The Missing Cross to Purity

The Persecutions of Early Quakers in America


Remember the words I saude to you:
'The servant is greater than his lord.'
If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
if they kept my word [practiced my teachings], they will keep yours also.
John 15:20

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The record of persecutions, testifies to the false salvation of the persecutors;
such persecutions being predicted in Revelation by the Whore of Babylon, drunk on the blood of the saints.
(See Babylon and Apostasy for more.)

Humphrey Norton's sufferings at New Haven—He proceeds, accompanied by John Rous, to Plymouth; their sufferings at that place— William Brend, Mary Dyer, Mary Wetherhead, John Copeland, and John Rous, visit New Haven—William Leddra passes into Connecticut; is banished there, and returns to Rhode Island — Sarah Gibbons and Dorothy Waugh proceed to Massachusetts; their perilous journey there—They arrive at Boston; are imprisoned and scourged—They go to Providence and Connecticut; are banished from Connecticut—Robert Hodgson visits New England—Richard Doudney, Mary Clark, and Mary Wetherhead are shipwrecked and drowned—Ten Friends in the ministry meet on Rhode Island— Thomas Harris goes to Boston, and William Brend and William Leddra to Salem — Their sufferings at those places—Humphrey Norton and John Rous visit Boston — They are imprisoned and scourged—The inhabitants of Boston subscribe money for the liberation of Friends from jail.

Humphrey Norton, whom we have noticed as a prisoner at New Haven, in Connecticut, in the latter part of 1657, was brought before the court there, in the beginning of the First Month following. On his examination he was not charged with any breach of the civil law, but his persecutors considered that they had more serious things to allege against him on doctrinal grounds, and a priest undertook to prove to the court, that he was guilty of heresy. As Humphrey attempted to reply to his allegations, a large iron key was placed to his mouth and tied so as to prevent him from speaking. He was told that when the priest had concluded, he might answer the charges; but before he had an opportunity of replying, the priest "had fled." The trial occupied two days, and after a long and frivolous examination with many attempts on the part of the authorities to entrap the prisoner in his words, he was re-committed. After ten days he was again brought before the court, when he received a sentence from which humanity recoils. He was first to be whipped, then burnt in the hand with the letter H, to signify that he was a condemned heretic; to be fined ten pounds for the costs and charges of the trial, and finally to be banished from the colony of New Haven, "upon the utmost penalty that the law could inflict." The court determined that no time should be lost in subjecting this victim of their displeasure to the cruel decree. So in the afternoon of the same day, amidst a large concourse of people, gathered by beat of drum, the whipping and burning were carried into execution. The first act was to place him in the stocks "in view of all the people," and when he had been stripped to the waist, "with his back to the magistrates," the flogging commenced. Thirty-six "cruel stripes" were inflicted; and probably more would have been given, had not the inhuman exhibition disgusted the bystanders. "Do they mean to kill the man;" was the language of dissatisfaction which broke from the crowd. Humphrey, however, who was remarkably freed from the feeling of pain observed that his body was as if it had been covered with balm." After this part of the sentence being executed, the officers turned the face of the sufferer to the magistrates, and having fastened his right hand in the stocks, burnt the letter H upon it, "more deep," says John Rous, "than ever I saw an impression upon any living creature." The presence of He, who supports his devoted children under every variety of trial, was, however, very near this faithful man, and on being loosed from the stocks, "the Lord opened his mouth in prayer, and he uttered his voice towards heaven, from where his help came, to the astonishment of them all." He was able to rejoice and give thanks for the peace, and love, and joy, with which his heart abounded. He was now told that he might have his liberty, on paying the fine and prison fees. To this he replied, that if the sum of two-pence only would obtain his discharge, he could not pay it, or consent for others to do so for him. The authorities, being evidently ashamed of their cruel proceedings, then told him, that if he would only promise to pay the amount later, he would be released; but he also declined that offer. A Dutch settler, touched with compassion for the sufferer, now came forward and offered twenty nobles to obtain his discharge. "His spirit within him," the friendly settler remarked, "made him do it." Humphrey Norton was then banished the colony of New Haven, from where he proceeded to Rhode Island. These sufferings of Humphrey Norton, afford the first instance of the persecution of Friends in Connecticut.

After remaining for several weeks in the province of Rhode Island, Humphrey Norton believed it to be required of him to attend the next general court for the colony of Plymouth; and John Rous, who had recently returned from a visit to some parts of Connecticut, felt it his duty to accompany him. The immediate object of Humphrey Norton's visit to Plymouth, was to plead with the authorities of that colony, on account of their intolerant and cruel proceedings towards Friends; and in order that the governor might know the object of his coming, he forwarded previously, an epitome of the sufferings which his fellow-professors had endured in that settlement, with some remarks upon them. "These," he observes, "and what further may be presented to remembrance by the Lord, are the just grounds whereupon my intent and desire is, to appear before your court and country, and all who may be concerned therein, if God permit."

On the 1st of the Fourth Month, 1658, the two Friends arrived at Plymouth, where they were immediately arrested and imprisoned, and two days after, they were brought before the court and questioned, as to their motives in coming. Humphrey referred them to the paper he had forwarded. The governor, however, unwilling to admit that he had received it, uttered several falsehoods and unfounded charges, which called forth a rebuke from Humphrey Norton. John Rous, feeling that, as a free-born Englishman, he had an undoubted right to visit any part of the British dominions, denied the authority of the law, by which they sought to exclude Friends from the territory. The examination, however, ended in their being re-committed to prison. The Plymouth records charge them with having acted turbulently on the occasion. Humphrey Norton's reproof to the governor for his falsehoods, and the pleading of John Rous for his rights as a British subject, appear to have constituted the only ground for the charge.

Two days after the two Friends had been remanded, they were again brought before the court; for the object, it would appear, of being charged with heresy, by an individual who was anxious for the support of Puritan orthodoxy. The prisoners, confident of being able to disprove the obnoxious charge, desired a public opportunity of doing so; but the magistrates, fearing the result of a dispute, remanded them a second time; their accuser with some others being requested to visit them in prison, to hear what they had to say in answer to the charge. The interview having ended, it was reported to the court, that there was "very little difference between what Winter affirmed, and the said Humphrey Norton acknowledged;" from which it seems that their accuser failed to sustain his allegation. On being again brought into court, Humphrey Norton desired that he might be permitted to read the paper that he had written to explain the object of his visit to the colony. The governor, however, who still pretended to be ignorant of its contents, not only refused the request, but again used abusive language, calling the prisoners "inordinate fellows," "Papists," "Jesuits," and many other opprobrious epithets, Humphrey, indignant at these malicious expressions, replied: "Your clamorous tongue I regard no more than the dust under my feet."

The rulers at Plymouth, disappointed in not having sufficient evidence to convict the two Friends of heresy, and, determined that they should suffer for thus venturing within the limits of the colony, concluded to tender them the oath of allegiance, a snare in which they well knew that these conscientious men would be entrapped. On their refusal of the oath, the magistrates at once ordered them to be flogged; Humphrey Norton was sentenced to receive twenty-three lashes, and John Rous fifteen lashes. On their leaving the court, several of the inhabitants, desired to express the sympathy which they felt for the strangers. They shook hands with them as they passed; but the envious rulers, disturbed at these tokens of Christian kindness, ordered three of them to be placed in the stocks for the act. The prisoners on arriving at the place of punishment, felt their minds influenced by the spirit of prayer, and in the midst of the assembled multitude, they supplicated the Most High. The flogging, although executed with great severity, was borne by the sufferers with marked patience and meekness. Being informed at its conclusion, that on the payment of the fees they might have their liberty, they answered, that if anything was due, they might go to the keeper of that purse, which had been filled by robberies on the innocent. A Puritan minister, who had been banished from Virginia for nonconformity to Episcopacy, was heard to remark, in reference to this exciting occasion; —"On my conscience, you are men of noble spirits; I could neither find it in my heart to stay in the court to hear and see the proceedings, nor come to the stocks to see your sufferings." "This persecution," remarks John Rous, "proved to be great a advantage to the cause of the truth, and to their [the magistrates] disadvantage; for Friends did with much boldness openly acknowledged us in it, and it deeply affected many." After a further imprisonment of a few days, they were released, and returned to Rhode Island.

The sufferings of Humphrey Norton at New Haven, and his banishment from there, did not deter other gospel laborers from visiting that settlement. William Brend, Mary Dyer, and Mary Wetherhead, went there from Rhode Island, to bear a public testimony against the cruelty and bigotry of the rulers, and arrived in the Second Month, 1658; but they were immediately arrested, and forcibly carried back to Rhode Island.

During the same month, John Rous and John Copeland, under a sense of religious duty, visited the colony of Connecticut. They first proceeded to Hartford, where resided John Winthrop, the governor, who was an enlightened man, and averse to persecution. At Hartford a noted Puritan disputant also lived; John Copeland and John Rous had a discussion with this Puritan in the presence of the governor and several of the magistrates. The priest proposed several questions with a view to confound the two Friends: "What is God?" he asked. "A spirit,"* replied the Friends. The priest hoping by a syllogistic mode of reasoning to show the contrary, denied their assertion. "A spirit is an angel," said he, "an angel is a creature; God is not a creature, and therefore God is not a spirit." But the Friends, confident in the truth of their assertion, replied that his conclusion was contrary to Scripture, and that "it showed he had learned more of logic than of God; for had he known God, he dared not thus to have spoken." The priest, supposing that he had to deal with two ignorant men, proceeded to other subjects; but in these also, notwithstanding his artful mode of reasoning, he signally failed; "much,'' says John Rous, "to the glory of truth, and his own shame." Much of the day having been thus spent in polemical discussion, the magistrates informed the strangers that by a law of the colony their presence could not be allowed within its limits. Their visit to Connecticut was short, but it appears to have been instrumental for good; "the Lord," says John Rous, "gave us no small dominion, and after some stay there we returned to Rhode Island.'' After remarking that the four colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut, had united in the unholy purpose of banishing Friends, John Rous says of Connecticut, "among all the colonies, we found the greatest moderation there; most of the magistrates were more noble than those of the others."

*God is a Spirit: and who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24 You only know God, and how to worship God, after he has personally changed and taught you, giving you his spirit. To be taught and changed, you have to go in humility, as a sinner in need of his help and grace - not as a proud saved believer, with a salvation based on a few words spoken or getting wet. (See Missing Cross for more.) The Father seeks those who will worship him in spirit and truth; to be able to do so, you must first crucify your selfish nature on the cross. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [ usts and affections] on the inward cross of self-denial.

About the Third Month of this year, William Leddra, who had lately arrived at Rhode Island from Barbados, in company with Thomas Harris, also felt drawn to visit the colony of Connecticut. After having had some religious service there, he was arrested and banished, and subsequently returned to Rhode Island. Sarah Gibbons, and Dorothy Waugh, who had been engaged in Rhode Island, left that colony in the Second Month of 1 658, and proceeded on a gospel mission to Salem. The journey, which was performed on foot, occupied them several days. Their way was through a wilderness country of more than sixty miles, and being performed in the winter season, they were exposed to "great storms and tempests of frost and snow," while their only shelter at night was such as the forests afforded. "They lodged," says Humphrey Norton, "in the wilderness day and night— through which they cheerfully passed to accomplish the will and work of God, who, for their reward, brought them, beyond their expectation, to their appointed place, where their message was gladly received." Having been occupied in gospel labors at and about Salem for two weeks, they believed it required of them again to go to the persecuting town of Boston. Arriving there, they felt it their duty to attend the weekly lecture given at the place of public worship, and, after waiting quietly until the lecturer had finished, Sarah Gibbons began to address the company. She had not, however, uttered many sentences, before she was taken into custody by the sergeant. Dorothy Waugh then rose, and having repeated the scripture passage, "Fear God and give glory to his name," she also was stopped, and with her companion was hurried to prison, in the midst of a concourse of excited people. After being closely confined for three days, these faithful women were brought before the intolerant Endicott and Bellingham, who sentenced them to be whipped; an order which was cruelly executed, "with a threefold cord, having knots at the ends for tearing the flesh." The whipping being over, "the people were astonished" to hear these innocent sufferers vocally offering praise and thanksgiving to their Heavenly Father, for the help of His sustaining presence in the time of their extremity. From this scene they were conveyed back to the prison-house, the jailer refusing to let them go without the payment of his fees. Here they were detained for four days, when a kind-hearted inhabitant of Rhode Island obtained their release.

On leaving Boston, they proceeded southward to Providence and Rhode Island, where they remained for some weeks. They then felt drawn to pay a visit to Connecticut; and, leaving the company of many of their dear and sympathizing friends, they traveled to Hartford. Of the nature of their religious services at this town we are uninformed. In consequence of the laws of the colony, however, they were soon placed under confinement, and in a short time banished from its soil. Excepting that some extra apparel, which they took with them, was sold by the jailer to pay his fees, no act of persecution befell them at Hartford.

Robert Hodgson, who, on reaching the shores of America, proceeded to visit New Netherlands and Long Island, arrived early in 1658, within the limits of Rhode Island, from where he passed eastward as far as Marshfield, in the colony of Plymouth.

Excepting Mary Dyer, of Rhode Island, and John Rous, William Leddra, and Thomas Harris, from Barbados, up to the Third Month, 1658, the eleven who had crossed the Atlantic in the "Woodhouse," were the only Friends laboring in the work of the gospel in New England; making in the whole fifteen, who were publicly pleading the cause of their Lord in this interesting part of the world. But it pleased the All-wise Disposer of events, whose purposes, however mysterious, we dare not question, to reduce the number of this devoted band. We have previously stated that Richard Doudney and Mary Clark were fellow-prisoners at Boston, and that they were liberated in the Ninth Month, 1657, after which, it appears, they were mostly engaged within the colony of Rhode Island. Mary Wetherhead had landed at New Amsterdam, but her presence not being allowed, either in the Dutch colony, or at New Haven, she also went to Rhode Island in the Second Month, 1658. Soon afterwards, these three Friends suffered shipwreck and were drowned.

About the middle of the Fourth Month following, ten of the remaining number met on Rhode Island, but they were not permitted long to enjoy this favored retreat. On the 15th, William Brend, Thomas Harris, and William Leddra, proceeded northward for Massachusetts. In a day or two after, Christopher Holder and John Copeland passed eastward to Plymouth; and two weeks later, Humphrey Norton and John Rous felt it to be their religious duty to go to Boston; the three women Friends, Sarah Gibbons, Dorothy Waugh, and Mary Dyer, still remaining on Rhode Island. We next proceed to some particulars of the services of the respective parties.

William Brend and William Leddra passed onwards to Salem; but Thomas Harris arrived at Boston on the 17th, the usual "lecture-day" of the week, and, under a feeling of religious duty, he attended the meeting. Having waited until the priest had finished his lecture, Thomas Harris began to address the company, but he was quickly interrupted and stopped. He again attempted to speak, declaring that, "the Lord God was risen, and the coverings of the persecutors were found too narrow, for their nakedness appeared to all them that feared God." He was then seized and forthwith taken to prison, but in a short time was brought before the magistrates for examination, or more properly, to receive a cruel sentence. The formal and haughty Endicott, observing the prisoner enter the court with his hat on, thus sternly addressed him :—" Do you know before whom you are come? Thomas Harris. Yes. Endicott. Why then do you not put off your hat? Thomas Harris. I do not keep it on in contempt of authority, but in obedience to the Lord." His hat being pulled off, and Bellingham having observed that his hair was longer than their rules admitted, ordered the marshal to bring a pair of shears and cut it off. After being questioned by Endicott from where he came, and what was his object in coming, he was sent back to prison; instructions being given that no one should be allowed to visit him. The jailer, a cruel and heartless man, refusing to allow or sell his prisoner food, told him on the second day, that for every shilling which he earned at work, he might have the value of four-pence in diet. Thomas Harris, however, believed it right to bear a decided testimony against such unreasonable conduct, and declined working. The refusal was almost immediately followed by a whipping, after which the jailer told him that, as he had suffered the penalty of the law for venturing within their limits, he might have his liberty provided he paid the marshal to convey him away. "If the doors are set open, I know no other but I shall pass," said Thomas, "but to hire a guard, that I cannot." His imprisonment was consequently continued. The jailer, who still refused to sell him food, brought some before him, with the taunting assurance that he should not taste it unless he promised to work. He again declined, and for five days, in the dismal prison of Boston, he was kept without nourishment of any kind. On the fifth night, a sympathizing friend, undiscovered in consequence of the darkness which prevailed, managed to convey him some food through the prison window. "In all probability, he would have starved," says Bishop, "had not the Lord kept him those five days, and ordered it so after that time, that food was conveyed to him by night at a window by some tender people, who, though they came not into the profession of truth openly, by reason of the cruelty [of the rulers,] yet felt it secretly moving in them, and so were made serviceable to keep the servants of the Lord from perishing; who shall not go without a reward.” On the sixth day of his imprisonment, Thomas Harris still refusing to work at the orders of the merciless jailer, was again subjected to the lash. Twenty-two strokes were given him on this occasion; and, with the view of additional torture, a pitched rope was used instead of the whip. Leaving him in the jail, lacerated and torn by this cruel infliction, we now turn to the proceedings of his late companions.

Reaching Salem, William Brend and William Leddra were warmly welcomed by the few faithful Friends of that place, with whom they were favored to hold several meetings to their mutual refreshment and comfort. On First-day, the 20th of Fourth Month, they attended one held at the house of Nicholas Phelps, in the woods, about five miles from Salem. A magistrate of the town hearing of the intended meeting, came with a constable, for the purpose of breaking it up, and securing the two strangers; but failing in his purpose, he left the company, with a threat that he would prosecute the Friends who were present. From Salem the two gospel messengers traveled to Newburyport, where also they had some religious service. Their passing thus from place to place, in the very heart of the Puritan population of New England, and by their powerful ministry making converts to the doctrines they professed, aroused the fears of the local magistracy to this new state of things. After leaving Newburyport, they were soon overtaken by a zealous ruler of the place, who arrested them and carried them to Salem. The court, which was then sitting in the town, had the Friends brought up for examination. Here they were interrogated respecting the doctrines they were promulgating, but their answers were so clear and convincing, and they appealed so effectually to the consciences of the magistrates, that the latter confessed they discovered nothing heretical or dangerous in their opinions. The court, however, told the prisoners that they had a law against Quakers, and that that law must be obeyed. An order for their committal immediately followed, and in a few days they were removed to Boston prison. Six Friends of Salem were also committed for having attended the meeting at the house of Nicholas Phelps.

[The next two paragraphs were taken from Sewel's History, Vol. I]

On their arrival at Boston, William Brend and William Leddra, who were deemed special offenders, were separated from their companions. They were placed in a miserable cell, the window of which was so stopped, as not only to deprive them of light, but also of ventilation, while all conversation between them and the citizens was strictly forbidden. The jailer, following the cruel course which he had pursued towards Thomas Harris, refused to allow them an opportunity of purchasing food, though they offered to pay for them. But he told them, it was not their money, but their labor he desired. Thus he kept them five days without food, and then with a three-corded whip gave them twenty blows. An hour after he told them, they might go out, if they would pay the marshal that was to lead them out of the country. They judging it very unreasonable to pay money for being banished, refused this, but yet said, that if the prison-door was set open, they would go away. The next day the jailer came to W. Brend, a man in years, and put him in irons, neck and heels so close together, that there was no more room left between each, than for the lock that fastened them. Thus he kept them from five in the morning, till after nine at night, being the space of sixteen hours. The next morning he brought him to the mill to work, but Brend refusing, the jailer took a pitched rope about an inch thick, and gave him twenty blows over his back and arms, with as much force as he could, so that the rope untwisted; and then, going away, he came again with another rope, that was thicker and stronger, and told Brend, that he would cause him to bow to the law of the country, and make him work. Brend judged this not only unreasonable in the highest degree, since he had committed no evil, but he was also altogether unable to work: for he lacked strength for want of food, having been kept five days without eating, and whipped also, and now thus unmercifully beaten with a rope. But this inhuman jailer relented not, but began to beat anew with his pitched rope on this bruised body, and foaming at his mouth like a madman, with violence laid ninety-seven more blows on him, as other prisoners that beheld it with compassion, have told ; and if his strength, and his rope had not failed him, he would have laid on more; he threatened also to give him the next morning as many blows more. But a higher power, who sets limits even to the raging sea, and has said, "to here you shall come, but no further," also limited this butcherly fellow; who was yet impudently stout enough to say his morning prayer. To what a most terrible condition these blows brought the body of Brend, who because of the great heat of the weather, had nothing but a serge cassock upon his shirt, may easily be conceived. His back and arms were bruised and black, and the blood hanging as in bags under his arms; and so into one was his flesh beaten, that the sign of a particular blow could not be seen; for all was become as a jelly. His body being thus cruelly tortured, he lay down upon the boards, so extremely weakened, that the natural parts decaying, and strength quite failing, his body turned cold. There seemed as it were a struggle between life and death; his senses were stopped, and he had for some time neither seeing, feeling, nor hearing; till at length a divine power prevailing, life broke through death, and the breath of the Lord was breathed into his nostrils. Now, the noise of this cruelty spread among the people in the town, and caused such a cry, that the governor sent his surgeon to the prison to see what might be done; but the surgeon found the body of Brend in such a deplorable condition, that, as one without hopes, he said, his flesh would rot from off his bones, before the bruised parts could be brought to digest. This so exasperated the people, that the magistrates, to prevent a tumult, set up a paper on their meeting-house door, and up and down the streets, as it were to show their dislike of this abominable, and most barbarous cruelty; and said, the jailer should be dealt withal the next court. But this paper was soon taken down again upon the instigation of the high priest, John Norton, who, having from the beginning been a fierce promoter of the persecution, now did not hesitate to say, "W. Brend endeavored to beat our gospel ordinances black and blue, if he is then beaten black and blue, it is only justice upon him; and I will appear in behalf of the one who beat him." It is therefore not much to be wondered at, that these precise and bigoted magistrates, who would be looked upon to be eminent for piety, were so cruel in persecuting, since their religious priest and teacher so wickedly encouraged them to it.

It happened about this time, that some of the people called Quakers that lived there were brought before the magistrates. One of them challenged the magistrates, asking how they might know who was a Quaker; to which Simon Broadstreet, one of the magistrates, answered, '"You are one, for coming in with your hat on." Which made the other reply, it was a horrible thing to make such cruel laws, to whip and cut off ears, and bore through the tongue, for not putting off the hat. Then one of the bench said, that the Quakers held forth blasphemies at their meetings. To which one of the others asked him to prove the assertion, considering that it had pleased God to miraculously to heal W. Brend and to keep him alive. As though this hardened the hearts of these persecutors, to show themselves obedient followers of their teacher, they produced an order the jailer; which was if the Quakers that were in his custody refused to work, he should whip them twice a week, the first time with ten lashes, the next time with fifteen, and so at each time with three more, till they would work. This was performed on four persons, two of which were William Leddra and John Rous, who will be mentioned later. And to keep the passionate jailer within due bounds, it was ordered that each time he should warn two constables to see the execution. But how little moderation was truly meant, and that this was more like a jest, may appear in that the jailer the first time laid fifteen lashes each on the said persons, and so added five stripes to the first number of lashings.

Humphrey Norton, soon after the departure of William Brend and his companions for Massachusetts, was brought under a deep religious exercise to follow them in the same direction as far as Boston. "The sense of the strength of the enmity against the righteous seed" greatly distressed him, and took from him both rest and sleep. In this tried condition of mind, he informed John Rous of his prospect, who believed the same to be required of him; he being sensible," remarks Humphrey Norton, "of the necessity of our returning there to bear our parts with the prisoners of hope, which at that time stood bound for the testimony of Jesus." Anxious to reach Boston as early as possible, they traveled day and night, and arrived there the day after that on which William Brend had been so barbarously treated. One of the inhabitants of the town, being affected at the wicked course which the rulers were pursuing, and observing the arrival of the two Friends, informed them of the cruelties that had been exercised towards William Brend, and begged them, "if they loved their lives," not to remain in that place of persecution. He added, "they were dead men, if they did not depart." It was evident that the honest "freeman" in his kind endeavors to save the strangers from suffering, did not understand the nature of their mission. "Such was our burden," says Humphrey Norton, "that beside Him who laid it upon us, no flesh nor place could ease us." The day, on which the two devoted men entered Boston, was that of John Norton's usual lecture, and both of them believed it right to be present on the occasion. Since the public mind of the city was at this juncture very excited by the arrival of several Quaker ministers, the lecturer was not willing to lose such a favorable opportunity to impress his audience with the danger of Quaker principles. John Rous, in describing the conversation of this intolerant minister, says, "he began his sermon, in which among many lifeless expressions, he spoke much of the danger of those called Quakers, and did greatly labor to stain their innocence with many feigned words—I am sure that little but gall and vinegar fell from him while I was there, with which many of his hearers were greatly filled." When the lecture being over, Humphrey Norton, who had listened quietly to the slanderous language of the minister, felt himself called to bear a public testimony against it and stood up and began thus to address the assembly: "Verily, this is the sacrifice which the Lord God accepts not, for while with the same spirit that you sin, you preach and pray, and sing; that sacrifice is an abomination." It was evident to the minister and his company, that Humphrey Norton was about to plead against the wicked conduct of the Bostonians, in their misrepresentations and persecution of Friends. From their first arrival at that place, the rulers had studiously endeavored to suppress all such opposing discussions; and on this occasion Humphrey was soon drug down, and, with his companion John Rous, taken off to the magistrates. Before these authorities, a charge of blasphemy was preferred against Humphrey Norton for the words he had uttered in the assembly. A long examination took place, and the charge of blasphemy was disproved and withdrawn. However, since they were Quakers, they were sentenced to prison and be whipped. During the examination, John Rous was treated by the authorities with more respect and attention, than it had been customary for them to show to Friends. This arose from the circumstance of Lieutenant Colonel Rous, the father of John Rous, having resided in the colony, and being well known and respected. Vainly imagining that, by their acquaintance with his father, they might be able to prevail on John Rous to relinquish his fellowship with the despised and "heretical Quakers," the magistrates began to flatter and praise him. He was, however, too firmly established in the truth to be shaken by their hypocritical flattery; and not only boldly upheld his doctrines before them, but as an English citizen, demanded his privilege of having his case tried in the courts of the mother country. An exposure of the judicial proceedings of Massachusetts in reference to Friends was, however, what Endicott and Bellingham shrank from; they well knew that such a course would inevitably bring disgrace upon the colony and might be attended with serious results in respect to their charter. It is then no matter of surprise that the appeal of John Rous should have been vigorously resisted. "No appeal to England! No appeal to England;" was the language of these intolerant rulers on the occasion. Before his removal from the court, John Rous referred to the inhuman practice of preventing his imprisoned Friends from obtaining food, and demanded that he and his companion might be supplied with proper nourishment for their money. The exposure had its good effect, and neither of them was subjected to this species of New England cruelty.

After an imprisonment of three days, Humphrey Norton and John Rous, underwent the whipping to which they had been sentenced. Liberty was then offered to them, on payment of the prison fees, and of the cost of conveyance beyond the limits of the colony; but declining to recognize these impositions they were again taken to jail. The law which had been enacted for the punishment of "Quakers and such accursed heretics," not being, in the estimation of the magistracy of Boston, sufficiently severe for those now in prison, an order was issued to the jailer that, if the Quakers refused to work, they were to be whipped regularly twice a week; the first whipping to be with ten strokes, the second with fifteen, and every subsequent whipping with an addition of three "until further orders." The victims upon whom the efficacy of this fresh order was to be tried, were Humphrey Norton, John Rous, William Leddra, and Thomas Harris, and on First-day, the 18th of Fifth Month, each of them received ten strokes. The jailer, eager in his work of cruelty, in a few days had the whip again applied with the stated number of fifteen lashes to each. On this second application of the lash, the blood flowed profusely from the unhealed wounds of the prisoners. The inhabitants of Boston, already much excited by the barbarities which had been committed on William Brend, and increasingly disgusted by these renewed cruelties, opened a public subscription, for the purpose of discharging the prison fees of the sufferers, and for defraying the cost of conveying them out of the colony. The necessary amount was quickly raised, and, soon after, William Brend, and his four companions, were conveyed to the safe and quiet retreat of the settlement at Providence.


And what does the LORD require of you
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

The Self-Righteous Protestants of New England
Continued to be Unjust with No Mercy

Christopher Holder and John Copeland's travels and sufferings in Massachusetts—John Rous visits Boston a second time and is again imprisoned—His letter to Margaret Fell—The barbarous usage of Christopher Holder, John Copeland, and John Rous—Josiah Cole and Thomas Thurston proceed on a religious visit to America—Their gospel labors among the Indians—Josiah Cole's mission among those of Martha's Vineyard and Massachusetts—He is joined by John Copeland—They are imprisoned at Sandwich—Josiah Cole's further labors among the Indians of New England—Extract from his letter to George Bishop, containing a narrative of these engagements— Peter Cowsnooke, Edward Eades, and Philip Rose, embark for New England—Brief notices of the lives of Mary Clark, Richard Doudney, Mary Wetherhead, Sarah Gibbons, Dorothy Waugh, William Brend, Humphrey Norton, Christopher Holder, John Copeland, John Rous, Thomas Harris, and Robert Fowler.

CHRISTOPHER Holder and John Copeland, as we have already noticed, left Rhode Island about the middle of the Fourth Month, 1658, for the colony of Plymouth. On the 23rd, they attended a meeting of the little company of Friends at Sandwich. The marshal, on hearing of their arrival, immediately went to the meeting and arrested them. The orders which this functionary had received from the authorities, were, to banish all such without delay; and, should any so banished return, that then "the select men appointed for that purpose, were to see them whipped." Conformably to his instructions, he ordered the two Friends to leave the township; to which Christopher Holder and his companion replied, that, should they feel it to be the will of their divine Master, they would do so; but on no other ground could they promise to leave Sandwich. With a view to the infliction of the punishment referred to, the "select men" were informed of the continued presence of the Friends; but this body, entertaining no desire to sanction measures so severe towards those who differed from them in religion, declined to act in the case. The marshal, disappointed at the refusal, determined to take them before a neighboring magistrate at Barnstaple, about two miles distant, who, he anticipated, would lend a ready hand to assist in punishing Quakers,—an expectation which was fully realized. This functionary, after a frivolous examination of the prisoners, ordered them to be tied to the post of an out-house; and then, turning executioner, he gave each of them thirty-three lashes. The Friends of Sandwich, aware of the hatred which the Barnstaple magistrate had to Quakerism, and well assured that no mercy was to be expected from him, with a view to cheer their brethren in bonds, accompanied them there on the occasion, and were "eye and ear witnesses of the cruelty'" inflicted on them. These were new proceedings at Barnstaple, and caused no little sensation among the quiet settlers of the district. They felt that however erroneous Quakerism might be, such conduct on the part of their rulers did not consist with the religion of Jesus. One of them said, "Who would have thought that I should have come to New England to witness such scenes?" On the following day, the two Friends were taken back to Sandwich, from where they were carried towards Rhode Island and liberated.

After laboring for some weeks in the work of the ministry, in the vicinity of Providence and Newport, Christopher Holder and John Copeland, felt a religious call to proceed to Boston. At this place they had already experienced both imprisonment and the lash of the knotted scourge; and they were not ignorant that on the return of those who had been banished from Massachusetts, as they had been, the loss of one of their cars would probably be the penalty inflicted. But these faithful men, feeling assured that their call was from on high, humbly obeyed the requisition, believing that He who had previously been their help and their shield, would not forsake them in any extremity to which they might be exposed for the truth's sake. Leaving Providence on the 3rd of Sixth Month, 1658, they arrived on the same evening at the town of Dedham. In Dedham they lodged there one night; but the next day, were taken up by a constable, and carried to Boston, where being brought before the governor, he said in a rage, "you shall be sure to have your ears cut off."

They sent them to the House of Correction with the following order:


You are, by virtue hereof, required to take into your custody the bodies of Christopher Holder and John Copeland, and them safely to keep close to work, with prisoners' diet only, till their ears be cut off; and not to allow them to converse with any while they are in your custody.

Edward Rawson , Secretary.

In pursuance of this order, the two Friends were kept closely confined; and the unmerciful jailer, pursuing his usual course towards such prisoners, prevented them for several days from having food, because they declined to work at his command.

Not long after, John Rous came again to Boston, but was shortly after taken, and committed to prison. On the 17th of September, he with Holder and Copeland were brought before the magistrates in the court. Upon seeing them, the cruel Governor Endicott raged in anger and agitation: "You shall have your ears cut off." The deputy-governor told them that they were in contempt of the magistrates and ministers, having come there again to seduce the people; therefore they might know that whatever befell them, whether the loss of their ears, or of their lives, their blood would be upon their own heads. They denying this, and said that the Lord had sent them there. Governor Endicott replied: "You are greater enemies* to us than those that come openly; since under pretence of peace, you come to poison the people." That men, who had been imprisoned, and whipped, and banished for their religious opinions, should still persist in the advocacy of them with the certainty of incurring increased severities, was what the darkened mind of Endicott could not comprehend; he said: "What, you remain in the same opinion you were before?" The prisoners meekly replied: "We remain in the fear of the Lord; the Lord God has commanded us, and we could only obey and come." The governor voiced: "The Lord commanded you to come! It was Satan."

*{So Endicott has called the Quakers enemies; ignoring Christ's commands to pray for your enemies, love your enemies, bless those who persecute you - instead he wants to whip them, cut off their ears, bore their tongues, brand them, and hang them. While the Quakers, blessed the Puritans, prayed for the Puritans, loved the Puritans at the risk of their lives - thereby pouring burning coals on their heads - eventually defeating them by the shedding of their blood.

Beware of false prophets...You shall know them by their fruits. Mat 5:15-20}

Being asked for proof that the Lord had sent them, they replied that it was some kind of proof the Lord had sent them, because they met with the same treatment as Christ had told his disciples they would suffer for his name sake, such as whipping, etc. To this major-general Denison said, “Then when malefactors are whipped, they suffer for Christ's sake?” Then John Rous, whose father was a lieutenant-colonel in Barbados, said, “If we were evil-doers, the judgments of God would be heavier upon us than those we suffer by you.” To which major Denison replied, “Mr. Rous, (for so I may call you, having heard your father is a gentleman), what judgment of God do you look for greater than is upon you, to be driven from your father's house, and to run about here as a vagabond, with a company of deceivers, except you look for a halter. To this Rous said; “I was not driven from my fathers house, but in obedience to the Lord I left it; and when the Lord shall have cleared me of this land, I shall return to it again.” Then Endicott called to the secretary to read the law, who then read this clause in it, that if any that had been judged by the law, and should they presume to return again, they should have one of their ears cut off. Some more words were spoken, and among the rest, Endicott said, “The Quakers have nothing by which to prove their commission except the spirit within them, and that is the devil.” And when one of the prisoners said, “We have seen some of your laws that have many scriptures in the margin; but what example have you in Scripture for cutting off ears?” Endicott asked, "What Scripture is there for hanging?" To which Denison said scoffing, “Yes, they would be crucified.”* Then Endicott called the three prisoners by name, and said in great passion, "It is the sentence of the court, that you three have each of you his right ear cut off by the hangman."

*{That the Puritan judges could joke that the scripture's record of crucifixion of Jesus, gave them license to cutting off their ears - betrays their extreme hypocrisy, walking in the footsteps of their Pharisee fathers, while the Quakers walked in the bloody footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who claim to be righteous, by grace, and in liberty from obeying the law are hypocrites, a stumbling block, and they scatter the true sheep from Christ. A hypocrite talks about being religious, while walking in sin. Jesus addressed the hypocrites: You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. Luk 16:15. These people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. Mat 15:8. Your hearts have to be cleansed - really cleansed to purity.

The LORD is near to those who are of a broken heart and saves who are of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18
(Contrite means: feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses.)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17

For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15

Then they were carried to the prison, and on the 16th of September, the Marshal's deputy came there, letting as many come in as he thought proper; and when the doors were made fast, the said marshal read the following order:

To the marshal-general, or his deputy

You are to take with you the executioner, and repair to the house of correction and there see him cut off the right ears of John Copeland, Christopher Holder, and John Rous, Quakers; in execution of the sentence of the court of assistants, for the breach of the law, in titled Quakers.

Edward Rawson , Secretary

About a week after he had been thus imprisoned, he wrote a letter to Margaret Fell, containing many interesting particulars of the proceedings of the Society in New England, of which the following, taken from the original, is a copy:—



About the last of the Sixth Month, 1657, I came from Barbados with another Friend, an inhabitant of the island; and, according to the appointment of the Father, landed on Rhode Island in the beginning of the Eighth Month, on an out part of the island; and having come there, I heard of the arrival of Friends from England; which was no small refreshment to me. After I had been there a little while, I passed out of the island into Plymouth Patent, to Sandwich, and several other towns thereabouts; where, in the winter time, more service was done than was expected. Some time after, I was in Connecticut with John Copeland, where the Lord gave us no small dominion, for there we met with one of the greatest disputers of New England, who is priest of Hartford, who was much confounded, to the glory of truth, and to his shame. After some stay there, we returned to Rhode Island, where Humphrey Norton was, and after some time, he and I went into Plymouth Patent, and they having a Court while we were there, we went to the place where it was; having sent before to the Governor, the grounds of our coming; but we were straightway put in prison, and after twice being before them, where we were much railed at, they judged us to be whipped. Humphrey Norton received twenty-three stripes, and I fifteen with rods, which did prove much for the advantage of truth, and their disadvantage; for Friends did with much boldness own us openly in it, and it did work deeply with many. After we were released from there, we returned to Rhode Island, and after some stay there, we went to Providence, and from there to Boston, to bear witness in a few words, in their meeting-house against their worship, till they drug us out and took us to their house of correction, and that evening we were examined and committed to prison. On the seventh day in the evening, they whipped us with ten stripes each, with a three-fold whip, to conclude a wicked week's work, which was this; on the Second-day, they whipped six Friends; on the Third-day the jailer laid William Brend, (a Friend that had come from London), neck and heels, as they call it, in irons for sixteen hours; on the Fourth-day, the jailer gave William Brend one hundred and seventeen strokes with a pitched rope; on the Fifth-day, they imprisoned us; and on the Seventh-day we suffered. The beating of William Brend did work much in the town, and for a time, much liberty was granted; for several people came to us in the prison; but the enemies, seeing the forwardness and love in the people towards us, plotted, and a warrant was given forth that, if we would not work, we should be whipped once in every three days, and the first time have fifteen stripes, the second eighteen, and the third time twenty-one. So on the Second-day after our first whipping, four of us received fifteen stripes each; the which did so work with the people, that on the Fourth-day after, we were released. We returned to Rhode Island, and continued there awhile, and after some time, Humphrey Norton went into Plymouth Patent to Friends there, and I was moved to go to Boston; so that, that day five weeks [after] I was released, at night I was put in jail again. In jail were Christopher Holder and John Copeland, two of the Friends that came from England. We do wait here, according to their law, to have each of us, an ear cut off; but we are kept in the dominion of God, and our enemies are under our feet. It is reported that we shall be tried at a Court that is to be held next week, and if the ship does not go away from here before then, you shall hear further how it is ordered for us, (if God permits). There was a great lamenting for me by many when I came again, but they were not minded by me; I was much tempted to say, I came to the town to take shipping to go to Barbados, but I could not deny Him who moved me to come here, nor his service, to avoid sufferings. This relation, in short, I have given you, that you might know how it has fared with me since I came into this land. About five weeks since, six Friends,* having finished their service here, took shipping for Barbados; of which two were to go to Virginia and Maryland, two to London, and the other two were inhabitants of Barbados; so that there are only four of us in the land.

*These doubtless were William Leddra, and Thomas Harris, of Barbados, and William Brend, Richard Hodgson, Dorothy Waugh, and Sarah Gibbons. The four left in New England being Humphrey Norton, .John Copeland, Christopher Holder, and John Rous.

Dear Sister, truth is spread here above two hundred miles, and many are in fine conditions, and very sensible of the power of God, and walk honestly in their measures. Some of the inhabitants of the land who are Friends have been forth in the service, and they do more grieve the enemy than we; for they have hoped to be rid of us, but they have no hope to be rid of them. We keep the burden of the service off from them at present, for no sooner is there need in a place, but straightway some or other of us step to it; but when it is the will of the Father to clear us of this laud, then will the burden fall on them. The seed in Boston and Plymouth Patent is ripe, and the weight very much lies on this town, the which being brought into subjection unto the truth, the others will not stand out long. The seed in Connecticut and Newhaven Patents, is not as yet ripe, but there is a hopeful appearance, the gathering of which in its time, will much redound to the glory of God. We have two strong places in this land, the one at Newport in Rhode Island, and the other at Sandwich, which the enemy will never get dominion over; and at Salem there are several pretty Friends in their measures; but being very young, and the enemy exercising his cruelty much against them, they have been something scattered, but there are some of them grown pretty bold through their sufferings. Humphrey Norton, we hear, has been with them this week, and had a fine large meeting among them, and they received much strength by it. One of the inhabitants of Salem was whipped three times in five days, once to fulfill their law, and twice for refusing to work; after eleven days' imprisonment he was let forth, and has gotten much strength by his sufferings. Great have been the sufferings of Friends in this land, but generally they suffer with much boldness and courage, both the spoiling of their goods, and the abusing of their bodies. There are Friends, few or more, almost from one end of the land to the other, that is inhabited by the English. A firm foundation has been laid in this land, such a one as the devil will never get broken up. If you are free to write to me, you may direct your letter to be sent to Barbados for me; so in that which is eternal, do I remain,

John Rous

Your brother, in my measure, who suffers for the Seed's sake, earnestly thirsting for the prosperity and peace of Zion, the City of the living God,

From a Lion's Den called Boston Prison, this 3rd day of the Seventh Month, 1658

P. S. My dear fellow-prisoners, John Copeland and Christopher Holder, do dearly salute you. Salute me dearly in the Lord to your children, and the rest of your family who are in the truth.

The prisoners were brought into another room- where John Rous said to the marshal, “We have appealed to the chief magistrate of England.” To which he answered, he had nothing to do with that. Holder said, "Such execution as this should be done publicly, and not in private for this was contrary to the law of England." But captain Oliver replied, “We do it in private to keep you from tattling.” Then the executioner took Holder, and when he had turned aside his hair, and was going to cut off his ear, the marshal turned his back on him, which made Rous say, “Turn about and see it;” for so was his order. The marshal then, though filled with fear, turned, and said, - “Yes, yes, let us look on it.” Rous, who was more undaunted than his persecutor, suffered the like, as well as the third, and they said, “those that do it ignorantly, we desire from our hearts the Lord to forgive them; but for those who do it maliciously, let our blood be upon their head; and such shall know in the day of account, that every drop of our blood shall be as heavy upon them as a millstone.”

*{Let us not forget the beloved Apostle Paul, who thinking he was serving God, as Saul ignorantly persecuted early Christians before he was awakened by the Light of Christ on the road to Damascus - proving it is possible to commit grievous wrongs in ignorance. Once awakened, Paul went on to become one of the greatest servants of the Lord Jesus Christ in all history.}

Afterwards these persons were whipped. In the strength of God," say the prisoners, "we suffered joyfully, having freely given up not only one part of our body, but our entire body, if the Lord so required, for the sealing of our testimony which the Lord has given us." On the 7th of the Eighth Month, John Rous, Christopher Holder, and John Copeland, were released from prison; the first having been confined for six, and the other two for nine weeks.

*This degrading punishment for ecclesiastical offences had been practiced in England towards Puritans. By order of the Star Chamber, William Prynne in 1634, and Henry Burton and Dr. Bastwick in 1637, had their ears cut off in public on a scaffold in Palace Yard, Westminster.

Excepting the visit of John Rous, William Leddra, and Thomas Harris, no fresh arrival of Friends in the ministry appears to have taken place in New England for more than a year after the landing of those from Robert Fowler's vessel. About the Eighth Month, 1658, however, Josiah Cole and Thomas Thurston, who had been engaged in religious labors among the Indians in Virginia and New Netherlands, reached Rhode Island, having traveled through the interior of the country. This inland journey extended through some hundreds of miles of forest country. The Indians who inhabited these uncultivated wilds had been greatly exasperated by the European settlers, with whom they were frequently involved in most murderous conflicts, and in sudden onsets from the forest whole villages of the Dutch had been laid waste. The circumstance, therefore, of two or three unarmed and defenseless Englishmen venturing among these irritated and revengeful natives, excited considerable surprise. But they were the bearers of peace and goodwill to these benighted sons of the forest. Their mission also was from on high, and they went forth divested of fear. Trusting in the unfailing arm of the Shepherd of Israel, they passed through the wigwam towns of the interior in perfect safety.

An account of this extraordinary journey is yet preserved, from which we give the following extract : —


We went from Virginia [on the] 2nd of Sixth Month, 1658, and after about one hundred miles travel by land and water, we came among the Susquehanna Indians, who courteously received us and entertained us in their huts with much respect. After being there two or three days with [word indistinct,] several of them accompanied us about two hundred miles further, through the wilderness or woods; for there was no inhabitant so far, neither knew we any part of the way through which the Lord had required us to travel. For we did not know how to supply our outward sustenance for ourselves, but without questioning or doubting, we gave up freely to the Lord, knowing assuredly that his presence was (and should be continued) with us; and according to our faith, so it was, for his presence and love we found with us daily, carrying us on in his strength, and also opening the hearts of those poor Indians, so that in all times of need they were made helpful both to carry us through rivers, and also to supply us with sufficient food. After this travel, we came to a place where more of them lived and they also very kindly entertained us in their houses, where we remained about sixteen days, because my fellow-traveler [Thomas Thurston] was weak in body through sickness and lameness; in which time these Indians showed very much respect to us, for they gave us freely of the best they could get. Being something recovered after this stay, we passed on towards the Dutch plantation, to which one of them accompanied us, which was about one hundred miles further— " I am your friend in the truth,

Josiah Coale

After reaching Rhode Island, Josiah Cole very soon felt drawn to visit the Indians on the island of Martha's Vineyard. "I had a meeting among them," he observes, "and they were very loving, and told me they much desired to know God. "From there he crossed over to the colony of Plymouth, and labored in the love of the gospel among the Indian tribes of that district. " Some of these," he writes, "had true breathings after the knowledge of God." Here he was joined by John Copeland, and they proceeded from tribe to tribe, among the natives of Massachusetts, "sounding the day of the Lord," being received with courtesy and kindness; but on reaching the town of Sandwich, and the dwellings of the civilized, an opposite treatment awaited them. The arrival of two English Quaker ministers becoming known to the authorities, they were soon subjected to the laws of the colony against such, and while at a Friend's house in Sandwich they "were violently drug out," and committed to prison. On his liberation, Josiah Cole returned to the untutored Algonquins, preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ, and inviting them to Him as the Leader, the Comforter, and all sufficient Savior of his people. Though these untutored sons of the forest knew that the youthful preacher had but just come from within the prison walls of his persecutors, they nevertheless listened attentively to his ministrations. The hatred, which the rulers of Massachusetts entertained towards Friends, was a fact of which the Indians were not ignorant, but acting according to their own sense of right and wrong, they were not disposed to follow the malevolent example. "The Englishmen did not love Quakers," remarked the Indian king to Josiah Cole on this occasion, "but," he added, "the Quakers are honest men and do no harm, and this is not Englishman's sea or land, and Quakers shall come here and be welcome." The love and favor that Josiah Cole found among these Indians deeply impressed his mind. "I confess," he wrote, "this to be the Lord's hand of love towards me; through the goodness of the Lord we found these Indians more sober and Christian-like towards us than the Christians so called." This indefatigable laborer in the service of truth, having now been absent for a considerable time from his native country, felt at liberty to return home. Thomas Thurston made but a short stay in Rhode Island, and then passed southward again to Virginia.

About this time, Peter Cowsnooke, a Friend of the north of England, was directing his course towards North America, in company with Edward Eades and Philip Rose of Warwick. His desire was, if possible, to sail direct from some English port to New England; but not being able to effect this, he proceeded first to Barbados, being accompanied by Henry Fell and some other Friends, including the two from Warwick. They reached Barbados in the Seventh Month, 1658, and in the following month, Peter Cowsnooke, Edward Eades, and Philip Rose, made arrangements for proceeding to Rhode Island, by way of Virginia, but whether they reached the shores of New England has not been determined.

A short time previous to the embarkation of Peter Cowsnooke on this religious visit, he addressed a letter to Margaret Fell, in which he notes a conversation he had with George Fox, in reference to his religious prospect, and respecting which, at times, he appears to have had feelings of discouragement. "I asked George concerning it," he says, "when I was first with him, and he left it to me. I was since with him at the General Meeting at John Crook's, and as before, he said he would leave it to me. But I being somewhat troubled, he asked what I would have him to say, had I freedom in myself to pass back again? I answered, I did not at present see it; so he said again he would leave it to me." The care observed by George Fox, in not interfering in a matter where individual apprehension of duty was concerned, and his solicitude that the party might not lean on the judgment of others, affords a striking instance of his watchful care in regard to such important matters.*

*{And yet today, the modern Quakers accuse Fox of only giving lip service to individual conscience.}

In the future pages of this history, we shall have occasion to refer but little to those who crossed the Atlantic in Robert Fowler's vessel, or to the other gospel messengers whose visits to New England have also been noticed, excepting William Robinson, William Leddra, Robert Hodgson, and Josiah Cole. A sketch, therefore, of the lives of those dedicated servants of the Lord, from whom we are now about to turn our attention, may not be inappropriately given in this chapter. They doubtless possessed gifts and qualifications in the service of their Lord, differing widely from each other, but, seeking to be led by His unerring voice, they were preserved in unity and love, and in a harmonious labor in His holy cause, and were made eminently instrumental in the spread of vital religion among men.


Mary Clark was the wife of John Clark, a tradesman of London, and united herself in religious fellowship with Friends, very early after their rise in that city. She came forth as a minister soon after, and in 1655 traveled into Worcestershire, to expostulate with the local magistracy respecting their cruel treatment of Friends ; in the course of which visit she was placed in the stocks at Evesham for three hours on the market-day, and exposed to other sufferings. Leaving her husband and children in 1657, she proceeded on the visit to New England. The first member of the Society who experienced the application of the lash in Great Britain was Mary Fisher; but it fell to the lot of Mary Clark to be the first among Friends to suffer in this revolting manner in America. She was liberated from Boston jail in the Ninth Month, 1657, and was occupied in religious service in New England until the early part of 1658, when, as we have already mentioned, with two of her companions in the ministry, Richard Doudney and Mary Wetherhead, she was shipwrecked and drowned. Thus, we may reverently believe, was she suddenly called from a tribulated path, to ineffable and unfading glory. The sufferings which she endured in New England, were borne with marked Christian patience; " her innocence preaching condemnation to her adversaries," and, " for her faithfulness herein," said her companions, " the Lord God is her reward, "t


Prior to Richard Doudney's visit to America, we find no incident respecting him. After his engagement in New England, in 1657, he joined Christopher Holder in a visit to some of the West India islands; he however, returned to Rhode Island in the spring of 1658, soon after which the melancholy shipwreck took place, in which he was drowned. He is described as an " innocent man," and one who "served the Lord in the sincerity of his heart," and he doubtless was prepared to meet the awful summons.


Mary Wetherhead appears to have been an inhabitant of Bristol; no particulars, however, of her life previous to her crossing the Atlantic in 1656, have been met with. She is spoken of as being unmarried, and, it is believed, was young at the time of her death.


The narrative of the visit of the little company of gospel messengers to Boston, in 1656, first introduces the name of this Friend to our notice. After her expulsion from Connecticut in the early part of 1658, she appears to have been engaged for some months within the limits of Rhode Island, from where, in company with Dorothy Waugh, the aged Brend, and three other Friends, she proceeded on religious service to Barbados. In 1659, we find her again on Rhode Island; her earthly pilgrimage, however, was now nearly accomplished, and its termination was an awfully sudden and affecting one. While attempting to land from a sloop at Providence, she was drowned. The melancholy accident is thus referred to in a letter of William Robinson's, under date of Fifth Month, 1659. "As they came near to the shore, near that town, there came a man in a canoe to fetch them from on board, wherein they went with some others, not minding that the canoe was a bad one, and soon after they were in it, the canoe filled with water and did sink. All that were in the canoe did escape and got to the shore, except Sarah Gibbons who was drowned. When it was low water they found her, and the next day buried her in Richard Scott's orchard." After alluding to the trial of her being thus unexpectedly taken from her friends, William Robinson adds, "but herein were we comforted, that she was kept faithful to the end."


Dorothy Waugh, who resided, it is believed, in London, united with Friends, very soon after their rise in that city, and is mentioned as being both young and unmarried. Towards the close of 1654, she traveled in the work of the ministry into Lancashire, and from there to Norwich, where, for exhorting the people in the market, she was imprisoned for the space of three months. On her release from Norwich jail, she proceeded to London to meet George Fox. During 1655, she traveled in gospel labors, to the western counties as far as Cornwall, and northward as far as Cumberland. In the course of this service she was imprisoned at Truro, and at Carlisle was subjected to barbarous treatment for preaching in the streets. In the early part of 1656, she visited some of the southern counties of England. The Berkshire sufferings for that year records her committal to the county jail, for addressing the congregation in the public place of worship at Reading. Her imprisonment, however, on this occasion, was but a short one, as she soon after embarked on her first visit to New England. The travels and sufferings of Dorothy Waugh, in New England, to the Fourth Month, 1658, have been already related, and after this period, the only remaining notice that we have respecting her, is of a visit to the West India Islands, towards the close of the same year. It is a remarkable circumstance that of the four women Friends, who formed a part of the little company of gospel ministers who crossed the Atlantic in the Woodhouse boat that within two years from the date of their landing in America, Dorothy Waugh was the only one surviving; her female companions having all found a watery grave.


Among the ministers of the Society who were called thus early to labor in the work of the gospel in New England, the characters of few present features of greater interest than that of William Brend. The powerful preaching of Burrough and Howgill had not long been heard within the City of London, before this ancient and venerable man appeared in the ranks of the ministers of the new Society. Having attained the age of manhood about the time of Queen Elizabeth's death, he witnessed the oppression and persecution inflicted on the Puritans in the time of James I; but what was his own religious profession during this reign, and in the times of the civil wars of Charles I, or during the religious excitement which followed in the days of the Commonwealth, it does not appear. His good natural abilities and general intelligence, warrant the supposition, that at least he could not have been an unconcerned spectator of what was passing around him in reference to these things; his being alluded to as "a man fearing God in his generation'' and who was "known to many of the inhabitants of the City of London," encourages this belief. Although his call to the work of the ministry was not until the evening of his day, it nevertheless pleased his Divine Master to lead him in the exercise of his gift into distant countries, and thus in 1656, he embarked with seven others for North America, and again in the following year. On both these occasions, William Brend occupied an interesting position, for, with the exception of one, or at most two, who were of middle age, all his fellow-laborers in the ministry were young and unmarried. The presence, therefore, of one, who as respects age was as a father among them, and who was also experienced in the truth, must have made his company peculiarly acceptable. The foregoing chapters detail his travels and sufferings in New England. It may however be remarked, that except in the martyrdom of four individuals, amidst all the cruelty which sectarian intolerance inflicted on the early Quakers in New England, none was more severe, or more repugnant to the feelings of humanity, than that endured by this good and aged man. In 1658, it appears that he left Rhode Island on a visit to the West Indies. In 1659, however, we again find him pleading the cause of true religion at Boston. This was subsequent to the passing of the Massachusetts law for banishment on pain of death, and under which, in the third Month, he was expelled the jurisdiction. For some months after this, his religious engagements were confined within the limits of Rhode Island. He was a prisoner in Newgate, London, in the Ninth Month, 1662. When his incarceration there commenced, it is difficult to ascertain. In the Eleventh Month, 1664, some of his published pieces are dated "from Newgate;" and in the previous month, Besse records his being sentenced with several others to transportation to Jamaica.

The outbreak of the Fifth monarchy men in England at the close of the Protectorate, furnished a pretext to the Royalists for the adoption of severer measures towards nonconformists. Tendering the oath of allegiance was the most prominent of these measures, and objecting as the Society of Friends did to oaths of every description, it fell with peculiar force upon them; but notwithstanding the numerous imprisonments which arose from this cause, towards the close of I661, the legislature passed an act to prohibit the meetings of dissenters, in which " Quakers" were especially alluded to. The penalties under which the act was to be enforced, were such, to use the language of its promoters, " as might be profitable to work upon the humors of such fanatics," and "to cure the distempers of these people." The Society of Friends had borne a large amount of cruel sufferings by the revival of laws originally directed against Papists; it had, however, in 1662, to feel a more formidable oppression in this attempt of the legislature to crush them. The torrent of persecution which swept over it in consequence of the enactment in question, and the noble stand which Friends were strengthened to make against it, forms one of the most remarkable circumstances in the history of this people. In a very short time after the passing of the cruel law, there was not a county jail in England which did not number among its prisoners, Friends who had been committed under its provisions, while some of the prisons, were literally crammed with them. In Newgate alone, William Brend could count hundreds of his fellow-professors. The wretched places into which they were thrust during these imprisonments are almost past belief. The loathsomeness of Newgate was such, that during 1662, and the two subsequent years, no less than fifty-two of William Brend's fellow-prisoners died from disease contracted there. Edward Burrough, who was one of these martyrs, speaks of a hundred being "in one room" at a time. During this storm of persecution, many christian exhortations to faithfulness and constancy, were addressed to the sufferers by the more prominent Friends of that day, among which we find one from the pen of William Brend, entitled " A loving salutation to all Friends every where, in this great day of trial, to stand faithful unto God over all sufferings." The following extracts from this piece, evidences the qualification of the writer for such services, and the strong desire which he felt for the maintenance of love and harmony among his persecuted and tried brethren everywhere :— "

It has been upon my heart when in the sweet repose of the streams of my Father's love and life, by which my heart, soul and spirit, has been overcome, to visit you with a loving salutation from the place of my outward bonds and imprisonment, for the gospel sake.

O come, my dear lambs and dear babes, it is a time for us to flock together into our Father's fold, and to get into his tent of safety, and to lie down in the arms of his dear love, and to be covered with the wing of his power, now the wild boar of the forest is abroad to make his prey, and the wolfish devourers are seeking to scatter the sheep of the Lord's pasture. O let us feel and know the safe harbor, in which alone is safety, while the boisterous storms and tempests are all about us, and the foaming rage of the troubled seas are casting up their waves, one after another.—

Oh, dear lambs and babes of God, our Rock is sure and steadfast, our refuge and harbor safe and unmovable, and our pilot wise and exceeding skilful; there is not a danger near that can attend us in our voyage to our everlasting land of rest, but he doth foresee, and knows right well how to avoid them all—he never failed any that trusted in him, and in the Arm of his salvation—may we all stand fast, and conduct ourselves like men, and be strong in the power of his might.

Oh, dear lambs ! we have a great portion; for I can say in the secret of my soul: The Lord is my portion, and has been and is yours also, who have waited for him, and in whom is your delight.

Oh ! in the love and life of the Lamb, look over all weakness in one another, as God looks over all the weakness in every one of us, and loves us for his own Son's sake — in so doing, peace will abound in our borders, it will flow forth among us like a river, and it will keep out jars, strifes and contentions from us, and so we shall be kept as a beautiful and amiable family, and in the order of God.

These few lines do manifest something that was upon my heart towards you in the feelings of my Father's love, as I lay in my bed in the night season, this 11h of the Ninth Month, 1662, Newgate Prison in London.

William Brend

Several other pieces were also written and published by William Brend during his imprisonment in Newgate.

Although William Brend had received sentence of banishment to Jamaica, it was not carried into execution. This did not result from any change of feeling on the part of his persecutors, but simply from the difficulty they experienced to procure vessels for the purpose. With but one or two exceptions, the ship owners and captains declined to engage in the nefarious business, for, conscious of the uprightness and integrity of the sufferers, they felt no desire thus to countenance proceedings which evidently bore the stamp of cruelty and injustice. The number of Friends who received sentence of banishment gradually increased. In the summer of 1665, they amounted in Newgate to one hundred and twenty, and had not the great plague of London appeared, the number, doubtless, would have been considerably augmented. About the time when this devastating pestilence had reached its height, the prison doors of the metropolis were opened for the liberation of Friends, but not until the spirits of some scores* of the innocent victims of intolerance had been forever freed, by the hand of death from all earthly oppression.

In 1672, the Yearly Meeting, as usual, was held in London. It was an important occasion in the history of Friends, and William Brend, aged and feeble as he was, attended, and his name, with that of eleven others, appears on the records of the meeting as having prepared one of the Epistles issued at that time. The only remaining notice that we find respecting him, is that which records his death about four years later. His age could not have been much, if at all, under ninety.


The earliest notice which we find respecting Humphrey Norton, occurs in a manuscript letter addressed to Margaret Fell in the Seventh Month, 1655, by Thomas Willan of Kendal; from this it appears that he was then residing in London, and acting as the accredited agent or officer of the Society there, for the assistance of Friends traveling in the ministry. While thus occupied, he maintained a frequent correspondence with Thomas Willan and George Taylor of Kendal, who were actively engaged in superintending the affairs of the body at large, more particularly in reference to its provisions for defraying the traveling expenses of ministering Friends. The rise of the Society of Friends in London, took place about one year previous to the date of the letter referred to, but as it had existed as a distinct association in the midland and northern counties, for nearly ten years before, the fact of Kendal being then the central place of the body, is explained.

The precise date when Humphrey Norton came forth as a minister, it is difficult to ascertain; but as early as 1655, he appears to have traveled as such in the North of England, and it is known that, in the following year, he was extensively engaged in the ministry in Ireland. During this period he had become acquainted with that nursing mother in the church, Margaret Fell, with whom he kept up a correspondence!

{George Fox, in the Cambridge Journal, relates the following magnanimous act by Humphrey Norton:

While I was in prison at Lanceston, a Friend went to Oliver Cromwell, and offered himself, body for body, to lie in Doomsdale in my stead, if he would take him, and set me at liberty. Which thing so struck him, that he said, to his great men and council, 'Which of you would do so much for me, if I were in the same condition?' And though he did not accept of the Friend's offer, but said, 'he could not do it, for it was contrary to law;' yet the truth thereby came mightily over him. The letter to Fox from the Friend who volunteered out of love to take his place follows:

Humphrey Norton to George Fox 1656

Dear George Fox:

You, whose beauty and comeliness in words cannot be expressed. I am moved to write this and freely give up myself from the love of the seed; and the love of the seed which lies upon you, to place before you this message. On the 17th of last month, I had been waiting on the Lord. In my life, you appeared. Since then, it has been heavy on me to to do something that would touch you; and now my drawings are to this place where I now am. Since you are Oliver's prisoner, I am now required to offer to him my body for your body in prison, and I am prepared to do this even though it could lead to my blood. If you receive my offer within this letter, see that this offers stands with wisdom, and let me have the sum of your unjust sufferings and monetary fine to present before him, so that he will have no excuse, and I will be clear of what is required of me. You are dear and chosen; let me hear from you, for I see the great need of yourself to be free. I was one of the first to be at Swarthmore, and in those meetings there were many speakers and prayers, and a singing that was unlike any I have ever heard; and likewise the enlightenment among them, which I saw and felt. I feel the need to lay this before you and James Naylor, both of you being sufficient for these things, (and the cause of them and the difference at and about Kendall). The want of your showing forth unto Israel lies upon me. Until I hear from you, who with unfeigned words, am prepared to lay down my life of that
which I Humphrey Norton, in the will of the Father,
and by his power, am ready to do the before mentioned.
London this 4th 2nd
month (1656) }

In the course of his travels in Ireland, he visited the provinces of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught; during which, in common with most of the early ministers of the Society, he experienced the persecuting hand of an envious and intolerant hierarchy. In Galway, he was "taken violently out of a meeting by a guard of soldiers, and driven from the city. At Wexford, while at "a peaceable meeting," he was again seized by the soldiery, "taken to the steeple house, and there committed to jail till the next assizes. His return from Ireland was in the early part of 1657, In the Fourth Month, as has been already related, he went on board the "Woodhouse" for New England. The revolting cruelties which he endured in that land while prosecuting his gospel labors, need not be repeated. From New England, Humphrey Norton proceeded to visit some of the more southern English colonies. In 1660, he was again in Rhode Island, and, it is singular, that, after that date, no notice of him has been met with.


Previous to his visit to New England in 1656, Christopher Holder resided at Winterbourne, in Gloucestershire. He is referred to as a "well educated" man, a man of "good estate" and was one of those who, in the south-west of England, very early joined with the Quakers. The following is the first notice found of him: "Christopher Holder, in the year 1655, was sent to you jail at Ilchester, for speaking to the priest at Keinsham steeple house; and from there after a while, upon having brought to the next sessions, and so discharged." Having been called by the great head of the Church to plead his holy cause among men, in 1656, he believed it required of him to visit New England; which visit he repeated in 1657, with the little band of gospel messengers who sailed for that country. His religious engagements there continued until near the close of 1657, when he proceeded on a visit to some of the West Indies islands. His absence, however, from North America was but short, for in a letter received by George Fox from Barbados, he is mentioned as having sailed from that island in the Second Month, 1658, for Bermuda and Rhode Island; the latter place, as we have already stated, he reached in the Fourth Month of that year. After his liberation from Boston jail in the Eighth Month, 1658, he proceeded southward, and united with William Robinson and Robert Hodgson, "for some time," in gospel labors in Virginia, returning again to Rhode Island in the early part of 1659. William Robinson, who was soon after imprisoned at Boston, mentions his having received in the Fifth Month, a letter from Christopher Holder, "who," he says, "was in service at a town called Salem, last week, and has had fine service among Friends in these parts." In a short time after, Christopher Holder became a fellow-prisoner with William Robinson at Boston, having gone there to seek a vessel bound for England. After an imprisonment of two months he was liberated, and taking passage in a vessel about to sail for Great Britain, he reached his home in safety. A few months after his return to England, he was united in marriage to Mary Scott, mentioned in the register as of "Boston, in New England," and the marriage was solemnized at Olveston, near Bristol, in Sixth Month, 1660. Mary Scott was the daughter of Richard and Katherine Scott of Providence.

Christopher Holder repeatedly visited America, and it was the lot of this faithful minister, while traveling in distant countries, to endure a large amount of suffering and trial in the cause of his Great Master. On his return from America, he also suffered severely for his testimony to the truth. In the Third Month, 1682, he was again committed to Ilchester jail for refusing to swear.

After two months, he was premunired, and was continued a prisoner for more than four years and a half, till the Twelfth Month, 1685, when he was released with a large number of Friends in different parts of the country, under the general discharge granted by James II. He died about two years afterwards. In the burial register, his death is thus recorded, " Christopher Holder of Pujdimore, in the county of Somerset, died at Ircott, in the parish of Almondsbury, on the 13th of Fourth Month, 1688, and was buried at Hazell." Having been described as " a young man," during his first visit to New England, his age probably did not exceed sixty. He was a minister about thirty-three years, and to him, we doubt not, the language of the Psalmist may be fitly applied, " mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."


The relation of the visit of the eight Friends to New England, in the summer of 1656, contains the first reference that appears to John Copeland. Like his beloved companion, Christopher Holder, he was at that time young and unmarried. He is also spoken of as having been "well educated." His residence appears to have been in Holderness, in Yorkshire, and here the probability of his early acquaintance with Robert Fowler of Bridlington Quay, in that county, a fellow-laborer in the gospel, and in whose little vessel he again visited America in 1657. How long John Copeland was absent from his native land during this visit it is difficult to ascertain; but in the latter part of 1658, he was at Sandwich, in company with Josiah Cole, when they were violently taken from a Friend's house and carried to prison. In 1661, we meet with him in London, and in 1667, he married. In the register of his marriage he is described as of "Lockington, North Cave, in the county of York." His wife dying about eight years after their union, he married a second time, in 1677. Ten years later, we find him again in America; in a letter addressed to George Fox from that land, he is mentioned as being in Virginia. After his return from this visit, he entered, in 1691, for the third time into the marriage covenant. It pleased Him, who holds the breath of every living thing, to grant to this dear Friend, length of days; and having survived his first visit to North America, more than sixty years, he had reason to rejoice, that the cause for which he both laboured and suffered, had spread itself widely among the settlers in that land. He died on the 9th of First Month, 1718, and was buried at North Cave


John Rous was the son of Thomas Rous, a wealthy sugar planter of Barbados, and both father and son were among the early members of our religious Society in that island. At the time of John Rous's visit to New England, he was evidently but a young man. After his release from Boston jail, in the Eighth Month, 1658, except a visit which he paid to the island of Nevis towards the close of that year, we lose all trace of him until his marriage with Margaret, the eldest daughter of Judge Fell, which was solemnized at Swarthmore Hall, in the First Month, 1662. On his marriage John Rous settled in London, in which, and its vicinity, he appears to have resided during the remainder of his life. But few particulars of the life of John Rous have been preserved, and except a visit to the county of Kent in 1670, accompanied by Alexander Parker and George Whitehead; to Barbados in the following year with George Fox; and to the counties of York and Durham in 1689, we know nothing of his gospel labors after he settled in England. In his will, which is dated from Kingston in the county of Surrey, “October, 1692,” he describes himself as a merchant, and his property, which it appears was considerable, lay chiefly in Barbados. It is singular that no record of his death has been found, but as his will was proved in 1695, the probability is that it took place in that year.


The particulars given of the visit of Thomas Harris to New England is about all that we know of his history. As he is mentioned as "of Barbados," he must have been one of the earliest who embraced the views of our religious Society on that island.


The biographical sketches of the early ministers of the Society, who were instrumental in the introduction and spread of its principles in New England, may be suitably followed by some allusion to Robert Fowler, the master and owner of the " Woodhouse" sailing vessel. His home was at Bridlington Quay, in Yorkshire, and his business was a mariner. A record in an ancient minute book of the Monthly Meeting of Holderness, entitled "A memorial of the first manifestation of the truth in the eastern parts of Yorkshire, for the view of posterity," states that Robert Fowler, "with many others gladly received the word of life in the year 1652."

"Great fear and dread and the power of the Lord, worked mightily in us, and made the strong man [withing us] bow himself, and the keepers of the house to tremble, and those that were patient and stayed in the light and power of God, increased in their faith, and loved one another fervently out of a pure heart, so that nothing was lacking unto any. For self-denial, the true simplicity of the gospel, and love which thinks no evil, nourished among us, and the wiles of Satan were exposed, and a way to escape his snares was seen in the light. For the Lord anointed us with his Holy Spirit, and that led us into truth and righteousness; and some were fitted to labor in his vineyard—unto the Lord be all the praise and glory, for it is his due, through all ages and generations."

In 1656, while building his little vessel, he became strongly impressed with the belief, that it would be required for some particular service in furtherance of the cause of truth ;—an impression, which, as we have seen, was remarkably realized. It was in the summer of 1657 that he landed his devoted friends on the shores of North America, and, as in the following year we find him for "some weeks a close prisoner" in Lincolnshire, for exhorting an assembly in one of the national places of worship, we may conclude that he returned without much delay from that country. The first notice of his exercising a gift in the ministry occurs in 1658; there is, nevertheless, good reason to believe, that he was for some years before, engaged in this important work. In the Eleventh Month of 1660, while assembled with his friends at Bridlington Quay, for the solemn purpose of worship, he was seized and carried to York Castle for refusing to take the "oath of allegiance," a snare which the enemies of the Society in that day, used to a great extent, and by which many thousands of its members were subjected to imprisonment; at one time in 1660, no less than 4230 Friends were confined in the jails and castles of the kingdom. His imprisonment on this occasion lasted about two months. The year following his committal to York Castle, we find that he was violently taken from a meeting at South Shields, and confined for four weeks in one of the dismal holes of Tynemouth Castle. Robert Fowler, it appears, had six children, the youngest of whom was born in 1665, and after this date we are unable to trace the incidents of his Christian course. The following endorsement made by George Fox on a letter which he received from Robert Fowler, but which is without date, contains the only remaining facts we have been able to gather respecting him:— Robert Fowler, who often went to the steeple houses to declare the truth, and was a master of a ship, and died in the truth, and was often in prison for it." The fullness of George Fox's brief testimony needs no comment; he "died in the truth." The date of his decease has not been determined.

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