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General Court rapidly provided constantly increasing punishment for what they denominated "the cursed sect of Quakers," whom they denounced in an address to the King, in 1660, as “open and capitall blasphemers, open seducers from the glorious Trinity, . . . and from the Holy Scriptures as the rule of life, open ennemyes of government itself as established in the hands of any but men of theire owne principles, . . . and malignant and assiduous promoters of doctrines directly tending to subvert both our churches and state." The forms of law were but scantily observed. "You are court, jury, judge, accusers, witnesses, and all"-said Coddington. The Puritan ministers were particularly forward in the persecution. The Rev. John Norton, one of the pastors of the Boston First Church, was clamorous for the pas
sage of the law of banishment under penalty of death upon return, and it was his pen that wrote the so-called vindication of the Massachusetts authorities for putting Quakers to death in 1659. The Rev. John Wilson, another of the pastors of the Boston First Church, seemed fairly beside himself as the sad work proceeded. "I would carry fire in one hand," said he, "and fagots in the other, to burn all the Quakers in the world. . . . Hang them," he cried, "or else❞— and then he significantly drew his finger across his throat, suggestive of cutting it.
The stocks and the pillory, stripes at the whipping-post or at the tail of an ox-cart, fines and imprisonment, branding and mutilation, banishment and death upon the gallows, were meted out with shocking barbarity to unre
sisting victims, who exhibited a constancy and a heroism in suffering never surpassed in the history of the world. Many were imprisoned, some for years. Some were reduced from comfort to penury by the fines imposed upon them. Some had their ears cut off, and the law provided for boring the tongue through with a hot iron. Two were ordered to be sold into slavery to pay their fines, and large numbers were mercilessly whipped. Neither age nor sex was spared. William Brend, a man of years, was given "in all One Hundred and Seventeen Blows with a pitch'd Rope, so that his Flesh," in the words of the narrator, "was beaten Black, and as into a Gelly; and under his Arms the bruised Flesh and Blood hung down, clodded as it were in Baggs; and so into One was it beaten that the sign of
one particular Blow could not be seen." He was also starved for five days, and for sixteen hours was put into irons, neck and heels, so that it was thought he would die-all of which so excited the populace that the authorities promised that the jailer should be punished, but no further notice was taken of it.
Christopher Holder of Rhode Island was barbarously whipped, was then kept for three days without food or water, and without bed or straw, and for nine weeks was imprisoned without fire in the cold winter season. Afterwards he was apprehended again, was again cruelly whipped, his right ear was cut off, and other barbarities were at different times practised upon him.
Defenceless women, maidens and matrons, were stripped naked to the waist, and, thus exposed to the public gaze,
were beaten with whips of threefold knotted cord until the blood ran down their bare backs and bosoms. George Bishop, the Quaker historian of the time, whose narrative is couched in the form of an address to the Massachusetts General Court, being an answer to an apologetic declaration issued by the Court after the hanging of two Quakers in 1659, thus relates the treatment dealt out to two Rhode Island women in Boston. "Horred Gardner is the next," says Bishop, "who being the Mother of many Children, and an Inhabitant of Newport in Rhode Island, came with her Babe sucking at her Breast, from thence to Weymouth (a Town in your Colony) where having finished what she had to do, and her Testimony from the Lord, unto which the witness of God answered in the People, she was hurried