Persecutions of Samuel Shattuck, Quaker, Hatmaker of Salem

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Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck, by Lemuel Shattuck; pp.361-366

He was a felt-maker or hatter, in Salem…  He was admitted to the church in Salem in 1642, and was described as "a man of good repute;" but for reasons presently to be stated, he was excommunicated…

[p.362—] Samuel Shattuck, senior, son of widow Damaris Shattuck, above mentioned, was one of those who suffered persecution for "being called a Quaker."  The circumstances relating to his connection with this extraordinary persecution are detailed in Besse's "Collection of the Sufferings of the People called Quakers," Vol.II,pp.184 to 198; in "Bishop's New England Judged;" in Fox's Journal, and elsewhere; and they are so  intimately connected with the history of that period that they deserve preservation in this connection.  Some allowance should perhaps be made for the partisan character of these authors; but their statements may be considered reliable and true, in the main, since they are confirmed by other coexisting official documents.

  Several orders in relation to the Quakers were passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, between July 11, 1656, and Oct. 14, 1657, one of which enacted that any person who embraced their sentiments, or harbored those that did, should be liable to  fine, imprisonment, or other punishment.  Under these laws Lawrence Southwick and his wife Cassandra, then members of the church in Salem, were imprisoned for entertaining Christopher Holder and John Copeland, supposed to be Quakers.  Lawrence was soon discharged, but his wife was detained seven weeks, and fined forty shillings for "owning a paper of exhortation," written by Holder or Copeland.  Soon after this happened Holder attempted to speak on a certain occasion, at the close of public worship; but he was, says the account, "pulled backward by the hair of his head, and had a glove and handkerchief thrust into his mouth, and so was turned out, and with his companion, carried to Boston next day, where each of them received thirty stripes with a knotted whip of three cords, the executioner measuring his ground and fetching his strokes with all his strength, which so cruelly did cut their flesh that a woman at the sight of it fell down dead."  They afterwards suffered other punishment.

  Samuel Shattuck, above described, as "an inhabitant of Salem of good repute," was present at the meeting when Holder attempted to speak; and he "endeavored to prevent their thrusting the handkerchief into Holder's mouth lest it should have choked him; for which attempt he also was carried to Boston and imprisoned till he had given bond to answer it at the next court, and not to come to any Quaker meeting."

  In 1658, while attending a meeting at the house of Nicholas Phelps, about five miles from Salem, Samuel Shattuck, with Lawrence Southwick and his wife, Josiah their son, Samuel Gaskin, and Joshua Buffum, were apprehended by "one Butter;" and after being kept confined in a house two days, were taken before the magistrates, when the following examination took place, as reported by Besse.  "One of the prisoners asked, 'How they might know a Quaker?'  Simon Bradstreet, one of the magistrates, answered, 'Thou art one of them for coming in with thy hat on.'  They replied, 'It was a horrible thing to make such cruel laws, to whip, cut off ears, and bore through the tongue, for not putting off the hat.'  Then one of them said, 'That the Quakers held forth blasphemies at their meetings.'  To which they replied, 'They desire that they would make such a thing appear, if it were so, that they might be convinced;' and that 'they would do well to send some to their meetings, that they might hear and give account of what was done and spoken there, and not conclude of anything they knew not.'  But, said Major-General Dennison, 'If ye meet together and say anything, we may conclude that ye speak blasphemy.'"  The result of this examination was that they were sent to Boston.  After being in close confinement three weeks they addressed a letter to the magistrates at Salem, dated "From the house of bondage in Boston, wherein we are made captives by the wills of men, although made free by the Son of God. John viii.36.  In which we quietly rest this 16th of the fifth month, 1658."  This able and appropriate letter is printed in full in Besse, Vol.II.,pp.177,178; and in Bishop, pp.74,75.  It resulted in the release of Shattuck an Buffum.  It appears, however, from an original document in the handwriting of Shattuck, that he was in prison with Nicholas Phelps, three months afterwards.  It runs thus: —

 "This to ye Genl Court and to ye Magestrates and Deputys there assembled.

 "Sirs: We whose names are underwritten are kept prisoners in Ipswich, it being ye second time of our imprisonment upon ye account of ye law titled Quakers.  The Genl Court have made laws against such persons; ye laws expressing it yt they are a cursed sect of blasphemous heretics who hold diabolical doctrines.  We being sufferers under this law in our bodies, estates and families; and not being conscious to ourselves of any such thing that is justly charged upon us, do only request this much according to conscience, law and equity; yt we might have a fair and legal hearing and tryal according  to law and justice; and yt we might only upon true tryal beare ye weight of wt is justly charged upon us; either by the Genl Court, or a jury of indifferent, rational men, whose charges we shall willingly beare.  Desiring yt our cause & ye state of our families might be seriously and conscienallie weighed by you all, to whome we acknowledge ourselves subjects in all lawful things in ye Lord.

                                              Samuel Shattuck.

                                              Nicholas Phelps.

"Written from the prison in Ipswich this 19th 8 mo 1658."

  What action ws taken upon this reasonable petition does not appear.

On the 11th of May, 1659, the petitioners were taken before the Court with Lawrence, Cassandra, and Josiah Southwick, and Joshua Buffum, before mentioned, when the following trial took place, as described by Besse, Vol.II.,pp.197,198.

  "They asked the Governor [Endicot] 'what it was they required of them, whether the honor of God or themselves?'  He answered, 'They who honor those whom God sets over them honor God.'  They replied, 'It was true, but in obedience to the law they suffered;' and farther asked, 'Whether it were for that fault they were committed to prison, before the law had a being, and were banished, or what was it.'  But the court answered them not.  One of them desired the governor 'That he would be pleased to declare before the people the [p.365—] real and true causes of the proceedings against them.'  He answered, 'It was for contemning authority in not coming to the ordinances of God.'  He also added, that 'They had rebelled against the authority of the country in not departing according to their order.'  They answered, 'They had no place to go to, but had their wives, children, families and estates to look after; nor had they done anything worthy of death, banishment, or bonds, or any of the things for which they had suffered, though they had taken from them above one hundered pounds for meeting together.'  Major General Dennison replied, that 'They stood against the authority of the country in not submitting to their laws; that he should not go about to speak much concerning the error of their judgment;'but, added he, 'You and we are not able well to live together, and at present the power is in our hands, and therefore the hardest must fend off.'  After this they were put forth awhile, and being called in again, the sentence of banishment was pronounced against them, and but a fortnight's time allowed for them to depart, on pain of death, nor would they grant them any longer time, though desired.  Samuel Shattuck, Nicholas Phelps, and Josiah Southwick, were obliged to take an opportunity that presented four days after, to pass to England by Barbadoes.  The aged couple, Lawrence and Cassandra, went to Shelter Island, where shortly after they died within three days of each other.  Joshua Buffum departed to Rhode Island."  The power of attorney given by Shattuck to his wife to transact his business during his absence, is dated May 19, 1659, and is recorded in the Essex Registry of Deeds.

  After Shattuck's arrival in England he immediately laid the subject of their sufferings before King Charles II; and by the assistance of Edward Burroughs he obtained, on the 19th September 1661, a "mandamus, " commanding the magistrates and minister in New England "to forbear to proceed any farther against the people called Quakers.  Shattuck was appointed the King's Deputy to carry this mandamus to New England. An agreement was made with Ralph Goldsmith, a master of a good ship, for L300, for his conveyance.  "He immediately prepared for the voyage," says Besse, "and in about six weeks arrived in Boston harbor, on a first day of the week.  The townsmen seeing a ship with English colors, soon came on board, and asked for the captain.  Goldsmith told them he was the commander.  They asked him whether he had any letters. He answered yes; but withal told them he would not deliver them that day.  So they returned on shore again, and reported that there were many Quakers come, and that Samuel Shattuck (who they knew had been banished on pain of death,) was among them.  But they knew nothing of his errand or authority.  Thus all was kept close, and none of the ship's company suffered to go on shore that day.  Next morning Ralph Goldsmith, the commander, with Samuel Shattuck, the King's Deputy, went on shore, and sending the boat back to the ship, they went directly through the town to the governor's house, and knocked at the door.  He sending a man to know their business, they sent him word that their message was from the King of England, and that they would deliver it to none but himself.  Then they were admitted to go in, and the governor came to them, and commanded Samuel Shattuck's hat to be taken off; and having received the deputation and the mandamus he laid off his own hat, and ordering Shattuck's hat to be given him again, perused the papers, and then went out to the deputy governor's, bidding the King's Deputy, and the master of the ship to follow him.

[p.366—] Being come to the Deputy Governor, and having consulted him, he returned to the aforesaid two persons, and said, 'we shall obey the King's command.'  After this the master of the ship gave liberty to his passengers to come on shore, which they did, and had a religious meeting with their friends of the town, when they returned praises to God for his mercy manifested in this wonderful deliverance."

  In consequence of these events an order was passed by the General Court on the 27th Nov., 1661, that "the execution of the laws in force against Quakers as such, so far as they respect corporeal punishment or death, be suspended until the court take further order."  And the jailers were directed "to release and discharge the Quakers who are at present in your custody.  See that you don't neglect this."  The magistrates were evidently alarmed.  They sent Col. Temple to England to inform the King that his order had been obeyed, and that the Quakers were at liberty.  Very soon after, Rev. John Norton and Simon Bradstreet visited England in relation to the same matter.

  Thus was stayed, principally through the instrumentality of Samuel Shattuck, one of the most extraordinary persecutions this country ever witnessed.  Attempts were afterward made to renew this persecution, but it was in a comparatively mild form, and it soon ceased entirely. Mr. Shattuck, notwithstanding the prominent part he had acted in these events, was thenceforward permitted to live in Salem in peace, except in a few instances.  In 1663, he was imprisoned a few days for charging the country with shedding innocent blood.  In 1663, he was slightly fined for absence from public worship; and in 1669, he was confined for not paying one of these fines.  These are all the public notices of him which we have found upon record in connection with these events.  He seems to have possessed that independence of opinion, and that unwillingness to submit to oppression, which has ever been characteristic of the Shattuck family.

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Samuel Shattuck of Salem (misc) Thus was stayed, principally through the instrumentality of Samuel Shattuck, one of the most extraordinary persecutions this country ever witnessed.  Attempts were afterward made to renew this persecution, but it was in a comparatively mild form, and it soon ceased entirely
Samuel Shattuck of Salem First Name Samuel
Samuel Shattuck of Salem Last Name Shattuck
Samuel Shattuck of Salem Suffix
Samuel Shattuck of Salem Birth Surname Shattuck
Samuel Shattuck of Salem Living Status Deceased
Samuel Shattuck of Salem Gender Male
Samuel Shattuck of Salem Occupation Felt maker; hat maker
Samuel Shattuck of Salem (misc) Samuel Shattuck, senior, son of widow Damaris Shattuck, above mentioned, was one of those who suffered persecution for "being called a Quaker."

Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States

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Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck, by Lemuel Shattuck; pp.361-366

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