Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Vengeance in New England

Many Calvinist Puritans [Congregationalists] had left England to escape the earlier age's religious persecutions, and they established colonies in Massachusetts. When the Quakers arrived and told them they did not have the true faith, these refugees of persecution turned to become massive persecutors themselves. From William Sewel's 1695 History of the Christian People Called Quakers: The Governor of Massachusetts; the magistrates of Boston, Cambridge, and Salem; the priests, and many other officials viciously persecuted the Quakers, (or anyone who dared care for them), with beatings, whippings, chopping off ears, boring tongues through with a hot iron, and hangings; these persecutions were applied to men, women, and even their accompanying children without mercy. They called both Quaker men and women witches, possessed of the devil. These criminal, unchristian persecutors, themselves met strange, dramatic deaths, sometimes acknowledging it was the judgment of God. John Endicott, the vicious governor who had so many whipped to the point that all their flesh on their backs was destroyed, himself was afflicted so that his back slowly rotted away, with a stench that drove away any would be relievers. But the entire Boston area suffered an even stranger judgment - quoting Sewel:

"Yet one thing remarkable I may mention here, which when I first heard, could not fully give credit to: but thinking it worth the while to make a narrow inquiry into it, I did so, not only by writing, but also from the mouths of persons that had been eye-witnesses, or had been informed by such; and from these I got this concurring observation, namely,  that the country about Boston was formerly a very fruitful soil that produced excellent wheat; but that since the time this town had been stained with the blood of the Quakers, so called, no wheat, or similar crops, would grow to perfection within twenty miles, though the ground had been ploughed and sown several times; for sometimes what was sown was spoiled by vermin or insects; at other times it grew up, but scarcely yielded more than was sown, and so could not support the cost of planting; and in another year the expected harvest was quashed by another accident; and these disappointments continuing many years, the people at length grew weary of making further trial, and so left the ground untilled; notwithstanding that twenty miles off from Boston the soil is fruitful, and yields very good corn. But there having been so many reiterated instances of unfruitfulness nearer the town, ancient people that are alive still, and remember the first times, generally agree in their opinion that this was a judgment from heaven, and a curse on the land, because of the shedding of innocent blood at Boston. This relation I had from so many credible persons, (though the one knew nothing of the other, as differing much in time), yet what they told me did so well agree in the main, that I could not but believe it, though I did not initially believe it to be credulous; and therefore I have been the more exact in my inquiry, so that I can no longer question the case; but it seems to me as a punishment on that blood-thirstiness which now has ceased long ago."

In England, [George] Fox met some of these persecutors with questions so penetrating that it deeply shamed them, and they admitted their guilt of murdering the Quakers. Fearing prosecution from the relatives of those murdered, they fled back to New England. Even when rarely possible to prosecute their persecutors in court, Quakers consistently declined to prosecute them, leaving them to God's judgment.

The fate of the Boston persecutors
Josephus on John the Baptist

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