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DEFENCE OF PERSECUTION OF THE QUAKERS.
were kept from shedding blood, though first opportunity, without censure or it was by a woman.” With a courage punishment. Although their professed that would be sublime were it not tinc- tenets, turbulent and contemptuous betured with insanity, she returned to haviour to authority, would have justidefy the tyrants of “the bloody town,” fied a severer animadversion, yet the and to seal her testimony against them prudence of this Court was exercised with her life. She was taken and only to make provision to secure the hanged on Boston Common in June, peace and order here established, , 1660.
against their attempts, whose designThe discontent caused by such we were well assured of by our own shocking scenes compelled the magis experience, as well as by the example trates to enter upon a formal defence of their predecessors in Munster-was
of their action. The language to undermine and ruin the same. And
of it is worth noticing. “Al accordingly a law was made and pubthough the justice of our proceedings lished, prohibiting all masters of ships against William Robinson, Marma- to bring any Quakers into this jurisdicduke Stephenson, and Mary Dyer sup- tion, and themselves from coming in, on ported by the authority of this Court, penalty of the house of correction until the laws of the country, and the law of they should be sent away. NotwithGod, may rather persuade us to expect standing which, by a back door, they encouragement and commendation from found entrance, and the penalty inflictall prudent and pious men than con- ed upon themselves, proving insufficient vince us of any necessity to apologize to restrain their impudent and insolent for the same; yet, forasmuch as men of intrusions, was increased by the loss of weaker parts, out of pity and commise- the ears of those that offended the ration—a commendable and Christian second time; which also being too weak virtue, yet easily abused, and suscepti- a defence against their impetuous fable of sinister and dangerous impres- natic fury, necessitated us to endeavor sions—for want of full information, may our security;
our security; and upon serious considebe less satisfied, and men of perverser ration, after the former experiment, by principles may take occasion hereby to their incessant assaults, a law was made, calumniate us and render us bloody that such persons should be banished persecutors—to satisfy the one and stop on pain of death, according to the exthe mouths of the other, we thought it ample of England in their provision requisite to declare, That about three against Jesuits, which sentence being years since, divers persons, professing regularly pronounced at the last Court themselves Quakers--of whose pernici- of assistants against the parties aboveous opinions and practices we had re- named, and they either returning or ceived intelligence from good hands, continuing presumptuously in this jurisboth from Barbadoes and England - diction after the time limited, were aparrived at Boston, whose persons were prehended, and owning themselves to only secured to be sent away by the be the persons banished, were sentenced by the Court to death, according to the and the conviction that they were scanlaw aforesaid, which hath been executed dalizing themselves before the world. upon two of them. Mary Dyer, upon They gave up all attempts to carry out the petition of her son, and the mercy their former plans; the prisoners were and clemency of this Court, had liberty discharged; they were ordered to be to depart within two days, which she whipped beyond the colony's bounds, hath accepted of. The consideration if ever they returned ; and so, treating of our gradual proceedings will vindi- them in this wise, the mania, in due cate us from the clamorous accusations time, died out a natural death. of severity; our own just and necessary The labors of John Eliot, the Indian defence calling upon us—other means missionary, deserve a passing notice. failing-to offer the point which these He was born in England in 1604, was persons have violently and wilfully educated at Cambridge, and emigrarushed upon, and thereby become ted to New England in 1631. Earnfelones de se, which might have been estly desiring the spiritual improveprevented, and the sovereign law, salus ment of the Indians, Eliot, though populi, been preserved. Our former discharging the duties of a minister proceedings, as well as the sparing of over a church at Roxbury, added to Mary Dyer upon an inconsiderable in- his regular charge the toil of learning tercession, will manifestly evince we de- the dialect spoken in New England, so sire their lives, absent, rather than their as to translate the Bible for the benefit deaths, present."
of the natives. He began his efforts as Matters, however, had now gone too far back as 1645-preaching his first far for the magistrates to draw back. sermon to the Indians on the 28th of
William Leddra was put to October, 1646—and by his zeal, tem
trial and sentenced, but was pered with prudence, his never failing offered pardon on condition of leaving kindness and gentleness, and his persethe colony. He refused, and was con- verance in his labor of love, he really sequently put to death; but he was the wrought wonders; a considerlast victim. Another Quaker, Wenlock able sum of money was remitted Christison, who had been banished, re- from England to carry on the work; turned, and courted death. “What do converts were made; churches were you gain,” he cried boldly to them," by founded, and a sort of Indian taking Quakers' lives? For the last college was established. No
ye put to death, here are five manent impression, however, seems to come in his room. If ye have power to have been made upon the great body of take my life, God can raise up ten of the natives. Most of the sterner Purihis servants in my stead." It was true, tans looked coldly upon the project, that persecution only increased the and the Indian sachems and priests number who would become martyrs. were very difficult persons to be in any The magistrates were not able to with wise changed from savage life and its en. stand the tide of popular sympathy, joyments. All this, however, ought not
ELIOT'S LABORS AMONG THE INDIANS.
to, and does not, detract from the mer- sternly watched over the morals of the its of Eliot. “It is a remarkable fea- community; wisely considering preventure," to use the words of Grahame, tion as better than cure, they counte“in Eliot's long and arduous career, nanced early unions; and although that the energy by which he was actu- courtship carried on without permission ated never sustained the slightest abate of the girl's parents, or of “the next ment, but, on the contrary, evinced a magistrate," was punishable with imsteady and vigorous increase. As his prisonment, the magistrates might rebodily strength decayed, the
decayed, the energy of dress “ wilful and unreasonable denial his being seemed to retreat into his of timely marriage” on the part of pasoul, and at length, all his faculties, he rents. Adultery was a capital offence, said, seemed absorbed in holy love. and incontinence was punished with a Being asked, shortly before his depar- severe discipline. Underhill, who, unitture, how he did, he replied, 'I have ing, as he did, the gallantry of the sollost every thing; my understanding dier with his proverbial love of license, leaves me, my memory fails me, my and of “bravery of apparel,” having utterance fails me—but I thank God, been accused of a backsliding of this my charity holds out still: I find that nature, was summoned into the
presence rather grows than fails.?” Eliot died of the magistrates; and then, “after in 1690, full of years and honors.* sermon, in presence of the congregation,
During the time that Cromwell was standing on a form, and in his worst at the head of affairs in England, the clothes, without his band, and in a dirty affairs of Massachusetts and her im- night cap, confessed the sin with which mediate neighbors were on the whole he had been charged;" and “while very prosperous.
Cromwell favored his blubberings interrupted him," says them all he could, and, freed from out- Winthrop, he dolefully lamented the side interference, the New Englanders loss of his “assurance,” which, as he advanced steadily in their progress to- said, had been vouchsafed while enjoywards wealth and power. Every thing ing a pipe of tobacco. The whole tended to the rearing of hardy, upright, population were trained as militia, and self-reliant men. The fisheries nurtured a martial spirit was readily kept up. a race of expert, daring fishermen; ship Several forts, and a good supply of building became active; commerce in- artillery and ammunition, showed the creased; and trades of various sorts determination of the people to maintain were in active operation. The Puritan their rights at the price of blood if legislators frowned upon every thing need be. Material prosperity was very that tended to laxity of manners; they much increased, and there was no lack
of comforts and enjoyments of the good * The learned Dr. Cotton Mather, in his “ Life of things of this life. the Renowned John Eliot,” enters largely, and with The founders of New England, to a profoundly admiring spirit
, into the history of Eliot's their credit be it observed, were sinlabors among the Indians. See Mather's “ Magnalia,''
cerely anxious for the promotion of
vol. i., pp. 526-583.