This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 their introduction and purchase, giving freedom to all held to service at the close of seven years. In 1641, two years after Josselyn's adventure on Noddle's Island, the code of laws known by the name of the Body of Liberties was adopted by the Colony. It was drawn up by Nathaniel Ward, the learned and ingenious author of the Simple Cobbler of Agawam, the earliest poetical satire of New England. One of its provisions was as follows:— ‘There shall be never any bond slaverie, villainage, or captivitie amongst us, unless it be lawfull captives taken in just warres and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold to us. And these shall have all the liberties and Christian usages which the law of God established in Israel doth morally require.’ In 1646, Captain Smith, a Boston churchmem-ber, in connection with one Keeser, brought home two negroes whom he obtained by the surprise and burning of a negro village in Africa and the massacre of many of its inhabitants. Sir Richard Saltonstall, one of the assistants, presented a petition to the General Court, stating the outrage thereby committed as threefold in its nature, namely murder, man-stealing, and Sabbath-breaking; inasmuch as the offence of ‘chasing the negers, as aforesayde, upon the Sabbath day (being a servile work, and such as cannot be considered under any other head) is expressly capital by the law of God;’ for which reason he prays that the offenders may be brought to justice, ‘soe that the sin they have committed may be upon their own heads and not upon ourselves.’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.