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Friday, December 20, 2013

Some Perspective For Duck Dynasts And Friends

First, Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower:

Convinced they had God on their side, magistrates from both [Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay] colonies showed no qualms about clamping down on dissent of any kind.  In the years ahead, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson were cast out of Massachusetts Bay for espousing unorthodox views, and in 1645 Bradford angrily opposed an attempt to institute religious tolerance in Plymouth.  Soon after, the Quakers, who began arriving in New England in 1655, were persectured with a vehemence that climaxed with the hanging of four men and women on Boston Common between 1659 and 1661.

It was the Puritans who led the way in persecuting the Quakers, but the Pilgrims were more than willing to follow along.  As a Quaker sympathizer acidly wrote, the "Plymouth-saddle is on the Bay horse," and in 1660 Isaac Robinson, son of the late pastor John Robinson, was disenfranchised for advocating a policy of moderation to the Quakers.

A millionaire on hiatus?  Try being a Quaker in Puritan Massachussets in the 1650s.  Good times:

From 1656 through 1661, the Massachusetts Bay Colony experienced an “invasion” of Quaker missionaries, who were not deterred by the increasingly severe punishments enacted and inflicted by the colonial authorities. In October 1659, two (William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson) were hanged at Boston; in June 1660, Mary Dyar (or Dyer) became the third; in March 1661, William Leddra became the fourth (and last) to suffer capital punishment or “martyrdom” for their Quaker beliefs.

While members of the Society of Friends rushed to Massachusetts to test the harsh sentences under the newly enacted laws, other Friends in England simultaneously petitioned Parliament and the newly restored king for relief from this official persecution. When the Massachusetts General Court sent a petition to King Charles II explaining and defending their actions, Edward Burrough, a leading Quaker writer and controversialist, answered it with [a 32-page publication entitled A Declaration of the Sad and Great Persecution and Martyrdom of the People of God, called Quakers, in New-England, for the Worshipping of God]. Its first part is a point-bypoint refutation of the Massachusetts claims; its second part is a detailed list of the punishments, cruelties, and indignities suffered by Friends at the hands of the colonial authorities; its third section is a narrative description of the three executions of 1659 and 1660, including the public statements of the condemned. 

Burrough’s publication (and a subsequent audience with the king) led to Charles’ issuance of an order halting the punishments in the fall of 1661, although they were resumed, in only slightly less severe form, the following year.

The highlights:

  • 22 have been Banished upon pain of Death.
  • 03 have been M A R T Y R E D .
  • 03 have had their Right-Ears cut.
  • 01 hath been burned in the Hand with the letter H
  • 31 Persons have received 650 Stripes.
  • 01 was beat while his Body was like a jelly.


  • Several were beat with Pitched Ropes.
  • Five Appeals made by them to England, were denied by the Rulers of Boston.
  • One thousand fourty four pounds worth of Goods hath been taken from them (being poor men) for meeting together in the fear of the Lord, and for keeping the Commands of Christ.
  • One now lyeth in Iron-fetters, condemned to dye.

This is just a Quakerly way of saying STFU.


December 20, 2013 in Suffering Fools | Permalink


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