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New England Puritans & Pilgrims Quotes

They Said It

"[If] any man or woman be a witch (that is) hath or consulteth w[ith] a familiar spirit, they shall be put to death."

- Capital Laws established by the General Court of the Connecticut Colony, 1 December 164226
"When there were no people in this country but Indians, and before any others were known, a young woman had a singular dream. She dreamed that a small island came floating in towards the land, with tall trees on it, and living beings—among whom was a man dressed in rabbit-skin garments. The next day she related her dream and sought for an interpretation. It was the custom in those days, when any one had a remarkable dream, to consult the wise men, and especially the magicians and soothsayers. These pondered over the girl's dream, but could make nothing of it. The next day an event occurred that explained all. Getting up in the morning, what should they see but a singular little island, as they supposed, which had drifted near to the land and become stationary there! There were trees on it, and branches to the trees, on which a number of bears, as they supposed, were crawling about. They all seized their bows, arrows, and spears, and rushed down to the shore, intending to shoot the bears; what was their surprise to find that these supposed bears were men, and that some of them were lowering down into the water a very singularly constructed canoe, into which several of them jumped and paddled ashore. Among them was a man dressed in white—a priest with his white stole on—who came towards them making signs of friendship, raising his hand towards heaven, and addressing them in an earnest manner, but in a language which they could not understand."

- Josiah Jeremy, Micmac Indian, recounting one of the many Native American oral traditions that tell of the shocking arrival of European sailling ships in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, 186927
"If any Person within this Jurisdiction, professing the true God, shall wittingly and willingly presume to Blaspheme [curse] the Holy Name of God, Father, Son or Holy Ghost, with direct, express, presumptuous or high-handed Blasphemy, either by willful or obstinate denying of the true God, or His Creation or Government of the World; or shall Curse God, Father, Son or Holy Ghost, such Person shall be put to Death."

- Laws of Plymouth Colony, 167128
"Know all Men, Colonies, Peoples, and Nations, unto whom the fame hereof shall come; that wee, the chiefe Sachems, Princes or Governours of the Nahigansets (in that part of America, now called New-England), together with the joynt and unanimous consent of all our people and subjects, inhabitants thereof, do upon serious consideration…most humbly to submit, subject, and give over ourselves, peoples, lands, rights, inheritances, and possessions whatsoever, in ourselves and our heires successively for ever, unto the protection, care and government of that worthy and royal Prince, Charles, King of Britaine and Ireland, his heires and successors forever…upon condition of His Majesties' royal protection, and wrighting us of what wrong is, or may be done unto us, according to his honorable lawes and customes."

- A formal Act of Submission from the Narragansett Indians of Rhode Island, who were allied to the English in the Pequot War of 1637 but declared themselves the equals of the Puritans and only submitted to King Charles I and the English government, not to the Puritan authorities of New England29
"And to shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewel to Israel, Deuteronomy 30: Beloved, there is now set before us life and good, death and evil, in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments and his ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other gods, our pleasures and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it."

- Puritan leader and Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop, in a sermon entitled "A Model of Christian Charity," 163030

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