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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

To the Bloody Town of Boston

By Letters of the Quakers

[From George Bishop’s “New England Judged.” 1661.]

Joint Letter of William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson, Written in the Common Gaol in the Bloody Town of Boston in 1659.

HEARKEN and give ear thou Town of Boston, lend an ear O ye Rulers, chief Priests, and Inhabitants thereof! Listen all you that dwell therein, Rich and Poor, Small and Great, High and Low, Bond and Free, of what sort soever! Give ear; be attentive to the Words of my mouth, which proceed from the Spirit of the Lord, and from the Power of the Almighty within me.

I have often considered your conditions, and your actings have often come into my remembrance, which hath caused me often to lament, because of the hardness of your hearts, who do thus slight the Almighty, and requite the Most High. O foolish and unwise, ye who do not regard the Lord that made you, who hath often sent to you his Servants, to give you warning of the mighty day of the Lord of Hosts, of the terrible day of the Lord God Almighty, which draweth near, it hastens apace; the Lord hath said it for his Elect’s sake, and for his own Name’s sake will the Lord arise and plead with all his Enemies in this the day of his Eternal Power.

O ye children of men, who are the workmanship of his hands, will ye resist the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, the Strong and Mighty God, who is arising in his Saints, and coming forth in his Strength to scatter his Enemies and to destroy Pharaoh and all his hosts and chariots in the Red Sea, after the Seed is come out of Egypt, and to turn the pride and haughtiness of men backwards, that rises to withstand the Lord? Oh, consider, ye Potsherds, who are as unstable as the waves of the sea and are as the wind in his hand, which He turneth and causeth to blow which way it pleaseth him, who will confound you and destroy you in your imaginations that you have imagined against him and his Saints. O man! What art thou that standest to resist the Lord, the mighty God of Jacob? Did ever any of your Fathers, the Persecutors of old, prosper? Did not the Lord consume them with the breath of his nostrils and with the word of his mouth? Who will tear you to pieces, that rise up in rebellion against him. Consider, was it in vain that one said in a certain place, That rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft? Consider, O ye that inhabit the earth, whose dwelling-place is beneath; doth not the Lord behold all your actions and all your unrighteous doings? O ye Rulers and chief Priests, are ye combining together? are ye joined together? are you in league together, as the Rulers and chief Priests were in former ages? Consider their ends, and consider what you are doing! Are you so blind that you cannot see you are persecuting the Saints of the Most High? You who are seeking the life of the Righteous, and that nothing but blood will satisfy; “The Lord will give you blood to drink,” you that thirst for it, you shall have enough of it; you who spill and drink the “Blood of the Saints and Martyrs of Jesus,” are not your Brethren gone before you, in whose steps ye are treading? and the fruits of the Devil you are bringing forth, “Ye uncircumcised in hearts and ears,” who do thus “resist the Lord of Life.”…

Oh, I am full of the Spirit of the Lord, and of the Power of him that made me, who hath said unto me, “Fear not man, whose breath is in his nostrils, nor the son of man that must die.” For the Lord hath said unto me, “For this end have I called thee, and for this cause I have ordained thee; fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, nor be afraid of their threatening words. I, the Lord that created thee, am with thee. Therefore fear not what man shall do unto thee, for I have made thee as a wall of brass, whereat the bloody-minded men shall shoot their arrows, but shall not touch thee as to offend thee.” Therefore the Lord hath said unto me, “Let not thy heart faint because of what I shall suffer them to do unto thee; but let thy hands be strong in the Lord thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; for thy adversaries shall be confounded, and the Enemies of the Lord shall be destroyed in that day.”…

WOE, WOE to thee, THOU BLOODY TOWN OF BOSTON, and the rest that are confederate with THEE, and it thou canst not escape; thou who hast shed the blood of the Innocent People called Quakers, and imprisoned and fined them, and taken away their goods, and they have become a prey unto thee, for thee to exercise thy cruelty upon them, and thou boasts in thy wickedness and “thinks thou dost God good service, to hand and put to death” the people called Quakers. Verily, this is the thoughts and intents of the hearts of many of you in this New England; but especially within thee, and within thy jurisdiction that belongs unto thee, O thou Town of Boston; for these words following did one say (in the Governor’s House) whose name is Edward Rawson, called Secretary, who did threaten me with these words following (on the 18th of the 4th month, 1659), That if I came again after I was sent away, or banished, he said, he would write a warrant with his own hand to send me to the gallows to be hanged. Are these your fruits, your corrupt speeches, to threaten the innocent with your gallows, to hang them thereon? Oh, that ever such words should proceed out of a man’s mouth! to say that he would write a warrant with his own hand, to send an Innocent Person to the gallows to be hanged. Well, all this we can bear; the Lord hath brought forth his Suffering Seed, and through suffering must the Lamb and his Saints overcome and get the Victory, and the wicked must be destroyed, and such who have been guilty of blood. Was ever the like heard before, That men professing to have so much of the Knowledge of God, and professing to fear God, that such should become so bloody! and become so great persecutors of a people who are despised of the World, but loved of God; and the Presence of the Lord is with them, whom you persecute, and you must fall before them, for the Lord God is with them and among them that are the Sufferers under you.