Oath of ffremen
Oath of a freeman
Oath of the freeman
A single leaf containing handwritten drafts of three oaths. On the recto, a draft of the Freeman's Oath in the hand of John Winthrop. On the verso, two oaths in the hand of Thomas Dudley: The Oath of a Servant and a differing draft of The Freeman's Oath, captioned The Oath of a Man Free or to be Made Free. Winthrop's version is believed to be that of the oath as administered in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1631 until it was modified by the General Court on May 14th, 1634.
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Acquired by the Boston Public Library in 1894 from C.F. Libbie, of Boston (lot no. 549 in the sale of May 8-10; see also an entry in the BPL Trustees' records for May 15th of the same year). Previously listed for sale by Walter Romeyn Benjamin in The Collector, vol. 6, no. 7 (March, 1893) p. 83. According to an editorial published in the Boston Sunday Herald (July 1, 1894), this manuscript was purchased from a New York dealer for "$7 or $8."
Date from Charles Evans, Oaths of Allegiance in Colonial New England (Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1922), 19.
Title devised by cataloger; manuscript caption, in Winthrop's hand, written as "The oath of ffremen."
Identification of handwriting and attribution of authorship from Chamberlain. See Mellen Chamberlain, "Fac-simile of the First Draft of the Freemen's Oath," Bulletin of the Boston Public Library 5 (new series), no. 2 (July, 1894), 188.
Independently transcribed by Charles Wenthworth Upham and Abner Cheney Goodell for Mellen Chamberlain in 1894 and published, accompanied by lithographic and type facsimiles, in The Bulletin of the Boston Public Library, vol. 5, no. 2 (new series: July, 1894).
Dudley, Thomas, 1576-1653. Oath of a man free or to be made free
Dudley, Thomas, 1576-1653. Oath of a servant