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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
79. Banishment of Roger Williams and Mrs. Hutchinson. The fact that the Puritans considered Massachusetts exclusively their own led to the banishment of Roger Williams. He had come from England as a minister, and was settled over the church in Salem. He was one of the very few men of that day who thoroughly believed in religious freedom, or, as he called it, "soul liberty." "No one," said he, "should be bound to maintain a worship against his own consent." To say that, was to strike directly at the law of Massachusetts, which required every man to attend public worship and to pay for its support.
Mr. Williams did another thing which made serious trouble. He vehemently denied that the King had the right to grant the land to the Puritan colonists without the consent of the Indians who owned it.
The colonists feared that what the young Salem minister said might provoke the English sovereign to take away their charter and compel them to leave Massachusetts.
For this reason the Governor resolved to arrest him as a dangerous person and send him back to England. Mr. Williams fled (1635) in bitter winter storms through the woods to the shores of Narragansett Bay. There he took refuge in Massasoit's friendly wigwam (§ 74). The next spring he founded the beautiful city of Providence.
The same year Mrs. Anne Hutchinson of Boston attacked many of the Massachusetts clergy about their religious belief, which seemed to her more a matter of form than of faith. She
lectured or preached every week, and her influence finally became so great that a company of soldiers that had been raised to fight the Indians refused to march because their chaplain did not agree with Mrs. Hutchinson!
The Legislature decided that Mrs. Hutchinson was as bad as Roger Williams, "or worse," and compelled her to leave the colony. Later, the Baptists were forbidden to preach in Massachusetts and were severely punished when they refused to obey the command. These were harsh measures, but the colonists believed that it was their duty to maintain their Puritan faith at any cost, and they did it.
80. Public Schools; Harvard University, 1636; First Printing Press (1639); Eliot's Work among the Indians. The people of the colony were anxious to have their children educated, and they established the Boston Free Latin School (1635). It is the oldest public school now existing in any state originally settled by the English. The Dutch, however, had established (1633) a church school in New Amsterdam, which still flourishes. In 1647 the colonists passed a law which practically provided instruction for every white child in Massachusetts. England had never done anything like that. That great work laid the foundation of the common-school system of the United States.
Meanwhile, the Legislature voted in 1636 to give £400 -- or what was equal to an entire year's tax of the colony -- to found a college at Cambridge, near Boston. It is said that "this was the first legislative assembly in which the people, through their representatives, ever gave their own money to found a place of education."
Two years later the Rev. John Harvard of Charlestown left his library of three hundred and twenty volumes, and half of his estate -- or about £750, -- to the college. The Legislature out of gratitude ordered the new institution -- the first English college in America -- to be called by his name: such was the origin of Harvard University, 1636. Virginia established William and Mary College, the second in America (1693), and Connecticut established Yale University, which was the third (1701).
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
The interest felt in Harvard was so universal that at one time (1645) every family throughout New England gave either a peck corn or twelvepence in money towards its support. The people were poor, but they were determined, as they said, "that learning should not be buried in the graves of their fathers."
While the people were doing so much for education, the Rev. John Eliot of Roxbury, near Boston, was laboring to convert the Indians. He translated the Bible into the Indian language and printed it, at Cambridge (1660), on the first press set up in the American colonies, 1639. When we come to King Philip's War (§ 86) we shall see how the colonies reaped the fruit of the labors of the "Apostle to the Indians."
81. The New England Confederation. In 1643 Massachusetts Bay united with Plymouth and with the two western colonies of Connecticut and New Haven in a Confederation or league for mutual defense (1643-1684). The chief objects of this league were :1
1. To protect the colonists against hostile Indians and against the Dutch of New Netherland (§ 59), who were trying to get possession of the territory between the Hudson and the Connecticut rivers.
2. To express the sympathy of the colonists with the Puritan party in England, which was then engaged in a war against the tyrannical King Charles I2 (§ 53).
After the Confederation had ceased to exist the remembrance of it helped the colonists to unite against the French of Canada, who threatened (1750) to drive them out of the land. Still later, when trouble with England came, the fact that there had once been such an organization as the so-called "United Colonies of New England" prepared the way for that great and permanent confederation of all the colonies, north and south, known first as the "United Colonies of America," and finally as the "United States of America."
1 One object of the Confederation was to secure the return of runaway slaves to their masters.
2 The words "you shall bear true faith and allegiance to our sovereign Lord King Charles" were now dropped from the oath required by Massachusetts of its governors and chief officeholders.
82. The Coming of the Friends, or Quakers. Many years after the Puritans had settled Massachusetts the people kept a day of fasting and prayer on account of news received from England respecting a strange people called Quakers. It was said that they were turning the world upside down with their preaching, and that if they were not stopped, they would destroy all churches and all modes of government. A fortnight after that fast day (1656) the inhabitants of Boston heard to their horror that two women, who were Quaker missionaries, had actually landed in their town.
The authorities at once thrust them into jail, and as soon as possible sent them out of the colony. But others came, and soon all Massachusetts was in a fever of excitement.
83. What the Quakers believed; what they refused to do. To-day there are no quieter, more orderly, or more self-respecting people than the Friends, or Quakers. Boston would welcome a colony of them now, and feel that the city was the gainer by their coming. Why did the arrival of a few of them then excite such alarm? The reason was that the Quakers of that time stood in decided opposition to the ideas of the great majority of sober and discreet citizens. When men asked, "Where shall we find what is right?" the Church of England answered, "You will find it in the teachings of the Church." The Puritans replied, "You will find it in the Bible." The Quakers said, "You will find it in your own heart." To most
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
persons of that age such an answer seemed like rejecting both Church and Bible.
Next, the Quakers differed from other people in many of their customs. They would not use titles of honor or respect to any one, and they would not take off their hats to a magistrate or to the Governor -- no, not even to the King himself. Furthermore, the Quakers observed no ceremonies in their worship.
Finally, acting in accordance with what they believed to be the teachings of the gospel, they refused to do three things which every citizen then was bound by law to do.
1. They would not give testimony under oath in a court of justice, or swear to support the government.
2. They would not pay taxes to support any form of public worship.
3. They would not do military service or bear arms even in self-defense.1
84. Excesses committed by some Quakers. But this was not all, for the harsh treatment the Quakers had received in England and in Boston had driven some of them well-nigh crazy. In several cases they forced their way into Puritan meetings on Sunday and cried out that the ministers were hypocrites and deceivers of the people.
These things occurred only in Massachusetts. The Quakers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (§§ 65, 119) never interfered with any form of worship, and peace and good order prevailed. In fact, no colony in America prospered more than that founded by the Quaker, William Penn.
85. The Puritans punish and execute the Quakers; End of the Persecution. The Puritans were stern men and they took stern measures. They arrested the disturbers of their peace, whipped some through the towns, cut off the ears of others, and drove them out into the wilderness.
All this severity was useless; the Quakers felt that they had a mission to the Puritans, and they persisted in returning and
1 The Friends, or Quakers, believe that they should obey conscience, and, dispensing with forms, follow literally what they understand to be the commands of Christ.
KING PHILIP'S WAR
preaching it in the loudest manner. They were nonresistants, -- they would not strike back when persecuted; but they would use their tongues, and their tongues were like two-edged swords. After repeated warnings, the Massachusetts authorities hanged four of these missionaries, one a woman, on Boston Common, and buried their bodies at the foot of the gallows.
Finally, the King ordered the Governor of the colony to cease punishing the Quakers, and the excitement gradually died out.
86. King Philip's War. In 1675 Philip, son of Massasoit (§ 74), and chief of an Indian tribe of Rhode Island, began a terrible war against the colonists. While Massasoit lived, the treaty he had made with the English had been faithfully kept; but "King Philip" believed that if the Indians did not kill off the white men, then the white men would kill off the Indians. For this reason the savages made a sudden attack on the towns of southern and western Massachusetts. They did not dare attack Boston, but they burned more than half the towns in the colony.
After about two years of desperate fighting, Philip's wife, and his only son, a lad of nine, were both captured. "Now," said the terrible warrior, "my heart breaks. I am ready to die." Shortly after this Philip was killed at his home at Mount Hope, not far from Bristol, Rhode Island. His hands were cut off and carried to Boston, and his head was carried to Plymouth, where it stood exposed on a pole for twenty years. Many of the Indian prisoners were sold as slaves in the West Indies. Among them were King Philip's wife and boy. During the war Eliot's "praying Indians" (§ 80) saved the lives of many colonists. With the death of Philip the Indians realized that their power was broken in southern New England.