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234 Success a/the Gospel among- Indiana
on this island three churches, and five assemblies of praying Indians. In 1685, the praying Indians, in Plymouth colony, were 1439, beside children under twelve years of age. At one time, in different parts, were twenty four congregations. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, but little success attended the gospel among the Indians. The sachems of Narraganset and Mohegan^ violently opposed their people's hearing the gospeL • The Rev. Mr. Fitch of Norwich, took great pains,, gave some of the Mohegans lands of his own, that they, who were disposed to hear the gospel* might be nearer him, and also freed from the revilings of their companions; at one time he had about thirty under his care.
The legislatures of the several colonies enafled salutary laws for restraining die evil conduct of the natives; means were also furnished for their re,, ceiving presents or rewards for distinguishing themselves in what was laudable. In Connefiticut,the legislature in 1655, having appointed a governor over the Pequots, gave him the following laws, to which the people were to subject themselves. They shall not blaspheme the name of God, nor profane the sabbath. They shall not commit murder, nor praftise witchcraft, on pain of death. "They shall not commit adultery, on pain of severe punishment. Whosoever is drunk shall pay ten shillings, or receive ten stripes. He that steals shall pay double damage,' >
Quakers persecuted, apology for our forefathtr$9 synod, character of Cap t. Standish.
1 HE persecution of the Quakers commenced in 1656, and continued till September, 1661, when an order was received from the king, requiring that neither capital nor corporeal punishment should be inflicted on the Quakers, but that offenders should be sent to England. During this persecution, several were executed. On the subject of the New England persecutions, the author of the European settlements in North America, judiciously remarks; "Such is the manner of proceeding of religious parties toward each other, and in this respeft the people of New England were not worse than the rest of mankind; nor was their severity any just matter of refte6tion upon that mode of religion which they profess. No religion, however, true or false, can excuse its own members, or accuse those of any other, on the score of persecution." Religious intolerance is now very generally reprobated, and it is hoped the time has already arrived, when no people can be found, who think, " that by killing men for their religion, they do God good service."
But the history of opinions in that age demonstrates, that what has been considered the contracted spirit of New England, was the spirit of 236 Character of first Quakers in N. England
the world. Those puritans were as liberal as the* most liberal in the world. It is true their history proves they were men, imperfeSt like others; but It does not prove they had any peculiar bigotry car intolerance. We have called their conduct persecution, but if the subjedlbe understood, the Quakers were not persecuted entirely for their religion,, or religious opinions, but for disturbing society. For these disturbances, in a few instances, they were treated too severely ; severity being a common appendage of a weak government. The government, which trembles for its own existence, is always alarmed at opposition,, the exertion of its power corresponds with the degree of its alarm. These fathers of New7 England,. to use their own words, "for liberty to walk in; the faith of the gospel, had transported themselves, with their wives, their little ones, and their substance, from the pleasant land over the Atlantic,. into this remote wilderness, among the heathen,, preferring the pure scripture worship, to the pleasures of England; but the Quakers, being opea seducers from the glorious trinity, and from the holy scriptures as a rule of life, and open enemies« .to the government itself, as established in the hands of any, but men of their own principles; therefore, the magistrate at last, in conscience, both to God and man, judged himself called for the defence of all, to keep the passage with the point of
Unfriendly to Government. 237
the sword held towards them. This could do no harm to him who would be warned; their rushing themselves on the sword, was their own a£t? and brings their blood on their own head. "*"
That they were enemies to government, unless administered by Quakers, had become evident, both by their conduct, and writings. George Fox, who came to Rhode Island, had published, that " The magistrate of Christ, he is in the light and power of Christ, and he is to subject all under the power of Christ." None could mistake this language, for it was well known, that he viewTed none as having the light of Christ, but those of his own party; they were to subje6t all into his light, else they could not be "faithful magistrates." Roger Williams declared, "Such magistrates, such laws, such power, and light, and subje&ion, is George Fox for, and no other, "f Every other government, but their own, they said, was a tree that must be cut down4 The government, and people, saw and felt this; they saw their posterity and themselves, exposed to evils as great as those from which they had fled. The fruit of all their labours, the reward of all their miseries, was ready to be snatched from them. Conscious of their own weakness, still agonising in view of their past-sufferings, shocked at the daring frenzy of their opposers, they rose, and in the first moment %f their indignation, they seized a weapon too *-Hu«flAR». j Backus. J Mayiu*
238 Conduct of some Quakers*
sharp; they banished several on pain of death. They were banished for a species of madness, and in madness they soon came back, rushing on the point, which ought to have been turned aside from such raving fanatics. One or two fa£ts, in the words of a writer of their own, will confirm this. George Bishop, a Quaker, speaks of Deborah Wilson, as a " modest woman of retired life, and sober conversation, and that bearing a great burden for the hardness -and cruelty of the people, she went through the town of Salem, naked, as a sign, which she having in part performed, was laid hold of* , and bound over to appear at the next court of Salem, where the wicked rulers sentenced her to be •whipt."
Lydia Wardwel, amarried woman of Hampton,, went naked into the meetinghouse in Newbury* in the time of public worship; for which she met with the like treatment. This was justified by the party. They said the New England priests were bewitched, and could not believe they were naked, therefore " hath the Lord in his power, moved some of his sons and daughters to go naked; we own no such practice, only when called unto it by the Lord."*
Instead of obeying the gospel, and flying from the city when persecuted, in defiance of gospel and law, they returned, when banished, on pain of death. One of these, W. Robinson, gave to thfr
f EiCKf s's History.