‘of the accursed sect;’ and a Quaker, after the first
conviction, was to lose one ear, after the second another, after the third to have the tongue bored with a red-hot iron.
It was but for a very short time, that the menace of these enormities found place in the statute-book.
The colony was so ashamed of the order for mutilation, that it was soon repealed, and was never printed.
But this legislation was fruitful of results.
Quakers swarmed where they were feared.
They came expressly because they were not welcome; and threats were construed as invitations.
of ten shillings was now imposed on every person for being present at a Quaker meeting, and of five pounds for speaking at such meeting.
In the execution of the laws, the pride of consistency involved the magistrates in acts of extreme cruelty.
The government of Massachusetts
at length resolved
to follow the advice of the commissioners for the united colonies; from which the younger Winthrop
alone had dissented.1
Willing that the Quakers should live in peace in any other part of the wide world, yet desiring to deter them effectually from coming within its jurisdiction, the general court, after much resistance, and by a majority of but a single vote, banished them on pain of death.
The object of severity was not to persecute, but to exclude them.
‘For the security of the flock,’ said Norton
, ‘we pen up the wolf; but a door is purposely left open whereby he may depart at his pleasure.’
and frivolous apology!
The soul, by its freedom and immortality, preserves its convictions or its frenzies even amidst the threat of death.