Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

1656 – Anti-Quaker Immigration Sentiments Popular but Quakers Still Immigrate

“Although most of the settlements were made by Englishmen, they nevertheless differed fundamentally in character and purpose, and pursued, in some instances, widely varying policies in the admission of new settlers… For a period of several years, beginning with 1656, the records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and indeed of all of the New England Colonies, except Rhode Island, are filled with legislation designed to prevent the coming of the Quakers and the spread of their ‘accursed tenets.’ Whippings, imprisonment, banishment, and in a few instances capital punishment, were the order of the day.’ To what extent these various laws restricted the immigration of this sect, it is, of course, impossible to ascertain. That they were not prohibitive, and consequently did not meet the expectations of the authorities, is painfully evident; for, in spite of the severe penalties, members of that sect continued to come.”