Remonstrance of the Inhabitants of the Town of Flushing To Governor Stuyvesant

This is America’s first expression of public conviction on the matter of religious freedom. In response to Governor Stuyvesant’s public proclamation that all who housed QuakersThe Quaker movement, properly known as the Society of Friends, had its beginnings in 17th century England with George Fox (1624-91), whose form of worship was liturgically sparse, relying on silence and the inspiring movement of the Inner Light, the spiri... in their homes were to be fined 50 florins, the townspeople of Flushing (Queens), New York met to prepare a protest. A “remonstrance” is a presentation of reasons to oppose a stated policy, a common form of expressing public opinion in Holland. The Flushing Remonstrance (adapted here into modern English) was read and approved by townspeople meeting at the home of Michael Milner on December 27, 1657.


Right Honorable,

You have been pleased to send up 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, to punish, banish or persecute them, for out of Christ GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality. is a consuming fire, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living GodThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities..

We 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 and fall to his own Master. We are bound 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 of the law and the Law giver, yet when death and the Law assault us, if we have our advocate to seek, who shall plead for us in this case of conscience betwixt God and our own soulsThe soul is the inner spirit, the life-essence of a person, regarded in many religious traditions as Divine. In the Hindu tradition, the atman or pure consciousness within is understood to be one with Brahman, the ultimate reality that pervades the entire...; the powers of this world can neither attack us, neither excuse us, for if God justify who can condemn and if God condemn there is none can justify.

And for those jealousies and suspicions which some have of them, that they are destructive unto Magistracy and Minstry, that can not be, for the magistrate hath the sword in his hand and the ministerMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam). hath the sword in his hand, as witness those two great examples which all magistrates and ministersMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam). are to follow, MosesMoses was the great Biblical prophet who is credited with leading the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and teaching them the divine laws at Sinai. The story of Moses is told in the book of Exodus in the Bible and is also told in the Qur’an, wher... and Christ, whom God raised up maintained and defended against all the enemies both of flesh and spirit; and therefore that which is 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 civil, who is true and who is false, and can pass definitive sentence of life or death against that man which rises up against the fundamental law of the States General; so 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 the sons of AdamAdam is Hebrew for "human, man." It is the name given to the first person created by God and as such has an important symbolic role in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions., which is the glory of the outward state of Holland, so love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ JesusJesus is the historical figure considered by Christians to be the Christ, the Messiah, whose life and teachings, death and resurrection give clear evidence of God’s love for humankind. Jesus was born shortly before the death of Herod the Great (d. 4 BCE..., condemns hatred, war and bondage.  And because our Savior saith it is impossible but that offenses 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 he appears in, whether PresbyterianPresbyterian is the general name for churches governed by elected presbyters or elders and refers especially to Reformed churches in Scotland and England that shaped Presbyterian churches worldwide. The church is distinguished both from those in which aut..., Independent, BaptistThe Baptist tradition includes a variety of Christian churches which trace their beginnings to the Anabaptist reform movement that rejected infant baptism insisting on the importance of baptizing only those who are able to profess the faith as believers. or QuakerThe Quaker movement, properly known as the Society of Friends, had its beginnings in 17th century England with George Fox (1624-91), whose form of worship was liturgically sparse, relying on silence and the inspiring movement of the Inner Light, the spiri..., but shall be glad to see anything of God in any of them, desiring to do unto all men as we desire all men should do unto us, which is the true law both of ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... and State; for our Saviour saith this is the law and the prophetsA prophet is one who communicates a divine message or vision, sometimes calling people to repentance or awakening, sometimes predicting future events. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all look to Hebrew prophets, including Abraham and Moses. Muslims believe ....

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 egress and regress unto our town, and houses, as God shall persuade our consciences.  And in this we are true subjects both of Church and State, for we are bound by the law of God and man to do good unto all men and evil to no man. And this is according to the patent and charter of our Town, given unto us in the name of the States General, which we are not willing to infringe, and violate, but shall hold to our patent and shall remain, your humble subjects, the inhabitants of Flushing.

Written this 27th day of December, in the year 1657, by me
Edward Hart, Clericus

[Distributed at Bowne House, 37-01 Bowne Street, Flushing, New York. Original manuscript in New York State Library, Albany, New York.]