised.
Yet on the whole the attitude of the crown and of the judges during the
period from 1625 to 1640 was favorable to the Catholics; and although
Laud was not plotting to hand over the English church to Rome, as was
the popular belief, he was too sympathetic with the spirit of Roman
Catholicism to put into force the savage laws against it which were
upon the statute-book.

In 1640 Laud fell, the hand of the king was removed from the helm, and
the domination of the Long Parliament and the protectorate for the next
twenty years meant the bitter persecution of the Catholics; while the
Restoration, in 1660, saw a partial toleration of them, preparatory to
the Declaration of Indulgence and the active efforts of James II. in
their favor twenty-five years later.

Through all this succession of alternately rigorous and lenient
applications of the harsh laws of the statute-book, as a matter of fact
few Catholics left England, and no American colony remained for any
considerable length of time a Catholic community. The reasons for this
result are not hard to find. In the first place, it may well be
questioned whether the position of the Catholics in England was ever so
bad as one would expect to find it from reading the laws and
parliamentary proceedings. In all Tudor and Stuart legislation there
was a wide chasm between the passage of the law and its enforcement;
the statute-book is loaded with laws that were never carried out, or
were put into force only to the most limited extent. The laws against
the Catholics certainly remained largely unenforced.

Secondly, the English Catholics were never without hope of an
amelioration of their state at home. The most natural time for a great
Catholic exodus was in the later years of the reign of James I. and the
early years of Charles I., when the foundations alike of Virginia and
New England were being laid, and when Maryland was offering a basis on
which either a Catholic or a Protestant community might presumably have
been built up; but this was just the period when the influence of the
crown was most consistently used in favor of the Catholics at home.
They might fairly hope that a better day was dawning for them, when the
powerful interposition of Spain and France was willingly accepted by
James and Charles in their favor. The special time when emigration
seemed most practicable was also the time when the occasion for it was

Again, it is to be noted that no American colony ever reached the
position in which it could provide a positively secure refuge to
Catholics. Maryland wavered from toleration to Catholicism, then to
Anglicanism and to Puritanism, and then back to toleration; but never
at any time was it a Catholic settlement in the sense in which
Massachusetts belonged to the Puritans or Pennsylvania was the special
home of the Quakers. English Catholics, hesitating between emigration
and the further endurance of their ills at home, would feel no
irresistible attraction in the dubious toleration of any of the
colonies. [Footnote: Tyler, England in America, chaps, vii., viii.]

Lastly, it is to be noticed that the great proportion of the English
Catholics were not of the emigrating classes. Many of them were of the
nobility and gentry, and therefore not of the ordinary stuff of which
colonists were made. It is quite possible that the same conservative
tendencies which held them to the old church held them to their old
homes. If they had been as easily detached from their native soil as
the Puritans and Quakers, one cannot doubt that some great migration
comparable to that of those two bodies would have taken place.



The multitude of Englishmen other than Catholics, who, at the opening
of the seventeenth century, were dissatisfied with the church of
England as by law established, may be grouped under the general name of
Puritans; although as time passed on various newly organized religious
bodies formed themselves from among them, so that two more religious
classes, at least, have to be differentiated. The roots of Puritanism
are to be found in the characteristics of human temperament.
Conservatives and radicals will always exist; the Puritans were those
who carried or tried to carry the principles and ideas of the
Reformation to their logical and rigorous conclusion. Such men as
Latimer, Cranmer, and many of the theologians of the reign of Edward
VI., were already steadily approaching the fundamental position of the
Puritans, as their thought developed, long before the foreign influence
of the reign of Queen Mary became effective and the modified
Protestantism of Elizabeth was introduced.

If the government had kept its hands off, England would have divided
into two camps, that of the Catholics and that of a Puritanically
reformed church. The Anglican system was an artificial one, a
compromise established under the influence of the crown and kept in
power by royal determination till it eventually won the devotion, the
loyalty, or at least the deliberate acceptance of the great body of
moderate and conservative Englishmen. Catholics and Puritans were the
logical opposites, and not Catholics and Anglicans, nor yet Anglicans
and Puritans.

Yet in a more immediate sense Mary gave occasion to the rise of
Puritanism by driving into banishment many of the more devout
Protestants of her day. At Frankfort, Strasburg, Basel, Zurich, and
Geneva groups of these English exiles gathered, formed congregations
worshipping together; developed, apart from the restrictions of
government, the logical tendencies of their religious ideas; and in
many cases came under the powerful influence of continental reformers.
Especially at Frankfort [Footnote: Hinds, The England of Elizabeth, 12-
67.] and at Geneva was the religious life of these Protestant
communities at white heat; and controversies were then begun and
principles adopted which dominated all the later life of these
Englishmen, and were handed down to their successors in England and
America as party cries through more than a century. When the ordeal of
Mary's reign was over, the exiled for conscience' sake returned to
England, but they formed already a body divergent from the church as it
was then established.

During Elizabeth's reign three stages of the development of Puritanism
gave occasion for corresponding conflicts with the crown and for making
more clear the differences between Anglican and Puritan. During the
first decade of the reign, Puritanism meant a protest against certain
of the ceremonies and formulas and vestments required of clergymen by
the law. The sign of the cross on the child's forehead in baptism, the
celebration of saints' days, insistence on kneeling to receive the
communion, the use of church organs, the changing of robes during the
service, and even the wearing of a surplice or a square cap, were to
many earnest souls survivals of "popery" and temptations to
superstition. The clergy who held such beliefs tried by resolutions in
convocation to change the practices of the church: but notwithstanding
the large votes in their favor they were still in the minority and were
defeated. [Footnote: Strype, Annals, I., 500-505.]

Then individual ministers began to disregard the law, and either to
neglect the use of certain requirements of the prayer-book altogether
or to change the forms there laid down. The archbishop and the Court of
High Commission issued detailed instructions insisting on observance of
the authorized form of worship; [Footnote: Prothero, Statutes and
Constitutional Documents, 191-194.] but the ministers declared that
they owed obedience to God rather than to man, and either resigned
their pastorates or, encouraged by their congregations, continued to
disobey the law and the archiepiscopal injunctions. It was at this time
and in this connection that the word "Puritan" came into use, as a term
of reproach for those who insisted on an ultra-pure ritual, purged from
all traces of the old religion. "Puritan" was used as "Pharisee" might
have been. [Footnote: Camden, Annals, year 1568.]

From 1570 onward Puritanism entered upon a second stage, in the form of
a contest for changes in the organization of the established church. In
the main the same men who were dissatisfied with the liturgy of the
church began to oppose the system of its government by bishops and
archbishops. [Footnote: Letter from Sampson, formerly dean of Christ
Church, to Lord Burleigh, March 8, 1574, in Strype, Annals, III., 373.]
The "Admonition to Parliament" of 1572 declares that "as the names of
archbishops, archdeacons, lord bishops, chancellors, etc., are drawn
out of the pope's shop, together with their offices, so the government
which they use ... is anti-Christian and devilish and contrary to the
Scriptures. And as safely may we, by the warrant of God's words,
subscribe to allow the dominion of the pope universally to rule over
the word of God as an archbishop over a whole province or a lord bishop
over a diocese which containeth many shires and parishes. For the
dominion that they exercise ... is unlawful and expressly forbidden by
the word of God." [Footnote: Prothero, Statutes and Constitutional
Documents, 199.]

The greater number of those who attacked the episcopal organization of
the church advocated the system of Presbyterianism which had been
extensively adopted on the Continent and recently introduced into
Scotland by the Book of Discipline. November 20, 1572, was erected at
Wandsworth, in Surrey, the first presbytery in England; [Footnote:
Bancroft, Dangerous Positions, chap, i., quoted in Prothero, Statutes
and Constitutional Documents, 247.] from this time forward presbyteries
were established here and there by groups of neighboring parishes. Some
ten or fifteen years later the larger group, known as the "classis,"
was introduced; provincial and national "synods" were contemplated by
many of the Puritan clergy; and the English church bade fair to be
reorganized on Presbyterian lines, without the authority of the law.

This action met the stern opposition of the queen and the Court of High
Commission. In 1583 Elizabeth appointed Whitgift archbishop of
Canterbury, and under him the law was enforced with rigor. Individual
clergymen were deposed or forced to conform; the devotional practices
called "exercises," on which Puritanism throve, were forbidden; and
although the contest continued, the introduction of Presbyterianism was
held in check.

The latter years of Elizabeth's reign saw Puritanism within the church
taking on a new activity, by turning from questions of ceremony and
church government to questions of morals. The Puritans always stood for
greater earnestness and for the abolition of abuses in the church, but
as time passed on they brought into greater prominence the ascetic
ideal of life; the strict keeping of the Sabbath borrowed from the
Jewish ritual became customary; [Footnote: Eggleston, Beginners of a
Nation, 123-132.] prevailing immoralities and extravagances were more
bitterly reprobated in books, sermons, and parliamentary statutes; and
Puritanism took on that unlovely aspect of exaggerated austerity which
characterized its most conspicuous manifestations in the seventeenth

The great body of men of Puritan tendencies, both clergymen and laymen,
were deeply interested in reforming the church of England in liturgy,
in organization, and in practices; but they had no wish or intention to
break it up, to divide it into different bodies, or to withdraw
individually from its membership. They were as completely dominated by
the ideal of a single united national church, one in doctrine,
organization, and form of worship, as was the queen herself.
Nevertheless, a group of men arose among them, under the general name
of Independents, to whom the very idea of a national church seemed
idolatrous; who found in the Scriptures, or were driven by the logic of
their position, to one plan of church government only--the absolute
independence of each congregation of Christian believers. They looked
back to the little groups of chosen believers in Syria and Asia Minor,
the shadowy outlines of whose organization are found in the New
Testament; their imagination gave definite shape and their reverence
for the Scriptures gave divine authority to these as examples.
According to the analogy of biblical times, they looked upon themselves
as a remnant of saints, sacred and set apart from a wicked and
persecuting world.

Some of these extreme Puritans were under the influence of Robert
Browne, a zealous advocate, whose activity lay principally between 1581
and 1586. Others came under the somewhat more systematic teachings of
Barrow and Greenwood. Thus it became a fundamental principle of several
thousand persons, between 1580 and 1600, to separate themselves from
the established church. They are, therefore, known as "Separatists,"
though they were more commonly called at that time, as a term of
reproach, by the names of their leaders, "Brownists" or "Barrowists."
They met in "conventicles," and even strove to form more permanent
congregations by gathering in secret places, or sometimes openly, in
defiance of the authorities. A churchman of the time says that they
teach "that the worship of the English church is flat idolatry; that we
admit into our church persons unsanctified; that our preachers have no
lawful calling; that our government is ungodly; that no bishop or
preacher preacheth Christ sincerely and truly; that the people of every
parish ought to choose their bishop, and that every elder, though he be
no doctor nor pastor, is a bishop." [Footnote: Paule, Life of Whitgift
(1612), 43, quoted in Prothero, Statutes and Constitutional Documents,

In times when church and state were one, such teaching could not be
endured. If the Puritans were scourged with whips the Separatists were
lashed with scorpions. Their teachers were silenced and imprisoned, and
Barrow and Greenwood were, in 1587, hanged at Tyburn. Their
congregations were broken up and attendants at their conventicles were
fined, deprived of their property, and thrown into prison, where they
died by the score. Before Elizabeth's reign was over, the Separatists
had gone into exile or become but a persecuted remnant, so far, at
least, as outward manifestation extended; though one can scarcely doubt
that among Puritans generally, and even, perhaps, among those who still
adhered to the established church, were many who shared their
convictions. It is to be remembered that the Independents and all the
new sects which were formed in England later in the seventeenth
century, as well as the Puritans of New England, organized themselves
on the basis of independent congregations of Christian believers.

The close of the sixteenth century saw the contrast between the
Anglican churchman on the one hand and the Puritan and Separatist on
the other becoming more harsh, their incompatibility more evident.
Fifty years earlier episcopacy and ceremonialism seemed to most
Anglicans comparatively unimportant in themselves. They rather blamed
the Puritans for making a difficulty about matters indifferent, and for
opposing the civil authority in things pertaining to conscience; but
did not quarrel with them on religious questions. But a generation of
disputes, the development of fundamental principles, the need for
justification of a position already taken, drove both parties into a
more dogmatic attitude. The high-church party in the established church
now began to assert the divine appointment of the episcopal office, to
lay stress on the doctrine of the apostolic succession, and gradually
to reintroduce much symbolic ceremonial.

The Puritans, on the other hand, were more than ever convinced that the
system they advanced was based upon divine authority; and that the
church as it stood was founded upon human regulation only and must be
forced, if it could not be persuaded, to change its system. Still
greater clearness was given to this division of parties by the
theological contest that came into existence between 1600 and 1620. The
Puritans were almost completely Calvinist, and they claimed that the
established church itself had always been so. On the other hand, the
Anglican leaders of the early seventeenth century were Arminian, and
this form of theological doctrine was asserted by all those who
defended the existing organization and ceremonial practices of the
church. [Footnote: Makower, Constitutional History of the Church of
England, 75.] Thus the breach between the Puritan and the churchman was
now so wide that James I., indolent and arrogant for all his toleration
and learning, did nothing--perhaps could do nothing--towards its
closing. He said of the Puritans, at the Conference at Hampton Court in
1604: "I shall make them conform themselves or I will harry them out of
this land, or else do worse." [Footnote: Gardiner, Hist, of England,
I., 157.] He disappointed and angered them, drove them into opposition
to his civil rule as well as to his church policy, and strengthened
their number and their position by his treatment of Parliament, whose
interests and theirs had come to be inseparable.

All the "antagonisms, religious and political," of the reign of James
were intensified in that of Charles I. The new king was more autocratic
and more unsympathetic with his subjects; Parliament was more self-
assertive and more determined to impose its wishes upon king and
ministers; the authorities of the established church were more
intolerant towards the Puritans and milder towards the Catholics. The
Puritans, on the other hand, were more convinced that the Anglican
church was retrograding towards Catholicism, and more determined to
destroy episcopacy if they should ever be able to do so.

The freest opportunity of the established church to destroy Puritanism
came during the period of the personal government of Charles, from 1629
to 1640, when Parliament had no meetings, and when the Court of Star
Chamber, the High Commission, and the Privy Council were the all-
powerful instruments of an administration sympathetic with the high-
church party. The oppressions of the Puritans were now at their height,
and the prospect of ever obtaining freedom to worship as they chose
seemed the darkest. With the most prominent liberal and Puritan leaders
imprisoned for their political opinions, like Sir John Eliot, or lying
in prison, crushed under enormous fines, like Prynne; with the courts
subservient to the royal will; with court preachers declaring the duty
of passive obedience to the government; with Laud guiding the policy of
the king in all ecclesiastical matters,--the state of the Puritans
might well seem hopeless, and they might well look towards some distant
land as a place for the establishment of a purified national church.

Archbishop Laud typified and embodied the spirit of the dominant
church, and in addition he had unwearied energy, industry, and
determination. Sincere, practical, and brave, but narrow-minded and
unsympathetic, he set about the work of reducing the church of England
to absolute uniformity in accordance with the law as he interpreted it.
The Nonconformists had no rest; Puritan clergymen must conform; Puritan
laymen must suffer under the power of the church, which, dominated by
its bishops and wedded to its idols, was becoming steadily more
powerful and all-inclusive. The reign of Charles was not marked by the
passage of harsher laws against the Puritans, but it was distinguished
from all periods that preceded or followed it by the continuous,
steady, and thorough-going application of those already in existence.

It was under this regime that the great Puritan migration to America
took place. The Puritans represented a class of society which was much
more ready to emigrate than the Catholics. As early as 1597 some
imprisoned Brownists sent a petition to the Privy Council asking that
they might be allowed to settle in America; and four men of the same
persuasion even went on a voyage to examine the land. [Footnote:
Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 167.] In 1608 many Puritans seem to
have prepared to emigrate to Virginia, when by Archbishop Bancroft's
influence they were forbidden by the king to go, except with his
express permission in each individual case. [Footnote: Stith, Hist, of
Virginia, book II., year 1608.]

The Separatists early became wanderers on the face of the earth, a now
famous group of them leaving their English homes for Amsterdam,
migrating thence to Leyden, and then, after hesitating between a Dutch
and an English colony and between North and South America, a portion
settling themselves on Plymouth Harbor. [Footnote: Griffis, Pilgrims in
Their Three Homes.] In all the history of early colonization there have
been few such occasions as that of the year 1638, when fourteen ships
bound for New England lay in the Thames at one time, and when three
thousand settlers reached Boston within the same year. [Footnote:
Authorities quoted in Eggleston, The Beginners of a Nation, 344] Almost
all the Englishmen who were ever to emigrate to New England left their
homes during the twelve years between 1628 and 1640. Unfavorable
economic conditions at home and the prospect of greater prosperity in
the colony doubtless had their influence; but of the more than twenty
thousand who passed from the old England to New England during that
time, it is fair to presume that by far the greater number were more or
less influenced by their Puritan opinions.

The most decisive proof of this motive for emigration is the slacking
of the tide of Puritan expatriation after 1640. When Parliament, after
eleven years of intermission, met in that year at Westminster in the
full appreciation of its power, one of its first actions was to order
the impeachment and arrest of Archbishop Laud. At last the Puritans had
their turn, and the assembling of Parliament found them no longer a
scattered, disorganized, diversified element in the English church and
nation; but, thanks to long persecution, a compact body, austere in
morals, dogmatic in religious belief, ready to make use of political
means for religious ends, and determined to impose their asceticism and
their orthodoxy on the English people so far as they might be able.
[Footnote: Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 133.]

A majority of Parliament, small but sufficient, were Puritans, as had
probably been true of every Parliament for many years, had they been
free to act. Their intentions showed themselves in a prompt inception
of reforms in the church, and the burdens of official ecclesiastical
oppression were rapidly transferred to the shoulders of those who had
previously bound the loads upon Puritan backs. In 1641 orders were
issued by the House of Commons for the demolition of all images,
altars, and crucifixes. [Footnote: Commons Journals, II., 279.] A
commission known as the "Committee of Scandalous Ministers" was
appointed, and proceeded to discipline the clergy and to harass the
universities. Demands for the harsher treatment of priests and Jesuits
were soon followed by plans for the diminution of the power of
archbishops and bishops of the established church. The Court of High
Commission was abolished July 5, 1641. [Footnote: 16 Chas. I., chap.
ii.] The archbishops and bishops were removed from the House of Lords
and the Privy Council by the act of February 13, 1642. [Footnote:
Ibid., chap, xxvii.]

The Solemn League and Covenant of September 25, 1643, pledged
Parliament and the leaders of the now dominant party to extirpate
"church government by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and
commissaries, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and all other
ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy"; and to reform
religion in England "in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government,
according to the word of God and the example of the best reformed
churches." [Footnote: League and Covenant, Sub Section 1, 2.]

By this time the quarrel between Charles and Parliament had been put to
the arbitrament of the sword, and the distinction of Cavalier and
Roundhead to a certain extent superseded that between Anglican and
Puritan. In 1645 came the catastrophe of Naseby, then the long series
of futile negotiations ending in the execution of the king at Whitehall
in 1649. From the general confusion emerged the commonwealth, "without
any king or House of Lords," the church organized on Presbyterian
lines, the spirit of Puritanism dominating, although there was
toleration for every form of Christian belief, "provided this liberty
be not extended to popery or prelacy." [Footnote: Instrument of
Government, Section 37.] For full twenty years the Anglican church was
under a cloud, first Presbyterianism and then Independency being the
official form of the church of England. The ill-fortunes of the
royalist party in the civil war and under the commonwealth, and the
religious oppression imposed by the Puritans upon churchmen, now
combined to send to the colonies the very classes which had so recently
been the persecutors. From 1640 to 1660 Virginia, Maryland, and the
Carolinas received an influx of English churchmen escaping from
conditions at home as intolerable to them as, those which drove the
Pilgrims and Puritans to New England during the previous decades.

The commonwealth was not merely a triumph of Puritanism, it was a
birth-time of new religious sects. The excitement of a period of civil
war, the breaking down of old standards, the disappearance of old
authority, the opportunities offered by the quasi-democracy of the
commonwealth, the preoccupation of the seventeenth-century mind with
questions of religion, all combined to cause almost a complete
disintegration of religious organization. Here and there a man began to
preach religious truth and duty as they looked to him; he obtained
adherents, a congregation was organized, the tenets of this body
spread, and branches were formed; till shortly a new religious society
had come into existence, with its creed, organization, missionary
spirit, and more or less vigorous hope of converting all men and
absorbing all other religious organizations. An almost indefinite
number of such religious bodies arose during the middle years of the
seventeenth century--Millenarians or Fifth Monarchy Men, Baptists or
Anabaptists, Quakers, Ranters, Notionists, Familists, Perfectists, and
others. Most of them died out within the brief period which gave them
birth, but some survived to become great religious denominations,
extending into America as well as throughout England. [Footnote: Gooch,
English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century, chap. viii.]

Of these the Quakers are the most interesting in their relations to the
New World. The spirit from which they arose was closely similar to that
which gave birth to the Baptists of England, the Anabaptists,
Mennonites, Pietists, and Quietists of the Continent. Their movement
was an extreme revolt against the formalism, corporate character, and
externality of established religion. It contained a deep element of
mysticism. The Quakers declared all believers, irrespective of
learning, sex, or official appointment, to be priests. [Footnote: Fox,
Letters, No. 249.] They asserted the adequacy of the "inner light" to
guide every man in his faith and in his actions. They opposed all forms
and ceremonies, even many of those of ordinary courtesy and fashion,
such as removing the hat or conforming the garb to changing custom.

George Fox, the representative of these ideas, began his public
preaching in 1648, and his doctrines at once found wide acceptance. In
1652 there were said to be twenty-five Quaker preachers passing through
the country; by 1654 there were sixty, some of whom were women, who, by
the principles of their teachings, should preach as freely as men.
Their missionary journeys led them to Scotland and Ireland, and later
even to Holland and Germany and the far east of Europe. Organization
among the Quakers proceeded somewhat slowly. This was due partly to the
individualist character of their beliefs, partly to the lack of
constructive interest on the part of Fox and the other leaders during
the early period of their missionary work. Nevertheless, "meetings"
were gradually organized, took definite shape, and kept up regular
communication with one another, so that there came to be a net-work of
such bodies over the whole country. In 1659 it is estimated that there
were thirty thousand Quakers in England.

Notwithstanding the religious liberty guaranteed by the Instrument of
Government of 1653, the teachings and practices of the Quaker preachers
brought them into much turmoil. Their vituperation of the clergy, their
intrusion into church services and ceremonies, already reduced only too
frequently to confusion by the rapid changes of the time, their
objection to the payment of tithes, their refusal to take an oath,
their outspoken denunciation of all whose actions they disapproved, the
prominence of women in their propaganda, and, in early times,
suspicions that they were connected with political plots, could not but
subject them to ridicule, abuse, and actual persecution. They
habitually violated numerous laws on the statute-book, ranging from
those requiring good order to those forbidding what was construed as
blasphemy. They were, therefore, beaten and stoned by the mob; abused,
fined, and imprisoned by the magistrates; ridiculed and prosecuted by
the clergy; subjected to starvation, exposure, and other hardships by
sheriffs and jailers. [Footnote: Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers, I.,
chaps, iii., iv, xi., xviii., II, chap. i., etc.]

In 1660 Charles II. was recalled to the throne. This event was a
restoration of the church even more than a restoration of the monarchy.
The royal power could never again be what it had been before the civil
war, the execution of a king, and the establishment of a republic. But
the church, with the longevity and recuperative power of all religious
organizations, arose again to a life apparently as vigorous and
despotic as in the times of Laud. The year 1662 found four thousand two
hundred Quakers in the jails of England; [Footnote: Sewel, Hist. of the
Quakers, 346.] and the popular reaction against the austerity of the
Puritan regime subjected Quakers to much ill-treatment by the rabble.

Yet just at this juncture the dignity of the body was strengthened and
its power of self-assertion increased by the adherence to it of men of
higher education and social position. The Quakers of the commonwealth
period were almost all of the middle and lower-middle or trading
classes. Soon after the Restoration a number of men of good family and
some means threw in their fortunes with the persecuted sect. One of
them, Robert Barclay, reduced to order and system the scattered and
incoherent statements of its theology. In his Apology, published in
1675, he set forth a logical and consistent statement of beliefs,
couched in clear and graceful language and supported by calm reasoning
and example. [Footnote: Thomas, Hist. of the Society of Friends in
America, chap ii., 200, 201.] Of the same class was William Penn, an
educated, wealthy, polished, and genial English gentleman. Yet he was
also a serious-minded and devout Quaker preacher, missionary, and
writer, and as he saw and shared in the sufferings of the faithful he
might well despair of better conditions in England and think of a "Holy
Experiment" in America, where Quakers from 1675 onward were settling in
West New Jersey. [Footnote: Fiske, The Dutch and Quaker Colonies, II.,
99, 167; Andrews, Colonial Self-Government, chap. vii.]

Under Charles II. the attitude of the king was favorable to the
Quakers, while in the short reign of James II. they had the great
advantage of the personal friendship of the king for Penn. Yet no
matter what should be the favor of the king, or even their more
moderate treatment by the authorities of the established church,
Quakers could not hope for material comfort or ease of mind in
surroundings so alien to their ideals as England was in the last
decades of the seventeenth century. They, still more than the Puritans
in the time of Laud or the churchmen in the time of Cromwell, suffered
because of the incongruity of the ordinary law and custom with their
ideals. It was the realization of this incompatibility, along with the
attraction of a community under Quaker government, cheap and abundant
land, a promise of a growing population and lucrative business
opportunities that set flowing to Pennsylvania the tide of Quaker
emigration and created in a few years a great Quaker commonwealth in

Besides Puritans, Anglicans, and Quakers, another great stream of
emigration poured into the central colonies of America--the
Presbyterian Scotch-Irish. To understand their coming, it is necessary
to return to the early years of the seventeenth century and to consider
the policy of James I. towards rebellious Ireland. At the opening of,
his reign James found in Ireland an opportunity to plant a colony near
home. [Footnote: Walpole, Kingdom of Ireland, 130-135.] When Englishmen
and Scotchmen had been established in Ireland, the Irish sore would be
healed, and that restless Catholic community be transformed into an
outlying district of England. The "Plantation of Ulster" began in 1611.
The titles of the natives were ruthlessly forfeited, the six counties
of the province of Ulster were re-divided, and the land was re-granted
to proprietors who engaged to settle colonists from England and
Scotland upon it according to a fixed system.

This system was skilfully devised and rigidly carried out. It required
the new land-owners to establish freeholders, small tenants, laborers,
and artisans upon the soil in proportion to the amount of land they
received, allowing only a certain minimum number of the Irish natives
to be retained as laborers. The proprietors were largely merchants of
London and merchandising noblemen of the court; the tenants they
introduced were mostly from the towns and country districts of the
north of England and the lowlands of Scotland. Men of Puritan
tendencies showed the same readiness to emigrate to Ireland that they
showed soon afterwards as to New England, and as a result the settlers
of Ulster, during the first two decades of the seventeenth century,
were almost universally Presbyterians.

Under these new and somewhat anomalous conditions a population grew up
in the north of Ireland which was almost as distinct in race and
religious organization from the people of England and Scotland as it
was from the Catholic and Celtic population which it had displaced. Its
religion, without being proscribed, was not acknowledged, for
Anglicanism was the established church of Ireland, though it numbered
but few adherents. Ulster's industrial interests were, from the
beginning, subordinated to those of England, as completely as were
those of the natives. [Footnote: Cunningham, Growth of English Industry
and Commerce, II., 136.] As the century progressed the economic evils
under which the Scotch-Irish suffered became more pronounced. The
navigation acts were so interpreted as to exclude Ireland from all
their advantages and to cut her off from any direct trade with the
colonies. Tobacco-growing was forbidden, and the exportation of cattle
to England placed under prohibitory duties. The wool manufacture was
crushed by heavy export taxes, and the linen manufacture neglected or
discouraged. In 1642 and again in 1689 came war and new conquests of
the country, to add to its disorganization and chronic sufferings.
Kidnapping, enforced service in the colonies, and traffic in political
prisoners were indulged in by the government. Ireland, as a dwelling-
place for Catholics or Protestants, for Celts or Saxons, for natives or
English and Scotch settlers, was a country of ever-renewed distress.

To economic disabilities is to be added religious persecution of a mild
type, especially after 1689. All the laws that interfered with the
religious equality of the Presbyterians in England were extended to
Ireland; and they seemed more vexatious there because in Ulster the
Presbyterians were in the vast majority and the established church
almost unrepresented, except by tithe collectors and absentee
landlords. At the close of the seventeenth century there were more than
a million Ulster Presbyterians. But soon, as a result of this combined
economic and religious oppression, they began to migrate in a narrow
stream which by 1720 became a wide river. They formed the largest body
of emigrants that left Europe for the American colonies. Before the
eighteenth century was over the Presbyterian population of Ireland was
reduced by at least a half; [Footnote: Fiske, The Dutch and Quaker
Colonies in America, II., 354.] and the missing moiety was to be found
scattered along the whole line of the Appalachian mountain-chain, at
the backbone of the English colonies, extending eastward and westward
and forming a prolific and influential element of the American people.


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