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and prophets of Jesus Christ,” appeared in Massachusetts, and the Court passed an order, which, as far as ico. appears, was executed without difficulty, that ** the volumes should be brought in and burned." No long time passed, before it must have come to room, their knowledge that emissaries more potent o: than books might be expected to be soon upon ers in Mathe way to them. The energetic travellers who “ were not to be deterred by the strange customs and languages of Germany and the Levant, could not be supposed to overlook New England, or to regard it otherwise than as “a field white to harvest.” If Quaker preachers were Franciscan friars in disguise, as some people in England thought, they must be allowed no sphere for machinations in New England. If– as appeared to be quite generally understood where they were known — they were publishers of irreligious fancies, declaimers against everything established, “evilspeakers against dignities” of every sort, provokers of tumult and violence wherever they came, then whoever had a right to refuse their companionship would do well to make his door fast against them. So reasoned Endicott and his counsellors when they heard of the new danger that was to be confronted. Their imaginations represented the fabric of their institutions overthrown, and all their long and arduous work undone. The memory of the Antinomian troubles had not perished, and they intensely dreaded the renewal of such a strife. The unsettled condition of things in the parent country warned them to be sternly watchful. If the iron hand of Cromwell could scarcely restrain hotheaded men from intolerable irregularities, how was such restraint to be imposed where the bands of authority were so loosely knit as among themselves? They overrated the danger; for they did not know — what later
* Mass. Rec., IV. (i.) 204.
experience has shown — that, at any one time, there is but little fuel in the world for such excitement, because the class of minds susceptible of it is small. But, estimating it as they erroneously did, in an evil hour they resolved to keep this dangerous people out of Massachusetts. All the more stiffly did this vigorous people resolve that into Massachusetts they would come, and there they would abide till it should suit them to depart. It is an unequal contest that is waged with adversaries, who — whether by reason of insanity, or of passion, or of conscientiousness — are unembarrassed by the fear of death. Diogenes overcame the pride of Alexander with greater pride; the English Quakers broke down the obstinacy of the Puritan New-Englanders by more stubborn obstimacy. This time the Colonial authorities entered on their warfare without an intelligent counting of the cost. They did not know their opponents. Proceeding on the conviction that their territory was strictly their own homestead, and, as such, was invested with all the rights of security and privacy that a private proprietor enjoys, they had repeatedly asserted their right to its exclusive occupation by warning away or dismissing persons whose society they did not relish." In numerous instances they had banished intruders, and their decree of banishment had always been final. That they should pass such a decree, and that it should be disobeyed, would be the opening of a strange chapter in their experience.
* The reader who would fully understand the claims and convictions of the rulers in Massachusetts in respect to their right to possess their territory exclusively, and to warn or drive away intruders, must take the trouble to look at Winthrop's argument in Hutchinson's Collection, 68, 69. — As a corporation, they had acquired from the King of England whatever rights England had to the country. As a corpora
tion, they had acquired, by agreement and purchase, whatever rights the Indians had. As owners of the country by both these titles, they had an absolute right to say who should dwell in it. Such was their doctrine. With all explicitness, it had long before this time been asserted in England by Winslow in “New England's Salamander," &c. (See Mass. Hist. Coll., XXII. 120; comp. Edward Johnson, 206.)
In respect to this passage of her history, Massachusetts was unfortunate in the temper of the three men who had now the most important agency in her administration. The Governor and Deputy-Governor at this time were Endicott and Bellingham. With the vehement character of both, the reader has already some acquaint-, i. ance. To them and to John Norton the Quakers Bellingham,
- - - - and Norton.
— correctly, as it seems — ascribed the chief influence in determining the course of measures which was now begun. After Cotton's death, Norton must be regarded as the leading minister of the Colony." He came to New England five years after Winthrop, and, having served the Plymouth church for a few months, became Nathaniel Ward's successor at Ipswich, where he remained twenty years. When Cotton died, Norton was thought worthy above others to succeed him in the important position of Teacher of the church of Boston; and he was installed in that office in ico. the month in which Quakers first came to New * * England. His commanding abilities and his melancholy temperament gave a character to the part which he acted in the scenes which followed.
The first notice of the Quakers in Massachusetts occurs in an order passed by the General Court appointing “a public day of humiliation,” of which the purpose first named was “to seek the face of God in behalf of our native country, in reference to the abounding of errors, especially those of the Ranters and Quakers.” Scarcely was the fast-day over, when a vessel so. from Barbadoes brought into Boston harbor two at Boston. Quaker women, Mary Fisher and Ann Austin. ”
* Norton was born at Starford, in lain to Sir William Masham. He came Hertfordshire, and educated at Peter to Plymouth in company with Edward House, Cambridge. He graduated Winslow. See Vol. I. 544; also see Bachelor of Arts in 1623, and, taking above, pp. 92, 155, 176, &c. orders, became curate of the church in * Mass. Rec., IV. (i.) 276. his native place, and afterwards chap
The Governor, Deputy-Governor, and four other Magis. trates, met, and ordered that the master of the vessel should give bonds to carry the women back to Barbadoes;" that they should be kept in gaol till their departure; and that some books which came with them should be burned by the executioner. The two unwelcome visitors from Barbadoes had but just left Boston on their return, when another vessel brought from England eight other persons *" of the same persuasion, four men and as many women, besides a man who had joined the party at Long Island, and been converted on the passage thence. Officers went on board in the harbor, and led them away to gaol. At their examination before the Magistrates, they confirmed the opinion which had spread respecting the proficiency of the sect in the use of opprobrious language. One of them, Mary Prince, taken to Endicott's house for a conference with two ministers, reproached them as “hirelings, Baals, and seed of the serpent.” The master of the vessel which had brought this company was laid under bonds to convey them back again to England; and, after eleven weeks' confinement, they were accordingly re-embarked and sent away. The shipmaster complained of the hardship of the engagement into which he was made to enter. But the Magistrates suspected — what was indeed true — that the Quakers intended to get on shore again after leaving the harbor. While in Boston gaol, they had corresponded with Gorton, who, though no Quaker, was willing to do his best to help them in annoying Massachusetts. He wrote to them that, if he could but be informed when they would sail, he would make arrangements to take them out of the English vessel at sea, and land them in Narragansett Bay. This scheme was frustrated by the caution of the Magistrates. The prisoners wrote to Gorton, that the terms of the security required of the shipmaster were peremptorily persisted in, and that his plan in their behalf must be abandoned." The alarm which had been excited was not confined to Massachusetts. While the second party of Quaker missionaries were in prison, the Federal Commission- Action of the ers at their annual meeting resolved to “propose oncom. to the several General Courts, that all Quakers, "..."." Ranters, and other notorious heretics, should be prohibited coming into the United Colonies, and, if any should hereafter come or arise, that they should be forthwith secured, or removed out of all the jurisdictions.”* Each of the confederated Colonies proceeded to act upon this recommendation. Connecticut imposed a fine of five pounds a week upon every town ... that should “entertain any Quakers, Ranters, colonies. Adamites, or such like notorious heretics;” di- ** rected magistrates to commit such intruders “to prison, for the securing of them until they could conveniently be sent out of the jurisdiction;” and ordered that shipmasters, who should land them, should “be compelled to transport them again out of the Colony, at their first setting sail.” New Haven" and Plymouth made 167. similar enactments.” .. When the General Court of Massachusetts met, they at once took up the case of what they described as the “cursed sect of heretics lately risen up in the , ... world, which are commonly called Quakers, who in Massachutake upon them to be immediately sent of God, "... and infallibly assisted by the Spirit to speak and **
* I suppose this proceeding was had reference to the friends of Mrs. Hutch, under the law passed in 1637, with inson. See Wol. I. 483.