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Religious Persecution

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 8 months ago

FRONT PAGE

 

 

Boston

 

Believing the notion of true religious freedom could be enjoyed in New`World, Anne Hutchinson followed her pastor Rev John Cotton and her brother-in-law Rev John Wheelwright from England to the colony in 1636 aboard the "Griffin", but was soon brought before the Court for propagating her intellectual and religious beliefs during informal discussions held at her home where she and, initially, other women, discussed religious and political topics of the day. Garnering interest from the men of the colony, she quickly caught the attention of the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Sir Henry Vane. His interest in her opinions and eventual participation in the discussions were soon noticed by John Winthrop, who was making a bid for the Governorship. With strong support and encouragement of the pastor of Boston's Church, Rev John Wilson, and politically influential Rev. Thomas Welde of Roxbury as the trial's chief inquisitor, she and her friends were brought to court on charges of the heresy of Antinomianism, thereby eliminating for Winthrop any future political threat from Sir Henry Vane by discrediting him.

 

 

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This book lists and explains the finer points of the theological contention levied by John Winthrop against Ann Hutchinson

 

Through its own logical reasoning, Antinomianism was a transcendental philosophy which, in its most literal definition, ascertained that God, as is similarly believed in enduring Eastern philosophies, is without attributes and, as Ms Hutchinson declared in court, does not require direct mediation through the clergy to be attained for personal salvation. It was this facet above all else that the Puritan authorities were most offended and therefore directed the most contention, for such beliefs would deny them the authority afforded them through the poorly disquised church-state . Contrary to antinomianism and despite the Puritan's arguments, however, Anne Hutchinson never claimed that she was not bound by "Christian Moral Law".

 

"I doe cast you out and in the name of Christ I doe deliver you up to Satan, that you may learne no more to blaspheme, to seduce, and to lye."

Rev. John Wilson

 

Her once beloved pastor, Rev John Cotton, who up to this point was at the very least tolerant of the "delusional" woman "not fit for our society", and had even aided her and Sir Henry Vane's attempt in having her brother-in-law replace John Wilson as Pastor of Boston, was now only too quick to distance and disassociate himself from her and soon became her nemesis by joining Wilson's chorus in attacking her meetings as a "promiscuous and filthie coming together of men and women without Distinction of Relation of Marriage," whose "opinions frett like a Gangrene and spread like a Leprosie, and will eate out the very Bowells of Religion." Banished from Massachusetts, she relocated with her husband and 14 children to Rhode Island, welcomed by Gov Roger Williams, where they founded the town of Pocasset. A few years later, she and all but one of her children were killed in attack by the Narragansett Indians. Her compassionate brother-in-law, Rev John Wheelwright, was subsequently banished from Massachusetts, and after purchasing land from the Indians beyond the reaches of the Massachusetts Colony within just 14 days of the Court's rulings, founded a church in the northern frontier town of Exeter in 1638.

 

 

Equally notable among the congregation of Rev. John Wilson's church in Boston was Mary Dyer, a close friend and supporter of her midwife, Anne Hutchinson. Mary Dyer and her husband William were disenfranchised from the church as supporters of both Rev Wheelwright and Ms Hutchinson and her "Antinomian" philosophy in 1637, and eventually relocated to Rhode Island where they remained until 1652, when William and Mary Dyer accompanied Roger Williams and John Clark to England. While William returned to Rhode Island in 1653, Mary remained in England until 1657 studying George Fox's theology which has come to be known as the Quaker religion. Upon her return to America, she made a stop-over in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on her journey home to Rhode Island. By this time, the courts of Massachusetts Bay Colony had implemented a series harsh laws against those who had become members of "The Religious Society of Friends", or held sympathies towards them, and upon landing in Massachusetts, Mary Dyer was subsequently arrested as an undesired missionary of the outlawed religion. In 1660, at the conclusion of her third arrest and subsequent trial in Massachusetts, she was hung to her death for defying the Courts rulings regarding the spread of the Quaker Religion .

 

 

Sandwich

 

In the midst of all the controversies of 1637, Daniel Wing, his mother Deborah and his brothers, Stephen, John and Matthew, travelled south from Saugus (of Massachusetts Bay Colony) to the base of the Cape Cod peninsula to help found the new town of Sandwich in the more religiously tolerant Plymouth Colony. Many family researchers suggest that the impetus for relocating to Sandwich from Saugus was most likely one of land as Saugus was becoming crowded from the influx of "The Great Migration"; however, it is quite probable that as the TIMELINE seems to indicate, as children of reformation ministers they were becoming sensitive to the increasingly blatant politically motivated religious oppression experienced by like-minded friends and neighbors in nearby towns, and simply resolved to relocate once again as a pre-emptive measure of self preservation, travelling under the care and guidance of fellow "William & Francis" passenger, family friend, and future kinsman, Edward Dillingham, one of ten original land patentees of Sandwich

 

 

Ironically, the aging but ambitious family patriarch Rev Stephen Bachiler, never known to shy away from a challenge, chose not to move southward, but had removed to Ipswich two years earlier to renew his church following a political fallout with John Winthrop, and in 1638 after petitioning the Courts, became the original founder of the town now known as Hampton NH, very near the banished Rev. Wheelwright in Exeter, along the northern fringe of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Choosing to remain with Rev Bachiler were select family members of Deborah Wing's sisters, including Theodate Hussey (wife of Christopher Hussey), as well as the son of her brother Nathaniel Bachiler. While the documented history of the the town of Hampton, its church, and the early genealogy of its founder are quite extensive and need to not be repeated in its entirety at this narrative, comprehending our ancestral history would not be complete without further investigation, as their lives were very typical and reflective of 17th century colonial America .

 

 

In July of 1640, just three years after arriving in Sandwich, Daniel Wing bought his home from early settler Andrew Hallett, and then in 1641, married his first wife, Hannah Swift, which would prove to be the first of very many Wing-Swift marriages throughout the next 200 years. Between the years of 1642 and 1664, while supporting himself primarily as a fisherman along the Herring River, Daniel and Hannah would come to have nine children; and it appears that in the midst of his procreating years of the 1650's Daniel, along with his brother Stephen, embraced the principals of the Quaker religion and assumed all of the personal and political burdens that such a choice implied.

 

 

By worshipping God as a Quaker, Daniel and many other of our early ancestors, chose to follow the more esoteric, and seemingly mystical, path of seeking and adhering to the Truth of the "Inner Light" of God that dwells within man and is revealed through devout meditation and prayer. He believed, as all members of The Religious Society of Friends do, that God does not sanction the doctrines of any one particular "visible", man-made church. and that a man could CHOOSE by his own free will to become "saved", rather than as Puritans had proclaimed, that one must be CHOSEN by God.

 

 

The Puritans subscribed to traditional Judaeo-Christian philosophy and abided the "letter" of Biblical law, while the Quakers believed that Jesus' message was the conveyance of a faithful leap in personal awareness and experiential knowledge, and not the extension, expansion, or adaptation of the Hebrew faith as taught by the Roman Catholics. Quakerism, in its practice, threatened to usurp the civil authority of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by virtue of their unwillingness to complete the statement, "God is...", for they understood that to do so would not only subject them to the authority of the Puritan civil and religious philosophy, but more importantly, it would wrongfully prove God to be false. Despite their subtley intimate spiritual perceptions and their strict adherence to the just laws intended for the promotion of compassionate communities and personal accountability, their "radical" departure from the practice of the traditional ritual acts of baptisms of water and swearing of Oaths became fodder for gross politically sponsored social condemnation. Quakers and any one else who willfully defied the Puritans on virtually any religious principal or tenet were publicly condemned, harassed, beaten, banished and even killed as heretics, madmen, witches and demons - the very accusations and actions once perpertrated against the Puritans themselves by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.

 

 

The Puritans were under no delusions of "separation of Church and State", so, while religiously their hands may have been tied by their own proclamations of tolerance and freedom, they were quite capable and more than willing to squash the percieved threat of quiet rebellion of Quakerism through legal and political means. John Winthrop's secessor, Governor Endecott, during the latter 1650's, essentially invoked a "war powers act" against any suspected Quaker and their sympathisers and exercised corporal punishment against the transgressors caught violating them. However, in making this informal declaration of war , the Governor and the General Court acted in ignorance to the fact that as a religion, Quakerism, unlike Puritanism, had absolutely no intent on becoming a political entity or civil authority and additionally, in a sense, took the stance that while Quakerism and religious tolerance may be acceptable in "God's Kingdom" , they were not good enough for man's.

 

 

While many of those who emigrated to America as Puritans simply sought religious and social refuge from England, hindsight seems to tragically indicate that they were manipulated through their need for religious guidance as they set out to bring into reality the grand "City upon the hill", because the expansion into the new world, from the perspective of the English ruling class, was simply a means of exploiting natural resources. Native Americans, Quakers, "Antinomians", Anabaptists, and others who happened to hinder this intent were simply deemed expendable as non-conforming burdens upon "society". There was no central American government with a system of checks and balances as of yet, nor were there any established channels independent from the church hierarchy through which the communities could communicate, therefore, control was successfully leveraged by manipulating the settlers with the fear of God's Wrath exercised through the influence of wealthy educated "ecclesiasts" and "divines" whose politically motivated religous propaganda spewed forth of the "evils" of those outside of their religion in order to justify their actions and influence the already over-stressed and desparately dependant planters.

 

 

Because of its "separatism", the Plymouth Colony wielded less political muscle in its waning autonomy than the more influential Massachusetts Bay Colony with its ties to the English Government, so as the Quaker persecution began to heat up, kinsman William Bassett was removed from his appointed duties as constable of Sandwich after only one year of service, due in part to his sympathies with Quakerism, and was replaced by an 'outsider' by the name of George Barlow, who proved himself to be a coarse and callous man who savored his position of unabated authority. With the Court's endorsement, he intentionally targeted Quakers with desirable property so that he may personally confiscate their goods for his own personal profit and gain, as well as take those with little means simply to affect the most amount of suffering. Barlow, in his greed and desire to appease the courts for official recognition, was instrumental in causing Daniel to come close to losing his house and everything he had when around 1655 he and other prominent citizens became involved in serious religious dissension, opposing the church authorities in Plymouth. So his brother John stepped in and helped him retain his property when he was fined for supporting newly arrived Quakers by invoking a nearly forgotten old English law a where man could be declared legally dead by the courts and his property made over to his heirs. Threatened with financial ruin by the repeated court appearances and exorbitant fines imposed upon him, the shrewed old Quaker, while unyielding in his religious convictions, took advantage of this law and caused his estate to be administered in his own life time, and thereby preventing any great personal loss.

 

His wife Hannah died in March 1664 from complications arising from the birth of Daniel II who was born ten days earlier. But at 50 years old, Daniel remarried two years later on June 2, 1666 , to 29 year old Ann Ewer, the daughter of fellow Quaker, Thomas Ewer. Together, they had three more children. In a strange twist of fate, George Barlow became reliant on his children and grandchildren for support in his later years, many of whom became Quakers and were in fact married to Daniel's descendants.

 

See TIMELINE

See Daniel Wing

 

Travels of Rev. Stephen Bachiler (blue arrows) vs Travels of Deborah Wing (red arrow)

 

 

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