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   Chapter 7 — THE QUAKERS.

The Emancipation of Massachusetts By Brooks Adams Characters: 73258

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1656, July. First Quakers came to Boston.

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

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

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

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

Under this act the following persons were hanged:

1659, 27 Oct. Robinson and Stevenson hanged.

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

1660-1661, 14 Mar. William Leddra hanged.

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

1661, 22 May. Vagabond Act. Any person convicted before a county magistrate of being an undomiciled or vagabond Quaker to be stripped naked to the middle, tied to the cart's tail, and flogged from town to town to the border. Domiciled Quakers to be proceeded against under Act of 1658 to banishment, and then treated as vagabond Quakers. The death penalty was still preserved but not enforced. [Footnote: Mass. Rec. vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 3.]

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

1661. 27 Nov. Vagabond Act suspended.

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

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

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

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

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


1656, Mary Prince. 1662, Deborah Wilson.

1658, Sarah Gibbons. 1663, Thomas Newhouse.

" Dorothy Waugh. " Edward Wharton.

1660, John Smith. 1664, Hannah Wright. [Footnote: Uncertain.]

1661, Katherine Chatham. " Mary Tomkins.

" George Wilson. 1665, Lydia Wardwell.

1662, Elizabeth Hooton. 1677, Margaret Brewster.

"It was in the month called July, of this present year [1656] when Mary Fisher and Ann Austin arrived in the road before Boston, before ever a law was made there against the Quakers; and yet they were very ill treated; for before they came ashore, the deputy governor, Richard Bellingham (the governor himself being out of town) sent officers aboard, who searched their trunks and chests, and took away the books they found there, which were about one hundred, and carried them ashore, after having commanded the said women to be kept prisoners aboard; and the said books were, by an order of the council, burnt in the market-place by the hangman.... And then they were shut up close prisoners, and command was given that none should come to them without leave; a fine of five pounds being laid on any that should otherwise come at, or speak with them, tho' but at the window. Their pens, ink, and paper were taken from them, and they not suffered to have any candle-light in the night season; nay, what is more, they were stript naked, under pretence to know whether they were witches [a true touch of sacerdotal malignity] tho' in searching no token was found upon them but of innocence. And in this search they were so barbarously misused that modesty forbids to mention it: And that none might have communication with them a board was nailed up before the window of the jail. And seeing they were not provided with victuals, Nicholas Upshal, one who had lived long in Boston, and was a member of the church there, was so concerned about it, (liberty being denied to send them provision) that he purchased it of the jailor at the rate of five shillings a week, lest they should have starved. And after having been about five weeks prisoners, William Chichester, master of a vessel, was bound in one hundred pound bond to carry them back, and not suffer any to speak with them, after they were put on board; and the jailor kept their beds ... and their Bible, for his fees." [Footnote: Sewel, p. 160.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Endicott was exasperated to frenzy, for he felt the ground crumbling beneath him; he put the fate of Christison to the vote, and failed to carry a condemnation. "The governor seeing this division, said, 'I could find it in my heart to go home;' being in such a rage, that he flung something furiously on the table. ...Then the governor put the court to vote again; but this was done confusedly, which so incensed the governor that he stood up and said, 'You that will not consent record it: I thank God I am not afraid to give judgment...Wenlock Christison, hearken to your sentence: You must return unto the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, and there you must be hang'd until you are dead, dead, dead.'" [Footnote: Sewel, p. 279.] Thereafter Wharton invoked the wrath of God against the theocracy.

To none of the enormities committed, during these years are the divines more keenly alive than to the crime of disturbing what they call "public Sabbath worship;" [Footnote: As to Roger Williams, p. 139.] and since their language conveys the impression that such acts were not only very common, but also unprovoked, whereas the truth is that they were rare, it cannot fail to be instructive to relate the causes which led to the interruption of the ordination of that Mr. Higginson, who called the "inner light" "a stinking vapour from hell." [Footnote: Ordained July 8, 166

0. Annals of Salem.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

To the Constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, Wenham, Linn, Boston, Roxbury, Dedham, and until these vagabond Quakers are carried out of this jurisdiction. You and every of you are required, in the King's Majesty's name, to take these vagabond Quakers, Anne Coleman, Mary Tomkins and Alice Ambrose, and make them fast to the cart's tail, and driving the cart through your several towns, to whip them on their backs, not exceeding ten stripes apiece on each of them in each town, and so to convey them from constable to constable, till they come out of this jurisdiction, as you will answer it at your peril: and this shall be your warrant.

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

* * *

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

"So, in a very cold day, your deputy, Walden, caused these women to be stripp'd naked from the middle upward, and tyed to a cart, and after a while cruelly whipp'd them, whilst the priest stood and looked, and laughed at it.... They went with the executioner to Hampton, and through dirt and snow at Salisbury, half way the leg deep, the constable forced them after the cart's tayl at which he whipp'd them." [Footnote: New England Judged, pp. 366, 367.]

Had the Reverend John Rayner but followed the cart, to see that his three hundred and thirty lashes were all given with the same ferocity which warmed his heart to mirth at Dover, before his journey's end he would certainly have joyed in giving thanks to God over the women's gory corpses, freezing amid the snow. His negligence saved their lives, for when the ghastly pilgrims passed through Salisbury, the people to their eternal honor set the captives free.

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

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

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

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

"Another time, the said Eliakim being rated to the said priest, Seaborn Cotton, the said Seaborn having a mind to a pied heifer Eliakim had, as Ahab had to Naboth's vineyard, sent his servant nigh two miles to fetch her; who having robb'd Eliakim of her, brought her to his master."...

"Again the said Eliakim was had to your court, and being by them fined, they took almost all his marsh and meadow-ground from him to satisfie it, which was for the keeping his cattle alive in winter ... and [so] seized and took his estate, that they plucked from him most of that he had." [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, pp. 374-376.] Lydia Wardwell, thus reduced to penury, and shaken by the daily scenes of unutterable horror through which she had to pass, was totally unequal to endure the strain under which the masculine intellect of Anne Hutchinson had reeled. She was pursued by her pastor, who repeatedly commanded her to come to church and explain her absence from communion. [Footnote: Besse, ii. 235.] The miserable creature, brooding over her blighted life and the torments of her friends, became possessed with the delusion that it was her duty to testify against the barbarity of flogging naked women; so she herself went in among them naked for a sign. There could be no clearer proof of insanity, for it is admitted that in every other respect her conduct was exemplary.

Her judges at Ipswich had her bound to a rough post of the tavern, in which they sat, and then, while the splinters tore her bare breasts, they had her flesh cut from her back with the lash. [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 377.]

"Thus they served the wife, and the husband escaped not free; ... he taxing Simon Broadstreet, ... for upbraiding his wife ... and telling Simon of his malitious reproaching of his wife who was an honest woman ... and of that report that went abroad of the known dishonesty of Simon's daughter, Seaborn Cotton's wife; Simon in a fierce rage, told the court, 'That if such fellows should be suffered to speak so in the court, he would sit there no more:' So to please Simon, Eliakim was sentenc'd to be stripp'd from his waste upward, and to be bound to an oak-tree that stood by their worship-house, and to be whipped fifteen lashes; ... as they were having him out ... he called to Seaborn Cotton ... to come and see the work done (so far was he from being daunted by their cruelty), who hastned out and followed him thither, and so did old Wiggins, one of the magistrates, who when Eliakim was tyed to the tree and stripp'd, said ... to the whipper... 'Whip him a good;' which the executioner cruelly performed with cords near as big as a man's little finger;... Priest Cotton standing near him ... Eliakim ... when he was loosed from the tree, said to him, amongst the people, 'Seaborn, hath my py'd heifer calv'd yet?' Which Seaborn, the priest, hearing stole away like a thief." [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, pp. 377-379.]

As Margaret Brewster was the last who is known to have been whipped, so is she one of the most famous, for she has been immortalized by Samuel Sewall, an honest, though a dull man.

"July 8, 1677. New Meeting House Mane: In sermon time there came in a female Quaker, in a canvas frock, her hair disshevelled and loose like a Periwigg, her face as black as ink, led by two other Quakers, and two other followed. It occasioned the greatest and most amazing uproar that I ever saw. Isaiah 1. 12, 14." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. fifth series, v. 43.]

In 1675 the persecution had been revived, and the stories the woman heard of the cruelties that were perpetrated on those of her own faith inspired her with the craving to go to New England to protest against the wrong; so she journeyed thither, and entered the Old South one Sunday morning clothed in sackcloth, with ashes on her head.

At her trial she asked for leave to speak: "Governour, I desire thee to hear me a little, for I have something to say in behalf of my friends in this place: ... Oh governour! I cannot but press thee again and again, to put an end to these cruel laws that you have made to fetch my friends from their peaceable meetings, and keep them three days in the house of correction, and then whip them for worshipping the true and living God: Governour! Let me entreat thee to put an end to these laws, for the desire of my soul is, that you may act for God, and then would you prosper, but if you act against the Lord and his blessed truth, you will assuredly come to nothing, the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." ...

"Margaret Brewster, You are to have your clothes stript off to the middle, and to be tied to a cart's tail at the South Meeting House, and to be drawn through the town, and to receive twenty stripes upon your naked body."

"The will of the Lord be done: I am contented." ...

Governour. "Take her away." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 263, 264.]

So ends the sacerdotal list of Quaker outrages, for, after Margaret Brewster had expiated her crime of protesting against the repression of free thought, there came a toleration, and with toleration a deep tranquillity, so that the very name of Quaker has become synonymous with quietude. The issue between them and the Congregationalists must be left to be decided upon the legal question of their right as English subjects to inhabit Massachusetts; and secondarily upon the opinion which shall be formed of their conduct as citizens, upon the testimony of those witnesses whom the church herself has called. But regarding the great fundamental struggle for liberty of individual opinion, no presentation of the evidence could be historically correct which did not include at least one example of the fate that awaited peaceful families, under this ecclesiastical government, who roused the ire of the priests.

Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick were an aged couple, members of the Salem church, and Lawrence was a freeman. Josiah, their eldest son, was a man; but they had beside a younger boy and girl named Daniel and Provided.

The father and mother were first arrested in 1657 for harboring two Quakers; Lawrence was soon released, but a Quaker tract was found upon Cassandra. [Footnote: Besse, ii. 183.] Although no attempt seems to have been made to prove heresy to bring the case within the letter of the law, the paper was treated as a heretical writing, and she was imprisoned for seven weeks and fined forty shillings.

Persecution made converts fast, and in Salem particularly a number withdrew from the church and began to worship by themselves. All were soon arrested, and the three Southwicks were again sent to Boston, this time to serve as an example. They arrived on the 3d of February, 1657; without form of trial they were whipped in the extreme cold weather and imprisoned eleven days. Their cattle were also seized and sold to pay a fine of £4 13s. for six weeks' absence from worship on the Lord's day.

The next summer, Leddra, who was afterwards hanged, and William Brend went to Salem, and several persons were seized for meeting with them, among whom were the Southwicks. A room was prepared for the criminals in the Boston prison by boarding up the windows and stopping ventilation. [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 64.] They were refused food unless they worked to pay for it; but to work when wrongfully confined was against the Quaker's conscience, so they did not eat for five days. On the second day of fasting they were flogged, and then, with wounds undressed, the men and women together were once more locked in the dark, close room, to lie upon the bare boards, in the stifling July heat; for they were not given beds. On the fourth day they were told they might go if they would pay the jail fees and the constables; but they refused, and so were kept in prison. On the morrow the jailer, thinking to bring them to terms, put Brend in irons, neck and heels, and he lay without food for sixteen hours upon his back lacerated with flogging.

The next day the miserable man was ordered to work, but he lacked the strength, had he been willing, for he was weak from starvation and pain, and stiffened by the irons. And now the climax came. The jailer seized a tarred rope and beat him till it broke; then, foaming with fury, he dragged the old man down stairs, and, with a new rope, gave him ninety-seven blows, when his strength failed; and Brend, his flesh black and beaten to jelly, and his bruised skin hanging in bags full of clotted blood, was thrust into his cell. There, upon the floor of that dark and fetid den, the victim fainted. But help was at hand; an outcry was raised, the people could bear no more, the doors were opened, and he was rescued. [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 66.]

The indignation was deep, and the government was afraid. Endicott sent his own doctor, but the surgeon said that Brend's flesh would "rot from off his bones," and he must die. And now the mob grew fierce and demanded justice on the ruffian who had done this deed, and the magistrates nailed a paper on the church door promising to bring him to trial.

Then it was that the true spirit of his order blazed forth in Norton, for the jailer was fashioned in his own image, and he threw over him the mantle of the holy church. He made the magistrates take the paper down, rebuking them for their faintness of heart, saying to them:-

William "Brend endeavoured to beat our gospel ordinances black and blue, if he then be beaten black and blue, it is but just upon him, and I will appear in his behalf that did so." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 186.] And the man was justified, and commanded to whip "the Quakers in prison ... twice a week, if they refused to work, and the first time to add five stripes to the former ten, and each time to add three to them.... Which order ye sent to the jaylor, to strengthen his hands to do yet more cruelly; being somewhat weakened by the fright of his former doings." [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 67.]

After this the Southwicks, being still unable to obtain their freedom, sent the following letter to the magistrates, which is a good example of the writings of these "coarse, blustering, ... impudent fanatics:"-[Footnote: As to Roger Williams, p. 138.]

* * *

This to the Magistrates at Court in Salem.


Whereas it was your pleasures to commit us, whose names are under-written, to the house of correction in Boston, altho' the Lord, the righteous Judge of heaven and earth, is our witness, that we had done nothing worthy of stripes or of bonds; and we being committed by your court, to be dealt withal as the law provides for foreign Quakers, as ye please to term us; and having some of us, suffered your law and pleasures, now that which we do expect, is, that whereas we have suffered your law, so now to be set free by the same law, as your manner is with strangers, and not to put us in upon the account of one law, and execute another law upon us, of which, according to your own manner, we were never convicted as the law expresses. If you had sent us upon the account of your new law, we should have expected the jaylor's order to have been on that account, which that it was not, appears by the warrant which we have, and the punishment which we bare, as four of us were whipp'd, among whom was one that had formerly been whipp'd, so now also according to your former law. Friends, let it not be a small thing in your eyes, the exposing as much as in you lies, our families to ruine. It's not unknown to you the season, and the time of the year, for those that live of husbandry, and what their cattle and families may be exposed unto; and also such as live on trade; we know if the spirit of Christ did dwell and rule in you, these things would take impression on your spirits. What our lives and conversations have been in that place, is well known; and what we now suffer for, is much for false reports, and ungrounded jealousies of heresie and sedition. These thing lie upon us to lay before you. As for our parts, we have true peace and rest in the Lord in all our sufferings, and are made willing in the power and strength of God, freely to offer up our lives in this cause of God, for which we suffer; Yea and we do find (through grace) the enlargements of God in our imprisoned state, to whom alone we commit ourselves and families, for the disposing of us according to his infinite wisdom and pleasure, in whose love is our rest and life.

From the House of Bondage in Boston wherein we are made captives by the wills of men, although made free by the Son, John 8, 36. In which we quietly rest, this 16th of the 5th month, 1658.


* * *

What the prisoners apprehended was being kept in prison and punished under an ex post facto law, and this was precisely what was done. When brought into court they demanded to be told the crime wherewith they were charged. They were answered: "It was 'Entertaining the Quakers who were their enemies; not coming to their meetings; and meeting by themselves.' They adjoyned, 'That as to those things they had already fastned their law upon them.' ... So ye had nothing left but the hat, for which (then) ye had no law. They answered-that they intended no offence to ye in coming thither ... for it was not their manner to have to do with courts. And as for withdrawing from their meetings, or keeping on their hats, or doing anything in contempt of them, or their laws, they said, the Lord was their witness ... that they did it not. So ye rose up, and bid the jaylor take them away." [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 85.]

An acquittal seemed certain; yet it was intolerable to the clergy that these accursed blasphemers should elude them when they held them in their grasp; wherefore, the next day, the Rev. Charles Chauncy, preaching at Thursday lecture, thus taught Christ's love for men: "Suppose ye should catch six wolves in a trap ... [there were six Salem Quakers] and ye cannot prove that they killed either sheep or lambs; and now ye have them they will neither bark nor bite: yet they have the plain marks of wolves. Now I leave it to your consideration whether ye will let them go alive, yea or nay." [Footnote: Idem, pp. 85, 86.]

Then the divines had a consultation, "and your priests were put to it, how to prove them as your law had said: and ye had them before you again, and your priests were with you, every one by his side (so came ye to your court) and John Norton must ask them questions, on purpose to ensnare them, that by your standing law for hereticks, ye might condemn them (as your priests before consulted) and when this would not do (for the Lord was with them, and made them wiser than your teachers) ye made a law to banish them, upon pain of death...." [Footnote: Idem, p. 87.]

After a violent struggle, the ministers, under Norton's lead, succeeded, on the 19th of October, 1658, in forcing the capital act through the legislature, which contained a clause making the denial of reverence to superiors, or in other words, the wearing the hat, evidence of Quakerism. [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, pp. 100, 101; Mass. Rec. vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 346.]

On that very day the bench ordered the prisoners at Ipswich to be brought to the bar, and the Southwicks were bidden to depart before the spring elections. [Footnote: Mass. Rec. vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 349.] They did not go, and in May were once more in the felon's dock. They asked what wrong they had done. The judges told them they were rebellious for not going as they had been commanded. The old man and woman piteously pleaded "that they had no otherwhere to go," nor had they done anything to deserve banishment or death, though £100 (all they had in the world) had been taken from them for meeting together. [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 106.]

"Major-General Dennison replied, that 'they stood against the authority of the country, in not submitting to their laws: that he should not go about to speak much concerning the error of their judgments: but,' added he, 'you and we are not able well to live together, and at present the power is in our hand, and therefore the stronger must send off.'" [Footnote: Besse, ii. 198.]

The father, mother, and son were banished under pain of death. The aged couple were sent to Shelter Island, but their misery was well-nigh done; they perished within a few days of each other, tortured to death by flogging and starvation.

Josiah was shipped to England, but afterward returned, was seized, and in the "seventh month, 1661, you had him before you, and at which according to your former law, he should have been tried for his life."

"But the great occasion you took against him, was his hat, which you commanded him to pull off: 'He told your governour he could not.' You said, 'He would not.' He told you, 'It was a cross to his will to keep it on; ... and that he could not do it for conscience sake.' ... But your governour told him, 'That he was to have been tryed for his life, but that you had made your late law to save his life, which, you said, was mercy to him.' Then he asked you, 'Whether you were not as good to take his life now, as to whip him after your manner, twelve or fourteen times at the cart's tail, through your towns, and then put him to death afterward?'" He was condemned to be flogged through Boston, Roxbury, and Dedham; but he, when he heard the judgment, "with arms stretched out, and hands spread before you, said, 'Here is my body, if you want a further testimony of the truth I profess, take it and tear it in pieces ... it is freely given up, and as for your sentence I matter it not.'" [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, pp. 354-356.]

This coarse, blustering, impudent fanatic had, indeed, "with a dogged pertinacity" persisted in outrages which "had driven" the authorities almost to frenzy; "therefore they tied him to a cart and lashed him for fifteen miles, and while he "sang to the praise of God," his tormentor swung with all his might a tremendous two-handed whip, whose knotted thongs were made of twisted cat-gut; [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 357, note.] thence he was carried fifteen miles from any town into the wilderness." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 225.]

An end had been made of the grown members of the family, but the two children were still left. To reach them, the device was conceived of enforcing the penalty for not attending church, since "it was well known they had no estate, their parents being already brought to poverty by their rapacious persecutors." [Footnote: Sewel, p. 223.]

Accordingly, they were summoned and asked to account for their absence from worship. Daniel answered "that if they had not so persecuted his father and mother perhaps he might have come." [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 381.] They were fined; and on the day on which they lost their parents forever, the sale as slaves of this helpless boy and girl was authorized to satisfy the debt. [Footnote: Mass. Rec. vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 366.]

Edmund Batter, treasurer of Salem, brought the children to the town, and went to a shipmaster who was about to sail, to engage a passage to Barbadoes. The captain made the excuse that they would corrupt his ship's company. "Oh, no," said Batter, "you need not fear that, for they are poor harmless creatures, and will not hurt any body." ... "Will they not so?" broke out the sailor, "and will ye offer to make slaves of so harmless creatures?" [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 112.]

Thus were free-born English subjects and citizens of Massachusetts dealt with by the priesthood that ruled the Puritan Commonwealth.

None but ecclesiastical partisans can doubt the bearing of such evidence. It was the mortal struggle between conservatism and liberality, between repression and free thought. The elders felt it in the marrow of their bones, and so declared it in their laws, denouncing banishment under pain of death against those "adhering to or approoving of any knoune Quaker, or the tenetts & practices of the Quakers, ... manifesting thereby theire compliance with those whose designe it is to ouerthrow the order established in church and commonwealth." [Footnote: Mass. Rec. vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 346.]

Dennison spoke with an unerring instinct when he said they could not live together, for the faith of the Friends was subversive of a theocracy. Their belief that God revealed himself directly to man led with logical certainty to the substitution of individual judgment for the rules of conduct dictated by a sacred class, whether they claimed to derive their authority from their skill in interpreting the Scriptures, or from traditions preserved by Apostolic Succession. Each man, therefore, became, as it were, a priest unto himself, and they repudiated an ordained ministry. Hence, their crime resembled that of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who "made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi;" [Footnote: Jeroboam's sin is discussed in Ne Sutor, p. 25; Divine Right of Infant Baptism, p. 26.] and it was for this reason that John Norton and John Endicott resolved upon their extermination, even as Elisha and Jehu conspired to exterminate the house of Ahab.

That they failed was due to no mercy for their victims, nor remorse for the blood they made to flow, but to their inability to control the people. Nothing is plainer upon the evidence, than that popular sympathy was never with the ecclesiastics in their ferocious policy; and nowhere does the contrast of feeling shine out more clearly than in the story of the hanging of Robinson and Stevenson.

The figure of Norton towers above his contemporaries. He held the administration in the hollow of his hand, for Endicott was his mouthpiece; yet even he, backed by the whole power of the clergy, barely succeeded in forcing through the Chamber of Deputies the statute inflicting death.

"The priests and rulers were all for blood, and they pursued it.... This the deputies withstood, and it could not pass, and the opposition grew strong, for the thing came near. Deacon Wozel was a man much affected therewith; and being not well at that time that he supposed the vote might pass, he earnestly desired the speaker ... to send for him when it was to be, lest by his absence it might miscarry. The deputies that were against the ... law, thinking themselves strong enough to cast it out, forbore to send for him. The vote was put and carried in the affirmative,-the speaker and eleven being in the negative and thirteen in the affirmative: so one vote carried it; which troubled Wozel so ... that he got to the court, ... and wept for grief, ... and said 'If he had not been able to go, he would have crept upon his hands and knees, rather than it should have been.'" [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, pp. 101, 102.]

After the accused had been condemned, the people, being strongly moved, flocked about the prison, so that the magistrates feared a rescue, and a guard was set.

As the day approached the murmurs grew, and on the morning of the execution the troops were under arms and the streets patrolled. Stevenson and Robinson were loosed from their fetters, and Mary Dyer, who also was to die, walked between them; and so they went bravely hand in hand to the scaffold. The prisoners were put behind the drums, and their voices drowned when they tried to speak; for a great multitude was about them, and at a word, in their deep excitement, would have risen. [Footnote: Idem, pp. 122, 123.]

As the solemn procession moved along, they came to where the Reverend John Wilson, the Boston pastor, stood with others of the clergy. Then Wilson "fell a taunting at Robinson, and, shaking his hand in a light, scoffing manner, said, 'Shall such Jacks as you come in before authority with your hats on?' with many other taunting words." Then Robinson replied, "Mind you, mind you, it is for the not putting off the hat we are put to death." [Footnote: New England Judged, ed. 1703, p. 124.]

When they reached the gallows, Robinson calmly climbed the ladder and spoke a few words. He told the people they did not suffer as evil-doers, but as those who manifested the truth. He besought them to mind the light of Christ within them, of which he testified and was to seal with his blood.

He had said so much when Wilson broke in upon him: "Hold thy tongue, be silent; thou art going to dye with a lye in thy mouth." [Footnote: Idem, p. 125.] Then they seized him and bound him, and so he died; and his body was "cast into a hole of the earth," where it lay uncovered.

Even the voters, the picked retainers of the church, were almost equally divided, and beyond that narrow circle the tide of sympathy ran strong.

The Rev. John Rayner stood laughing with joy to see Mary Tomkins and Alice Ambrose flogged through Dover, on that bitter winter day; but the men of Salisbury cut those naked, bleeding women from the cart, and saved them from their awful death.

The Rev. John Norton sneered at the tortures of Brend, and brazenly defended his tormentor; but the Boston mob succored the victim as lie lay fainting on the boards of his dark cell.

The Rev. Charles Chauncy, preaching the word of God, told his hearers to kill the Southwicks like wolves, since he could not have their blood by law; but the honest sailor broke out in wrath when asked to traffic in the flesh of our New England children.

The Rev. John Wilson jeered at Robinson on his way to meet his death, and reviled him as he stood beneath the gibbet, over the hole that was his grave; but even the savage Endicott knew well that all the trainbands of the colony could not have guarded Christison to the gallows from the dungeon where he lay condemned.

Yet awful as is this Massachusetts tragedy, it is but a little fragment of the sternest struggle of the modern world. The power of the priesthood lies in submission to a creed. In their onslaughts on rebellion they have exhausted human torments; nor, in their lust for earthly dominion, have they felt remorse, but rather joy, when slaying Christ's enemies and their own. The horrors of the Inquisition, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, the atrocities of Laud, the abominations of the Scotch Kirk, the persecution of the Quakers, had one object,-the enslavement of the mind.

Freedom of thought is the greatest triumph over tyranny that brave men have ever won; for this they fought the wars of the Reformation; for this they have left their bones to whiten upon unnumbered fields of battle; for this they have gone by thousands to the dungeon, the scaffold, and the stake. We owe to their heroic devotion the most priceless of our treasures, our perfect liberty of thought and speech; and all who love our country's freedom may well reverence the memory of those martyred Quakers by whose death and agony the battle in New England has been won.

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