Saturday, September 23, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. 

The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.


Friday, September 22, 2017

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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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 Timeline

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 & 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 practiced 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. Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim, are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis & emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced c. 1000 on the Iberian Peninsula.

The Jewish Naturalization Act of 1753, an attempt to legalize the Jewish presence in England, remained in force for only a few months. 

Historians commonly date Britain's Jewish Emancipation to either 1829 or 1858, when Jews were finally allowed to sit in Parliament, though Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881, born Jewish, had been a Member of Parliament long before this.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. 

The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.


Monday, September 18, 2017

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

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.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

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 these Churches 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 to believe, 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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fleeing to America - Persecution of Jesuits by English Protestants


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..

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Hugenots by Catholics

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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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..

Saturday, September 9, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Catholics by Hugenots

Frightful Outrages perpetrated by the Huguenots in France. Engraving from Richard Verstegen, Théâtre des Cruautez des Hérétiques de notre temps Antwerp: Adrien Hubert, 1607.

Persecution of Catholics by Huguenots

Huguenots became known for their harsh criticisms of doctrine and worship in the Catholic Church from which they had broken away. In particular they criticised the sacramental rituals of the Church and what they viewed as an obsession with death and the dead. They believed that the ritual, images, saints, pilgrimages, prayers, and hierarchy of the Catholic Church did not help anyone toward redemption. They saw Christian life as something to be expressed as a life of simple faith in God, relying upon God for salvation, and not upon the Church's sacraments or rituals, while obeying Biblical law.

Like other religious reformers of the time, they felt that the Catholic Church needed radical cleansing of its impurities. They thought the Pope ruled the Church as if it was a worldly kingdom, and was ultimately doomed. Rhetoric like this became fiercer as events unfolded, and eventually stirred up a reaction in the Catholic establishment.

The Catholic Church in France and many of its members opposed the Huguenots. Some Huguenot preachers and congregants were attacked as they attempted to meet for worship. The height of this persecution was the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre when 5,000 to 30,000 were killed, although there were also underlying political reasons for this as well, as some of the Huguenots were nobles trying to establish separate centers of power in southern France. Retaliating against the French Catholics, the Huguenots had their own militia.

In the areas of France they controlled, Huguenots at least matched the harshness of the persecutions of their Catholic opponents. In the above image, Atrocities A, B, and C, depictions that are possibly exaggerated for use as propaganda, are located by the author in St. Macaire, Gascony. In scene A, a priest is disemboweled, his entrails wound up on a stick until they are torn out. In illustration B a priest is buried alive, and in C Catholic children are hacked to pieces. Scene D, alleged to have occurred in the village of Mans, was "too loathsome" for 19C commentator to translate from the French. It shows a priest whose genitalia were cut off and grilled. Forced to eat his roasted private parts, the priest was then dissected by his torturers, so they could observe him digesting his meal.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fleeing to America - Persecution - German Dunkers, New Baptists, Brethern

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.
'Dunker' Meeting House in Maryland was probably built in the 1750's
The Dunker movement was an offshoot of the German Pietist movement of the late 17th century. The movement began in Germany in 1708 as part of the spiritual awakening called Pietism. In that year a small group led by Alexander Mack (1679 - 1735) baptized one another by immersion, face down, in a flowing stream: this form of Baptism became a distinctive practice. The Neue Täufer, or “New Baptists,” as they initially called themselves, believe in trine baptism, which involves fully immersing someone three times, representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This led to widespread mockery, and the nickname “Dunkers” for adherents to this sect.

Mack and his followers migrated to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1719. Persecuted by the state church in Germany, other Dunkers immigrated to America from 1719 to 1729. Their first church in what is now the United States was organized in 1723. The Dunkers are most numerous in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and North Dakota.
German Baptist Meeting House in Pennsylvania

Dunkers were more commonly known as the German Baptist Brethren. The term Brethren identifies several Christian groups of common origin, at an earlier date frequently called "Dunkers," of which the Church of the Brethren is today the largest. The Church of the Brethren is one of the historic "peace churches" in the United States. In doctrine the Brethren adhere to the New Testament and accept no creeds. They hold the Bible to be the inspired and infallible word of God and accept the New Testament as their only rule of faith and practice. They believe in the Trinity, in the divinity of Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in future rewards and punishments. Faith, repentance, and baptism are held to be the conditions of salvation. In practice the Brethren closely follow the teachings of the Bible and observe the primitive simplicity of the Apostolic church.

At the basis of their belief is a commitment to peace. They enjoin plainness of dress, settle difficulties among themselves without civil law, affirm instead of taking oath, oppose secret societies, and advise against the use of tobacco and the manufacture, sale, and use of intoxicants. As early as 1782 the Brethren prohibited slavery and vehemently denounced the slave trade. A traditional ban on participation in politics has been relaxed somewhat in recent years.The Eucharist is celebrated in the evening, after the serving of a simple common meal. Before this meal the ordinance of foot washing is observed, and afterward the members extend the right hand of fellowship and exchange the kiss of peace. Bishops (or elders), ministers, and deacons are elected by the congregations. Congregations are organized into state districts; both units elect delegates to the annual conference.
Dunker Love Feast 1883

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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 


The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fleeing to America - Jews & their early settlements

For some decades Jews had flourished in Dutch-held areas of Brazil; but a Portuguese conquest of the area in 1654, confronted them with the prospect of the Inquisition, which had already burned a Brazilian Jew at the stake in 1647.  A shipload of 23 Jewish refugees from Dutch Brazil arrived in New Amsterdam (soon to become New York) in 1654. By the next year, this small community had established religious services in the city.
Luis de Carabajal y Cueva, a Spanish conquistador and converso first set foot in what is now Texas in 1570. The 1st recorded Jewish-born person to arrive on American soil was Joachim Gans in 1584. 

Elias Legarde was a Sephardic Jew who arrived at James City, Virginia, on the Abigail in 1621. According to one historian, Elias was from Languedoc, France and was hired to go to the Colony to teach people how to grow grapes for wine. Elias Legarde was living in Buckroe in Elizabeth City in February of 1624. Elias was employed by Anthonie Bonall. Anthonie Bonall was a French silk maker and vigneron (cultivates vineyards for winemaking), one of the men from Languedoc sent to the colony by John Bonall, keeper of the silkworms of King James I.  In 1628 Elias leased 100 acres on the west side of Harris Creek in Elizabeth City, Virginia. 


Josef Mosse and Rebecca Isaake are documented in Elizabeth City in 1624. John Levy patented 200 acres of land on the main branch of Powell’s Creek, Virginia, around 1648, Albino Lupo who traded with his brother, Amaso de Tores, in London. Two brothers named Silvedo and Manuel Rodriguez are documented to be in Lancaster County, Virginia, around 1650. None of the Jews in Virginia were forced to leave under any conditions.


Solomon Franco, a Sephardic Jew from Holland who is believed to have settled in the city of Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colonyin 1649. Franco was a scholar & agent for Immanuel Perada, a Dutch merchant. He delivered supplies to Edward Gibbons, a major general in the Massachusetts militia. After a dispute over who should pay Franco (Gibbons or Perada) the Massachusetts General Court ruled on May 6, 1649, that Franco was to be expelled from the colony, and granted him "six shillings per week out of the Treasury for ten weeks, for sustenance, till he can get his passage to Holland."

On July 8, 1654, Jacob Barsimson left Holland and arrived aboard the Peartree on August 22 in the port of New Amsterdam (in lower Manhattan, where Wall Street is today). Barsimson was employed by the Dutch East India Company and had fled the Portuguese.


In September 1654, 23 Jews from the Sephardic community in the Brazil, arrived in New Amsterdam (New York City).  Barsimson is said to have met them at The Battery upon their arrival. This group was made up of 23 Dutch Jews (4 couples, 2 widows, and 13 children). Like Barsimson, they had fled from a former Dutch settlement; the group had emigrated from Pernambuco in Dutch Brazil (now called Recife), after the settlement was conquered by the Portuguese. Fearing the Inquisition, the Jews left Recife. They originally docked in Jamaica and Cuba, but the Spanish did not allow them to remain there. Their ship, Ste. Catherine, went to New Amsterdam instead, settling against the wishes of local merchants and the local Dutch Reformed Church. 

Colonial governor Peter Stuyvesant, upon complaint from his local church groups, attempted to have the Jews expelled. He wrote a letter to the directors of the Dutch West India Company dated September 22, 1654: "The Jews who have arrived would nearly all like to remain here, but learning that they (with their customary usury and deceitful trading with the Christians) were very repugnant to the inferior magistrates, as also to the people having the most affection for you; the Deaconry also fearing that owing to their present indigence they might become a charge in the coming winter, we have, for the benefit of this weak and newly developing place and the land in general, deemed it useful to require them in a friendly way to depart, praying also most seriously in this connection, for ourselves as also for the general community of your worships, that the deceitful race—such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ—be not allowed to further infect and trouble this new colony to the detraction of your worships and the dissatisfaction of your worships' most affectionate subjects." 


However, among the directors of the Dutch West India Company included several influential Jews, who interceded on the refugees' behalf. Company officials rebuffed Stuyvesant and ordered him in a letter dated April 26, 1655, to let the Jews remain in New Amsterdam, "provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the company or to the community, but be supported by their own nation..."We would have liked to effectuate and fulfill your wishes and request that the new territories should no more be allowed to be infected by people of the Jewish nation, for we foresee therefrom the same difficulties which you fear, but after having further weighed and considered the matter, we observe that this would be somewhat unreasonable and unfair, especially because of the considerable loss sustained by this nation, with others, in the taking of Brazil, as also because of the large amount of capital which they still have invested in the shares of this company. Therefore after many deliberations we have finally decided and resolved to apostille [annotate] upon a certain petition presented by said Portuguese Jews that these people may travel and trade to and in New Netherland and live and remain there, provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the company or to the community, but be supported by their own nation. You will now govern yourself accordingly." 


Upon the capture of the colony by the English in 1664, the rights enjoyed by the Jews were not interfered with, and for twenty years they appear to have lived much as before the British occupation, though with slight increase in their numbers. 
Solomon Pietersen was a merchant from Amsterdam who came to town in 1654. In 1656, Pietersen became the first known American Jew to intermarry with a Christian; though there are no records showing Pietersen formally converted, his daughter Anna was baptized in childhood.

Asser Levy (Van Swellem) is first mentioned in public records in New Amsterdam in 1654 in connection with the group of 23 Jews who arrived as refugees from Brazil. It is likely he preceded their arrival. Levy was the (kosher) butcher for the small Jewish community. He fought for Jewish rights in the Dutch colony and is famous for having secured the right of Jews to be admitted as Burghers and to serve guard duty for the colony.
In New York City, Shearith Israel Congregation is the oldest continuous congregation started in 1687, having their first synagogue erected in 1728, & its current building still houses some of the original pieces of that first.

Jews had previously been barred from settling in English colonies, as they had been banned from all English lands for 400 years. Oliver Cromwell (British Protector from 1649 through 1660, through his son Richard) lifted this prohibition. 


Religious tolerance was also established elsewhere in the colonies; the colony of South Carolina, for example, was originally governed under an elaborate charter drawn up in 1669, by the English philosopher John Locke. This charter granted liberty of conscience to all settlers, expressly mentioning "Jews, heathens, and dissenters."  As a result, Charleston, South Carolina has a particularly long history of Sephardic settlement, which in 1816, numbered over 600, then the largest Jewish population of any city in the United States.


By 1658, Jews had arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, seeking religious liberty. Sephardic Dutch Jews were among the early settlers of Newport (where Touro Synagogue, the country's oldest surviving synagogue building, stands).  Small numbers of Jews continued to come to the British North American colonies, settling mainly in the seaport towns like Savannah, Philadelphia, & Baltimore. By the time of American Revolution, the Jewish population in America was very small, with only 1,000-2000, in a colonial population of about 2.5 million.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Quakers in America 17C-18C

Hugh Barbour and J. William Frost, The Quakers (1988). History.com  

The Society of Friends, or Quakers, began at the tail end of Europe’s Protestant Reformation in the 17th century. The missionary efforts of the earliest Friends took them to North America, where they became heavily involved in Pennsylvania politics before reversing their views on government participation in the mid-1750s. The Society became the first organization in history to ban slaveholding, and in the 1800s Quakers populated the abolitionist movement in numbers far exceeding their proportion of all Americans. 

Because the Protestant reformers of the 16C attempted to eliminate intermediaries between God and people, the Society of Friends, or Quakers, may be regarded as the fullest expression of the Reformation. Most reformers rejected some sacraments and priestly offices of the Roman Catholic church, but the Quakers omitted them all, including baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and any ordained, paid clergy. Quakers instead relied upon the direction of what they called “Christ within” or the Inner Light. Their worship consisted of waiting in silence until the Inner Light led members to share their religious concerns with the brethren.

To most Protestants, this primary reliance on inward inspiration depreciated the authority of the Bible, the centrality of the historical Jesus and the Atonement, and hierarchy within church, state, and family. The earliest Quakers (in England, 1651-1660) seemed to confirm the worst suspicions of their critics by proselytizing with abandon and adding thousands to their numbers. Then and later, they were persecuted as “ranters” or anarchists. Even within the Society of Friends the significance of the Atonement and the Bible remained an unsettling question, causing schisms, especially in the nineteenth century. But Quakers enjoyed a complementary freedom from biblicism that permitted the Society uniquely to innovate and change radically over the centuries. Quaker abolitionism was one such innovation.

The missionary efforts of the earliest Friends, including founder George Fox, took them to North America where, as in England, they were persecuted. Massachusetts Bay Colony executed four. Quaker colonization of America, however, offered the prospect of a refuge and more. In contrast to other radical offspring of the Reformation, such as the Amish, Quakers believed that government was divinely instituted and virtuous men and women must help make it operate as God intended. No Quaker did more to enlist his brethren into public service than William Penn. In Pennsylvania, a responsive government of virtuous men would encourage peace, justice, charity, spiritual equality, and liberty for the benefit not just of Quakers but also of Native Americans and non-English refugees from Europe. It was to be a “Holy Experiment” and, in its way, as much a “City on a Hill” as New England.

Although the reality fell short of Penn’s utopian hopes, it still succeeded mightily in the opinion of immigrants and posterity. Ambition, envy, and avarice produced thirty years of tumultuous politics in the new province and left Penn convinced that his experiment had failed. But at the same time, Pennsylvania gained a reputation as the “best poor man’s country,” free of feudal elites, established churches, tithes, discriminatory oaths, high taxes, compulsory military service, and war. While Pennsylvania prospered, Quakers prospered more than others. They always composed the majority of the elite merchants of colonial Philadelphia as well as the most prosperous farmers of the eastern counties.

Although at odds with each other politically, Quakers nevertheless dominated the government of Pennsylvania. By 1740 Quaker politicians had become sufficiently anxious about their ever-declining proportion of the population and their more aggressive political enemies that they closed ranks and formed possibly the most formidable Whig political organization in colonial America, the Quaker party.

Ironically, political hegemony and social and economic preeminence raised dissenting voices among Friends, and in the 1750s they determined to reverse the direction the Society had taken since 1682. They believed that Quaker participation in government had brought with it intolerable compromises in such Quaker beliefs as pacifism and that many Friends, especially wealthy ones, had assimilated “worldly” secular behavior. After another generation there would be nothing left of Quakerism but the name, lamented one dissenter. To restore the integrity of the Society, reformers insisted on strict enforcement of all its mores, especially endogamy, and in the violence brought to Pennsylvania by the French and Indian War, they demanded that Quakers resign from public office rather than become bellicose. On the social front they moved quickly against deviancy, expelling more than one in five Friends by 1775, but not until the more intense public crisis of the Revolution did all Friends leave public office and the Holy Experiment completely end.

This sectarian revival in the Society brought with it an outburst of philanthropy and testimonies that have become synonymous with Quakerism. From 1755 to 1776, the Society became the first organization in history to ban slaveholding, and Quakers created abolition societies to promote emancipation. In the next century, Quakers populated the abolitionist movement in numbers far exceeding their proportion of all Americans. Some labored for such gradual solutions as the colonization of freedmen, while more conspicuous Quaker abolitionists espoused immediate emancipation. The latter were critically important to organizations like the American Anti-Slavery Society, the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, and the Female Antislavery Society, and to active resistance such as the “underground railway” in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Following the example of eighteenth-century abolitionist Anthony Benezet, Friends showed an interest in the education and social progress of blacks. During Reconstruction, American and English Quakers raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for freedmen’s relief and established scores of schools for freedmen.

Penn’s legendary friendship with Native Americans partly underlay Quakers’ renewed pacifism during the French and Indian War and their concurrent departure from government. Thereafter they continued to pursue justice and charity for Native Americans and in the post-Civil War era lobbied and cooperated with the federal government in the administration of Indian affairs in the trans-Mississippi West.

Women Friends shared in all these testimonies and philanthropies. Since the 1650s when Margaret Fell invaluably aided George Fox, whom she later married, women’s role and status in the Society of Friends more closely approached equality with men’s than in any other Christian church. Preaching and ministering to mixed audiences, traveling extensively unaccompanied by men, regulating the lives of fellow Quaker women without men’s assistance (such as in church discipline and marriage arrangements), Quaker women knew a sphere of activity and attained a range of skills that surpassed those of their non-Quaker cohorts. Not surprisingly, historian Mary Maples Dunn found that in nineteenth-century America Quaker women comprised 40 percent of female abolitionists, 19 percent of feminists born before 1830, and 15 percent of suffragists born before 1830.

Although Quakers never returned to public office in any great number after 1776, they never retreated from politics. They believed that out of office, immune to the verdict of the ballot box, they could serve as democracy’s conscience better than ever before.

Although a more regimented Society emerged from the 18C reformation, the Society almost never disciplined a Friend over theology. That tolerance ended in the nineteenth century, however. In 1827 the venerable Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends split into an evangelical group (called the “orthodox”) and a liberal group (called “Hicksite”). In succeeding years, divisions increased, spreading to other areas and yearly meetings of America and also subdividing already fractured meetings. Anxiety over Unitarian theology, languishing membership, industrialization, and the disciplinary powers of meetings, among other things, contributed to the splits. Quaker energies and voices, which had been better focused since the 1750s, became dissipated in intramural recriminations. Quakers continued to practice antislavery, pacifism, and their traditional philanthropies, but not as one body.

17C British Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677)

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Quakers from England

Early Quaker Meeting where men & women + dogs & cats are not separated. 
The Quakers (or Religious Society of Friends) formed in England in 1652 around a charismatic leader, George Fox (1624-1691).
George Fox (1624-1691) wrote a letter of caution "To Friends beyond sea, that have Blacks and Indian slaves" in 1657. In 1671 he visited Barbados and urged Friends to treat their slaves better; his preaching in Barbados was subsequently published in London in 1676 as "Gospel Family-Order." This provided the beginnings of Quaker opposition to slavery. Following Fox, other Quakers became concerned over the treatment of slaves & formed the first abolition committee. Quakers remained instrumental in the anti-slavery campaign.
1700s English woodcut of a Quaker. Many scholars today consider Quakers as radical Puritans, because the Quakers carried to extremes many Puritan convictions. They stretched the sober deportment of the Puritans into a glorification of "plainness."
Quaker Meeting
Theologically, they expanded the Puritan concept of a church of individuals regenerated by the Holy Spirit to the idea of the indwelling of the Spirit or the "Light of Christ" in every person. Such teaching struck many of the Quakers' contemporaries as dangerous heresy. Quakers were severely persecuted in England for daring to deviate so far from orthodox Christianity.
Gracechurch Street Meeting, London ca.1779.
By 1680, 10,000 Quakers had been imprisoned in England, and 243 had died of torture and mistreatment in the King's jails. This reign of terror impelled Friends to seek refuge in New Jersey in the 1670s, where they soon became well entrenched.
English punishment 1656-Quaker whipped behind wagon
When Quaker leader William Penn (1644-1718) parlayed a 1681 debt owed by Charles II to his father into a charter for the province of Pennsylvania, many more Quakers were prepared to grasp the opportunity to live in a land where they might worship freely.
Quaker Synod
By 1685, as many as 8,000 Quakers had come to Pennsylvania. Although the Quakers may have resembled the Puritans in some religious beliefs and practices, they differed with them over the necessity of compelling religious uniformity in society.
Penn’s Treaty by the Pennsylvania Quaker folk artist Edward Hicks (1780–1849)
"One Almighty and eternal God . . . shall in no wayes be molested or prejudiced for their Religious Perswasion or Practice in matters of Faith and Worship, nor shall they be compelled at any time to frequent or maintain any Religious Worship, Place or Ministry whatever."
Quaker Meeting
Pennsylvania became a reference point a century later for Americans opposing plans for government-supported religion. "Witness the state of Pennsylvania," a group of Virginians urged its House of Delegates in 1785, "wherein no such [religious] Establishment hath taken place; their Government stands firm and which of the neighbouring States has Members of brighter Morals and more upright Characters."