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AND

THE

EARLY RELIGIOUS LEGISLATION

OF MASSACHUSETTS.

A LECTURE

IN A

COURSE ON THE EARLY HISTORY OF MASSACHUSETTS, BY MEMBERS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS

HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

At the Lowell Institute, Boston,

DELIVERED FEB. 9, 1869.

BY JOEL PARKER.

BOSTON:

PRESS OF JOHN WILSON AND SON.

1869.

U.S. 12678.20

1869. may 4

life the author

THE FIRST CHARTER

AND

THE EARLY RELIGIOUS LEGISLATION

OF MASSACHUSETTS.

IT
T has been regarded as a subject of complacency, that we

know our origin, and can trace our history; that while other communities seek their early history in the mists of conjecture, or the myths of tradition, we can trace our own, in that documentary evidence which gives the greatest degree of certainty.

To a considerable extent, this is true. And yet there are particulars, essential to a right understanding of the principles upon which the original settlement of Massachusetts was made, respecting which there has been, and now is, such a diversity and discrepancy of opinion, after all the discussions of two hundred years, and after the labors of the Massachusetts Historical Society, for three quarters of a century, in collecting documents in regard to the subject, that the Ends and Aims of the first settlers of Massachusetts furnish the leading topic of the present course of lectures, in the hope that the errors which have prevailed on that subject may be corrected, and the purposes and objects of the founders of the Commonwealth may be more clearly and generally understood.

It is not surprising that there should be misconception upon this subject, when it is considered that the materials of the history of that time are widely dispersed, and often contradictory; malice manufacturing misrepresentations, prejudice engendering error, and mistake and carelessness causing fact and fiction to be so intermingled, that it is not seldom that the discovery of truth is a laborious task.

How many persons there are in the community, who, at this day, suppose that the celebrated so-called “ Blue Laws of Con

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