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All who have published any thing concerning him, except Mr. Calender, have represented him as an infanrous character.
about this time, the French of Acadie, or Nova-Scotia, who had differed among themselves repeatedly, and engaged the English occasionally with them, awakened the fears of the colony. But thefe were foon happily composed. The Indians were this year (1644) and the following, at war among themse res.
In 1646, the colony was disturbed by some of its principal inhabitants, who had conceived a diflike of some of the laws and the government. Several of thefe disaffected persons were imprisoned, and the rest compelled lo give fecurity for their future good behaviour.
An epidemical fickness passed through the country the next year, and fwept away many of the Englith, French, and Dutch.
In 1648, we have the first instance of the credulity and infatuation refpecting witchcraft, which, for some time, prevailed in this colony.
Margaret Jones, of Carleston, was accused of having fo malignant a quality, as to cause vomitting, deafness, and violent pains by her touch. She was accordingly tried, condemned, and executed. Happy would if have been, if this had been the only instarce of this infatuation. But why shall we wonder at the magistrates of New-England, when we find the celebrated Lord Chief Justice Hale, and others of high rank, in OldEngland, shortly after, chargeable with as great delusion. The truth is, it was the spirit of the tiines ; and the odium of the witchcraft and other infatuations, ought never to have been mentioned as peculiar to NewEngland, or afcribed to their fingular bigotry and fuperftition, as has been injuriously done by many European historians. The same fpirit prevailed at this time in England, and was very probably brought from thence, as were most of the laws and customs of the first settlers in America. The fame infatuation sprang up in Pennsylvania soon after its fettlement. *
* The following extracts from the records of Pennsylvania, Jhew that the method of proceeding with supposed witches, was equally ridiculous in the infancy of that colony as in New England.
“71h 12th, Mo. 1683. « Council Book A. Margaret Mattson and rethro Hendrickson ex
Page 43upon this Board ordered that Neels Mattson jould enter into a Recognizance of fifty pounds for his Wife's appearance before this board the 27th instant. “ Hendrick Jackson doth the same for his Wife.
27th of the 12th Month. Margarit Mattson's Indietment was read, and she pleads not guilty, and will be tried by the Country.
Page 45 “ The Jury went forth and upon their Return brought her in guilty of having the Common fame of a Witch, but not guilty in manner and form as foe ftunds indicted.
Page 46. i Neels Mattson and Antho Neelfon enters into a Recognizance of fifty pounds a piece for the good behaviour of Margaret Mattson for six months.
Facob Hendrickson enters into a Recognizance of fifty pounds for the good bebaviour of Getro Hendrickson for fix Months.”.
The scrupulousness of the people appears to have arisen to its height in 1649, and was indeed ridiculous. The custom of wearing long hair, after the manner of ruffians and barbarous Indians, as they termed it, was deemed contrary to the word of God, ' which says it is a shame for a man to wear long hair.' This expression of the Apoitle Paul, induced these pious people to think this custom criminal in all ages and nations. In a clergyman it was peculiarly offensive, as they were required in an especial manner to go fatentibus auribus, with open ears.
The use of tobaco was prohibited under a penalty, and the smoke of it, in some manuscripts, is compared to the smoke of the bottomless pit. The sickness frequently produced by smoaking tobacco was considered as a fpecies of drunkenness, and hence what we now term finoaking, was then often called • drinking tobacco. At length fonie of the clergy fell into the practice of tinoaking, and tobacco, by an act of government,
was set at liberty.'
In 1650, a corporation in England, constituted for propagating the gospel among the Indians, began a correspondence with the commissioners of the colonies, who were employed as agents for the corporation as long as the union of the colonies continued. In confequence of this correspondence, the colonists, who had too long neglected their dury, renewed their attempts to instruct the Indians in the knowledge of the Christian Religion. These
attempts were attended with little fuccess. While the English and Dutch were at war in Europe, in 1653, information was given to the governor of Massachusetts, that the Dutch governor had been endeavouring to engage the Indians in a confederacy against the English, to expel or destroy them. This created an alarm through the colonies. An examination was made, and preparations for a war ensued, which the pacification at home prevented.
In 1655, a distemper, like to that of 1647, went throngh the plantations.
In 1656 began what has been generally called the persecution of the Quakers. The first who openly profeffed the principles of this sect in this colony, were Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, who came from Barbadoes in July of this year. A few weeks after, nine others arrived in the ship Speedwell, of London. On the 8th of September, they were brought before the court of Allistants. It seems they had before affirined, that they were sent by God to reprove the people for their fins ; they were accordingly questioned how they could make it appear that God sent them? After pausing, they answered, that they had the same call that Abraham had to go not of his country. To other questions they gave rude and contemptuous answers, which is the reason assigned for committing them to prison. A great number of their books which they had brought over
The author of the European settlements in America, among many errors as 10 bisorical facts, judiciously observes, on the subject of the New England perfecutions, • Such is the manner of proceeding of religious parties towards each other, and in this respect the New-England people are not worse than the rest of mankind; nor was their severity any just matter of reflection of that mode of religion which they profess. No religion whatsoever, true or false, can excife its own members, or accuse those of any orber, upon the score of perfecution?
with intent to scatter them about the country, were seized and reserved for the fire. Soon after this, as the governor was going from public worship on the Lord's-day to his own house, several gentlemen accompanying him, Mary Prince called to him from a window of the prison, railing at ard reviling him, saying, Woe unto thee, thou art an oppreffor ; and debouncing the judgments of God upon himn. Not content with this, she wrote a letter to the governor and magistrates, filled with opprobrious ftuff. The governor sent for her twice from the prison to his house, and took inuch pains to persuade her to desist from such extravagancies. Two of the ministers were prefent, and with much inoderation and tenderness endeavoured to convince her of her errors, to which she returned, the grosseft railings, reproaching them as hirelings, deceivers of the people, Baal's priests, the seed of the serpent, of the brood of Ishmael, and the Bike.
At this time there was no special provision made in the laws for the punishment of the Quakers. But in virtue of a law which had been made against heretics in general, the court paffed fentence of banishment upon them all. Afterwards other severe laws were enacted, among which were the following; any Qnaker, after the first conviệion, if
a man, Jose one ear, and for the second offence, the other -- a woman to be each time severely whipped and the third time, whether man or woman, to have their tongues bored through with a red hot iron.
The perfecution of any religious fect ever has had, and ever will have a tendency to increase their number. Mankind are compassionate beings; and from a principle of pity, they will often advocate a cause which their judgment disowns. Thus it was in the case of the Quakers; the spectator compassionated their fufferings, and then adopted their sentiments, Their growing numbers induced the legislature, in their October session, to pass a law to punish with death all Quakers who should return into the jurisdiction after banishment. Under this impolitic as well as unjust law, four persons only suffered death, and these had, in the face of prudence as well as of law, returned after having been banished. That some provision was neceffary against these people, so far as they were disturbers of civil peace and order, every one will allow; but such fanguinary laws against particular doctrines or tenets in religion, are not to be defended. The most that can be faid for our ancestors is, that they tried gentler means at first, which they found utterly ineffectual, and that they followed the examples of the authcrities in most other itates and in most ages of the world, who, with the like abfurdity, have fuppofed every person could and ought to think as they did, and with the like cruelty have punished such as appeared to differ from them. We may add, that it was with reluctance that these unnatural laws were carried into execution.
The laws in England, at this time, were very severe againft the Quakers ; and though none were actually put to death by public execution, yet inany were confined in prisons where they died in consequence of the rigor of the law. King Charles the second also, in a letter to the colony of Mallachusetts, approved of their leverity. The conduct of the Quakers, at
• Extract from the King's Letter, dated the 28th of June, 1662.
feveral times, was such as rendered them proper subjects of a mad-house, or a house of correction, and it is to be lamented that ever any greater severities were used. I will mention one or two instances of their conduct, which clearly manifest a species of madness. « Thoinas Newhouse went into the meeting-house ai Boston with a couple of glass bottles, and broke them before the congregation, and threatened, Thus will the Lord break you in pieces. Another time M. Brewster came in with her face smeared as black as a coal. Deborah Wilson went through the streets of Salem naked as she was born.' While we condemn the severity with which the Quakers were treated on the one part, we cannot, at the same time, avoid censuring their imprudent, indelicate and infatuated conduct on the other.
These unhappy dillurbances continued until the friends of the Quakers in England interposed, and obtained an order from the king, September gth, 1661, requiring that a stop should be put to all capital or corporal punishment of his subjects called Quakers. This order was prudently complied with, and the disturbances by degrees subsided. From this time the Quakers became in general an orderly, peaceable people, and have submitted to the laws of the governments under which they have resided, except fuch as relate to the militia and the support of the ministry, and in their scruples as to these they have froin time to time wisely been indulged. They are a moral, friendly, and benevolent people, and have much inerit as a body for their strict discipline, regular correspondence, for their hofpitality, and particularly for their exertions in the abolition of the slavery of the Negroes. In this land of civil and religious freedom, it is hoped that persecution will never again lift its direful head against any religious denomination of people, whose sentiments and conduct are confiftent with the peace and happiness of society.
Soon after the restoration of Charles II. in 1660, many complaints were made to his majesty respecting the colony, and, agreeably to a requiftion from him, agents were sent over to answer to them. These were favourably received, and returned in a short time with letters from the king, commanding the alteration of some of the laws and customs, and directing the adminiftration of justice to be in his name. The letters not being trialy obeyed, and new complaints coming to the king's ears, four commissioners were dispatched in 1665 to the colony, with absolute authority to hear and determine every cause. This authority met with merited opposition. The coloniits adhered to what they imagined to be their juit rights and privileges, and though somewhat culpable for their obftinate defence of a few unwarrantable peculiarities, deserve commendation for their general conduct. The commissioners left the colony dissatisfied and enraged.
Their report, however, occasioned no trouble from England, on ac
"We cannot be under food bereby to direct sy wis that any indulgence should be granted to those persons commonly called Quakers, whose principles being inconfi lent with any kind of government, we have found it necessary by the alvice of our parliament here, to make a sharp law against them, and are weil contented that you do the like there.'
count of the jealousies of government which then prevailed there, and the misfortunes of the plague and fire of London.
The colony now attained a more prospercus condition than it had his therto known. A spirit of industry and economy pervaded the people, and many of the magiitrates and merchants became opulent. The civil and ecclesiastical parts of the constitution had, from the beginning, been harmoniously united, and continued to be until 1640, when a division, which had been made some years before in the church, originated a dirpute, in which the civil authority interposed, and claimed a superiority to the ecclefiaftical. The clergy, notwithstanding continued to have great influence in
government until the dissolution of the charter. The war, commonly called Philip's war, occasioned the next disturbances in the colony. This ver lafted several years. Many Indians were engaged in.it. They meditated the general destruction of the English, and much cruelty was exercised by both parties, until a period was put to hoftilities by the death of Philip, the Indian chief, in 1676.
In the height of the distress of the war, and while the colony was contending for the possession of the foil with the natives, complaints were renewed in England, which struck at the powers of government, and an er.quiry was set on foot, and followed from time to time until 1684; when a judgment was given against the charter.
The succeeding year, the legislature, expecting every day to be fuperceded, paid little attention to public affairs.
In 1686, May 15th, a commissioner arrived, appointing a president, and divers gentlemen of the council, to take upon them the administration of government. This administration was fort, and productive of no grievances.
On the 19th of December, the same year, arrived Sir Edmund Andros, with a commission from King James for the government of New-England. Connecticut, however, was not included in this commission. His kind professions encouraged, for a while, the hopes of the people, who, from his character, expected a different treatment from him. He soon acted out himself, and, together with his council, did many arbitrary acts to the oppression of the people, and the enrichment of himself and fola lowers.
The press was restrained-public thanksgiving, without an order from the crown, was prohibited-fees of all officers were encreased, and the people compelled to petition for new patents of their lands, for which They were obliged to pay exorbitant prices.
The colony was greatly disquieted by these and similar tyrannical proceedings; and when news arrived of the declaration of the Prince of Orange, in 1689, the governor and about sixty others were seized and Corfined, and afterwards fent home, and the old magiftrates reinitated in their cffices.
The affairs of the colony were conducted with prudence, and liberty being granted to the people by the crown, to exercise for the present their former government, they proceeded with regularity according to the old charter, striving in vain to get it confirmed, unul, in 1692, they received and adopted a new one. The new charter comprehended all the territory of the old one, together with the colony oi New-Plymouth,