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American Antiquarian Society
OATHS OF ALLEGIANCE IN
REPRINTED FROM THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY
FOR OCTOBER, 1921
WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, U. 8. A.
OATHS OF ALLEGIANCE
IN COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND
HE antiquity of the custom of giving and taking
Oaths, or the debatable questions of their observance being a religious or legal ceremony, and whether the moral or political aspect has the greater effect upon the minds of men, are subjects with which this paper has nothing to do.
And as the substance of Oaths for particular officers is to engage them to a faithful discharge of their places and trusts to the best of their ability, it has been considered, in general, unnecessary to give them, especially as these offices carry with them the assumption that the general Oaths required of all citizens have first been complied with. No Oaths of office were administered or required in the New Plymouth Colony, the power of the Church being, in effect, superior to the civil power.
For the main purpose of this paper it will not be necessary to go further back in history than to the reign of James the First, of England, 1603-1625, during which time the providences of God directed the course of the voyage of the Pilgrims away from the Colony of Virginia to their settlement at Plymouth in New England, in December, 1620; or to carry the subject beyond the time, in the short-lived reign of James the Second, 1685-1689, when, in December, 1686, Sir Edmund Andros, knight, arrived in Boston with a commission to govern New England, and the Colonial period of New England came to an end.