6 years ago: A remonstrance

October 23, 2007, here on slacktivist: A remonstrance

The sadly neglected Hart, by the way, was a descendant of Edward Hart, who in 1657 wrote the “Flushing Remonstrance.” That sounds like a reference to the epic collapse that occurred this September at Shea Stadium, but it’s actually a rather important little piece of American history.

Gov. Peter Stuyvesant had ordered the good people of Flushing to expel Quakers and other “damnable” heretics from his colony. The good people of Flushing responded with their Remonstrance:

Wee desire therefore in this case not to judge lest we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master.

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 provide our consciences.

In short,”We’re for religious freedom, so take a hike guv.”

Stuyvesant retaliated by declaring a colony-wide “Day of Prayer for the purpose of repenting from the sin of religious tolerance.” The dispute continued for several years before the Remonstrance won the day. The name of the colony was then changed to reflect this new official policy that everybody is welcome and nobody can tell anybody else what to believe. That’s what “New York” means.


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