of the colonial council; both were reputed
‘sincere in their affection for the good of the plantation;’ they had been specially recommended to Endicott
by the corporation in England
; and one of them, an experienced lawyer, had been a member of the board of assistants.
They refused to unite with the public assembly, and gathered a company, in which ‘the common prayer worship’ was upheld.
But should the emigrants—thus the colonists reasoned—give up the purpose for which they had crossed the Atlantic
Should the hierarchy intrude on the forests of Massachusetts
with the ceremonies which their consciences scrupled?
Should the success of the colony be endangered by a breach of its unity; and the authority of its government overthrown by the confusion of an ever recurring conflict?
They deemed the coexistence of their liberty and of prelacy impossible: anticipating invasions of their rights, they feared the adherents of the Establishment, as spies in the camp; and the form of religion from which they had suffered, was repelled, not as a sect, but as a tyranny.
‘You are Separatists,’ said the Brownes, in self-defence, ‘and you will shortly be Anabaptists.’
‘We separate,’ answered the ministers, ‘not from the church of England, but from its corruptions.
We came away from the common prayer and ceremonies, in our native land, where we suffered much for nonconformity; in this place of liberty, we cannot, we will not, use them.
Their imposition would be a sinful violation of the worship of God.’
The supporters of the liturgy were in their turn rebuked as separatists; their plea was reproved as sedition, their worship forbidden as a mutiny; and the Brownes were sent back to England