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At A General Court Held At Boston The 14th Of October 1656








"Whereas, there is a cursed sect of heretics, lately risen up in the
world, which are commonly called Quakers, who take upon them to be
immediately sent from God, and infallibly assisted by the Spirit, to
speak and write blasphemous opinions, despising government, and the
order of God, in the church and commonwealth, speaking evil of
dignities, reproaching and reviling magistrates and ministers, seeking
to turn the people from the faith, and gain proselytes to their
pernicious ways: this court taking into consideration the premises, and
to prevent the like mischief, as by their means is wrought in our land,
doth hereby order, and by authority of this court, be it ordered and
enacted, that what master or commander of any ship, bark, pink, or
ketch, shall henceforth bring into any harbour, creek, or cove, within
this jurisdiction, any Quaker or Quakers, or other blasphemous heretics,
shall pay, or cause to be paid, the fine of one hundred pounds to the
treasurer of the country, except it appear he want true knowledge or
information of their being such; and, in that case, he hath liberty to
clear himself by his oath, when sufficient proof to the contrary is
wanting: and, for default of good payment, or good security for it,
shall be cast into prison, and there to continue till the said sum be
satisfied to the treasurer as aforesaid. And the commander of any ketch,
ship, or vessel, being legally convicted, shall give in sufficient
security to the governor, or any one or more of the magistrates, who
have power to determine the same, to carry them back to the place whence
he brought them; and, on his refusal so to do, the governor or one or
more of the magistrates, are hereby empowered to issue out his or their
warrants to commit such master or commander to prison, there to
continue, till he give in sufficient security to the content of the
governor, or any of the magistrates, as aforesaid. And it is hereby
further ordered and enacted, that what Quaker soever shall arrive in
this country from foreign parts, or shall come into this jurisdiction
from any parts adjacent, shall be forthwith committed to the house of
correction; and, at their entrance, to be severely whipped, and by the
master thereof be kept constantly to work, and none suffered to converse
or speak with them, during the time of their imprisonment, which shall
be no longer than necessity requires. And it is ordered, if any person
shall knowingly import into any harbour of this jurisdiction, any
Quakers' books or writings, concerning their devilish opinions, shall
pay for such book or writing, being legally proved against him or them
the sum of five pounds; and whosoever shall disperse or conceal any such
book or writing, and it be found with him or her, or in his or her house
and shall not immediately deliver the same to the next magistrate;
shall forfeit or pay five pounds, for the dispersing or concealing of
any such book or writing. And it is hereby further enacted, that if any
person within this colony, shall take upon them to defend the heretical
opinions of the Quakers, or any of their books or papers, shall be fined
for the first time forty shillings; if they shall persist in the same,
and shall again defend it the second time, four pounds; if
notwithstanding they again defend and maintain the said Quakers'
heretical opinions, they shall be committed to the house of correction
till there be convenient passage to send them out of the land, being
sentenced by the court of Assistants to banishment. Lastly, it is hereby
ordered, that what person or persons soever, shall revile the persons of
the magistrates or ministers, as is usual with the Quakers, such person
or persons shall be severely whipped or pay the sum of five pounds.

"This is a true copy of the court's order, as attests

"EDWARD RAWSON, Sec."





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