Imágenes de páginas

ferings of those people as were by you indicted before the sitting of your Court, or that any law was made by you against them; also, as to the ground or reason of your proceedings, who made them suffer without a law. All of which I have answered in the beginning, because you have placed it so, and in regard that it contains the sum of your charge against them, or the cause of their sufferings; for that which follows is but the gradation of your proceedings from imprisonment to death, and rather demonstrates that ye did such and such things, than the grounds, or that ye had grounds, on which ye did them; and so your Declaration is a charge against yourselves. Now, as to your laws, and the grounds of them, and the sufferings as to each; and because every determination of man is justifiable or not, according to the ground on which it stands; I shall begin with your grounds, which I shall find to be two, and then proceed to the rest. The first is hearsay,+"Of whose pernicious opinions and practices we had received intelligence,” &c., say ye in your Declaration, as aforesaid. Answer.—Now, this is so poor and slender a foundation—or, rather, none at all—on which to ground, or by which to warrant what ye have done, and the laws ye have made, and so abominable, that I shall need no further to evince it than in the saying of Virgil, a heathen poet so accounted, viz.:“Fama, malum quo non aliud velocius ullum; Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo.” Fame—report, hearsay—is an evil, than which there is none more swift: it lives by motion, and by going getteth strength. The second is generals, “Pernicious opinions and practices, “professed tenets, turbulent and contemptuous behaviour, at“tempts, design,” with such like, which I shall repeat as I proceed to the following parts of your Declaration. Answer.—Now, generals are but the casts of a cause: they prove nothing, as I have said, and signify little but a design to slander, and in them is conversant and lurks deceit. And yet, upon these two—and no other—foundations, as to matter of fact, are your laws built, unto which I proceed.

Declaration.—“And accordingly a law was made and publish“ed, prohibiting all masters of ships to bring any Quakers into “this jurisdiction, and themselves from coming in, on penalty of “the House of Correction, till they should be sent away.”

Answer.—“And accordingly.” According unto what? Surely to your grounds,-for unto them it must needs refer, to that which went before, or it stands for nought, and I have shown what they are; and, according to the proverb, Malum corvus, malum ovum, a bad crow, a bad egg, as is the tree, so is the fruit; and a sweet fountain cannot cast out bitter streams, nor a bitter fountain sweet. As are your grounds, so are your laws; yourselves have connected them, and given the construction. “Accordingly,” say you, “a law was made,” &c.

Answer.—And why such a law? May not any free denizen of England reside or be, sojourn or inhabit, in any of the dominions thereof, not being chargeable to the place? or, if the place will bear them,--that is to say, if they can live in it? For all cannot live together, as the law of England provides. Is not England and its dominions as an Englishman's house, there to be where he thinks best to accommodate his affairs? I pray, how came you into New England, and by what right and title do ye claim privilege to sojourn there, and to rule as lords? Is it not by right of nature, with which the law investeth you, as natural Englishmen, into its natural habitations? Did ye not think so when ye removed thither? And thought ye it not a privilege inseparable from nature? How came ye, then, so to forget yourselves, as being possessed of, or having placed yourselves in that jurisdiction or part of England, or of its dominions, that ye make a law, or a law is provided, to prohibit, or “prohibiting all masters of “ships to bring any Quakers,” as ye reproach them, “into that “jurisdiction, and themselves from coming in, upon penalty of “the House of Correction, till they should be sent away,” as saith your Declaration ? Can that which is natural, or general, or common to all, as much to one man as another, be changed into particular? Can it be broken without a force to nature? or, is it not broken when it is made particular?' And is it not made

particular when some are excluded from the common benefit? And are not some excluded, when they are not suffered to enjoy the common benefit? or, do they enjoy the common benefit who are excluded? And is not this to force nature? and, can nature be forced without the violation of nature?—which is accounted murder. The same that said, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man” (Gen. ix. 6); the same gave man dominion over the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and bade him subdue them; and made all men of one blood to dwell on the face of the earth; and he that violates the one commits the other. For things that are natural are of the same quality, and the offence done against one thing that is so, is of the same nature as is done unto the rest; that is to say, which no law can tolerate, nor no judge make, that to be law which is against nature; because it voids the law, be it what it will,—that is to say, that which is against nature. And the reason is plain, because law is to preserve nature, or that which is natural or common unto all, and is an efflux or fruit of that, or that which is the ground of law; which, were it not for, or to serve, defend, or preserve, and where it needs it not, there is no need of the law, —the law would not be. For it stands in nature; and when it deviates therefrom, or seeks to destroy it, it is from its ground, and must be reduced to nature, not nature unto it. Nature must be the measure of law, not law of nature; and this is manifest. What would become of all the dissenting persons in the world, if they who have power in their hands should let none breathe, where they have power, who dissent from them? What had beV come of you after this rate? Had not the bishops as much right to have cast ye out of all England's dominions, and to have pro‘hibited all masters of ships to bring you thither, or yourselves from coming in, on the penalty of the House of Correction, or worse, as ye have done, who dissented from them? For, if it be lawful for you, being seated in a place and having power,<-and yet yours is but relative, and dependent on England,-so to prohibit and restrain all that you like not, it is lawful for all who are so seated to do the same; and New England is under England, as are the Isle of Wight and the English fishing-places in Newfoundland. And if it be lawful for all to do so, and your law establishes it, where then will ye go at your next remove, or into what corner of the earth, seeing that there is scarcely an inhabited spot that is one with you? But why not into this, your jurisdiction? Are you entailed thereunto, you and your heirs forever? How came ye so to be, and by what right? Is it because ye came out of Old England? So did these. Is it because you are Englishmen? So are they. Is it because ye dissented from the established government, and so fled from the trial of your principles? These stand to their principles, and through all sufferings come to convert you thereunto. If ye say, We are a people independent of ourselves, and so may make laws within our own jurisdiction,-then ye are not dependent on England. If that from Old England ye have such a power, then show it; for, I think, I have the copy of your charter by me, and there is no such thing, but the condition of it runs more than once thus:– “Provided that they,” to wit, the laws it gives you power to make, “be not repugnant to the laws, statutes, and ordinances of this realm.” Yea, why not into this, your jurisdiction, above all others, seeing that, above all others, your jurisdiction is most suitable? If ye say, We agree not with them in matters of religion; nor did, nor do ye now with the bishops, nor they with you; and yet no law turned ye out, nor did they procure a law for that purpose, nor was a law made—as you have done, who had no such power— or suffered to be so, nor was their motion thereunto: as far as I have heard, I am sure there was no such law; and so you are without excuse. Your remove was of yourselves; nor were ye kept out thence by any law when ye moved, nor from returning again to England, as ye minded removing; and ye have returned into England, and have been suffered to do so, as if ye had not removed. Yet ye have made a law, prohibiting all masters of ships to bring in of your brethren among you, who were not prohibited yourselves, and themselves from coming in on such a penalty; which leads me to the next particular, viz., The sufferings by this your law; “and accordingly,” say you, “a law was made and published,” &c. Answer.—This law is put as the port or entrance into this scene of blood and cruel sufferings, and the very publication of it enters it and shows the spirit by which it was made, and the ground on which it went; and poor Nicholas Upshall, a weakly old man, of your town of Boston, bore the brunt of it; for he, hearing it proclaimed, and being grieved at the heart for your and the country's sake, that such a thing should be done, which he looked upon as a sad forerunner of some heavy judgment, gave his dissent: which ye took so ill at his hands, that, though he was a member of your church, and of good repute among you, for a man of a sober and unblamable conversation, and though in much tenderness and love he spake to you the next day when ye had him before you, desiring “you to take heed, lest ye should be found fighters against God, and some sudden judgment follow it on the land,” which was the counsel that wise Gamaliel gave to the chief priests and Pharisees, which they received at his hands,-and it would have been your wisdom so to have done,—yet you fined him twenty pounds, which ye exacted, (“I’ll not bate him one groat,” said your cruel governor, John Endicott,) and three pounds more by another Court for not coming to your meetings, and this after he

was imprisoned. And into prison ye cast him, and out of your

jurisdiction you did banish him, allowing him but one month's space, of which the time of his imprisonment was part, for his removal; neither regarding his old years, who had scarce a tooth in his head to eat his meat, and bread and cheese and other sustenance, which was scraped into a spoon when he received it, nor the weakness of his body, nor the state of his aged wife and children who were amongst ye, nor the season of the year, it being in the beginning of Winter, which, with you, is very cold. And he might have perished therein, as some have done in passing from town to town, though but three miles distance, but out he must go; and, when he was departed into Plymouth-Patent jurisdiction, which was the next adjacent, the governor thereof, one

« AnteriorContinuar »