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it was no new thing, for he had been so married himself in Holland, by the magistrates in their State-house.
Here was, indeed, a case for the Archbishop; and though the time was near when he could no longer have all things at his pleasure by the King's will, even in Eng. land, and the hour of retribution was hastening for his long course of cruelty, yet he still had such excessive authority to carry his tyranny into execution, that by vehement importunity he prevailed with the board of Commissioners to consent to Mr. Winslow's punishment, so that he was forthwith carried to the Fleet prison, and there lay seventeen weeks or thereabouts, before he could get released. It Archbishop Laud could have had his way, he would have imprisoned or decapitated the whole colony; but by God's good providence they were beyond his reach, for his hands were soon too full of roused adversaries in England, the victims of his oppression, to leave him at leisure to put up his gallows for Mordecai, or to execute his designs in the New World. This imprisonment of Winslow was of the most outrageous acts of his despotism, and it shows what he would have done with the religious liberties of the colonies in New England, if by the existence of the Hierarchy, or any small shoot of it there, he could have had any plausible pretence for the establishment of supreme Ecclesiastical authority.
On the whole, we think, instead of abusing Mr. Endicott for his action in the premises, in sending the Brownes back to England, the impartial historian must regard him as the instrument of a Divine protecting providence for the salvation of the colony from an Ecclesiastical despotism. Endicott is spoken of in Johnson's Wonderworking Providence as "the much honored Mr. John Indicat, who came over with them to govern; a fit instrument to begin this wilderness work, of courage bold, undaunted, yet sociable, and of a cheerful spirit, loving and austere, applying himself to either, as occasion served.” Bancroft has adopted
these characteristics in his description of Endicott, as "a man of dauntless courage, and that cheerfulness which accompanies courage; benevolent though austere ; firm, though choleric ; of a rugged nature, which the sternest
; form of Puritanism had not served to mellow.” With great inconsistency he afterwards speaks of him as a man whose self-will was inflamed by fanaticism, and whose religious antipathies persecution had matured into hatred.” These two descriptions cannot be true. The banishment of the Brownes was not a proof of Endicott's fanaticism, but of his good judgment, foresight, and determination to guard the liberty of the colonists from invasion.
The letters of the Company in England on occasion of this difficulty, when the Brownes had been sent home, and had presented their complaints, are to be found in Young's Chronicles of Massachusetts. The general instructions of the Company to Endicott and the Council are also there printed, and are full of interest. By these instructions, and by the Charter of the Colony, it will be found that Endicott was fully justified so far as related to them, in taking his prompt and energetic measures, both for the suppression of the rioters on Mount Dagon, and of the ecclesiastical and civil mutiny of the Brownes. No one can doubt this, when he reads such a passage as follows, after notice of the unanimous agreement of the ministers sent over. because it is often found that some busy persons, led more by their will than any good warrant out of God's Word, take opportunities by moving needless questions to stir up strife, and by that means to beget a question, and bring men to declare some difference in judgment, most commonly in things indifferent, from which small beginnings great mischiefs have followed, we pray you and the rest of the council, that if any such disputes shall happen amongst you, that you suppress them, and be careful to maintain peace and unity."*
Young's Chronicles of Massachusetts, 160.
Endicott was a friend of Roger Williams, and much under his influence. Mr. Williams had preached a " discourse on the unlawfulness of all ceremonies and symbols, which had been borrowed from the service of idolatry or of Popery, on the ground that their use tended to lead men back to superstition and false religion.” It was in accordance with this doctrine that Endicott, being the military commander, ordered the red cross to be cut from the King's military colors. * Endicott and Williams were both exceedingly strong in their hatred of Popery; but Endicott was naturally somewhat more hasty than Williams, though the anecdote is characteristic of both. There was nothing which Endicott regarded as a just principle, that he did not think should be put in practice. The attention of both these men, the preacher and the soldier, having been once turned to the Red Cross, and the question having occurred whether it was right to admit such a mark of the Beast in the ensigns of the Colony, it was almost as impossible to avoid agitation, as it is for some animals to prevent being infuriated at the sight of a red cloak. At length Mr. Endicott put an end to their questionings by erasing, on his own authority, a part of the red cross in the royal colors at Salem; enough, we suppose, to destroy the emblem of the cross, for their indignation was against the use of that sacred emblem in such a place, and not against the crimson hue.
The first record of this transaction we find in Gov. Winthrop's own Journal, of October 20th, 1634. He states that the ensign at Salem was defaced, namely, one part of the Red Cross taken away! which indeed savored of rebellion, but he says the truth was, it was done upon this opinion, that the Red Cross was given to the King of England by the Pope, as an ensign of victory, and so a superstitious thing, and a relic of Antichrist.”+
* Prof. Gammell's Memoir of Roger Williams. Sparks's Am. Biog, v. 14. p. 36.
t Gov. Winthrop's Journal, p. 73.
It is next recorded, Nov. 27th, that the Governor's Assistants met at his house to advise concerning this matter, when they all expressed their dislike of this thing, and their purpose to punish the offenders; yet they were guarded, with as much wariness as they might use, being themselves doubtful of the lawfulness of the Cross in an ensign, though clear that the fact of the erasure in the colors, as concerning the manner, was very unlawful.
The result was, that in 1635 Mr. Endicott was left out from the magistracy at the election, and was called in question about defacing the cross in the ensign. A committee was appointed on this case, of one from every town, the magistrates also making choice of four. Their judgment was that the offence was great; that Mr. Endicott had been rash in taking more authority upon himself than he should have done, and indiscreet in not seeking advice of the Court; that his conduct was unwarrantable in that, judging the Cross to be a sin, he was content to have it reformed at Salem, not taking care that others might be brought out of it also ; casting thus a blemish also upon the other magistrates, as if they would be willing to suffer idolatry. Mr. Endicott was publicly. admonished, and rendered unable to bear office for the space of one year; they not being willing to deal a heavier sentence upon him, because they were persuaded that what he had done was out of tenderness of conscience, and not from any evil intent.*
It is evident that in the end Mr. Endicott's character did not suffer in the least with the Colony, by these transactions, for he was afterwards chosen to the highest offices in the gift of the people, and he was well known to be a man of integrity and piety. He pursued very much the same energetic course in regard to the King's red colors, that he did in regard to the obnoxious May pole on Mount Dagon, the head quarters of Morton's revellings and insubordination ; but whereas in the latter case his zeal was wisely and admirably directed against a glaring evil, in the former it was an insignificant thing, to which his own opinions had given a fictitious importance. A part of the judgment of the Court is very curious ; that his offence was the greater, because, judging the cross to be a sin, he was content to have it reformed at Salem, not taking care that others might be brought out of it also. One might have thought this would have mitigated the offence, because, it being a matter of opinion, he only bestirred himself where he had some authority to do so, and left others to judge and act as they pleased.
* Gov. Winthrop's Journal, page 81.
It is very clear that the antipathy of Williams and Endicott against all Popish emblems was shared by other as good men as they, in both Colonies. On the return of Governor Winthrop from his visit to the Colony at Plymouth, it is recorded in the Governor's Journal that they came to a place called Hue's Cross, and the Governor was much displeased at the name, in respect that such things might hereafter give the papists occasion to say that their religion was first planted in these parts ; so he changed the name, and called it Hue's Folly.* Our Pilgrim Fathers were too near the age of martyrdom in England not to feel the necessity of such vigilance.
* Winthrop's Journal, Oct. 27, 1632.