Friday, December 28, 2007

December 28, 2007 - Ducth, Neterland* (for Dutch, Netherland)

Q: What is the Flushing Remonstrance?

A) A movement to protest the excessive use of indoor plumbing
B) A trope of Victorian porn by which the demurring maid keeps the roué at bay
C) A 17th-century citizens' revolt by the residents of Flushing, Queens

The answer is C. On this day, 350 years ago, 23 farmers from Flushing, New York (then known as Vlishing, New Amsterdam, part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland), signed a declaration of refusal concerning governor Peter Stuyvesant's order to shun and imprison the Quakers among them, and frankly told him why. No longer content with "religious freedom for me, but not for thee," as it's often been characterized, they rejected the persecution of "Jews, Turks, and Egyptians ... Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist, or Quaker," explaining that God had commanded it thus. This remarkable document, housed in the New York State Archives (and singed around the edges from the 1911 Library fire), is the precursor to the Bill of Rights and specifically the "establishment clause," being the first call for a separation of church and state. Ducth, Ductch, Dtuch, Neterland*, and Nehterland* all appear in the "lowest probability" portion of the Ballard list.

Carol Reid

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