History of The Puritans

They say they came to this country for freedom of conscience freedom to worship God. They repeat that story on every anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims, in every abolition newspaper, and in every Puritan school book, Sunday school, and church. They have repeated it so often, that they believe it themselves.

Since the flagrant falsehood invented by Satan in the Garden of Eden, there has not been as monstrous a fabrication. The plain, historical facts are these:

Sir William Dugdale, (quoted by Dr. Coit, in his admirable History of the Puritans,) in his work upon "the late troubles in England," published in 1681, advances the opinion that the Puritans were first imported into England from the Continent, in the reign of King Edward VI., and were even then such disturbers of public peace that Calvin would have had Somerset, the Protector during Edward's minority, restrain them "by the avenging sword." The leaven of Puritanism was working in England before the days of Queen Elizabeth. Dr. Cort tells us that the very emblem of it (a round head) was well known in Germany, long before its appearance on English shores. The fanatics of Germany were the first fathers of English Puritanism. From the first, their prominent characteristic was an intense greed for place and pelf, gilded over by an affectation of peculiar purity. They always had their hands clasped and their eyes upturned in an attitude of devotion, but the insides of the palms were itching for the fatsoes of the Bishops, and their eyes were always roving for golden prospects. Many of the most sagacious men of England saw at a glance what they were after. Old Isaac Walton calls them "pretenders to tenderness of conscience. "and trying to bring such odium upon the Bishops as to procure the alienation of their lands, and a large proportion for themselves and their tools. "The same spirit," says Dr. Lolme, "which had made an attack on the established faith, now directed itself to polities."> Said an eminent and far-seeing English prelate, in 1573; "These men do but begin with the Church, that they might offer have the freer access to the State." Pierce, their own advocate, admits that it was not toleration they wanted of England, but the power to persecute others. "But I fear, "he says, "could they have obtained their desire of the Parliament, the platform they proposed must have been established by some persecuting laws." They had a terrible sort of conspirator's oath, as early as 1573, which was the egg that hatched all the mischief which they worked in Church and State.--They were the most patient and persistent of mankind, beginning with a war upon outward ceremonies of the Church, which they intended should terminate, and which did terminate, in the overthrow of the crown. They were root and branch men: their favorite text was, "Not a hoof shall be left behind." That is what they mean still in their war upon slavery. There were three grades of Puritans, the most rabid and violent of which was called the Brownists, and it is from these Brownists that the New England Puritans are descended. These men, with all the outcry of persecution which they have raised, carried it to greater extremes, when they had the power, than their enemies ever did. It is a remarkable fact, too, that the Puritans are the only English who proved faithless to their country when England was threatened by the Spanish Armada.

They say now they left England and came to the United States for freedom of conscience. They left England because they could not lord it over others; they left England, calling the Church of England, by whom they now pretend they were persecuted to death, their "dear mother, " as Judge Story, of Puritan descent, proved in his address before the Essex Historical Society, Sept. 18, 1828; they left England because their principle always was Aut Casar, aut nullus, and they went not to America, but to Holland. There they lived eleven years, the Hollanders, who were Presbyterians, according to them perfect liberty of conscience. There they might have lived forever, unmolested and comfortable. But they could not live in peace and content even with Dutchmen. And why did they leave Holland? In another number we shall answer that question and show that their "freedom to worship God" simply meant freedom to make more money and to persecute other people.

Source: Richmond Daily Dispatch - January 23, 1861

Continued...