A dramatisation of the story surrounding the death by hanging of the Quaker Mary Dyer in 1660

Samuel Shattuck

Samuel Shattuck now around 55 comes from one of the 'best' families in Salem. He and his parents arrived from Old England in 1638.

His step-father, who marries Shattuck's mother when Shattuck was in his twenties, settled in 'Naumkeeg' (Salem's original name) in 1627. He is a well respected, prosperous, influential Old Planter who predates even John Endecott's landing in 1628). Shattuck married, his wife died. He now has his own house near the centre of the town, is a well established felt-maker and hatter, a member of the 'middling class' and has influential friends in many parts of the Bay Colony.

He is grave disposition, of good bearing, has a strong voice. He is courteous, firm in his convictions but gentle in manner. For fifteen years, until the first 'foreign' Quakers came to the town in 1657, he has been a full member of the Puritan congregation. He is then attracted to the Quaker religion and helps form a small Quaker group in the town.

In 1658, now openly a Quaker, he is fined for absence from the orthodox church First-Days and for aiding visiting Quakers (particularly the famous incident in Salem church where Shattuck intervenes as Quaker Holder is violently arrested). He stands firm in his new beliefs and is then jailed in for persisting "in his course and opinions as a Quaker."

After intense political and judicial discussions by the Colony's General Court, he and Salem's other 'resident converts' are banished in mid-year 1658 on pain of death on return. Shattuck spends time in London during 1659 and 1660 with many prominent Quakers. Using influential contacts in the Royal Court, Quaker Edward Burroughs seeks the suspension of the Bay Colony's capital punishment .

The Colony's authorities in turn make counter claims to the Royal Court about Quaker behaviour and disruption of the Colony. In May 1661 Burroughs and Shattuck have additional 'ammunition' when they learn of Quaker Leddra's hanging in February - the FOURTH Quaker death in the Colony. On the counsel of Burroughs friends, Shattock and another banished Quaker convert petition the new King to stop this 'letting of blood in the Bay Colony. It is granted - and Shattuck, the Quaker "banished on pain of death on return", takes the Royal Mandamus to Boston. Arriving on stage, at the end of the play, he shows dignified presence and is unmoving in the face of criticism and bluster. He is well aware that this is the beginning of the end of the Colony's over-bearing theocratic rule.

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