Page images

And did ye not lay a fine of five pounds on any one that should otherwise come at or speak with them, though but at the window, than by your leave? And gave ye leave to any that ye thought might be convinced by them, or that were not of your own spirit and principle? yea, did ye not order the prison-yard to be made close? And was not a board nailed up before the window that looked out to the door of the jail, where people used to come at them, that none might visit them? With many more cruelties, which were ordered and done for the present distress, as ye call it, of two poor women arriving in your harbour, which so shook ye, to the everlasting shame of you and of your established peace and order, as if a formidable army had invaded your borders; and made you not this order to be in force till the sitting of the next General Court? And did not the next General Court confirm the same? and are not all these unmanly and base proceedings more than an only securing of their persons? Are they not censures and punishments, and that relating to their persons?

Besides, did ye send them away by the first opportunity? Did ye not detain, after the manner aforesaid, the two former for the space of about five weeks, and the latter about eleven? And was there no opportunity, during those long spaces of time, to have shipped them away sooner, by the way of Barbadoes or otherwise? Or, waited ye not for the return of the ships that brought them, that so their passages might be on the charge of them that brought them, on whom ye laid this unreasonable burden, they being ignorant before they came from Barbadoes or England of, nor was there any, such law as yours? And did ye not compel Robert Lock, a master of one of the ships, to carry them back on his own charge, being eight of them, and bind him in bond so to do, and to land them nowhere but in England?—a strange usurpation over other countries, and your own, and the master and them,-and did ye not imprison him till he become so bound, and so undertook? And did ye not bind William Chichester, the master of the vessel whom you got to carry them, in one hundred pounds bond to carry the two women that came first, away, and not to suffer any to speak with them, after

that they were forcibly, by your order, put on board, or land them in any part of your jurisdiction? And, during the long seasons of their imprisonment aforesaid, did ye take care for their maintenance as ye ought to have done?-having imprisoned them so closely that none could come at them; for ye knew not that they had any money or friend to help them. Or, was not Nicholas Upshall, a member of your church, a long liver in Boston, an ancient man and full of years, of whose sore sufferings at your hands more particularly in their place,-denied liberty to send provisions to them till he purchased that liberty, at the rate of five shillings a week, of your jailer, another of your churchmembers? And, whilst they thus lay under your merciless cruelty, did ye not seek all the ways and means ye could to ensnare them, and to draw something out of them, who had none besides, wherewithal to reproach and charge them, and the truth they witnessed; examining them singly and apart as to the same things, to see if ye could catch them in any untruth?-or, as to the matters of their faith, who had not declared anything publicly, nor were suffered so to do, or to speak with any one, as hath been said? But, blessed be the Lord, who was near and preserved them, you missed your expectation, and neither did nor could find anything against them, wherewithal to charge them or the Truth, though ye labored at it hard! And had you not your high-priest Norton, who said, "The justice of God was the devil's armour," and his brethren to your assistance, even in your General Court, to the shame of yourselves, who took upon you a jurisdiction you were not able to manage without the help of a priest, as if it were of his profession to meddle with civil jurisdiction; and, when ye could get no advantage against them by this way of working,-the Witness of God in him and you answering to the truth they spoke, and so were disappointed,— were ye not sorely vexed within you, having nothing from yourselves or others as any breach of your laws, wherewithal to cover your proceedings against them? And did not John Endicott, your governor, sufficiently manifest it, who thought the bishops so hard, who put none of them to death, when he bloodthirst

ingly said to them, "Take heed you break not our ecclesiastical laws, for then ye are sure to stretch by a halter?"—the thing that lay then in your bosoms, which you have since accomplished. And did he not further manifest it when he told them, "They should not have a copy of those laws,"-a tyrannical reply, when they desired it, that they might know on what ground they went, to the grieving of the people then present, who said openly in the Court, "How shall they know, then, when they transgress?" And did he not manifest it yet further, when— being at Salem, when Ann Austin and Mary Fisher were dealt withal, as aforesaid, against whom there was no law-he said, "If he had been there, (namely, at Boston, when they were so misused,) he would have had them well whipped?" And after all these censures, punishments, and tyrannical proceedings, which were more than an only securing them in order to be sent away the first opportunity, did ye not condemn them to banishment from that part of their country unto which they have a natural and some of them a municipal right, having served an apprenticeship therein, who had broken no law, and so were, by the judgment of the law, innocent persons? And after ye had so ordered their causeless banishment, did ye not authorize Michelson, your marshal-general, to levy upon the goods of some of them for a certain sum of money, and deliver it to the jailer for his fees, from those whom you had so unjustly imprisoned, who had no other goods than their wearing-apparel and the beds they lay on, which they brought out of the ships? Yea, did not your jailer take away the beds they lay on, than which they had no other to ease them on in their passage to England, for his fees? And did he not keep them after those people were sent on board, till Captain Oliver and some of the country, being ashamed of a cruelty so manifestly contrary to the country's standing law, which is, "Not to take away the nether millstone," &c., gathering money among themselves, unknown to those people, paid his demand? And did ye not execute upon them this cruelty of banishment, in sending them to England? For which you are to answer, and all your other laws and proceedings repugnant to the laws of Eng

land; yea, not only unto them but to Richard Smith, an inhabitant of Long Island, who came in the ship with them, and whom ye called their proselyte, did not your unreasonableness extend because he was their proselyte, as ye said? had ye not him up before your General Court, and committed ye not him to prison also? And did ye not detain him there about three weeks from his wife and children? And when, by leave from the jailer, he went to your meeting on a First-day of the week, and, after the priest had done, said:-"It was the saying of the governor that he should have discourse with some of the godly ministers, to convict him of his error, and that he was deluded; and that, if there were any such godly ministers that could so convict him, he was ready to hear what they could say;" did not your governor hereupon declare, "That his intent was, it should be private," a sorry shepherd that cannot lead a straggling sheep into the pretended so-to-be right way before the rest of the flock? And when the said Richard Smith desired it might be otherwise, were ye not enraged at him? And sent ye not him away to the prison again, and from thence by water to his own habitation, not suffering him to pass through the country, so great were your fears, lest he should infect it—as was your slander-with his poisonous doctrine? And did not your Council, for the present distress upon the arrival of the two women aforesaid, lay a great fine upon such masters of ships as should bring any of those people into your jurisdiction? as they required Simon Kempthorne, who brought them, to transport them or cause them to be transported directly to Barbadoes, from whence they came, and to defray all the charge of their imprisonment; and to give security to your secretary, in a bond of one hundred pounds sterling, for the effectual performance thereof; and, upon his refusal to give such security, to send him to prison until he did it? And did he not do it, though ye had no such law before he arrived against those people, as hath been declared?

Yet I have not done with you.

Fourthly. To add no more, did ye not shamelessly cause two of the women aforesaid, viz., Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, to be

stripped stark naked and to be searched and misused, as is a shame to modesty to name; and with such barbarousness, as one of them, a married woman and a mother of five children, suffered not the like in the bearing of any of them into the world? And when there was no token found upon them but of innocency, were ye satisfied therewith? Or did ye not afterwards continue them close prisoners, and banish them as aforesaid?

And yet, how say ye, that ye only secured their persons in order to be sent away the first opportunity, without censure or punishment? Are not these censures and punishments, and very sore ones, too? and, next to life, some of the greatest, all circumstances considered? Is not this more, yea, in many particulars, than an only securing their persons, to be sent away the first opportunity? Can ye who-in cool blood and so deliberately, and as by order of the Court and under your secretary's hand, a chief instigator of your iniquity, and in defence of yourselves as to the blood of the innocent, which ye have spilt-have vented so many lies and falsehoods, blush or be ashamed? Is this your entertaining of strangers, your civility, your manhood, to those who travelled so many thousands of miles to visit you in the movings of the Lord, whom at least ye should have well treated, and sincerity would have done it for their love's sake, though they had been, as these were not, mistaken in their end; and rather have prayed them, as the Gadarenes did the Master, whose inhospitality ye exceed, though they meddled not with your swine, to have departed from your coasts, instead of expelling them, and imprisoning and close imprisoning, and dealing with them not as men and women of the same generation and creation as you, but as beasts of prey?

This stripping and searching them as witches, the which they accused them of being, as in another book entitled, “New England's Ensign, page 7, is more at large related; and how, in the just judgment of God, they have been since punished with witches, see Cotton Mather's book, entitled,— "The Wonders of the Invisible World," where, page 9, he says:-"May not some that have been ready, upon feeble grounds, uncharitably to censure and reproach other people, be punished for it by spectres for a while, exposing them to censure and reproach?"

« PreviousContinue »