Remonstrance of the Inhabitants of the Town of Flushing to Governor Stuyvesant,
December 27, 1657
You have been pleased to send unto us a certain prohibition or command that we should not receive or entertain any of those people called Quakers because they are supposed to be, by some, seducers of the people. For our part we cannot condemn them in this case, neither can we stretch out our hands against them, for out of Christ God is a consuming fire, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Wee desire therefore in this case not to judge least we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master. Wee are bounde by the law to do good unto all men, especially to those of the household of faith. And though for the present we seem to be unsensible for the law and the Law giver, yet when death and the Law assault us, if wee have our advocate to seeke, who shall plead for us in this case of conscience betwixt God and our own souls; the powers of this world can neither attach us, neither excuse us, for if God justifye who can condemn and if God condemn there is none can justifye.
And for those jealousies and suspicions which some have of them, that they are destructive unto Magistracy and Ministerye, that cannot bee, for the Magistrate hath his sword in his hand and the Minister hath the sword in his hand, as witnesse those two great examples, which all Magistrates and Ministers are to follow, Moses and Christ, whom God raised up maintained and defended against all enemies both of flesh and spirit; and therefore that of God will stand, and that which is of man will come to nothing. And as the Lord hath taught Moses or the civil power to give an outward liberty in the state, by the law written in his heart designed for the good of all, and can truly judge who is good, who is evil, who is true and who is false, and can pass definitive sentence of life or death against that man which arises up against the fundamental law of the States General; soe he hath made his ministers a savor of life unto life and a savor of death unto death.
The law of love, peace and liberty in the states extending to Jews, Turks and Egyptians, as they are considered sons of Adam, which is the glory of the outward state of Holland, soe love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemns hatred, war and bondage. And because our Saviour sayeth it is impossible but that offences will come, but woe unto him by whom they cometh, our desire is not to offend one of his little ones, in whatsoever form, name or title hee appears in, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker, but shall be glad to see any thing of God in any of them, desiring to doe unto all men as we desire all men should doe unto us, which is the true law both of Church and State; for our Saviour sayeth this is the law and the prophets.
Therefore if any of these said persons come in love unto us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them, but give them free egresse and regresse unto our Town, and houses, as God shall persuade our consciences, for we are bounde by the law of God and man to doe good unto all men and evil to noe man. And this is according to the patent and charter of our Towne, given unto us in the name of the States General, which we are not willing to infringe, and violate, but shall houlde to our patent and shall remaine, your humble subjects, the inhabitants of Vlishing. Written this 27th of December in the year 1657, by mee. Edward Hart, Clericus
Tobias Feake, Nathaniell Tue, The marke of William Noble, Nicholas Blackford, William Thorne, Seignior, The marke of Micah Tue, The marke of William Thorne, Jr., The marke of Philip Ud, Edward Tarne, Robert Field, senior, John Store, Robert Field, junior, Nathaniel Hefferd, Nich Colas Parsell, Benjamin Hubbard, Michael Milner, The marke of William Pidgion, Henry Townsend, The marke of George Clere, George Wright, Elias Doughtie, John Foard, Antonie Field, Henry Semtell, Richard Stockton, Edward Hart, Edward Griffine, John Mastine, John Townesend, Edward Farrington
Richard Stockton (c.1635-1707) was one of the 30 brave souls who on December 27, 1657, signed the Flushing Remonstrance. The inhabitants of the town of Vlissingen / Vlissing (now Flushing, Long Island, New York) were mostly English, but they were living in Dutch controlled New Netherland. The Flushing Remonstrance was protesting Governor Petrus Stuyvesant's policy that they "should not receive or entertain any of those people called Quakers." Petrus Stuyvesant was the Dutch Governor of New Netherland and a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, the official religious institution of New Netherland. The Flushing Remonstrance was an important part in the establishment of freedom of religion in America. Note by Jerry Stockton.