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HOW THE SEPARATISTS PAID DEBTS

 

by Thomas Morton

How the Separatists Paid Debts to then that Were Without

THERE was an honest manone Mr. Innocence Fairecloathby Mr. MathiasCharterparty sent over into New Canaanto raise a very good merchantablecommodity for his benefit; the whiles the man was bound by covenant to stay fora time and to employ such servants as did there belong to Mr. Charterparty. Hedisdained the tenets of the Separatistsand they also (finding him to be none)disdained to be employed by a carnal man (as they termed him)and soughtoccasion against him to do him a mischief. Intelligence was conveyed to Mr.Charterpartythat this man was a member of the Church of Englandand therefore(in their account) an enemy to their church and state. And (to the end theymight have some color against him) some of them practised to get into his debt;which he not mistrusting suffered and gave credit for such commodity as he hadsold at a price. When the day of payment cameinstead of moneys (he being atthat time sick and weakand stood in need of the beaver he had contracted for)he had an epistle full of zealous exhortationsto provide for the soul and notto mind these transitory things that perished with the body; and to bethinkhimself whether his conscience would be so prompt to demand so great a sum ofbeaver as had been contracted for. He was further exhorted therein to considerhe was but a steward for a timeand by all likelihood was going to give up anaccount of his stewardshipand therefore persuaded the creditor not to load hisconscience with such a burdenwhich he was bound by the Gospel to ease him of (ifit were possible)and for that cause he had framed this epistle in such afriendly manner to put him in mind of it. The perusal of this (lapped in thepaper) was as bad as a potion to the creditor to see his debtor Master Subtiletya zealous professor as he thoughtto deride him in this extremitythat hecould not choose (in admiration of the deceit) but cast out these words:

"Are these your members? If they be all like theseI believe the devilwas the setter of their church."

This was called in questionwhen Mr. Fairecloath least thought of it.Captain Littleworth must be the man must press it against himfor blasphemyagainst the Church of Salemand to great Josua Temperwell he goes with a bitteraccusationto have Master Innocence made an example for all carnal mentopresume to speak the least word that might tend to the dishonor of the Church ofSalemyeathe mother Church of all that holy land.

And he convented was before their synagoguewhere no defence would serve histurnyet was there none to be seen to accuse him save the court alone.

The time of his sickness nor the urgent cause were not allowed to be urgedfor him; but whatsoever could be thought upon against him was urgedseeing hewas a carnal man of them that are without. So that it seems by those proceedingsthere the matter was adjudged before he camehe only brought to bear hissentence in publicwhich was to have his tongue bored through; his nose slit;his face branded; his ears cut; his body to be whipped in every severalplantation of their jurisdiction; and a fine of forty pounds imposedwithperpetual banishment; and (to execute this vengeance) Shackles (the deacon ofCharles Town) was as ready as Mephistopheles when Doctor Faustus was bent uponmischief.

He is the purser-general of New Canaanwho (with his whipwith knots mostterrible) takes this man unto the counting housethere capitulates with himwhy he should be so hasty for paymentwhen God's dear children must pay as theyare able; and he weepsand sobsand his handkerchief walks as a sign of hissorrow for Master Fairecloath's sinthat he should bear no better affection tothe Church and the saints of New Canaan; and strips Innocence the while andcomforts him.

Though he be made to stay for paymenthe should not think it long; thepayment would be sure when it did comeand he should have his due to a doit; heshould not wish for a token moreand then told it him down in such mannerthathe made Fairecloath's innocent backlike the picture of Rawhead and bloodybonesand his shirt like pudding wife's apron. In this employment Shacklestakes a great felicity and glories in the practice of it. This cruel sentencewas stopped in part by Sir Christopher Gardiner (then present at the execution)by expostulating with Master Temperwellwho was content (with that whippingand the cutting of part of his ears) to send Innocence goingwith the loss ofall his goods to pay the fine imposed and perpetual banishment out of theirlands of New Canaan in terrorem populi.

Lothis is the payment you shall getif you be one of them they term "without."