Sale Of The Southwicks

Bitter were the persecutions endured by Quakers at the hands of the

Puritans. They were flogged if they were restless in church, and flogged

if they did not go to it. Their ears were slit and they were set in the

stocks if they preached, and if any tender-hearted person gave them bed,

bite, or sup, he, too, was liable to punishment. They were charged with

the awful offence of preaching false doctrine, and no matter how pure

their lives might be, the stern Salemite would concede no good of them

while their faith was different from his. They even suspected Cobbler

Keezar of mischief when he declared that his magic lapstone which Agrippa

had torn from the tower at Nettesheim--gave him a vision of the time when

men would be as glad as nature, when the snuffler of psalms would sing

for joy, when priests and Quakers would talk together kindly, when

pillory and gallows should be gone. Poor Keezar! In ecstasy at that

prospect he flung up his arms, and his lapstone rolled into the

Merrimack. The tired mill-girls of Lowell still frequent the spot to seek

some dim vision of future comfort.

In contrast to the tales of habitual tyranny toward the Quakers is the

tradition of the Southwicks. Lawrence and Cassandra, of that name, were

banished from Salem, in spite of their blameless lives, for they had

embraced Quakerism. They died within three days of each other on Shelter

Island, but their son and daughter, Daniel and Provided, returned to

their birthplace, and were incessantly fined for not going to church. At

last, having lost their property through seizures made to satisfy their

fines, the General Court of Boston issued an order for their sale, as

slaves, to any Englishman of Virginia or Barbadoes. Edward Butter was

assigned to sell and take them to their master. The day arrived and Salem

market-place was crowded with a throng of the curious. Provided Southwick

mounted the block and Butter began to call for bids. While expatiating on

the aptness of the girl for field or house-service, the master of the

Barbadoes ship on which Butter had engaged passage for himself and his

two charges looked into her innocent face, and roared, in noble dudgeon,

If my ship were filled with silver, by God, I'd sink her in harbor

rather than take away this child! The multitude experienced a quick

change of feeling and applauded the sentiment. As the judges and officers

trudged away with gloomy faces, Provided Southwick descended from the

auction-block, and brother and sister went forth into the town free and


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