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Flushing Remonstrance Inquiry

The Flushing Remonstrance was written by Tobias Feake on behalf of the inhabitants of Flushing to protest the treatment of Quakers in the colony of New Netherland. New Netherland law prohibited the receiving or entertaining of Quakers and the meeting of any unsanctioned religions – the Reformed Church was the only religion sanctioned by the West India Company during this time. In this document, Feake and his fellow inhabitants reference their freedom to act according to their conscience. Feake insists on the right to accept Quakers into their town and homes.
Setting the Stage
Students read the following article and discuss religious tolerance vs. religious freedom in the modern era. Viewpoint: Religious freedom is not religious tolerance
Supprting Questions
What motivated the inhabitants of Flushing to write a remonstrance to the director-general?
What were the inhibitants of Flushing requesting from the government of New Netherland?
What events occurred as a direct result of the writing of the Flushing Remonstrance?
Formative Assessments
Create an annotated timeline of events leading up to the writing of the Flushing Remonstrance using information from the featured documents. For each item on the timeline explain how it led either directly or indirectly to the writing of the Flushing Remonstrance. In the annotation, make a note of whether the event reflects religious tolerance, religious freedom, or neither.
Imagine you are an attorney representing the inhabitants of Flushing. Make a list of the main points stated in their argument to be presented before a judge.
Summative Assessment:
Student participate in a Socratic Seminar and discuss the ideas of religious tolerance and religious freedom as they relate to the Flushing Remonstrance.



Ordinance against conventicles and meetings other than the authorized reformed religion, 1656
New York State Archives, NYSA_A1875-78_V16_pt1_0066
Whereas the director general and council of New Netherland have been reliably informed and apprised that not only are conventicles and meetings held here and there within this province, but also that some unqualified persons in such meetins assume the ministerial office, expounding and explaining the holy word of God without being called or appointed thereto by ecclesiatical order of our fatherland; besides that, many dangerous heresies and schisms are to be expected from such manner of meetings.
Therefore, the director general and council aforesaid hereby expressly forbid all suc conventicles and meetings, whether public or private, differing from the customary and not only lawful but scripturally founded and ordained meetings of the Reformed divine service, as observed and enforced according to the synod of Dortrecht in this country, in our fatherland, and other Reformed churches in Europe, under penalty of one hundred pounds Flemish to be forfeited by all those who, being unqualified, assume, either on Sundays or other days, any office whether of preacher, reader or singer, in such meetings whether public or private, differing from the customary and lawful; 25 like pounds to be forfeited by everyone, whether man or woman, married or unmarried, who is found in such meetings.
However, the director general and council do not hereby intend any constraint of conscience in violation of previously granted patents, nor to prohibit the reading of God's Holy Word, family prayers and worship, each in his household, but all public or private houses, differing from the oft-mentioned customary and ordained Reformed religion.
In order that this may be better observed and obeyed in the future, and that no one may claim ignorance of it, the director general and council order their fiscal, together with the inferior magistrates and schouts, to publish this and have it published everywhere within this province and to act against the contraventors, all the more because we find such to concern the honor of God's advancement of the Reformed divine service and the general peace, harmony and welfare of the land.
Thus done, resolved, reviewed and enacted at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the first of Fenruary 1656
Analysis Questions
What was happening in New Netherland that caused this ordinance to be written?
What action did the director general take in this ordinance?
What would happen to someone who violated this ordinance?
What does the ordinance allow the inhabitants of New Netherland to do?
How will the inhabitants be informed of this new ordinance?
When was this ordinance enacted?
Summarize the main idea of the ordinance and evaluate the impact of this law on religious tolerance and religious freedom in New Netherland?



Article XIII from the Union of Utrecht, January 1579
As for the matter of religion, the States of Holland and Zeeland shall act according to their own pleasure, and
the other Provinces of this Union shall follow the rules set down in the religious peace drafted by Archduke
Matthias, governor and captain-general of these countries, with the advice of the Council of State and the
States General, or shall establish such general or special regulations in this matter as they shall find good and
most fitting for the repose and welfare of the provinces, cities, and individual Members thereof, and the
preservation of the property and rights of each individual, whether churchman or layman, and no other
Province shall be permitted to interfere or make difficulties, provided that each person shall remain free in his
religion and that no one shall be investigated or persecuted because of his religion, as is provided in the
Pacification of Ghent…
Analysis Questions:
1. What matter does this article discuss?
2. When was this document written?
3. To whom does this document apply?
4. Who has the right to make the rules about religion?
5. What two restrictions are placed on the individuals who make the rules about religion?


Flushing Remonstrance, 1657

New York State Archives, NYSA_A1809-78_V08_0625

A remonstrance is an official petition or protet written to a government.

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 God is a Consuming fire and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God 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 Lawgiver: yet when death and the Law assaults us: if we have our advocate to seek who shall plead for us in this case of Conscience betwixt god and  our own sould 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 ehich some havee of them that they are destructive unto Magistracy and Ministry that cannot be:

for the Magistrate hath the Sword in his hand and the Minister hath the Sword in his hand as witness those two great examples which all Magistrates and Ministers are to follow M[oses] 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 gve 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 false and can pass definitive sentence of life or [death] against that man which rises up against the [fundamen]tall law of the State General so [he] [hath made] his Ministers a savor of life unto [life] [and a sav]or of death unto death.

The law of love peace and liberty in the states Extending to Jews Turks and Eqyptians as They are Considered the sons of Adam which is the glory of the outward State of Holland, so love peace and liberty extending to all in Christ Jesus Condemns hatred war and bondage and because our Saviour saith it is Impossible but that offences will come but woe Be unto him by whom they Cometh our desire is not offend one of his little ones in what [soever] form name or title he appears in whether presbyterian independent Baptist or Quaker but shall be glad to see anything of god in a[ny] of them:

desiting to do unto  all men as we d[esire] all men should do unto us which is the true law both of Church and State for our Saviour saith 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 given them free Egress and Regress into our Towne and houses as god shall persuade our Consciences and in t[his] 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 Towne given unto us in the name of the States General which we re not willing to infringe And violate but shall hold to our patent and 

Shall remain your Humble Subjects the Inhabitants of Vlising written this 27th of December in the year 1657

by me Edward Heart
Tobias Feake

The marke of William Noble
William Thorne, senior Nicolas Blackford
The mark of Wm. Thorne Junior
Edward Tartte The mark of Mica[h] Tue
John Storer
Nathaniel Hefferd The mark of Phillip Ud [ ]
Beniamin Hubbard
The marke of William Pidgion
The marke of George Clere
Elias Doughtie
Antonie Field
Richard Stocton
Edward Griffine.
Nathaniell Tue
Robert ffeild, senior
Nicholas Parsell
Robert Field, junior
Nittkcolas Parnell
Michaell Milner
Benjamin Hubbard
Henry Townesend
George Wright
John Foard
Henry Samtell
Edward Heart
John Mastine
Henry Townesend
John Townesend
Edward ffarington
Note: Spelling has been edited to modern English to facilitate the reading of the document.
Anyalsis Questions
Who wrote this document?
To whom was this document written?
What was prohibited in Flushing and why was it prohibited?
What do the authors of this document refuse to do?
What reason do the authors give for their refusal?
How do the authors justify their breaking of the law?
How do the authors use the Bible to argue against the law?
Who do the authors think should be covered under the law of love, peace and liberty?
According to the authors, what is the true law of the Church and State?
What do the authors of this document intend to do?
According to the authors, what document gives them the right to act according to their conscience?
When was this document written?
Who are the first two signers of the document?
Are the signers of this documents asking their government for religious tolerance or religious freedom? Use evidence from the document to support your answer.



Minute of the arrest of the magistrates who had signed the Flushing Remonstrance, 1658

New York State Archives, NYSA_A1809-78_V08_0629b


On the first of January anno 1658, summoned by the honorable lord director general and councilors, appeared Eduart Farringhten and William Nobel, two of the magistrates of Vlissningh, who, because they also signed the said remonstrance, were arrested immediately. It is resolved to summon the clerk of the said village, Eduart Hart, as well. Dated as above.

Analysis Questions
When was this document written?

What is the purpose of this document?

Why was this action taken against Eduart Farringhten and William Nobel?

What other action did the director general resolve to take at the end of this document?


Examination of Edward Hart regarding the authorship, etc. of the Flushing Remonstrance, 1658

New York State Archives, NYSA_A1809-78_V08_0630


Thursday, the 3rd of January 1658.

Present in council, his honor, the director general Petrus Stuyvesant and the honorable councilors Nicasius de Sille, and Peter Tonneman.

Eduart Hart, clerk of the magistrates of Vlissingen, appearing upon summons, was examined.

1 Who wrote the letter dated the 27th of December past at Vlissingen and delivered by the schout Tobias Feecq into the hands of the lord director general on the 29th of the same month? To the 1st, that he wrote it by order of the subscriber.

2 Whether he copied it from anoth draft, or whether it is his own draft? To the 2nd, that he did not copy it from another draft, but that he wrote it according to the opinion of the people.

3 Whether all subscribers indivdually ordered him to write what is written in the remonstrance? To the third, answers that no particular person gave him any directions, but that he collected those out of the opinions if the people when conceded in the village's meeting.

4 Whether they were all gathered at the time that he wrote it? To the 4th, that not all were gathered, [but?] that some were absent. 5 Where the village meeting was held? To the 5th: Answers, in the house of Michel Milner. 6 Whether they all signed this remonstrance there? To the 6th: some signed in the said house and some in their own houses. 7 Who were they who signed at the meeting and who in their houses? To the 7th, at the meeting Tobias Feakx, William Thorne signed; Nicholas Blackwod at the deponent's house, William Pidgeon, Elias Dought, Antonij Field, Edward Griffin, Nathaniel Tue, both the Field, Edward Griffin, Nathaniel Tue, both the Fields, Nicolaes Percell at the deponent's house, Michiel Milner; Henrij Townsen, asked whether he would sign his name: knows that George Wright, John Foart, Henrij Saintel signed wither in the meeting or in his house.

8 By whose order that said village meeting, at which the remonstrance was signed, was called? To the 8th, answers not to know that.

9 Who at the said meeting made the first proposition to write or sign the said remonstrance? To the 9th, not to know who made the propositions.

Analysis Questions
What type od document is this?

When was this document written?

Who was present when this document was written?

What happened when this document was written?

To what letter is the questioner referring?

What determined the content of the document in question?

According to Hart, who decided on the content of the document in question?

Why might the questioner have asked Hart so many questions about the signing of the document?

According to Hart, why did he write the remonstrance?

According to Hart, how did the people make their opinion known?

What happened to Edward Hart immediately after this examination?


Sentence of Tobias Feake, sheriff of Flushing, for having written the Flushing Remonstrance, 1658

New York State Archives, NYSA_A1809-78_V08_0689


Whereas Tobias Feakx, a resident of Vlissingen on Long Island now a prisoner, has confessed and acknowledged that he received an order from the honorable director general not to admit, lodge, and entertain in the said village anyone of the heretic and abominable sect named the Quakers,

but, in contempt of the said order and the formerly promulgated and renewed edicts, has had the audacity to be a leader and instigator in drafting a seditious, mutinous, and detestable pamphlet, signed by himself and his accomplicees, and by him, prisoner, handed over to the lord general, in which they justify the abominable sect of the Quakers,

who scorn noth the political order and the religious service, and justify and maintain and absolutely demand that all sects, especially the aforesaid heretic and abominable sect of the Quakers, shall and must be tolerated and admitted,

which directly contradicts and violates the aforesaid order and edicts of the director general and councilors; which order and edicts, according to his oath, office, and duty as a subordinate officer of the lord general and schout in the said village of Vlissingen, he should have maintained and observed with all possible means; which he not only failed to do, but he even transgressed and ciolated the order and edicts, which matter, as an example punished severely,

yet, considering the humble petition of the prisoner Feakx, confessing gis wrongdoing and promising hereafter to avoid such errors. Therefore, the director general and councilors of N: Netherland, administering justice in the name of the high and mighty lord State General of the United Netherlands and the honorable lords directors of the Chartered West India Company, first dismiss the aforesaid Tobias Feecx from his office as schout of the aforesaid village of Vlissingen and hereby banish him from the province of New Netherland, or to pay a fine of two hundred guilders to be properly Apllied (if he will keep his promise), together with the legal costs. Done at Fort Amersterdam in N: Netherland, the 28th of January 1658.

P. Stuyvesant
Pieter Tonneman

Analysis Questions
To what did Tobias Feake confess?

What does the council accuse Feake of doing?

What is the opinion of the council regarding Quakers?

Why is Tobias Feake being punished?

What is the punishment for Tobias Feake?

When  was this document written?

Who signed this document?