« AnteriorContinuar »
information,”-may be, less had been better, for this satisfies not, _"may be less satisfied,"—what justice is that which reacheth not that of God in the conscience, which should be the full.information to witness for you? Which your justice wanting, your full information signifies nothing; and which you wanting, you come to give full information ;—"and men of perverser principles''—so must all those be who join not with you—“to calumniate us"—truth is no slander—"and render us as bloody persecutors,”—who certainly are such—"to satisfy the one"—which never will be—"and stop the mouths of the other,"—which never can be, for it is the Witness of Truth,—"we thought fit to declare, that, about three years since, divers persons professing themselves Quakers, &c.," as in the beginning, which I have already answered, and do make an end with your beginning in the end. And so I have finished my answer to your Declaration.
Having thus gone through your Declaration, and related the sufferings of Friends, as they have come under the several heads thereof, and as occasion hath been given me by your said Declaration, I shall now proceed to what was done in the other Colonies through your example, and what Friends have since suffered in your own, and so finish up your sum.
No sooner had ye begun your persecution, and drawn the blood of the innocent, but the other Colonies, viz., that of Plymouth Patent chiefly, and New Haven, soon followed after you; as for Connecticut, there was but little done, the governor being a tender man. Plymouth saddle being put upon the bay horse, viz., Boston, (as one who was magistrate of that colony hath expressed it, in a letter written in the sense of the sufferings of these people in that country, hereafter mentioned,) that Patent rides on its career, though not to banishment upon pain of death and ears, yet in other cruelties, as fines, whippings, imprisonments, &c. And New Haven will exceed in burnings in the hand, and other severities.
And here, in the first place, old Nicholas Upshall challengeth the pre-eminence, for the time of his banishment being as early as the proclamation of your law of blood, and coming from you, being banished, into that jurisdiction for a little shelter in the Winter season, the governor thereof, one Bradford, forbade him to be received by the town of Sandwich, whitherto he was come; and when the tender-hearted people of that town could not be so inhospitable as to turn him out, he sent his warrant for him to come to Plymouth, which was about twenty miles from thence. Which he not answering, being so stricken in years, and the season such, that to have gone thither was as much as might have cost him his life, as he signified to the governor in a letter, and that if he perished, his blood would be required at his hands, he was suffered to stay, by the motion of some of the magistrates, until the Spring of the year, when he was posted away so early, that he had like to have perished in his passage to Rhode Island, as I have already declared.
Nor did John Copeland and Christopher Holder meet with better usage at their hands; for they having been at Martha's Vineyard, a place between Rhode Island and Plymouth colony, on the 16th of the Sixth month, 1657, and speaking there a few words in their meeting-house, after that priest Mayhew had ended, they were both thrust out by the constable, and delivered the next day by the governor and constable to an Indian, to be carried in a small canoe to the mainland, over a sea nine miles broad, dangerous to pass over, having first taken the money from them to pay the Indian; who, taking the custody of them, showed himself more hospitable, as did the rest of the Indians, and supplied them freely with all necessaries, according to what the Indians had, during the space of those three days they staid there, waiting for a calm season, and refused to take any consideration; he who had them in custody saying, “That they were strangers, and Jehovah taught him to love strangers.” Learn of the heathen, ye who pretend yourselves Christians. An opportunity presenting, he set them on shore on the mainland, where they were soon set upon, at New Plymouth, by the governor and magistrates there, and several of your church-members; and, after a long dispute, were required to begone. Yet they were loath to let them go; but the next morning the marshal's deputy came for them, and brought them
before Thomas Southworth and John Alden, two notorious persecutors, who examined them, and required them to depart the colony, telling them they had a law, but would not show it them when they desired it, being strangers, and so let them go. Nevertheless, the next morning, a constable was sent to the inn where they lodged, to keep them from going to Sandwich, whereunto they were bound; their testimony there being received by many with gladness of heart; and unto which place they said they must pass, ere they departed the country, it being required of them by the Lord. But the constable seized them as they were passing thither, and carried them six miles onward to Rhode Island, out of the liberties of the said town, as he was required. They, obeying the Lord rather than man, soon returned to Sandwich, after he left them; where the priests crying to the governor, “Help, help!” he sent his warrant, and caused them to be apprehended in the name of the Protector as extravagant persons and vagabonds, who were freemen, and brought them to Plymouth, where W. Newland, a friendly man, for but demanding of the deputyconstable, who had them in custody, a copy of the warrant, was fined twenty shillings, and sent the second time out of that colony; and the two prisoners required to depart, and forced so to do by the deputy-marshal, who brought them out of that colony fifty miles, and so left them near Rhode Island, the ad day of
governor, John Alden, Josiah Winslow, and Thomas Southworth, magistrates, dated at Plymouth, the 31st of August, 1657, who signed the warrant and caused its execution, though they refused to show their law, to which they pretended, for so doing; and though they also said that they believed that they, viz., the prisoners, did not know they had such a law; and threatened them with their “law for vagabonds," that is to say, whipping, if they came again. How exactly these have learned of you in the beginning, and walked after your unrighteous steps, the reader may perceive, by being as early in the consideration of what ye have done, as in the perusal of this part of their suffering.
The next is Humphrey Norton, who fared no better than the rest; for he, coming to that colony in the drawings of the Lord, to visit His Seed and speak at the Court, was apprehended at Sandwich before the Court sat, and had to Plymouth, and there detained a prisoner until he sent a paper to the Court, when he saw that he was not sent for and they were likely to end their sitting, in these words, viz.,-"I required of you a public examination; and if found guilty, publicly punished; if not, cleared ;" upon which he was had before them, and sentenced to banishment, although what they laid to his charge, as being an extravagant person, was not proved against him, neither could it be, nor anything else of which he was accused.
Thus as to banishment. Next as to fines.
The first occasion taken against the inhabitants who entertained Friends, and had meetings of those people at their houses, was that of swearing, under the pretence of their serving as jurymen, whereunto they were summoned; and Ralph Alden and William Newland, both inhabitants of Sandwich, were the first pitched upon for that purpose. Ralph Alden was summoned to serve on the high and petty juries at one and the same time, that he might not miss; and W. Newland on the petty jury, and this at twenty miles' distance from the town where they lived. Notwithstanding which, they came thither and manifested their willingness to serve, if it might be without swearing; for that they could not do, it being contrary to the doctrine of Christ. But this was not accepted, it being against their purpose, which was, to question them upon such occasions about having meetings in their houses, which they called disorderly and riotous, though they were peaceful, and of neighbors and Friends only, to wait upon the Lord. For which they were fined twenty shillings a-piece,-W. Newland ten shillings for not serving on the jury, which he refused not to do, but swear he could not; and ten shillings for procuring a copy of the warrant from the deputy-constable by which C. Holder and J. Copeland were apprehended when they first came to his house, as aforesaid; which is a thing that the constable should do, and which the deputy-constable said he thought he might do safely. What havoc is here made of men's liberties, by those who so much pretend to freedom, and came into a frec. country for that purpose ! The governor saying to W. Newland afterwards, at the First month's Court at which he was set free, that "he looked upon it as a very gross thing,” and they were required, viz., Ralph Alden and William Newland, to find sureties for their good behaviour for six months in eighty pounds penalty each. Which they refusing to do, it being against a good conscience and appertaining unto the worship of God, not having misbehaved themselves at all, as to God or man, they were committed to the marshal, and sentenced by the governor to pay five shillings at their commitment, and five shillings at their release, and five shillings every day during the time of their imprisonment, which was till the Court met, in the First month, 1658; being continued prisoners nearly five months, from their wives and children, relations and occasions, which were many, and distant between twenty and thirty miles from their outward affairs, part of it in the depth of Winter. And from W. Newland they distrained a heifer for thirty shillings, better worth than so much, and of R. Alden for his fine; but as for the marshal, he was more moderate, and exacted not what he might have done by the governor's order.
Thus entered the scenes of cruelty and wickedness in these parts, which ceased not here, but proceeded from one cruelty to another until such time as they have filled up a great measure of iniquity; and became much like you in persecuting the just.
For presently, after the release of these, the very same Court, which sat in the First month and set them at liberty, had Peter Gaunt, Daniel Wing, Ralph Allen, and William Allen, all of Sandwich, before them, upon pretence of felony, in breaking forcibly into another man's house; as they had done before by W. Newland, when they summoned him to be a juryman, as aforesaid; but indeed to have occasion against them, as they took occasion against him, and to make them otherwise to suffer for their consciences. But the man of the house, viz., Nathaniel Fish, having cleared them of the pretended felony, for all the matter was, that they came into his house to see the prisoners,