Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1607–1764
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. I–II: Colonial Literature, 1607–1764
 
How the Separatists Paid Debts to Them That Were without
By Thomas Morton (1575–1646)
 
[From New English Canaan. 1632.]

THERE was an honest man, one Mr. Innocence Fairecloath, by Mr. Mathias Charterparty sent over into New Canaan, to raise a very good merchantable commodity for his benefit; the whiles the man was bound by covenant to stay for a time and to employ such servants as did there belong to Mr. Charterparty. He disdained the tenets of the Separatists, and they also (finding him to be none) disdained to be employed by a carnal man (as they termed him), and sought occasion against him to do him a mischief. Intelligence was conveyed to Mr. Charterparty, that this man was a member of the Church of England, and therefore (in their account) an enemy to their church and state. And (to the end they might have some color against him) some of them practised to get into his debt; which he not mistrusting suffered and gave credit for such commodity as he had sold at a price. When the day of payment came, instead of moneys (he being at that time sick and weak, and stood in need of the beaver he had contracted for) he had an epistle full of zealous exhortations, to provide for the soul and not to mind these transitory things that perished with the body; and to bethink himself whether his conscience would be so prompt to demand so great a sum of beaver as had been contracted for. He was further exhorted therein to consider he was but a steward for a time, and by all likelihood was going to give up an account of his stewardship, and therefore persuaded the creditor not to load his conscience with such a burden, which he was bound by the Gospel to ease him of (if it were possible), and for that cause he had framed this epistle in such a friendly manner to put him in mind of it. The perusal of this (lapped in the paper) was as bad as a potion to the creditor to see his debtor Master Subtilety, a zealous professor as he thought, to deride him in this extremity, that he could not choose (in admiration of the deceit) but cast out these words:
  1
  “Are these your members? If they be all like these, I believe the devil was the setter of their church.”  2
  This was called in question, when Mr. Fairecloath least thought of it. Captain Littleworth must be the man must press it against him, for blasphemy against the Church of Salem, and to great Josua Temperwell he goes with a bitter accusation, to have Master Innocence made an example for all carnal men, to presume to speak the least word that might tend to the dishonor of the Church of Salem, yea, the mother Church of all that holy land.  3
  And he convented was before their synagogue, where no defence would serve his turn, yet was there none to be seen to accuse him save the court alone.  4
  The time of his sickness nor the urgent cause were not allowed to be urged for him; but whatsoever could be thought upon against him was urged, seeing he was a carnal man of them that are without. So that it seems by those proceedings there the matter was adjudged before he came, he only brought to hear his sentence in public, which was to have his tongue bored through; his nose slit; his face branded; his ears cut; his body to be whipped in every several plantation of their jurisdiction; and a fine of forty pounds imposed, with perpetual banishment; and (to execute this vengeance) Shackles (the deacon of Charles Town) was as ready as Mephistopheles when Doctor Faustus was bent upon mischief.  5
  He is the purser-general of New Canaan, who (with his whip, with knots most terrible) takes this man unto the counting house, there capitulates with him, why he should be so hasty for payment, when God’s dear children must pay as they are able; and he weeps, and sobs, and his handkerchief walks as a sign of his sorrow for Master Fairecloath’s sin, that he should bear no better affection to the Church and the saints of New Canaan; and strips Innocence the while and comforts him.  6
  Though he be made to stay for payment, he should not think it long; the payment would be sure when it did come, and he should have his due to a doit; he should not wish for a token more, and then told it him down in such manner, that he made Fairecloath’s innocent back, like the picture of Rawhead and bloody bones, and his shirt like pudding wife’s apron. In this employment Shackles takes a great felicity and glories in the practice of it. This cruel sentence was stopped in part by Sir Christopher Gardiner (then present at the execution) by expostulating with Master Temperwell, who was content (with that whipping, and the cutting of part of his ears) to send Innocence going, with the loss of all his goods to pay the fine imposed and perpetual banishment out of their lands of New Canaan in terrorem populi.  7
  Lo, this is the payment you shall get, if you be one of them they term “without.”  8
 
 
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