To the editor:
I appreciated Melissa Berry’s As I See It column on April 16 in your paper concerning Lydia Wardwell. It may surprise your readers to know that there are still thousands of Quakers practicing their beliefs in New England today. Perhaps it will be less a surprise that I am one, a member of the Amesbury Monthly Meeting of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (commonly called Quakers!).
I would like to add the rest of the story of the three Quaker women whipped in Dover and Hampton. It seems apropos this week to note that this act of terrorism of Puritans against Quaker women was answered by courage and compassion on the part of Salisbury town officials, Robert Pike, Walter Barefoot and Thomas Bradbury.
John Greenleaf Whittier memorialized this event in a poem that is now engraved on a plaque in the center of Salisbury. The Dover magistrate Richard Waldron had ordered that the women be stripped naked to the waist, tied behind the cart and made to walk to the Rhode Island border, stopping in each town along the way to be publically whipped.
According to Whittier the women were released and allowed to go free in Salisbury after Robert Pike uttered these words:
“Cut loose these poor ones and let them go;
Come what will of it, all men shall know
No warrant is good, though backed by the Crown,
For whipping women in Salisbury town!”
Edward Gerrish Mair