Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Irish Protestants by Catholics


Massacre of the Protestant Martyrs at the Bridge over the River Bann in Ireland, 1641. Engraving from Matthew Taylor, England's Bloody Tribunal: Or, Popish Cruelty Displayed ...London: J. Cooke, 1772. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

Drowning of Irish Protestants by Catholics

This image is a depiction of the murder by Irish Catholics of approximately one hundred Protestants from Loughgall Parish, County Armagh, at the bridge over the River Bann near Portadown, Ulster. This atrocity occurred at the beginning of the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Having held the Protestants as prisoners and tortured them, the Catholics drove them "like hogs" to the bridge, where they were stripped naked and forced into the water below at swordspoint. Survivors of the plunge were shot.

The first British involvement in Ireland began in 1169, when Anglo-Norman troops arrived at Bannow Bay in County Wexford. During the next half millenium, successive English rulers attempted to colonize the island, pitching battles to increase their holdings – moves that sparked periodic rebellions by the Irish.

As the English gradually expanded their reach over the island by the 16th century, religious persecution of Catholic Irish grew – in particular after the accession of Elizabeth I, a Protestant, to the throne in 1558. Oliver Cromwell's subsequent siege of Ireland in 1649 ended with massacres of Catholics at Drogheda and Wexford and forced the resettlement of thousands, many of whom lost their homes in the struggle. By 1691, with the victory of Protestant English King William III over the Catholic forces of James II, Protestant supremacy in Ireland had become complete.

Catholics in Ireland suffered greatly in the subsequent period of British occupation, enduring laws that prevented them from bearing arms, holding public office and restricting their rights to an education. While many of those rights were eventually restored, the animosity between Catholics and Protestants remained.
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Hugenots by Catholics

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Massacre Fait a Sens en Bourgogne par la Populace au Mois d'Avril 1562 . . .

Lithograph in A. Challe, Histoire des Guerres du Calvinisme et de la Ligue dans l'Auxerrois, le Sénonais et le autres contrées qui forment aujourd'hui le département de l'Yonne Auxerre: Perriquet et Rouille, 1863.

Persecution of Huguenots by Catholics

The slaughter of Huguenots (French Protestants) by Catholics at Sens, Burgundy in 1562 occurred at the beginning of more than thirty years of religious strife between French Protestants and Catholics. These wars produced numerous atrocities. The worst was the notorious St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Paris, August 24, 1572. Thousands of Huguenots were butchered by Roman Catholic mobs. Although an accommodation between the two sides was sealed in 1598 by the Edict of Nantes, religious privileges of Huguenots eroded during the seventeenth century and were extinguished in 1685 by the revocation of the Edict. Perhaps as many as 400,000 French Protestants emigrated to various parts of the world, including the British North American colonies.

In 1562 French naval officer Jean Ribault led an expedition to the New World that founded Fort Caroline as a haven for Huguenots in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. Trying to keep control of La Florida, Spanish soldiers killed Ribault and many of his followers near St. Augustine in 1565.

Barred by the government from settling in New France, Huguenots led by Jessé de Forest, sailed to North America and settled instead in the Dutch colony of New Netherland (later incorporated into New York and New Jersey); as well as Great Britain's colonies, including Nova Scotia. A number of New Amsterdam's families were of Huguenot origin, often having emigrated as refugees to the Netherlands in the previous century. In 1628 the Huguenots established a congregation as L'Église française à la Nouvelle-Amsterdam (the French church in New Amsterdam). This parish continues today as L'Eglise du Saint-Esprit, part of the Episcopal (Anglican) communion, and welcomes Francophone New Yorkers from all over the world. Services are conducted in French for a Francophone parish community, and members of the Huguenot Society of America. The liturgy and doctrines have nothing to do with Huguenot practices and polity, as it is Episcopal in character. Upon their arrival in New Amsterdam, Huguenots were offered land directly across from Manhattan on Long Island for a permanent settlement and chose the harbor at the end of Newtown Creek, becoming the first Europeans to live in Brooklyn, then known as Boschwick, and today the neighborhood known as Bushwick.

Jean Hasbrouck House (1721) on Huguenot Street in New Paltz, New York

Huguenot immigrants founded New Paltz, New York. They built what is now the oldest street in the current United States of America with the original stone houses, which is a National Historic Landmark District. They also founded New Rochelle (named after La Rochelle in France), New York. Louis DuBois, son of Chretien DuBois, was one of the original Huguenot settlers in this area,[42] along with the Daniel Perrin family. In 1692 Huguenots settled on the south shore of Staten Island, New York. The present-day neighbourhood of Huguenot was named for those early settlers. A town near Port Jervis, New York is named Huguenot.

Some Huguenot immigrants settled in Central Pennsylvania. They assimilated with the predominately Pennsylvania German settlers of the area.

In 1700 several hundred French Huguenots migrated from England to the colony of Virginia, where the English Crown had promised them land grants in Lower Norfolk County. When they arrived, colonial authorities offered them instead land 20 miles above the falls of the James River, at the abandoned Monacan village known as Manakin Town, now in Powhatan County. Some settlers landed in present-day Chesterfield County. On 12 May 1705, the Virginia General Assembly passed an act to naturalise the 148 Huguenots still resident at Manakintown. Of the original 390 settlers in the isolated settlement, many had died; others lived outside town on farms in the English style; and others moved to different areas.[43] Gradually they intermarried with their English neighbors. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, descendants of the French migrated west into the Piedmont, and across the Appalachian Mountains into the West of what became Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and other states. In the Manakintown area, the Huguenot Memorial Bridge across the James River and Huguenot Road were named in their honor, as were many local features, including several schools, including Huguenot High School.

French Protestant (Huguenot) Church, downtown Charleston, South Carolina,

In the early years, many Huguenots also settled in the area of present-day Charleston, South Carolina. In 1685, Rev. Elie Prioleau from the town of Pons in France, was among the first to settle there. He became pastor of the first Huguenot church in North America in that city. After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, several Huguenot families of Norman and Carolingian nobility and descent, including Edmund Bohun of Suffolk England from the Humphrey de Bohun line of French royalty descended from Charlemange, Jean Postell of Dieppe France, Alexander Pepin, Antoine Poitevin of Orsement France, and Jacques de Bordeaux of Grenoble, immigrated to the Charleston Orange district. They were very successful at marriage and property speculation. After petitioning the British Crown in 1697 for the right to own land in the Baronies, they prospered as gentlemen planters on the Goose, Ashpoo, Ashley and Santee River plantations they purchased from the British Landgrave Edmund Bellinger. Some of their descendants moved into the Deep South and Texas, where they developed new plantations.

The French Huguenot Church of Charleston, which remains independent, is the oldest continuously active Huguenot congregation in the United States. Founded in 1628, L'Eglise du Saint-Esprit in New York is older, but it left the French Reformed movement in 1804 to become part of the Episcopal Church.

Most of the Huguenot congregations (or individuals) in North America eventually affiliated with other Protestant denominations with more numerous members. The Huguenots adapted quickly and often began to marry outside their immediate French communities fairly rapidly, which led to their assimilation.[44] Their descendants in many families continued to use French first names and surnames for their children well into the nineteenth century, as they tried to keep some connection to their heritage. Assimilated, the French made numerous contributions to United States economic life, especially as merchants and artisans in the late Colonial and early Federal periods. For example, E.I. du Pont, a former student of Lavoisier, established the Eleutherian gunpowder mills, which produced material for the American Revolutionary War.

Paul Revere was descended from Huguenot refugees, as was Henry Laurens, who signed the Articles of Confederation for South Carolina; Jack Jouett, who made the ride from Cuckoo Tavern to warn Thomas Jefferson and others that Tarleton and his men were on their way to arrest him for crimes against the king; Francis Marion, and a number of other leaders of the American Revolution and later statesmen. The last active Huguenot congregation in North America worships in Charleston, South Carolina, at a church that dates from 1844. The Huguenot Society of America maintains Manakin Episcopal Church in Virginia as an historic shrine with occasional services.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution of Jesuits by English Protestants

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Persecution of Jesuits in England

In the image above is Brian Cansfield (1581-1643), a Jesuit priest seized while at prayer by English Protestant authorities in Yorkshire. Cansfield was beaten and imprisoned under harsh conditions. He died on August 3, 1643 from the effects of his ordeal.

The picture below another Jesuit priest, Ralph Corbington (Corby) (ca. 1599-1644), who was hanged by the English government in London, September 17, 1644, for professing his faith.


Images are from Die Societas Jesu in Europa, 1643-1644 from Mathias Tanner, Die Gesellshafft Jesu biss zur vergiessung ihres Blutes wider den Gotzendienst Unglauben und Laster...Prague: Carlo Ferdinandeischen Universitat Buchdruckeren, 1683. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

From The Library of Congress.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - German & Polish Schwenkfelders


The first group of Germans to settle in Pennsylvania arrived in Philadelphia in 1683, from Krefeld, Germany, & included Mennonites and possibly some Dutch Quakers. During the early years of German emigration to Pennsylvania, most of the emigrants were members of small sects that shared Quaker principles--Mennonites, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, Moravians, & some German Baptist groups--and were fleeing religious persecution. William Penn & his agents encouraged German & European emigration to Pennsylvania by circulating promotional literature touting the economic advantages of Pennsylvania as well as the religious liberty available there.

Caspar Schwenkfeld von Ossig (1489–1561).

The Schwenkfelder Church is a small American Christian body rooted in the 16th century Protestant Reformation teachings of Caspar Schwenkfeld von Ossig (1489–1561).  A contemporary of Martin Luther, he engaged in many debates on religion with Luther. Gradually, he came to have a considerable following of men & women who believed as he did. This belief centered upon an Inner Light, which was to guide their conduct, & later was embodied in books that came into possession of George Fox of England, who adopted the ideas into his philosophy which emerged as Quakerism. In fact, some books call the Schwenkfelders German Quakers.  He was an aristocrat, writer, thinker, and courtier of the German states. By the middle of the 16th century, there were thousands of followers of his "Reformation by the Middle Way."  His ideas appear to be a middle ground between the ways of the Reformation of Martin Luther, John Calvin, & Huldrych Zwingli, + the Radical Reformation of the Anabaptists.

Caspar Schwenkfeld von Ossig (1489–1561).

Originally calling themselves Confessors of the Glory of Christ, Schwenkfeld's followers later became known as Schwenkfelders. These Christians often suffered persecution like slavery, prison, & fines at the hands of the government & state churches in Europe. Most of them lived in southern Germany & Lower Silesia (Poland). During the early 1700s, current Roman ruler Frederic Augustus II issued a mandate that the Schwenkfelder community choose between the Lutheran and Catholic churches. When they refused, he placed sanctions on burials and marriages, and refused to acknowledge Schwenkfelders as citizens of the state. By the beginning of the 18th century, the remaining Schwenkfelders lived around Harpersdorf. As the persecution intensified around 1719–1725, they were given refuge in 1726, by Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf in Saxony. When the Elector of Saxony died in 1733, Jesuits sought the new ruler to return the Schwenkfelders to Harpersdorf.  With their freedom in jeopardy, they decided to look to the New World.  Although they were forbidden to emigrate, on Tuesday, April 20, 1734, a band of 176 persons deserted their homes, sailed down the Elbe River, and found refuge in Holland. Dutch Mennonites gave them food and shelter and paid for passage on the ship St. Andrew bound for Philadelphia, PA.

 Landing of the Schwenckfelders from the St. Andrew by Adolf Pannash 1934

Six groups of Exiles, totaling 209 persons and 52 families, arrived in Philadelphia, 1731 to 1737, but the largest — the third — contained 44 families and 170 persons. The day after they arrived, the able-bodied men affirmed allegiance to the British King, George II, and the following day, perhaps in the nearby Friends meeting house, all of the group held a thanksgiving service for their safe arrival in a land of religious tolerance. Every year thereafter on the anniversary, a similar service has been held in one of the Schwenkfelder Churches. 

The immigrant members of the Schwenkfelder Church brought saffron to the Americas; Schwenkfelders may have grown saffron in Europe—there is some record that at least one member of the group traded in the spice. A group came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1731, and several migrations continued until 1737. The largest group, 180 Schwenkfelders, arrived in 1734. The offer of religious tolerance in Pennsylvania was extraordinary. Fifteen year old 15-year-old Christopher Schultz documented the 1731 voyage in his journal. Schultz wrote, upon landing in Philadelphia: “People mingle like fish in the sea.” In Europe, Schwenkfelders and Jesuits were at odds. Once settled in Pennsylvania, the first Schwenkfelder settlers actually helped to build a Jesuit chapel.

Caspar Schwenkfeld von Ossig (1489–1561). Erste Amerikanische Ausgabe. 1859 frontispiece portrait of Schwenckfeld

Schwenkfelders inhabited in the Philadelphia area from Chestnut Hill to Lehigh County and did not extend further. One family only is known to have moved to Virginia. For the first 50 years (1731-1781) it was hard to keep all of the Schwenkfelders together and practicing religion. Lay pastors acted as circuit riders during this time. In 1782, the Society of Schwenkfelders was formed. The Schwenkfelder Church has remained small: as of 2009 there were 5 congregations with about 2,500 members in southeastern Pennsylvania. All of these bodies are within a 50-mile radius of Philadelphia.

They teach that the Bible is the source of Christian theology, but also believe it is dead without the inner work of the Holy Spirit. They also continue his belief that the divinity of Jesus was progressive, and that the Lord's supper is a mystical spiritual partaking of the body of Christ in open communion. Adult baptism and both infant baptism and consecration of infants is practiced depending on the church. Adult members are also received into church membership through transfer of memberships from other churches and denominations. Their ecclesiastical tradition is congregational with a strong oecumenical focus. The Schwenkfelder churches recognize the right of the individual in decisions such as public service, & armed combat.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fleeing to America - Protestant John Rogers by England's Catholic Queen Mary

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The Burning of Master John Rogers. Engraving from John Fox, The Third Volume of the Ecclesiastical History containing the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs...

Martyrdom of John Rogers

The execution in 1555 of John Rogers (1500-1555) is portrayed here in the 9th edition of the famous Protestant martyrology, Fox's Book of Martyrs. Rogers was a Catholic priest who converted to Protestantism in the 1530s under the influence of William Tyndale and assisted in the publication of Tyndale's English translations of the Bible. Burned alive at Smithfield on February 4, 1555, Rogers became the "first Protestant martyr" executed by England's Catholic Queen Mary. He was charged with heresy, including denial of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of communion.

Two centuries after John Rogers's execution, his ordeal, with depictions of his wife and ten children added to increase the pathos, became a staple of The New England Primer. The Primer supplemented the picture of Rogers' immolation with a long, versified speech, said to be the dying martyr's advice to his children, which urged them to "Keep always God before your Eyes" and to "Abhor the arrant Whore of Rome, and all her Blasphemies." This recommendation, read by generations of young New Englanders, doubtless helped to fuel the anti-Catholic prejudice that flourished in that region well into the nineteenth century.

Mr. John Rogers. Woodblock print from The New-England Primer Improved Boston: A. Ellison, 1773. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

From The Library of Congress.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Jews by English


BBC 22 June 2011

Jewish bodies found in medieval well in Norwich, England.

 Manuscript from The Chronicles of Offa that depicts Jews in England

There is evidence the children were thrown down the well after the adults.

The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence has suggested.

The most likely explanation is that those down the well were Jewish and were probably murdered or forced to commit suicide, according to scientists who used a combination of DNA analysis, carbon dating and bone chemical studies in their investigation.

The skeletons date back to the 12th or 13th Centuries at a time when Jewish people were facing persecution throughout Europe.

They were discovered in 2004, during an excavation of a site in the centre of Norwich, ahead of construction of the Chapelfield Shopping Centre. The remains were put into storage and have only recently been the subject of investigation.

Seven skeletons were successfully tested and five of them had a DNA sequence suggesting they were likely to be members of a single Jewish family.

DNA expert Dr Ian Barnes, who carried out the tests, said: "This is a really unusual situation for us. This is a unique set of data that we have been able to get for these individuals. I am not aware that this has been done before - that we have been able to pin them down to this level of specificity of the ethnic group that they seem to come from."

The team has been led by forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black, of the University of Dundee's Centre for Anthropology and Human Identification.

Professor Sue Black, Dr Xanthe Mallett and Professor Caroline Wilkinson will delve deeper into the mystery and attempt to recreate the faces of those found in the well.

Professor Black, who went to the Balkans following the Kosovo war - where her job was to piece together the bodies of massacred Kosovan Albanians - said this discovery had changed the direction of the whole investigation.

Regarding the nature of the discovery, Professor Black said: "We are possibly talking about persecution. We are possibly talking about ethnic cleansing and this all brings to mind the scenario that we dealt with during the Balkan War crimes."

Eleven of the 17 skeletons were those of children aged between two and 15. The remaining six were adult men and women.

"In terms of the brutality of the ethnic cleansing, it was thought women and children quite frankly weren't worth wasting the bullets on," added Professor Black.

"Pregnant women were bayoneted because that way you got rid of a woman because that wasn't important and you got rid of the next generation because you didn't want them to survive. So I know what sort of pattern I am looking for."

Pictures taken at the time of excavation suggested the bodies were thrown down the well together, head first.

A close examination of the adult bones showed fractures caused by the impact of hitting the bottom of the well. But the same damage was not seen on the children's bones, suggesting they were thrown in after the adults who cushioned the fall of their bodies.

The team had earlier considered the possibility of death by disease but the bone examination also showed no evidence of diseases such as leprosy or tuberculosis.

Giles Emery, the archaeologist who led the original excavation, said at first he thought it might have been a plague burial, but carbon dating had shown that to be impossible as the plague came much later.

And historians pointed out that even during times of plague when mass graves were used, bodies were buried in an ordered way with respect and religious rites.

Norwich had been home to a thriving Jewish community since 1135, and many lived near the well site. But there are records of persecution of Jews in medieval England including in Norwich (see fact box).

Sophie Cabot, an archaeologist and expert on Norwich's Jewish history, said the Jewish people had been invited to England by the King to lend money because at the time, the Christian interpretation of the bible did not allow Christians to lend money and charge interest. It was regarded as a sin.

So cash finance for big projects came from the Jewish community and some became very wealthy - which in turn, caused friction.

"There is a resentment of the fact that Jews are making money... and they are doing it in a way that doesn't involve physical labour, things that are necessarily recognised as work... like people feel about bankers now," said Ms Cabot.

The findings of the investigation represented a sad day for Norwich.

Ms Cabot added: "It changes the story of what we know about the community. We don't know everything about the community but what we do know is changed by this."

Medieval English Jewish History

1066: The Norman Conquest opens the way to Jewish immigration. The monarchy needs to borrow money and Christians are forbidden to lend money at interest. London, Lincoln and York become centres for substantial Jewish populations.

1100s: Resentment against the Jewish community grows over their perceived wealth and belief they killed Jesus. The "blood libels" - Jews are accused of the ritual murder of Christian children.

1190: Many Jewish people massacred in York. In Norwich they flee to the city's castle for refuge. Those who stay in their homes are butchered.

1230s: Executions in Norwich after an allegation a Christian child was kidnapped.

1272: Edward I comes to the throne and enforces extra taxes on the Jewish community.

1290: Edward I expels the Jews en masse after devising a new form of royal financing using Christian knights to fill the coffers.

After the expulsion, there was no Jewish community, apart from individuals who practised Judaism secretly, until the rule of Oliver Cromwell. While Cromwell never officially readmitted Jews to Britain, a small colony of Sephardic Jews living in London was identified in 1656 and allowed to remain.  The Jewish Naturalisation Act of 1753, an attempt to legalise the Jewish presence in England, remained in force for only a few months. Historians commonly date Jewish Emancipation to either 1829 or 1858 when Jews were finally allowed to sit in Parliament, though Benjamin Disraeli, born Jewish, had been a Member of Parliament long before this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - German Mennonites


The first group of Germans to settle in Pennsylvania arrived in Philadelphia in 1683 from Krefeld, Germany, and included Mennonites and possibly some Dutch Quakers. During the early years of German emigration to Pennsylvania, most of the emigrants were members of small sects that shared Quaker principles--Mennonites, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, Moravians, and some German Baptist groups--and were fleeing religious persecution.


William Penn and his agents encouraged German and European emigration to Pennsylvania by circulating promotional literature touting the economic advantages of Pennsylvania as well as the religious liberty available there.


Persecution and the search for employment forced Mennonites out of the Netherlands eastward to Germany in the 17th century. As Quaker evangelists moved into Germany they received a sympathetic audience among the larger of these Dutch-Mennonite congregations around Krefeld, Altona-Hamburg, Gronau and Emden.  It was among this group of Quakers and Mennonites, living under ongoing discrimination, that William Penn solicited settlers for his new colony. The first permanent settlement of Mennonites in the American Colonies consisted of one Mennonite family and twelve Mennonite-Quaker families of Dutch extraction who arrived from Krefeld, Germany, in 1683 and settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Among these early settlers was William Rittenhouse, a lay minister and owner of the first American paper mill. Jacob Gottschalk was the first bishop of this Germantown congregation. This early group of Mennonites and Mennonite-Quakers wrote the first formal protest against slavery in the United States. The treatise was addressed to slave-holding Quakers in an effort to persuade them to change their ways.



Germantown Mennonite Meeting House, built 1700.

The Mennonites are a Christian group based around the church communities of Anabaptist denominations named after Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland (at that time, a part of the German Holy Roman Empire). Through his writings, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders. The teachings of the Mennonites were founded on their belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, which they held to with great conviction despite persecution by the various Roman Catholic and Protestant states. Rather than fight, the majority survived by fleeing to neighboring states where ruling families were tolerant of their radical belief in believer's baptism. Over the years, Mennonites have become known as one of the historic peace churches because of their commitment to pacifism.


Menno Simons (1496–1561)

In the early days of the Anabaptist movement, Menno Simons, a Catholic priest in the Low Countries, heard of the movement and started to rethink his Catholic faith. He questioned the doctrine of transubstantiation, but was reluctant to leave the Roman Catholic Church. His brother, a member of an Anabaptist group, was killed when he and his companions were attacked and refused to defend themselves. In 1536, at the age of 40, Simons left the Roman Catholic Church. He soon became a leader within the Anabaptist movement, and was wanted by authorities for the rest of his life. His name became associated with scattered groups of nonviolent Anabaptists whom he helped to organize and consolidate.

In the early 18th century, 100,000 Germans from the Palatinate emigrated to Pennsylvania, where they became known collectively as the Pennsylvania Dutch (from the anglicization of Deutsch or German.) The Palatinate had been repeatedly overrun by the French in religious wars, and Queen Anne had invited the Germans to go to the British colonies. Of these immigrants, around 2,500 were Mennonites and 500 were Amish. This group settled farther west than the first group, choosing less expensive land in the Lancaster area. The oldest Mennonite meetinghouse in the United States is the Hans Herr House in West Lampeter Township.

Menno Simons (1496–1561)

During the Colonial period, Mennonites were distinguished from other Pennsylvania Germans in 3 ways: their opposition to the American Revolutionary War, which other Germans participated in on the side of the rebels; resistance to public education; and disapproval of religious revivalism. Contributions of Mennonites during this period include the idea of separation of church and state, and opposition to slavery.

From 1812 to 1860, another wave of Mennonite immigrants settled farther west in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. These Swiss-German speaking Mennonites, along with Amish, came from Switzerland and the Alsace-Lorraine area. These immigrants, along with the Amish of northern New York state, formed the nucleus of the Apostolic Christian Church in the United States.

The appearance in Pennsylvania of so many different religious groups made the province resemble "an asylum for banished sects." Beginning in the 1720s significantly larger numbers of German Lutherans and German Reformed arrived in Pennsylvania. Many were motivated by economic considerations.
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Puritans

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Puritans were English Protestants who wished to reform and purify the Church of England of what they considered to be unacceptable residues of Roman Catholicism. During the reign of James I, the Presbyterian majority unsuccessfully attempted to impose their ideas on the established English church at the Hampton Court Conference (1604). During the 1620s leaders of the English state and church grew increasingly unsympathetic to Puritan demands. They insisted that the Puritans conform to religious practices that they abhorred, removing their ministers from office and threatening them with "extirpation from the earth" if they did not fall in line. The result was mutual disaffection and a persecution of the Puritans, particularly by Archbishop William Laud, that brought about Puritan migration to Europe and America. Zealous Puritan laymen received savage punishments. For example, in 1630 a man was sentenced to life imprisonment, had his property confiscated, his nose slit, an ear cut off, and his forehead branded "S.S." (sower of sedition).

Those groups that remained in England grew as a political party and rose to their greatest power between 1640 and 1660 as a result of the English civil war; during that period the Independents gained dominance. During the Restoration which followed, the Puritans were oppressed under the Clarendon Code (1661–65), which secured the episcopal character of the Established Church and, in effect, cast the Puritans out of the Church of England. 


John Foster (1648-1681), Portrait of Richard Mather. Woodcut, first issued ca. 1670. Richard Mather (1596-1669), minister at Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1636-1669, was a principal spokesman for and defender of the Congregational form of church government in New England. In 1648, he drafted the Cambridge Platform, the definitive description of the Congregational system. Mather's son, Increase (1639-1723), and grandson, Cotton (1663-1728), were leaders of New England Congregationalism in their generations.

Beginning in 1630, as many as 20,000 Puritans emigrated to America from England to gain the liberty to worship God as they chose. Most settled in New England, but some went as far as the West Indies.


Theologically, the Puritans were "non-separating Congregationalists." Unlike the Pilgrims, who came to Massachusetts in 1620, the Puritans believed that the Church of England was a true church, though in need of major reforms.


Cotton Mather...Mezzotint by Peter Pelham. Boston 1728. Cotton Mather (1663-1728), the best-known New England Puritan divine of his generation, was a controversial figure in his own time and remains so among scholars today. A formidable intellect and a prodigious writer, Mather published some 450 books and pamphlets. He was at the center of all of the major political, theological, and scientific controversies of his era.

Every New England Congregational church was considered an independent entity, beholden to no hierarchy. The membership was composed, at least initially, of men and women who had undergone a conversion experience and could prove it to other members.

Puritan leaders hoped (futilely, as it turned out) that, once their experiment was successful, England would imitate it by instituting a church order modeled after the New England Way.
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Friday, June 13, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Jesuits from Europe

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John Ogilvie (Ogilby), Societas Jesu, 1615
Engraving from Mathias Tanner, Societas Jesu usque ad sanguinis et vitae profusionem Militans...Prague: Typis Universitatis Carolo-Ferdinandeae, 1675
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

A Jesuit Disemboweled

Jesuits like John Ogilvie (Ogilby) (1580-1615) were under constant surveillance and threat from the Protestant governments of England and Scotland. Ogilvie was sentenced to death by a Glasgow court and hanged and mutilated on March 10, 1615.  John Ogilvie
(c. 1580-1615), English Jesuit, was born in Scotland and educated mainly in Germany, where he entered the Society of Jesus, being ordained priest at Paris in 1613. As an emissary of the society he returned to Scotland disguised as a soldier, and in October 1614 he was arrested in Glasgow. He defended himself stoutly when he was tried in Edinburgh, but he was condemned to death and was hanged on the 28th of February 1615.
A True Relation of the Proceedings against John Ogilvie, a Jesuit (Edinburgh, 1615), is usually attributed to Archbishop Spottiswoode. See also James Forbes, L'Eglise catholique en Ecosse: martyre de Jean Ogilvie (Paris, 1885); and W. Forbes-Leith, Narratives of Scottish Catholics (1885).


Unknown artist, Fr John Ogilvie, of the Society of Jesus, Alumnus of the Scots College at Douai, Suffered [martyred] in Scotland, 10th March 1615

John Ogilvie, Jesuit, born about 1580, was the eldest son of Walter Ogilvie of Drum, near Keith. At the age of twelve he went to the continent, and was there converted to Catholicism. About 1596 he entered the Scots College at Louvain, and subsequently visited the Benedictines at Ratisbon, and the Jesuit College at Olmütz, where he was admitted a member of the Society of Jesus. He spent two years of novitiate at Brunn, and between 1602 and 1613 lived at Gratz, Vienna, Olmütz, Paris, and Rouen. At Paris he was ordained priest in 1613.

Towards the close of the year he and two other priests, Moffat and Campbell, were ordered by the superior of the Scottish mission of the Society of Jesus to repair to Scotland. Ogilvie landed in the disguise of a soldier, under the assumed name of Watson, and, having separated from his companions, proceeded to the north, probably to his native district.

In six weeks he returned to Edinburgh, where he remained throughout the winter of 1613-14, as the guest of William Sinclair, advocate. Shortly before Easter (30 March) 1614 he set out for London on some mvsterious business. It has been alleged that lie had then a private interview with King James, but the story is probably one of the many rumours of Romanist intrigue which troubled the public mind after the excitement of 1592, and which laid the blame of the 'damnable powder-treason ' of 1605 on the English Jesuits Garnet and Oldcome.

Ogilvie paid a hurried visit to Paris at this time ; but his superior, Father Gordon, thought his action ill-advised, and ordered his immediate return (see letter printed in James Forbes's Life of Ogilvie, p. 12n.) He was back in Edinburgh in June 1614, where he continued his propaganda under the protection of his friend Sinclair, saying mass in private and holding intercourse with many, including the notorious Sir James Macdouald of Islay, then a prisoner in the castle of Edinburgh.

He went to Glasgow in August, where he was discovered and arrested by order of Archbishop Spotiswood (4 Oct. 1614). A few Romish books and garments, a chalice and an altar, some relics, including a tuft of the hair of St. Ignatias, and some incriminating letters, 'not fit at that time to be divulgate,' were found in his possession. He was examined by a committee, consisting of the archbishop, the Bishop of Argyll, Lords Fleming, Boyd, and KiUyth, the provost of the city of Glasgow. Sir Walter Stewart, and Sir George Elphinston. The narrative. of the proceedings appeared in the 'True Relation' ascribed to Archbishop Spotiswood.

Ogilvie refused to give information ('his busines,' he said, 'was to saue soules'), and was sent to a chamber in the castle, where he remained till 8 Dec., lacking nothing 'worthy of a man of his quality,' and having the constant attention of sundry ministers of the Kirk, who could not, however, argue him into a confession. Spotiswood had meanwhile informed the council of the capture and of the examination of Ogilvie's Glasgow accomplices; and they had on 11 Nov. issued a commission to him and to the treasurer-depute, the clerk of register, and Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth, or any three of them, the archbishop being one, to proceed to Glasgow to try all suspected persons, and generally to clear up the whole conspiracy (Register of Privy Courtcil, x. 284-6).

Ogilvie was, however, taken to Edinburgh, and brought before five of the council. He refused to explain the contents of the letters which had been seized in Glasgow, and conducted himself as before, until, under the painful torture of denial of sleep and rest, his 'braines became lightiiome,' and he gave up the names of some of his accomplices. The proceedings were suspended for the Christmas recess, and the archbishop obtained permission to 'keep him in his company' till his return to Eainburgh.

Meanwhile the king sent down a commission to Spotiswood and others to make a special examination of Ogilvie's tenets on royal and papal prerogative. The king's questions were put to Ogilvie on 18 Jan., but to little purpose ; for, despite the endeavours of the archbishop and the arguments of Robert Boyd, principal of the college, and Robert Scot, a Glasgow minister, he not only maintained his obstinate attitude, but aggravated his Sosition by the statement 'that he condemned the oaths of supremacie and allegeance proponed to be swome in England.' 

The catholic writers maintain that Ogilvie was put to severe torture during this examination. Spotiswood himself admits that he suggested the infliction of it as the only means of overcoming the prisoner's obstinacy, but that the king 'would not have these forms used with men of his profession.' If they merely found that he was a Jesuit, they were to banish him ; if they proved that he had been stirring up rebeUion, the ordinary course of justice was to be pursued. This examination may have been confused with a subsequent commission on 11 June against the Jesuit Moffat and his friends, in which the power of torture was given to the judges (Register of Privy Council, p. 336). 

Ogilvie's answers were sent to the king, who ordered the trial to proceed. A commission was issued on 21 Feb., and the trial was fixed for the last day of the month. Mr. Struthers returned to his persuasive arguments, though to no purpose ; 'if he stoode in neede of their confort,' replied Ogilvie, 'he shoulde advertise.' The trial took place in Glasgow before the provost and three bailies, who held commission from the privy council, and seven assessors, including the archbishop. In the indictment and prosecution Ogilvie was told that it was not for the saying of mass, but for declining the king's authority, that he was on trial. This was in keeping with the king's list of questions, which to the presbyterian Calderwood 'seemed rather a hindrance to the execution of justice upon the persons presently guiltie then to menu in earnest the repressing of Papists.' 

Ogilvie provoked his judges by saying : 'If the king will be to me as my predecessors were to mine, I will obey . . ., but, if he doe otherwise, and play the runneagate from God, as he and you all doe, I will not acknowledge him more than this old hatte.' The archbishop's account of his subsequent conduct during the trial, at the swearing of the jury, and in his speech after the prosecution was closed shows that Ogilvie maintained his stubbornness to the last.



He was found guilty and was sentenced to be hanged and quartered. Three hours later he was led to the scaffold, where he had the ministrations of William Struthers and Robert Scot, the latter reiterating that it was not for his religion but for his political offence that he had been condemned. The quartering was not carried out. 

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900 Volume 42 by George Gregory Smith

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fleeing to America - for "Plantations of Religion"

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America as a Religious Refuge - Plantations of Religion

Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the seventeenth century by men and women, who, in the face of European persecution, refused to compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe.

The New England colonies, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were conceived and established "as plantations of religion." Some settlers who arrived in these areas came for secular motives--"to catch fish" as one New Englander put it--but the great majority left Europe to worship God in the way they believed to be correct.

They enthusiastically supported the efforts of their leaders to create "a city on a hill" or a "holy experiment," whose success would prove that God's plan for his churches could be successfully realized in the American wilderness.

Even colonies like Virginia, which were planned as commercial ventures, were led by entrepreneurs who considered themselves "militant Protestants" and who worked diligently to promote the prosperity of the church.

The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society.

This conviction rested on the belief that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of the civil authorities to impose it, forcibly if necessary, in the interest of saving the souls of all citizens.

Nonconformists could expect no mercy and might be executed as heretics. The dominance of the concept, denounced by Roger Williams as "inforced uniformity of religion," meant majority religious groups who controlled political power punished dissenters in their midst.

In some areas Catholics persecuted Protestants, in others Protestants persecuted Catholics, and in still others Catholics and Protestants persecuted wayward coreligionists.

Although England renounced religious persecution in 1689, it persisted on the European continent. Religious persecution, as observers in every century have commented, is often bloody and implacable and is remembered and resented for generations.

From The Library of Congress.
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Monday, June 9, 2014

Fleeing to America - Catholics from England to Maryland

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Although the Stuart kings of England did not hate the Roman Catholic Church, most of their subjects did, causing Catholics to be harassed and persecuted in England throughout the seventeenth century.

Driven by "the sacred duty of finding a refuge for his Roman Catholic brethren," George Calvert (1580-1632) obtained a charter from Charles I in 1632 for the territory between Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Sir George Calvert (1580-1632), c 1625.  by Daniel Mytens, the elder, court painter to both James I & Charles I.  George Calvert, Baron Baltimore, one of James' Secretaries of State & a Privy Councillor,  converted to Catholicism in about 1625.  He wanted to establish a colony as a refuge from persecution for Roman Catholics, & at first sponsored a small settlement in Newfoundland. Its harsh climate motivated him to obtain land further south. He died before the grant of Maryland's charter (June 1632).

This Maryland charter offered no guidelines on religion, although it was assumed that Catholics would not be molested in the new colony. By 1634, two ships, the Ark and the Dove, brought the first settlers to Maryland. Aboard were approximately two hundred people.

Father Andrew White. Engraving by G.G. Heinsch, 1655, in Mathias Tanner, Societas Jesu apostolorum imitatrix Prague: Typis Universitatis Carolo-Ferdinandeae, 1694.  The "Apostle to Maryland," Father Andrew White (1579-1656), described the celebration of the first mass upon the arrival of the Ark and the Dove, "We celebrated mass for the first time... This had never been done before in this part of the world. After we had completed the sacrifice, we took upon our shoulders a great cross that we had hewn out of a tree, and advancing in order to the appointed place... we erected a trophy to Christ the Savior, humbly reciting, on our bended knees, the Litanies of the sacred Cross, with great emotion." This is the only known 17th-century image of Father White.

Among the passengers were two Catholic priests who had been forced to board surreptitiously to escape the reach of English anti-Catholic laws. Upon landing in Maryland the Catholics, led spiritually by the Jesuits, were transported by a profound reverence, similar to that experienced by John Winthrop and the Puritans, when they set foot in New England.

Catholic fortunes fluctuated in Maryland during the rest of the seventeenth century, as they became an increasingly smaller minority of the population. In 1649, Catholics in the Maryland Assembly passed the Maryland Act Concerning Religion. It stipulated that no Trinitarian Christian "shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested, or discountenanced, for, or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province." Though this act was not as inclusive as similar ones in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, which brought theists within their purview, it was another in a series of progressive measures taken by early American colonists to emancipate themselves from the European belief in enforced religious uniformity.

After the Glorious Revolution of 1689 in England, the Church of England was legally established in the colony and English penal laws, which deprived Catholics of the right to vote, hold office, or worship publicly, were enforced.

Until the American Revolution, Catholics in Maryland were dissenters in their own country, living at times under a state of siege, but keeping loyal to their convictions, a faithful remnant, awaiting better times.

From The Library of Congress.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Mennonites

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Murder of David van der Leyen and Levina Ghyselins, Ghent, 1554  Engraving by J. Luyken, from T. J. V. Bracht (or Thieleman van Braght), Het Bloedig Tooneel De Martelaers Spiegel...Amsterdam: J. van der Deyster, et al., 1685.

Execution of Mennonites

The above engraving depicts the execution of David van der Leyen & Levina Ghyselins, described variously as Dutch Anabaptists or Mennonites, by Catholic authorities in Ghent in 1554. Strangled & burned, van der Leyen was finally dispatched with an iron fork. Bracht's Martyr's Mirror is considered by modern Mennonites as second only in importance to the Bible in perpetuating their faith.

Persecution of the Mennonites from John Fox, The Ecclesiastical History containing the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecutiion - Lutherans from Europe

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Lutherans leaving Salzburg, 1731. Engraving by David Böecklin from Die Freundliche Bewillkommung Leipzig: 1732. Rare Books Division. The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

The Expulsion of Lutherans, the Salzburgers

On October 31, 1731, the Catholic ruler of Salzburg, Austria, Archbishop Leopold von Firmian, issued an edict expelling as many as 20,000 Lutherans from his principality. Many propertyless Lutherans, given only eight days to leave their homes, froze to death as they drifted through the winter seeking sanctuary. The wealthier ones who were allowed three months to dispose of their property fared better. Some of these Salzburgers reached London, from whence they sailed to Georgia. Others found new homes in the Netherlands and East Prussia.

Salzburgische Emigranten Engraving from [Christopher Sancke?], Ausführliche Historie derer Emigranten oder Vertriebenen Lutheraner aus dem Erz-Bistum Salzburg, Leipzig: 1732 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

A Pair of Salzburgers, Fleeing Their Homes

These religious refugees flee Salzburg carrying with them religious volumes. The man has under one arm a copy of the Augsburg Confession; under the other is a theological work by Johann Arndt (1555-1621). The woman is carrying the Bible. The legend between them says: "We are driven into exile for the Gospel's sake; we leave our homeland and are now in God's hands." At the top is a scriptural verse, Matthew 24:20. "but pray that your flight does not occur in the winter or on the Sabbath."

From The Library of Congress.
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