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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 7 months ago




George Fox (1624-1691) had discovered what he called "truth is to be found by direct experience of the inner voice of God speaking to the soul." Without any formal religious training or background, he started preaching this belief. He was a charismatic speaker and quickly gained converts to his new faith.  After several years of growth, it was decided to send believers abroad to spread the news to others. 


Both Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Colony had heard the rumblings of the Quaker movement. They were both also facing rising dissatisfaction of the established church from colonists who came to the New World due to religious persecutions only to encounter more persecutions at their new home.




Mary Dyer, a close friend of Anne Hutchinson (of the Antinomian controversy fame) sailed with Roger Williams on a political mission to England. While there she met and became a ardent follower of George Fox and the Quaker faith.



After starting out in the Barbados, two women journeyed to Boston in 1656 to spread the word:  Anne Austin and Mary Fisher.  Within a week a small band of eight more Quakers arrived at Boston Harbor from London, England.  In October 1656 (shortly after the arrival of the Quakers) Massachusetts Bay Colony established the following law:


"Whereas there is a cursed sect of heretics lately risen up in the world, which are commonly called Quakers..." upon entering within a jurisdiction, "shall be forthwith committed to the house of correction, and at their entrance to be severely whipped, and by the master thereof be kept constantly to work, and none suffered to speak with them..." and it is ordered "that what person or persons soever shall revile the office or person of the magistrates or ministers, as is usual with Quakers, such person or persons shall be severely whipped, or pay the sum of five pounds."


Nov 1656, Daniel's sixth child, John, was born.



     Upon her return to America from England, Mary Dyer, accompanied by Ann Burden, made a stop-over in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on her journey home to Rhode Island so that Ms Burden could settle the estate of her deceased husband in Boston. By this time, the Massachusetts Bay Colony had begun implementing a series of harsh laws against those who had become members of "The Religious Society of Friends", or held sympathies towards them, so Mary Dyer and Ann Burden were arrested almost immediately upon setting foot on Massachusetts soil as undesired missionaries of the outlawed religion.

     Preceding Ms. Dyer's and Ms Burden's arrest by two days were the arrests of two young Quaker missionaries, Christopher Holder and John Copeland, who had disrupted a church service in Salem. A member of the church, Samuel Shattuck, was arrested along with them as a sympathizer when he attempted to come to their aid after church officials wrestled Holder and Copeland to the floor and had stuffed a glove and a handkerchief down their throats to prevent them from further speaking. Starved, beaten and whipped, the three men spent the next two and half months in jail.

     Also jailed were Holder and Copeland's host, Salem church members, Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick. Though Lawrence was released, his wife remained imprisoned for seven weeks for having in her possession a paper written by their guests.

     Meanwhile, Mary Dyer's husband, a man of some political influence and credibility as a Secretary for the colony of Rhode Island, successfully petitioned the release of his wife. Her travelling companion, however, was expelled from Massachusetts not for being found in a court of law as being a Friend, though, but because of her "guilt" through her association with Mary Dyer and was forcibly returned to England. Ms Burden was in fact required to pay for the expenses incurred by her expulsion with what little monies she had collected from the settlement of her husbands accounts .

     Shortly after their release from jail, Christopher Holder and John Copeland first went to Martha's Vineyard but was turned away by Thomas Mayhew, and then on August 20, 1657, arrived in Sandwich where they were welcomed by many families. 


Oct 14 - Massachusetts Bay Colony Court Order - A fine of £100 to be charged to anyone providing a Quaker entry into jurisdiction, plus 40 shillings per hour for entertaining a Quaker. Additionally, any Quaker man presuming to enter the jurisdiction after suffering the penalty provided by the law passed a year earlier, "shall for the first offense have one ear cut off...and for the second offense shall have his other ear cut off...and every woman Quaker that hath suffered the law here, that shall presume to come into this jurisdiction, shall be severely whipped...and so also for her coming again she shall be alike used as aforesaid; and for every Quaker, he or she, that shall a third time herein again offend, they shall have their togues bored through with a hot iron..."


Shortly after this court order, Plymouth Colony enacted its first anti-Quaker law.  It called for the following:

     Those entertaining a foreign Quaker were to be fined £5 or be whipped.

     Residents seeing a Quaker were to advise the constable or be censured.

     The constable was to try to apprehend the visitor and bring him to a Magistrate.

     The Magistrate was to jail the visitor and assess the charges of jail and costs of transport out of the Colony.

     The Quaker was to engage to leave and not return, or else to stay in jail.

     Fines for meetings were forty shillings against the speaker, forty shillings against the house owner and ten shillings per hearer.

     Initially there was no provision that foreign Quakers were to be whipped.



Early in the year the Plymouth court ruled that certain groups of townsmen would lose their status of freemen. These included Quakers or manifest encouragers of them as well as those who refuse to take the oath of fidelity.  The Quakers felt that to give an oath was blasphemous as it would put the colony above God.

The colony also reinterpreted a law enacted in 1651 which provided a ten shilling fine for anyone neglecting worship and for settup up another church service. They simply replaced the word and with or so now there would be two separate offenses (and fines), instead of one.


The Southwicks, with their son, Josiah, spent twenty weeks in jail for their religious beliefs and incurring such fines that in the following year so as to collect unpaid fees, the authorities found it justifiable to have their children, Provided and Daniel, to be sold as slaves and removed to the Barbadoes Islands. Thankfully, this was prevented, and the Southwick family scurried to New York to live.


Daniel Wing officially declared his affiliation with the Quakers who had established a Friends meeting at Spring Hill in Sandwich, the first in America, and between the months of March to December, was arrested and brought before the Courts a total of five times and fined extensively. By October of that year, he, his brother Stephen, Thomas Ewer, and six others were not only no longer legally given admittance into the town of Sandwich, but risked execution, for on the 19th of that month, the Court order was passed that "banish both resident and visiting Quakers by pain of death if they return". Ingeniously, however, by early December with the aid of his brother John, Daniel with foresight had his estate confirmed to his children in order to escape the fines levied due to his Quakerism, thereby preserving his home and personal assets, and in light of the Southwicks, his family, as his seventh child, Beulah was born just a month later.



In October, Thomas Ewer, who would later become Daniel's father-in-law, was sentenced to lie "neck and heels" during their pleasure for "tumultuous and seditious carriages and speeches" in court and assured him another outburst will send him away.


In Boston, Mary Dyer, Marmaduke Stevenson and William Robinson were escorted and consoled by Rev Daniel Gould of RI, as they were to be hanged their crimes of missionary work within the Massachusets Colony. Mary got reprieve, Daniel recieved 30 lashes for his concerns, Marmaduke and William were hanged.



June 1, Mary once again returned to Boston and was hanged for her efforts.

June 8 - Daniel Wing and Thomas Ewer, and several others fined £5 for refusing to take oath of allegiance

November - Daniel's eighth child, Deborah, was born



May 22  - Court Order - Quakers are to "be stripped naked from the middle upwards, and tied to a cart's tail and whipped through the town;" also to "be branded with the letter R on their left shoulder," and "the constables of the several towns are empowered...to impress cart, oxen, and other assitance for the execution of this order..."




Delivered before Gov Endecott by Samuel Shattuck, the Quaker persecutions ceased by the order of King Charles.





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