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cruel law, with many sore whippings through several towns; an
“Admire, O heavens! be earth astonished
And conscience hindered in what's privileged ?" Cotton Mather.-—" It was also thought that the Quakers themselves would say, 'that if they had got into a corner of the world, and made a wilderness habitable, on purpose to be there undisturbed in the exercise of their worship, they would never bear to have the New Englanders come amongst them,'" &c. Answer. This is but mere groundless supposition and suggestions; none ever said or did so, or gave him any occasion to think so of them; but, on the contrary, the Quakers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey,
who made a wilderness habitable as well as they, and partly to
* William Coddington's Demonstration, pages 14 and 15.
would have counted them, as they were, worthy to live, they “having done nothing worthy of death, or of bonds."
Cotton Mather. Ibid.-"But I will inform the world of a better vindication for my country, than all this,” (better indeed he had need, or else little to the purpose), “namely, that they did by a solemn act afterwards renounce whatever laws are against a just liberty of conscience." Answer. When was that act made, and why did he not set it down, as well as the Declaration for it? And did they not, so late as November, 1675 (sixteen years after they put our Friends to death), make a law, even in the time of the wars,* " That every person found at a Quaker Meeting should be “apprehended, ex officio, by the constable, and by a warrant from “a Magistrate, &c., shall be committed to the house of correction, “and there to have the discipline of the house applied to them, and “ be kept to work with bread and water, &c., or else to pay five “pounds. And all constables neglecting their duty, &c., to incur “ the penalty of five pounds. And the law against importation “of Quakers to be more strictly executed; and that the penalty, “ which was formerly one hundred pounds, be in no case abated " to less than twenty pounds." Was this the renouncing the laws against liberty of conscience, to revive old ones, and make new ones, even when the hand of the Lord was upon you for the former?
Cotton Mather might well say, Book V., chap. i., page 95, “That they have seen many instances, upon which God might say unto them, when I would have healed New England, then its iniquities were but the more discovered."And did they not accordingly, not long after, or in the year 1676, come and forcibly drive Thomas Curwin and Alice his wife, &c., out of their meeting at Boston, all along the street, until they came to the prison or House of Correction, whereinto they thrust them ? which was of service to the Truth, for many people, rich and poor, came to look upon them, and some were convinced; it being a time of great tribulation, their hearts failed for fear; and the third day of * See George Fox's Cain against Abel, and Alice Curwin's Relation. + See Alice Curwin's Relation of her Labours, Travels, and Sufferings, page 5.
their imprisonment they brought them down to the whipping-post, but the presence of the Lord was manifest, and bore them over their cruelty, and they could not but magnify the Name of the Lord, and declare of His wondrous works, at which the heathen were astonished, and shook their heads; and the next day they were set at liberty, and went to their meeting again, which was peaceable; for it is likely, you saw it would not do.
Of which late proceeding George Joy paraphrases thus :
“Had they complied with a wicked law,
lamity, as to endeavour to persuade the people that the cause of it was, “That the magistrates did suffer the Quakers, and other heretics," as you called them, “to live amongst you”? though others were more wise, and told the people in their pulpits, " That the great cause of God's displeasure against them was the guilt of innocent blood, which from time to time had been shed in the land;" and did you not afterwards, in the year 1677, make a law or order to “require all persons, as well inhabitants as strangers, to take the oath of fidelity to the country,* &c., and that all such refusers to take the said oath should not have the benefit to implead, sue, or recover any debts, &c., or have protection from that government, &c."'? And was this liberty of conscience, to force men to break Christ's command, Matt. v., or be deprived of the benefit of the law, and put out of protection ? And of which I find they were warned by Margaret Brewster, in the year 1678; nay, later, even in the year 1679,7 twenty years after they
* See George Fox's Answer to several new Laws or Orders.
put our Friends to death, did you not make a law against “erecting of meeting-houses without license of the County Court, &c. And in case any person or persons should be convicted of transgressing that law, every such house or houses, * &c., with the land where such house or houses stand, &c., shall be forfeited to the use of the country,”' &c.? And what liberty of conscience was this, or renunciation of all laws made against it, to still make new unes so long after? And how many since, I know not, nor when this solemn act, renouncing all such laws as he speaks of, was made, I cannot imagine; yea, did not their governor, John Leveret, cause Margaret Brewster, who was moved of the Lord to come from Barbadoes to warn you,t to be stripped and most inhumanly and cruelly whipped for going into your assembly with her face made black, as a sign of the black pox that soon after came upon you and cut off many as aforesaid. And of your later persecutions many instances might be given, of which some are mentioned in the Postscript, and more might be, but I would not be tedious.
But when this solemn act, renouncing all laws against a just liberty of conscience, was, or what they count just in that respect, I cannot tell. Is not this to “cover their sentiments with such fallacious and ambiguous expressions," as he says hereafter, that all their gross errors " can be at once either asserted or denied"? seeing their high-priest and champion, John Norton, who was appointed by the General Court to write that scurrilous book | against the Truth, which Cotton Mather pretends to be a “confutation, and wishes it had been all the confutation of Quakerism” as aforesaid, though so far from it, that it manifested his own folly and ignorance more than anything else, as I have shown before. In his fourth chapter, which he calls “ The remedy against heretical doctrines,” &c., he makes the magistrates' sword the only remedy against heresy, though he pretends to distinguish, page 69, between conscience and the error of conscience; yet what he
* Scc George Fox's Answer to that Law. | Sec George Fox's Answer to a Letter of J. Leveret to W. Coddington. | The Heart of New England Rent.